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Any experience with new BCG written case format in final round?

Anonymous A

Hi all,

Have a final round invterview with BCG coming up. One of the two cases will be a written case, divided between 45 minutes for reading and analyzing the text/data and 45 minutes with a partner giving and defending my recommendation (the second 45 minute block will also include a fit portion). No slides, no calculator.

Seems like this is a new format for written cases. Anyone have any experience with it? Any resources that might approximate the length of a written case where you have 45 minutes to review?

Thanks!

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Francesco replied on 06/23/2018
Ex BCG | MBB Specialist | #1 Expert for coaching sessions (1400+) and recommendation rate (100%)

Hi Anonymous,

the general tips for a written case are still valid for the new format. Specifically you can prepare working on the following:

1. Learn how to define a plan of action and stick to that

2. Practice graph interpretation

3. Work on quick reading and quick understanding of key information

4. Practice quick math

5. Learn how to communicate your answers

Below you can find some details

1. Learn how to define a plan of action and stick to that

The first thing you should do in a written case is to define a plan and allocate in the best possible way your time. If you have 45 minutes for the analysis, a good approach would include:

  • initial quick reading of key requests – 5 min
  • structure the approach – 5 min
  • answer to the questions adding detailed analysis and math – 25 min
  • final review – 10 min

You should then practice to stick to the time allocated, in order to maximize your final performance.

2. Practice graph interpretation

You normally have to analyse graphs in a written case. The best way to practice is to take graphs from online resources and use a timer to test in how much time you can understand the key message. McKinsey PST graphs could be a good practice for that.

3. Work on quick reading and quick understanding of key information

You will not have time to read and prioritize everything, so you have to understand where to focus. The ideal way to practice is to use long cases such as HBS ones, and practice on reducing the time needed to absorb the key information that can answer a defined question. Quick reading techniques could also help.

4. Practice quick math

You normally have math to do in a written case. GMAT and McKinsey PST math should work well to prepare on this.

5. Learn how to communicate your answers

I would apply here the same structures of final sum up in a live interview case, that is:

  1. Sum up the main questions you have to answer
  2. Present your proposed answer and detail the motivation behind
  3. Propose next steps for the areas you have not covered

As you will not be able to double check hypothesis with the interviewer as in the live case before presenting, it could make sense to clearly state when you are making hypotheses and that you will have to verify them with further analysis.

Best,

Francesco

Vlad replied on 06/23/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School

Hi,

I had some candidates who got the classic BCG written case as one of the interviews in the final round. I still don't know what's the trigger for this, but I think some offices just practice it. The case was exactly the same as the classic BCG written case. Even if it is a bit different in structure, I would recommend preparing in the same way.

I've uploaded some samples here:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/zor4m49eyx5qxal/AABeUN6mtiGkWhEklRjszX2Oa?dl=0

(ask me for a password)

The best way to prepare is the following:

  1. Train mental math. I posted the main tips here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/tips-to-do-big-multiplications-in-my-mind-726#a1422
  2. Prepare for a regular case interview - it helps a lot. Basically, prep lounge website is about it
  3. Practice making slides. Look for publically available MBB presentations for reference. Good books are "Pyramid Principle" and "How to make it with charts"
  4. Practice reading cases fast and prioritizing the information. I found useful two sources:
  • Written cases you'll be able to find in google or in case books. I've seen a couple in "Vault Guide to the Case Interview" and "Insead Business Admission Test"
  • Harvard cases - either buy or try to find online. You can find a couple of MIT cases here for free: https://mitsloan.mit.edu/LearningEdge/Pages/Case-Studies.aspx Unfortunately free cases don't have the prep questions.

The appropriate structure for BCG written case is:

Slide 1: Context, Objective, Recommendations

Slide 2-4: Analysis (Usually 1 slide with a table, 1 slide with graphs and 1 slide with pros and cons)

Slide 5: Next steps or risks & mitigation

Good luck!

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