How much do people improve?

Failure hard improve Math improvement practice
New answer on Jan 13, 2020
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Anonymous A asked on Jan 13, 2020

After failing to pass MBB first round interviews in college a few years ago, I have another shot in one month. Many people claim to be bad at case interviews, but I'm atrocious. I'm curious: Has anyone overcome the following shortcomings with enough reps? Is a 1 month timeframe realistic for drastic improvement, with 4h practice/day?

Background: I'm not unintelligent according to my accomplishments on paper (ivy league school, 3.8 GPA, academic awards).

I fear two things will keep me from being successful in these interviews:

1. My working memory is crap. I'm exceptionally slow when it comes to math, and struggle to write down initial case information in about 50% of cases. Generally, I can't keep track of multiple data points in head at once, and therefore can't synthesize and draw conclusions quickly enough in case scenarios.

2. Unstructured in verbal communication. Because my brain can't keep track of everything in working memory, I ramble a bit as I work through things.

I write in a structured way, but only because I have time to do a brain dump and organize thoughts logically when I have a 45-minute exam essay or similar task.

One positive: case partners consistently say I have a natural instinct for business/cases, and my brain moves quickly and intuitively through a case by default. I've also learned this working the past 3 years out of school. Of course, operating intuitively is the antithesis of what firms want to see. They want a tiny bit of creativity in brainstorming or framework creation, sure...but ultimately, they want a hypothesis that is explored using a framework that is attacked logically and evolves/changes based on data they present you.

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Francesco
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replied on Jan 13, 2020
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.700+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

one month with 4h/day available, or 120h, should definitely be enough with the right prep since you are not new to the process.

Your issues seem related to:

  • Speed in math
  • Speed in taking notes
  • Communication

All these points, as mentioned by Vlad, can be improved in the timeframe you have available.

Please feel free to PM me or post a question specific on one of the previous topics for more details.

Best,
Francesco

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Clara
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updated an answer on Jan 13, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

I think that overall you have a favorable scenario:

  • You are not a begginer anymore, so you can leverage all your previous knowledge.
  • You have plenty of time (~120 h is more than enaugh if you use it efficently-.
  • The roadbloacks you mention are not critical what-so-ever:
    • Use the PL Math tool for improving math -this is a muscle, it only needs to be exercised-.
    • Practice a lot of cases for structure and top-down communication. If you can, with a coach to focus directly on those skills

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

(edited)

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Antonello
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replied on Jan 13, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi,
in 1 month you can do a great job, especially if you are not just a case beginner now.
- Regarding the math, I recommend practicing with PL math tool (https://www.preplounge.com/de/mental-math.php) and by learning some tricks (I found valuable the youtube channel of this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYrgjMubh-c)
- Top-down and structured communication is a skill that you will seriously improve in consulting, but desirable to achieve for interviews. It's the aspect I mostly stress during my sessions, and for a day-to-day practice I recommend, at the end of every mock case, to restate by yourself the key recommendations in a more top-down way, in order to make it more natural.

Hope it helps,
Antonello

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Vlad
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replied on Jan 13, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

All the things you've mentioned are easy to improve. I don't see anything critical here. Moreover, if you can dedicate a month, working full time on prep, - it's enough.

Feel free to reach out

Best

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Luca
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replied on Jan 13, 2020
BCG |NASA |20+ interviews with 100% success rate| 120+ students coached |GMAT expert 780/800 score

Hello,

Don't be so pessimistic, the issues you were mentioning are really common between candidates. You can definetely work on them and I have seen a lot of candidates that after setting up the right mindset were drastically improving their performances in a short time. It's far more important to have that natural business inclination you were talking about, in order to approach the case in the right way.
I would say that 4h/day per one month is enough if you have already studied for case preparation in the past. Practicing with an expert could be really important in order to boost your preparation and make you to understand where to focus your effort.

Feel free to contact me if you want to discuss further your preparation plan.

Best,
Luca

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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