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Alternative Case Prep Strategies

Anonymous A

Hi,

what are some of your suggestions for getting a good quality prep if you don’t have good partners to practice with. I know nothing beats practicing with a live person . Have already done a one or two sessions with a consultant. I’ve been listening to case recordings online, self-practice (speaking out loud to myself), reading the business section in the wsj, practicing math shortcuts daily(1-2 hours/day), reading 2-3 cases a day. Anything else I can do to add more value to the process?

Thanks

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Tyrion Lannister replied on 07/14/2018

Dear [],

I'm sorry you're having difficulty finding good partners,

Most of the things you mentioned in your questions are great strategies to getting some good quality prep in. In my time, I found that the alternative prep methods that added the most value for me were:

+ Listening to/watching case recordings online (high quality case content and delivery, of course!)

+ Self-practice when I wanted to hone specific areas (i.e., solo practising the communication a top-down, hypothesis-driven structure at the start of the case in a precise and concise manner)

I did not do the rest of the things you mentioned. I cannot imagine that reading business press is the most effective use of your time, and I would strongly caution AGAINST reading 2-3 Cases a day.

The single best form of interview prep you will ever derive is Case Practice with a skilled partner. You should solve for that. Unfortunately, once a Case is read passively, it can never again be considered an effective prep resource. Since the number of high quality Cases out there is in very short supply, if you read the best ones passively, you may find yourself in a bit of a quandry once you start to ramp up. There will be no good material left!

So, what can you do in the meantime?

3 things:

1. Keep watching videos of well-simulated Case cracks.

2. Look out for print resources that help you simplify and better understand how Case cracking is achieved for high-performing candidates. Victor Cheng's suite was a tremendously helpful starting point for me.

3. Don't give up on good partners. Look for great partners right here on Prep Lounge. Once you find the few really good ones, keep them and keep practising with them!

Happy to help with any further questions you may have on this! :-)

Dorothea
Expert
replied on 07/14/2018
Ex-Oliver Wyman with 100% interview success rate - specialized in female career coaching

Hi,

sometimes it may indeed be a bit difficult to find good partners to practice with. However, as my colleagues here already said: There is no way around practicing cases with skilled partners.

What I recommend:

  1. Do cases with as many different partners as possible until you find a skilled and experienced one. Once, you found such a partner, it makes sense to arrange further meetings with this person specifically. If you prepare over a longer time period, you will probably need more than one of those good partners. When I was preparing for interviews, I usually had 2-3 partners, I regularly practiced with.
  2. Depending on your availability, it makes sense to do at least 1 meeting per day (where you are both in the position of interviewer and interviewee) and, if necessary, more than 1 in the weekends.
  3. If you are very limited in the time you may invest in your interview preparations, think about doing a coaching session with a former consultant. This is usually the most effective and efficient way to prepare for interviews, once you know the basics.
  4. Even if you are likely to think there is no point in practicing with less experienced partners, there is an important value to it: You will notice the mistakes that person makes while solving the case. Most people underestimate the learnings from this, however, this will teach you frequent mistakes that you should avoid whenever you are the interviewee.
  5. Aside from practing with other candidates, it is indeed very valuable to read the business section in the wsj and to practice maths. However, this alone will not get you any job offers! The most important part is to practice cases in a live situation.

Best,

Dorothea

Vlad replied on 07/14/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Unfortunately, there is no alternative here - you have to practice with an experienced partner / coach.

Solving cases is a muscle memory as well. Can you imagine a good sprinter who is training to run in a small 2*2 meters room?

Best

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