What not to do in a McKinsey case interview, Part I

Me: Our client is a petting zoo that has lost revenue because of repeated animal attacks on children. Our client hired your team to help them turn around this problem. What should they do?

Interviewee: Can I have 60 seconds to collect my thoughts?

Me: Sure, go ahead.

Interviewee: I look at this problem as having FOUR parts, the Company, the Customer, the Competition, and the Market as a whole. Let me talk you through my issue tree.

DING. Failure. Completely wrong answer. For the rest of the case I will be thinking about whether I should join a new tribe on World of Warcraft or stick with my current group of clowns, even if we can't seem to do anything beyond attack each other.


At this point, 90 seconds into the interview (assuming we started with the case) I know that this candidate is NOT getting an offer. The rest of the interview is mostly meaningless.

It's possible this candidate can recover with an incredible personal experience study and a perfect job on the rest of the case but I have never seen a candidate recover from something like this.

And the kicker is probably 50% of candidates start their interview this way.

Tomorrow I'll explain WHY this is a disastrous case performance.

Also note that the majority of prep materials suggest that you should start a case like this.

That should tell you the value of that advice.

One more point - before taking advice from a case prep service in order to prepare for a McKinsey interview, always ask:

(1) Did the person giving this advice work for McKinsey?

(2) If yes, was the person interview trained? (Only happens ~1 year into being an associate)

(3) If yes, did the person do interviews?

If the answer to any of those questions is no, take the advice with a big grain of salt.