How long should a case interview take?

MBB undergrad
New answer on Oct 31, 2020
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jul 24, 2020

I've been having mock interviews on PrepLounge for a few weeks now, and I've started to become reasonably confident in my ability to solve cases well. However, for most of my interviews, both my partner and I tend to take around 45 minutes per case. I just attended a Bain webinar that said first round interviews would be 30 minutes long (2nd round is 40 minutes long), including the case and behavioral interview.

Are the cases going to be shorter than the ones I am mock interviewing, or are both my partners and I preparing incorrectly? I am an undergrad and am applying for mbb internships if that makes a difference.

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Axel
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replied on Jul 24, 2020
Bain Consultant | Interviewer for 3 years at Bain |Passionate about coaching |I will make you a case interview Rockstar

Hi!

This totally depends on the case that is given. If there is a 30-minute timeslot for the case provided in your Bain interview, the format of the case is adjusted so that it is feasible to solve it within this time period.

My observation would be that many of the cases that you find online in places like preplounge or the consulting clubs from business schools are on the longer side vs. what is given at MBB these days.

-A

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Anonymous replied on Jul 24, 2020

Hi,

I would not worry about the 15 min diff too muchiIt will totally depends on the case given. 30 min is a benchmark if you do the case perfectly (which rarely the case).

I would focus to really practice to do all the case in the righ logical steps so you are taking 45 min not because you are stuck / cannot prioritize but because you are being MECE

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Anonymous replied on Jul 24, 2020

Hi Anonymous

Time spent on case interview aspect differs a bit across MBB. However it is very unlikely that you would spend more than 40 minutes on a case and in the first round interviews I would expect 30 minutes to be the average.

Interviewers achieve this by cutting you off if they feel you are taking too long and move abruptly forward. So when you practice with other candidates- you guys probably try and be polite and cover off all questions to ensure feedback is comprehensive (which is what I used to do as well). While this is still useful - it most definitely does not replicate an actual interview. That's why candidates use experienced coaches in addition to candidate practice on Preplounge

Best

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Francesco
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replied on Jul 24, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Usually a case is 30 minutes, plus 15 minutes for fit and your questions. BCG in Germany is an exception, as they often have cases that last 20 minutes only.

If your target office for Bain has also a short version of the case, I would not worry too much – as mentioned by Axel they will simply adapt the case to fit that time slot.

Unless you get feedback you spend time “boiling the ocean” with a generic approach, you can continue to practice as you are doing – it could be you are practicing on relatively complex cases that require more time.

Just keep in mind that a 45-minute case is extremely rare (standard is 30 minutes) and pay attention if you are wasting time on areas not relevant for the case.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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Anonymous replied on Jul 24, 2020

Dear A,

Don't worry about 15 min. But try:

1. Make you cases in a good logical order and structure

2. Practice more

Best,
André

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Ian
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replied on Jul 25, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

Cases are generally 30 minutes, but don't worry too much about the 45 minutes...you'll find that interviewers accelerate things, cut off portions of the case, etc. etc.

However, do keep in mind the following things in order to keep your cases efficient:

  1. Use <2 min to create your framework
  2. When talking through a problem (i.e. brainstorming, how to approach math, etc.) always provide the option to elaborate. As in, you can say "I'd like to do a, b, and c. I can talk more in depth about c as it's a bit more nuanced/complicated, if you like?" This then shows them you're thinking more deeply, without requiring a deep-dive...if they do ask for you to elaborate, great! Now you know it's needed:)
  3. Practice fast math and chart reading so as to improve interpretation/processing times
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Clara
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replied on Oct 31, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Between 20 and 30 mins in the real scenario

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Axel gave the best answer

Axel

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Bain Consultant | Interviewer for 3 years at Bain |Passionate about coaching |I will make you a case interview Rockstar
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