BCG Online Case – 10 Key Tips to Beat the Chatbot

In recent years, BCG launched a brand new way to assess and shortlist candidates for interviews. This new assessment - called the BCG Online Case - took the form of a web-based chatbot mimicking an actual case interview. The firm quickly validated the new test and the Online Case has since been rolled out globally, replacing the BCG Potential Test in all but a few offices.

If you are interviewing with BCG, you will likely have to take the new BCG Online Case. You only have one shot at the new test - if you fail, you will not get another attempt for 1 to 2 years. Therefore, it is critical that you prepare in the best possible way.

In this article, I (Francesco) will give you an overview of the new BCG Online Case and detail how to best prepare for it.

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Definition and importance
What is the BCG Online Case and why is it important?
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Scoring system
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BCG Online Case Definition and Importance

The new BCG Online Case (also called Chatbot Interview) involves a chatbot called Casey presenting an actual case similar to those you may receive from human interviewers. However, due to being a chatbot interview, the case is interviewer-led, which means you will have little to no control over the flow.

The case contains 8 to 10 questions, delivered over an instant messenger-like interface, to be solved in 25 to 30 minutes. These questions take 2 forms:

  1. Multiple-choice questions where candidates have to choose which data they need to proceed, what analyses they want to do next, or what their findings/conclusions are
  2. Open-ended questions where candidates have to explain their answers to the prior multiple-choice questions or answer a math or creativity question

This is followed by a one-way video interview question at the end where you have to provide a recommendation to the client. To sum up, you have 1 minute to prepare and another minute to present your conclusion.

The main differences compared to the previous BCG Potential Test include:

  1. There are 8-10 questions instead of 23
  2. Candidates have only 25-30 minutes instead of the traditional 45
  3. Calculators are allowed
  4. There are open-ended questions in addition to multiple-choice questions
  5. It ends with a video sum up

The Online Case is critical for BCG as it provides the firm with a way to more accurately assess key consulting skills at scale. These skills include structuring, business sense, math skills, graph interpretation, and synthesis. The basic hypothesis of BCG launching this test is that if you perform well along these dimensions you should also perform well in an actual live case interview.

BCG Online Case Scoring System

With the presence of open-ended explanation questions and the video sum up, your grading won’t be as simple as the other more traditional screening assessments such as the McKinsey PST and BCG Potential Test. Instead of having standardized scores (i.e., how many questions a candidate got right), you will likely be evaluated holistically in terms of the key consulting skills mentioned earlier and have your performance compared with those of other candidates.

When do I get my BCG Online Case results?

The results are usually delivered within 2 weeks. However, sometimes the test is done as part of the first-round interviews. In such cases, your performance in the test will be assessed together with your case interview performance, and the results will be communicated accordingly.

BCG Online Case Tips

Tip 1: Check if the Chatbot Interview is part of your selection process

The Chatbot Interview and the previous BCG Potential Test are both called the BCG Online Case. While the BCG Potential Test has mostly been replaced, it is still in use in certain countries/offices; therefore, it is good to be clear on which test you have to take and avoid preparing for the wrong one. Additionally, the Chatbot Interview is sometimes given together with the first-round interviews, instead of being used as a pre-interview screening tool. If any of these elements are unclear, it is best that you clarify with HR before preparing

 

Tip 2: Start practicing in advance if possible

You will often receive an invitation to the Online Case right after your applications, and the Online Case usually needs to be performed within 3 days after receiving the link. Each of the key skills assessed can be developed to maximize the chances of passing the Online Case; however, this is only possible if you have sufficient time to prepare. Ideally, I would recommend starting the preparation as soon as you know that you have to take the test.

 

Tip 3: Know how to analyze the data

Graphs and charts are a key part of the BCG Online Case, and you can expect to face at least a few during the Case. Sometimes, you might even need to analyze multiple graphs at the same time to answer a question. Hence, building up your graph interpretation muscles will prove very beneficial. When facing a graph question, you should follow 3 steps:

  1. Understand the objective. The goal of the analysis is often very specific; be sure that you are going to answer the right question to avoid losing time later on
  2. Analyze the graph. Read the graph, identifying the key elements represented
  3. Define a formula to answer the question. Identify a structure or equation to derive the answer to the question based on the information provided

 

Tip 4: Carefully select your practice material

While the new BCG Online Case differs from traditional tests such as the McKinsey PST and the BCG Potential Test, there is still significant overlap between the skills tested. Hence, it is still beneficial to practice these tests.

If you want to prepare with the material really resembling the new BCG Online Case, you can find 2 full Casey-style tests included in the guide I created, together with several PSTs and BCG Potential Tests examples.

 

Tip 5: Structure the conclusion correctly

To succeed in the BCG Online Case final recommendation, you need to be able to communicate your thoughts in a concise and understandable manner. This is critical as you need to summarise your findings in 1 minute.

I would recommend structuring your thoughts as follows:

  1. Briefly repeat the goal of the case provided in the initial prompt
  2. Present a direct answer to the question first and only then back it up with distinct supporting points
  3. Structure your supporting point (eg labeling them with “First,.. Second, Third…”) to make them more clear
  4. End by presenting your next steps and/or risks

 

Tip 6: Develop a case practice routine

Given that the new BCG Online Case mimics an actual case interview, practicing cases is one of the best ways to prepare for the Online Case. Since the Online Case can be administered very early in the process, you should build up a case practice routine early.

Cases can be prepared with both top Casebooks and P2P platforms such as PrepLounge. Casebooks allow you to practice in your own free time, and those from top Business Schools such as INSEAD tend to offer high-quality cases, however, you won’t be able to test your communication skills. Meanwhile, live interviews on P2P platforms tend to be more effective in terms of communication but require more time from your end as you need to both give and receive cases, and your partners may or may not provide good feedback.

I would recommend a combination of both to prepare effectively.

 

Tip 7:  Be mindful of your time

The questions in the Online Case are not particularly difficult; however, unlike a test like the McKinsey PST, you cannot proceed “at your own pace”. Instead, you have to follow the evolution of the test as questions are revealed one by one. The implication of this is that you will feel time constraints as you won’t know how difficult the next questions will be and how much time they may require. Moreover, Casey will give you reminders every 5 minutes, which may add additional pressure.

To mitigate these issues, I would recommend paying attention to how much time you are spending on a question and to provide a best-guess answer if you have already spent a substantial amount of time (i.e., 4+ minutes) on a single question.

 

Tip 8: Practice test materials under real conditions

In order to mimic the real conditions of the Online Case, I would recommend practicing on the McKinsey PST and/or BCG Potentials Test with a strict time limit. This means spending approximately 2 minutes per question. This is especially critical for the math questions as candidates often find the math in the Online Case to be particularly challenging given the time constraints. Additionally, you should attempt these tests on a computer to mimic the Online Case experience as closely as possible.

 

Tip 9: Zero in on the answer to multiple-choice questions via elimination

During the Online Case, you will be presented with several multiple-choice questions. These questions may provide a lot of options and you may have to pick either the best one or select all those that are applicable/relevant. Hence, it is critical that you don’t get confused by all the options that are available to you.

To avoid this, I would recommend eliminating the options that are not applicable whenever you don’t know the right answer right away. This is often much easier than trying to identify the correct answer(s) upfront. Once you have restricted your options to a reasonable number, it will be easier to narrow them down to the best ones.

 

Tip 10: Prepare your test environment beforehand

A great environment will help you to increase concentration and be totally focused on the questions. Some tips that may help you to have the right setup for the test are:

  1. Take the test in a silent room with a pen, paper, and a calculator ready, so that you can fully focus on the Online Case and have everything in place to perform well
  2. Check your Internet connection, webcam, and microphone beforehand
  3. Dress formally for the video interview

 

Next Steps

If you are looking for more information on the BCG Online Case, check out the guide I created with details on every single question type and 2 complete Casey-style tests:

If you have any questions on the Online Case, please feel free to send a direct message on PrepLounge.

About the Author

Francesco

#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

  • Professional Experience: BCG
  • Languages: English, Italian, Spanish
  • Location: Singapore

Francesco is an interview coach, former BCG consultant, and tech entrepreneur. He is the #1 coach on PrepLounge.com for meetings done, where he completed more than 3.000 expert sessions. As a coach for consulting interviews, Francesco helped hundreds of candidates to land offers from McKinsey, BCG, and Bain. Since 2016, he organizes consulting boot camps in some of the leading universities in Europe. As a consultant, Francesco joined BCG in the Milan office, where he worked on projects in the energy, industrial goods, and consumer goods sectors. After BCG, he worked in venture capital in Germany as an angel fund associate. As an entrepreneur, Francesco founded two companies in Europe and Asia in the entertainment and EdTech sectors. He is currently leading a Singapore-based company and supporting startups as a strategic advisor.

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