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Tarina’s tips for successful interviews

Practice, perspective, and a personal approach can help you get a job with McKinsey.

What interested you about McKinsey?

I was attracted to McKinsey for the breadth of tech projects the firm does across industries, functions and geographies. I was very interested in product management but hadn’t had much exposure to it before joining the firm. I understood the business and operational side of tech well and knew I could contribute in that aspect. I was excited to work closely with experts in product management to hone my skills.

In McKinsey’s Digital practice, I get to be part of the entire digital process—from strategy to implementation. It’s extremely rewarding to help clients build the capabilities they need to sustain results, especially across industries. Being from Indonesia, I always viewed Southeast Asia as an ecosystem, so having access to international work opportunities is exciting. It has helped me to broaden my perspective.

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What surprised you most about the McKinsey interview process?

The relaxed and friendly atmosphere. I was extremely surprised by how relaxed the interview experience was. My interviewers were very friendly and approachable. One was a consultant from Lima. I mentioned I was planning a trip to Latin America soon. He immediately offered up recommendations and asked me to get in touch before my trip if I needed anything.

My interviewers were helpful in offering feedback to help me succeed in my final rounds. For example, one first-round interviewer advised me to not downplay my achievements, which I had not realized I was doing. He encouraged me to own my achievements and to not attribute success solely to group dynamics.

All of our conversations were more like casual discussions about tough business problems. The environment allowed me to be myself and deliver my best.

How did you prepare for your case interviews?

I practiced mock interviews with friends, classmates, and peers in the recruiting process. From this, I realized each person has his/her/their own style to tackle the case, and it really helped me to listen to how others would approach different problems.

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

The thing I valued most about the case coaching sessions and the interviews was the feedback. I could tell from these experiences that everyone involved really wanted to help me succeed. The feedback I received from my coaches and interviewers were very specific and actionable. I could immediately incorporate the feedback into my approach and prepare for my final round interviews.

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

The overall experience was good and allowed me to get to know the firm better than I could have imagined. I remember walking out of the first round interviews thinking I could see myself being friends with my interviewers; that’s when I decided McKinsey was the right place for me. I learned people at the firm were keen to help me succeed. I was impressed by the level of commitment to the overall candidate experience. There was a delay between my first round interviews and the final rounds but my recruiter contacted me frequently to share what was happening behind the scenes. That put me at ease.

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What advice do you have for candidates applying from a tech background?

Being able to communicate your thoughts clearly is extremely important to ensure the interviewer understands how you arrived at the answer and your underlying assumptions. A good way to work on this is practicing case interviews with others in the process. When you take the interviewer’s seat, you can observe what works well and what doesn’t. The feedback you give others can also help you.

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About Tarina

Tarina is an MBA graduate of IESE in Spain. Before joining McKinsey as a consultant, Tarina was a business analyst at a SAAS startup in Indonesia. Outside of work, Tarina enjoys travelling, hiking, drinking bubble tea, and playing video and board games.