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Differences in Second Round

Anonymous A

Hello,
Next week I will be doing my second round with BCG, Roland Berger and ATK.I passed the first round with positive feedback overall, with no major concerns pointed out.

I have been told that, generally, the skills you are expected to demonstrate in the second round is different.

How accurate is that ? What are the major differences that I have to take into account while practicing ? Some say it might be a bit more strategic (asking about the hows, and free ended questions), while others state that it focuses more on the fluidity of the structured approach.

I want to set a study plan, and I need your advice beforehand.

Thanks

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Benjamin replied on 04/16/2018
Manager - Get you MBB offer - Teach taylor case solving, no pre-defined framework - beginners to experts

Hello,

Depending on the firm the format of the second round may vary (sometimes first round is computer based assesment), but for the sake of this discussion let's assume that second round will be a standard fit interview + case study.

Overall we could sum up the difference with the previous round to a higher level of expectation :

- in many cases, you will be interviewed by consultants with higher seniority (manager/principal), and therefor higer expectations

- while first round is litteraly a first filter, some candidates are invited to second round with a performance that would not be accepted on secound round. The feedback receiced from first round is then valuable to know what area will be specifically tested. In your specific situation its would be a good sign according to me.

- the dimensions tested in particular in secound round would be : confirm there is a real fit with the firm and the candidate has demonstrated a strong presence / and test case study performance especially on structuring and leadership abilities.

Don't hesitat to reach me out if you have more questions

Best

Benjamin

Ashwin
Expert
replied on 04/18/2018
Experienced strategy consultant with 5+ years in Roland Berger, doing over 60 Undergrad-->MBA level interviews.

Here's what you can expect in Round 2:

1) Focus on your prior work ex/ background: This time, the interviewers will take longer to understand your background, its relevance to consulting, etc. Use the STAR approach to prepare content-rich, succinct stories about your past.

2) Drill-down on areas that went 'so so' in R1: Even though your R1 went well, were there areas you could've done better on? An obvious one is math, but did it take you a while to get to the right answer, or did you feel at times you were rambling, or that your questions at the end weren't strong? Make sure to think thru this and "right the wrongs" (even if there were few to no wrongs, there would always be areas for improvement) in your R2 by nailing these out of the park. You can't repeat any error or issue in R1 also in R2.

3) Speak like you're speaking to a senior client: Indeed, these will be senior folks (P, Pri) and you need to come across as mature, confident, and intelligent. Do not be informal; be switched on and present like you would to a major client.

4) Airport test: This is truly where the airport test is important - are you engaged, insightful, charming, interesting? Would a Partner be OK to be stuck at an Airport with you and not stay on his laptop all the way?

Good luck!

Francesco replied on 04/17/2018
#1 Expert for coaching sessions (1600+) | Ex BCG | 800+ reviews with 100% recommendation rate

Hi Anonymous,

the structure of the rounds is the same (fit + case + your questions); however in finals there is far more emphasis on communication and fit.

Specifically, the main difference you will find in a final round with partners is that at that stage they:

  1. spend more time on fit questions and your alignment with the company
  2. check more closely your communication (eg how you react to challenging questions)
  3. may not have a “proper” structured case to present – during my final at BCG I had one interview which was made by two market sizing questions and a brainteaser, without any business case. That's because at the final they know you can structure and crack a case (you passed 1 or 2 rounds already) and are more interested in your logic, personality and fit with the company

So in order to prepare I would concentrate on:

  • Review in details your fit stories – they will matter more than in the first round. In some finals I had almost exclusively behavioural questions
  • Work on your communication (reaction under pressure, how gain time when you do not have a structure ready, connect with the interviewer, etc) This is something you can do almost exclusively in interviews with peers. Your communication will be far more important for the final compared to the first
  • Prepare on cases as you did for the first round. More market sizing practice could be useful since you will generally receive (i) more market sizing and (ii) more out-of-the-box questions.

Best,

Francesco

Vlad replied on 04/16/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Secondly, in the final round, I would expect a bit more structured and demanding approach to the fit part. The partners in the last round are more experienced and they will challenge every single detail of your story. So make sure that you have a couple of backup stories. Thus:

1) Make sure that you've prepared everything: A story about yourself, motivational questions and the main FIT stories. Also, don't forget about your questions to the interviewer - you'd rather have an interesting conversation and score some point instead of a simple Q&A session

2) Then go through each story and think of the additional questions the interviewer may ask. It’s important since additional questions will take up to 50% of the interview. Try to remember the main details and facts and make sure that you know how to explain the key concepts quickly. Test your stories with your friends, ideally consultants, and ask for their feedback. There can be multiple groups of additional questions:

  • The interviewer may be interested in details about the context
  • He may want to check whether this was your effort or more sort of a team effort.
  • “Have you faced any difficulties while implementing your solution?”- Typically an interviewer would like you to tell him how you’ve overcome those difficulties.
  • Your interviewer will check how real your story is. You should be ready to provide even more granular actions, key milestones and a breakdown of potential effects.

3) Now work on 3-6 backup stories. During your interviews, you can then use these stories or adapt these stories to the additional questions your interviewer asks you.

You may be interested, why you need to prepare several stories for each question? At the end of the day, it's not that easy to come up with all of these stories. I've answered here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/repating-fit-interview-stories-927#a1813

4) Next step is talking to consultants. I recommend doing a couple of mock interviews, both case+fit. You can connect with consultants via friends, company events or even LinkedIn. Consultants are entirely opened to share their experiences, but the biggest problem will be the lack of time. Sometimes you’ll need to send a kind reminder to your request, but it pays off.

As for the cases - Partners and Directors have their own favorite cases and may even want you to lead the case. The key difference:

  1. You ask clarifying questions in the beginning and make a structure
  2. You lead the case through the structure you've prepared a) asking questions and trying to identify the root-cause of the problem in the branch of your structure b) making a transition to the next branch c) proactively calculating the data and making data-driven conclusion from the data they give you d) Making a conclusion when they ask you to finish a case

It may seem to you that these 2 types of cases are different, however, the interviewer-led type is just a simplified version of the interviewee-led case. My advice is to always prepare in the interviewee-led format so that you could solve both easily.

Best

Currently non-active expert
Expert
replied on 05/13/2018

Hi

When I interviewed to enter BCG - there was still case interviews but with some more senior folks. So whilst fit will become increasingly important in the later rounds as the previous commentors mentioned, I think you should still prepare for case interviews.

I would be try a few more tricky case questions with experienced consultants - I remember getting a case about helping a remote community think through how choose between investing in a school or a fishing jetty - which specifically required you to debate the goals of the community, select one, and then rank the 2 options on potential criteria against the goal.

Good luck!

Anonymous A replied on 04/16/2018

So now I get the feel that they're is a higher emphasis on the fit, and more complex cases that mostly test fluidity and ability to analyze detailed cases ?

I understand that a huge part of my efforts, at this stage, would be on the fit part?

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