Doing a case in 25 Min

New answer on Sep 14, 2020
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Anonymous A asked on Dec 31, 2018

Dear Experts / Preplounge,

I understand that some firms (e.g. BCG) strictly do cases in 25 min. Is my understanding right that to achieve this they, at times, direct you (post running them through your structure) on where to start looking at the case? And then once you have shown them that you can do math well, they might provide the remaining maths answers (if needed for time)? With both of these steps designed to make sure you get through the case in 25 min.

If not the above, do they just see if you can go fast enough whilst remaining strucutred / composed.

Many Thanks

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Anonymous replied on Sep 13, 2020

Hi A,

I agree with colleagues, you should focus on the interviewee-led approach because if you are prepared for that you are likely to pass an interviewer-led case much easier.

The core objective here is to always be able to give a full, structured, and logical answer.



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Content Creator
replied on Dec 31, 2018
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.700+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

some firms indeed adopt an interviewer-led approach, where the interviewer leads you through the case and, whether you have completed or not a section of the analysis (eg math or graph interpretation) moves you to the next step. This kind of interview is typical at McKinsey, but it is used as well in other companies when the interviewer is interested to see how you approach different areas of the case and/or has a specific time limits (eg first round on-campus MBA interviews which have usually a specific time constraint).

Other companies adopt instead an interviewee-led approach, where the interviewer leaves to the candidate to lead the case, and will just provide information when asked.

As a general tip, I would recommend to prepare for an interviewee-led approach, thus keeping an attitude to move forward with the case, and simply be flexible in following the guidance of the interviewer so far that he/she leads you to a specific part when he/she uses an interviewer-led approach.

Hope this helps,


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replied on Dec 31, 2018
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews

"cracking the case" in just 25 minutes without help is very rare - it can happen (I did... once, I think), but not necessary. The main objective of the case interview is for you to show us that you can think logically, methodically, using the 80/20 approach... and will be able to crack today's case and the next and the next "if given enough time".

As a result, it will indeed happen that your interviewer gives you an answer or makes simplying assumptions. Don't count on it, but don't be shocked/scared if that happens. And as Francesco suggested here (and various ex-McK coaches here have also argued in the past), prepare for the interviewee-led case first and foremost, the interviewer-led will be easy to transition to.

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replied on Sep 14, 2020
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

Time is an issue in cases, but not the key. Unless you are so slow that you consistently don't finish cases in the time they have alloted for you, this is not an issue and will not be specifically tested.

You should however, keep time in mind and prioritize what you're doing with it. E.g. when you have spent 40 minutes on a case already and you're still going down an irrelevant rabbit hole, I will note that you're not very concious of time.

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