McKinsey Recruiter Shares Hiring Advice for New MBAs

In 2021, top business schools sent between 16% and 36% of their graduates to work in the consulting industry, making consulting one of the most popular careers for newly minted MBAs. It’s a lucrative job, with top firms offering starting base pay at $175,000, with signing and performance bonuses adding an additional $75,000. With firms working hard to recruit new talent and new grads looking for placement with the best of the best, Adriana Crespo, McKinsey & Company’s Manager of Recruiting Operations, recently sat down for an interview with Fortune Education to share the firm’s hiring process and offer insight into what the firm looks for in candidates.

Recruiting for summer internships begins early in the fall with presentations, panel talks, and coffee chats that help students get to know the company. Interested students can meet with recruiters and other McKinsey staff to learn more about how interviews and case studies work. Students who apply for an internship are assessed and interviewed, and those selected can expect a 10-week paid stint working with full-time teams being held to professional standards. A substantial amount of work is required to adequately prepare for the tough interview process.

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“Take the time to prepare. You have to put in the work—you really do,” said Crespo. “That goes for anybody at any school, regardless of resources. Run the cases, and use your friends at first. When you feel secure with practicing with those folks, move on to practicing maybe with somebody at McKinsey, maybe a buddy, maybe somebody you’ve connected with. Run a practice case with them and then listen to the feedback….Do it to the place where you get comfortable.”

MBAs seeking full-time employment may have better chances if they began as summer interns, according to Crespo. While the firm may favor those who have already proven themselves as interns, it is recruiting heavily from top MBA programs. McKinsey looks for a history of leadership, teamwork, and entrepreneurship in its candidates, and welcomes the non-business experience of its candidates.

As the consulting industry continues to aggressively recruit new MBAs into its ranks, the insider’s view provided by Crespo may prove invaluable to those looking for a fast track to the ranks of the top consultancies.