Hiring coach from the beginning or later?

Client and MBB coach
Edited on Apr 04, 2022
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Apr 02, 2022

for someone who has no idea what a case interview is and is starting from scratch. is it advisable to start with prep course such as preplounge, casecoach, craftingcases or hire a coach from the get go. I can afford to pay for coaching sessions. But at the same time I will want to know when to hire. Thank you very much

(edited)

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Andi
CoachingPlus Expert
replied on Apr 03, 2022
BCG interviewer (>175 candidates) |96% coaching success rate, if 3+ sessions | Coached 50+ candidates to MBB offers

Hi there, 

I agree with the other other coaches - timing of coaching really your style / preferred way of working and there are multiple ways that can lead to success.

Based on the particular situation you shared, it could be a good idea to consider coaching support early on / from the start. Reasoning for this is quite simple…

  1. Targeted preparation: You can co-create a targeted, week-by-week preparation plan that's tailored to your specific needs as well as to the way MBB firms evaluate performance, from Day 1 (which does not mean that the sessions need to start immediately). Without a coach that has the experience, this is much harder to do. 
  2. Efficiency: Engaging an experienced coach will shorten your prep cycle significantly, as you will be able to focus on the factors that maximize the odds, and to minimize the usual churn of planning without experience, understanding your baseline (strengths & weaknesses), finding the right resources, bad / useless feedback etc 
  3. Good habits, early on: early coaching support will ensure you develop an effective, repeatable approach to problem solving from the get go, and minimize the risk of developing bad casing habits. If the latter sneak in, they become much much more difficult to iron out, so should avoid that when you can.

In your shoes, I'd conduct a few informal chats with coaches you like the profiles of, and form an educated view. ROI of finding the right coach will be quite significant, we can assure you.

Hope this is useful - feel free to PM, if you'd like to discuss further. Happy to help.

Regards, Andi 

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 03, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

So look, every coach here will say get a coach early on :)

Now, I actually do firmly believe in the value of the right coach early on, but it depends on both you and the coach.

1) If you are getting a coach that does not have content of their own (i.e. they will just case you and give you feedback), then you should only opt for a coach once you are intermediate/advanced

2) If, however, you are opting for a coach that actually takes you on the full journey (i.e. some of the higher ranked, “permanent job” coaches), then you literally want to start with them right away

The advantage of #2 is: 1) Save time (you learn so much faster and more efficiently) and 2) You learn right - i.e. no bad habits etc.

Honestly, viewing this like a gym/personal trainer or a therapist etc. is the right way - are you the type who knows how to get fit/healthy on your own or do you prefer guidance? Are you worried about having bad form and getting a herniated disc from a deadlift or are you comfortable you can learn the right form from videos?

There are plenty of people who take the “do it yourself” approach and do just fine! If you do take that approach here's my advice:

1) Use craftingcases only for frameworking

2) Use rocketblocks only for charts/exhibits

3) Use preplounge/casecoach for the “learn how to case” and early ramp-up (getting to “intermediate” state)

4) Take all case feedback (i.e. from peers) with a huge grain of salt

5) Be very careful with learning bad habits…I get way to many people who think they're ready who really are not!

By the way, it doesn't hurt to have an intro call with a few coaches - you can see exactly how they plan to enhance your prep experience. From there you can decide if you want to take the do it yourself approach or the guided approach!

Obviously, I'm happy to chat/help if you decide you'll like to learn more!

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Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 03, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

I usually recommend to do at least 5 cases on your own before a coaching session. If you start from zero (ie never done a case), it may still work but it will be tough for both you and the coach (he/she will have to spend time on very basic things instead of the real differentiators for an offer).

The general process I would recommend for prep is the following:

  1. Define a calendar for your preparation. Identify how many hours you have before your interview and allocate a time slot for preparation in your calendar for each day, working on the points below. Many candidates need 100+ hours to be ready before the interview starting from zero if they don’t use a coach, so you can keep that as a benchmark.
  2. Skim through Case In Point or Case Interview Secrets for a general understanding of what a consulting interview is. Don’t focus on the structures proposedas they are not good enough nowadays.
  3. Start reading good MBA Consulting Handbooks – you can find several for free online (INSEAD is a good one to start). Read the cases and try to apply your structure to solve them. Whenever you see there is something missing, upgrade your structure with the new insights. Try to read a new case per day – in this way you will absorb better the information with constant learning.
  4. After the first 5-10 cases in books/handbooks and basic theory, start to practice live. PrepLounge can be helpful to connect with other candidates for that. There is a relevant part of the interview score that is based on your communication, which you cannot practice at all if you read cases only. 
  5. Keep track of your mistakes and see which ones you are repeating. If so, try to identify the source of the mistake (feedback from experienced partners would be particularly useful for this). Be sure to focus on both the behavioral part and the case part during the mocks. The case part should also cover market sizing, math and graph analysis.
  6. Before the interviews, be sure to prepare your questions for the interviewer  – a great way to show you prepared in advance and to connect with the interviewer for a good final impression. Ideally, get information on who they are and study their profile to have good questions to ask.

In Part 4 you should be ready to start to work with a coach. You will have the basics covered and you should have not absorbed bad habits yet.

If you are interested in a complete program covering everything mentioned above, you can find the one I created below:

 The GYM Program - Getting You Into Management Consulting

If you have any questions please feel free to PM me.

Best,

Francesco

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Moritz
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 02, 2022
Unearth your spike & get the offer |ex-McKinsey | 120+ coachings & interviews @ McKinsey | ESADE MBA | Transition Expert

Hi there,

Depends whether you have some interviews coming up shortly. If not, I would advise you get a "free" overview first.

If you have some time to browse resources on Preplounge, maybe watch some youtube videos, download some case books, do that to get a feel for what case interviews are. There's great free content out there. Make sure you also include personal fit in your research.

Once you have an overview of what consulting interviews are all about, I would consider a first coaching session to discuss your goals, timeline, do a diagnostic, and set up a targeted plan. This will save you a ton of time down the line.

You may expert something like 3-5 coaching sessions with experienced coaches as part of your preparation, which should push you into the highest percentile of top performers.

If you're keen to discuss more, feel free to reach out!

Best of luck!

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 02, 2022
#1 rated and most recommended McKinsey Coach | 97% success rate (tracked) | Honest feedback: no sugar-coating

Hi there, 

Great question!

I'd find a coach early on. If you have the time, then do connect with them beforehand to make sure you have a similar style and you click. Then get their guidance on how to prepare before your first session. Usually I advise my candidates to do 1-2 weeks of practice before starting if they haven't done cases previously. 

Then I do a diagnostic and based on where they are and the timeline they have, then we plan a mix of sessions, individual work and practice with my other candidates. 

Having a coach does accelerate things tremendously, but it doesn't substitute individual work. 

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Charlotte
Expert
replied on Apr 02, 2022
Empathic coach, former McKinsey Engagement Manager |Secure offers from top consulting firms

Dear candidate,

if you can afford a coach, then why not start with a coaching session, do a diagnostic of strenghts and let them devise a study plan for you, where you will find free material and what is worth paying for in terms of training?. Of course if you want to save at first, you can also check out the main free material offerings from the websites that appear on the first page of google, additionally to preplounge. As a matter of fact preplounge offers sufficient free material for you to get started, but you can supplement it with other freebies, if you like. Important is that you know

a) what is expected in a case interview in terms of how you should lead through the interview (when to ask questions, how to conclude)

b) how you will be graded

c) what your strengths and improvement areas are

d) how to practise specifically in those areas (what types of drills to do or skills to gain)

e) which parts you can practise with peers versus which parts you should cover with a coach.

 

Best regards

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Ken
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Apr 04, 2022
Ex-McKinsey London final round interviewer

I think it comes down to the value and availability of your time.  Say, you have a full-time job and an interview in a few weeks where you can afford several coaching sessions, then it's probably worthwhile instead of spending hours reading different material online and trying to learn the basics.  The other aspect is discipline (i.e., why people hire personal trainers to get in shape), is it a must? - definitely not, but does it increase your chances of successfully getting into shape? - definitely yes!

Personally, I think it's an AND not an “or”.  It's a relatively competitive job where many candidates are getting paid coaching AND spending a lot of personal time practicing too.

Good luck!

(edited)

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Andi gave the best answer

Andi

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BCG interviewer (>175 candidates) |96% coaching success rate, if 3+ sessions | Coached 50+ candidates to MBB offers
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