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Bain&Company second round interviews

Ibk asked on Jan 05, 2017 - 4 answers
currently preparing for bain interview


I started using preplounge November and was able to get through to the first round , I'll be having my second round interviews next 2 weeks but I'm a little anxious as I really do not know the difference between the 1st and 2nd round asides the fact that I'll be interviewed by a higher position.

Please can someone share their experience/ thoughts/ advise?

Thank you

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Anonymous replied on Jan 08, 2017

Hi Lbk,

Congratulations on getting past the 1st interview round! The key differences between the 1st and 2nd interview rounds, besides the interviewers being principals or partners as you mentioned, are in structure, focus and selectivity. Context wise, I'm speaking from my experiences at McK and BCG, where I passed both interview rounds en route to getting offers from both firms.

The structure in the 2nd round will most likely not follow the standard fit + case interview format. Partners may prefer to launch into a conversation about the latest developments in a particular business, industry or geography and talk about your motivations and life experiences later. Note they'll still expect you to layout your thoughts and communicate "top down" by leading with headline "insight" statements. This is the difference between being structured yet adaptable and being formulaic.

The focus in the 2nd round will likely be influenced by your performance in the previous round. The 2nd round interviewers will test on any areas where they perceived you needed to work on (e.g., more quantitative problem solving if you struggled with math in the 1st round, more creative brainstorming if you had difficulty coming up with tailored approaches and ideas to problems in the 1st round, etc.).

The selectivity in the 2nd round is much lower, as this is the round where hiring decisions are made. It may seem obvious but the stakes are higher and it requires all 3 partners to agree that you've met the bar, which explains the low acceptance rate (~1-3%) at the top 3 firms.

In short, the 2nd (final) round is more creative, yet structured, more focused on your development, yet still supportive (interviewers are there to help you succeed, not fail) and more selective, yet fair.

My recommendation is to practice unorthodox cases with a focus on your 1st round feedback and on preserving structure & communication no matter the subject or interview style, so that the interviews may catch you unawares but never unprepared.

Best of luck with your interview!



replied on Jan 10, 2017
Current partner @ Andreessen Horowitz (VC firm). Ex-Mckinsey, ex- strategy guy at Google.
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There is practically no difference between 1st and 2nd rounds. Think of it like this: if you had to get an hour with a partner/EM who makes 500$/hr, wouldn't you want to only make that expensive hr available after someone else had done the vetting first? That's what R1 is. If you've cleared R1, they are sure of the following:

- you are smart, smart enough to cut it as a consultant

- you can do cases the way they expect a good consultant to do (some do better / worse but that's OK)

Now, with R2 they are looking at the following more closely:

- you are smart BUT are you consistently smart?

- you can do cases but if they IDed a weakness or two in R1, they'll make sure it was a false positive.

- will you pass the 'airport test'

Some R2 cases have more ambiguity but that's only because a partner/principal may not have time/patience/interest to give a typical case so they make it up as they go. It also makes the interview more fun for them, not having to type out notes and check for your answers vs the one provided by the HR.

Rahul replied on Jan 09, 2017
McK 2nd round cases


I can help you with unorthodox cases, I encountered those in my PwC final round. I am currently making my application for Bain. Write to me if you are intersted, we can schedule a case practise session.

Best, Rahul

Hi Rahul, pardon my late reply. Please could you add me on username is alisomdevonne. I can't seem to send you a message here but I'm totally interested in trying out one of those cases. My 2nd round is scheduled for next week. Thanks :) — Ibk on Jan 18, 2017

Hello Rahul,... could you please help me in practicing as well, I have my 2nd round of Bain interview next week — Sylvia on Sep 26, 2019

Ibk replied on Jan 08, 2017
currently preparing for bain interview

Wow thank you so much Chern for your detailed response!

I'll see if I can get my hands on the unorthodox cases. Hopefully I'll find some.

Congrats on the success of your interviews :)


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