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Have a first video interview at ATK with case and behavioral q. I week to prepare. HELP!

Priyanka
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replied on 06/06/2018

Hey there,

I interned at ATK a while back. I would start a 1 week practice schedule and stick to it - don't fret, it's very doable!

A few key principles to your practice plan that I would suggest:

  1. Prioritize the case - it is much more important than behavioral. 80% case prep, 20% behavioral. Behavioral becomes more important in later rounds.
  2. Practice structured thinking - it is the single most common pitfall for candidates. Depending on your level, market sizing cases are a great way to start, they force you to be logical, structured the whole way through.
  3. Nothing beats live practice - start scheduling live practice sessions. I would recommend ~3-5 with peers to get the hang of it. Then at least 1 mock interview with a professional to get targeted feedback, followed by 2-3 more peer practices to consolidate the feedback.

There are also plenty of free online resources (PrepLounge, Victor Cheng, consultingprep101 etc) - good luck!

Jack

Francesco replied on 06/06/2018
#1 Expert for coaching sessions (1600+) | Ex BCG | 800+ reviews with 100% recommendation rate

Hi Priyanka,

which stage are you in the preparation? That would be helpful to understand your ideal next steps.

In general, a good preparation for a consulting interview will move through the following areas:

  1. Define a calendar. Calculate the hours you have available in the next week, then divide your preparation in the activities below.
  2. Get a general understanding of the process. As first thing you may want to get a general idea on what a consulting interview is about. Case in Point is an ok starting point for that although not enough for being fully prepared nowadays.
  3. Work on improving structures, fit questions and communication. You can start from the Case in Point structures and fit questions, and create your own evolution reading MBA Handbooks (target 20-30 cases at least) and practicing live cases with peers on PrepLounge. Try to concentrate on profitability, operations and market sizing cases, as they are the most common type of cases for ATK.
  4. Iterate the process to eliminate the last mistakes. After the first 5 sessions, try to book sessions with candidates more experienced than you - in this way you will learn a lot faster. You can also speed up the process booking coaching sessions with an expert.

In general you should focus on three areas in your preparation:

  1. Fit questions (eg Why do you want to work for ATK?)
  2. Cases (eg Our client is a commercial bank losing money, how would you increase profits?)
  3. Your questions at the end for the interviewer.

All these steps are important for your final assessment. Fit questions preparation takes less time than the case to reach a good level, so it is ok to dedicate less time overall compared to the case prep. However, be sure to have all the key questions prepared - if are unable to provide a good answer to questions like “Why our company” or “Why should we hire you” it’s unlikely you can move to the next round.

Best,

Francesco

(edited)

Vlad replied on 06/06/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Since you have a very limited period of time here is my advice:

If you have not done any cases yet:

  • Take a 1-week vacation to prepare
  • If it is not an internship with a dedicated interview period, please reschedule the interview. You can't imagine how many people have failed just because they didn't take enough prep. There is absolutely no penalty for rescheduling.

Start preparations:

I recommend the following approach:

1) Start with "Case in point" book - you can download this book for free everywhere. It's not the best guide on how you should approach the cases, however, it will give you the basic understanding.

2) Start practicing cases with partners here or find them locally. !!! Find experienced partners or coaches who can provide a good feedback!!!

3) Purchase and read Viktor Cheng Book (Amazon Kindle store) and listen to LOMS (his website).

4) Start with the following cases (relevant for ATK) and apply some high-level recommendations on structuring:

  1. Market sizing - structuring from the supply or demand side. Structuring using a formula or using an issue tree
  2. Profitability - basic profitability framework. Remember about different revenue streams and product mix
  3. Market context cases (Market Entry, New product, Acquisition, etc). Always start with the big picture "market". Finish with something specific to the case (e.g. How to enter?"). Structure it as if you are defining the work streams for the real project.
  4. 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.) - Structuring as a process / value chain, with inflows, operations, and outflow

Best,