BCG cases vs McKinsey cases

Actively preparing for interviews at McKinsey and BCG
New answer on Sep 09, 2020
9 Answers
1.9 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Sep 08, 2020

I have interviews coming up with both BCG and McKinsey.

I have been mainly preparing for McKinsey cases but I have done today a case with a friend of mine who works at BCG. I got hammered.
I didnt have time to build a detailed framework. He said there's no time and no need. I need to solve the case in 25 min.
It was a market entry case and there are so many factors that were ignored ! it turned out to be a pure profitabilty calculation.

I am used to McKinsey cases. I have been working really hard on developing my ability to come up with a framwork with 2 layers of insights. I am finding out that at BCG, you just have to write down the first layer, and speed through the case to find the lead that takes you to the conclusion.

Do you guys confirm that ? All the work that I have done on frameworks is not useful for BCG ? I just say I want to look at these 4 buckets, explain a little bit the logic why, and then I just go ?

Thanks

Overview of answers

Upvotes
  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Sep 08, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

You don’t need to use different structures for the two companies. Plus your issue may not be related to structuring at all, given what you presented. Specifically:

  1. You may get cases without much time to write an initial structure at both McKinsey and BCG. This is not related to the company but the interviewer style (and sometimes to the country – short BCG cases are typical in Germany for example). In both companies this is rare though.
  2. The lack of time for a second level should not be an issue if your first level is logical. You can further structure the points when required during the case, if needed
  3. It seems the main issue you had was reacting under pressure to an unexpected situation – indeed a good first level of the structure alone should not create issues. If that’s the case, you should work on that skill. Your structuring skills may be fine

Please feel free to PM me if you need more help.

Best,

Francesco

Was this answer helpful?
Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Sep 08, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

I think you have a lot of misconceptions.

There are now McKinsey- or BCG- cases since they are very similar. At McKinsey sometimes the cases are interviewer led (meaning they sequence of structure - math - creativity - conclusion). Many cases will still be candidate led. And at the end of the day, the structures will be the same. A single layer structure is definitely not enough.

Best

Was this answer helpful?
Henning
Expert
replied on Sep 08, 2020
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

Agree with all of the above. An additional lens to look at is the personal style of the interviewer. Every interviewer develops their personal style for their case. Some give you the room to develop a framework, others push into brainstorming directly.

Especially in the 2nd round interviews with more senior people you are likely to encounter conversations in which the interviewer does not want you to follow the typical structure, but rather prefers an intellectual conversation. In one of my last round interviews, the (very senior) partner asked me: "Imagine the two of us are on a flight to Barcelona to help a Spanish brewer defend their market position against US-based new entrants." What followed was a 30 min conversation about what's important when distributing beer to local bars.

I've heard similar stories from many of my peers and former classmates. I therefore strongly recommend to not prepare for a specific structure, but to aim for a level of comfort with the general case approach to be able to think in frameworks, if necessary without writing them down upfront and then taking the interviewer along. This will help you steer a conversation in a structured way without being overly formal in your delivery.

Was this answer helpful?
Sidi
Expert
replied on Sep 08, 2020
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers
Was this answer helpful?
Nikos
Expert
replied on Sep 08, 2020
Looking forward to working with you and help you further develop your skills

Hi!

I agree with Vlad! Both BCG and McKinsey cases are very similar, since both consulting companies look for the same attributes in their candidates. You should focus on developing your overall consulting skills, i.e. understanding the overall objective of the case, creating a suitable framework, making reasonable and valid assumptions, etc.

Hope this helps!

Best,

Nikos

Was this answer helpful?
Antonello
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Sep 09, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, I confirm the style to structure cases is the same for McK and BCG (and for other tier1&2 too). Maybe you should only structure cases more effectively, top-down, and with 80-20 prioritization. I recommend getting more detailed feedback from your friend, working with a consultant/former consultant is crucial to understand expectations during interviews, and how to crack it.
Feel free to text me to know how I usually work with candidates in structuring cases

Best,
Antonelo

Was this answer helpful?
Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Sep 08, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Oh no! Please read the following carefully!

You are going about casing all wrong.

Stop thinking about set times, set rules, and some of these weird things you feel like you should and shouldn't do.

First, your framework needs to be a clear plan for how you would answer the question. Nothing else, nothing more. So, "you just have to write down the first layer, and speed through the case to find the lead that takes you to the conclusion" and "I just say I want to look at these 4 buckets, explain a little bit the logic why, and then I just go? "is HORRIBLE ADVICE.

Your framework is your structure for approaching the problem. It consits of a few main areas you'd like to look at. Inherent in your framework is a view that "If I answer A, B, and C, then we have an answer"

So, for market entry:

1) If the market is big, and it's growing, then we still want to considering entering

2) If #1 = yes, then let's see if it's attractive...can we win there? Is our product good/better than our competition's? Etc. If yes, let's definitely consider entering.

3) If #1 and #2 = yes, then, when we do enter, are we sure we can win? I.e. do we have the right plans. Will implementation actually pan out? Do we have the expertise, capital, etc.? In other words, if #2 is the thearectical, #3 is the reality.

Then, your summary becomes "I believe we should enter the market, if we can prove it's a good market, the it's attractive to us specifically, and that we will win it".

^Now this is a framework/hypothesis

Some other guidance

#1 Frameworks are a guide and are meant to be adjusted

So, you should absolutely be prepared to either enter a new piece of your framework or change your framework altogether as new information comes in. How do you handle this?

Well, first, you can really just articulate what you're doing. You can say "Oh, interesting, so if looks like we have some information on y. I don't want to forget about x, but let's see what y brings us first. Ok, looks like it's about..." Then, when you've "finished" with y, you can check to see if there's any info on x. If there isn't, move to z :)

Second, you can re-summarize/iterate where you are. This is especially useful if you have the change the entire framework. Say "Ok, so it looks like now we actually need to look a 3 key things to solve this"

#2 You can absolutely have "no buckets" when brainstorming...if needed

This is really a judgement call and depends on the type of brainstorming. In terms of selling strategies, I agree with you, this can really fundamentally be a list. However, try to bucket. For example, you could bucket selling strategies as 1) Those that bring in new customers and 2) Those that increase the value of existing customers. Alternatively, it could be 1) Increase basket size per visit 2) Increase visits per customer 3) Increase # customers

Read these 2 Q&As for some great context + discussion:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/interviewer-led-case-interview-hyposthesis-and-ideas-7390

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/forming-a-hypothesis-case-in-point-vs-victor-cheng-7311

Was this answer helpful?
Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Sep 08, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hi!

On top of what has been shared already, this is something that gets many candidates REALLY confused and robotic and keeps them from the real important thing: solving the case.

Stop thinking about those things and think about the case ONLY as a problem you need to solve. The best way you can, to the best of your abilities, and leveraging the skillset!

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Was this answer helpful?
Anonymous replied on Sep 08, 2020

Dear A,

I agree with other experts. That the cases are more less the same. You have to develop a consulting skills, how to create structure and come up with best solution. Not to stick to one or another company.

Best,

André

Was this answer helpful?
0
Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

Content Creator
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching
4,179
Meetings
30,788
Q&A Upvotes
322
Awards
5.0
1531 Reviews