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6

How to prepare for unstructured cases appearing in 2nd round?

Recently I had two interviews with 2 partners, and both interviews are quite different from the traditional case process that I have consistently been practising. To be more specific here's some unexpected situation that I encountered:

1. Case is not structured, comparing to the cases given by consultant level interviewer. The case tends to be projects done by the partner. So usually just some simple background information + a few graphs.

2. Not much specific data. For instance, I know that the company is in problem and we need to help it turnaround. So I asked about the turnaround goal - is it revenue / profit / market share? The interviewer just told me everything is dropping.

3.Didn't have chance to layout initial structure. When I mentioned is it okay to draw my structure first, the interviewer asked me to answer several questions instead. The question itself was not those kinds of question an interviewer led style would ask. It is more about how would you solve this case, look in to ABC, verify hypothesis, etc.

My question is - how could I prepare for these kinds of untraditional case types and random case interview questions appearing in the second round? In 2nd round interview, the interviewer tends to challenge a lot on my thoughts, but this part was not practised enough during case interview with partners. Also, assuming it is a candidate led case, is it possible to solve the case without laying down a case structure in beginning?

Recently I had two interviews with 2 partners, and both interviews are quite different from the traditional case process that I have consistently been practising. To be more specific here's some unexpected situation that I encountered:

1. Case is not structured, comparing to the cases given by consultant level interviewer. The case tends to be projects done by the partner. So usually just some simple background information + a few graphs.

2. Not much specific data. For instance, I know that the company is in problem and we need to help it turnaround. So I asked about the turnaround goal - is it revenue / profit / market share? The interviewer just told me everything is dropping.

3.Didn't have chance to layout initial structure. When I mentioned is it okay to draw my structure first, the interviewer asked me to answer several questions instead. The question itself was not those kinds of question an interviewer led style would ask. It is more about how would you solve this case, look in to ABC, verify hypothesis, etc.

My question is - how could I prepare for these kinds of untraditional case types and random case interview questions appearing in the second round? In 2nd round interview, the interviewer tends to challenge a lot on my thoughts, but this part was not practised enough during case interview with partners. Also, assuming it is a candidate led case, is it possible to solve the case without laying down a case structure in beginning?

6 answers

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Best Answer

the best way to prepare for them is to practice them - all possible kinds in order to develop great business judgement and mental flexibility

the best way to prepare for them is to practice them - all possible kinds in order to develop great business judgement and mental flexibility

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Hello!

Congrats for moving to final round!

As it has been outlined, its very similar, but :

  • Cases you can expect are more "free riding" - less organized than the ones your found in the 1st round or most prep pages
  • Stronger emphasis in the FIT part, as outlined before by other coaches.

If you are interested in deepening your knowledge and preparation on the FIT part, the "Integrated FIT guide for MBB" has been recently published in PrepLounge´s shop (https://www.preplounge.com/en/shop/tests-2/integrated-fit-guide-for-mbb-34)

It provides an end-to-end preparation for all three MBB interviews, tackling each firms particularities and combining key concepts review and a hands-on methodology. Following the book, the candidate will prepare his/her stories by practicing with over 50 real questions and leveraging special frameworks and worksheets that guide step-by-step, developed by the author and her experience as a Master in Management professor and coach. Finally, as further guidance, the guide encompasses over 20 examples from real candidates.

Furthermore, you can find 3 free cases in the PrepL case regarding FIT preparation:

- Intro and CV questions > https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/fit-interview/intermediate/introduction-and-cv-questions-fit-interview-preparation-200

- Motivational questions > https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/fit-interview/intermediate/motivational-questions-fit-interview-preparation-201

- Behavioural questions (ENTREPRENEURIAL DRIVE) >https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/fit-interview/intermediate/behavioral-questions-entrepreneurial-drive-fit-interview-preparation-211

Feel free to PM me for disccount codes for the Integrated FIT Guide, since we still have some left from the launch!

Hello!

Congrats for moving to final round!

As it has been outlined, its very similar, but :

  • Cases you can expect are more "free riding" - less organized than the ones your found in the 1st round or most prep pages
  • Stronger emphasis in the FIT part, as outlined before by other coaches.

If you are interested in deepening your knowledge and preparation on the FIT part, the "Integrated FIT guide for MBB" has been recently published in PrepLounge´s shop (https://www.preplounge.com/en/shop/tests-2/integrated-fit-guide-for-mbb-34)

It provides an end-to-end preparation for all three MBB interviews, tackling each firms particularities and combining key concepts review and a hands-on methodology. Following the book, the candidate will prepare his/her stories by practicing with over 50 real questions and leveraging special frameworks and worksheets that guide step-by-step, developed by the author and her experience as a Master in Management professor and coach. Finally, as further guidance, the guide encompasses over 20 examples from real candidates.

Furthermore, you can find 3 free cases in the PrepL case regarding FIT preparation:

- Intro and CV questions > https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/fit-interview/intermediate/introduction-and-cv-questions-fit-interview-preparation-200

- Motivational questions > https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/fit-interview/intermediate/motivational-questions-fit-interview-preparation-201

- Behavioural questions (ENTREPRENEURIAL DRIVE) >https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/fit-interview/intermediate/behavioral-questions-entrepreneurial-drive-fit-interview-preparation-211

Feel free to PM me for disccount codes for the Integrated FIT Guide, since we still have some left from the launch!

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Hi,

Cases with partners can seem a bit more fluid/random. Sometimes the case would just be a one-liner question like how do you solve the traffic situation in City X", or some other creative hypothetical situations. But regardless, here are my views:

(1) The question might be asked in an unconventional way, but the way you solve a case should always be structured. That has nothing to do with how the question is thrown to you. You need and there would always be a structure way to solve a case

(2) Take hint. In the example when you asked about revenue/profit/market share, when the partner says everything is dropping, that means you need to look into the profitability problem in a holistic way. There is no conflict here. Profit drop could be due to revenue drop, and revenue drop is related to market share. There are all related issues. So you need to solve why revenue is dropping (and naturally market share dropping if the whole market is not shrinking). Then you should also check whether costs side has any issue or not before you fully address profit problem

(3) Don't get fixated on what questions your interviewer should ask you. What they were asking you is to describe your approach before actually jumping into the action. So if you know how to solve a case, what actions you would take to crack it, you should be able to verbalise your plan. You just need to be mentally prepared that this could happen. A quick way to practice is to review your past cases, and talk through your approach verbally, instead of doing every specific steps.

Hope it helps,

Emily

Hi,

Cases with partners can seem a bit more fluid/random. Sometimes the case would just be a one-liner question like how do you solve the traffic situation in City X", or some other creative hypothetical situations. But regardless, here are my views:

(1) The question might be asked in an unconventional way, but the way you solve a case should always be structured. That has nothing to do with how the question is thrown to you. You need and there would always be a structure way to solve a case

(2) Take hint. In the example when you asked about revenue/profit/market share, when the partner says everything is dropping, that means you need to look into the profitability problem in a holistic way. There is no conflict here. Profit drop could be due to revenue drop, and revenue drop is related to market share. There are all related issues. So you need to solve why revenue is dropping (and naturally market share dropping if the whole market is not shrinking). Then you should also check whether costs side has any issue or not before you fully address profit problem

(3) Don't get fixated on what questions your interviewer should ask you. What they were asking you is to describe your approach before actually jumping into the action. So if you know how to solve a case, what actions you would take to crack it, you should be able to verbalise your plan. You just need to be mentally prepared that this could happen. A quick way to practice is to review your past cases, and talk through your approach verbally, instead of doing every specific steps.

Hope it helps,

Emily

Book a coaching with Antonello

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The only recommendation is to practice more cases, fix the basic frameworks and the major industry KPI/trends

Best,
Antonello

The only recommendation is to practice more cases, fix the basic frameworks and the major industry KPI/trends

Best,
Antonello

Book a coaching with Ian

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Hi,

First, remember that casing isn't just about memorizing every step, industry, case type, etc. It's about learning how to be adaptable and nimble. So, always be prepared for the unexpected.

1. All cases are structured, wheather you realise the structure or not. It's your job to keep it organised and keep it to a good flow/framework!

2. Figure out what data/information you need and ask for it: The interviewer won't just give it to you (just like your client won't know what you need from them). Use your framework to dive into areas! If your interviewer insists they don't have data in that area (after you've gone specific), then go into another area of your framework (or expand out).

3.In this case try and keep a mini framework in your head. You can write as you talk as well.

When you say "not those kinds of questions an interview-led style would ask" this shows me that you're limited in your preparation....don't come in expecting a certain format/style! Be ready to drive your own case if needed. Think if you were on a real life project and asked to lead it...this is what they need you to demonstrate!

Honestly, I think you could benefit from a session with a coach. Finding other PrepLoungers to case with is great to get you 80% of the way there, but coaches will really test your thinking and make sure you truly understand what you're saying/doing. Intimately understanding the case/situation/problem and knowing why you're asking x question is the key to being able to adapt to whatever you encounter during the interview.

Hi,

First, remember that casing isn't just about memorizing every step, industry, case type, etc. It's about learning how to be adaptable and nimble. So, always be prepared for the unexpected.

1. All cases are structured, wheather you realise the structure or not. It's your job to keep it organised and keep it to a good flow/framework!

2. Figure out what data/information you need and ask for it: The interviewer won't just give it to you (just like your client won't know what you need from them). Use your framework to dive into areas! If your interviewer insists they don't have data in that area (after you've gone specific), then go into another area of your framework (or expand out).

3.In this case try and keep a mini framework in your head. You can write as you talk as well.

When you say "not those kinds of questions an interview-led style would ask" this shows me that you're limited in your preparation....don't come in expecting a certain format/style! Be ready to drive your own case if needed. Think if you were on a real life project and asked to lead it...this is what they need you to demonstrate!

Honestly, I think you could benefit from a session with a coach. Finding other PrepLoungers to case with is great to get you 80% of the way there, but coaches will really test your thinking and make sure you truly understand what you're saying/doing. Intimately understanding the case/situation/problem and knowing why you're asking x question is the key to being able to adapt to whatever you encounter during the interview.

Book a coaching with Vlad

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Hi,

Two major advice here:

  1. Do everything as usual unless the interviewer asks you to do smth different (e.g. if he tells you not to draw the structure - you simply don't do it
  2. Practice more cases. If you were confused by both cases - that means you did not have enough practice / enough variability of cases while practicing. There is no simple way here
  3. Learn the basic structuring methods: Math, Drivers, Value chain, Project steps, segmentation, frameworks, etc
  4. Develop industry knowledge - that's what I tell every candidate. You should know the basics of most common industries (retail, airlines, etc) to effectively p[roblem solve with partners

Best

Hi,

Two major advice here:

  1. Do everything as usual unless the interviewer asks you to do smth different (e.g. if he tells you not to draw the structure - you simply don't do it
  2. Practice more cases. If you were confused by both cases - that means you did not have enough practice / enough variability of cases while practicing. There is no simple way here
  3. Learn the basic structuring methods: Math, Drivers, Value chain, Project steps, segmentation, frameworks, etc
  4. Develop industry knowledge - that's what I tell every candidate. You should know the basics of most common industries (retail, airlines, etc) to effectively p[roblem solve with partners

Best

(edited)

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