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How important is it to actually finish all components of a Case?

Actively preparing for interviews with Bain and BCG
New answer on Sep 25, 2020
7 Answers
1.4 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Sep 22, 2020

Yesterday I had a mock case with a consultant assigned to me before my first round interview with Bain. He said that while my strucuture/communication/business sense/ability to drive the case was really good, I took ~28 minutes to complete the case.

The interviews I will have will only allot ~20 minutes per case. I was told that since the extra time came from explaining my thought process and in his opinion I didn't "waste" any time that taking longer shouldn't dock me too much if at all. However, I'm concerned that I won't be able to finish my case and thus have incomplete feedback (ex. Didn't do a Brainstorming part of the case).

Will I still have a chance if I don't reach every section of the case, and if not, how can I do the case faster?

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Content Creator
replied on Sep 23, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

You don’t always cover all the typical case components in a real case interview. Sometimes, some are missing (eg recommendation).

It’s impossible to say if and how you should speed up just knowing you spent 28 min. It could be you are doing fine and the case you did was simply long (some cases are more complex than others). Or it could be you wasted tons of time in specific parts (graphs, maths, structuring, etc).

The only real way to understand this is getting the feedback from a current or former consultant seeing you in action, and ask him/her which specific parts of the case you can speed up, if any.


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replied on Sep 23, 2020
Ex-McKinsey final round interviewer | Executive Coach

The interviewer (not the candidate) is responsible for making sure they are able to get the best read through your case interview and so it's not something I would worry about too much.
There are no points awarded for being able to solve the case quickly. In my experience, the strongest case interviews are those who are able to come up with 'answers' that the interviewer rarely comes across or has never thought of themself!

My advice would be to make sure you are 'starting strong' where you are being productive with time. I have seen many candidates who spend a lot of time just regurgitating the case introduction to 'make sure I've understood the case' and ask lots of generic questions as they feel 'they need to ask questions'. Be concise here where it's also a great way to show your ability to synthesise (early in the case interview) and be able to prioritise in a hypothesis-driven way.

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Anonymous replied on Sep 22, 2020

Hi Anonymous,

it's really impossible to give a definite answer on this as every case is different. Some consultants have developed a linear case that is straight forward and you'll have to finish the entire case. Others have cases that have multiple lenses to it and go down a specific route with you based on your initial choice. And of course there are multiple variations in between, e.g. linear caess with a "bonus" topic that the candidate can explore if they rush through the regular case really fast.

A good practice is to read the room and pay attention to the interviewers reactions. If they are appear to be getting nervous and you have the feeling that you spend a lot of time explaining, it could be helpful to just reconfirm whether they want that level of explanation of prefer you to just execute.

And of course be aware of time: the structure they give you should tell you how much time you have for the interview. Managing the time to fit within these constraints are a crucial skill that you need to practice, especially in the candidate-driven case interview that Bain uses.

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Anonymous replied on Sep 23, 2020


Usually there are no strict requirements for completion of the case within specific timeframe.

However, your low speed of navigation through the case may signalize that:

1) you lack business judgment and can not prioritize your analysis properly
2) you don’t process the information fast enough

To improve the first one I suggest you solve more cases and focus on the prioritization inside your issue trees. You should also read more about recent developments across different industries as it may improve your business sense.

For the second one I suggest that you should do structuring drills and focus on time. Try to find out whether you lack time to structure your thought or it takes you long to explain your thoughts.

Good luck!

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replied on Sep 25, 2020
McKinsey interviewer|EM @ McKinsey & Company | 100% fit interview success rate | Coached +20 candidates | Personalized interview

Not important at all. That's not a criteria. The interviewer is going to rank you in several dimensions. Once the interviewer has enough "evidence" to assess and rank your ability in all these dimensions they might stop the case interview. As an interviewer I sometimes ask one more question just because there is enough time.

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Content Creator
replied on Sep 23, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

I agree with him wholeheartedly!

Honestly, within 5-10 minutes of a case the interviewer has already made up their mind! The rest of the case is really to just test you a bit further, poke around, essentially do due diligence.

I would worry much more about the quality of your casing/performance than how quickly you run through things.

If you've done half, but done it extremely well, that's so much better than finishing a case sloppily/wrongly.

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Anonymous replied on Sep 23, 2020

Hi A,

The key point here is not to finish all components of a case but to make sure you get the most of the time given. The interviewer might as well help you out if he sees that you're developing the right approach but need to be faster.

It is mostly about quality, not quantity. I would recommend not to worry that much but to practice quick thinking so you can adjust your approach to the set time frame.

Do not overthink it and try to be concise, clear, and consistent.



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Francesco gave the best answer


Content Creator
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching
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