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How long should I take to say my initial structure and my conclusion?

Liam

I'm also curious how long of a pause is acceptable before presenting your framework to "structure your thoughts"

(edited)

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Andrea
Expert
replied on 02/07/2018
Former BCG decision round interviewer with 300+ real interviews in 8 years

For structure I'd say 1-2 minutes usually is the accepted norm. Longer becomes awkward and very likely that the frameworks becomes too complex/deep.

For conclusions. 10-30 seconds is my personal preference. However probably up to 1 minute is acceptable. Met multiple interviewers that ask you to go "cold" to test ability to perform under pressure.

hope it helps,

andrea

Vlad replied on 02/07/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Agree with the other experts:

  • 1-2 min for initial structure. But the faster the better
  • 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

Luis
Expert
replied on 02/07/2018
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Hello Liam,

This depends on a number of factors. Amongst others;

1. The complexity of the question. It is more time consuming to figure out how to approach the problem of a declining profit company with increasing sales volume once you have received a data dump than suggesting a P&L structure if you are hardly given any information other than the fact that the profits are declining, for example.

2. What the interviewer is looking to get out of you. Maybe she wants to know how you react under pressure and therefore encourages you to present the first thing that comes to mind. Perhaps he wants to see if you can be trusted in front a client if you are put under pressure.

Nevertheless, often between 30 and 90 seconds is completely acceptable. But as I said, this depends significantly on the actual question.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any further doubts.

Thanks,

LL

Francesco replied on 02/07/2018
#1 Expert for coaching sessions (1700+) | Ex BCG | 850+ reviews with 100% recommendation rate

Hi Liam,

I would suggest to keep the following as maximum amounts of time:

  • For the initial structure up to 2 minutes is ok
  • For a framework inside the case to structure your thoughts up to 1 minutes is ok
  • For final sum up 30 seconds is ok

There are exceptions to the rule in case the question is very straightforward or very complex as Luis mentioned. Moreover, sometimes the interviewer could ask you not to take any time to structure the conclusion, to check your reaction under pressure.

Best,

Francesco

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