Preparation is key

How did you prepare to share your personal experience during your interviews?

I started by choosing roughly five experiences in which I showed my professional and personal potential. For each one, I wrote down a short story describing precisely the context of the problem, the steps I took to solve it, the difficulties I overcame and the impact my approach had on those involved. Finally, I practiced and kept on practicing. My partner and some fellow consultants at the firm supported me by listening and providing valuable feedback about my stories and my approach, which helped me to fine tune the details.

Andres at the coliseum
Andres at the coliseum

How did you feel before your interviews?

For my first round of interviews, I felt mostly confident, though a little bit nervous. I knew I prepared well which gave me a confidence boost and allowed me to keep my nerves in check.

I felt good going into my final round interviews. I did a good job during the initial interviews and my main objective was to work on the feedback I received. Feedback is core to our day-to-day life at the firm, and it is important to act on it when one receives it. I was advised to polish my top down communication when delivering my insights during the case. My partner helped me practice.

How did your McKinsey interview differ from interviews with other organizations?

Andres holding a hawk in the desert
Andres holding a hawk in the desert

McKinsey interviews are not typical; you can’t just rely only on your confidence and previous experience. They are designed around a certain format and structure you should understand and apply during the process. Your responses don’t need to use business frameworks, necessarily, but you do need to know how to talk about your previous experience and how to work through a business case in a way that shows your interviewer how you think. There are helpful examples, practice cases, and other information on the firm’s website.

Looking back, how did you feel about the overall assessment process?

It was a fun ride. It was daunting knowing I had the chance to be part of such a special organization, full of talented people and worrying I wouldn’t do as well as I wanted. But, I felt extremely supported during the process. I felt like people at McKinsey wanted me to succeed. I received a great deal of guidance from the recruiting team and a friend I know at the firm. In the end, while I was in the interviews, I started to feel the excitement and joy of the experience overall.

Bonus question: why did you decide to join McKinsey?

My main driver to join McKinsey was the possibility of expanding the reach of my work and its impact beyond my country. I worked for many years for the national government and always felt proud of the things I achieved. When the opportunity to join McKinsey’s Public and Social Sector practice came along, I knew it provided the chance to impact the lives of many more people around the world.

Find a job like Andrés's

More about Andrés

Andres at University of Cambridge
Andres at University of Cambridge

Andrés joined McKinsey as an associate in our Public and Social Sector practice, based in Bogota.

Prior to joining McKinsey, he was the Head of Investment Risk at Fondo de Garantías de Instituciones Financieras. Over the years, he held roles in finance and advisory such as Risk Analyst, Advisor to CIO. He obtained a master’s in finance from the University of Cambridge, and a MSc in industrial engineering and BS of industrial and electrical engineering from Universidad de los Andes.

When Andrés is not working, he enjoys playing tennis and following his favorite players in the professional tour. Andrés also volunteers as a board member for CFA Society Colombia, a non-for-profit organization that advocates for the highest ethical and educational standards in the investment industry in Colombia.

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