A 360-degree assessment

I joined McKinsey as a data engineer because I wanted to explore different industries and see my ideas and actions generating impact. Working here, you have access to decision makers and can create meaningful organizational change.


How did your McKinsey interview differ from what you expected?

McKinsey makes a complete assessment of the candidate. During the process I felt my data engineering skills were one assessment point, but I had to be more than technically good to get the job.

Usually interviews for technical positions focus only on technical skills, and it’s not common to be asked questions about problem solving, leadership, collaboration and communication. I think too many technical team leaders don’t understand how to communicate well, which can lead to problems. It was clear that communication and other non-technical skills were important to my McKinsey interviewers.

How did you prepare for your interviews?

The recruiter explained there would be some questions about me and my work, as well as technical questions. Before my personal experience round I thought about how I work with teams, communicate, and lead and made sure I had examples of each to share. I also reached out to friends in consulting for guidance.

My recruiter gave me excellent guidance on the structure of the interviews and the technical skills–Python and SQL–I would be tested on. I was assigned an interview coach who helped me prepare my working environment for my two-hour at-home technical assessment, so I’d have no trouble opening the problem sets.

How did you feel before each round of interviews?

Before the first round I was anxious. I was told after my online technical skills test that the first interview would last two hours and include a technical case. It was tough to prepare for such a long interview. I had never experienced a technical interview that was so interactive and based on real world problems.

What was most surprising to you about the McKinsey interview process?

I was surprised the entire process took approximately one month. I thought it would take much longer. The first interview in my second round was very short–only 20 minutes–and I didn't think I passed. There was a light technical skills assessment, where I didn’t write code but discussed architecture. The second interview in my second round was about an hour, and the partners asked me questions about my real-life projects.

Any advice for recruits?

The interviewer’s focus is to help you. If you make a small mistake, you’ll have the chance to correct it or to discuss it right away and learn. For example, I made a small error loading data in my case test, and was overthinking a simple question. My interviewer asked me to walk them through the problem, which helped me regain perspective and find the solution.

Ask your recruiter about tech and McKinsey and the level of technical skills within the company. There’s a worldwide community of more than 4.5K technologists here, and you’ll have access to people with tons of knowledge. It’s great to know before joining the firm.

Find a job like Antonio's

About Antonio

Antonio is a data engineer based in Sao Paulo. Prior to joining McKinsey, he was a software engineer with LexisNexis Risk Solutions and a data engineer with Bionexo. Antonio studied automation and control engineering at the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Brazil.

For more information on McKinsey's data engineering career paths, visit mckinsey.com/TechCareers.

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