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Final Round Partner Interviews - A Structuring Test or A Creativity Test?

BCG Final Round MBB
Recent activity on Jan 28, 2020
2 Answers
1.5 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Jan 28, 2020

Hi All,

I would like to get some feedback on how best to approach final round interviews with MBB London.

I've heard a lot of feedback suggesting these partner interviews are much more of a creativity test/business intuition discussion, as opposed to a structured, mathematical, analytical case.

Can you please provide any tips with regards to how to impress on the creativity side, if you are fairly comfortable with the basic structuring/analytics of a convetional 1st round case interview, but often struggle to brainstorm creatively on the spot in areas not discussed before?


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Best answer
replied on Jan 28, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


Interviewers can ask you the following creativity questions:

  • Let's generate 10 ideas how to…

  • Let's brainstorm…

  • How will you get this data if you are at the real project…

  • How will you check the following assumption…

  • Do you have some ideas on how to… Any other ideas?... Tell me more...

  • etc...

I recommend the following approach to creativity questions:

  1. Ask an interview for a minute: "Can I take a minute to structure my thoughts?"
  2. Think of several buckets of ideas. Remember to think as big as possible
  3. Narrow down to each bucket and generate as many ideas as possible. If the idea is too high-level, you can come up with examples
  4. Present the structure (buckets) and then your ideas
  5. Generate more ideas within the buckets if required by the interviewer

You may be wondering how to develop creativity?

Although most of the companies would say that you don't need any specific business knowledge, in reality, it is hard to solve a case purely based on common sense. The lack of business knowledge becomes a very common problem, especially among people with non-business backgrounds

Business Acumen is all about building proper industry and functional knowledge. Here is how you can do that:

  1. Practice more cases with the other candidates. Try to start with the most common industries - Retail, Consumer Goods, Airlines, Banking
  2. Study the annual reports of the public companies in each industry. They have a good overview of the company and the industry.
  3. Get the industry information from relevant books, magazines, etc. We'll recommend some good reading in the next lessons.
  4. Study MBA cases. They have a good industry overview. You can purchase HBS cases here:
  5. Follow this course further and you'll learn a lot about different industries

For each industry, you should understand:

  • Revenue streams
  • Cost structure
  • Average margins
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Industry trends


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replied on Jan 28, 2020
McKinsey / ex-Interviewer at McKinsey / I will coach you to rock those interviews
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Vlad gave the best answer


McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School
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