AT Kearney case interview: the only post you'll need to read

AT Kearney's interview process is quite challenging, and evaluates potential candidates using case interviews, behavioural interviews, and (sometimes) a case presentation and Excel skills test. 

This might sound intimidating, but don't worry! If you prepare well, you can crack your AT Kearney interviews, and maximise your chances of earning a job offer. 

We've helped over 40,000 consulting candidates prepare for their interviews, and this post is our ultimate guide for AT Kearney's interview process. Let's start off with a little background information on AT Kearney, and then we'll cover the details you'll need to know for your interviews.

  1. Andrew T Kearney was McKinsey's first partner
  2. AT Kearney interview process overview
  3. AT Kearney case interviews
  4. Top behavioural interview questions asked at AT Kearney
  5. Additional evaluations at AT Kearney
  6. Preparation tips for AT Kearney case interviews
    1. Andrew T Kearney was McKinsey's first partner

    McKinsey and Company, which is today considered the most prestigious consulting company in the world, was founded in 1926 by James McKinsey. In 1929, James McKinsey named Andrew Thomas Kearney (e.g. AT Kearney), the firm's very first partner. 

    Each of these men had complementary consulting skills. James McKinsey had an impressive analytical mind, but he wasn't as polished when it came to social interactions. On the other hand, Kearney was relationally-gifted and became the firm's client-facing communicator. 

    Over time, the firm grew to have partners in both Chicago and New York City. And then, James McKinsey died in 1937, and the firm reached a crossroads. The remaining partners made a deal that would separate the New York partners and Chicago partners into two separate firms. The New York partners became known as McKinsey & Company, and the Chicago partners (who were led by Kearney), later became known as AT Kearney. 

    Today, AT Kearney is among the world's most prestigious consulting firms. It brought in $1.3bn in revenue in 2018 and has about 3,500 employees globally. AT Kearney also ranked in the top 10 consulting firms to work for, in the 2020 Vault Consulting 50. Next, let's turn our attention to an overview of AT Kearney's interview process.

    2. AT Kearney interview process overview

    AT Kearney has three main steps in their application process:

    1. Resume and cover letter screening
    2. First round interviews 
    3. Second round interviews

    These steps outline the typical process. However, the exact process can vary based on location and role. It can be really helpful to ask your HR contact if they can provide more details on your specific interview track. 

    Generally, your first step will be nailing your resume and cover letter. The recruiter will be looking for specific things on your application, including problem-solving and leadership skills. To optimise your documents, check out our free guides for consulting resumes and cover letters. In certain situations, you may also be asked to take a standardised logic or reasoning test early in the application process. 

    After your application is approved, you'll have your first-round interviews with AT Kearney. If you're applying on-campus at a target school, then you may have your interviews in-person. Otherwise, the first round is usually done over the phone or through a video call. This first round will typically consist of two interviews. A 45-minute behavioural interview, and a 45-minute case interview.

    The second round interviews are usually held at one of AT Kearney's offices, and typically include two behavioural interviews and one case interview. Depending on the role and office you apply to, you may also encounter a case presentation and an Excel skills test. 

    In the following few sections, we'll provide more details on these recruitment steps for AT Kearney, including our best tips for how to get prepared to crush your interviews. Let's get started!

    3. AT Kearney case interviews

    Case interviews at AT Kearney are candidate-led, which is the same style used in a BCG or Bain case interview. This is different than firms like McKinsey that use interviewer-led cases. 

    For a candidate-led case interview, there are 7 types of questions you need to prepare for:

    • Situation
    • Framework development
    • Framework exploration
    • Quant question – Data provided
    • Quant question – No data provided
    • Creativity question
    • Recommendation

    In addition to the question types mentioned above, you should also expect to see market entry questions during your AT Kearney interviews.

    Another great way to prepare is by practicing with realistic sample cases. There are a few free AT Kearney practice cases available online, and you can find them at the links below:

    You can also get a sense of what candidate-led case interviews are like, using the video below. As we mentioned, case interviews at AT Kearney tend to be candidate-led and therefore use a format similar to BCG and Bain interviews.

    4. Top behavioural interview questions asked at AT Kearney

    Behavioural interviews at AT Kearney tend to be very conversational, but that does not mean they're easy. To prepare for behavioural interviews, you should try to anticipate the types of questions you'll encounter, and prepare answers for them in advance. You can expect to encounter two main categories of behavioural interview questions at AT Kearney:

    1. Fit questions. These are generic questions such as “Why consulting?” or “Why AT Kearney?”.
    2. Personal Experience Interview (PEI) questions. These are questions such as “Tell me about a time when you led a team through a difficult situation.” Or “Tell me about a time where you had to manage a team conflict”

      We've written extensively about consulting fit / PEI questions in the past. But in summary here are the top 5 fit and PEI questions you should prepare for at AT Kearney.

      Top 5 fit questions:

      • Why AT Kearney?
      • Why consulting?
      • Walk me through your resume
      • Tell me about something not on your resume
      • Tell me about your greatest accomplishment

      Top 5 PEI questions. Tell me about a time when ...

      • You led a team through a difficult situation
      • You worked in a team and had to manage a conflict
      • You had a disagreement with a colleague / boss
      • You had to change someone's / a group's mind
      • You overcame a really difficult challenge

      If you would like guidance on how to answer PEI questions, you might find this article helpful.

      5. Additional evaluations at AT Kearney
      5.1 AT Kearney case presentation

      In addition to case interviews and behavioural interviews, which are both common for consulting firms, AT Kearney also sometimes uses case presentations. Below are a few details that are typical for AT Kearney's case presentations: 

      • ~ 1-hour to review materials and prepare a PPT presentation
      • ~ 10-minute presentation in front of interviewers
      • Q&A with interviewers at the end

      It's worth mentioning that this does vary, so if you're already in contact with a recruiter from AT Kearney, you may want to ask them for more precise details. 

      With that said, for this type of interview you'll usually be provided with some materials containing data and background information for the case. You may also be provided with questions that your presentation should specifically address. 

      During your prep time, you will need to conduct an analysis, collect supporting arguments, and prepare a PowerPoint to deliver your findings. You should also prepare to be challenged by your interviewers with follow-up questions. 

      You can learn more about preparing for this type of interview in our written case interview guide. That guide is written with BCG and Bain in mind, and there are some differences for an AT Kearney case presentation. However, the tips and preparation plan in sections 2 and 3 would still be a great resource for your preparation.

      5.2 AT Kearney Excel skills test

      AT Kearney has also been known to sometimes use an Excel skills test to evaluate their candidates. This is fairly unique, and not many (if any) other top consulting firms are using this method. According to self-reported interview feedback on Glassdoor, it seems like the firm only uses the Excel test for certain office locations. 

      If you expect to encounter an Excel test during your interviews at AT Kearney, here is generally what they look like:

      • You are provided a computer and a pre-made Excel spreadsheet
      • You are provided a set of specific problems to answer (or perform) in Excel
      • You have ~1 hour to complete the problems within the spreadsheet

      In order to succeed on this kind of test, you will need a strong understanding of data analysis, and you will need to be prepared to apply advanced Excel functions. For example, you may need to know how to do the following in Excel:

      • Match functions
      • Index functions
      • Countif functions
      • Sumif functions
      • Pivot tables
      • Regression
      • Data cleaning

      To help you get started on your preparation, we recommend this article on advanced Excel functions from the Corporate Finance Institute. The list above and the article we've mentioned are not comprehensive, but they should give you a good starting point. 

      Now that we've covered the main types of evaluations you could encounter during your AT Kearney interviews, let's turn our attention to a few important tips for your preparation.  

      6. Preparation tips for AT Kearney case interviews
      6.1 Become really confident at maths

      You don't have to have a perfect GPA or GMAT score to succeed at case interview maths. However, during your AT Kearney interview, you will be expected to quickly perform accurate mental maths. 

      With some time and intentional effort, you can develop impressive maths skills, and learn to confidently solve questions with a structured approach. In our experience, the most successful applicants begin their interview preparation by practicing maths skills.

      If you want to learn more about the type of maths problems used in AT Kearney case interviews, check out our free guide to case interview maths.

      6.2 Develop a consistent method to crack cases

      One of the biggest challenges of interviewing with AT Kearney is the case interviews. Not only can each case be difficult, but you'll need to perform well across several separate case interviews to receive an offer.

      As a result, it’s critical for you to have a consistent approach for solving cases. As we mentioned above, AT Kearney uses candidate-led case interviews, which can be broken down into the following seven types of questions:

      1. Situation
      2. Framework development
      3. Framework exploration
      4. Quant question – Data provided
      5. Quant question – No data provided
      6. Creativity question
      7. Recommendation

      If you can crack each type of question (within a case), then you can crack the overall case.

      When we prepared for our case interviews, one of the most frustrating things was the lack of a consistent approach for solving each of the case questions. That's exactly why we created the step-by-step method for solving cases that we teach in our case interview training programme.

      6.3 Practice cases out loud

      The analysis you bring to each case is important, but your interviewers will also be evaluating how you COMMUNICATE your answers. It's important to speak in a structured way that makes it easy to clearly understand your points.

      One of the best ways to hone your communication skills is to practice with friends and former consultants. However, this isn’t always possible.

      A great alternative is to simply practice by yourself (out loud). Play the role of both the candidate and the interviewer. That means you should ask questions and answer them, just like two people would in an interview.

      This will probably seem strange at first. But trust us, in our experience candidates who use this approach are much more likely to get an offer.

      6.4 Learn from every mistake you make

      During case interview preparation, the quality of your preparation is just as important as the quantity of time that you dedicate. It's better to do 20 cases thoughtfully than to rush through 40 cases. We recommend that you keep a notebook where you record improvement opportunities and specific things you did well for each case. 

      The notebook and self-evaluation will help you be more strategic (and efficient) with your preparation. It's also a good idea to go back and re-do old cases. For example, after you have done case #20, you could go back to case #1, to make sure you are not repeating the same mistakes.

      The minimum preparation time required to succeed in case interviews is probably around 30 hours. However, if you don't prepare thoughtfully, it may take much longer. So take notes, be strategic, and start practicing today!

      Additional resources

      If you would like to fast track your case interview preparation and maximise your chances of getting an offer at AT Kearney, come and train with us. More than 80% of the candidates training with our case interview programmes end up getting an offer at their target firm. We know this because we give half of their money back to people who don't.

      You can find a link to our BCG & Bain Case Interview Training Programme below. As mentioned previously, AT Kearney uses the same type of case interviews as BCG and Bain. So you can therefore use that programme to prepare.

      BCG & Bain Case Interview Training Programme

      BCG & Bain case interview training programme

      Any questions about AT Kearney case interviews?

      If you have any questions about case interviews, do not hesitate to ask them below and we will be more than happy to answer them. All questions are good questions, so go ahead!

      The IGotAnOffer team