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Understanding the McKinsey Interview: What Percentage of People Get Interviews at McKinsey?

Published on January 8, 2024 | by - High Bridge Academy

Understanding the McKinsey Interview: What Percentage of People Get Interviews at McKinsey?

If you’re considering applying to McKinsey, one of the top consulting firms in the world, it’s essential to understand your chances of securing an interview.

McKinsey is known for its rigorous recruitment process, and this article will provide insight into the odds of getting an interview at McKinsey and help you gauge your own chances of success.

Understanding the McKinsey Recruitment Process

The McKinsey recruitment process is multifaceted and highly competitive. This section will delve into the different stages of the process, including resume and cover letter screening, the McKinsey Problem Solving Test, the digital assessment, and the round interviews. Understanding each step of the process will give you a comprehensive view of what to expect and how to prepare.

The Intense Resume and Cover Letter Screening

The initial screening stage involves a thorough review of your resume and cover letter. McKinsey receives a massive number of applications, so it’s crucial to make your application stand out. 

Recruiters look for specific qualities and experiences that align with the firm’s values and requirements. 

To optimize your chances, tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight relevant skills, accomplishments, and experiences that demonstrate your fit for McKinsey.

Problem Solving Game

The McKinsey Problem Solving Game, variously known as McKinsey Imbellus, McKinsey Digital Assessment, and Solve, has superseded the previous McKinsey Problem Solving Test (PST) in the recruitment process. 

This gamified assessment comprises two segments, each lasting a total of 70 minutes. It is designed to evaluate candidates across five critical cognitive skills.

Only those who successfully navigate this phase are invited to proceed to the subsequent stage of the recruitment process, which involves case interviews.

Key Cognitive Skills Assessed in the PSG:

The PSG is crafted to assess a candidate’s consulting capabilities and compare their proficiency with that of an actual McKinsey consultant. 

Candidates who demonstrate equal or superior skills in comparison to a standard McKinsey consultant are likely to pass the assessment. The PSG focuses on evaluating the following cognitive abilities:

  • Critical Thinking: Assessing the capacity to dissect complex problems into manageable segments for effective resolution.
  • Decision-Making Process: Testing the ability to absorb and process extensive information rapidly to make optimal decisions under time constraints.
  • Meta-Cognition: Evaluating the awareness and control over one’s cognitive processes and the ability to refine them.
  • Situational Awareness: Measuring the capability to simultaneously manage and track multiple tasks or activities.
  • Systems Thinking: Gauging the ability to discern root causes of issues and identify viable solutions.

As of 2023, the McKinsey Problem Solving Game is a standard component of the application process for nearly all candidates applying to various McKinsey offices, effectively replacing the previously used PST.

Breaking Down the Round Interviews

The final stage of the McKinsey recruitment process consists of round interviews. 

These interviews are typically conducted by McKinsey consultants and partners and involve case interviews to evaluate your problem-solving abilities, as well as behavioral and personal experience questions to assess your fit with the firm’s culture. 

Each interview round may have a different format and level of intensity, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the expectations and practice effectively for each stage.

Resume and Cover Letter ScreeningThorough review of your application materials by recruiters to assess your qualifications and fit
McKinsey Problem Solving GameA comprehensive assessment tool designed to evaluate critical thinking, decision-making, meta-cognition, situational awareness, and systems thinking skills through interactive and scenario-based challenges.
Digital AssessmentEvaluation of your cognitive abilities and potential fit with the company through interactive tasks
Round InterviewsMultiple interviews with McKinsey consultants and partners, including case interviews and behavioral/personal experience questions

What Percentage of People Get Interviews At McKinsey

While the exact percentage varies depending on several factors, such as office location and role competitiveness, it is estimated that around 10-15% of applicants are invited to interview at McKinsey. 

A Closer Look at McKinsey’s Interview Acceptance Rate

While it’s difficult to provide an exact acceptance rate for McKinsey job offers, it is estimated to be around 1-2% of applicants. 

However, the acceptance rate can vary significantly based on individual performance and the specific office and role being applied for. 

Navigating the Competitive Landscape of Consulting Recruitment

McKinsey is renowned for its rigorous recruitment process, but it’s important to remember that they are not the only consulting firm vying for the best candidates. 

In this section, we will explore the broader landscape of consulting recruitment, including other top-tier firms like BCG and Bain. 

We will also examine the role of top-tier universities in McKinsey’s recruitment strategy and how they recruit beyond their target schools.

The Role of Top-tier Universities in McKinsey Recruitment

Top-tier universities often serve as key feeder schools for consulting firms like McKinsey. Attending a prestigious university can increase your chances of getting an interview and a job offer from McKinsey. 

These universities have a reputation for producing high-achieving graduates with strong analytical and problem-solving skills, which are highly valued in the consulting industry. 

McKinsey actively recruits from these top schools to ensure a continuous pipeline of talented individuals.

Diversified Seeking: McKinsey’s Outreach Beyond Target Schools

While McKinsey focuses on recruiting from top-tier universities, they also recognize the importance of diversity and the value of talent from non-traditional sources. 

McKinsey has implemented outreach programs and initiatives to attract candidates from a diverse range of universities and backgrounds. 

This broader recruitment strategy enables McKinsey to tap into a wider pool of talent, bringing new perspectives and fresh ideas to their teams. 

It also provides opportunities for individuals who may not have attended top-tier universities but possess the skills and potential to excel in consulting.

MckinseyRecruiting Approach
Target SchoolsMcKinsey actively recruits from top-tier universities, which are considered target schools.
Diverse RecruitmentMcKinsey also seeks talent from a diverse range of universities and backgrounds.
Outreach ProgramsMcKinsey has implemented outreach programs to attract candidates from non-traditional sources.

Gauging the Weight of Professional Experience on Your Chances

Your professional experience is a crucial factor in determining your chances of securing an interview at McKinsey. 

The firm values candidates with diverse and prestigious work backgrounds, as it demonstrates your ability to thrive in high-pressure environments and tackle complex business challenges.

Valuing Brand Name Experience

Having previous work experience at renowned companies can significantly enhance your profile and increase your chances of standing out to McKinsey recruiters. 

Brand name experience showcases your ability to thrive in competitive and demanding environments, providing valuable insights and skills that align with McKinsey’s client-oriented approach.

When highlighting your brand name experience in your application, focus on the impact you made during your time at these companies. 

Emphasize the challenging projects you were part of, the valuable skills you developed, and any notable achievements that demonstrate your ability to deliver exceptional results. This will help showcase the relevance and significance of your brand name experience to McKinsey recruiters.

Demonstrating Analytical and Leadership Skills

Analytical and leadership skills are highly valued at McKinsey, as they are essential for solving complex business problems and driving impactful change. Therefore, it’s crucial to showcase these skills throughout your application and interview process.

In your resume and cover letter, highlight specific examples where you successfully applied analytical thinking to solve business challenges. 

Discuss projects that required you to analyze data, make informed decisions, and provide strategic recommendations. Additionally, emphasize instances where you demonstrated leadership qualities, such as leading teams, managing stakeholders, or driving initiatives to successful outcomes.

During the interview process, be prepared to provide detailed examples of your analytical and leadership skills. 

Practice articulating how you approach problem-solving, how you analyze data to derive insights, and how you lead and motivate individuals or teams to achieve objectives. Demonstrating these skills will show McKinsey recruiters that you possess the qualities they seek in potential consultants.

In summary, your professional experience plays a significant role in your chances of securing an interview at McKinsey. Brand name experience enhances your profile, demonstrating your ability to thrive in competitive environments. 

Additionally, showcasing your analytical and leadership skills throughout the application and interview process will further increase your chances of success.

How to Network Effectively for a McKinsey Referral

Networking can be a powerful tool in securing a McKinsey referral, greatly enhancing your chances of getting an interview. 

This section will provide guidance on how to network effectively, including leveraging alumni and professional networks. 

It will also offer tips for approaching and engaging with McKinsey insiders to increase your chances of receiving a referral.

Utilizing Alumni and Professional Networks

Leveraging alumni and professional networks can provide valuable connections and insights in your pursuit of a McKinsey referral. 

By tapping into these networks, you can access individuals who have firsthand experience with McKinsey and can offer advice and potentially refer you. 

Here are some strategies for effectively utilizing alumni and professional networks:

  • Join relevant industry and professional organizations to expand your network.
  • Attend networking events, conferences, and webinars where you can meet McKinsey alumni and professionals.
  • Utilize online platforms like LinkedIn to connect with individuals who have a connection to McKinsey.
  • Attend alumni events or reach out to alumni directly to seek guidance and potentially request a referral.

The Right Approach to Networking with McKinsey Insiders

Building relationships with McKinsey insiders requires a thoughtful and strategic approach. Here are some tips and best practices for networking with McKinsey professionals:

  • Do your research: Before reaching out to a McKinsey insider, familiarize yourself with their background and current work. This will help you tailor your conversation and establish a meaningful connection.
  • Make a positive impression: When networking with McKinsey professionals, be genuine, enthusiastic, and respectful. Show interest in their work and contributions.
  • Engage in meaningful conversations: Ask thoughtful questions and actively listen to the insights and experiences shared by McKinsey insiders. Demonstrate your eagerness to learn and grow.
  • Offer value: Networking is a two-way street. Look for ways you can provide value to the McKinsey insider, whether it’s sharing industry insights, connecting them with relevant contacts, or offering your expertise.
  • Follow up and stay connected: After networking with a McKinsey insider, send a personalized follow-up message expressing your gratitude and reiterating your interest in a referral. Maintain regular contact through occasional updates or sharing relevant articles.
Benefits of Networking for a McKinsey ReferralStrategies for Effective Networking
Access to valuable connections and insightsJoin relevant industry and professional organizations
Potential referrals by alumni and professionalsAttend networking events and conferences
Opportunity to expand your professional networkUtilize online platforms like LinkedIn
Insider perspective on McKinsey’s culture and expectationsAttend alumni events and reach out directly to alumni

First-Round vs. Final-Round Interviews at McKinsey

The McKinsey interview process consists of multiple rounds, including first-round and final-round interviews. 

These two stages have different formats, expectations, and levels of rigor, so it’s essential to understand the distinctions between them to prepare effectively and navigate each stage with confidence.

Varied Formats and Expectations

During the first-round interviews at McKinsey, candidates can expect a mix of case interviews, behavioral questions, and personal experience interviews. 

The purpose of the first-round is to assess your problem-solving skills, communication ability, and fit with the firm’s culture. 

The format allows interviewers to gain a holistic understanding of your qualifications and potential.

In contrast, final-round interviews at McKinsey are more extensive and demanding. They typically involve intensified case studies and assessments to evaluate your analytical prowess and problem-solving capabilities. 

The scrutiny on candidates increases during this stage, as interviewers are looking for exceptional qualities and potential for growth.

The Increased Rigor of Final-Round Interviews

The final-round interviews at McKinsey are designed to thoroughly test your skills and suitability for a consulting role. 

The case studies presented during this stage are typically more complex and challenging, requiring advanced problem-solving techniques and in-depth analysis.

The interviewers in the final round will assess your ability to think critically, handle ambiguity, and demonstrate strong business acumen. They will also evaluate your communication and presentation skills, as well as your overall fit with the firm’s values and working style.

Preparing for final-round interviews requires extensive practice, refining your case-solving approach, and mastering the art of clear and concise communication under pressure. 

It’s important to showcase your ability to handle complex business challenges and present well-structured and logical solutions.

First-Round InterviewsFinal-Round Interviews
Case interviews, behavioral questions, personal experience interviewsIntensified case studies
Assess problem-solving skills, communication ability, and fitEvaluate analytical prowess, problem-solving capabilities, and fit
Opportunity to demonstrate qualifications and potentialThoroughly test skills and suitability for consulting
Prepare for a variety of interview formatsPractice advanced problem-solving techniques

Maximizing Your Application’s Impact

Your application plays a vital role in securing an interview at McKinsey. To optimize your chances of standing out in the recruitment process, it is crucial to craft an outstanding consulting resume and write a cover letter that captures the attention of recruiters.

Crafting an Outstanding Consulting Resume

Your consulting resume is the first impression you make on McKinsey recruiters. To make it impactful, follow these tips:

  1. Highlight your qualifications and achievements prominently.
  2. Use a clean and professional resume format.
  3. Include relevant work experience, emphasizing your achievements and impact.
  4. Showcase your skills, such as leadership, problem-solving, and analytical abilities.
  5. Quantify your accomplishments with measurable results.
  6. Tailor your resume to align with McKinsey’s expectations and values.

An outstanding consulting resume will effectively showcase your skills, experiences, and accomplishments, setting you apart from other applicants.

Writing a Cover Letter That Stands Out

Your cover letter provides an opportunity to demonstrate your motivation and fit for McKinsey. Follow these tips to make it stand out:

  1. Structure your cover letter in a professional and compelling manner.
  2. Begin with a captivating opening that grabs the recruiter’s attention.
  3. Highlight specific experiences and achievements that demonstrate your passion for consulting.
  4. Showcase your research on McKinsey and customize your letter accordingly.
  5. Emphasize why you believe you are a strong fit for the firm.
  6. Use concise and impactful language to effectively convey your message.

A well-crafted cover letter tailored to McKinsey’s expectations will help you make a memorable impression and increase your chances of securing an interview.


In conclusion, the McKinsey interview process is highly selective, with only an estimated 10-15% of applicants receiving an invitation for an interview. This competitive landscape underscores the necessity of thorough preparation and a deep understanding of the recruitment process.

This article has explored the critical elements of McKinsey’s interview stages, including intensive resume and cover letter screenings, the McKinsey Problem Solving Test, digital assessments, and various interview rounds. Understanding and preparing for each of these stages is crucial in enhancing your chances of success.

To stand out in this competitive field, it’s important to leverage your professional experience, demonstrate your analytical and leadership skills, and engage in effective networking for referrals. Crafting an impressive consulting resume and cover letter, preparing for the McKinsey Problem Solving Test, practicing for interviews (High Bridge Academy can help here), and networking with McKinsey professionals are key steps in this journey.

By approaching the McKinsey recruitment process with confidence, determination, and a well-rounded preparation strategy, you increase your likelihood of not just securing an interview but also receiving an offer from one of the most prestigious consulting firms in the world.


What are the chances of getting an interview at McKinsey?

While the exact percentage varies, it is estimated that around 10-15% of applicants are invited to interview at McKinsey.

What is the acceptance rate for job offers at McKinsey?

The acceptance rate for job offers at McKinsey is estimated to be around 1-2% of applicants.

What factors influence the likelihood of receiving a job offer at McKinsey?

The competitiveness of the specific office and role being applied for, as well as individual performance during the interviews, can influence the likelihood of receiving a job offer at McKinsey.

What percentage of candidates who reach the interview stage receive a job offer from McKinsey?

It is estimated that around 10% of candidates who reach the interview stage receive a job offer from McKinsey.

How does McKinsey’s interview acceptance rate compare to other top-tier consulting firms?

McKinsey’s interview acceptance rate is similar to other top-tier consulting firms, such as BCG and Bain.

Do top-tier universities play a role in McKinsey’s recruitment process?

Yes, top-tier universities often act as feeder schools for McKinsey, but the firm also actively seeks talent from a diverse range of universities and backgrounds.

Does professional experience at prestigious companies increase the chances of getting an interview and job offer at McKinsey?

Yes, previous work experience at prestigious companies can enhance your profile and increase your chances of getting noticed by McKinsey recruiters.

How can networking help in securing a McKinsey referral?

Networking can be a powerful tool in securing a McKinsey referral, which can greatly enhance your chances of getting an interview. Building relationships with McKinsey alumni and professionals can provide valuable connections and insights.

Are there different formats and expectations for first-round and final-round interviews at McKinsey?

Yes, first-round and final-round interviews at McKinsey may have different formats and expectations. Final-round interviews are typically more rigorous and demanding.

How can I craft an outstanding consulting resume and cover letter for McKinsey?

Crafting an outstanding consulting resume involves highlighting your qualifications and achievements, while a compelling cover letter should showcase your motivation and fit for McKinsey.


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