My name is Amine Bounoughaz, and I was in your shoes two years ago when I first started the MEM program. In the fall of 2013, I was fortunate to receive an offer from McKinsey & Company.
In this short article, I would like to share with you all some thoughts on what I believe were the most essential things that really made the difference in getting the job.
As MEMers, you might be feeling that you do not have an advantage in the job market, stuck between undergrads and MBA’s, especially if you don’t have a significant work experience.
This is just a mindset. The truth is: the moment you step into an interview room, people don’t care what degree you have or where you come from. It becomes about how good you are, and how much they like you. Don’t worry about titles and degrees, focus on getting good at case interviews.
2) Getting an Interview:
There are two ways to get an interview in consulting:
Through Online Applications: This is personally how I got my interview. I worked intensively with Jenny Johnson during the first weeks of the MEM program to craft my resume.
Through Networking: This is about getting someone in McKinsey to recommend you for an interview. Ideally if you know a partner/AP/EM, your life will be much easier as they can recommend you for an interview if they think you are good.
3) Preparation and Hard Work:
There is no shortcut to success, no magical formula. I was casing every single day, at least twice, for 5 weeks. I skipped going out on weekends and traveling on fall break just to focus on getting better at it.
I went through Victor Cheng’s Look Over My Shoulder at least 5 times, both written and audio recordings. I got to the point where I was dreaming about solving a case!!!!
Also, preparation does not start when you get an interview call. It starts months before applying to a position.You should be already familiar with the industry and type of interview months in advance.
4) Knowing When to Stop:
Even though I was casing every single day, I was terrible at it. I would get the structure off, the math wrong, and my recommendations were weak. I was a disaster. In fact, in all 60-70 cases I did, I screwed up in 90% of them.
It wasn’t because I didn’t know how to do cases, it was because I was making the same mistakes over and over and over again. I was stuck in a hole. Luckily for me, my roommate gave me the best advice at that time: “Dude, you are in a hole: STOP.”
So in my last week before the interview, I actually stopped casing. I didn’t do a single case and just let it all sink in. I relaxed, went out and also focused on my midterms.
5) Balancing Intellect with Personality:
During my interviews, I focused on having a great time with the interviewer and making the most out of my time there. I smiled, laughed sometimes, had conversations and genuinely enjoyed every single moment in the case.
By the end of my last interview, I had just completed three 1-hour long cases and the only thing I could think of was: I want another case!!! I didn’t force anything. I was myself and the partners just loved me.
In fact, they loved me to the extent that they didn’t even wait to call me on the phone. One of the partners came to me right after my last interview and said: “Amine, you have impressed all of us, you have a bright future ahead of you. We all loved you here: When can you start?”
Go out there and crack the case,
Victor Cheng Case Interview Secrets
Victor Cheng Look Over My Shoulder