expert
Expert with best answer

Vlad

97% Recommendation Rate

365 Meetings

5,412 Q&A Upvotes

USD 229 / Coaching

For an interviewer-led type question, how long is an acceptable time to structure your response before answering?

Anonymous A asked on Sep 29, 2018 - 3 answers

I've been listening to LOMS, and it seems like the recordings cut out the "thought gathering" downtime, so I have no idea how long the candidates actually take to gather their thoughts.

When practicing, to get a structured answer I usually take up to two minutes to prepare my response. In an interviewer-led format, is this acceptable?

(edited)

3 answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best Answer
Vlad
Expert
replied on Sep 29, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School
Book a coaching with Vlad

97% Recommendation Rate

365 Meetings

5,412 Q&A Upvotes

USD 229 / Coaching

Hi,

It doesn't really depend on who leads the interview:

  • 1-2 min for initial structure. But the faster the better
  • Up to 1 minute for the conclusion. Again, the faster the better. But always take the time! Your conclusion should be very well structured and your arguments should include supporting numbers and you need time to collect them
  • 30 sec - 1 min for questions on creativity. It's really hard to be creative "On-the-go"

It's a bit more tricky with taking time during the case:

  • It's not OK to take 30 seconds and then come up with just 1 or 2 ideas. And then if the ideas are not correct to keep the science again. This is called "Guessing"
  • It's OK to take 30 seconds, draw a new structure (or continuation of your previous structure) and come up with a structured way to approach the problem further.

Best,

Vlad

Guennael
Expert
replied on Sep 30, 2018
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews
Book a coaching with Guennael

99% Recommendation Rate

264 Meetings

1,246 Q&A Upvotes

USD 269 / Coaching

If you come back with a well thought out and detailed framework, I dont mind you taking 2 minutes - but that is definitely the upper limit. 60 to 90 seconds is more standard.

I also have no problem with someone asking me once or twice for time to gather their thoughts during the case - but dont abuse that option. As for the conclusion... most companies give you a minute (or 30 seconds), but BCG will typically expect you to drop your pen and look up at a second's notice.

In any case - all else being equal, the faster the better.

Anonymous B replied on Sep 29, 2018

Since in interviewer led cases, response structure evolve. I personally dont take more than 2 mins to gather my thoughts and draw initial part.

Related BootCamp article(s)

Interviewer-Led vs Candidate-Led cases

Case Interviews can be led by the candidate or by the interviewer: In Candidate-led cases the main challenge is the structure. In Interviewer-led cases the main challenge is to adapt quickly

Related case(s)

McKinsey Questions

Solved 33.3k times
4.5 5 835
| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0) |
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit interview | Topics: Personal fit

Tell me of a situation where you had an opinion and no one seemed to agree with you. What was your goal when you decided to join university / work / clubs / a sports team? Did you have a goal that you were not able to reach? What did you do? What do you want to be remembered for and how are you a ... Open whole case