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I have 10 more days to prepare for AT Kearney final interviews at the Munich office (Associate position). Can I still manage this?

A.T. Kearney Case Interview Personalfit schedule
New answer on Oct 30, 2023
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jun 07, 2018

Hi, I already started to prepare for cases and personal fit, but did not have the time to dive really deeply into preparations. Now I've got 10 more days to prepare for the final interview day with ATK in Germany. Do you have any special tips for the preparations and how to speed up? Any additional tips regardings special questions etc. for the Associate level are highly appreciated :)

Thanks a lot!

(edited)

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 30, 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Sure - here are a few tipis on how to prepare specifically for last round interviews:

  1. Work on the feedback provided in the previous rounds. Most firms communicate the feedback from the previous rounds to the final interviewer. It's important then to show the final interviewer that you have a growth mindset and are reactive to feedback. This matters immensely. Make sure you are clear on your development areas and that you get the right support to polish them before the final interview.
  2. Expect less structure. Senior interviewers already have the confidence that you are a decent candidate, your skills having been already vetted by their younger colleagues. They are rather more interested in your as a person and your way of thinking. So they might present you with an unusual case, or one that is created on the spot or no case altogether. Expect anything.
  3. Focus on excellent communication. Senior interviewers care a lot about how clearly you communicate and how you manage to forge a connection with the interviewer. It's important to be top-down and concise as much as possible with your answers, while allowing the conversation to flow in a natural way.
  4. Put yourself in their shoes. The one question senior interviewers are asking themselves throughout the interview is what will happen when they'll put you in front of a client they've groomed for years? Make sure that even based on this first impression you seem somebody who can be trusted and who can work with any client regardless of how difficult they might be.

Best,
Cristian

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Benjamin
Expert
replied on Jun 07, 2018
ex-Manager - Natural and challenging teacher - Taylor case solving, no framework

Hi,

of course this is a challenge. One way to manage it is to really identify Wich are the key dimension that you need to work on (based on impact during itw and your need for additional progression) and focus your effort.

hope this helps.

don’t hesitate to mp if needed.

best

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Anna on Jun 08, 2018

Thanks Benjamin for your reply. I'll try to make a decent schedule for the upcoming days. Best, Anna

Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Jun 08, 2018
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

it really depends on your current level, thus it is difficult to answer you without further information. Quoting a previous answer, a good preparation for a consulting interview will move through the following areas:

  1. Define a calendar. Calculate the hours you have available in the next 10 days, then divide your preparation in the activities below.
  2. Get a general understanding of the process. As first thing you may want to get a general idea on what a consulting interview is about. Case in Point is an ok starting point for that although not enough for being fully prepared nowadays.
  3. Work on improving structures, fit questions and communication. You can start from the Case in Point structures and fit questions, and create your own evolution reading MBA Handbooks (target 20-30 cases at least) and practicing live cases with peers on PrepLounge. Try to concentrate on public sector cases, but do not neglect other type of cases as well. In general, the most common types you can find in an interview are profitability and market sizing, followed by M&A, market entry and operations, depending by the firm.
  4. Iterate the process to eliminate the last mistakes. After the first 5 sessions, try to book sessions with candidates more experienced than you - in this way you will learn a lot faster. You can also speed up the process booking coaching sessions with an expert.

In general you should focus on three areas in your preparation:

  1. Fit questions (eg Why do you want to work for ATK?)
  2. Cases (eg Our client is a public utility losing money, how would you fix the problem?)
  3. Your questions at the end for the interviewer.

All these steps are important for your final assessment. Fit questions preparation takes less time than the case to reach a good level, so it is ok to dedicate less time overall compared to the case prep. However, be sure to have all the key questions prepared - if are unable to provide a good answer to questions like “Why our company” or “Why should we hire you” it’s unlikely you can get the offer.

Best,

Francesco

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Vlad
Expert
updated an answer on Jun 08, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

First of all - if you are not sure - you can always reschedule the interview. You can't imagine how many people failed just because they didn't take enough prep. If it is an associate role, I assume the timeframe is not that strict. There is absolutely no penalty for rescheduling.

On the other hand - since you passed the previous rounds, probably you are underestimating your prep level. I recommend taking a 1-week vacation to prepare

Start preparations:

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).

4) Start with the following cases (relevant for ATK) and apply some high-level recommendations on structuring:

  1. Market sizing - structuring from the supply or demand side. Structuring using a formula or using an issue tree
  2. Profitability - basic profitability framework. Remember about different revenue streams and product mix
  3. 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.
  4. 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 outflow

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!

(edited)

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Anna on Jun 08, 2018

Thanks for your helpful comments and advice, Vlad. I will dive deeper into the material you recommended. Best, Anna

Anonymous replied on Aug 14, 2020

Dear A,

Here are some tips for your final round preparation!

1) Review in detail your personal fit stories – they will matter more than in the first two rounds. In some finals, I had almost exclusively behavioral questions

2) Work on your communication (reaction under pressure is extremely important, how to gain time when you do not have a structure ready, connect with the interviewer, etc). This is something you can do with peers or with me.

3) Prepare cases as you did for the first rounds. More market sizing practice may be useful to think out of the box if you get unusual questions.

In case you need help with unusual cases please feel free to PM me, I do a specific session on them (eg How would you estimate the effect of the Coronavirus on the economy in the Middle East)?

I wish you good luck!

Best,

André

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