Appropriate frequency to practice cases (already did 80+cases now)

Case Interview
New answer on Apr 01, 2020
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 10, 2020

I have done 80+ cases now, and I feel that marginal improvement is quite low. At the same time, while I interviewed with one top firm, I still haven't received replies from others. So my question here is - what would be an appropriate frequency to practice cases after doing already 80 cases? Is it important to practice a case "every day" in order to keep the case-solving skill sharp and solid? I am thinking of doing a case every 2-3 days, and then ramp up the practice if I get another interview. Is this suggested? Thanks a lot!

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Sidi
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replied on Mar 10, 2020
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 300+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi!

I believe there is a problem with the premise of your question. If you have done 80+ cases and you still feel shaky, this is a surefire indicator that you have not learnt how to solve cases in the right way. Practicing is something that is needed and helpful during the phase when you build your case solving muscle, i.e., when you learn how to think through complex problems, how to set up the logic to answer the core question asked, and how to navigate through this logic. Once you have understood and internalized this, then you don't need excessive practice anymore. Just two or three warm up cases before the actual interview, and you're good.

But for this, the precondition is that you learn how to properly solve cases:

  • This does NOT mean learning frameworks.
  • It also does NOT mean learning industry facts.
  • And is also does NOT mean practicing speed of complex mental calculations.

It just means you have to internalize the skill of applying rigorous top-down thinking to complex problems. Once you master this, all the rest (communication, calculations, synthesis etc.) is pretty easy to train and anchor. But the principles of top-down thinking are the fundamental base for building the ability to address ANY question in a robust way.

Cheers, Sidi

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Clara
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replied on Mar 10, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

+80 cases should already mean deep knowledge and understanding of methodologies, types and industries. Well done for getting there!

To your points.

  • I would only do 2-3 new cases weekly moving forward
  • It is really important that you review the most significant ones you have done in the past, particularly the key learnings
  • Try to make cases with other people and not yourself. You will always learn by watching the others and get (hopefully) good feedback
  • Consider working with a coach for the final touches, since all the individual-work you have done already

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Robert
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replied on Mar 10, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

After 80+ cases I would even have expected that marginal improvements are rather small and from my perspective no need to worry at all - the learning curve is always much steeper at the beginning!

In your situation I rather see doing 2-3 cases a week just to stay "fit" and keep yourself engaged in the case interview world, and that's perfectly fine and a frequency which I also recommend to keep.

Hope that helps - if so, please give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

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Anonymous replied on Mar 10, 2020

Dear Anonymous,

here's my advice from my personal experience when I was preparing for McKinsey:

1) Once you have done many cases (like you did), it's better to put time in reviewing the cases you've done already and understanding what it could be done differently (you may use Victor Chang books and audio recording to check which are the common mistakes candidates usually make)

2) New cases could be done less frequently (2/3 a week) and always with someone interviewing you that can give you feedback. If you do many cases you end up answering all cases with the same framework approach and you get less and less able to think out-of-the-box.

Hope it helps! :)

Giulia

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Antonello
Expert
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replied on Apr 01, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

It's a good amount of work. I would focus now on what you learned from them, refining the structures and only adding few other good cases.

Best,
Antonello

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Francesco
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replied on Apr 01, 2020
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi there,

I agree with Giulia, it makes sense to invest some time in reviewing the cases you have done so far rather than doing completely new ones at your stage. Hopefully you have a “failure” spreadsheet where you wrote the main mistakes you did and for which case, that would be a good place to start.

In terms of cases, I agree with the other comments that 2-3 per week would be enough at this stage.

Best,

Francesco

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Sidi gave the best answer

Sidi

McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 300+ candidates secure MBB offers
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