Case time cap in McK and BCG vs here on Preplounge

BCG Case McKinsey
New answer on Jan 21, 2020
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jan 19, 2020

Hey guys, so im preparing to first rounds in McK and BCG and i've been doing cases here on the Preplounge platform and things are going great so far, I have done over 40 cases and I feel really well with my results so far.

The only thing is that almost always it takes me the full 45 mins to complete the case and from what ive read the actual time for the case part in the interviews is 25-35 minutes.

First of all is this correct? if so what would you recommend me do?


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Content Creator
replied on Jan 19, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


In the real case interviews, you don't necessarily finish the case. In fact, you can easily pass the interview without finishing any case. One thing that is important is the ability to provide a soft recommendation:

Indeed, in many cases, you can't provide a definite answer. Consultants may be testing several things:

  • Are you comfortable enough with providing preliminary recommendations based on limited data? (Imagine a CEO whom you met in the elevator and who wants to know the preliminary findings)
  • Will you make a mistake of providing a recommendation with a high level of certainty without having a proper supporting data?

Imagine a case when you have to make a decision about whether a PE fund should acquire a company. You make a proper structure (Market, Competitors, Company, Feasibility of Exit) and in 25 min of a case, you've managed only to go through the Market and Competitors branches of the analysis. What will be your recommendation?

In this case, you have to provide a Soft Recommendation:

  1. You start with an objective ("Our objective was to understand whether we should buy this company")
  2. You provide a preliminary recommendation highlighting the uncertainty("According to the limited data we have so far, our preliminary recommendation is to buy this company and there are three reasons for that..." or "Purely based on the data we have about the market it looks like it's a good idea for a number of reasons..")
  3. You provide the reasons ("First of all the market is big at X and growing at Y, Secondly the competition is fragmented with the target company having x% of the market. Thirdly...")
  4. You Mention the pieces of data that you need to provide a full recommendation ("But to come up with a final recommendation I would like to look at the company financials, key capabilities and..." or "But to be 100% sure in our recommendation we need to check...)



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Anonymous A on Jan 19, 2020

That is really insightful, Thank you Vlad!

replied on Jan 20, 2020
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi Anonymous,

time/speed is a very typical concern that candidates have when building their case skills. However, it is extremely important that you understand that putting yourself under time pressure while practicing is absolutely counterproductive! You first have to learn the right way of approaching and structuring cases, and time is the last concern you should have here! It is like learning an instrument - you first HAVE TO play much MUCH SLOWER than regular in order to be able to properly learn. Speed will come by itself after some time! If you try to force speed too early, you become sloppy and will never really master it!

In the tradeoff rigor vs. speed, prioritize rigor! Speed follows automatically.

Cheers, Sidi

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Content Creator
replied on Jan 20, 2020
McKinsey / ex-Interviewer at McKinsey / I will coach you to rock those interviews

Yes, that's correct. But for example at McKinsey you don't need to finish the case, you just need to go through 3 types of questions – 1) issue/hypothesis tree; 2) graphs or tables; and 3) math. 25-35 min is usually enough to do that – and the interviewer will guide you to make sure you complete things on time, so nothing to worry about.

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Content Creator
replied on Jan 21, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


Don´t worry at all.

During prep it always takes longer, particularly with a coach, since the purpose is not only to train by doing the real thing but also learning along the way.

Furthermore, the day of the interview, is the consultant who will run the case, and he/she will ensure that you finish on time.

Hope it helps.



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Content Creator
replied on Jan 19, 2020
BCG |NASA | SDA Bocconi & Cattolica partner | GMAT expert 780/800 score | 200+ students coached


It's correct, but you will see that real cases are usually easier and less complex than the ones that you use to prepare. More over, the interviewer has the possibility to speed up your interview giving you some key suggestions or skipping some parts of the case.
Have you ever tried to do a real case?

Feel free to contact me if you want to discuss it further,

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Anonymous on Jan 19, 2020

That is good to hear, by a real case do you mean an actual interview in a firm? if so, no i have not. thank you for your valuable input.


Luca on Jan 19, 2020

I mean cases coming from real interviews. There are coaches, like me, that offers them. It could be interesting to measure the time with one of them

Anonymous B replied on Jan 19, 2020


why do you think it takes you so much time? Could you elaborate?

It depends on the problem, but 45 minutes for every case is quite long, if you're not counting in the time during which you small talk and receive feedback.

I would suggest you to try to find out what is the root cause for this (maybe by recording yourself couple of times) and then work on it.

Some of the possible reasons that first cross my mind:

1) Bad interviewers

2) Not asking the right questions during the case (hypothesis-testing)

3) Not communicating concise enough

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Anonymous A on Jan 19, 2020

Thank you those are some great insights, ill monitor those issues.

Vlad gave the best answer


Content Creator
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School
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