In this post I will consolidate some of my learnings from the McKinsey sessions over the last weekend. Others are welcome to post their comments and inputs!
Case Prep: These sessions brought in tremendous clarity about the over all process.
The case interview should be an interaction of peers. Specifically, an interaction between a CEO and a consultant.
The case interview should consist of the following four phases:
1. Problem Definition: In this phase the interviewee should ask probing questions to get to the heart of the problem. Avoid the temptation to jump right into the solution as you will miss out on two things - firstly, the interviewee might completely miss the problem and secondly, interviewee will not be able to build a rapport with the interviewer. *An important point to note here is to clarify the constraints. Some constraints could be - need to implement the solution in the next fifteen days*
2. Issue Analysis: In this phase the interviewee should analyze the problem from different angles and identify a set of issues. Later s/he should prioritize them in consultation with the interviewer
3. Creative Problem Solving: In this phase the interviewee is expected to come up with creative solutions to the problems identified during the issue analysis
4. Synthesis: In this phase the interviewee should synthesize the case (and NOT summarize) and then give recommendations
Evaluation Criteria: The interviewee is being judged of the following parameters:
1. Powerful communication: Be confident, clear and crisp in your communication
2. Presence: Your posturing and body language will create a big impact - positive or negative - on the interviewer
3. Clarity of thought: be crystal clear in your thinking
4. Creativity: think practically but creatively. There are two ways to do this - either apply an idea across domains or come up with a blinding fresh insight about the current domain
5. Exhaustive Issue Analysis: Be structured and thorough in your analysis
6. Prioritization: Prioritize the issues and manage them in a coherent manner
The key question that the interviewer asks her/himself is "can I put this candidate in front of the client alone for half an hour?" Only if the answer is affirmative will you proceed to the next round.
Behavior Questions: Be confident about who you are and know what you stand for. Above all, be honest because that is in the interest of both the interviewee and the recruiter.
The campus is abuzz with discussions about the McK attack. Looking forward to many such attacks in the coming days... I leave you with a few comments from people who attended the sessions...
"It was a really good session and I think getting guys like Nigel at this critical point would provide a good boost to our preparations. Overall the session was great and very personal and I thank the Mckinsey team for being so friendly in helping us prepare. I appreciate their energy to bear with us till so late in the night ….actually it is their fault because they made the session Thanks to the consulting club forso interesting that no body wanted to leave organizing this. "
"It was really a very helpful session for the likes of me who have yet to start any prep. The whole process was very involving and interesting that kept us awake until very late at night. I really enjoyed the key takeaways and the methodology used. I would like to thank you consulting club guys, and the McKinsey team for taking such an effort to help us out."
"Major take-aways for me:
1. Difference between "problem restatement" and "problem identification"
2. Structure of the analysis
3. Difference between case-summary and case-synthesis
4. Contents of a constructive feedback during mock case-interviews"