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How To Land A Job At McKinsey

·7 min read

McKinsey Engagement Meeting

For MBAs, McKinsey & Co. is one of the most sought-after consulting firms, with starting base salaries around $175,000. Adriana Crespo, McKinsey’s manager of recruiting operations, recently sat down with Fortune and offered insight into what the recruitment process is like for MBAs and what the firms seeks in recruits.


The recruitment process for summer internships at McKinsey typically starts in late September or early October.

“At that time, we go into presentations, panels, coffee chats, all the wonderful things that help the students get to know us—the day in the life, what it’s actually like to be a consultant, all those things,” Crespo says.

McKinsey will then start to familiarize students with the interview process.

“They get to meet the recruiters. They get to meet people from the offices. Then we start to move into the assessment phase where we start to talk about how interviews work and how casing works,” Crespo says. “The schools usually have consulting clubs that help prep them and tell them what it’s like to interview. You do have to prep for our interviews because there is a business case that is presented during the interviews.”

If students are offered an internship position, McKinsey will invite them to the office to learn more about what life is like at the firm.

“We’ll tell them about professional development,” Crespo says. “We’ll set up lunches for them and dinners and have a little fun—and show them more about what our culture is really like live and in-person.”


Crespo says the McKinsey interview focuses on applicants’ problem-solving abilities and personal experience. Both aspects, she says, are equally important to the role.

“If you are not hitting both, it’s just not going to happen,” she says. “We definitely want to give you a little bit more ‘at bats,’ in a sense. You not only have to have the analytical skills, but you have to have the people skills.”

Crespo is upfront about how difficult McKinsey’s interview process is and how much prep work it takes—comparing the process to that of prepping for a GMAT or other standardized tests.

“Take the time to prepare,” she says. “You have to put in the work—you really do. That goes for anybody at any school, regardless of resources. Run the cases, and use your friends at first. When you feel secure with practicing with those folks, move on to practicing maybe with somebody at McKinsey, maybe a buddy, maybe somebody you’ve connected with. Run a practice case with them and then listen to the feedback. I’m not saying do 80 practice cases. I’ve heard of people doing that. Do it to the place where you get comfortable.”

Sources: Fortune, Management Consulted


Next Page: The Top HBCU MBA Programs

Graduates of HBCUs — historically Black colleges and universities — like Howard University in Washington, D.C. do not go on to MBA programs in great numbers, according to data from the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management. Howard photo

The Top HBCU MBA Programs

Historically black colleges and universities (HCBUs) are home to some of the best MBA programs in the nation. AnanUniversity, a college rankings site, recently highlighted the top six HBCU MBA programs based on US News’ 2023 Best Business Schools Rankings.


The US News ranking was compiled using three factors: quality assessment (40%), placement success (35%), and student selectivity (25%).

Quality assessment considers both a peer assessment score, which surveys B-school deans and directors, and recruiter assessment score, which surveys corporate recruiters and company contacts.

Placement success includes employment rates post-graduation, as well as mean starting salary and bonus for MBA grads.

Student selectivity takes into consideration three admissions indicators: mean GMAT/GRE scores, mean undergraduate GPA, and acceptance rate.

U.S. News ranked 134 business schools that provided enough data on their full-time MBA programs and had large enough 2021 graduating classes seeking employment.


Howard University’s MBA program came in at number one on AnanUniversity’s HCBU list, with North Carolina A&T State University and Clark Atlanta University coming in second and third, respectively.

“If you’re looking for an HBCU with MBA program, look no further than Howard University,” Mikel James, of AnanUniversity, says. “[The] Howard MBA program focuses on real-world experience and prepares its students to become tomorrow’s business leaders. In addition, the school’s close ties to the business community give students access to internships and job opportunities that they might not find at other schools.”

AnanUniversity highlights North Carolina A&T State University’s strong reputation, as well as accessible cost and flexible options for students.

“The program is very affordable, and students can complete their studies in two years,” James says. “Plus, the school offers a variety of concentration options, so students can tailor their education to their specific interests. Along with their high rankings, they also offer hands-on learning opportunities to help students prepare for jobs in management, marketing, and research fields after graduation.”

Clark Atlanta University, which came in third on the list, was noted for its extensive two-year MBA program, with a tight-knit class of about 160 students, and 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio.

“The small class size, easy access to professors, and a culture of support and cooperation among the students all contribute to the formation of a highly individualized learning environment that encourages engagement and participation,” James says. “The curriculum includes courses in accounting, finance, marketing, management, and strategy. Students can choose to specialize in one or more areas of business.”

Sources: AnanUniversity, US News

Next Page: Tips For Georgetown McDonough's 2022-2023 MBA Essays

Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business

Tips for Georgetown University’s 2022-2023 MBA Essays

At Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, a global mindset is built into the B-school’s mission and ethos. Georgetown University is home to one of the world’s top international affairs programs and McDonough ranks third for its international business program in U.S. News.

This year, McDonough reduced its MBA essay options from a choice of four prompts to a choice of three. Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting, recently delve into each essay option and offered tips on how applicants should approach their writing if they hope to appeal to the B-school’s core mission and international community.


The first essay option asks applicants the following:

Principled Leadership: Georgetown McDonough places a strong emphasis on principled leadership, providing both curricular and co-curricular opportunities to strengthen your leadership skills. Describe a time when you have led a team in a professional environment to implement a new idea or process. What leadership characteristics did you utilize? What could you have done to be more effective? And most importantly, what skills will you be able to bring to the teams you lead at McDonough?

This essay prompt requires thinking about your recent leadership experiences and highlighting lessons that you’ve learned in the process of leading others.

“Note that Georgetown is looking for ‘principled’ leadership,” Blackman says. “Further, Georgetown defines principled leaders as those who operate with a ‘clearly articulated set of principles and values.’ Therefore, defining your own set of principles and values in this essay will help you explain how you led the team. Georgetown wants to understand both what you did and how you did it.”


The second essay option asks applicants the following:

Hoyas for the Common Good: Georgetown McDonough embodies the ethos that people and organizations can and should contribute to the greater good. The admissions committee would like to better understand how you have demonstrated these values during uniquely challenging times. Describe a time where you have put the needs of others ahead of your own or ahead of the bottom line. We look forward to learning more about the challenge you faced, what unique characteristics you brought to that scenario, and what you learned from it.

Like essay option one, option two asks about leadership examples. The difference, Blackman says, is this essay requires context around challenges.

“Because many businesses put the bottom line first, you would be acting against that norm,” Blackman says. “Also, many professionals put their ambitions above the needs of others. If you acted from your principles, it might have been uncomfortable. So, you’ll want to explain how your actions were a challenge and why.”


The third essay option asks applicants the following:

The Georgetown Community. Georgetown McDonough is a diverse, global community. We look to understand the contribution that your personal background would make to our community. As appropriate, you may wish to address any obstacles or challenges you have overcome; any educational, familial, cultural, economic, and social experiences that have helped to shape your educational and professional goals; or how your background (e.g. first-generation student, resident outside the U.S.) or activities (e.g. community service and leadership) will contribute to our community.

The last essay option is all about diversity—and how you’ll add to the McDonough community.

“This option is a great choice if you would like the admissions committee to be aware of a unique aspect of your background,” Blackman says. “Also, note that the question has a broad definition of diversity. As a result, you can either describe challenges arising from your background or describe strengths.”

Blackman suggests approaching this essay by reflecting upon your personal life experiences.

“Has anything in your family, economic, cultural, or social experiences had an impact of any kind?” Blackman says. “Next, determine if the impact was a challenge or an opportunity for you. Now, describe that experience in this essay. Make sure you use detail and explain how you felt and behaved as a result.”

Sources: Stacy Blackman Consulting, P&Q

The post How To Land A Job At McKinsey appeared first on Poets&Quants.