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Focus on the core: practicing mock interviews with peers

Take on both interviewee and interviewer roles

Though it is crucial to get as much practice solving cases (as an interviewee), it is also helpful to play the role of an interviewer. Aside from it being fair to “give and take” cases, as an interviewer you get a different angle. For instance, you will see potential mistakes or best practices first-hand – both of which you can learn from.

If you are new to mock interviews with peers, here are a couple of guidelines to help you get started as an interviewer:

  • In general you should:
    • Read and solve the case for yourself before giving it
    • Note that there may be different solutions to the case
    • Feel free to help your practice partners if they are stuck
  • Look out for the following during the case:
    • Are they asking good questions?
    • Are they laying out a logical structure?
    • Are they quantifying their approach?
    • Are they able to synthesize the case?
    • Are they confident, professional, and/or pleasant?

Stages of mock interview practice

Like with any skill, getting proficient at solving cases involves different stages, through which one progresses – usually from incompetence to competence. We have identified 3 main stages based on the testimonials of successful candidates:

  1. Onboarding (<10 cases, conscious incompetence): Candidates overcome the “inertia” to start practicing by getting a feel for live case interviews. Also, in this stage candidates recognize their deficits and the need for regular practice.
  2. Ramp-up (10-30 cases, conscious competence): Candidates start forming good habits of practicing regularly. In this stage candidates know how to go about solving the case but require a lot of concentration.
  3. Internalization (>30 cases, unconscious competence): Candidates are starting to structure cases with customized frameworks (e.g. issue tree) and have time to build rapport with the interviewer. In this final stage, candidates can almost solve the case effortlessly and therefore go beyond the case.

It’s important to bear in mind that there is no magic number of cases that one has to reach. This depends from candidate to candidate and can range anywhere from 30 to 100. It’s better to focus on the progression through the stages and to keep pushing, until the skills are internalized. Quitting before this stage or getting stuck in the previous stage tends to be the difference between almost getting the offer and actually getting the offer.

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