How many cases to practice

case partners
New answer on Sep 09, 2020
7 Answers
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Kosar asked on Sep 09, 2020
Preparing for McKinsey Interview. Prefer non Prep-Lounge interviewer led case.

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Sidi
Expert
replied on Sep 09, 2020
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 300+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi Kosar,

What I have seen again and again is the following:

It is much more important to focus on quality, rather than quantity! If you fail to build the right routines and habits, the effect of more mock case will be actually detrimental at some point. So finding an outstanding partner or booking an expert should come very early in your process! This will allow you to double down on your problem areas from the start!

Most people that I helped getting into MBB reached a solid "offer-ready" level by the time they had gone through about 8-10 coaching sessions, and additionally solved about 20 full ~30-40 minutes cases with an experienced case partner (and also doing revisions after getting good feedback on every case).

Cheers, Sidi

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Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Sep 09, 2020
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi Kosar,

Many candidates need 30+ cases to reach the level needed for an offer. The exact range depends on the quality of the cases done.

The quality of the case (and feedback you get) is more important than quantity. You may do 100 “bad” cases, and not progress much. Or you may do 2-3 cases that really teach you how to crack that case category and its variations and progress much more.

Best,

Francesco

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Ian
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Content Creator
replied on Sep 09, 2020
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Step # 1: Stop. Realize it's not a numbers game. Realize it's quality over quantity and that studying smart is better than studying hard.

Step #2: Hire a coach! Even if just for 1 session. They will tell you your weaknesses (if any) and what you need to work on to get your game to 100%

Most importantly is: Are you solving the case and solving it well?

Some advice:

  1. Identify your weaknesses through a) Self-reflection and b) A case coach session
  2. Work through those weaknesses

Some common ways to identify weaknesses:

  • Create a industry-case type matrix to track your cases and see where you may have gaps (I can send you one if you like)
  • Ask people to evaluate you on the key evaluation criteria (communication, structured thinking, hypothesis-driven, etc)

All this being said, I have found that 20-30 cases is when you start to feel comfortable. This is the minimum.

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Henning
Expert
updated an answer on Sep 09, 2020
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

In my experience, practicing 12-15 cases is sufficient, if you do it strategically. My recommendation is as follows:

  • Read up on the typical approaches and standard frameworks to get the concept.
  • Then, do 3-4 cases to get a practical feeling for what a case is like. Start with easier ones - e.g. market size mini cases, simple profit tree cases, etc. This will help you develop a rudementary sense for how cases work
  • The next 5-6 cases should cover cases from all major types and help you gain the experience and comfort with standard frameworks and the thinking required for solving the cases.
  • Lastly, you will want to do 4-5 cases to hone your skills. Practice with people who understand what they are doing - experienced interviewers, coaches, etc. that can give you 1-2 main items of feedback after each case that you can then practice to apply and improve on in the next case. During this time, you should also practice to move away from off-the-shelf frameworks and tailor, or - even better - develop your frameworks specifically during the case.

The further you move towards the final interview, the more important it is to practice with experienced interviewers. While you can easily ask any friend or practice with peers for the first few cases, you should aim for qualified, professional feedback as you approach the finishing line.

However, keep in mind, that this requires a strong plan and strategic approach to the preparation. I regularly see people doing 30-40 or even more cases. While this can also lead to success, in my eyes, it is a bit of a waste of time, especially for experienced hires that often also have a regular job to do while preparing for the consulting interviews.

Let me know if this helps. I'm also happy to elaborate any of the above in more detail. DM me if you like.

(edited)

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Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Sep 09, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

It's more about quality rather than quantity:

  1. Don't count the cases you've done yourself
  2. Don't count the cases you've done from the casebooks
  3. Count the cases you've done with experienced candidates (50+ cases solved / passed the first round) who can give you a real case and good feedback.

In that case, you need 40-50 cases depending on the role, office, etc (e.g. MBAs in top schools need just a bit of practice compared to regular candidates. Both because of their knowledge and because the on-campus hiring is not that tough)

If you take a good coach, you can make it in 20-35 cases. The coach will give you the right knowledge. Partners will help you integrate the skill. At the end of the day, it's just a skill that can be trained.

Why do you even need partners and coaches? When you are stressed during the case interview and out of energy having the 3rd case in a row, 90% of your questions and reactions should be fully automatic. Otherwise, it's extremely hard to solve the case, trying in find out what you've memorized from v.Cheng book.

Best!

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Anonymous replied on Sep 09, 2020

Dear Kosar,

The quality and understanding get first importance, then quantity gives you speed and skills.

If you are doing it along, you may need more cases to get the idea and right way to solve it. If you do it with a coach, you can get that level faster.

Best,
André

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Luca
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Sep 09, 2020
BCG |NASA |20+ interviews with 100% success rate| 120+ students coached |GMAT expert 780/800 score

Hello,

It's hard to find an answer that can be reliable for every candidate. I can say that on average a candidate should do 50+ cases before real interviews.
Anyway, as other coaches said, it's really important to choose the right cases and to practice in the right way. Once that you have done with the case, ask for an honest and detailed feedback from the other person. More over, I always suggest to analyze the structure used for the resolution and to enrich the original framework that you have for the secific typology.

Hope it helps,
Luca

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Sidi gave the best answer

Sidi

McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 300+ candidates secure MBB offers
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