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Is it ok to ask for time after each question in interviewer led case?

interviewer led
New answer on Aug 21, 2019
2 Answers
1.6 k Views
Sara A
asked on Aug 20, 2019
Preparing for McKinsey Operations

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Best answer
replied on Aug 20, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


It doesn't matter who leads the case. It's ok to take:

  • 1-2 min for initial structure. But the faster the better. 1.5 looks fine
  • Up to 1 minute for the conclusion. Again, the faster the better. But always take the time! Your conclusion should be very well structured and your arguments should include supporting numbers and you need time to collect them
  • 30 sec - 1 min for questions on creativity. It's really hard to be creative "On-the-go"

It's a bit more tricky with taking time during the case:

  • It's not OK to take 30 seconds and then come up with just 1 or 2 ideas. And then if the ideas are not correct to keep the science again. This is called "Guessing"
  • It's OK to take 30 seconds, draw a new structure (or continuation of your previous structure) and come up with a structured way to approach the problem further.



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Content Creator
replied on Aug 21, 2019
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Sara,

No, that's definitely not ok to ask for some time after each question. If you try to link at the whole interview situation as a discussion between consultant (you) and client (interviewer), it's just not how you would discuss with a client in reality.

Taking time for the initial structure (or at least asking for it) is definitely ok. For any later, more detailed question throughout your case interview you can just pause a couple of seconds to structure your thoughts, but not really take more than 5 to max. 10 seconds (which is still a natural communication situation).

However, if you feel that there is a really big additional question lateron in the case, and taking some time would significantly improve your answer - then you can at least ask the interviewer if you can have a moment to structure your thoughts. Don't expect that you will be granted this additional time too often - just ask for it but don't expect it.

Hope that helps!


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Vlad gave the best answer


McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School
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