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

Dave asked on Apr 03, 2018 - 3 answers
Advanced/Pro only please. Interested in real McKinsey-style or candidate-led cases.

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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replied on Apr 04, 2018
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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,


Anonymous 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!



Hi Bruno, I suspect this particular cases I'm referring to were just longer than what would be normally given in a case interview. I've noticed that many of the prep lounge cases have one or two optional or extra sections attached, which I assume are there for extra practice and would not be included in a normal 30-35 min case interview. — Dave on Apr 05, 2018

replied on Apr 03, 2018
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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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