McKinsey and other management consulting firms are hiring more experienced professionals than ever. There’s a good reason for this: clients are asking for it. Clients want to know that firms like McKinsey’s recommendations are rooted in industry insights.
So there’s never been a better time for an experienced professional to transition to a career in consulting!
But getting an offer from consulting with firms like McKinsey isn’t easy. You won’t get a consulting offer without passing the case interview.
McKinsey understands that acing a case interview takes practice. Experienced professionals typically don’t have a built-in system or network to help them learn how to pass the case interview the way that applicants from undergrad and MBA programs do. To support experienced hires during the interview process, so McKinsey added extra prep: McKinsey Case Coaching sessions.
In this article, we’ll discuss:
- Why do experienced hires need to do a case interview?
- What you can expect in a McKinsey case coaching prep session?
- Who can get McKinsey case prep help?
- Resources that will help experienced hire candidates prepare for management consulting interviews fast.
Let’s get started!
Why Do Experienced Hires Need To Do a Case Interview?
If you’ve been in the workforce for a few years, you may wonder if you really have to learn how to do a case interview in order to land a job in consulting.
The answer is: Yes. Nailing a case interview is essential to demonstrating that you will thrive in the world of strategy consulting.
When you recruit as a McKinsey experienced hire, there are typically two types of roles: Consultants, and Specialists or Experts. Consultants can join the firm as a generalist or a consultant who specializes in a practice (e.g., operations,) or an industry (e.g., retail).
The Specialist or Expert role is different. While a Consultant starts out working on one project at a time, the Specialist or Expert can be staffed on several projects at a time. They contribute deep industry or practice expertise to ensure that the team’s strategic recommendations are informed by the latest developments in a particular area.
For either path, candidates will have to do case interviews. This is because strategy consulting relies on a specific way of thinking to break down problems. So even if you’re an Expert, the team needs to know that you can seamlessly plug into their approach.
When you nail a case interview, McKinsey will know that you can think logically and communicate clearly to solve a problem, just like all their other consultants.
What to Expect in a McKinsey Case Coaching Session
McKinsey Case Coaching sessions are:
- 30 – 60 minutes,
- with a McKinsey alum,
- focused solely on the case interview,
McKinsey recruiting wants experienced hire candidates to be able to put their best foot forward in interviews so they offer experienced professionals the opportunity to participate in a McKinsey Case Coaching session before their formal interviews.
In a McKinsey Case Coaching session, a McKinsey alum will give you a case interview and provide feedback on your strengths and improvement areas afterwards. The types of cases are very similar to what you will get in a real interview.
McKinsey Experienced Hire Coaching Cases Could Focus on Any Industry
It’s unlikely that you’ll be partnered with a coach who gives a case in your industry. Don’t be thrown if you are a senior manager at a major oil and gas firm and you have a McKinsey Case Coaching session with a practice case about retail.
Use this opportunity to show your coach that you can apply case interview skills to any industry, even one you’re unfamiliar with.
McKinsey Alumni Coaches Provide Feedback
Your McKinsey case coach will also give you feedback on how you did on the case, and what to work on prior to your interviews.
Before we go further, it’s important to note that this prep session is non-evaluative. That means it won’t impact your application or be part of the information the firm uses to decide if they want to offer you a job.
However, your McKinsey Case Coaching session does have an impact on the process of how and when you interview with the firm. If you do a great job, your McKinsey Case Coach will pass that on to recruiters and tell them you are ready to interview! If you struggle with aspects of the case interview, you’ll receive feedback from the recruiter that they want you to practice casing a bit more before you interview.
Don’t be bummed about getting feedback on how you did your case!
Accept the feedback graciously during your practice session. Better yet, ask questions based on the feedback provided:
- How should I have done the case differently or how can I apply your feedback in future cases?
- What resources can I use to practice this?
- Can you share an example of when [problem in the case] occurred?
And don’t beat yourself up about it after your McKinsey Case Coaching session when you take yourself to your local bakery for a celebratory donut. Feedback is a way of life and part of the consulting ‘diet’.
Feedback itself isn’t as important as what you do with it. As a consultant, it’s essential that you show you can improve your performance based on feedback.
Use Your McKinsey Coaching Feedback to Improve Your Casing
If you need to do some work on the case interview, find some friends, colleagues, or MCO coaches to run some cases with! McKinsey may offer you another prep session to make sure you feel good going into the interviews.
One thing to note is that McKinsey hires experienced professionals throughout the year, rather than based on a scheduled recruiting calendar like the ones for analyst and associate hires. So you don’t have to do a bunch of case prep in one week and reach back out to the recruiter right away.
Do the work to make sure you’re ready, and then let the recruiter know.
What McKinsey Case Coaching Is NOT: Preparation for the Personal Experience Interview
In your McKinsey Case Coaching session, there will be no time set aside to prepare for the Personal Experience Interview or fit part of the interview. Read our article on the McKinsey PEI to find out what it covers and how to prepare for it.
Who Can Get McKinsey Case Prep Help?
McKinsey Case Coaching sessions are only offered to experienced professionals.
Typically undergrads and MBA students will not be offered McKinsey Case Coaching sessions. Those students have access to several resources through the campus recruiting programs, such as ‘case buddies’ or case workshops to assist with preparation.
Experienced hires usually don’t have those opportunities unless they know someone who worked in consulting.
You’re most likely to be offered a McKinsey Case Coaching session if you’re a high priority candidate. How do you become a high priority candidate? Check out our article on how to network your way into consulting.
Another factor to determine if you may be high priority is if you have a specialty that’s in demand. Check McKinsey’s page on hiring experienced professionals to see who they are looking for. For example, the page currently indicates that McKinsey is looking for experienced hires with professional experience in digital and advanced analytics, and program implementation.
Resources that Will Help Experienced Professionals Prep for Consulting Interviews Fast
If you’re planning to talk with recruiters or are already connected to someone at McKinsey, you need to start preparing for case interviews!
We’ve got a lot of resources to help you get started:
- Our Guide to Case Interview Prep,
- Our Free Case Prep Video Workshop that Will Help You Learn to Case FAST,
- Our Page with Links to Tons of Resources on Landing a Management Consulting Job.
In this article, we’ve covered:
- The importance of preparing for your case interview,
- What a McKinsey case coaching session is,
- Who the McKinsey case coaching sessions are for,
- All the FREE My Consulting Offer resources to help you get ready for your consulting interviews FAST.
Still have questions?
If you have more questions about McKinsey MAC sessions, leave them in the comments below. One of My Consulting Offer’s recruiters will answer them.
Help with Case Study Interview Prep
Thanks for turning to My Consulting Offer for advice on case study interview prep. My Consulting Offer has helped almost 85% of the people we’ve worked with to get a job in management consulting. We want you to be successful in your consulting interviews too. For example, here is how Tanya was able to get her offer from McKinsey.