Over the past four months, 2,000 people trying to get hired by McKinsey have been plonked in front of a computer screen showing a picture of an island and these words: “You are the caretaker of an island where plants and animals live in a variety of diverse ecosystems.” This is the start of a computer game the consultancy is testing as it tries to lure clever, tech-savvy people from beyond its traditional Ivy League business-school hunting grounds. I learnt this a couple of weeks ago when I bumped into a consultant who knew about it. How odd, I thought, wondering if McKinsey would ever let me have a play. The other day, they did, though I was soon wishing they had not. At first, all went well. At the firm’s London office, I was ushered into a room that contained a laptop and a couple of McKinseyites who explained why they were trying out the game. It turns out that even an outfit that gets about 750,000 job applicants a year — and hires fewer than 1% of them — is not immune from tec...

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