Choking during interview

1st round interview anxiety stress
New answer on Nov 21, 2020
5 Answers
1.7 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Nov 20, 2020

Hi all,

I have recently secured interviews with 4 consulting firms (including MBB) based in London/Singapore over the 2 weeks but I cannot seem to get over interview anxiety, despite my best efforts.

I have practiced with friends, strangers, engaged several preplounge experts, but the two interviews I've had already, the nerves get the best of me and I underperform. I think its really worrying and stressful and I feel completely undeserving of the interview. I have also been able to pass interviews with other elite employers but the case just gets me so flustered. I really don't know what to do and at this rate, I'm going to get so many interviews but choke on all of them. What do I do?

It's gotten to the point where I feel burnt out/defeated and can't go on the next week. I feel incredibly discouraged especially after working so hard, investing so much money, to screw up on the actual day.


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Content Creator
replied on Nov 20, 2020
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Hey there,

Firstly, congrats on securing all these interview. Isn't that worth a pat on your back in these times!

And am sorry to hear you are feeling these emotions. A lot of people, if not everyone feel the nerves. You are not alone. The key thing is to learn to keep them at distance and not let your mind go out of control. You are creating too much pressure and worrying too much about the outcome. Stop doing this.

Try these tricks:

  • Take one or two days off completely and do something you really like- jog, walk, games, something that will engage and energise you
  • Work from a different place/room/office if you can, change of scenery helps trick the mind
  • Try deep breathing, slow down your breathing when you are getting anxious
  • Tell yourself to take things one at a time, one interview at a time
  • Feel GRATEFUL for everything you have- your health, your education etc etc. So many people are worse off..think about it

Ultimately, the source of the problem is this: aspiring consultants and bankers are insecure ambitious, high performing people. I am generalising here but its largely true. I am one of them. Its important to give your best, manage your thoughts and emotions and let things in happen.

On the flip side if you are feeling like this in the case exercise , do you really think consulting is the right path for you? Consulting companies use the performance on case interview as a resonable indicator of real on the job performance. Please choose a career where you can be joyful, give your best and not resent every day thinking there is something better out there.

All the best and take it a bit easy on yourself.

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Anonymous A on Nov 20, 2020

Hi Adi, thanks for your message. Yes I do think consulting is the career for me. I have worked on many projects in school and have absolutely loved it. I love the process and challenges of it and I thoroughly enjoyed my time in previous consulting internships too. It's just the case that gets me...

Adi on Nov 20, 2020

That good then! You are self aware. So just work on the tips I have given and keep practicing. Engage the right case coaches. Feel free to message me if you want to have an initial chat (free of cost obviously)

Content Creator
updated an answer on Nov 21, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

I'm sorry but I couldn;t disagree with the other coaches more (a rare thing).

You don't need to study more. You need a BREAK

You need to take xx days off (no set amount to start). Stop what you're doing. Go somewhere peaceful/quiet. Your "happy" place. Have 0 expectations. Don't even look at or think about casing. On whatever day you suddenly go "oh, I think I'm ok now", hop back into it! But don't rush back. Be fully recharged before you come back.

I have too many candidates who start out thinking they're going to study 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 8 weeks straight. This is terrible! At the very least you need 1 full day of rest.

One last thing, remember the following (my dad always says this):

This is the most important thing in your life....until the next one

It's not a big deal. You'll do the interviews. You may ace all of them. You may bomb all of them. Big will go on!


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Anonymous B on Nov 21, 2020

Thats a great saying!

replied on Nov 20, 2020
Ex-Bain Manager | 10 yrs MBB experience | 250+ people interviewed | Written case expert | Open to give limited discounts

Hi Anonymous,

First of all, I would like to congratulate you on getting so many interviews lined up. Many people struggle with that critical first step, so you should already proud of yourself and tell yourself that getting so many invitations must have a reason ( = you should be qualified).

I believe that the answer here has two components:

  • More practice cases, tougher practice cases, with tougher coaches Practice really makes perfect. The more cases you see and do in real-life settings, the better you'll get and the less you'll be impressed by the actual interviews. Make sure you pick experienced coaches, who can practice their cases in different ways with you, and ask them to be tough on you in terms of directness, how critical they are, the way how they treat you, etc. To really get the best out of you. If you prepare for the worst, real-life will feel easier.
  • Better preparation in the days before the interview. It is very important that you go to the interview when you are at the best of your capabilities. This means being relaxed, having slept a lot, having a clear mind. How to get there, really depends by person. For me running worked very well, and not doing too many cases in the days before the actual interview. For other people, things like yoga might help.

I hope this helps!



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Content Creator
replied on Nov 21, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi there!
I am really sorry to hear that. However, it`s amazing that you have so many interviews!
You definitely deserve all of these interviews if you have been invited to visit them.
However, it really seems like you have too much pressure on you and stress. Probably you really need to take some rest and reschedule some interviews and this will help you to feel more comfortable.
Also, try to speak with your nearest and dearest, so they can give you support.

What do you think about that?

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Anonymous A on Nov 21, 2020

Hi Gaurav, i really am unable to reschedule my interviews... the email said they will not be able to accomodate any rescheduling and if you can’t make it they’ll pass it to someone on the waitlist. It’s a really packed and intense recruiting season! I definitely took a break - I feel such a crazy pressure to be perfect.

Content Creator
replied on Nov 20, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


Unfortunately, the only way to confront it is having more practice:

  • Solving more cases, 100 cases if needed
  • Applying to Tier 2, Tier 3 firms and going through the interviews
  • Having more sessions with coaches who are ex-consultants and getting used to the process


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Adi gave the best answer


Content Creator
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience
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