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Ideal time for analyzing case feedback

Anonymous A asked on Aug 09, 2016

Hi guys, how much time should I spend on analyzing and working on feedback from my case interviews? Hope for some helpful advice, especially from experts here. Thanks!

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Guennael replied on Aug 10, 2016
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews
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Difficult question, it probably depends a little on both you and the feedback. When I was in your shoes, I probably under-utilized the feedback - only near the end of my preparation did I realize the early feedback had given me what I needed, but I just wasn't ready to hear it then.

Here is what I would recommend:

1. You write down the feedback next to your case notes, and you review the case every week or two. This won't necessarily help you 'crack the case', but it will help you reduce stress and may give you some creative ideas when you get stuck during the interview

2. As the same time, and more importantly, you aggregate all the feedback on a separate, single page. This one, you review every few days without fail. After each new case, you look at the single page and figure out if you were just given some feedback you had heard before; if so, this should definitely become a strong focus for the next time

You may not be able to 'understand', or 'feel' some of the feedback you receive at the beginning of your prep, that's ok. It takes time to really absorb the essence of case interviews: it is not easy, it is not natural, it just... takes... time. But by aggregating all the feedback in one place and reviewing it on a regular basis, hopefully you can shorten that time.

tl;dr: Don't put your preparation on hold until you understand the feedback, but don't discard it either.

I hope that helps? Good luck! Cheers, Guennael ex-BCG Dallas

Guennael replied on Aug 12, 2016
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews
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How do I estimate candidates' feedback to... you, or to me? Sadly, very few candidates give me any meaningful or actionable feedback after we do cases. Just like everyone else, I progress better if you give me (actionable) feedback, so I wish I would get more. End of rant :)

Assuming you were asking me how I rate candidates' feedback to their fellow candidates now: I frankly don't think it is very good most of the time. At least my own feedback wasn't good back when I was in your shoes. You need to understand something to explain it clearly. If you don't really understand how to do a case, you may say something like "yeah, was good. You should improve your math, and the framework wasn't great, and maybe you should do this or perhaps that...".This is not actionable, and wrong half the time. I am embarassed by some of the feedback I gave way back when!

There is a reason some of you guys are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for good coaching: Our feedback is typically much more pointed, much more actionable.

My recommendation is such: do a (couple of) case(s) with a current/former consultant early on, and write down their feedback; practice on your own and with fellow applicants and work on the initial feedback; mid-way through your prep, perhaps do another case with a consultant to course-correct. Near the end, do one or two more cases w/ a consultant to make last-minute adjustments. All throughout, do 15-20 minutes of mental math and market sizing every day.

Look, I know some of you may think I am just talking my book and trying to convince you to spend money - no, I am not. I was lucky to have 5 friends at BCG when I applied, and each one of them gave me at least 2 cases (for free). But if I had not had these friends and had just studied on my own, odds are I wouldn't have made it, plain and simple. If you are in school, you probably have access to alumni or upper classmen/women who have at least done an internship and would be willing to help for free. If you do cannot find someone to help you, my honest opinion is, get ready to spend some money. Yes you can get in without this - but the odds would be stacked against you. It is a competition, spots are limited - and we always have a lot more qualified applicants than openings. Luck definitely plays a role, but you might as well be as prepared as possible -> At the end of the day, nothing can replace the feedback a current/former consultant can give you.

Good luck,

Guennael -

ex-BCG Dallas

Anonymous A replied on Aug 16, 2016

Hello Guennael,

Thank you again for that comprehensive answer. Well, I meant the latter, i.e. the feedback candidates give to candidates (like me). However, your opinion confirms my apprehensions somehow since I’ve been sometimes sceptical in terms of feedback I received from fellow candidates.

Nevertheless, at least in my case, just a few of them were faulty. I assume that there are a couple of appropriate indicators that illustrate the credibility and reliability of candidates’ feedback. I usually tend to look at features such as the recommendation rate, the reliability rate, the experience rate, the number of meetings the user had and, finally, the user’s achievements. Most of the time, those users with better ratings know what they are talking about. Even though there is of course nothing as valuable as an expert’s feedback, I suppose that there are indeed a bunch of means you can measure the users’ feedback with.

However, it makes absolutely sense to me to practice - especially in the initial phases - with experts like you to get an in-depth understanding before practicing with other users. Best regards!

Anonymous A replied on Aug 11, 2016

Hello Guennael,

this is an extraordinary helpful advice. As you said, it is indeed important to gather all the specific feedback and, subsequently, try to look for patterns that help you understand your mistakes more profoundly.

However, as an expert, you had certainly a lot of cases to solve with candidates here through preplounge. How do you estimate THEIR feedback? Do you have any tips I could take to heart in order to rate the feedback of other candidates? TBH, sometimes it seems that the feedback is inconsistent or even unjustified to me.

I am looking forward to your response! It’s really great to have people like you here who share valuable advice with freshmen! Thanks a million in advance!

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