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My Mckinsey Story - Part 1

At some point in my life, my dream was to work at Mckinsey & Company, the world's number one consulting firm. Fair enough, I got a c...

At some point in my life, my dream was to work at Mckinsey & Company, the world's number one consulting firm. Fair enough, I got a chance after passing the infamous Problem Solving Test (PST).

For those who think GMAT is tough, try some PSTs. Anyway as is typical with Mckinsey, there are about 4-6 interviews comprising personal experience questions and case study interviews before clinching an offer.

I have decided to share the transcript of my first interview in the process. Hope this makes a good read for those aiming to get into the consulting field.

I was scheduled for 2 interviews - 8am and 9am and I arrived and took my seat in the neat but tiny reception on the 6th Floor Mulliner Towers Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria

I was interviewed by a guy named Fred.


Fred: So tell me of a time you managed upwards. Where you had to convince a superior to accept your point of view and what was the process like?

...I went on to rant on and on as i had come prepared for this one


Fred: XYZ is airline operator and is currently having problems with their costs. Could you please tell me the items that drive the cost for an airline operator?

Me: Well broadly, costs can be of two types: Variable and Fixed. For Variable we have - Fuelling Costs for Fixed, we have - maintenance, Staff overhead, licencing & regulatory fees.

Fred: One of our consultants took up research into the cost lines and discovered that fuelling expenditure was excessive. Tell me the factors that drive fuelling cost

Me: Size of engine, Distance travelled, No of trips

Fred: Well, our consultant's analysis showed that none of these factors you mentioned was actually responsible for the excessive fuelling cost. Infact, he concluded that it was the weight of the plane. So tell me the factors that affect the weight of a plane.

Me: These can be categorized into 2: Internal elements and external elements. For the internal, we have the fittings, furniture, luggage, fuel level for the external factors, we have the metal used in constructing the airplane, the engine, the tires, the blades etc

Fred: Our consultant in his analysis, found out that none of these factors you mentioned was responsible for the excessive fuelling cost. It infact was the PAINT ON THE PLANE!!!

Me: Oh, interesting

Fred: So tell me what weight is added on by the paint on the plane?

Me: Do I have any figures?

Fred: No!

Me: Wow!

Me: Ok, lets assume this room in which we are seated in 10m long and 5m wide and so lets assume the length of the plane is 10 times that of this room that gives us 10 X 10 = 100m and since the width is constant, we still have 5m

Fred: Ok, gud. Assuming the plane is cylindrical and Using 2π〖rh〗^ as surface area assume pie to be 3 what weight is added on?

Me: That should be 2 X 3 X 5 X 100 that should give 300msq

Fred: So what weight is added on?

Me: Lets also assume that 2 sq metre would need 1 bucket of paint weighing 1kg that should be 1kg X 300sq metre divided by 2 dt shd give 150kg

Fred: Have you considered that there might be more than one coat of paint required?

Me: Ok, let me modify my assumptions to say there are 3 coats of paint required:

-Light paint adds 0.1kg per sqm

-Medium coat adds 0.5kg per sqm

-Quality finish adds 1kg per sqm

-So a total of 1.6kg per sqm

Fred: Round that up to 1.5kg and tell me what you have

Me: Ok, 1.5kg X 150 sqm = 225 kg of weight added on by the paint

Fred: Ok, cool! The company spent $250m last year on fuelling and after the analysis, the COO has asked that all the airplanes be striped of paint. First tell me why planes are painted.

Me: For branding, to prevent the metal from corrosion at such high altitudes, to comply with regulations

Fred: So would you advise the company to go ahead as the COO has advised?

Me: We would need to speak with the paint manufacturers to see if some light weight paint can be produced since the company currently spends about $1m per kg of pain ($250m divided by 225kg) and maybe if the weight can be slashed by say 50% we would see significant drop in fuelling costs.

Fred: Ok, that’s the end of the case. Thank you for your time.

Walking to the elevator, the interview continues with a tricky question! "What other firms are you in contact with?" As I had come prepared for that question, I answered naming companies in similar business line and with strong brand names.



My Mckinsey Story - Part 2
My Mckinsey Story - Part 3

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