For undergrad non-business candidates, what (if any) graphs should we be prepared to draw?

Bain BCG McKinsey
Recent activity on Sep 17, 2018
3 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Sep 17, 2018

I saw a Bain case on youtube (couldn't workout if it was an MBA hire or not) but the interviewer asked the candidate to draw an occupany graph.

What other types shall we learn and where can we learn them?

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Anonymous replied on Sep 17, 2018

By the way: An "occupancy graph" is not a defined type of graph, but rather a chart (could be a line) that plots occupancy (of whatever, a hotel maybe) against some other variable.

The challenge is to pick a graph that makes sense for the question/data at hand. So for what I do use stacked bars vs. clustered bars? When do I scale to 100% and when do I use absolute numbers? When does a waterfall chart make sense?

At the consultancy I started we had a training which was called "from data to chart" - very useful.

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replied on Sep 17, 2018
Ex-Bain & Company Case Team Leader * Placed 40+ MBB candidates as Partner in Europe's leading top-tier Consulting recruiting firm

Generally things are kept relatively straightforward: I'd say just ensure you're familiar with bar charts (stacked and clustered, 100% and not), line charts and scatter charts. Bain has an aversion to pie charts, so I'd avoid those.
The interview is more about fundamentals than specific knowledge (obviously slightly different for experienced hires/ experts), so you shouldn't usually have to worry about hugely complex advanced business or statistical concepts.

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Anonymous on Sep 17, 2018

Any consultancy has an aversion to pie charts. We joked that it was a fireable offense at BCG :-D

replied on Sep 17, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


Here are some 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!

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