If you are a current or prospective MBA student aiming to break into McKinsey, listen up!
First year MBA candidates at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business – a known McKinsey target school – have been notified that McKinsey will send out interview invites for the firm’s Summer Associate internship on November 17th – just days after the November 13th application deadline.
Let’s break down why this is important and what you can do to ensure you are on McKinsey’s invite list.
Why MBA Candidates Need to Pay Attention
The application deadline for the McKinsey Summer Associate Intern role for Darden School of Business first-years is November 13th, yet the firm has already notified students that interview invites will be coming out on November 17th. If you’re paying attention, that’s a mere 4-day window from when applications close.
This means that McKinsey already has a very good idea of which students it wants to interview. The firm has identified top candidates over the past several months through its pre-MBA program, campus recruiting events, one-on-one candidate-initiated networking, and diversity recruiting programs.
We expect that McKinsey will take this approach with its other target schools as well, not just Darden. If you are in an MBA program, check with your recruiting portal (i.e., Handshake) to identify your specific deadline. This year, your deadline will be between November 13 and November 29, 2023.
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McKinsey Applicants Will Interview on January 4th, 2024
After publication of this article, Management Consulted learned that selected MBA candidates for McKinsey will have interviews on January 4th, 2024. While the firm did not confirm the format for these interviews, we expect the interviews to be held in the form of a Super Day, with multiple virtual interviews scheduled throughout the day. As is standard, interviews will be combination of case and behavioral interviews.
In addition, McKinsey will extend offers to successful interviewees by January 17th at the latest when the firm will hold a celebration for offerees.
All of this means it’s high time to start your interview prep. Not sure where to start? Get our best prep tips here.
Increasing Your Odds of Receiving an Interview Invite
So, how do you get your name on McKinsey’s interview invite list? Or any consulting firm, for that matter?
It starts with knowing that the journey to landing a consulting offer involves a lot more than simply submitting a resume and cover letter.
Consulting firms want to identify top talent as early as possible. Many top firms, including McKinsey, Bain, and BCG, have introduced early recruiting pathways allowing candidates to engage with the firm up to a year in advance of even starting their MBA.
These pathways, in addition to networking, are crucial to getting your name in front of McKinsey.
Below are the 4 primary avenues to getting in front of your target firms.
- Network, network, network: This is first on the list because it’s the most important – and most neglected. 3+ months before you plan to apply, you want to reach out to professionals at the consulting firm for informational interviews. Making a good impression during these conversations, whether it be during a coffee chat, phone call, or Zoom meeting, will go a long way to securing an interview with a firm like McKinsey. Don’t forget to close with an ask for a referral!
- Pre-MBA programs: Top consulting firms offer summer pre-MBA programs for incoming first-year MBAs. McKinsey’s pre-MBA program is called Early Access, providing students the chance to connect with professionals at the firm and gain the inside scoop on career opportunities. If you have the opportunity to engage with a pre-MBA program, we strongly encourage you to apply.
- Diversity recruiting pathways: If you align with a diversity channel, there are opportunities for you to get involved during the recruitment process. These programs will act as an additional point of access to the firm, giving you a leg up! The best place to start is networking with members of the firm’s current diversity groups.
- Recruiting events: Top consulting firms host recruiting events for students at target schools – whether in-person or virtual – that you can attend for free. Check your program’s recruiting portal for upcoming events.
Proactivity is the name of the game for getting in front of a firm like McKinsey. Build a recruiting strategy and stick to it and your odds of success will skyrocket versus employing procrastination or a “just wing it” attitude.
If you would like expert help developing a strong recruiting strategy (i.e., networking, application, interview prep), we’d love to help. Sign up for Black Belt for a guided, structured consulting program led by our MBB team of expert coaches. 80% of Black Belts receive at least 1 offer – 80%!