Is it worth to quit my job and prepare for Case Interview full-time? How long is it to prepare from scratch?

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New answer on Oct 26, 2020
10 Answers
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Ajesh asked on Apr 25, 2019

I'm,33yo and I always wanted to work in Consulting. Never had a chance in the past but now I'm really in to give a proper go at it. I work as an analyst in finance doing operational reporting tasks and has 8 years of experience. I dont get enough time to prepare for case interviews or improve my math skills so I'm thinking of leaving my current employment and focus 6 months to prepare. Downside risk would be not getting picked with 6 months of gap in the CV with significant lost income. Any thoughts, suggestions from your experience?

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Guennael
Expert
replied on Apr 25, 2019
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews

No, please do NOT quit your job to prepare for a case interview where you have a 1% chance of getting in!

Expect to spend over 100 hours total to prepare properly for these interviews (assuming you even get an interview), spread out over at least a couple of months. We all do this while working or studying full times (and usually while applying to other companies as well). This means no personal life for a while, but it is worth it. What nobody does however, is quit everything to focus 100% on case interview prep. It may work, but odds are it won't. Please don't do that.

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Ajesh on Apr 26, 2019

Hi Guennael, many thanks for the advice, really appreciate it! Make real sense to me not to quit but try hard on the side.

Anonymous A replied on Apr 25, 2019

No, to add to Guennael's point:

  • Your 24/7 availability won't translate into 24/7 prepartion. We as human beings operate better under constraints. If you are struggling with motivation, becoming unemployed won't improve the situation.
  • It's too much free time to prepare, you can become robotic if you are casing day and night. Quantity will take over quality.
  • Interviewers won't understand you. Many analysts at MBB take evenings and weekends for 1-3 weeks to prepare and apply to Ivy League (gmat, essays). They work on intense projects and they prepare to GMAT. They won't look at you as equal once they learn you took 6 months off. And if your performance is not impressive, they'd think: "really, he took 6 months, and here is the result".
  • The probability is not 1%, you can get to tier 2 consulting firms, but still, after 6 months of unemployment, and maybe another 6 months of interviews, your labor market prospects might be worse than today.
  • is taking Friday offs an option? That would be your best compromise.
  • Also, don't expect that you'll necessarily peak at 6 months. Maybe, you'll need 1-2 years. It took me several years to peak. And I can tell you that it wasn't because I prepared day and night. I stopped, re-grouped, took new projects, read business literature, improved my business judgement, and then withouth forcing anything, re-applied, and got it. Btw, I'm also 33. So, prepare slowly but consistently and see where you stand n 2-3-6 months. Apply only once you get good and consistent feedback from interviewers that you are ready.
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Ajesh on Apr 26, 2019

Hi, thanks a million for these points! I'm considering these one by one and going to find time on the side! thanks again for taking time to guide me through this!

Serhat
Expert
replied on Apr 26, 2019
BCG | Kellogg MBA |82% Success rate| 450+ case interview| 5+ year consulting | 30+ projects in ~10 countries

Hi Ajesh,

It does not sound like a good idea. Instead of preparing in X days you can prepare in 3X days instead of losing your current job. From my perspective, it does not worth to lose your job to potentially get the consulting offer little bit earlier.

Best

Serhat

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Ajesh on Apr 26, 2019

Thanks a lot Serhat! Glad I asked here, I'm really amazed with the helpful responses so far! :)

Antonello
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Aug 31, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi Ajesh,
there are 3 aspects of the application process you have to focus on:

  • CV and cover letter: prepare impactful documents that highlight your achievements, skills, and motivation.
  • Personal Experience Interview: fit and CV questions to assess your personal impact, leadership skills, and entrepreneurial spirit. You should prepare impactful stories about your experiences that cover these 3 main pillars.
  • Case Interview: typical business case to evaluate your structure in approaching problems, problem-solving skills, and business sense. This is the most time-demanding aspect to work on. I recommend reading Cosentino's Case in point to fix the theory. Then, what will be really important is practicing mock cases with other candidates here on Preplounge. (1-2 months full time are enough)

Feel free to text me for some other tips about the preparation. I have supported tens of experienced professionals in crafting impactful stories and structuring business cases to secure their offers.

Hope it helps,
Antonello

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Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 26, 2019
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.700+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi Ajesh,

as mentioned by others, it doesn’t make much sense to leave your current job due to the uncertainty of the final outcome. I would rather structure the process as follows while keeping your job:

  1. Define a calendar for your preparation. Identify how many hours you need before interviews, then allocate a time slot for preparation in your calendar for each day, working on the following points.
  2. Read Case In Point or Case Interview Secrets for a general understanding of what a consulting interview is. Don’t focus on the structures proposed in the books though, as they are not good enough nowadays.
  3. Start reading good MBA Consulting Handbooks – you can find several for free online (Insead is a good one to start). Read the cases and try to apply your structure. Whenever you see there is something missing, upgrade your structure with the new insides. Try to read at least a new case per day – in this way you will absorb a lot better the information with constant learning. Structure your remaining daily preparation with at least 5-10 minutes per day for each of the following: market sizing, fit questions and mental math.
  4. After you have read the first 10 cases in books/handbooks and basic theory, start to practice live. There is a relevant part of the interview score that is based on your communication, which you cannot practice at all if you read cases only. Keep track of your mistakes and see if you repeat them. If so, try to identify the source of the mistake (feedback of experienced partners would be particularly useful for this). Be sure to focus on both fit and case.
  5. Once you feel you are not improving anymore, if you have a tight time constraint or if you want a realistic assessment of your level, consider using support from experts to strengthen your performance
  6. Before applying, prepare your CV and Cover and work on finding a referral for your application.
  7. Before the interview, be sure to prepare your questions for the interviewer – great way to show you prepare in advance and to connect more with the interviewer for a good final impression.

Best,

Francesco

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Ajesh on Apr 26, 2019

Hi Francesco Thank you for your great advice and step by step suggestions on how to approach in a more efficient way. I totally agree about defining a calendar and time management, and I will get a rough sketch planned out this weekend itself. I have case in point on my reading list but will also check other ones you recommended. Thanks again for your message. The ideas and suggestions of innovative, experienced experts are always inspiring and welcome . Have a good weekend, AJ

Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 26, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

I recommend hiring a good coach who will help you with prep. You save your current job, save time and save the money. All with 0 risk

Best!

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Ajesh on Apr 26, 2019

Hi Vlad, many thanks for the advise! How do I hire a good coach? You meant through PrepLounge? Are you able to point me somewhere to see how I can consider this option? thanks a lot!

Nirmit
Expert
replied on Apr 26, 2019
I will get you an offer|McKinsey Senior EM|Offers from MBB|100+ interviews at McKinsey|Recruiting Lead|Experienced hire

Ajesh,

Do not quit. Downside risk is very high. You can get a lot of practice done after work. Preplounge has candidates from all time zones looking for case partners. I would reduce the leisure hours and even sleep (if really needed) but not the job. :)

Thanks,

Nirmit

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Ajesh on Apr 26, 2019

Hey Nirmit, thanks a lot! Yes totally agree and I'm gonna cut back on the leisure and sleep time a bit and start blocking hours for the prep starting this weekend :)

Gaurav
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Oct 26, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi Ajesh,

A decision to quit a job should be well considered and have a good reason behind it. And preparing for case interviews full-time is not at all worth it.

You have other good options you can go for. There is no need to quit a good job without any guarantee of getting an offer soon.

Carve out a couple of hours a day and more time throughout the weekend that you can spend on efficient preparations. The process will definitely take some time. You don't want to have a gap a year or more long, do you?

The best way to minimize the risks and increase your chances would be hiring an experienced coach.

Do you need any further help?

GB

(edited)

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Sep 30, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

I would totally not recommend this, and don´t think is necesary at all!

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Anonymous replied on Aug 23, 2020

Dear Ajesh,

Your preparation time can approximately take 8-10 weeks with 4-5 hours of daily practise (on your own). I agree with other coaches that you don't have to quit your job. It would be more efficiently to hire a coach, who can give you structured feedback and polish your own performance.

Best,

André

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Guennael gave the best answer

Guennael

Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews
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