McKinsey Solve Game: 12 Tips to Ace this Test
If you plan to interview with McKinsey, you will find yourself playing a video game as part of your recruiting process. The McKinsey Solve Game is a “digital gamified assessment” designed to test your problem-solving skills in a fun & intuitive way.
This game goes by different names, including the McKinsey problem solving game and the McKinsey digital assessment. Whatever you call it, you need to know what this game is and how to prepare for it.
In this article, we’ve curated insights and tips from our coaches, who are former MBB recruiters, consultants, and interviewers. By the end of the article, you’ll be better prepared for the McKinsey Solve game as we:
If this is your first visit to MCO – head to Case Interview Preparation for an intro to the management consulting interview process.
Let’s get started!
Candidates have approximately 70 minutes to play the game on a computer browser (not an iPad or phone). You can play the McKinsey Solve Game in one of 4 languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, or Japanese.
Your performance in the game is assessed based on 2 criteria: your product score and your process score.
Product score: This is your success in each of the individual game scenarios. How well did you accomplish the game tasks?
Process score: This is an assessment of your process for achieving that score. Did you come up with a good strategy for addressing the scenario? Did you consistently follow your strategy (rather than taking random actions you hoped would let you win)? McKinsey assesses your strategy by reviewing your mouse movements, keystrokes, and decisions.
You’ll find out your results on the McKinsey Solve Game within 2 weeks of taking it. The results will be a simple pass/fail without more detail.
The video game assessment begins with the following prompt:
“Imagine yourself in a beautiful, serene forest populated by many kinds of wildlife. As you take in the flora and fauna, you learn about an urgent matter demanding your attention.”
The McKinsey Solve Game has 6 possible scenarios, 5 that have been in use for a while and a new one called Redrock Study (based on a pilot of the same name launched in 2022). First, we’ll address scenarios that have been around for a while. Then in the next section, we’ll talk about Redrock Study.
You’ll play 2 scenarios. The scenarios are:
Working through each of these scenarios takes the candidate through the life-cycle of a consulting case, from understanding the problem to be solved, to collecting then analyzing data, to making a decision with limited time and imperfect information, and then recommending a solution.
Task: Create a stable ecosystem. It could be marine-based or terrestrial.
Task: Protect a native plant against an invader species for 15 turns using predators and barriers. The difficulty increases with each turn.
Scenario 3: Disaster Management
Task: Identify the natural disaster, such as a tsunami or volcanic eruption, which has hit the ecosystem. Help the animals survive the disaster.
To win: Quickly identify the disaster and react to it.
Task: Identify a disease affecting the animals and recommend a course of treatment.
To win: Quickly identify the type of disease and react to it.
Task: Migrate the group of animals from one point to another utilizing minimum resources and ensuring maximum animals survive.
To win: Keep track of the resources and surviving animals as you navigate various routes. Use quick math to guide your decisions.
A tutorial is provided before each scenario. The time you spend on the tutorials is not timed, so spend as long as you need to ensure you understand your task and the data provided.
The tutorial suggests how long to spend on each task, but you have the flexibility to manage your own time. Tasks in the 1st scenario typically take longer than tasks in the 2nd scenario, so consider that as you plan your time.
Imbellus, the company McKinsey worked with to create the Solve game, says they didn’t design the test to create a time constraint. Some people report having time left over at the end of the 70 minutes. Others feel pressed for time at the end.
No advanced preparation for the test is required. Neither business knowledge nor gaming experience is required. The game provides all the information candidates need.
Task: Create an ecological field study investigating wolf packs on an island. The goal is to relocate the pack(s) so they will best balance with the species around them and survive.
The video game assessment tool tests 5 cognitive skills:
The McKinsey Solve Game has been rolled out globally. Candidates from both undergraduate and graduate-level programs are being asked to take it, as are experienced-hire candidates.
Since one of the main benefits of the game is its ability to screen applicants in places where McKinsey doesn’t currently conduct interviews, applicants from non-core schools are almost certain to be asked to the McKinsey Solve Game.
M,cKinsey says that no additional preparation is required to take the assessment. There’s a tutorial at the beginning of each of the prompts that will tell you what you need to know.
With that said, having a general sense of what to expect will help candidates perform their best. Take a look at the resources provided below.
When you take the digital assessment, relax and let yourself absorb the game world, the information provided, and the problem you’re asked to solve. You are allowed to take notes during the assessment, and the notes will not be used for evaluation purposes, so bring a pen and paper.
You can watch McKinsey’s video for an introduction to the digital assessment.
For more information about the test, read this article.
And if you really want to geek out, there’s this abstract.
Still have questions about the McKinsey Problem Solving Game?
If you have further questions on the McKinsey Solve game, leave them in the comments below. We’ll have one of My Consulting Offer’s coaches provide more information.
Also, let us know if you’re asked to take the digital assessment. We’d love to know what you think of it!
People who are interested in the McKinsey Solve game typically find the following other My Consulting Offer pages helpful:
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