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I skipped the first case rounds at Bain, will the partner round be different for me?

Anonymous A

I attended a 4-day business course from Bain in which we travelled to a different country. There was a strong selection for this and I did a mini-case (so not a real case) and an HR interview. This also meant that I could skip the first case round and will immediately have a case with 3 partners (and HR again, different person though). However, I have read that in the final round partners usually check the weaknesses of the first round, what will they check with me? Will the final round be any different than a normal case interview? Do I need to practice different skills?

Thanks in advance!

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Vlad replied on 03/17/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School

Hi,

I would assume several things:

  • 1st round at Bain is usually easier than next rounds in terms of the case and how they assess you
  • In your case, it was just a phone interview so the next round will be much harder
  • I have never heard that they specifically assess your weaknesses as they usually don't share the feedback from the previous rounds to eliminate the bias, although it may be true in some countries
  • It's, all the same, solving the case skills, but you should be really good with cases

In terms of FIT, Bainconsultants will be less concerned about your stories and will not have strict guidelines. They will mostly check your background and motivation.

In terms of cases, Bain cases are pretty hard, since you have to drive the case and the case has some particular answer, usually with a specific number in the end. So my recommendation is to practice cases as much as possible. Moreover, the phone interview is not the best predictor of your performance in the next round. You may need to reschedule the interview if you are not comfortable with cases

Good luck!

Francesco replied on 09/01/2018
#1 Expert for coaching sessions (1800+) | Ex BCG | 900+ reviews with 100% recommendation rate

Hi Anonymous,

I don’t think it can be different from a standard final round interview. The structure for a final, as for a first round, is always:

  • Fit questions
  • Case
  • Your questions for the interviewer

However, compared with a first round, in a final round there is far more emphasis on communication and fit.

Specifically, the main difference you will find in a final round with partners is that at that stage they:

  1. Spend more time on fit questions and your alignment with the company
  2. Check more closely your communication (eg how you react to challenging questions)
  3. May not have a “proper” structured case to present – during my final at BCG I had one interview which was made by two market sizing questions and a brainteaser, without any business case. That's because at the final they know you can structure and crack a case (you passed 1 or 2 rounds already) and are more interested in your logic, personality and fit with the company

So in order to prepare I would concentrate on:

  • Review in details your PEI stories – they will matter more than in the first round. In some finals I had almost exclusively behavioural questions.
  • Work on your communication (reaction under pressure, how gain time when you do not have a structure ready, connect with the interviewer, etc) This is something you can do almost exclusively in interviews with peers. Your communication will be far more important for the final compared to the first
  • Prepare on cases as you did for the first round. More market sizing practice could be useful to think out of the box if you get unusual questions.

Best,

Francesco

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