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Are candidates penalized for not getting through the whole (interviewer-led) case?

Dave asked on Apr 03, 2018 - 3 answers

I am mainly asking with regard to McKinsey-style cases, but perhaps this could apply to the candidate-led format as well.

Despite being told that I quickly solved the portions of the case I was given, there were still other sections and analyses remaining that we did not get to. Since the interviewer is primarily leading McKinsey-syle cases, is it my fault if we don't finish the entire thing and will I be penalized for not getting all the way through?

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Vlad replied on Apr 04, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School


You are not penalized if you didn't go through the whole structure during the case. E.g if you found that the problem was in your 1st / 2nd bucket

You are penalized if:

  • In the interviewer led case you have not done all the steps: structuring, math, creativity question, synthesis
  • In the interviewee led case you didn't manage to come to an answer

Hope it helps,


Someone replied on Apr 04, 2018


Agree with others - you will be penalized if you run the case too slow and then the interviews can not run you through all of his prepared questions (you just need to think that the case is prepared so that an outstanding candidate, the ones who got offers, can do all pieces, not just part).

however, I’m quite intriged with the feedback you referred - if you are able to quickly and accurately solve all the pieces you’re given.. I don’t see any reason why you weren’t given the full case, so if this was just a practice with other candidate be careful calibrating for it!



replied on Apr 03, 2018
Former BCG decision round interviewer with 300+ real interviews in 8 years

Yes you would be penalized if you aren't able to go through all the key components of the case. Less penalized if the elements you didn't get through were not "core" elements but you highlighted them as potential follow-up analyses.

Hope it helps,


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