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A pixelated coral reef fills the screen. A drop-down menu lists a variety of weird and wonderful sea creatures – brain coral, turtles, seaweed – along with their preferred temperature, salt content and food sources. The aim of the game is to build a healthy ecosystem, using this information to pick the right predators and prey to co-exist in a colourful ocean simulation.
But this is no Nintendo playpen. The “build a reef” scenario is part of the McKinsey Problem Solving Game – a state of the art digital assessment designed to filter would-be consultants in the firm’s highly competitive application process (notoriously, only about 1 per cent of all applicants receive job offers). According to McKinsey, the game helps to “measure a broad set of cognitive skills” and provide an insight “beyond the resumé or conventional interview”.