Interviewer-led vs. Candidate-led Case - How do I find out which one?

BCG candidate-led Case Interview interviewer led MBB Mck McKinsey
New answer on Jan 31, 2021
8 Answers
3.0 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Jun 23, 2019

Dear all,

having read a bit about the differences between candidate-led and interviewer-led cases, I wonder how to find out which one to apply?

It might appear too reactive to wait for the interviewer to take the lead or too pushy if the candidate goes to fast too detailed. How to approach this: Simply ask for it?

Are there any tips or advice you have?

Thanks!

Overview of answers

Upvotes
  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 24, 2019
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.700+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

I agree with Vlad, in general you can keep a proactive approach assuming the case is interviewee-led and move the case forward. If the interviewer wants to keep an interviewer-led approach, he/she will ask you specific questions and let you understand he/she prefers to focus on a specific area.

It is unlikely you can be perceived too pushy if you keep an interviewee-led approach – the majority of the candidates actually fall in the opposite problem and receive feedback they are not proactive enough in the case. In case you are concerned with that though, you can always ask permission to the interviewer before moving to next steps with something like the following “If it is fine for you, we may now start with Area XYZ, in case you prefer to prioritize another area I am happy to start there though”.

Best,

Francesco

Was this answer helpful?
Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 24, 2019
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Assume interviewee led and change course if needed. This boils up to much more general feedback - learn to receive guidance well and be agile in solving a case!

Was this answer helpful?
Anonymous replied on Jun 23, 2019

Hi,

Most often this question is answered after the interviewer's case introduction/ description when asking you "what would be your e.g. first step to approach this" or "which questions should be answered before thinking about how to solve this case". This seems to be an interviewer-led case, because she/he starts with one question as a first step and you can expect that the next question will follow after your answer. The interviewer expects precise and focused answers to each question asked.
Your answer can end with "... This step could be followed by action xy", but you shouldn't start to explain "action xy" before asking e.g. "would you like to hear what this next action could be or discuss my answer to your question first?" The interviewer would see that you expect next steps and provide an answer which allows them to follow, but you should avoid running in the wrong direction, if your answer is not e.g. what the interviewer expected.

In case the interviewer asks "what would be your approach" or "how would you solve this", it might be a more candidate-led case, because the interviewer expects you to prepare a structured step by step approach to find a solution or recommendation. You should ask for a minute to think about the most relevant questions, write them down (potentially in a structured and content related way), then ask the questions and for another minute to think about her/his answers while preparing the step by step approach, you would like to present and discuss with the interviewer.

However, the case could also be both an interviewer-led and a candidate-led case: it might start with precise questions and continue with requesting a step by step approach. So it's always important to listen carefully what the interviewer tells you.

I hope this helps.

Best,
Carolin

Was this answer helpful?
2
Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 24, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Several tips here:

  • Just lead the case until the interviewer interrupts you and asks you to concentrate on something specific
  • In addition, if you are afraid to push the interviewer, after you present your structure you can ask the interviewer "Is this structure good to move forward with? Should I add something or prioritize a particular part of the structure?

Overall this problem is overrated. If you are good with cases. Just lead the case and listen to the interviewer's tips.

Best

Was this answer helpful?
Daniel replied on Jun 23, 2019
Imperial College PhD, Rolls-Royce Project Engineer, RWTH Aachen Mechanical Engineer and Business Administrator, Software Engineer

Hi,
consulting companies provide information on which case type they use. McKinsey usually uses interviewer-led cases whereas BCG and Bain candidate-led ones. If you don't know which case type is used in your interview, you'll soon find out once you suggest a route forward for the case and the interviewer interrupts and tells you how to proceed, so the interviewer takes the lead.

Best,
Daniel

Was this answer helpful?
1
Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 31, 2021
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

The one were it´s said to really be a difference is Mckinsey being interviewer-lead. However, I believe there is so much fuzz into something that does not really make such a difference.

Once you are ready for one, you are ready for the other, and it´s important to never loose the ability to "read" your interviewer to adjust -not only in this aspect, but in all-.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Was this answer helpful?
Gaurav
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 31, 2021
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi there!

Basically, if you are good at candidate-led cases, it will be very easy for you to adapt to interviewer-led ones as well, as they are quite similar, so you just lead the case and listen.

Here are some of my cases you could use for practicing different types:

For Intermediate level:
Grain Co-operative – Brand Launch
https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/interviewer-led-mckinsey-style/intermediate/grain-co-operative-brand-launch-217

Case with a twist: Chinese Alloy Wheels – US Market Entry
https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/candidate-led-usual-style/intermediate/case-with-a-twist-chinese-alloy-wheels-us-market-entry-226

For Advanced level/the real one and used for final rounds:
Non-Profit Museum Revenue Increase
https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/interviewer-led-mckinsey-style/advanced/mbb-final-round-case-non-profit-museum-revenue-increase-219

Cheers,

GB

Was this answer helpful?
Anonymous B replied on Jun 23, 2019

In interviewer-led cases, you'll be asked point blank to come up with a structure, solve math problem, brainstorm ideas. You'll be asked directly and you'll do it. In intervieew-led, you'll be given a little bit of information and aske how would you like to proceed.

Was this answer helpful?
0
Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

Content Creator
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.700+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching
3,715
Meetings
21,859
Q&A Upvotes
242
Awards
1373 Reviews