CQ_Consultalks | Vasanta Majety | Mckinsey & Company

Vasanta Majety
Placed at Mckinsey

Interviewed By: Secretary

What was the general interview process for the companies you interviewed? Please mention the number of rounds and the nature of the interview process?

I went through the recruitment process of two firms — BCG and McKinsey. Both of them have slightly different processes. The process for Mckinsey and Dalberg starts with a test unlike that of BCG, post which there is a round of CV Shortlisting in all the consulting firms. This is followed by two sets of interview rounds. The first one is with Project Leaders or Associate Partners in the firm and the second one is usually with Partners. If we talk specifically about McKinsey, they usually release a shortlist of 15 to 20 students based on the CV of the applicants. The shortlisted students have to undergo a test which is a one-of-a-kind animated online simulation game and it is non-eliminatory. This is succeeded by two rounds of interviews in which one would usually interact with 2–3 different interviewers in each round.

Could you please list down questions were you asked in the different rounds? Puzzles, technical questions, any other discussion in general that you think will prove to be helpful for students.

Let’s start with the test. Until last year, McKinsey took a problem-solving test that checked the mental ability and basic math of the applicants, but this year they introduced a game which tests one’s planning, strategy and time management skills. After that, we had two rounds (or sets) of Interviews. The first set consisted of two interviews with an engagement manager and an associate partner of the firm. The second set consisted of three interviews with partners. Usually, every interview consists of two sections — Personal experience interview and a Case interview. In a personal experience interview, they try to learn your experiences, understand your personality and whether or not you will fit into the firm. For example, I was asked about any experience I had in conflict resolution, they asked about the challenges I faced in my internships and positions of responsibility, and so forth. In a case interview, they ask you to solve either a case study and/or a guesstimate. They ask you to solve it with them in a duration of 20 mins (typically) to test your structuring, critical thinking and strategizing skills.

What are the things students sitting for placements next year can do from now until December to maximize their chances of getting through a company in this sector?

I believe that you should prepare for both the sections of a typical interview that I described before. One is case studies and the other is personality experience. You should work towards developing a profile with “spikes”. For the Interview, it typically only takes 40 days of Preparation, so I recommend focusing less on the interview from early on and rather use that time in building a good profile. So, how to get shortlisted? You need to have a good Profile — PORs, internships, FT if possible, Competitions, Extracurriculars and most importantly, a good CGPA. Chances increase exponentially when it is more than 8 or 8.5. Good Internship further backs it up. If you don’t have a good internship then try to get a good FT during the break. You can participate in a lot of competitions, which is also a spike to have on your CV. Also, PORs help a lot in articulating answers in the personal experience interview. All being said, you need to have a wholesome profile or something extraordinary in your CV to distinguish yourself from the other applicants.

How did your preparation for technical rounds evolve once you were shortlisted?

There is not much time between rounds. I tried to keep my calm, not panic and stay confident. I tried to take feedback after every interview and learn from them. Once the shortlists started coming in, I ramped up the pace at which I did mock case interviews with my seniors. There are a lot of checks which interviewers look for - Communication Structuring Personality Mathematics Critical thinking Business Acumen One must ensure that they evaluate themselves on these skills, take good feedback from every mock interview, list down their mistakes after every case and go over them once every day.

Anything else that you’d want to share with the students?

First of all, be sure about the sector which you want to go to and what you want for your future. Then start by making a good CV and a cover letter. Approach as many seniors as possible and take suggestions on making your CV better. The CV should ideally focus on your strengths and what you want them to know about you. For preparation, the most important thing is having a good case group and Seniors and who can help you. While making a case group, be sure to make it with people who would be blatantly honest with you and share honest feedback, and are as enthusiastic as you. After a while (about 3 weeks of prep), it is good to start solving cases with seniors and other case groups. That will help you understand any mistakes that you are not aware of and in general boost your confidence. Students usually neglect the personal experience interview but please don’t take it casually. Practise for those questions too on a daily basis during your prep. Put forward your thoughts confidently and in a well-structured way. In the end, I would say that this preparation will never be a waste. It is definitely going to help you get better at your interview skills, improve your thought process and your communication. It will definitely go a long way, no matter the outcome.

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