Case prompt recap

Case Prompt
New answer on Jun 27, 2021
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jun 18, 2021

Sometimes the case prompts can get quite long, is it fine if you are only able to capture a few points and then ask the interviewer if there were any other important details when you recap? I'd take down only important considerations but sometimes nuances in the context can be missed in long prompts. Are points docked if the candidate misses some points in the recap of a long prompt?

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Francesco
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Content Creator
replied on Jun 20, 2021
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

When you repeat the prompt, the interviewer should let you know if you forgot something related to what you repeated. You can also clarify if what you repeated are the only objectives of the client, and asking that clarification would be fine.

The real problems are:

  1. If you don’t repeat at all one or more critical parts (which could make it impossible for the interviewer to correct you)
  2. If you have to ask to repeat the information several times – then the interviewer may become impatient

In terms of how to take notes, I would suggest to divide the first page into 4 parts as below:

  • top-left: who is the client
  • bottom left: initial information
  • top right: objectives
  • bottom right: structure

Landscape format in general works better. Sometimes you will have to go back and forth, as you may get information, objective 1, additional information, objective 2, etc.

The vertical line should be closer to the left border and the horizontal line should be closer to the top border so that there is more space for the structure.

After the first page, you can structure it as reported below:

  • top-left: name of the first area analyzed
  • bottom left: structure for the first area
  • top right: name of the second area analyzed
  • bottom right: structure for the second area

The vertical line can now be in the middle so that the left and right parts have the same distance.

Besides that, you can also improve your notes with the following:

  • Ask the interviewer to repeat in case you missed information. It is better to ask for missing information upfront rather than later. As mentioned, try to avoid to ask this several times
  • Do a recap after the prompt. This ensures you took notes correctly since the interviewer will correct you otherwise
  • Use abbreviations. Eg, for revenues use R, for costs use C, for increase use an arrow directed up, etc.
  • Write down essential information only. You do not have time to write everything, thus you should exercise in writing down only the necessary information. If you have a client that produces steel with four plants with a revenue problem, your notes could be something as Steel producer, R (arrow down), 4 plants
  • Keep a separate sheet for math if you tend to be disorganized in that part

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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Ian
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Content Creator
replied on Jun 18, 2021
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

This is not ok and points will get docked. Think about it - when you're at the client site interviewing the executives, do you think you can miss major points that they make and ask them to repeat multiple times?

Unfortunately not!

I'm very sorry but you really need to work hard to improve this. Here are my main tips:

1) Decide physical vs virtual - are you a faster typer or writer?

2) If virtual, pick the best tool - try outlook draft emails (so you can store/organize with your email), try notepad, try a tablet so you can write on it, etc....find the one that works for you

3) Only write down what is important - you should know this! You don't need to capture everything. Just like in a case, figuring out what information is not needed is just as valuable as figuring out what information is needed.

4) And then, what you do write down, write it in shorthand!

I.e. If I say "Your client is Bills Bottles. They earn $800M in profits each year by manufacturing bottles to soda companies in the US and Europe. Over the past two years they've seen profits falling and have brought you in to investigate"

You should write:

  • Bills Bottles
  • Manufacture
  • Client = soda comp
  • 800M P
  • P [down arrow] 2 yrs
  • US + Europe
  • Obj: Fix P

You should write:

  • Bills Bottles
  • Manufacture
  • Client = soda comp
  • 800M P
  • P [down arrow] 2 yrs
  • US + Europe
  • Obj: Fix P
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Adi
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 19, 2021
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

You need to able to listen to/read and zoom in on the most crucial details of the case. This requires practice. You wont be penalised for missing an odd detail here and there as long you capture the essence of the case and understand the problem clearly. Same goes with real life client situations.

There are many ways to do this and will depend on the case. But if the case is about a business problem/M&A/Transformation etc then following could help:

  • Any company that sells a product or a service, regardless of which industry it operates in, can be thought of like the layers of an onion. The outermost layer comprises a series of external factors: Competition, Market/PESTLE and most recently COVID-19
  • Within the internal boundaries of the company, it will have following layers/areas:
    • Customers they sell to (B2B or B2C)
    • Channels to sell to those customer (e.g. retail, online etc)
    • Product & Service to sell through those channels to the customer
    • All underlying processes (e.g. billing, order management, supply chain etc)
    • Data to enable the processes (e.g product data, customer data, employee data etc)
    • Technology/Tools to execute the processes (e.g. ERP, Apps, Cloud, IT, Hardware etc)
    • People & Organisation (e.g. Hiring, Onboarding, Retention, Training, Leadership, Culture etc)
    • Physical assets (offices, warehouse, stock etc)

So when you get the case, take your notes against the above layers and play back the most crucial information. Feel free to send me direct message if you wish discuss more.

All the best.

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Ken
Expert
replied on Jun 19, 2021
Ex-McKinsey final round interviewer | Executive Coach

No points are docked but I personally wouldn't be so selective. You don't need to repeat verbatim the case prompt to your interviewer but often you will be expected to pick up on the subtle nuances.

It's worth also noting that management consulting is largely about how you digest large volumes of facts and data into coherent insights and recommendations!

Good luck!

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Henning
Expert
replied on Jun 27, 2021
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

I would generally only recap if you want to make sure you actually understood the prompt correctly, not just out of habit. I would generally try to note down the key things, not every detail - though try to keep those in mind as well.

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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