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- The latest salaries report from Management Consulted, a consulting careers resource website, showed that McKinsey’s hires with MBAs and PhDs make a base salary of $165,000.
- The consulting firm is working to diversify their applicant pool and bring in more hires from non-Ivy League schools.
- Business Insider spoke with two McKinsey recruitment directors on how to nail the interview and score a spot at the company.
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Top management consulting firm McKinsey & Company offers some of the highest-paying salaries for recent grads. But it’s hard to land a coveted six-figure role at the firm.
According to the latest salaries report from Management Consulted, a careers resource website catered to job seekers in the consulting field, McKinsey’s MBA and PhD hires make a base salary of $165,000 — and that’s not including the $35,000 performance bonus for all employees, and the 50% MBA tuition reimbursement for returning interns.
It’s no surprise that management consultants are getting paid six figures from get-go. It’s been that way for years. However, the report noted an emerging trend that serves as good news for those who might not have an Ivy League degree: Consulting firms are increasing recruitment from non-target schools — this means they’re steering away from relying on Ivy League universities like Harvard for hires. In fact, these companies are holding up to 20% of their recruitment slots for those with non-target backgrounds, according to the report.
McKinsey, for example, hired about 8,000 people out of an applicant pool of 800,000 in 2018. Those employees were recruited from 325 different schools around the world, the company shared.
Business Insider recently spoke with Kerry Casey, McKinsey’s director of recruitment in the North American region and Caitlin Storhaug, McKinsey’s global director of recruitment marketing and communications.
The two experts shared insights on how to nail an interview with the company.
When it comes to the case exercise: Don’t wing it
Every McKinsey interview follows a standardized process that is broken down into two components. Prospective candidates are asked to complete a personal experience interview and a case study exercise.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re interviewing from San Francisco, New York City, or Shanghai — the interview process is standard,” Storhaug said. “There aren’t harder or easier countries for you to get in.”
Every business school graduate is probably familiar with case studies. Harvard Business School (HBS) developed the case method teaching practice, where students are required to read up to 500 cases during their two-year program. Other MBA schools also adopted this strategy to prepare students for tackling real-world businesses problems.
McKinsey’s case interviews, in particular, take about 25 to 30 minutes, and it’s an opportunity for candidates to showcase how they approach problem solving and think on their feet, Casey explained. When you’re tackling a case exercise, focus on how you would go about solving the client problem and not what you think the recruiters want to see in your responses.
The company provided a case exercise sample and encouraged applicants to practice so that they know the exact format and the type of answers the recruiters look for.
When you’re prepping for an interview with the firm, keep those samples in mind, Storhaug added.
Emphasize on your soft skills
One of the most common mistakes that McKinsey’s applicants make is that they focus too much on acing case exercises that they fail to really prepare for the personal interview, Casey explained in an email to Business Insider.
“I encourage them to focus also on what are often referred to as soft skills — their aptitude for collaboration, team work, empathy, and leading others,” she wrote. “In the long run, those are the qualities that make for success.”
Apart from those technical skills, a management consulting job requires collaborative and relationship-building skills. Ultimately, you can’t get to the problem-solving component if you don’t have a track record of working well with others.
Additionally, Casey added that the personal experience interview doesn’t have to be as formal as one might expect. In fact, she wrote that the best interviews are actually conversations rather than strictly planned questions.
This second round is your opportunity to show your attributes beyond your résumé. What are some skills you’re hoping to develop with this job? What are your own professional goals in five years?
Casey recommends sharing your own career aspirations. That way, it shows that you know what you want.
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Talk about your technical skills if you have them
Technical skills are in high demand, and it’s beneficial to have employees who understand how tech can impact clients.
“While not everyone is a tech-focused consultant, of course, we see tech and digital skills being more necessary as we grow and expand into new areas,” Casey wrote. “We appreciate candidates who may have expanded their knowledge to include coding, programming and other tech aspects.”
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