How to improve quality of practice in case interviews?

case interview preparation
New answer on May 19, 2020
7 Answers
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Ksenia asked on May 18, 2020

How are you improving quality of practice and transfering learning from one case to the next to develop skills and limit "high-volume, low-quality" practice? What are the recommended tools/approaches besides just reviewinng the previously done cases. Thanks!

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Sidi
Expert
replied on May 18, 2020
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 300+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi!

My view: In the optimal scenario, you receive coaching by an experienced former interviewer, and you complement this with a hand-picked set of determined high-quality practice partners (e.g., other candidates that are applying to the same firms).

You then have to distinguish between coaching sessions and practice sessions.

  • The coaching sessions are used to get an understanding of what is tested in the interview, how you need to think, how to craft bullet-proof logic, and how to navigate through this logic.
  • The practice sessions are used to get additional repetitions under your belt to make it "second nature".

With this approach, it usually takes about 8-10 weeks to get from zero to a level that could be called "MBB offer-ready". Assuming that your intrinsic base capabilities in terms of articulation, raw intellect, and ability to focus meet a certain minimum standard.

Cheers, Sidi

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Anonymous replied on May 18, 2020

Hi there,

Once you have practiced the basics, it is good to start compiling your key learnings into a nice document. (what were nice insights you gathered throughout your practice regarding the types of cases or the industries) - writing down what you have learned helps to consolidate the information.

Secondly, if you think you are ready, reach out to the coaches here, there are experienced recruiters who can give you feedback on your performance and will let you know if you are ready to ace those interviews.

Best of luck in the process

Khaled

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 18, 2020
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi Ksenia,

Be organized and diligent.

Track what you are doing and figure out what's missing.

For example, I give my coachees a casing matrix, which is basically industry vs case type, and allows them to figure out if they have yet to practice a particular type of case / industry (and allows them to kill two birds with one stone, but finding a case that has both a case type and an industry they haven't done)

Another example is tracking your casing strength across the key criteria (i.e. math, critical thinking, communication, etc). Knowing where you're still weak will help you focus on the important areas.

^These are two examples but there are more.

I highly recommend you book time with a coach if you truly want "high quality, low volume" practice. They will give you the biggest bang for your buck not just in terms of that hour session, but in directing you well for all of your future independent practice. Coaches truly are a lever!

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Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 19, 2020
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi Ksenia,

great question. Improving your prep means reducing the number of mistakes. You may consider two types of mistakes to fix:

  • Mistakes you already identified
    • Keep a “failure” file and write down for each case the mistakes you do. Review regularly the file and try to find cases related to your improvement area until you don’t repeat the mistakes
    • Focus on the industries and type of cases which are more challenging for you and avoid those you are comfortable with. If you struggle, say, with public sector cases, try to increase the number of cases related to that area
  • Mistakes you haven’t identified yet
    • I haven’t found yet a candidate who was aware of all his/her mistakes. You may be able to fix some mistakes with pro candidates or even better former or current consultants
    • If you are unable to find pro candidates or consultants, want a critical assessment of your skills or have limited time, the best way to make a relevant improvement in this area would be to book a coaching session

Best,

Francesco

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Anonymous replied on May 19, 2020

Dear Ksenia,

For this I can recommend you 2 option:

1. To find a partner and practice your cases with him/her

2. Take a coach from this platform and practice with him.

Both ways will improve quality of your practice, but with an experiences coach after every practice you will receive structured feedback that will help you learn more and make progress faster.

My colleagues and I are happy to help you.

Good luck,

André

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 19, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Agree with other responses!

Altough practicing with peers will allow you to practice and secure new skills (both in terms of content and communication), the quickest and most structured way to advance quickly is getting help from a coach.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Emily
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 19, 2020
BCG Project Leader | 3+ years interview experience for BCG SEA recruiting | Kellogg MBA, NTU, Peking University

Hi,

The quality of the review (of past cases done) would make a huge difference in how fast and how much you can improve. I cannot stress enough of this.

When you review a particular case, think again on:

  1. how would you re-do your structure to make it the most effective, adapted to the case context
  2. what mistakes did you make, how could you avoid them next time
  3. where did you do well, and what are some other places you could have done even better

After you review a bunch of past cases, you shall look across those cases, and think about:

  1. for the same type of cases, do you have your own structure/framework emerging from the experience, that you'd prefer over a typical framework
  2. is there a pattern in the past mistakes? have you been making the same mistakes? what improvement areas should you prioritize on fixing?
  3. what are you really good at? how can you leverage that?

If you do all of the above and get clear on your learnings from the above exercises, it doesn't matter that tool you use.

Best,

Emily

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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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