I did a practice interview with someone working at MBB and the feedback I got was that I am really fast, very structured, and math skills are great and that I solved the case within time. However, I was told that I speak fast and have lots of ideas and the interviewer felt that I was not working with him or taking him along. He would be concerned that my approach will be an issue at the client as I may not be able to take the client along. He asked me to make sure that I slow down and take the interviewer along. What does 'taking the interviewer along' mean and how should I do it? I am concerned that if I slow down I perhaps might deliver a lower performance in terms of math, creativity etc.
Taking your interviewer along
This basically means 2 things:
- Being structured and walking the interviewer through your structure
- Top-down communication
Here is a good list of articles that will help you:
1) Communicating while structuring. Here is a long post by me on how to communicate the structure during the case study:
2) Using hypothesis. I made a post about hypothesis here:
3) Communicating while making calculations:
- Always tell the interviewer your approach
- Check with the interviewer that your approach is correct
- Come to the interviewer with some preliminary answers
- Check your assumptions with the interviewer
4) Communicating during the analysis of graphs / tables
- Take a minute to look at the graph. Read the graph title. Look at the graph type and define the type (pie chart, line chart, etc). Look at the legend (ask for clarifying questions if necessary). Identify whats going on on the graph. Look for: Trends, % structures. Look for unusual things - correlations, outliers,
- Make 3-4 conclusions from the graph. Think out loud on potential hypothesis on what could be the root cause / what are the consequences
- Prioritize the most important for your current analysis and move forward with the case
5) Communicating while having questions on creativity
- Ask an interview for a minute to think
- Think of several buckets of ideas (e.g. organic growth / non-organic growth / differentiation). Remember to think as big as possible
- Narrow down to each bucket and generate as many ideas as possible
- Present the structure (buckets) and then your ideas
6) Communicating your conclusion. You can find a good example I've posted here:
7) Communicating your FIT stories
Use the top-down approach while communicating your stories. "The Pyramid Principle" is the must-read by ex McKinsey on this topic.
I recommend using the STAR framework:
- In Situation, you should briefly provide the context, usually in 1 or 2 sentences
- Task usually includes 2 or 3 sentences describing the problem and your objective.
- Then you provide a list of specific actions you took to achieve the goal. It should take 1 or 2 sentences per action (Usually 3-4 actions). Note that the interviewer can stop you any minute and ask for more details.
- The results part should have 1 or 2 sentences describing the outcomes. This part is finalizing your story - make sure it can impress the interviewer and stay in the memory.
Interviewer-Led vs Candidate-Led cases
Case Interviews can be led by the candidate or by the interviewer: In Candidate-led cases the main challenge is the structure. In Interviewer-led cases the main challenge is to adapt quickly