List of popular ways in which MBB interviewers like to challenge candidates?

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New answer on Feb 02, 2020
3 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Feb 02, 2020

Partners, principals, consultants, and business analysts are going to challenge me in ways my PrepLounge partners don't--both in interviewers and on the job. Below is a list I've assembled of common "challenges" that interviewers present candidates with frequently.

What are some others that I'm missing? Let's collect them here, so we can all challenge each other further in mock cases.

They will:

  • question your framework
  • wait for you to lay out your "perfect" conceptual framework, then immediately throw you a curveball by
    • 1) asking a market sizing question, or
    • 2) asking about a bucket/concept you didn't includ, just to see how you react
  • ask you to brainstorm at various points throughout case expecting structure--don't trust anyone who says otherwise! If your replies to these brainstorm questions aren't at least mostly good & structured, it tells them you aren't a truly structured thinker--you may not be able to stand up to the on-the-job requirements of impromptu structuring many times a day--in front of clients and when partners randomly walk into the room while you're working for an update.
  • ask you questions and NOT give you time to structure your thoughts

(posting Q again here) What are some others that I'm missing? Let's collect them here.

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Francesco
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replied on Feb 02, 2020
#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, the points you mentioned are quite standard and you may expect in the majority of the interviews. Additional points where you could be challenged are:

  1. Graph interpretation – providing a graph and giving you very limited time to identify main insides
  2. Math – asking random questions such as “What is 67% of 67”
  3. Ask to brainstorm and continue to ask “What else” until you get nervous
  4. Pressure interview – interviewer acts hostile and continue to complain about what you presented saying it doesn’t make sense
  5. Pressure interview – interviewer keeps silent all the time and gives you very limited feedback on how you are performing

Best,

Francesco

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Clara
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replied on Feb 02, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

What you describe in your post is actually a good definition of what an interview should be, since the interviewer needs to test those skills! Nothing too "pushy" there!

Consulting interviews are not very "pushy" or aggresive -as, for instance, IB can be-. In most cases, the interviewer is trying to get the very best version of you to assess your full potential.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Vlad
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updated an answer on Feb 02, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

I don't see the things you've mentioned as challenges but rather a regular part of the interview process. Things like "Being always structured", doing a market sizing, etc are an essential part of the right interview prep process

Best

(edited)

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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