LubricantsCo, a very successful Asian premium producer of lubricants in their native region, would like to further increase their revenue and profit. The product range ranges from lubricants in the automotive sector (e.g. motor and gear oil) to industrial applications (e.g. fats, heavy-duty oils). ... Open whole case
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Company Cases by Bain & Company
You have inherited the “Old Winery” from your grandfather, a winery which has been family owned for five generations and can be dated back to the 16th century. Half of the eleven hectares are used to grow white grapes, the other half to grow red grapes. They are grown in the conventional way, i.e. ... Open whole case
Bain & Company Q&As Add your Question
Hi Anonymous, Since answers currently range from 1 to 2.5 minutes as "acceptable" (assuming you are talking about designing your own case framework at the beginning of your case interview), I thoug... (more)
Since answers currently range from 1 to 2.5 minutes as "acceptable" (assuming you are talking about designing your own case framework at the beginning of your case interview), I thought it's worth commenting and adding some pieces of context/additional information.
First of all, there is no hard threshold time-wise (unless explicitly communicated by your interviewer). 3 things need to be aligned:
- Complexity of case outline and amount of information you have at this stage
- Amount of time you use for setting up your approach/structure
- Quality/depth of approach/structure you come up with
So - if the case outline is rather short and not too complex, and you come up with a somewhat ok structure but don’t get too detailled yet, even 60 seconds is probably on the upper end of time range.
However, if the case outline is very comprehensive with loads of information, and if you can present a highly focused structure on 3 levels, then also 2 minutes could still be within the range from the interviewer's perspective (even though really upper limit, since 2 minutes also represent already a significant percentage of total net case interview time).
Having said that, a few more comments:
- If you plan to use more than ~75–90 seconds of time, please make sure you keep the interviewer informed what you are doing every now and then - don’t let him sit in silence for 2 minutes getting bored watching you
- Sometimes interviewers tend to specify an exact amount of time (e.g. “sure, go ahead, you have 1 minute) - in this case you should do your best to stick to this time frame - at least keeping an eye on time and after time is over you can still try to get more time (and at the same time signalling that you did not successfully ignore the time constraint) saying something like “We are already at the 1 minute mark right now - could I just have a few more seconds to finish the structure?”. So now it’s up to the interviewer to decide, and you played it safe.
- The longer you take for defining your structure/approach, the more likely it gets that the interviewer becomes impatient and might even interrupt you saying “ok let’s see what you have by now and let’s complete it on the fly together”. The only antidote to that is keeping your interviewer entertained by informing him where you are roughly in your thinking and structure, to break this otherwise relatively long period of silence.
- In addition, make sure that you always start top-down, i.e. finishing a certain level of your structure before coming to the next one. Simple reason for that: if your interviewer suddenly interrupts you, you always have a (kind of) MECE structure to start with - and adding more details on the fly is easier than coming up with additional topics to be MECE on the same level.
Hope that helps!
Hi Anonymous, in terms of your main question, first-round cases tend to be quite similar (I helped several candidates for the same office which got the same question over and over), while partner i... (more)
in terms of your main question, first-round cases tend to be quite similar (I helped several candidates for the same office which got the same question over and over), while partner interviews may have more variability, since partner may simply ask a general brainstorming question.
It can definitely be useful to know the previous cases in an office to target your preparation on certain sectors – obviously if you receive a question you know you should be able to show you are “naturally” solving the case and not come to the solution to quickly or the interviewer will notice it. You should also have a general preparation for every type of case anyway, as there are no guarantees you will receive the same case by the same interviewer, even if that happened in the past.
Hi Anonymous, in terms of how to approach math in the case, this is what I would recommend: Repeat the question – candidates sometimes do mistakes answering the wrong question in the math par... (more)
in terms of how to approach math in the case, this is what I would recommend:
- Repeat the question – candidates sometimes do mistakes answering the wrong question in the math part
- Present how you would like to proceed from a theoretical point of view (you may ask for time before presenting if you initially don't know how to approach the problem)
- Ask for time and perform the first computations
- Present the interviewer interim steps to keep him/her aligned – don’t just say the final number
- Continue with the computations until you find the final answer
- Propose next steps on the basis of the results you found
In terms of general math tips, this is what I would recommend:
- Use correctly 10^ powers in your math computation. For example 3.2B/723M can be transformed in 3200*10^6/732*10^6, which makes it easier to deal with math
- Ask if it is fine to approximate. When you have to deal with math in market sizing, and sometimes even in business cases, you are allowed to approximate math to simplify the computation. In the previous example, for instance, you could transform the computation in 320*10^7/73*10^7, making the overall computation faster.
- Keep good notes. One of the reasons people do mistakes with big numbers is that they don't keep their notes in order, thus forget/misreport numbers
- Divide complex math in smaller logical steps. This is something you can use for big numbers after the application of the 10^ power mentioned above. If you have to compute (96*39)*10^6, you can divide the first element in 96*40 - 96*1 = 100*40 - 4*40 - 96*1 = 4000 – 160 – 100 + 4 = 3744*10^6
- Use shortcuts for fractions. You can learn by art fractions and thus speed up/simplify the computation - the most useful to know are 1/6, 1/7, 1/8, 1/9.
Finally, in terms of practice before the interview I would recommend to practice math under pressure - not just math. Many candidates are totally fine with calculating 67% of 67 in a quiet environment, but freeze if you ask this suddenly in a case interview.
To practice for this, try always to use a timer with a strict time constraint when you practice math – this will create pressure and help to replicate the actual environment of the interview.
Hope this helps,
Hi there, If you are applying to a region and it is not clear in your CV why and you dont have any referrals that becomes extremely tough to get noticed unless you have a very strong CV (MBA from t... (more)
If you are applying to a region and it is not clear in your CV why and you dont have any referrals that becomes extremely tough to get noticed unless you have a very strong CV (MBA from top school, relevant experience, etc.)
I would never recommend applying to a firm without a referral actually.
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