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Hardest cases to excel in

Anonymous A asked on May 02, 2018 - 4 answers

What type of cases, industry, question do candidates generally over look or feel they did well, when in fact they haven’t?

Or what hat cases are the hardest to do well at?

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replied on May 02, 2018
McKinsey Engagement Manager & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 100+ candidates secure MBB offers
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From my coaching experience it is generally cases where the central objective is not a financial KPI (like profits, revenues etc.) It can for example be social/political topics or change/cultural topics. I find candidates who are not very advanced in their skillset often struggle to transfer their skills to such settings.

Cheers, Sidi

replied on May 02, 2018
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Industry wise I see candidates struggle the most with the following: any industry that is B2B, banking/finance, pharma. This because usually candidates are not familiar with how financials for these industries work.

Type of case wise: M&A, pricing and restructuring are the ones candidates tend to drive not as well. This because either they are not familiar with how companies think about financials in context of M&A or a restructuring case (closing down a plant comes with a cost in year 1) or because they have never been exposed to concepts like elasticity curves etc.

Hope this helps,


replied on May 02, 2018
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Based on my experience the candidates deprioritize the following cases:

  1. Operational math problem (e.g. Should we increase the speed of an elevator or just buy a second one? How should we reduce the queues? Etc.) - candidates rarely finish this cases and bring back the right numbers from the interviews. Thus the sharing of these cases is limited.
  2. Cost Cutting - case books don't cover these types of cases
  3. Non-profit / social / unothrodoxcases (How you will improve the life expectancy in the city? How would you design a bankruptcy law? etc.)- candidates miss that these cases have much in common and you can prepare for them as well
  4. Market sizing, profitability - candidates think it's too basic and miss potential pitfalls
  5. Private equity due diligence, Synergies - Candidates miss the specifics of these cases


Anonymous B replied on May 02, 2018

Not sure. For me I think was the market size estimation.

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