For case interviews at Bain, should you lay out a full structure (McKinsey-style) or build a structure as you go through the case?
Overview of answers
Thank you for your question.
The short answer is yes, but you need to be aware of the fact that this doesn't mean that your structure / approach will remain fixed throughout the case. At first, you will use your structure as a guide to determine what areas you will look into during a case. If things go well, you capture all the necessary data from your approach and then are able to make a conclusion based on the information provided. However, there are cases where you have to apply more considerations to your approach; therefore, you will sometimes find yourself modifying the structure in one way or another.
Sometimes, the interviewer may question your approach if he/she thinks that it is not correct or will not work for the case. So, make sure you are able to pick-up any queues from the interviewers in case they notice something is "off" from your structure - this isn't bad and will not get you dinged, just make sure you're able to recover from this by listening and paying attention to the key information points from the case.
Hope this helps!
my suggestion would be to keep a full structure for Bain as well. In my experience Bain has been the company a bit more “unstructured” during finals, with questions mainly related to market sizing, while at McKinsey and BCG I found more traditional cases also during the finals (first round was basically the same for all). At Bain I also found a bit more fit questions compared to McKinsey and BCG (both these elements may be due to the geography of the interview, which in my case was Italy). Having said that, as mentioned, I would present at the beginning of the interview an initial structure equivalent to the one used with McKinsey.