Do I hire coach before or after interview invitation?

Anonymous A asked on Jan 03, 2019

Hello. I am student with not much money, but I know to do my best in case interview I must hire help from coach. I have done networking and some nice people refer me. But I know this does not mean I have interview yet and still wait to hear. I do not know cases. I read a lot and try a few times, but I am lost. I know I must invest in my future with help from coach, but I do not know when. Do I hire coach now so I start to prepare? Or do I wait until I have interview invitation? Like I say before, I have very small salary but I need a lot of time to prepare. But if I do not receive invitation it will feel like waste of money. If you are student too or maybe coach could you please give me some advices? I hope you understand my English, writing for me is not easy. Thank you.

(edited)

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Anonymous updated his answer on Jan 03, 2019

Hi,

First of all, let me stress that case interviews are no rocket science - there is no need to be nervous!

Secondly, I would recommend to start reading books like "case in point" or "Case Interview Secrets". Then, try to do a couple of cases with friends or other students to get the basics right. Then, try to do cases with (ex-)consultants in your network or alumni from your school. If you are stilll not confident about your case skills, book a coaching session - but don't be mistaken: The coaching is by no means necessary to pass the case interviews. I have seen many people be succesful without spending money on a case coach. Don't feel the pressure to book a session if you can't afford it!

(edited)

Ben
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updated his answer on Jan 03, 2019
Ex-McKinsey EM | Experienced interview coach (100s of sessions) | London Business School MBA
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Hi there,

I fully agree with Mathias here, however from my experience coaching hundreds of candidates, I would suggest that getting a coaching session early on (after reading on case interviews and doing a few sessions with peers) could be highly beneficial. The goals of this session would be:

  1. Understand the current performance vs the "bar" and develop a clear and achievable plan to close the gap
  2. Identify and acquire "best practice" case interview habits, before the "bad habits" settle in
  3. Discuss and select the most suitable set of frameworks for structuring the case

This can be done in 1-2 sessions, would save you a ton of time and set you up for success. Beyond that, I agree with Mathias that no more sessions would be necessary, unless you have no suitable peer network to practice with (aim for ~30 live cases before the interview), or have the budget to spend on professional advice.

Best of luck,

Ben.

(edited)

Guennael replied on Jan 03, 2019
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Please don't waste your time with "Case In Point", at least not with the case cracking section -> the ~15 frameworks given are overly specific, not MECE, and you won't be able to reuse them. Victor Cheng's material is much better (a good starting point are his ~6 hours of free YouTube videos btw).

As for hiring a coach... up to you obviously, but remember that the field is extremely competitive (there are literally dozens of qualified applicants for every open spot) and the financial and professional upsides are phenomenal.

Whatever you decide though, make sure to start the actual prep long before you apply. It takes most of us well over 100 hours of focused, dedicated prep time to figure out this case thingy. I prepped after my MBA but didn't know what I was supposed to do, and went nowhere. Years later, I prepped again and made it - but that second time, I had the benefit of a few BCG friends giving me personalized feedback + leveraged Victor Cheng's material enormously. PrepLounge didn't exist then, or I would have used it as well. In spite of all of this, I studied for ~120 hours that second time again. No way I'd have been ready if I had waited until I applied to prepare myself.

PS: Let's say you hire a coach & spend significant time to prepare, but don't get an interview. Did you waste this money and time? I'd argue no actually, these skills will be reusable in other interviews (many former consultants in every industry, they will pretty much all give you a case or test your thought process) and even in your future job (can you be hypothesis driven?)

tl;dr: You can succeed without a coach, but (1) it takes a lot of time, and (2) the field is so competitive that I recommend you let others help you when possible. Even if it doesn't work, that case cracking skill will be useful to you later in other interviews and 'real jobs'

Joseph replied on Jan 11, 2019

Hey, time flies when you’re pursuing a goal. So, you have to start now. If you have time then you can choose the best coach for your interview. There are a lot of firms that are based on promises only. But I recommend you to take the free consultation so that you will choose the perfect one for you. Because it is important that you understand the different stages of your interview process with McKinsey and your chances at each step. I would like to recommend you some experts/coaches who have extensive interviewing AND coaching experience from McKinsey and will go the extra mile to ensure your success. Get directly in touch with them and ask any questions.

Here’s are the references:

  • https://www.zerotombb.com/our-coaches
  • https://igotanoffer.com
  • https://www.myconsultingcoach.com

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Getting Up to Speed

In order to repeatedly demonstrate prerequisite skills under the pressure of a real case interview, you need to learn the basics and practice cases.