Preparing for McKinsey, BCG or Bain interviews

Updated: Jun 16, 2020

So you just applied or have an interview already scheduled. What now? Well this article is for you...


There is a ton of resources out there to read about interview preparation. Forums, blogs, books, it is easy to get lost and feel overwhelmed. And that is why we are centralizing all the information you need on to prepare in one place!

There are really only 3 sources you need to read, so no need to browse for hours:

1. The website of the firm you are applying to, and in particular the recruitment section. Below are the links for a few top consulting firms. Of course, there is a lot of overlap, so don’t create confusion for yourself and only read about the firms you are applying to:

- McKinsey


- Bain

- Deloitte

- Accenture Case and Accenture Skills interviews

McKinsey case interviews are slightly different from Bain and BCG interview style. McKinsey is interview-led (they ask a question, you answer) while Bain and BCG are interviewee-led (you lead the case solving). Make sure to practice the right style!

2. The ZeroToMBB book of course! It explains everything from how to apply, creating your resume and cover letter, preparing for case interviews, experience interviews with loads of examples, practices cases and frameworks!

Pre-write and rehearse

While it is impossible to anticipate which case you will get, there are some other parts of the interviews that you can actually prepare, which will save you a lot of stress, improve the quality of your answers, and ultimately give you a valuable edge:

1. Your elevator pitch: 2-3mn maximum. Keep it simple by answering the following questions:

a. Which roles and skills have you taken on/developed in the last 5 years?

b. Why did you choose such role/skills? Consultants love passionate people!

c. Why is now a good time to join management consulting + this particular company + this particular location?

Example: my name is Richard, I am currently a MBA candidate at school SchoolBiz. After working for company TechCorp for 4 years, and focusing on R&D projects and product conformity, I had gained many technical and team management skills but was also curious about more general business skills. I therefore decided to do my MBA and what I really liked about this experience was X, Y Z. Besides work, I am also passionate about photography and dedicate a lot of time to it. Beside getting a lot of joy from doing it, I also think it has helped me develop an attention to details and patience, both aspects being very useful in my professional life. I am now looking to join management consulting at McKinsey in London because I want to broaden my horizon in business, especially in the financial sector and in marketing&sales, which I know is a big part of the work locally. I am also pretty excited about the quality of the people at this company based on my interactions with your colleagues.

2. Your personal experience stories. Click here to learn more about how to prepare for this.

3. Questions for the consultant. At the end of the interview, you usually have time to ask 1-2 questions to the consultant. I recommend that you prepare them in advance to save you some stress. Just keep in mind that they need to be targeted because you will usually only have 2-3mn left at the end of the interview. Avoid “what projects have you done so far?” or “what do you like and dislike about consulting?”. Instead, focus on something you really want to know, and that is not available online easily.

Examples: “What is the thing you like the most about this company?”, “How much coaching do you get as a new-joiner?”, “What level of autonomy do you have on a project?”, “How much exposure to senior executive have you had so far?”, “what is the most impactful project you have done so far?”