How to get over initial frustration of forming framework in case prep?

caseprep
New answer on Oct 27, 2020
8 Answers
679 Views
Anonymous A asked on Oct 26, 2020

When solving cases, I get frustrated with how pedestrian my framework is. How do I get over the anxiety of not being good enough or never reaching to the expert level?

Overview of answers

Upvotes
  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
Nakul
Expert
replied on Oct 26, 2020
(Current) Associate Director - EY Strategy and Transactions | 10+ yrs' industry exp. transitioned to Consulting |Australia #1 MBA

Hello

Firstly, take the pressure off yourself. Remember that the interviewer wants you to succeed and is in the room to help you ace the case interview. It is in the firm's best interest to encourage the most number of candidates to ace the case as it gives them a wider talent pool to select from.

Now once you take the performance pressure off yourself, remember that solving a case isn't about applying the best and the "right" framework. As the interviewer starts narrating the case, don't start forming frameworks in your head.

Take your time and comprehend the case from a strategic business perspective. Ask the interviewer for 2 minutes to draft your skeleton response. In this think about the insightful questions you will ask and how you will structure the problem rather than the framework that will apply.

In summary, focus on developing a well though out structured response that solves the problem. The framework will come to you automatically. Think of your responses from an actual business perspective. Sometimes think if you're the person on the other end, does asking question "x" make any sense at all and if yes, what does it achieve.

Was this answer helpful?
Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 26, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

I hear your pain! Casing is very veyr hard at the beggining, when everything is confusing and new.

However, at a point very soon, it gets extremly entertaining and fun! And hours go by without you realising.

To arrive there, you should first allow some time, since many times all these concepts are very new. Furthermore, ensure you are following a right methodology -there are many many available, dont try to re-invet the wheel ehere-. Finally, you can consider working with a coach to ensure a good game plan tailored to your needs and constraints.

Hope it helps.

Best,

Clara

Was this answer helpful?
Ken
Expert
replied on Oct 26, 2020
Ex-McKinsey final round interviewer | Executive Coach

Case prep can be a steep learning curve and so how you're feeling is completely normal!
For me, it really comes down to your ability to think through the situation/problem, taking a stance that touches the problem (as opposed to a random framework), and continuing to push your thinking both in terms of breadth and depth (i.e., issue tree). A few thoughts on what might help you ease your current anxiety:

1. Structuring: thinking from first principles as opposed to applying frameworks you see online or going straight to the answer for the case. Some cases have a standard framework (e.g., profit = revenue - cost, etc.) but many don't which also means that there is no one right answer. A good way to practice this is to practice structuring everyday problems/decisions (e.g., how can I increase my bank account savings)

2. Hypothesis bulding: for cases that don't have a standard framework, you often need to take a stance on what the first layer of the issue tree might be, etc. This requires you to actually (try and) understand the 'company' you are work with based on the case intro as well as supplementing it with your business/commercial acumen. During your case prep, I would try to spend some time every week, familiarising yourself with real life businesss/societal/organisational problems so that you have a greater depth of experience you can rely on to drive your structuring

3. Iteration: an element of it is your intrinsics and IQ but more importantly you need to enjoy coming up with a framework/structure to an ambiguous and complex problem. Yes, I agree its a little bit of a chicken-and-egg problem... It's also worth keeping in mind that forming a good structure is an iterative process where although you have the pressure of time, always push yourself to think through a few different approaches first before you commit to one and then push yourself to go deep. For example, even in the standard profitability tree, I have seen many candidates who don't really make an effort to think about what the cost structure of that business would look like and what the key cost buckets might be, and the underlying drivers of such cost buckets, that would be driving the issue

Was this answer helpful?
Henning
Expert
replied on Oct 26, 2020
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

Don't let yourself get frustrated! I can't add much more than what the other coaches wrote, but want to offer one other perspective: Find out if you're actually enjoying solving cases. Do you see them as an curious puzzle to solve and do you get excited by the prospect of doing another case?

Solving cases is what consulting is about and only if you're actually drawing energy out of doing so, you will enjoy the job.

Was this answer helpful?
Gaurav
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 26, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi,

Recently, here on Preplounge it was similar question. https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/feeling-stuck-at-case-practice-8228#first-answer

I'm sure my answer can suit it:

Actually, there is a certain point, a very common one, which every candidate might face.

I can write you a dozens of advice here, but it may not be relevant for you. So, I have 2 options for you:

Option 1: Practice more and more, until you feel natural in this field

Option 2: Take at least a couple of sessions with a career coach here on the Platform, who helps you to point out your real stepping stone and defines the easiest ways for you to overcome it. I and my colleagues here are happy to help you.

Does it make sense to you?
GB

Was this answer helpful?
Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 26, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Remember, cases are extremely interesting and "fun" (in a nerdy sense).

Just remember that you're here to solve a problem. You get to get tested on your ability to solve a complex, real-world problem, and learn about how the business world works.

I loved every case I did...if you're super frustrated and don't enjoy casing that's another problem (and you should reconsider consulting). However, if you fundamentally enjoy casing, just remember to enjoy even the framework portion of it!

Just like learning a language or an instrument, that initial frustration should be a challenge/exciting moment not something that makes you give up.

Just channel whatever you have channeled in the past to learn anything!

Was this answer helpful?
Adi
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 26, 2020
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Hey there,

Keep practicing and just don't give up. Please have a look at this thread: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/feeling-stuck-at-case-practice-8228#first-answer

There is also plenty of material & answers in the forum on frameworks and structuring. Please search the forums for this.

You challenge sounds more of a mindset change than anything else. Its very common to feel this way. Make a plan, stick to it, celebrate small success. Enjoy the process and don't worry about the outcome. Things will happen but allow yourself enough time and dont fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. You will have a unique set of abilities and talents, so just bring them out.

Cheers!

Adi

Was this answer helpful?
Robert
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 27, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

While some candidates are a bit faster, for many candidates it really takes a while to get fluent in case interviews and develop the correct habits as a second-nature.

Once this gets automated by practice in your brain (think about driving a car as analogy), you can focus to 100% on the case content as opposed to the formalities and general procedure. And usually this is the point in time when solving cases becomes fun!

Hope that helps - if so, please be so kind to give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

Was this answer helpful?
Nakul gave the best answer

Nakul

(Current) Associate Director - EY Strategy and Transactions | 10+ yrs' industry exp. transitioned to Consulting |Austral
0
Meetings
80
Q&A Upvotes
0
Awards
N/A
0 Reviews