March 1, 2010
Simon Pouliot, a BBA student at HEC Montréal, was a member of the winning team for the 2010 McKinsey Challenge, held on February 5 and 6. A total of 24 students from HEC Montréal, the École Polytechnique, the Université de Montréal, Concordia University and McGill University formed six interdisciplinary teams.
The annual competition, organized by the McKinsey international consulting firm at its Montreal office, challenges participants to solve a concrete problem similar to those faced by its consultants. Starting from a “huge pile of documents,” Simon explains, “we had to develop a strategy to halt the decline in revenues at a chartered bank.” The students met and got acquainted the first evening at a cocktail reception, and then devoted the next day to solving the case. McKinsey consultants visited the different rooms in turn to see how the teams were doing and provide help if necessary.
Simon emphasized that the experience was very enriching, and helped him to understand himself better. “It’s a demanding teamwork situation, because the team members have only just met, everyone is very determined, and you have to quickly identify and make use of the synergies within the group.”
The winning team shared a $2,000 prize, and each student is eligible for an internship position at the firm’s Montreal office.
This was the eighth edition of the competition, which was opened up to management and business students only last year; it had previously been limited to engineering students. Last year’s winning team also included an HEC Montréal student.
The firm chooses participants for the Challenge very carefully, looking for bilingual BBA or MBA students with excellent academic records. They must be high achievers, with proven leadership qualities, mathematical aptitudes and good interpersonal skills.
McKinsey employs over 8,000 consultants worldwide and publishes the very influential McKinsey Quarterly.