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McKinsey Insight Program – What It Is & How to Get Accepted

McKinsey Insight Program – What It Is & How to Get Accepted

The McKinsey Insight program is an introduction to the consulting industry for students with advanced professional degrees (Ph.D.s, post-docs, and M.D.s) who are considering transitioning into the consulting field. So, if you thought you loved academia but now you’re looking for other career options, it might be for you.

The transition from academia to a business career can be daunting, but we’ve helped dozens of candidates succeed and we’d like to help you too!

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • Who is eligible for McKinsey Insight.
  • What to expect in the McKinsey Insight program.
  • Benefits of the McKinsey Insight program.
  • What the application process looks like.
  • How to stand out as a McKinsey Insight program applicant.
  • How to make the most of your McKinsey Insight experience.

Let’s get started!

Who Is Eligible for McKinsey Insight

The McKinsey Insight program is designed for graduate students in STEM and healthcare fields who reside in the U.S., study in a U.S.-based program, and plan to graduate in the following year.

If you are enrolled in one of these programs, you are eligible to apply:

  1. Medical students, interns, residents, and fellows.
  2. Ph.D. and post-doc students in STEM or healthcare-related fields.
  3. Master’s students (excluding M.B.A.s) who previously obtained an M.D.

The program is targeted at graduate students with little to no business experience. So, if you’re interested in a career in consulting, but are not sure that you have enough business experience, you should give it a shot.

Note: If you’ve previously interviewed with McKinsey, you’re not eligible for the program.

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What to Expect from the McKinsey Insight Program

You will be invited to one of McKinsey’s offices in North America to learn about the industry, solve a case study, and network with peers and consultants over 2 days. The sessions will be led by McKinsey consultants, which makes it a great opportunity to understand the nature of the job and the office culture.

Participants should expect to go through the following learning goals over the 2 days of the program:

  • Understand the management consulting industry
    • McKinsey consultants will present on McKinsey, the industries and functions the firm serves, McKinsey’s problem-solving approach, and key information about their office.
    • They will also describe the internship/full-time hiring timeline and process.
  • Practice a mock case study
    • Attendees will be split into small teams led by a McKinsey consultant.
    • You’ll be assigned a mock case to solve over the course of the program.
    • Together with your team, you’ll structure the problem, divide the workstreams, analyze data, draw insights, and make recommendations.
    • Then, the team will present their findings to a mock client (a McKinsey consultant in this case) who will then give individual feedback.
    • The session is non-evaluative, so make sure you get the best out of it. Don’t be too shy to participate.
  • Learn from the experiences of McKinsey consultants who share an academic background
    • You will get a lot of time to ask the toughest questions you have about the interview process, the nature of the job, and the McKinsey culture.
    • You will also have the opportunity to socialize with those consultants who can help you think through the challenges and trade-offs of transitioning into consulting.

The overall objective of the program is to give participants greater confidence as they decide to go through the interview process with McKinsey. You’ll leave the program with a better understanding of what is required to pass the interview, and most importantly whether this is a career you want to pursue.

Benefits of the McKinsey Insight Program

There are many benefits to the program according to past participants, but to name a few:

  1. A guaranteed first round interview for the McKinsey internship or full-time role.
  2. Practical advice on what is required to pass the case interview.
  3. The opportunity to test whether management consulting is the right next step for you.
  4. A fun time with interesting and intelligent students and professionals.

Here are some of the things past participants have shared:

“It was a great preview into the life of a consultant, and I couldn’t have had more fun.”      
         –  current McKinsey consultant

“The experience confirmed my interest in joining the firm as a consultant.”
         –  former McKinsey consultant

“Through the mock case I felt I got a better sense of the skills I’d develop at McKinsey and the overall firm culture.”
         –  former McKinsey consultant

Source: McKinsey.com

What Does the Insight Application Process Look Like?

McKinsey Insight Program: Application Process:

The deadline for the 2022 McKinsey Insight program was March 11th. This deadline was for students graduating in 2023. If you’re graduating in 2024, check the McKinsey website for next year’s deadline starting in December 2022 or January 2023.

You can apply to McKinsey Insight by submitting an updated resume through the McKinsey website. All applicants will be notified by late March.

If you pass the resume screen, a recruiter will follow up within 1-2 weeks to set up a 30-minute interview. The interviewer will go through fit questions (e.g., interest in consulting and motivation to leave academia) and a mini case interview such as market sizing (15-minutes).

Prepare ahead of the interview. Resources that can be helpful as you apply include our guide to writing your Consulting Resume and our article on the McKinsey Case Interview.

Even if you aren’t selected for the program, you can still apply for internship and full-time roles or other relevant events. The program is very selective given the limited available slots.

How to Stand Out as a McKinsey Insight Program Applicant

The McKinsey Insight Program and similar programs are very competitive and receive many applications from top students around the country. That’s why we’re here. We want to help you differentiate your application and have the best chance to get in.

Here’s what we’d advise you to be extra sharp on during the process:

Consulting Resume

Your experience will be centered around academic and research work. From your different roles and experiences, you want to demonstrate what matters the most for consulting recruiters: the ability to lead, problem-solve, create impact, and be entrepreneurial.

Examples to illustrate what we mean:

  1. Coursework: Highlight experiences related to teaching a class, leading a team project, and doing analytical work. Be as specific as possible about the impact of any analytic work you’ve done.
  2. Summer internship experience:  Highlight experience doing research work; specify and quantify the results of your discoveries.
  3. Extracurricular activities: Articulate how you contributed to your campus community such as leading a club or organizing diversity events and promoting inclusion.
  4. Entrepreneurial experience: Highlighting times when you’ve creatively overcome roadblocks or taken initiative by starting something new. Have you started a non-profit or a business during your time as a student? Started a new extracurricular group or initiated an event or activity in an existing one? Have you moved forward on these projects despite limited information? Mention these experiences and highlight your role and achievements.

Make sure you read our article Consulting Resumes for additional details on writing the perfect consulting resume.

The McKinsey Insight Program Interview

McKinsey Insight Program: Insight Program Interview

The interviewer will want to understand your motivation and interest level in a consulting career as well as get a sense of your competence. You will want to familiarize yourself with the consulting industry and show preparedness and enthusiasm.

On the fit part of the interview, be ready with answers on the following:

  1. Your background and how it should prepare you for a consulting career (e.g., rigorous analytical coursework and working in small teams of high performers).
  2. Your interest in consulting and McKinsey in particular (e.g., exposure to multiple industries or improved leadership skills).
  3. What do you hope to get out of the program (e.g., prepare for full-time interviews)?

On the case part of the interview, there is no better way to get ready than to practice live cases with peers or MCO coaches. It is a skill best practiced with someone rather than on your own.

You can check out our article on the Fit Interview and our Guide to Case Interview Prep for more details on what to expect and how to prepare.

How to Make the Most of Your McKinsey Insight Experience

Since the program is non-evaluative, you want to treat it as an opportunity to learn about the industry and become better prepared for the interview process. We wouldn’t advise participants to worry too much about performance or the prospects of getting an offer. If you can focus on learning and leaving a positive impression, you should maximize your benefit from the program.

Avoid overly competitive behavior such as trying to get the most attention from the consultants or recruiters. It won’t help you get the job.

Things to keep in mind to make the most out of the experience:

Keep an open mind

You will be challenged to think and work in a way you probably have never experienced before. You want to be comfortable taking on any challenge with enthusiasm. Most importantly, you want to be open to the feedback you get from the consultants. They know the job well and want to help. This should give you great insight into the nature of the job and whether this is something you want to do next.

Ask anything

McKinsey has a transparent culture and tough questions are always encouraged. Be curious and ask questions that help you understand:

  • Ways to maximize your chances for interview success.
  • Skills and attitude required to be a high performer.
  • Trade-offs of the consulting life.
  • International/rotation opportunities at McKinsey.
  • Office culture.

Make contacts

You will definitely find someone at McKinsey who shares a similar background and faced similar challenges when they wanted to land a consulting job. Connect with them. Find out how they overcome the challenges of transitioning from academia to consulting and use their suggestions to clear your own path.

Enjoy your time

Regardless of the outcome, you’ll get the chance to meet intelligent people from diverse backgrounds who can be future friends, colleagues, or business partners. So, do your best to enjoy yourself and don’t let the pressure weigh you down.

– – – – –

In this article, we’ve covered:

  • Program eligibility and application process.
  • What you will learn from McKinsey Insight.
  • Best ways to stand out and get the best out of the experience.

Still have questions?

If you have more questions about the McKinsey Insight program interview, leave them in the comments below. One of My Consulting Offer’s recruiters will answer them.

Other people looking to transition from Ph.D. programs to consulting found the following pages helpful:

Help with Your Consulting Application

Thanks for turning to My Consulting Offer for advice on applying to consulting industry introduction programs. 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 Toun was able to get her offer from McKinsey.

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