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Kearney Final Round - Business Analyst (Last two interviews)

A.T. Kearney AT Kearney ATKearney business analyst Middle East
New answer on Mar 07, 2024
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jan 31, 2024

I hope everyone in the PrepLounge Community is doing well.

I recently received a confirmation for the final round at Kearney - Middle East for the role of Business Analyst and now have two interviews remaining with partners and principals.

I wanted to share my experience of the first two interviews and understand from the knowledgeable people of this community if they can provide me with any suggestions on how to move forward for the next round of interviews which will most probably commence next week I want to give my best shot at this. Also sharing this post for anyone interviewing and could come of any help :)

First Interview: This was with an associate at Kearney and he was nice considering how the second interview went. It started with a standard behavioural fit interview for 15 minutes and then the remaining time was spent on doing a business case which was on profitability. I was able to finish the case for most of it however I may have messed up in the synthesis part of it as I did not realise we reached the end of the case and I could have potentially provided a better synthesis had I known better and were more calm & composed about it. 

Feedback: The feedback I got for the case was not to rush the case and to relax.

Second Interview: This was with a senior consultant and this was a very unexpected interview. An interview which I was not hoping to face. The interview started again with the standard fit questions and then proceeded with the case. The case was about profitability however I do not think the case was designed to check the numeracy component but more on how one is able to think in a structural format and come up with solutions. We progressed toward a case when I hit a dead end as I was supposed to find the root cause of the decline in volume sales as revenues dipped. I tried to provide multiple solutions to the answer and according to the interviewer, I was not getting close to the answer nor was he ready to provide a hint. Moreover the interviewer was taking calls with his partner in between and using two phones at once while I was just trying my best to come up with a solutions. As I kept on trying he told me that I should think more “high-level” and think in a more structured manner rather than making guesses and assumptions. I tried to implement it and came up with as many possibilities I could think of and did not give up because I had no option and in the back of my head I knew that the interview is not going according to how I planned and felt pretty bummed. He then said that as we have ran out of time does he have any questions for me and I asked him few questions about him and the company.

Hence after the disastrous second interview I had no hopes of hearing back nor could I understand what I could have done better because this was unlike any other case I have done where I technically did not move past the structure and upon a lot of contemplation I could not figure out what the answer could be.

Feedback: The interviewer gave no feedback but in between mentioned having a more high-level thinking approach and structuring my problem-solving in a better and MECE way.

However after two days of grievance, I unexpectedly heard back from Kearney that I was being moved to the final interviews and I was really surprised, maybe the second interview was a stress test or something of a similar sort. I also know that one of my friends who had the same interviewer and the same case was not shortlisted for the final interview.

Hence based on this entire experience I would love to gain your thoughts and insights on the following things.

  1. Preparation for Final Interviews: Based on my experiences, what adjustments should I consider for the upcoming interviews? Any specific areas or strategies to focus on would be highly appreciated.
  2. Insight on the Second Interview: Has anyone encountered a similar interview scenario? I'm curious if this approach is a common practice.
  3. High-Level Thinking: I'd like to deepen my understanding of "high-level thinking" and how to apply it effectively. Suggestions on refining my problem-solving strategy to be more structured and MECE (mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive) are welcome.
  4. Feedback Request: Given the lack of detailed feedback from Kearney, would it be advisable to proactively request it? I believe insights from the first two rounds could be invaluable for my final preparation.


I realise this is a very big post and would appreciate any thoughts and feedback you have for the same :)

Kind Regards

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Best answer
Edoardo
Expert
replied on Jan 31, 2024
Bain & Co | PE & VC | I helped 50+ professionals to break into consulting and reason on their next career steps!

Hi!

First of all congrats on this, I fear you might have been underestimating yourself a bit :)

Your experience is interesting and I heard of this before - take it with a grain of salt, it can happen, but I’d focus on what’s next. Here my 2 cents :)

1. now just try to relax, read some additional answer frameworks and don’t over stress. Getting loaded with test pre exam make no sense. Read a bit of framework, do light prep, if you know you know and in few days you won’t improve but rather risk of burn out

2. Partners are more high level I agree, it will be way less about number and way more about structure. Take your time in answering, express clearly your reasoning, don’t rush, focus on clarity of thoughts and communication.

3. As said in point 2, MECE is key. Take a bit more time to structure the answer, walk them through on how you set the structure than go crack it only once is fully set. The smaller the problem the easier it is to crack it, but break it down first, with the appropriate time you need and with their blessing on the reasoning you make!

4. I would say that 2 interviewers you had were either too junior or too careless to share more, they probably interviewed you because they really had to. I would pass on them as their feedback was already provided and you risk to look annoying rather than curious to know more. I would focus on feedback on the next round, regardless of how it goes.

Overall, I know it’s a tense moment, but you proved you can make it there, now pause for a moment, be ready to rock, and play your cards. The thinking you bring to this chat make me sure you care a lot and you are well prepped, probably you just need to offload just a tiny bit of pressure :) you’ll be great!!

All the best,

Edo

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Feb 01, 2024
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

LOVE this breakdown and reflection!

Especially love your line: "This was with a senior consultant and this was a very unexpected interview. An interview which I was not hoping to face."

Alas, the 2 struggles you're facing (Frameworking and Case Leadership) are the two most common AND the two hardest to fix on their own. I do highly recommend coaching if you can.

Here's some reading for both:

How to Shift Your Mindset to Ace the Case
 

Candidate-Led Cases: What to Expect With Example Cases

 

Preparation for Final Interviews: Based on my experiences, what adjustments should I consider for the upcoming interviews? Any specific areas or strategies to focus on would be highly appreciated.

Definitely frameworking and case leadership. Learning to zoom out.

Insight on the Second Interview: Has anyone encountered a similar interview scenario? I'm curious if this approach is a common practice.

100%. In fact, you're lucky you had 2 “classic” case types. Get ready for unconventional cases!

High-Level Thinking: I'd like to deepen my understanding of "high-level thinking" and how to apply it effectively. Suggestions on refining my problem-solving strategy to be more structured and MECE (mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive) are welcome.

Ultimately, coaching. This is something that's really hard to just type about. You need to zoom up/out.

Feedback Request: Given the lack of detailed feedback from Kearney, would it be advisable to proactively request it? I believe insights from the first two rounds could be invaluable for my final preparation.

There was not a lack of feedback! That's pretty “standard”. They said case leadership and frameworking. 

I can try to ask, but I wouldn't expect too much.

(edited)

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Hagen
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Feb 01, 2024
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

First of all, congratulations on the progress in the application process with Kearney thus far!

I would be happy to share my thoughts on your situation:

  • First of all, I would advise you to have a look at the guide on final interview rounds I wrote: How to succeed in the final interview round.
  • Moreover, yes, I would highly advise you to proactively request feedback of the first interview round. To be frank, this is not necessarily good practice from that specific Kearney office to not provide meaningful feedback.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on how to best prepare for your upcoming interviews, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best,

Hagen

(edited)

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 31, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi there, 

Congrats on getting this far!

Yes, a few things to keep in mind for last round interview:

  1. Work on the feedback provided in the previous rounds. Most firms communicate the feedback from the previous rounds to the final interviewer. It's important then to show the final interviewer that you have a growth mindset and are reactive to feedback. This matters immensely. Make sure you are clear on your development areas and that you get the right support to polish them before the final interview.
  2. Expect less structure. Senior interviewers already have the confidence that you are a decent candidate, your skills having been already vetted by their younger colleagues. They are rather more interested in your as a person and your way of thinking. So they might present you with an unusual case, or one that is created on the spot or no case altogether. Expect anything.
  3. Focus on excellent communication. Senior interviewers care a lot about how clearly you communicate and how you manage to forge a connection with the interviewer. It's important to be top-down and concise as much as possible with your answers, while allowing the conversation to flow in a natural way.
  4. Put yourself in their shoes. The one question senior interviewers are asking themselves throughout the interview is what will happen when they'll put you in front of a client they've groomed for years? Make sure that even based on this first impression you seem somebody who can be trusted and who can work with any client regardless of how difficult they might be.

Best,
Cristian

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Florian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 01, 2024
1300 5-star reviews across platforms | 500+ offers | Highest-rated case book on Amazon | Uni lecturer in US, Asia, EU

Hey there,

Congrats on passing the first round!

95% of partner rounds are just as standardized as the first round. The reason why you read about freestyle partner experiences is that they deviate from what people expect, hence they post about it more frequently online, hence giving others the impression it is much more common.

Additionally, partner rounds are often perceived as more challenging, just because it's a partner sitting across the table rather than a more junior colleague. It is purely based on the impression and not on the content. :-)

If there are any deviations from the standard interviewer guidelines, expect them to be in the following realm:

  • Focus on one or two areas where you were perceived as not as strong in round one, which can be specific case questions or fit questions
  • Only doing a case, only doing fit instead of both
  • Doing two shorter cases in quick succession
  • Challenging your answers more
  • Not providing any time for you to think about the answer, making it more conversational

In any case, the most important thing is not to be startled by this and just keep working on the case or the fit in a calm manner.

All the best for your second round!

Cheers,

Florian

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Pedro
Expert
replied on Mar 07, 2024
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

It's impossible to give you advice in one paragraph that would make you instantaneous better. You need tailored preparation support.

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Edoardo gave the best answer

Edoardo

Bain & Co | PE & VC | I helped 50+ professionals to break into consulting and reason on their next career steps!
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