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Engaging the interviewer while doing math / figuring out an exhibit

Anonymous A asked on May 02, 2018 - 2 answers


While I'm doing math or figuring out what insights I can extract from a given exhibit, how should I engage the interviewer? Just thinking out loud to share my thinking process?

Any other best practices?


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replied on May 02, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School
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For math you should:

  1. Present the interviewer your approach (formula, calculation steps, equation, etc)
  2. Check with him whether the approach is correct
  3. Start calculations
  4. Come back to the interviewer with some midpoint numbers to keep him engaged and to make sure you are on the right track. Also, it makes sense to check what is his tolerance for rounding the numbers
  5. Present the final answer

For an exhibit (table / graph) You can use the following approach:

  1. Take a minute to look at the graph
  2. Read the graph title
  3. Look at the graph type and define the type (pie chart, line chart, etc)
  4. Look at the legend (ask for clarifying questions if necessary)
  5. Identify whats going on on the graph. Look for: Trends, % structures,
  6. Look for unusual things - correlations, outliers,
  7. Make 3-4 conclusions from the graph. Think of potential hypothesis on what could be the root cause / what are the consequences
  8. Prioritize the most important for your current analysis and move forward with the case

Sources to learn from (prioritized):

  1. Study "Say it with Charts" book by Barbara Minto
  2. Learn basic statistics (Any GMAT or MBA prep guides)
  3. Check all available MBB presentations and publications. Practice to derive conclusions and check yourself with the actual ones from the article / presentation
  4. GMAT IR part (Official guide and Manhattan prep)
  5. "Consulting Bible" and "Vault guide for consulting" - check the chapters on cases with graphs in these books

Good luck!

Anonymous A replied on May 02, 2018

Thanks Vlad!
Regarding the Exhibit part of your answer - in section 1 "Take a minute to look at the graph": should I ask for a moment to look at the graph?

Yep, ask for 30 sec or so — Vlad on May 02, 2018

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