Making interviewing fun

How did you prepare your personal experience examples for your interviews?

The personal experience portion of each McKinsey interview usually comes first, before the case. McKinsey’s interview prep website shares a lot of information about the types of questions you might be asked, and it outlines the skills McKinsey wants to see: inclusive leadership, entrepreneurial drive, personal impact, and problem-solving.

To prepare, I thought of several experiences that demonstrate my skills in these areas. These stories were my highlight reels: professional accomplishments that represent who I am and energize me every time I talk about them. Once I had my stories mapped out, it was helpful to practice so I felt comfortable, but not rehearsed.

How did you feel prior to your interviews?

Naturally, I felt anxious. To manage my confidence, I kept to my regular routine of exercising and walking my dog. I highly recommend that, even on interview day. The McKinsey recruiter for NYU Stern created a “Get Pumped!” playlist with song recommendations sent from my classmates. I listened to it the morning of my interviews, and it got me excited for the day.

Van and dog
Van and dog

What surprised you most about McKinsey’s interview process?

How much I enjoyed the personal experience interviews. They felt more like conversations with professional friends who asked thoughtful questions to better understand my experiences.

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

Once I got the interview invitation, I was amazed by the amount of resources made available to me. I was assigned a McKinsey Mentor from the Hanoi office, who went out of his way to answer my questions about the interview process. In the week leading up to the interviews, the McKinsey campus ambassador sent out daily interview tips and fun facts about the firm. Those emails were insightful, witty, and fun to read.

Making interviewing fun - Van
Making interviewing fun - Van

How did you feel about the overall experience as an associate intern?

My overall experience was positive despite the virtual nature. I got to know my fellow interns in Southeast Asia well through virtual social events, and felt confident knowing I had a group of supportive peers throughout the summer. The friendships I made will carry down the road as many of us become full-time associates. I loved that the firm provided a summer reading list full of interesting articles, books, and podcast recommendations – not something we had to do, just for fun. Through that list, I discovered a book called Centered Leadership on leadership development through self-awareness and choice. I enjoyed the author’s personal anecdotes, as well as stories and insights from industry leaders.

Making interviewing fun - Van
Making interviewing fun - Van

Why are you excited to re-join McKinsey as full time associate next year?

Despite the uncertainties of this year with the global pandemic, the recruiters at McKinsey worked incredibly hard to ease any concerns I had about my internship and full-time offer through constant updates and timely communications. They showed me the firm’s unwavering commitment to its people. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to come back as a full-time associate. Additionally, I look forward to being a part of the fast growth in Southeast Asia and Vietnam, in particular. As a young professional, I am excited for the learning opportunities that come with working in such a dynamic region.

Find an internship like Van’s

More about Van

Van is an incoming associate in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She is finishing her MBA at NYU Stern School of Business. Before business school, she spent seven years in international education, leading business development in 16 countries. In her free time, Van enjoys long walks with her dog along the Hudson River, frequent visits to her favorite coffee and cookie shops in New York City, and daydreaming of post-pandemic travels.

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