How to Land an Interview at McKinsey Singapore

June 25, 2020

Let me share a story that will inspire you. It’s about how a friend of ours managed to land an interview invitation from McKinsey Singapore.

Do you have a friend who’s currently at a crazy awesome job? A job that you could do just as well? A job you wish you could interview for?

Have you wondered how people, like your crazy awesome friend, land such incredible interviews to jobs they’re not quite qualified for?

Meet Joseph

I was having dinner at Muthu’s Curry on Saturday night with an old classmate from my alma mater, the National University of Singapore.

See, this old friend (his name is Joseph), is looking for a new job. And he’s not making progress.

Which is why after 4 years of no contact, he messaged me on Facebook for dinner. Not that I mind though. He’s an old friend from whom I copied plenty of psych assignments from.

I owe him plenty.

Let me tell you more about Joseph.

He’s 31. Currently a civil servant at EDB,
First Class Honours from NUS,
Interested in technology and consulting,
And has been job-hunting intermittently for 12 months now.

This is his current situation:

He’s applied to over 100 openings. He’s gone for 3 interviews of which he received 2 job offers (he rejected both).

My first thought, 2 job offers from 3 interviews? That’s fantastic!

He’s obviously a stellar candidate. The bottleneck for Joseph is obviously GETTING to the interview. Once he’s there, he’s pretty capable of showing them his worth.

I dig deeper, “Which were the 3 companies that you interviewed for?”

His reply – “First interview was a small medical device startup. Their salary offer was too low. The second was a newly minted management consulting firm. I wasn’t convinced of the CEO so I didn’t accept their offer. Third interview was McKinsey”

My eyes shot up. “Like McKinsey Consulting?”

He nodded.


How did he manage that?!?!

The big 3 management consulting firms (McKinsey, Bain, BCG) almost NEVER hire NUS graduates. They almost exclusively hiring Ivy League degree holders.

I don’t blame them. It’s a matter of perception.

Imagine walking into a client’s office with a team who studied at Princeton, Yale and Harvard. Your client, who’s paying hundreds of thousands of dollars, will immediately feel comfortable knowing you’ve brought a stellar team.

Now imagine bringing 3 NUS graduates to your client. The client will be like “Huh? I can hire these guys myself. Why am I paying McKinsey so much?”

Like I said, a matter of perception (I personally think the top NUS grads we have are equally capable as any Ivy League grad).

So anyways, let’s get back to Joseph and how he managed to land an interview at one of the most prestigious firms in the world.

How to Get an Interview at McKinsey Singapore

I was really intrigued.

Joseph has got a CV that has managed to get him an interview at McKinsey. One of the most selective firms out there.

How did he do that? Also, why then is his interview call up rate only 3%?

At this point, I’m rubbing my hands in glee. This sounds like a really interesting conundrum. One I haven’t seen before.

So we dig deeper. “How did you get that McKinsey interview?”

“My church friend. She’s an Engagement Manager there.”


He used his “lobang” (inside contact).

We all have amazing contacts in high places. People who can get us to our goals faster. Why aren’t we using them?

The Power of Professional Networking

Joseph obviously has a terrible CV. How else can you explain a 3% interview call up rate?

Yet he managed to secure an interview at one of the most selective firms in the world.

Look, the front door application is easy and stress-free. But if you really want results, you need to get creative with finding alternate entry paths. That means reaching out to old contacts, family friends, even our old neighbours.

LinkedIn is a life saver when finding contacts at key companies. It’s so easy to see which one of your friends knows your target contact at company X.

Here at ResumeWriter.SG, we teach our clients how to approach contacts on LinkedIn to ask for an introduction – with word for word scripts they can use immediately.

Turns out I’m only 1 connection away from the MD of Facebook Asia!

We’re here to help job seekers like you get the job of your dreams. That means helping on the full lifecycle of job hunting from networking, interviewing, how to apply for jobs, and even salary negotiation.

It’s a competitive world out there. Use every advantage you can to get ahead. (within legal means of course).

Stop making excuses. Start hustling. Start landing those crazy awesome interviews you’re not quite qualified for.

As for Joseph, he’s sending me his CV later today. I’m going to take a look and see how we can help him. A 3% call up rate is pathetic. One thing’s for sure – he’s going to be tapping onto his network for “lobangs” a lot more aggressively from now on.

Like Joseph, if you’re not confident with your current CV, get a free CV feedback session from our team of expert resume consultants. We’ll take a look at your CV and give pointers on areas for improve – free of charge.

Invest in polishing your CV. It’ll drastically increase the number of interviews you land, and make sure that any potential employers treat your application seriously.

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Harry Suresh
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