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How to prepare for the next rounds? Kearney - Middle East

Advice ATKearney business analyst First Round Middle East review
Neue Antwort am 26. Jan. 2024
7 Antworten
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Ujjawal fragte am 24. Jan. 2024

Hello PrepLounge Community,

I recently completed my first-round interview for a Business Analyst position at Kearney and would appreciate your insights on my experience, as this was my inaugural interview in management consulting.

The interview began smoothly with behavioral questions, which I believe I handled well. The challenge arose during a medium-difficulty profitability case. Nervousness got the better of me, and I lost track of time. Towards the end, I misunderstood the interviewer's request for a case conclusion as pertaining only to the recent analysis as I did not realise that we reached the end of the case and I was expecting more from the case. Realizing this, I asked for a moment, then provided a summary and still gave a conclusion which in a way did summarise the entire case but If I had known better my case synthesis would have been better. The interviewer seemed satisfied, but I was surprised that the case was concluded, as I had not been aware of the time.

I refrained from asking for feedback, adhering to the advice of experts. However, the interviewer offered a piece of advice for my next interview: not to rush the case

Given this experience, I have a few questions:

  1. How significant is this kind of error in a case interview?
  2. Overall, I believe my handling of the case, especially the quantitative aspects, was competent. Am I overthinking the situation?
  3. What strategies would you recommend to improve my time management and overall performance for the next interview?

Your advice would be immensely helpful as I navigate through this new and challenging field.

Thank you!
Ujjawal Jain

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Brad
Experte
antwortete am 24. Jan. 2024
Expert coach | Head of recruiting for Bain | 8+ years interviewing | Free intro call

Hi there,

 

There’s a lot to like here: (i) you got through the case, (ii) you handled lots of parts well and (iii) you recognised areas to improve.

 

The interview is over so you’re in the hands of the gods now. Regardless of whether you’re passed through to R2 or dinged, you should get some feedback on what to work on. It is critical that you work on this ahead of R2! When I was a R2 interviewer, I would receive the candidates feedback ahead of time and think about how I’m going to push them on that issue so whatever the feedback you can be sure that its going to be under laser focus in the next round.

 

More generally, if you’ve done more than >10 cases you should have a great sense of time and of course there’s no reason you can’t bring a watch in or ask for a time check, so time management (though important) is easily solvable.

 

I think the ‘don’t rush’ feedback is important to take on board. I obviously wasn’t in the room at the time but reading between the lines of your note it sounds like you could have been more efficient during the case, had you not rushed into the analysis. That’s a really common mistake – most folks have a bias to calculate because it makes them feel like they’re moving forward in the case, but they’re not because they haven’t structured the approach properly.

 

In summary, I recommend:

  1. Make sure you work on the direct feedback given to you
  2. Do more cases and develop a sense of time, including natural check points where you look at the clock or watch, or ask the interviewer
  3. Double down on getting better at structuring the case and it’s subelements. It really is a huge time and stress saver to make this a strength
  4. Get a coach. I always feel to ‘sales-y’ saying this, but man-oh-man it’s easier to work with someone that can show you what good looks like and how to get there than going it alone.

 

All the best! Let me know if I can help.


B.

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Ujjawal am 25. Jan. 2024

Thank you for sharing your answer. I deeply value your feedback and hope it helps other peers with similar queries!

Brad am 25. Jan. 2024

My pleasure. All the best!

Ian
Experte
Content Creator
antwortete am 24. Jan. 2024
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

Congrats on getting through your first case interview! Fingers crossed for you.

1. How significant is this kind of error in a case interview?

On it's own? That's ok. As long as you got the right answers.

Just remember: you're lost in a forest. Do you start running as fast as you can in one direction? Or do you stop, look around, orient yourself, and steadily walk in the right direction?

Move slower to get to the finish line faster.

Read this (and watch the cases in it!): Candidate-Led Cases: What to Expect With Example Cases

2. Overall, I believe my handling of the case, especially the quantitative aspects, was competent. Am I overthinking the situation?

If you seemed to get the right answers and the math did not trip you up, then that sounds right! Keep practicing with peers.

3. What strategies would you recommend to improve my time management and overall performance for the next interview?

Hard to say…because it depends on where you're messing up and what's blocking you. Would need to do a case assessment to best advise. However, here's some reading to help:

 

The Most Common Pitfalls in Case Interview Preparation
 

Dos and Don'ts in a Case Interview
 

How to Shift Your Mindset to Ace the Case
 

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Ujjawal am 25. Jan. 2024

Thank you for sharing your answer. I deeply value your feedback and hope it helps other peers with similar queries!

Ian am 25. Jan. 2024

Ah my pleasure! Best of luck in your journey :)

Gero
Experte
antwortete am 24. Jan. 2024
Ex-BCG │200+ Interviews & Interview Coachings @ BCG │ 20+ candidates coached into MBB │WHU/LSE/Nova │ Teacher & Trainer

Dear Ujjawal,

Thank you for sharing your experience!

I am happy to support your endeavour by sharing some thoughts on your situation.

#1 You are right; you are probably overthinking this and do not focus on what is truly important

As you suspect yourself, I believe you overthink the situation here. I would encourage you not to focus your thinking too much on the synthesis. The synthesis is a rather tiny part of the case, and sometimes the interviewer will not even ask for one. Moreover, if you have done a good job at deriving insights and contextualizing frameworks throughout the case (and the interviewer already put down good grades for that), the synthesis is not of very high importance. It can, however, sometimes become important to make a good impression to save an otherwise weak case or to demonstrate some area not really tested, such as qualitative insights after a quant-heavy case. In your case, I rather do not believe that what happened made a difference from what you described. Just remember to clarify what type of synthesis is asked if you are unsure.

#2 You should get accustomed to how a case flows to attack the next interviews with more confidence

You should really strive to identify the areas of the case you have the most difficulty with and improve them in an efficient way. You mentioned that this was your first real interview, and you struggled to observe the time. I would not go crazy about time; unless explicitly told, "I expect your answer at x:xx," you can just go through the case on your terms, performing relevant analyses and building up insights regarding the case question, and the interviewer will manage timing a bit. I think what might really benefit you here is just some routine with regards to a case flow and an understanding of how case interviews can develop. Thus I would encourage you to:

  • Do full-length mock interviews with peers
  • Watch case interview videos on YouTube

Both should give you a better feel for the interview.

#3 Utilize the valuable feedback you were provided with by the interviewer!

Your interviewer really did you a favor by giving you the feedback not to rush the case. This probably means that you should check if you can do any of these:

  • Framework - time taken. Take more time to build a deep and broad framework (a signal might be: did you spend 1-1.5 minutes, or were you much quicker)?
  • Framework - Ideas & Prioritization. Include some reasoning: What are specific ideas in your framework that might be causing problems in that profitability case for a company in that industry? Based on that, what would be the area you want to investigate first? (prioritization)
  • Insights throughout the case. When doing quantitative analyses and exhibits: What do the findings actually mean for your client and the answer to the case question? What assumptions are you making?

Your interviewer wants you to show more structure and insight and not go in with a narrow view and limit your problem-solving perspective.

While I would argue that you should not rely on one point of feedback only, you should definitely take that hint seriously!

I would encourage you to ask your mock interview partners explicitly to give you feedback on that critical dimension after the case. Alternatively, you could really benefit from one targeted session with a coach here who spots where the problem in 'rushing' the case really lies and how to improve.

I hope that was helpful.

All the best for your further preparation; I hope it works with round 2, and you can go in with confidence!

Best,

Gero

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Ujjawal am 25. Jan. 2024

Thank you for sharing your answer. I deeply value your feedback and hope it helps other peers with similar queries!

Hagen
Experte
Content Creator
antwortete am 25. Jan. 2024
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi Ujjawal,

First of all, congratulations on the progress in the application process with Kearney thus far!

I would be happy to share my thoughts on your questions:

  • First of all, the kind of error you described can have varied significance in a case interview. It often hinges on how you recover from it. It seems like you managed to provide a coherent conclusion despite the confusion, which is positive. Interviewers understand that nerves can play a role.
  • Moreover, it's natural to reflect on your performance and seek areas for improvement. Nevertheless, if you did well in the quantitative aspects and the interviewer seemed satisfied, it's likely that you are indeed overthinking the situation.
  • Lastly, for improving time management and performance, I would advise you to practice more cases under timed conditions, potentially with a kitchen clock in sight. This will help you get a better feel for the pacing of a case and allow you to manage your time more effectively.

You can find more on this topic here: How to succeed in the final interview round.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on how to best prepare for your upcoming interviews, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best,

Hagen

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Ujjawal am 25. Jan. 2024

Thank you for sharing your answer. I deeply value your feedback and hope it helps other peers with similar queries!

Francesco
Experte
Content Creator
antwortete am 26. Jan. 2024
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Ujjawal,

1) How significant is this kind of error in a case interview?

It is really difficult to comment without knowing how you delivered the “alternative” conclusion and the rest of the interview. From what you shared though it doesn’t seem a deal breaker.

2) Overall, I believe my handling of the case, especially the quantitative aspects, was competent. Am I overthinking the situation?

Again, it is difficult to judge your performance from what you shared.

Regardless, the interview outcome is not in your control, thus I would concentrate on the other interviews, if any, at this stage.

3) What strategies would you recommend to improve my time management and overall performance for the next interview?

I will comment on the partial conclusion you shared, as we don't have information on the rest. For that part, I would recommend clarifying with the interviewer if the summary is for the overall case or just for the last part covered before answering, in case you have doubts.

Good luck!

Francesco

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Florian
Experte
Content Creator
antwortete am 25. Jan. 2024
Highest-rated McKinsey coach (ratings, offers, sessions) | 500+ offers | Author of The 1% & Consulting Career Secrets

Hi there,

You can and should ask for feedback!

Regarding your questions:

No one moves through a case completely flawlessly. In your case, these seem minor. Focus less on the synthesis in your case interview; it's not the main part. Instead, concentrate on insights you generate throughout the case. However, now that you know this was an issue, practice it before the next round!

Hard to tell from the outside to be honest. Overthinking seems likely. :-)

Pay attention to the feedback. Your interviewer advised you not to rush. Spend more time on your framework, prioritize effectively, and think deeply about your insights. Consider coaching for targeted improvement.

All the best,

Florian

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Ujjawal am 25. Jan. 2024

Thank you for sharing your answer. I deeply value your feedback and hope it helps other peers with similar queries!

Cristian
Experte
Content Creator
antwortete am 26. Jan. 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi Ujjawal,

Congrats!

Sounds like your interview went well. 

Going too fast is the problem 80% of candidates have, so I'm not surprised you got this feedback. 

Instead of optimising for speed, aim to optimise for depth, insight and connection with the interviewer. 

In practice, also take more thinking time for each question. You are not expected to answer on the spot.

Best,
Cristian

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Brad

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