How should I take this feedback?

interview feedback
New answer on Jun 06, 2020
8 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jun 04, 2020

Hi everybody,

I had an interview with Bain and to be honest I didn't prepare for it. In this respect, I obviously did not get an offer for an internship there.

Nonetheless, I wanted to share the feedback I got to build on that.

My feedback was:
Pros:

- Very professional and would actually be a very good fit to the company
- Very motivated through the interview, regardless of wether I could solve problems or not
- Impressed by the in depth knowledge about many industries

Cons:
- Quant skills were bad: I assumed this, since I get very nervous when I have to compute numbers infront of someone

- I should not try to fit cases to frameworks --> this I really didn't understand as I have no idea about frameworks

They offered me to interview again, do you have any advice on how to approach this?

Thanks !

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Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 05, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

This is a standard and generic feedback. In your case, it does not even matter since you had no preparation. In other words, you can't get relevant feedback on your ability to structure, if you have not practiced at all.

Yes, please, prepare, and go for an interview!

I recommend the following approach:

1) Start with "Case in point" book - you can download this book for free everywhere. It's not the best guide on how you should approach the cases, however, it will give you the basic understanding.

2) Start practicing cases with partners here or find them locally. !!! Find experienced partners or coaches who can provide a good feedback!!!

3) Purchase and read Viktor Cheng Book (Amazon Kindle store) and listen to LOMS (his website). I recommend to reread the book and listen to LOMS every 15 cases. Every time, having more experience, you’ll be finding something new.

4) Practice fast math

  • Learn how to multiply double digit numbers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ndkkPZYJHo)
  • Learn the division table up to 1/11 (i.e. 5/6 = 83.3)
  • Learn how to work with zeros (Hint: 4000000 = 4*10ˆ6)
  • Use math tools (Mimir math for iOS), Math tool on Viktor Cheng website to practice

5) Below you can find a list of the most common case types and some high-level recommendations on structuring:

  • Market sizing - structuring from the supply or demand side. Structuring using a formula or using an issue tree
  • Profitability - basic profitability framework. Remember about different revenue streams and product mix
  • Market context cases (Market Entry, New product, Acquisition, etc). Always start with the big picture "market". Finish with something specific to the case (e.g. How to enter?"). Structure it as if you are defining the work streams for the real project.
  • Operational math problem (e.g. Should we increase the speed of an elevator or just buy a second one? How should we reduce the queues? Etc.) - Structuring as a process / value chain, with inflows, operations, and outflows
  • Cost cutting - I provided the recommendations on structuring it here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/operations-cases-mck-1105#a2134
  • Valuation - Purely financial structure with cash flows, growth rate, WACC / hurdle rate, etc.
  • Synergies - revenue synergies (price, qty, mix) and cost synergies (value chain).
  • Social / economics cases (e.g. How to improve the quality of life in the city? How to increase the revenues of the museum?) - huge variability. Practice 3-5 social cases before the interview

6) Also, I would try to focus on the most common industries in the following priority(sorted by probability of getting a case): 1-retail and CPG; 2-airlines; 3-Telecom; 4-banking; 5-natural resources; 6-tech

7) ! Important: don't forget about the FIT interview part. Crafting you stories and backups stories will require a couple of weeks!

PS

Here is a good list of articles regarding the different parts of the case

1) Start with clarifying questions:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/clarifying-questions-1786#a3956

2) Communicating while structuring. Here is a long post by me on how to communicate the structure during the case study:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-communicate-its-structure-for-the-case-study-1313#a2806

3) Using hypothesis. I made a post about hypothesis here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-state-a-hypothesis-and-match-to-the-structure-1156#a2268

4) Communicating while making calculations:

  • Always tell the interviewer your approach
  • Check with the interviewer that your approach is correct
  • Come to the interviewer with some preliminary answers
  • Check your assumptions with the interviewer

5) Communicating during the analysis of graphs / tables

  • Take a minute to look at the graph. Read the graph title. Look at the graph type and define the type (pie chart, line chart, etc). Look at the legend (ask for clarifying questions if necessary). Identify whats going on on the graph. Look for: Trends, % structures. Look for unusual things - correlations, outliers,
  • Make 3-4 conclusions from the graph. Think out loud on potential hypothesis on what could be the root cause / what are the consequences
  • Prioritize the most important for your current analysis and move forward with the case

6) Communicating while having questions on creativity

  • Ask an interview for a minute to think
  • Think of several buckets of ideas (e.g. organic growth / non-organic growth / differentiation). Remember to think as big as possible
  • Narrow down to each bucket and generate as many ideas as possible
  • Present the structure (buckets) and then your ideas

7) Communicating your conclusion. You can find a good example I've posted here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-much-answer-first-should-the-conclusion-be-1231#a2493

8) Communicating your FIT stories

Use the top-down approach while communicating your stories. "The Pyramid Principle" is the must-read by ex McKinsey on this topic.

I recommend using the STAR framework:

  • In Situation, you should briefly provide the context, usually in 1 or 2 sentences
  • Task usually includes 2 or 3 sentences describing the problem and your objective.
  • Then you provide a list of specific actions you took to achieve the goal. It should take 1 or 2 sentences per action (Usually 3-4 actions). Note that the interviewer can stop you any minute and ask for more details.
  • The results part should have 1 or 2 sentences describing the outcomes. This part is finalizing your story - make sure it can impress the interviewer and stay in the memory.

Best!

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Axel
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replied on Jun 05, 2020
Bain Consultant | Interviewer for 3 years at Bain |Passionate about coaching |I will make you a case interview Rockstar

Hi,

First of all be very thankful that they have offered you a second chance, especially in the current economic situation so make sure that you are making the best possible out of this opportunity.

I would recommend that you get started with a serious preparation program if you are interested in pursuing a career in consulting.

1. Book a session with a coach who is able to give you a fair assessment of where you stand and can provide you with detailed feedback on where you need to improve to secure an offer with Bain

2. On the basis of the session and the time you have available work out a preparation plan that targets your weaknesses. At the minimum should include:

- Working on framing skills and market sizing

- Practicing solving cases by yourself and with others

- Maths practice

- Top-down communication skills

- Fit questions

3. You can start already now working on practicing your maths (pen and paper, mental maths) to get you more comfortable executing calculations quickly and correctly.

-A

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Ian
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Content Creator
replied on Jun 05, 2020
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

You're lucky - to get a second offer to interview means they think you have the natural ability. You need to come back and crush it - that means pulling in a lot of time between then and now.

Of course, it depends person to person. But I have a few "baseline" suggestions:

  • Aim for a few hours a day
  • Start "heavy" on fast math, and background knowledge/reading (building industry knowledge, reading case books, reading The Economist/FT/BCG insights)
  • Always go steady with actual casing (aim for a minimum 25 cases by the time you're done)
  • Work on fit/behavioural questions just 2-3 weeks before

Finally, 1 session with a coach at the very beginning goes a long way to maximizing your future efforts.

Here are some great prior Q&As to help you further:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-prepare-for-case-interviews-wrong-answers-only-6911

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/what-booksonline-materials-would-you-recommend-regarding-these-areas-6950

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/best-preparation-strategy-and-time-line-6904

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/does-reading-the-economist-and-other-stuff-help-an-inspiring-consultant-in-the-interview-and-in-the-job-6916

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Anonymous updated the answer on Jun 05, 2020

Hi,

You have to practice not alone but in front of an interviewer (I have two very quantitative cases if that interests you).

Regarding the second point, it is indeed crucial not to try to map classic frameworks to the case! Most cases require a custom framework. Again I advise you to train yourself on real cases that are offered for interview, away from the classic examples of books (interviewer wants to assess business sense). I would be happy to help you there again.

Best

(edited)

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Francesco
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replied on Jun 05, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (3.700+) | 1.300+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (www.case.tools/results) | Ex BCG | 8Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

congratulations on the new opportunity to interview, in particular given you did not prepare your first attempt – it means you have definitely potential.

In terms of how to prepare, I would recommend the following:

  1. Define a calendar for your preparation. Identify how many hours you have before your expected interviews, then allocate a time slot for preparation in your calendar for each day, working on the following points.
  2. Read Case In Point or Case Interview Secrets for a general understanding of what a consulting interview is. Don’t focus on the structures proposed in the books though, as they are not good enough nowadays.
  3. Start reading good MBA Consulting Handbooks – you can find several for free online (Insead is a good one to start). Read the cases and try to apply your structure. Whenever you see there is something missing, upgrade your structure with the new insides. Try to read at least a new case per day – in this way you will absorb a lot better the information with constant learning. Structure your remaining daily preparation with at least 5-10 minutes per day for each of the following: market sizing, fit questions and mental math. Pay particular attention to the math, since they mentioned it is one of your weak points.
  4. After you have read the first 10 cases in books/handbooks and basic theory, start to practice live. There is a relevant part of the interview score that is based on your communication, which you cannot practice at all if you read cases only. Keep track of your mistakes and see if you repeat them. If so, try to identify the source of the mistake (feedback of experienced partners would be particularly useful for this). Be sure to focus on both fit and case.
  5. Once you feel you are not improving anymore, if you have a tight time constraint or if you want a realistic assessment of your level, consider using support from experts to strengthen your performance
  6. Before the interview, be sure to prepare your questions for the interviewer –great way to show you prepare in advance and to connect more with the interviewer for a good final impression.

In terms of their comment on the frameworks, it seems you should work on two areas:

  1. Create your own frameworks instead of trying to fit standard ones like 3Cs
  2. Personalize the presentation of the structure according to the prompt

If you need help with the previous points please feel free to PM me.

Best,

Francesco

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Anonymous replied on Jun 05, 2020

Hi A,

Actually, this is pretty good feedback! If I were you for your the next internship interview I would practice the quantitative skills and work on the flexibility of your mind. Since the second point mentions that you need to work more on your structuring skills and be more flexible when you create the case structure and combining different components from different frameworks to your specific case.

Having said this I'm happy to help you. Feel free to reach out, so that next time you will convert your interview into an offer.

Best,

André

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Luca
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 06, 2020
BCG |NASA |20+ interviews with 100% success rate| 120+ students coached |GMAT expert 780/800 score

Hello,

In order to prepare for case interview, I suggest the following approach:

  • Read the Case in Point (Cosentino) in order to get a first approach with the Case interviews
  • When you have read most of it, start doing cases on yourself practicing with frameworks, math and structure of the interview.
  • Practice with other people (candidates/coaches)
  • Read some chapters of the Case Interview Secrets
  • Listen to the recordings of the LOMS program

While you are practicing for your cases, you have to consider also some time to prepare your CV/Cover Letter and the Fit Interview that is a fundamental part of the interview.
Consider that you will need around 1.5/2 months to prepare and at least 40/50 cases.

Feel free to contact me if you want to have some help to stucture your workplan.

Best,
Luca

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 05, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Congrats in any case, since them offering you a second chance is very unique.

Focusing on the "Cons", the ones they told you are very common, particularly at the beggining. They are asking you not to try to leverage usual frameworks to solve the cases, but create your own ones.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Vlad gave the best answer

Vlad

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McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School
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