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Case prep blues

Anonymous A asked on Jan 19, 2019 - 4 answers

How do you get over a bad case practice and totally-not-so-constructive feedback that you received from a former interviewee? I can take the feedback and try to improve, but this time, after I finished the case, I don't even remember what the feedback really was other than "You didn't listen to my direction." I usually enjoy giving and receiving actionable feedback while encouraging candidates to keep practicing with a pace. As soon as I finish a case, I stay proactive about looking back at my case and pointing out areas of improvement. So, I am not the type of person who is afraid of receiving negative feedback because I am used to receiving feedback and using that to improve myself. This happens in the real consulting life, period.

I am scheduled for an interview at one of the MBBs in the next month. I have been practicing very consistently for the past two months or so, and lately, I have been feeling pretty confident about my ability to crack a case. Until tonight's case practice, I felt that I was at a stage of building my momentum for consistency and doing some mind controls. Then, this evening's practice totally shattered my whereabouts.

A while ago, I met someone who claimed to be an advanced case practicioner at our school's consulting club. Last week, I reached out to him to give me a case, so we met this evening. He first boasted how he had passed his first round interviews like a piece of cake at all of the MBBs. He then said that he got knocked down on the final case of the final round at all three firms and blah blah blah. I exercised some sense of humility by going with the flow and listening to what he had to say since he was volunteering his time giving me a case.

As he was giving me a case, I literally thought he was acting out to be a mean case giver whenever he kept giving me unpleasant comments in his highly pitched voice, saying "There was a reason for that!" "By now, you should have pointed that out. You arrived at that too late, but let's move on." "You're not looking carefully. "You don't have a common sense!" Plus, the tone of his voice sounded very unpleasant and his case-giving even included some fingering at my sheet of paper.

I kindly had to stop the case while acknowledging that I was quite lost and did not know where to move forward (by then, it was hitting a 48-min mark) and suggested him two options: (1) he could briefly explain his expectation and share the main key point of the case with me or (2) he could give me another case for a fresh start. He then said, "Well, I give this case to people and can see where they are at. If you were really good at this, you could have solved this in five minutes, but anyways...." (By this point, no matter at what level I was at, I no longer wished to continue with him) So, I thanked him for taking time giving me a case and suggested that we could be done for the day, if he could share the casebook with this case for me to review.

I have received many practice cases from MBB consultants before. To my surprises, they were very helpful and led me to solve every case, although I shouldn't take this pleasant experience for granted. I thought they were very generous with providing all the info that I needed and their actionable feedback was also very concise to the point, not to mention how pleasant it was for me to receive them despite some areas of improvement I had to make. This evening's practice was some kind of nightmare that totally knocked down the level of my confidence, and I feel ashamed and appalled to have asked such a person to give me a case. What was I thinking?

I don't have time to deal with this kind of nonsense, working full-time and finding every spare moment casing to better my performance. I am in the stage of shock, and I am not sure what's next. I just ate some dessert and am trying to recover from this traumatic experience.

Any suggestion or inspiration is to be appreciated. Thanks!

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Best Answer
Guennael
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replied on Jan 22, 2019
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews
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Giving harsh feedback and putting people down is easy and is what insecure people do. Sorry it happened to you. Shake it off.

Good coaches will give you actionable, personalized feedback, and will build your confindence up. Looks like you've had a few already. Focus on what they told you, ignore the rest.

Keep practicing, keep your head up. Good luck

Anonymous B replied on Jan 21, 2019

I can understand this is frustrating, but don't let yourself get demotivated! This is just one case, one time! It sounds like the person was having a bad day or was irritated - you never know!

Sometimes these things happen but the important thing is not to give up!

Keep going with your case prep, practice with partners and experts here on PrepLounge ( I can really recommend the p4s program, it is totally worth it with all the material included and the expert sessions).

Good luck for your interview!

Casper
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replied on Jan 19, 2019
2nd session for free! /// Nailed interviews at McKinsey, BCG and more /// 5+ years of coaching experience /// 200+ coachees
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Hi Anonymous,

First of all I am sorry to hear that you received that sort of feedback that made you feel dissapointed. Next time if something like that happens to you be prepared to ask specific open-ended questions regarding your performance and how to improve. A good interviewer should always try to make sure that you understood the feedback provided by asking if something requires additional explanation. If you are not getting such opportunity to understand everything betrer always politely insist on it. Hope it helps.

Kind regards,

Casper

Vlad
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replied on Jan 19, 2019
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Sorry, what's the question exactly?

it's in the first sentence there, "How do you get over a bad case practice and totally-not-so-constructive feedback that you received from a former interviewee?" It's sort of an emotional question more than functional question. — Anonymous on Jan 28, 2019