The McKinsey Solve game is a challenging problem-solving simulation that is designed to test the skills of potential consultants who aspire to work for McKinsey & Company, one of the world’s most prestigious management consulting firms. This game is part of McKinsey’s recruitment process and is used to identify candidates who possess the critical thinking, decision-making, meta-cognition, situational awareness, and systems thinking skills required to succeed in the firm.
The game has been developed by a company called Imbellus (now part of Roblox), which specializes in developing simulations that can evaluate cognitive abilities. The game is designed to assess the problem-solving abilities of candidates in a virtual environment that simulates real-life situations (not in a business context). The game is officially designed to evaluate five dimensions of problem-solving, including critical thinking, decision-making, meta-cognition, situational awareness, and systems thinking.
The skills that are evaluated in the Problem Solving Game
Critical thinking is the ability to analyze information objectively and make informed decisions based on evidence. In the McKinsey Solve game, critical thinking skills are assessed by evaluating the candidate’s ability to form a rational judgment from a set of facts. Candidates must be able to analyze information presented to them and come up with sound recommendations based on their analysis.
Decisionmaking is the ability to select the best course of action among several options. Candidates must be able to evaluate different options and make a decision based on their analysis. In the McKinsey Solve game, decision-making skills are evaluated by assessing the coherence of the candidate’s actions and thinking. Candidates must be able to make decisions that are well-thought-out and coherent.
Meta-cognition is the ability to use strategies to make learning information and solving problems easier. In the McKinsey Solve game, meta-cognition skills are evaluated by assessing the candidate’s ability to use strategies such as testing hypotheses and taking notes to solve problems. Candidates must be able to use different problem-solving strategies effectively.
Situational awareness is the ability to determine the relationships between different factors and to project the outcomes of a mini-game. In the McKinsey Solve game, situational awareness skills are evaluated by assessing the candidate’s ability to determine the relationships between different factors and predict the outcomes of their decisions. Candidates must be able to anticipate the consequences of their actions.
Systems thinking is the ability to understand cause-and-effect relationships involving several factors and feedback loops. In the McKinsey Solve game, systems thinking skills are evaluated by assessing the candidate’s ability to understand complex systems and identify the key factors that drive outcomes. Candidates must be able to identify the root causes of problems and develop strategies to address them.
Adaptability is a key skill required when playing logic games, such as the McKinsey Solve game. The ability to quickly adjust and pivot strategies based on new information and changing circumstances is essential. Adaptable players can efficiently manage their time and resources, anticipate potential challenges, and remain flexible in their problem-solving approach. The McKinsey Solve game evaluates adaptability by assessing how well candidates can navigate changing scenarios and adjust their strategies to achieve optimal outcomes. While this skill is never mentioned officially, we have seen it in several Imbellus videos and discussions.
Scoring your Solve Game performance
It is important to note that the skills evaluated in the McKinsey Solve game are not evaluated in isolation. Rather, these skills are interconnected and build upon each other. For example, critical thinking skills are closely related to decision-making skills, as the ability to make informed decisions depends on the candidate’s ability to analyze information objectively.
According to research conducted by Imbellus, the most important skills that candidates need to possess to succeed in the McKinsey Solve game are critical thinking, situational awareness, and systems thinking. These three skills are considered fundamental, and candidates who possess them are more likely to be successful. Advanced skills such as decision-making and meta-cognition are also important, but mastery of these skills is required to transform a good candidate into a great one.
The telemetry data gathered by Imbellus during the McKinsey Solve game is used to calculate the five dimensions of problem-solving. While the exact telemetry data gathered is not fully disclosed, it is believed that the data is collected at each stage of the problem-solving process. For example, during the problem identification stage, the telemetry data may include the candidate’s systematic thinking pattern, their methodological vs. abstract thinking, and their big-picture vs. detail-oriented thinking.
During the quantitative analysis and data synthesis stage, the telemetry data may include the candidate’s ability to draw relationships between data, as well as their ability to filter out irrelevant information. The candidate’s data focus pattern and the time spent on quantitative tasks can also be measured during this stage. This stage is essential as it requires the candidate to analyze and synthesize data to draw insights that will guide them in crafting hypotheses and making decisions.
Hypothesis crafting is the next stage, and it involves bringing insights into actionable hypotheses. During this stage, telemetry data can measure the candidate’s ability to put emphasis on a particular approach or methodology from the insights gathered. The duration of the transition from analysis to decision-making and the disrupted status quo period can also be measured during this stage. It is crucial to craft accurate and actionable hypotheses as it forms the foundation for decision-making.
Decision-making is the fourth stage of the problem-solving process, and it involves coherence in actions and thinking. Telemetry data collected during this stage can measure whether the candidate makes random selections or well-thought-out decisions based on analysis. The candidate’s decisiveness in carrying out actions with the chosen tactics and their reaction under growing time pressure, whether it is panic clicking or calm and focused, can also be measured. The factors connecting each selection and the time spent deciding between options can also be measured during this stage.
The final stage of the problem-solving process is the next-step recommendation, learning, and reflection stage. During this stage, the telemetry data can measure the candidate’s ability to adjust existing strategies and their preference for tried-and-true methods in the presence of new data sets or shifting conditions. The progressive learning and reflection with failures and successes can also be measured during this stage. The number of clicks, scrolling speed, and time spent on certain data blocks can provide insights into the candidate’s learning and reflection processes.
In conclusion, the McKinsey Solve game assesses problem-solving skills using five dimensions, which are critical thinking, decision-making, meta-cognition, situational awareness, and systems thinking. These skills are measured through telemetry data collected during each stage of the problem-solving process, which includes problem identification, quantitative analysis and data synthesis, hypothesis crafting, decision-making, and next-step recommendation, learning, and reflection. While all capabilities must be presented for success, some metrics are considered more impactful than others throughout the process. Critical Thinking, Situational Awareness, and Systems Thinking are the fundamental skills that all successful candidates need to possess, while Decision-Making and Meta-Cognition skills mastery are the advanced skills that will transform candidates from good to great ones.
Therefore, candidates who want to excel in the McKinsey Solve game need to focus on honing their problem-solving skills. They need to develop their critical thinking skills to form a rational judgment from a set of facts, decision-making skills to select the best course of action among several options, meta-cognition skills to make learning information and solving problems easier, situational awareness skills to determine the relationships between different factors and to project the outcomes of a mini-game, and systems thinking skills to understand cause and effect relationships involving several factors and feedback loops. By doing so, they will improve their chances of success and stand out as problem-solvers that can navigate complex business problems.
The McKinsey Solve Game Guide
Prepare for the McKinsey Solve Game with our comprehensive guide, Excel templates, and 11 videos featuring gameplay strategies and tips from over 450 test-takers and game designers. Our program is continuously updated to reflect the latest changes in the game and has helped over 8000 applicants from 70 countries score high on the Imbellus.
As former McKinsey consultants and interviewers, we provide unique insights and strategies that generic case websites and coaches can’t match. Our guide includes detailed explanations of the game interface, core objectives, and an assessment of the 8 skills that McKinsey looks for in their candidates.
We also offer detailed step-by-step test-taking strategies and tools that have been proven to work and are easy to replicate, with a higher than 85% success rate. 3 Red Rock practice tests, a video course, an Excel template solver for the ecosystem, access to future updates, and a free 14-page McKinsey interview guide are included with the purchase.
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McKinsey Solve Game Guide (Imbellus) 18th Edition
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