Back to Careers Blog

Practice becomes preparedness

Emmaline spent time rehearsing and practicing her delivery so she felt prepared for her interviews

Emmaline is an incoming business analyst in our London office. She graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Cambridge. During her studies, Emmaline interned at a specialist energy consultancy and the technology division of a global investment bank. She’ll hopefully resume her post-graduation travels in South America and Europe sometime soon.

We strive to provide individuals with disabilities equal access to our website. If you would like information about this content we will be happy to work with you. Please email us at:

How did you prepare your personal experience examples?

I made detailed notes about experiences where I felt particularly challenged or proud of my achievements. The Situation, Task, Action, Result (STAR) framework helped me structure my thoughts. I practiced by talking aloud at length about these experiences and answering probing questions while reflecting: how did others react to my actions? What was challenging? How could I have improved?

How did you feel prior to your interviews?

I felt excited and nervous for my first round of interviews. I had prepared well so I looked forward to showcasing my experiences. My typical pre-interview nerves, however, were compounded when my train broke down in a tunnel on the way to my interview. I like to think this stressful situation was a test of my character. I managed to keep my cool, and I was proud of that.

Prior to my final round interviews, I still felt excited, but slightly less nervous and more determined. Feedback I received from my first-round interviewers helped me to prepare.

We strive to provide individuals with disabilities equal access to our website. If you would like information about this content we will be happy to work with you. Please email us at:

What surprised you most about the McKinsey interview process?

How much I learned about McKinsey throughout the process. The interviews were genuinely interesting discussions. I had no idea what problems I would be asked since they were based on business situations, but that’s part of the fun and challenge.

Aside from case coaching, how did McKinsey best help you prepare?

I was paired with a business analyst who had recently gone through recruiting. They were able to provide a fresh perspective as I practiced the cases and gave useful feedback I could immediately incorporate. The practice materials on the interviewing website also helped me prepare, and the recruitment team hosted a pre-interview Q&A session that included a case study review.

Before applying, I attended a McKinsey Black Network event and got to ask McKinsey people all kinds of questions, such as what are the development opportunities available to me and if there were any internal initiatives to support my growth. It was a great opportunity to meet McKinsey Black Network members at all tenures and functions across the firm, and to hear of the commitment to grow McKinsey Black Network both locally and globally.

Looking back, how did you feel about the overall experience?

I really enjoyed the recruiting process. I had multiple opportunities to meet people from McKinsey, ask questions and form my own impressions of the firm. It was a two-way process; I was being interviewed and I was interviewing the firm to see if it would be a good fit for me. I appreciated the quick updates on the status of my application and the useful interview feedback.

Why are you excited to join McKinsey?

I am excited to join McKinsey as a generalist consultant so I can build my expertise in a range of industries and functions. I am sure the learning and development opportunities at McKinsey will be second to none. Also, the people I met at the firm are outstanding. I left conversations wanting to know more about each person’s work and interests. People make the culture of an organization so McKinsey feels like a great fit for me. I can’t wait to start at McKinsey with the other incoming business analysts. I’m sure they’ll become great friends and colleagues.

Find a job like Emmaline's