McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School
Book a coaching

Action plan to prepare interviews

Anonymous A

Hello all,

I hope you're well.

I am looking for a concrete action plan for 2 month period in order to prepare my interviews with Mckinsey and BCG in the upcoming 2 months.

Thank you

Best

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Vlad replied on 07/19/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School

Hi,

I recommend the following approach:

1) Start with "Case in point" book - you can download this book for free everywhere. It's not the best guide on how you should approach the cases, however, it will give you the basic understanding.

2) Start practicing cases with partners here or find them locally. !!! Find experienced partners or coaches who can provide a good feedback!!!

3) Purchase and read Viktor Cheng Book (Amazon Kindle store) and listen to LOMS (his website). I recommend to reread the book and listen to LOMS every 15 cases. Every time, having more experience, you’ll be finding something new.

4) Practice fast math

  • Learn how to multiply double digit numbers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ndkkPZYJHo)
  • Learn the division table up to 1/11 (i.e. 5/6 = 83.3)
  • Learn how to work with zeros (Hint: 4000000 = 4*10ˆ6)
  • Use math tools (Mimir math for iOS), Math tool on Viktor Cheng website to practice

5) Below you can find a list of the most common case types and some high-level recommendations on structuring:

  • Market sizing - structuring from the supply or demand side. Structuring using a formula or using an issue tree
  • Profitability - basic profitability framework. Remember about different revenue streams and product mix
  • Market context cases (Market Entry, New product, Acquisition, etc). Always start with the big picture "market". Finish with something specific to the case (e.g. How to enter?"). Structure it as if you are defining the work streams for the real project.
  • Operational math problem (e.g. Should we increase the speed of an elevator or just buy a second one? How should we reduce the queues? Etc.) - Structuring as a process / value chain, with inflows, operations, and outflows
  • Cost cutting - I provided the recommendations on structuring it here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/operations-cases-mck-1105#a2134
  • Valuation - Purely financial structure with cash flows, growth rate, WACC / hurdle rate, etc.
  • Synergies - revenue synergies (price, qty, mix) and cost synergies (value chain).
  • Social / economics cases (e.g. How to improve the quality of life in the city? How to increase the revenues of the museum?) - huge variability. Practice 3-5 social cases before the interview

6) Also, I would try to focus on the most common industries in the following priority(sorted by probability of getting a case): 1-retail and CPG; 2-airlines; 3-Telecom; 4-banking; 5-natural resources; 6-tech

7) After solving 15-20 cases start preparation for the tests (Serch for PST / BCG online test here on preplounge)

8) ! Important: don't forget about the FIT interview part. Crafting you stories and backups stories will require a couple of weeks!

PS

Here is a good list of articles regarding the different parts of the case:

1) Start with clarifying questions:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/clarifying-questions-1786#a3956

2) Communicating while structuring. Here is a long post by me on how to communicate the structure during the case study:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-communicate-its-structure-for-the-case-study-1313#a2806

3) Using hypothesis. I made a post about hypothesis here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-state-a-hypothesis-and-match-to-the-structure-1156#a2268

4) 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

5) 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

6) 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

7) Communicating your conclusion. You can find a good example I've posted here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-much-answer-first-should-the-conclusion-be-1231#a2493

8) 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.

Best!

Francesco replied on 07/20/2018
#1 Expert for coaching sessions (1500+) | Ex BCG | 650+ reviews with 100% recommendation rate

Hi Anonymous,

there is a lot of material out there, so it is definitely a good idea to structure an action plan to be as efficient as possibile in your preparation. The following is the way I found better to prepare and that I would recommend (I am assuming you already have the interviews scheduled, so don’t need referrals and CV and Cover preparation):

  1. Read Case In Point or Case Interview Secrets for a general understanding of what a consulting interview is. Don’t focus too much on the structures proposed in the books though, as they are not good enough nowadays.
  2. Start reading MBA Consulting Handbook – you can find several for free online (Insead is a good one to start). Read the cases and try to apply your structure. Whenever you see there is something missing, upgrade your structure with the new insides. Try to read at least a new case per day – in this way you will absorb a lot better the information with constant learning. Structure your remaining daily preparation with 5-10 minutes per day of market sizing, fit questions and mental math.
  3. After you have read the first 10 cases in books/handbooks and basic theory, start to practice live. There is a relevant part of the interview score that is based on your communication, which you cannot practice at all if you read cases only. Keep track of your mistakes and see if you repeat them. If so, try to identify the source of the mistake (feedback of experienced partners would be particular useful for this). Be sure to focus on both fit and case.
  4. Once you feel you are not improving anymore, if you have a tight time constraint or if you want a realistic assessment of your level, consider using experts’ support to strengthen your performance
  5. Before the interview, be sure to prepare your questions for the interviewer – great way to show you prepare in advance and to connect more with the interviewer for a good final impression.
  6. Bonus (if needed): at least two weeks before the interview do a first PST/Potential test to evaluate your current level. Distribute the other tests in the remaining time according to the number of them you have available.

Best,

Francesco

(edited)

Sidi replied on 07/19/2018
McKinsey Engagement Manager & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 45+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi Anonymous!

This is a topic which I frequently discuss with my mentees. Indeed, it might make sense to adopt an approach which follows several "stages". The following strategy has proved to give outstanding results in terms of MBB offers:

1. Concentrate on proper preparation with excellent case partners/experts (several weeks)

2. Make sure your written applications (CV, cover letters, referrals) are on point!

2. Once you feel really comfortable on fit, cases and your application, apply to several Tier2 firms

3. Continue practicing cases!

4. Schedule interview days with the Tier 2 firms that get back to you

5. Once T2 interviews are scheduled, apply to MBB

6. Continue practicing cases!

7. Go through T2 interviews and get used to the setting (if you focused your preparation on MBB, you will realize that interview formats and cases might be a bit different at T2 firms, but don't get irritated by that fact). Try to get at least one offer (this is a great psychological help!)

8. Schedule interview days with the MBB firms that invited you

9. Continue practicing cases!

10. Nail interviews with MBB firms and celebrate your offer(s)!

Cheers, Sidi

Related BootCamp article(s)

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

0 Comment(s)

Related case(s)

McKinsey Questions

Solved 21.9k times
4.4 5 627
| Rating: (4.4 / 5.0)
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit interview | Topics: Personal fit

Tell me of a situation where you had an opinion and no one seemed to agree with you. What was your goal when you decided to join university / work / clubs / a sports team? Did you have a goal that you were not able to reach? What did you do? What do you want to be remembered for and how are ... Open whole case

BCG Questions

Solved 14.4k times
4.5 5 145
| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0)
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit interview | Topics: Personal fit

What arouses your interest when you are working / studying / doing another activity (from the CV)? Tell me of a time where you had no idea what you were doing. When did you use an uncommon approach to do something? Have you ever had responsibility for other people? Tell me of a situation ... Open whole case