Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Recent Retractions

Received a voice mail from a McKinsey consultant who kindly asked that I remove the cases from my post. It was not my intention to post cases that they had intended to use moving into the future. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I did not post cases after my interview as I did not want to disclose cases while others were still going through the process. Instead I had tried to wait until Tuesday afternoon when the last of the interviews had taken place; however, I should have, perhaps, waited until a later time.

My thinking was that a number of widely distributed case books contain cases from past interviews, a forum which seemed analogous to this. Sorry for the inconvenience. If you wish to discuss your individual performance on a case and work through how to improve for future interviews, perhaps that is best accomplished through e-mail ( and not through this forum. I am still anxious to try and improve my own skill set even after a rejection!



  1. How did the McKinsey consultant connect the blog to you personally? Did you ever disclose the blog to them?

    I'm curious as to how they were able to connect the blog to a phone number.

  2. It isn't hard to know who I am if someone cared to find out...there are plenty of people in the area that I discuss this with who know I have been trying to detail the experience.

    I got a lot of information from places like Marquis' weblog when I was thinking about the process and was still left with some questions that I thought I would try to help others with...information about what a case is really like, how it is driven, and feedback after the actual interview was something I never found...i.e what gets you rejected...what moves you forward.

    Unfortunately, I will have to be a little bit more careful as to what kinds of things I mention moving into the future.

  3. while the interview process might be over in the states, it is still going on in other countries.

    I am interviewing for them in brazil, and while it's done a bit differently, I just had a personal interview yesterday, after having taken their written tests. Haven't even gotten around to the cases yet.

    Happy to say that I didn't read the cases on your blog before you retracted them, but then again i don't think it would have mattered considering I don't think the personal interview went over too well.

    Alas, only time will tell...

    PS: great blog!

  4. It's been over a week since my second round and I haven't heard back yet. Is any one else in the same boat as me on this one?

    I pretty much know it is a ding, but it would be good to hear back and put and end to this :)

    Has any one received any news on Tuesday or Wednesday? Any one got good news lately?

  5. The last tally I saw on this site said 11 McK rejections 2 invitations. So much for the 50% moving on each round (advertised at the info sessions)

  6. Anonymous (9:15 AM): Have you heard back? When did you interview?

  7. I heard back last week on Friday. Rejection.

  8. Oh ok. Sorry to hear that. Did you get any good feedback?

  9. See earlier post for feedback

  10. No good feedback. They said my, "structure was excellent, my PEI was great, and my math skills were what they would expect for a PhD student." They said that I could have done a better job of synthesizing. What I pushed for specifics, the consultant could not give me any. I tries to ask for examples, i.e. when you asked X, I said Y. What could I have done better with regards to synthesis? The consultant didn't have anything to add.

    One of my HBS colleagues pointed out that the APD recruiting comes after the HBS, Sloan, Wharton recruiting. It was suggested that APD is generally used to fill out the class, but this year the hiring target was low enough that their class was pretty full by the time APD recruiting came around. Look at how few final interview invitations are going out. My guess is that in order to get to the final round an interviewee would have had to really Wow the consultants. I did not do that.

  11. Anonymous (9:15AM):

    Thanks for sharing the fedback your received. From what you wrote, the feedback doesn't seem to be legit. I liked the way you pushed the consultant for more detail. I believe they should either give genuine feedback or not give it at all, as sometimes it feels they just say something because they have to.

    If APD is used as a class filler, it makes sense that so few on this blog have reported third round invites .

  12. Sounds like similar comments to what I had received...seems like good interviews with regards to case and good PEI would be enough to move forward to the next round or at least give you benefit of the doubt. I got "creativity with regards to my interpretation"...very similar to "improved synthesis" and not too convincing. I would personally rather hear "we really don't have more than 1 or two spots to fill and we had a few people that were just better than you." That's a little easier to understand!

  13. The whole process has really jaded my view of McKinsey.

  14. I can understand that sentiment, although you have to realize going into the process that McKinsey is a business and it is their job to do the best for themselves. They have a brand image to maintain and HBS,Wharton,Sloan people help maintain that brand, although I'm sure no one freely admits that is true.

    I have a feeling that they interview way more people than they would be necessary for their hiring needs to give some illusion that business is REALLY good and that they are still growing, even if that isn't the case.

    No matter who they hire, they will get great people who will work hard and do the job they are asked to do...if it isn't us, it will be someone else. Regardless, McKinsey will get what they need and not look back...they only care about results and that is what they will get.

  15. I read somewhere that the passing rates for 1st, 2nd and 3rd round are usually 50%, 10-20%, and 20-30%. So far I think these are about right. Many big companies interview way more candidates than they need because they can afford so, and statistically speaking, they will end up with very good people. I haven't heard back although I suspect it'll be bad news. But I actually don't really have a bad feeling against McKinsey. From the interaction with my McK buddy and another consultant from the break out session, I feel these consultants are genuinely nice people, and were very helpful. The three consultants I interviewed with were also nice people and shared a lot of insights. Of course this long waiting time is torturing, and we all hope to get better feedback. But giving feedback isn't always easy, especially when the competition is tough, it's not that you are not good, you are just not good enough. And you can't always expect to get very specific criticism.

    As for the claim that APD is only a class filler, I don't think it's true and I don't think it's fair. In fact, McKinsey was the first consulting firm to start serious APD recruiting and way more friendly to APD than most of other consulting firms. School names are of course important for consulting firms, because their clients like this. Let's face it, the reason most of us can get the first round invitation is because of the name of our schools. From what I heard, in the final round they usually treat MBA and APD very similarly. After all, school names, MBA or not are more important for the first few rounds, after that, you just have to be doing better then all your competitors.

    Again, I'm anxious to know the result, but I don't really feel this process "jaded my view of McKinsey"

  16. Wow CC. Be careful, it sounds like you've really bought in. Remember, when the ask you to drink the red kool-aid, you should probably pass on that one.

    I am disappointed in the way the McK thing turned out. After further reflection though I realize McK has their systems and their procedures. What they are looking for are very good people. There are way more very good people than McK needs, therefore McK does not need to worry about false negatives or low yield in their recruiting. Great people do not do well or last very long at McK (I have some notable examples from the Cambridge, MA community).

    The problem that McK runs into is that when they pass on someone great and create this sense of jadedness with the great person, it will hurt McK in the long run. McK would be much better off if they were transparent. Great people are going to be highly successful with or without McK, but this animosity will prevent great people from hiring McK in the future.

    Will McK go bankrupt? Doubtful. However, McK is only as good as the clients who hire them. I think McK would better off if they were a little more candid about the whole recruitment process.

  17. I agree with 9:15-I believe that I would hire another company other than McKinsey after having gone throught the process. Having had gone through other interviews and received rejections, I don't have the same negative impression of those companies-at least they were honest in their feedback.

    I like to abide by the "do right by others" philosophy and I'm not sure that has come across clearly from McKinsey during this process.

  18. Maybe not so much McK bashing until the dust has settled and everyone has calmed down a little bit!

  19. I have to say, I interviewed with McK last year, and got to the 2nd round, and was rejected. I was pretty bummed about it -- but I thought that at every stage, they were courteous and friendly, and in the 2nd round interviews, they were actually interested in me and liked talking about business. I learned something from talking to them, and I wanted to know more about this company.

    Sure, you may be bitter/jaded because you got rejected, but they certainly treat applicants better than most companies. You cannot try to read into their rejection of you that they're "snotty". What could you do if 10,000 people applied to a job you posted, and you could only take 10 people? And they call you snotty/elitist? Does that seem fair to judge them by?

    If you hold a grudge against them, you'd better feel the same about many more companies, because they are pretty nice to you throughout the process.

  20. I have dealt and spoken with many McKinsey consultants as well as HR folks over a couple of years. I have to say that I have found them, without exception to be very grounded and courteous. There is none of the arrogance and smugness that you get from investment bankers or such.

    Also, the professionalism with which they manage their recruitment process is also unparalleled. That's why it's all the more galling that they are taking so long to get back after second rounds - this is atypical for McKinsey.

  21. OK, got my rejection call last evening. The feedback was extremely short - "...were looking for more business judgement...consistency..".
    Still can't understand why it took them 10 days to get back.
    Anyways, glad to have this behind me.

  22. got the rejection this morning. the feedback is very short, but I do think they pointed out my problems. solid structure, for the quant, need more sophisticated interpretation, and PEI, less specific detail and more what I did.

    It's disappointing, but it is what it is.

  23. Sorry to good news from anyone for quite some time now.

  24. No new posts for sometime now .. where is everyone .. McK is not end of the world ..

  25. McK is not the end of the world, but it's more or less the end of the recruiting season.

  26. I think they wanted you to remove it because they are still interviewing for positions, the final deadline for the US was 12/6. I know someone who is doing their second round next week.

  27. Talent is everywhere. Not only in Mckinsey, although it is a great company...

    My idea is that they eventually reject great people due to
    - different fit
    - "marketing purposes"....

    The whole process is very "pull-marketing" based

    1) every mba "knows" mckinsey is the "best"
    2) they interview you. they desperately try to find "mistakes"... (they want you to find the answer in 30 minutes, while they needed 3+months)
    3) eventually they will hire (among equal)
    - the most "sellable" material (ivey league, top 1% of class, applicants with "connections" etc.)
    - some talents that completely blew them out
    - and the rest great people will be rejected... and when they advance in other industries they will always remember the "rejection" from the super company. So when they deal with a problem, they will instinctively ask for mckinsey (top-of-mind perception...)

    the same applies for the up-or-out policy

    what kind of company
    - wants to hire the best
    - train them for 1-2 years
    - and then throw them out?

    It is simply not logical...
    since MC loses experience, "ready consultants" and has to spent time and money to find new ones so that they can throw them out in 3 years...

    So apart from doing business this is also a marketing action...

    p.s. Cases do not have anything to do with the real cases.

    they usually present the sexy ones as cases... the real work can vary significantly depending on industry etc...

    However if you want to "see the world as it is" consulting is the way to go...

    pick the 5-10 best consultancies and just accept the offer. It does not matter if it is not MC, BCG etc as long as it is respectable.

    especially if you are really good maybe you are better of in No 5 or No 6 because
    - all consulting companies have sexy projects and non-sexy projects
    - if you are at Mckinsey you will compete for the sexy ones with all other associates
    - if you are in No 5-8 the fees will be lower so they will have to pick the best for the assignment, so that the project finishes on time and with good results...

    So if you are good you will be better off in less prestigious companies as well. You will have less competition, you will learn more, and you will be more safe

    Of course if you think consulting as a steping stone in your career the most prestigious the company you are in, the better you are