Gautam is a Junior Associate at McKinsey & Company, where he secured a pre-placement offer after his summer internship in 2020. He completed his MBA at IIM Lucknow, where he majored in Strategy & Marketing. He was also a member of the Placement Committee, a team that secured 100% internships for 500+ students despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Read on to know more on how he bagged a PPO from McKinsey and Co.
1. Hi Gautam, Tell us in brief about how you prepared for summer placement interviews?
The run-up to summer placements is typically 3-4 months long and starts immediately after the first term begins. With academics and other B-School activities, preparation often takes a backseat. However, an early start and consistency helped me avoid last-minute hiccups. The first step in this gruelling process is making your resume – a document that highlights your key achievements to present the best version of yourself to the recruiter. I got my resume reviewed by immediate seniors/alumni, particularly from my target companies (in consulting), and sought feedback to ensure it was comprehensible while distinguishing me from other applicants.
Along with CV preparation, I carried out extensive research on the career opportunities available in various domains (like finance, marketing, consulting, general management, etc.) and a lot of introspection in the first month. This helped me narrow down on consulting and marketing as part of the two-domain strategy.
Once my CV was finalized (~45 days before Day Zero), I started doing cases with friends, seniors, and buddies. Solving business problems across profitability (revenues & costs), market-entry, pricing, growth, GTM, M&A along with guesstimates was an exciting part of the process. What helped me was not solving innumerable cases, but the habit of analyzing various approaches and synthesizing my learning from every case.
Simultaneously, I researched companies that had shortlisted me, gave HR/behaviour-based mock interviews, and kept myself updated with current affairs.
Check Out → How I Bagged A PPO From BCG | Ft. Raghav Sally
2. Any special placement preparation you did for the McKinsey & Company interview?
Broadly, McKinsey’s interviews consist of two components. The first part (not necessarily in the same order) is an experience interview that examines areas like personal impact, leadership, and entrepreneurial drive. For this, I selected 4-5 experiences and discussed them in detail with my buddies. The second part is a case interview that tests problem-solving skills, comfort with numbers, and common sense. Unlike standard cases, McKinsey cases can rarely be solved by applying any pre-defined frameworks. Rather, the interviewee is expected to use first principles (logic, structure, MECE, prioritization) to arrive at answers. I practised such business abstract cases with McKinsey seniors and other alumni in the firm.
3. How does the summer internship process look like for McKinsey & Company?
Like most companies coming to campus, McKinsey has 2-3 rounds of roughly 30 minutes each. Additionally, there is an online problem-solving assessment that needs to be taken a few days before the interviews.
4. What were the reasons according to you that helped in cracking the interview?
Being calm, listening to the interviewer, having a good presence of mind and effective communication helped me crack the interview. I did not waste time trying to apply any case framework. Instead, I trusted my instincts (which were developed with a rigorous practice of case-solving over a month) and contextualized my approach to the specific problem at hand.
5. Tell us about the day-to-day work as an intern at McKinsey & Company?
As an intern, I was given an independent work-stream as part of a larger client engagement. My job was to research the industry, understand the client context, develop hypotheses, substantiate my findings, and provide recommendations. Since the internship was virtual, day-to-day work involved creating presentations, connecting with experts, analyzing data, and brainstorming with others in my team. I worked for an Indian PSU client on their growth strategy and supported a private equity client on due diligence.
6. What according to you, you did right to bag the PPO McKinsey & Company?
Every client engagement and by extension, every internship project is unique. Therefore, there is no cookie-cutter approach to acing the internship. What stood out for me was the extensive support I received from my manager and my buddy. They helped me connect with a large number of in-house experts and mobilize the best of resources to deliver impact. By soliciting timely feedback, I was also able to course-correct and work towards a positive outcome.
7. What are the most cherished moments from your internship?
Regular problem-solving sessions with partners (though nerve-racking at times) were quite memorable – since they gave me an opportunity to present to senior executives. Additionally, the weekly fun events and the team farewell, although virtual, were the most cherished moments from my internship. They helped me unwind and get to know my team members better.
8. You were also a part of the placement committee; one piece of advice you would like to give on managing academic rigor, committee work as well as preparation for Summers?
Some would say cut down on sleep, or better still, don’t study in the first term! On a serious note, it is extremely important to avoid the fear of missing out (FOMO), prioritize your engagements, and manage your time well on campus. Unlike other clubs and committees at IIML, Placecom is the only committee that has long hours of training even before summers – where we help seniors with administrative work and in organizing company presentations. This meant that I had to compromise on other campus activities like socializing with friends, attending events, and cut down on unproductive time spent on social media/mobile as well as on sleep – to be able to prepare for interviews. Another approach is to concentrate well in class so that you don’t have to study before quizzes – but I just slept or made notes from the cases I solved earlier.
InsideIIM presents the 8th Season of Summer Saga where you can share your bizarre, enriching, a-little-difficult-yet-fun experiences with everyone and win prizes for the same. We have changed the rules in the eighth season. You don't need to wait for your internship to end in order to share your experience. Instead, it will be a digital diary, where you will be able to document your learnings and experiences, during your stint.
Take part in Summer Saga 2021 now! Fill out Digital Diary 1 below using this link!
TIMELINE, PROCESS AND RULES
- You don't need to register on InsideIIM.com or on the Kampus App to take part in Summer Saga Season 8. Simply share your experiences in the Digital Diary. To maintain standardisation, every Digital Diary will have a few questions that you'll need to answer.
- Access all the Digital Diaries forms from here. You will receive Digital Diaries from us on the following dates:
-Digital Diary 1 - 02.05.2021
-Digital Diary 2 - 09.05.2021
-Digital Diary 3 - 23.05.2021
-Digital Diary 4 - 06.06.2021
-Digital Diary 5 - 20.06.2021
- After 20th June, we will collate your entries as a single article and share the same with the same.
- Your overall submission will be evaluated on the following parameters:
-Completeness: This depends on the number of Digital Diaries you have filled.
-Value Addition: This depends on how in-depth your answers have been. The score for this parameter will be given by our Judges.
-Reach: This depends on how many unique people have read your internship experience once we publish the article. We maintain fair play, we will publish all the articles on the same day, so that you can also share the same in your network.
- There is also a title called, ‘Campus With The Most Interesting Interns’ that will be awarded to (a) the campus that submits the maximum number of entries and (b) the campus that submits the best quality entries (based on the score given by our judges). The minimum entries from campus to be considered for this title is 10. So, if you want your campus to win the title then make sure your classmates and other students from your b school share their experiences in this year's Summer Saga Competition.
PRIZES TO WIN
This competition is broadly divided into four categories. Refer to the table below to know more about prizes in each category.
Banking and Finance
Sales, Marketing and General Management
HR, Consulting and Others
|1st Prize||₹ 10,000||₹ 10,000||₹ 10,000||₹ 10,000|
|Runner Up||₹ 5,000||₹ 5,000||₹ 5,000||₹ 5,000|
The 1st Prize winner will also get a one-hour 1-on-1 career guidance session with an industry stalwart, from our panel of mentors in Kounsel.
ABOUT THE JUDGES
Every year, we have Campus Managers from some of the top companies (such as Reliance, HSBC, Flipkart, ABG, HUL, TAS, etc) judging the annual Summer Saga competition. We will release the details of the judges of Summer Saga Season 8 soon!
Check out the previous year's winners!
Maybe this will help you reflect and recall these two months as well (which can come in handy when appearing for interviews in the future). InsideIIM is the perfect platform to chronicle your experiences, your highs, your lows and everything in between.