McKinsey Insight Program

McKinsey Insight is built to attract top Advanced Degree candidates to life at McKinsey. What do we – and McKinsey – mean by Advanced Degree? If you are in a PhD, JD, or MD program, McKinsey is interested in you!

Applying for summer consulting programs built specifically for Advanced Degree candidates gives you an opportunity to learn about the firm, stand out from the crowd, and be guaranteed a first round interview for full-time roles.

McKinsey Insight isn’t the only such program out there, although it is the one we’re breaking down today. Also check out Bridge to BCG and Bain AIC to maximize your exposure.

The McKinsey Insight program is open for anyone pursuing an advanced degree (PhD, JD, MD) and wrapping up their studies next year. Acceptance allows you to participate in a sort of summer camp day for prospective consultants. While there, you partner with other accomplished graduate students and McKinsey consultants to gain insight into what life is like at McKinsey – both from a cultural and work perspective.

McKinsey Insight

What is the McKinsey Insight Program?

The McKinsey Insight Program, in short, is a recruiting event for Advanced Degree candidates. It’s held during May in cities around the country. Here is a list of 2020 locations and dates:

  • Atlanta: May 1
  • Boston: May 1
  • Philadelphia: May 8
  • Chicago: May 15
  • Silicon Valley: May 15
  • New York: May 29

The exclusive one-day program begins with an introduction to the world of consulting. It includes current McKinsey consultants with advanced degree backgrounds explaining how their unique skills fit in at McKinsey.

In addition, by participating in learning modules, each attendee is introduced to McKinsey’s proven problem-solving approach and how it can be used to troubleshoot even the toughest client challenges. Beyond that, attendees are immersed in how data drives McKinsey consulting engagements – not unlike clinical trials or research studies in academia.

Then, of course, what would a consulting program be without a mock case study!? McKinsey Insight attendees get the invaluable experience of being broken into teams and paired with acting McKinsey consultants on a case study.

Beyond the McKinsey Insight conference rooms, each program also offers an unparalleled opportunity to connect with hard-working peers and accomplished professionals. As an attendee, you’ll make quality contacts – both at McKinsey and with your accomplished peers – over gourmet coffees and fantastic meals. McKinsey spares no expense on its McKinsey Insight program, and pays for all of your travel expenses as well.

In short, put your best foot forward when applying for a coveted slot – this event is McKinsey’s way of pre-screening candidates for full-time roles, and it’s a lot of fun too!

What to Expect as a McKinsey Insight Applicant

To be eligible for the McKinsey Insight program, you must:

  • Be completing a PhD or postdoc program in a STEM or healthcare-related field OR
  • Be completing an MD, medical residency, internship or fellowship

You should plan to attend the Insight event in the nearest city to your location. So, ensure you are available on the day McKinsey will be closest to you!

In addition, you must:

  • Be currently residing in the United States.
  • Be available to attend the entire event
  • Be a first-time interviewee at McKinsey
  • Not be enrolled in an MBA program or hold an MBA degree

This year, the application deadline is March 29, 2020.

How to Impress McKinsey Insight Recruiters

The best way to stand out is to transform your academic-focused CV into a business-focused resume. This format demonstrates that you understand what McKinsey is looking for – quantitative analysis skills, leadership ability, and the demonstrated ability to achieve impact.

In addition, consider including some of the following experiences and honors where applicable. This applies to both your graduate and undergraduate academic career:

  • Teamwork and/or leadership experiences
  • Distinctive awards and/or fellowships
  • Top participatory labs
  • Interests outside of academics

Be sure to limit your resume to 1 page max. This generally means you should leave out personal references, research paper summaries or copies of any journal publications. Lastly, if you choose to apply to both the McKinsey Insight and the McKinsey Diversity Connect programs separately, indicate which program is your ultimate preference on a separate page as a “Cover Letter” attachment.

Should your application be chosen, you will be notified in early April and invited to participate in an approximately 30-minute interview call with a recruiter. The McKinsey Insight phone interview questions will consist of a brief fit interview and a simplified case interview (most likely a market sizing question).

Make sure to prepare answers to basic questions regarding your interest in consulting and why you are specifically interested in McKinsey. Overall, the McKinsey Insight interview is a bit more candid and informal than a standard phone interview. McKinsey is interested in your ability to communicate, think on your feet, and your ability to build rapport – this “fit” makes up a big part of being a McKinsey consultant.

What Not to Do as a McKinsey Insight Candidate

McKinsey Insight is even more selective than the full-time process at McKinsey, as there are only a limited number of slots available for the program. So, do not take a rejection from McKinsey Insight as a rejection from McKinsey overall. In fact, there are numerous instances where a candidate who didn’t make the cut for the Insight program successfully navigated the interview process for an Associate later that same summer.

However, if you are invited to the Insight weekend, the biggest faux pas is to treat the experience as an extended personal job interview. This program exists for you to learn about McKinsey’s culture, determine if consulting is right for you, and build connections at the firm. Don’t blow it by being overly overbearing during the case study or monopolizing a mentor’s time with interview-style questions. To put it simply, don’t be that guy (or gal)!

What to Do as a McKinsey Insight Attendee

Now, that we’ve covered what not to do, what should your goals be if you are fortunate enough to get an all expense paid trip to a world-class city and sample the culture at one of the most revered companies on the planet? First off, enjoy yourself! Take full advantage of the opportunity to learn about McKinsey and get to know McKinsey consultants. Obviously, remain professional at all times, but be yourself rather than who you think McKinsey wants you to be.

This is not just McKinsey’s opportunity to evaluate you, but also your opportunity to evaluate McKinsey. Ask honest questions about consultants’ experience transitioning into consulting. One important tip: keep the questions positive! Don’t ask someone when AI will take over the industry and render consultants obsolete. Rather, ask someone why, after being targeted by headhunters, they have decided to stay at McKinsey.

Wrap Up

The McKinsey Insight program is an exciting recruiting event. It gives Advanced Degree candidates a 1-day look into life at McKinsey via personal interactions with McKinsey consultants. If you’re fortunate enough to be accepted, enjoy it! And then, get ready for that first round case interview in August.

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Filed Under: McKinsey Consulting