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Florian

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11

How long should I take to develop my framework during a case interview?

I usually come up with solid frameworks at right about 3 minutes but I've heard that this is too long from other candidates on PL. It would be awesome to hear from case experts/coaches on what is the threshold for developing frameworks?

I usually come up with solid frameworks at right about 3 minutes but I've heard that this is too long from other candidates on PL. It would be awesome to hear from case experts/coaches on what is the threshold for developing frameworks?

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Book a coaching with Florian

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Hey there,

In a McKinsey interview, you can take up to 2 minutes to draft your structure, IF the structure you come up with is strong and

  • a. hits all the key points that the firm wants to see and
  • b. is communicated in the right way.

A big issue I see with coaching candidates is that they take too little time to structure their thoughts because they feel pressured to be quick rather than exhaustive and creative.

An additional 30 seconds can often make the difference between a bad structure and a good one or a good one and an excellent one. So my battle-tested advice is to get rid of this time pressure mindset, especially in a McKinsey interview.

Also different from other firms, you can take up to roughly 6/7/8 minutes to present your structure, your qualification, and hypotheses. This is due to the interviewer-led format that McK employs. The firm wants to see exhaustive and creative approaches to specific problems, which more often than not do not fit into the classic case interview frameworks that were en vogue 10 years ago...

Again, this only applies if everything you say

  • adds value to the problem analysis
  • is MECE
  • is well qualified
  • includes a detailed discussion of your hypotheses at the end

The difference in format and way of answering a question is the reason why I recommend to prepare very differently for McK interviews vs. other consultancies.

Cheers,

Florian

Hey there,

In a McKinsey interview, you can take up to 2 minutes to draft your structure, IF the structure you come up with is strong and

  • a. hits all the key points that the firm wants to see and
  • b. is communicated in the right way.

A big issue I see with coaching candidates is that they take too little time to structure their thoughts because they feel pressured to be quick rather than exhaustive and creative.

An additional 30 seconds can often make the difference between a bad structure and a good one or a good one and an excellent one. So my battle-tested advice is to get rid of this time pressure mindset, especially in a McKinsey interview.

Also different from other firms, you can take up to roughly 6/7/8 minutes to present your structure, your qualification, and hypotheses. This is due to the interviewer-led format that McK employs. The firm wants to see exhaustive and creative approaches to specific problems, which more often than not do not fit into the classic case interview frameworks that were en vogue 10 years ago...

Again, this only applies if everything you say

  • adds value to the problem analysis
  • is MECE
  • is well qualified
  • includes a detailed discussion of your hypotheses at the end

The difference in format and way of answering a question is the reason why I recommend to prepare very differently for McK interviews vs. other consultancies.

Cheers,

Florian

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Hi there,

I would recommend the following:

  • 1 min to write down the structure
  • 1.5 min to present

They are not strict rules. If you spend 1.5 min to write down the structure, you won’t lose any points. However be ready to have the interviewer ask if you are ready.

A total of 3 min is too long to write down a structure only without presenting it. If that’s the time you need, it means you have to:

  • Improve your knowledge of structures (eg practicing specific type of cases you find challenging) and/or
  • Improve your speed in writing down the structures (eg using more abbreviations)

Best,

Francesco

Hi there,

I would recommend the following:

  • 1 min to write down the structure
  • 1.5 min to present

They are not strict rules. If you spend 1.5 min to write down the structure, you won’t lose any points. However be ready to have the interviewer ask if you are ready.

A total of 3 min is too long to write down a structure only without presenting it. If that’s the time you need, it means you have to:

  • Improve your knowledge of structures (eg practicing specific type of cases you find challenging) and/or
  • Improve your speed in writing down the structures (eg using more abbreviations)

Best,

Francesco

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Hi A,

there is no clear right or wrong answer. Here are a couple of thoughts.

  • Quick answer: 60 seconds --> most interviewers would not say anything, 90 seconds --> most interviewers will start to get "nervous" but may or may not speak up and interrupt you and basically demand you to go ahead and present what you have, 120 seconds --> most interviewers will considers this already quite long
  • Other thoughts:
    • If you need longer than 90-120 seconds there need to be good reasons (i.e. you have a verty non-generic and detailed framework with at least 3-4 levels of detail)
    • Make sure you start working level by level (i.e. level 1 bullets first, followed by sub-bullets etc

The other experts have surely their own value-adding points to this.

Best,

Denis

Hi A,

there is no clear right or wrong answer. Here are a couple of thoughts.

  • Quick answer: 60 seconds --> most interviewers would not say anything, 90 seconds --> most interviewers will start to get "nervous" but may or may not speak up and interrupt you and basically demand you to go ahead and present what you have, 120 seconds --> most interviewers will considers this already quite long
  • Other thoughts:
    • If you need longer than 90-120 seconds there need to be good reasons (i.e. you have a verty non-generic and detailed framework with at least 3-4 levels of detail)
    • Make sure you start working level by level (i.e. level 1 bullets first, followed by sub-bullets etc

The other experts have surely their own value-adding points to this.

Best,

Denis

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Hi there,

Honestly, 3 minutes perfectly fine if your framework is awesome. If you produce average frameworks, you'll want to shorten then to 1.5 minutes preparation generally.

My advice is to spend a maximum of 3 minutes writing it down but ideally take 1-1.5 minutes.

Fundamentallty, you also have to have a clear plan forward (including the "why" and the "how") when producing a framework...this is the most important!

My advice to achieve this:

  • Write in shorthand
  • Just write down the main ideas/concepts (let your verbal walk-through fill in the color)
  • Practice thinking/writing quickly with a timer

Hi there,

Honestly, 3 minutes perfectly fine if your framework is awesome. If you produce average frameworks, you'll want to shorten then to 1.5 minutes preparation generally.

My advice is to spend a maximum of 3 minutes writing it down but ideally take 1-1.5 minutes.

Fundamentallty, you also have to have a clear plan forward (including the "why" and the "how") when producing a framework...this is the most important!

My advice to achieve this:

  • Write in shorthand
  • Just write down the main ideas/concepts (let your verbal walk-through fill in the color)
  • Practice thinking/writing quickly with a timer
Book a coaching with Vlad

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Hi,

  • 1-2 min for initial structure. But the faster the better. 1.5 looks fine
  • Up to 1 minute for the conclusion. Again, the faster the better. But always take the time! Your conclusion should be very well structured and your arguments should include supporting numbers and you need time to collect them
  • 30 sec - 1 min for questions on creativity. It's really hard to be creative "On-the-go"

It's a bit more tricky with taking time during the case:

  • It's not OK to take 30 seconds and then come up with just 1 or 2 ideas. And then if the ideas are not correct to keep the science again. This is called "Guessing"
  • It's OK to take 30 seconds, draw a new structure (or continuation of your previous structure) and come up with a structured way to approach the problem further.

Best,

Vlad

Hi,

  • 1-2 min for initial structure. But the faster the better. 1.5 looks fine
  • Up to 1 minute for the conclusion. Again, the faster the better. But always take the time! Your conclusion should be very well structured and your arguments should include supporting numbers and you need time to collect them
  • 30 sec - 1 min for questions on creativity. It's really hard to be creative "On-the-go"

It's a bit more tricky with taking time during the case:

  • It's not OK to take 30 seconds and then come up with just 1 or 2 ideas. And then if the ideas are not correct to keep the science again. This is called "Guessing"
  • It's OK to take 30 seconds, draw a new structure (or continuation of your previous structure) and come up with a structured way to approach the problem further.

Best,

Vlad

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60-120 seconds. And you should practice this with a partner that keeps an eye on the time, as it is very difficult to estimate the time under pressure. You eventually need to get to a level of comfort with developing these frameworks that allows you to jot down the 20% of content that drives 80% of the answer reliably in a short time.

Of your max 2 min, spend a minute on the first level (the 3-5 branches). This needs to be MECE for a strong framework. Then the remainding 30-60seconds on just a few bullet points per branch underneath. These are not meant to be MECE, just a few starting points for a more in-depths analysis later.

60-120 seconds. And you should practice this with a partner that keeps an eye on the time, as it is very difficult to estimate the time under pressure. You eventually need to get to a level of comfort with developing these frameworks that allows you to jot down the 20% of content that drives 80% of the answer reliably in a short time.

Of your max 2 min, spend a minute on the first level (the 3-5 branches). This needs to be MECE for a strong framework. Then the remainding 30-60seconds on just a few bullet points per branch underneath. These are not meant to be MECE, just a few starting points for a more in-depths analysis later.

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Hi,

It really depends on the type of case actually.

In general, however, you should be able to develop a solid structure in between 1 min and 1min30sec. If you're going too long, the interviewer will let you know about that. If you take 3 min to structure a case, be sure it's comprehensive and will really guide you throughout the solution of the case.

Hope this helps.

Best,

Antonello

Hi,

It really depends on the type of case actually.

In general, however, you should be able to develop a solid structure in between 1 min and 1min30sec. If you're going too long, the interviewer will let you know about that. If you take 3 min to structure a case, be sure it's comprehensive and will really guide you throughout the solution of the case.

Hope this helps.

Best,

Antonello

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Hi,

I would say 1-2 minutes would a rule of thumb. Once you have enough practice this should be a reasonable time to allocate. However, on a situation where you need 3 minutes I would not worry to much. The important thing is to get the right framework instead of racing to complete a framework.

Best,
Iman

Hi,

I would say 1-2 minutes would a rule of thumb. Once you have enough practice this should be a reasonable time to allocate. However, on a situation where you need 3 minutes I would not worry to much. The important thing is to get the right framework instead of racing to complete a framework.

Best,
Iman

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Hello there!

I would agree that 3 minutes only for coming up with the structure without presenting it is usually considered too long, but there are exceptions, like Udayan mentioned.

Typically, it would be ok to spend about 1.5 minutes to write down the structure, but the interviewer could start asking whether you are ready or ask to present what you have.
1 minute is what you need to aim at.

I think you need more practice, especially when there's time pressure. Find a peer or a coach and improve developing frameworks when solving cases.

Do you have any further questions?

GB

Hello there!

I would agree that 3 minutes only for coming up with the structure without presenting it is usually considered too long, but there are exceptions, like Udayan mentioned.

Typically, it would be ok to spend about 1.5 minutes to write down the structure, but the interviewer could start asking whether you are ready or ask to present what you have.
1 minute is what you need to aim at.

I think you need more practice, especially when there's time pressure. Find a peer or a coach and improve developing frameworks when solving cases.

Do you have any further questions?

GB

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Especially for McKinsey interviews 2 mins or so is totally fine. Even 3 mins is okay because there is a lot of emphasis on the structure itself.

Udayan

Especially for McKinsey interviews 2 mins or so is totally fine. Even 3 mins is okay because there is a lot of emphasis on the structure itself.

Udayan

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Hello!

Try to remain flexible here, since there is not an absolute truth, and you need to be able to read the interviewer and the circumpstances.

Overall, I would say anything between 1.5-2.5 mins is the right measure

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Hello!

Try to remain flexible here, since there is not an absolute truth, and you need to be able to read the interviewer and the circumpstances.

Overall, I would say anything between 1.5-2.5 mins is the right measure

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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