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"Do you mind if take a couple minutes to.....?"

Mattia Belloni asked on Jun 16, 2019

Hi all,

HOW do you ask for some time to structure your approach to the case?

Sometimes I feel that some steps of our case interviews sound robotic, boring and standardized. I'd like to find ways to them more unique and natural.

You are an interviewer and giving the 5th+ interview of your day. Wouldn't you be annoyed by just the idea of the upcoming "Do you mind if take a couple minutes to structure my thoughts?"?.

Any suggestion?


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updated his answer on Jun 17, 2019
McKinsey Engagement Manager & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 90+ candidates secure MBB offers
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I agree with Vlad here! I would strongly sugggest you concetrate on the more value-adding areas of case preparation. You can always use a phrase such as

"I would suggest to now outline my approach towards adressing and solving our client's issue and then align it with you. For that, I would need a moment to concentrate if that's ok with you?"

Cheers, Sidi


replied on Jun 17, 2019
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Hi Mattia,

Thetre's a delicate answer to this one. Yes, you don't want to be robotic, and too often people memorize specific steps etc. This is bad because 1) As you mentioned, it's obvious 2) They crumble if the script changes (i.e. I respond "No, you can't have time. Just tell me what you're thinking now).

On the other hand, there is a sort of flow that's expected. It probably depends on the company+office in terms of their cultural expectations, but I always "shortened" my requests. And I absolutely gauged my interviewer

I would normally say the first half of the sentence and almost trail off.

Such as "Could I have a minute?" or "I'm just going to gather my thoughts here". I do agree that the "Do you mind if I just take a couple of minutes to gather my thoughts so that I can then come back to you with a plan to meet this objective" gets very tiresome :)

Vlad replied on Jun 17, 2019
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I believe it's not the biggest problem if you are good with solving the case.

Pls don't overcomplicate the things and concentrate on the key things in prep: structuring, math, creativity, synthesis, etc.

Good luck!

Francesco replied on Jun 17, 2019
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Hi Mattia,

this is really not a problem, asking for time is expected by the interviewer, in the same way as it is expected that you structure your approach at the beginning, take time before a graph etc. The way you ask for it is not a concern.

You may change the format and use a different one if you prefer, but you won’t lose any point using the sentence you mentioned as well.



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