Case Interview Preparation for MBB

Interview McKinsey
New answer on Jul 03, 2020
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jun 24, 2020

Hello,

Can someone advice what is the best approach to prepare for case interview? Is there a common approach that i can use for all cases to structure my thought knowning that it is impossible for me to memorize frameworks?

What approach can i use to train efficiently alone before training with a partner?

Thank You

R

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Robert
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 24, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

As a principle approach, the following works well for most of my coaching candidates:

  • Starting off with basic case interview books like Marc Cosentino's "Case in Point" or Victor Cheng's "Case Interview Secrets"
  • At the same time watching Victor Cheng's youtube videos
  • Getting a professional case interview coaching, like here on PrepLoungequite early in the process, as a professional case interview coach will help you get things right immediately, so that you can focus on your weak spots and at the same time reinforce your positive habits during your further prep
  • Start having interactive mock interviews with peers, which you can find in masses also on PrepLounge - there is a strong correlation between number of interactive cases solved and interview success; I occasionally also do professional case interview coachings myself (Case Interview Coaching)
  • Once you feel you make progress in your case interview performance, start having some professional coaching sessions again to get some real-life benchmark and feedback for further improvement; what works best is approx. 1 professional coaching per week as there is enough time to improve weak spots with peer mock interviews until the next coaching, and at the same time this timeframe is short enough so that you keep up with you prep and do not lose track
  • Once you start feeling comfortable with solving cases in general, focus on being as structured as possible in every sentence you say and every answer you give ("ABS - always be structured"). For this, I wrote a distinct book with the most important frameworks and business concepts for case interviews ("Case Interview Frameworks"). This book not only gives you a short description and basic idea of the frameworks and concepts, but also a step-by-step guide on how to actually use and implement them (you would be surprised how many candidates don't have a clue about that!).
  • As soon as you master the case interview basics, start preparing the behavioural part of the interviews; this is especially important for McKinsey as this is the part where most candidates really fail. Recently I have added my own blog with free expert advice on the McKinsey PEI where I am sharing some answers on the most common PEI questions that I receive from candidates and I also wrote a distinct ebook for that, for which a short simplified version is available in the PrepLounge shop (https://www.preplounge.com/shop/tests-2/the-secret-mckinsey-pei-cheat-sheet-42)
  • If time permits, read some general books about consulting to get a good understanding how the industry works, like "The Firm" by Duff McDonald, "Managing the Professional Service Firm" by David Maister and "The McKinsey Way" by Ethan Rasiel

For frameworks, that's a very broad question to answer - but I wrote an extensive article on that on Quora which I don't want to copy/paste to avoid dupliate content (https://www.quora.com/How-should-I-use-frameworks-in-a-case-interview/answer/Robert-Steiner).

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 Jun 24, 2020

Hi there,

I think the forum has a lot of previous Q&As that can be very relevant. (you might get overwhelmed by the amount of info people will throw at you)

To keep it simple, I recommend 2 steps:

  • Step 1: Know the basics
    • Victor cheng's videos/website is good to introduce you to the basic frameworks
    • Case in point (available online) will give you scripts of case interviews so you know how an interview usually goes
  • Step 2: Practice
    • ​Case books - a lot of top B schools have their case books available online - easily googleable
    • Practice with partners (reading a case is very very different than actually solving it in an interview setup)

My recommendation is that Victor Cheng's and Case in point frameworks are good starting points - however, you need to learn to use them and adjust them flexibility based on the case's requirements!

They will teach you how to shoot and pass, but to pass the interview you need to dribble like Messi - and that takes practice :)

I hope this helps

Khaled

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 29, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

To add on top of what´s been said alredy: don´t limit yourself to leveraging classical frameworks, since they will never be enaugh.

Cheers,

Clara

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Fayyaz
Expert
replied on Jun 25, 2020
Consultant at BCG | Coaching tailored to personalised needs

I totally agree with all the points Khaled has mentioned. In my experience I have found that to ace the case you need to make custom and personalised frameworks. That takes a lot of practice.

So I will add another step which is to practice and master the art of generating your own personalised frameworks for any problem. However, that will require a superlative degree of practice and partners.

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 03, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

In terms of frameworks

This is a BIG topic and not easily answered!

To be as succinct as possible: the common approach for all cases is:

  1. Figure out the actual problem being asked - also known as objective. What do we specifically care about and not care about? What would a good answer look like?
  2. Figure out the key things you need to know to answer this problem - this is like the "buckets" in your framework. What critical information will help you make a decision
  3. Think + Articulate specifically how each key area will help you answer your question - i.e. "If Item A is big, then I need to look at item B" or "If A is less than X, then I need to check out B"

In terms of case interview preparation

The most important thing here is narrowing down the noise. There is a lot of content flying around, and you need to work hard to focus on what's important (much like when solving a case).

I recommend the following:

1) An initial planning session with a coach: 1 hour with a coach now will have a productivity multiplier effect on all your efforts moving forward. They will figure out what materials are best for you, guide you towards the best ways to learn, and come up with a preparation plan with you.

2) Leverage free resources first: PrepLounge Q&A and case library, Poets and Quants, SpencerTom, Google, etc.). Leverage these options, read-up, and over time you'll get a feel for what you really need and where you really need to invest your hard-earned $

3) Case with other PrepLoungers: Casing with other PrepLoungers is free. Not only do you get to practice casing, but you get direct feedback. Additionally, you learn a lot just from casing others. Finally, from other PrepLoungers you'll learn which materials/coaches are helpful.

In summary, while free options don't beat paid options, you can use them for a while to get a feel for what works for you. Have an initial coaching session to get you on the right track, then go the paid route when it's clear either 1) You are stuck or 2) It's clear the paid route will improve your productivity/progress

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Anonymous replied on Jul 03, 2020

Dear A,

I would recommend you the following algorithm:

1. Identify the companies interesting for you. Many people are interested mainly in MBB, you can start defining the exact list of companies interesting for you for the internship

2. Check the requirements and application details.

3. Start your preparation with reading Case In Point by Cosentino for a general understanding of what a consulting interview is.

4. Start learning and practicing the cases. Some you can find in Case Library and practice it with your partner or experience coach.

5. Purchase and read Viktor Cheng Book (Amazon Kindle store) and listen to LOMS

Once you feel you are not improving anymore, I would recommend you to take an expert coach for structured feedback and polishing your own performance.

Hope this helps,

Best,

André

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Robert gave the best answer

Robert

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