Cookie and Privacy Settings

This website uses cookies to enable essential functions like the user login and sessions. We also use cookies and third-party tools to improve your surfing experience on preplounge.com. You can choose to activate only essential cookies or all cookies. You can always change your preference in the cookie and privacy settings. This link can also be found in the footer of the site. If you need more information, please visit our privacy policy.

Data processing in the USA: By clicking on "I accept", you also consent, in accordance with article 49 paragraph 1 sentence 1 lit. GDPR, to your data being processed in the USA (by Google LLC, Facebook Inc., LinkedIn Inc., Stripe, Paypal).

Manage settings individually I accept
expert
Expert with best answer

Ian

100% Recommendation Rate

244 Meetings

21,359 Q&A Upvotes

USD 289 / Coaching

4

MBB 2020/2021 Recruiting timeline with COVID-19?

Dear Preplounge Community,

I am new to the prep lounge platform and I am currently looking for advice regarding the recruiting starting date of the MBB firms in 2020 and 2021. Within the wake of COVID-19, the whole recruiting process has slowed down as much as the economy did, therefore putting a grey area on a confirmed interview day. So it is very challenging to figure how much time is necessary to prepare effectively if this marathon finish line is moving with you at the same time.

It is very tempting to go for coaches, live practicing cases with peers, expansive prep lounge Coaching Plus plan, if one does know when is the "exam day" in order to invest the required amount of time, money, and energy to keep the momentum going. All of this is also time-sensitive.

I am a so-called "experienced hire" of 12+ years of experience in Energy & Sustainability, based in San Francisco, looking for interviews for the US and Europe Market. The recruiting teams often don't know how what consultant capacities will be needed for 2021, therefore they don't have a definitive answer on the interview day/week/month, which I find challenging.

Thank you for your tips and advice. I welcome any thoughts that one can share so I can understand better when to ramp up to best prepare against the next to come exponential casing curve.

Best, Olivier.

Dear Preplounge Community,

I am new to the prep lounge platform and I am currently looking for advice regarding the recruiting starting date of the MBB firms in 2020 and 2021. Within the wake of COVID-19, the whole recruiting process has slowed down as much as the economy did, therefore putting a grey area on a confirmed interview day. So it is very challenging to figure how much time is necessary to prepare effectively if this marathon finish line is moving with you at the same time.

It is very tempting to go for coaches, live practicing cases with peers, expansive prep lounge Coaching Plus plan, if one does know when is the "exam day" in order to invest the required amount of time, money, and energy to keep the momentum going. All of this is also time-sensitive.

I am a so-called "experienced hire" of 12+ years of experience in Energy & Sustainability, based in San Francisco, looking for interviews for the US and Europe Market. The recruiting teams often don't know how what consultant capacities will be needed for 2021, therefore they don't have a definitive answer on the interview day/week/month, which I find challenging.

Thank you for your tips and advice. I welcome any thoughts that one can share so I can understand better when to ramp up to best prepare against the next to come exponential casing curve.

Best, Olivier.

(edited)

4 answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best Answer
Book a coaching with Ian

100% Recommendation Rate

244 Meetings

21,359 Q&A Upvotes

USD 289 / Coaching

Hi there,

Welcome to the platform as well as the recruiting journey!

In Terms of Preparation

In general, I find candidates need 2-3 months to feel ready (some need more, some need fewer).

Of course, it depends person to person. But I have a few "baseline" suggestions:

  • Aim for a few hours a day
  • Start "heavy" on fast math, and background knowledge/reading (building industry knowledge, reading case books, reading The Economist/FT/BCG insights)
  • Always go steady with actual casing (aim for a minimum 25 cases by the time you're done)
  • Work on fit/behavioural questions just 2-3 weeks before

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here are a few other thoughts on how COVID-19 is affecting the consulting world.

INTERVIEW FORMATS

Most interviews will now be virtual. They may also involve COVID-19 as a topic!

For Virtual Interview Tips:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/virtual-first-round-interview-thoughts-advice-4310

For Coronavirus Cases:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/brain-teaser/beginner/coronavirus-times-194

https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/candidate-led-usual-style/intermediate/chinese-chess-191

_____________________________________________________________________

PUSHED STARTING DATES

A number of existing offers as well as future offers are coming with delayed start dates.

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/pushed-starting-date-6807

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/semester-extension-due-to-covid-19-6724

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/mckinsey-offer-pushback-covid19-6768

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/mck-associate-job-offer-6737

(If this happens, use the time to both upskill and find a 2nd job/internship in the meantime)

____________________________________________________________

REDUNDANCIES RISK

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/covid19-redundancies-risk-6728

Some of the tier two firms are cutting costs through:

  • Setting pay to 80%, with an opt-out policy (KPMG)
  • Letting go of some staff with <6 months tenure (EY)
  • Forcing unpaid leave for staff not on billable projects (Deloitte)
  • Stopping bonuses

So far, it seems the tier 1 firms are cutting some bonuses and being stricter with the "Up or out" system. It seems unlikely they would rescind new hire offers, but you should always have a plan B.

Al this being said different geographies are different, as are different roles...even in tough times companies do hire and projects are won.

______________________________________________________________________

DELAYED AND REDUCED HIRING

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-will-hiring-efforts-change-in-the-middle-east-because-of-the-pandemic-and-budget-cuts-by-the-saudi-government-6871

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/what-consulting-companies-are-hiring-interviewing-right-now-6733

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/are-interviews-in-the-middle-east-still-going-ahead-6832

There are a lot of companies, a lot of offices, with a lot of different timelines. I recommend you reach out to the recruiters of the offices + companies in which you are interested! This had the added benefit of you potentially being put in touch with a potential referee!

Take the initiative, reach out to the offices/companies you want, hustle hard, and find the jobs that are available and fight for them. Don't speculate...read the cards TODAY and operate as such, until something changes, then adapt.

____________________________________________________________________

THREAT TO THE BUSINESS MODEL

The top-tier firms are very nimble. They are notoriously "immune" to economic cycles. This Is because:

  • When the economy does well, MBB are hired to help companies do even better
  • When the economy does poorly, MBB are hired to help companies survive (cost costs, adapt, plan for the new world)

I can tell you that MBB are hustling hard and that when companies are in trouble, they look to MBB first for guidance. Strategy consultants help firms navigate uncharted territory...these times are when they're most needed

_____________________________________________________________________

IMPACT ON TRAVEL

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/is-the-corona-crisis-going-to-lead-to-less-travel-in-the-future-for-mbb-consultants-6780

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/less-traveling-in-the-mena-region-6770

1) Yes it will affect the nature of work

2) I can't see it improving work-life balance. The fundamentals of top-tier companies in any industry are: Get the best, get the brightest, get the hungriest, charge them out for a lot, and work them hard

3) It'll change business trips in much the same way business trips will be changed across the world

4) It's anyone's guess as to whether WFH will become more acceptable in consulting. Personally, I doubt it.

__________________________________________________________________

IMPACT ON M&A ACTIVITY

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/potential-ma-activity-in-the-consulting-industry-anytime-soon-because-of-global-context-6771

Hi there,

Welcome to the platform as well as the recruiting journey!

In Terms of Preparation

In general, I find candidates need 2-3 months to feel ready (some need more, some need fewer).

Of course, it depends person to person. But I have a few "baseline" suggestions:

  • Aim for a few hours a day
  • Start "heavy" on fast math, and background knowledge/reading (building industry knowledge, reading case books, reading The Economist/FT/BCG insights)
  • Always go steady with actual casing (aim for a minimum 25 cases by the time you're done)
  • Work on fit/behavioural questions just 2-3 weeks before

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here are a few other thoughts on how COVID-19 is affecting the consulting world.

INTERVIEW FORMATS

Most interviews will now be virtual. They may also involve COVID-19 as a topic!

For Virtual Interview Tips:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/virtual-first-round-interview-thoughts-advice-4310

For Coronavirus Cases:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/brain-teaser/beginner/coronavirus-times-194

https://www.preplounge.com/en/management-consulting-cases/candidate-led-usual-style/intermediate/chinese-chess-191

_____________________________________________________________________

PUSHED STARTING DATES

A number of existing offers as well as future offers are coming with delayed start dates.

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/pushed-starting-date-6807

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/semester-extension-due-to-covid-19-6724

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/mckinsey-offer-pushback-covid19-6768

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/mck-associate-job-offer-6737

(If this happens, use the time to both upskill and find a 2nd job/internship in the meantime)

____________________________________________________________

REDUNDANCIES RISK

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/covid19-redundancies-risk-6728

Some of the tier two firms are cutting costs through:

  • Setting pay to 80%, with an opt-out policy (KPMG)
  • Letting go of some staff with <6 months tenure (EY)
  • Forcing unpaid leave for staff not on billable projects (Deloitte)
  • Stopping bonuses

So far, it seems the tier 1 firms are cutting some bonuses and being stricter with the "Up or out" system. It seems unlikely they would rescind new hire offers, but you should always have a plan B.

Al this being said different geographies are different, as are different roles...even in tough times companies do hire and projects are won.

______________________________________________________________________

DELAYED AND REDUCED HIRING

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-will-hiring-efforts-change-in-the-middle-east-because-of-the-pandemic-and-budget-cuts-by-the-saudi-government-6871

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/what-consulting-companies-are-hiring-interviewing-right-now-6733

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/are-interviews-in-the-middle-east-still-going-ahead-6832

There are a lot of companies, a lot of offices, with a lot of different timelines. I recommend you reach out to the recruiters of the offices + companies in which you are interested! This had the added benefit of you potentially being put in touch with a potential referee!

Take the initiative, reach out to the offices/companies you want, hustle hard, and find the jobs that are available and fight for them. Don't speculate...read the cards TODAY and operate as such, until something changes, then adapt.

____________________________________________________________________

THREAT TO THE BUSINESS MODEL

The top-tier firms are very nimble. They are notoriously "immune" to economic cycles. This Is because:

  • When the economy does well, MBB are hired to help companies do even better
  • When the economy does poorly, MBB are hired to help companies survive (cost costs, adapt, plan for the new world)

I can tell you that MBB are hustling hard and that when companies are in trouble, they look to MBB first for guidance. Strategy consultants help firms navigate uncharted territory...these times are when they're most needed

_____________________________________________________________________

IMPACT ON TRAVEL

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/is-the-corona-crisis-going-to-lead-to-less-travel-in-the-future-for-mbb-consultants-6780

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/less-traveling-in-the-mena-region-6770

1) Yes it will affect the nature of work

2) I can't see it improving work-life balance. The fundamentals of top-tier companies in any industry are: Get the best, get the brightest, get the hungriest, charge them out for a lot, and work them hard

3) It'll change business trips in much the same way business trips will be changed across the world

4) It's anyone's guess as to whether WFH will become more acceptable in consulting. Personally, I doubt it.

__________________________________________________________________

IMPACT ON M&A ACTIVITY

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/potential-ma-activity-in-the-consulting-industry-anytime-soon-because-of-global-context-6771

(edited)

Hi Ian, Thanks much for all those very helpful resources. I guess I have quite a bit to read at this point before I have further questions! — Olivier on Oct 07, 2020

Book a coaching with Robert

96% Recommendation Rate

319 Meetings

3,656 Q&A Upvotes

USD 219 / Coaching

Hi Olivier,

Thanks for sharing quite a bit of information already.

However, your question is not exactly clear to me. Can you please elaborate on that?

Thank you,

Robert

Hi Olivier,

Thanks for sharing quite a bit of information already.

However, your question is not exactly clear to me. Can you please elaborate on that?

Thank you,

Robert

Hi Robert, Thanks for reaching out. My question is pretty much in the header as far as knowing when are the next first round of interviews for MBB given we are in unprecedented times witnessing shifted hiring needs and recruiting timeline. I understood one needs to give itself 3 months to prepare, but I wonder when to start preparing seriously if MBB firms don't have yet the certainty of an interview day? That question might be already answered in the forum, so I will dig deeper. Thanks for the feedback! — Olivier on Oct 07, 2020

Book a coaching with Henning

100% Recommendation Rate

172 Meetings

5,146 Q&A Upvotes

USD 189 / Coaching

Hi Olivier!

great to see someone with a similar background! I joined Bain after 9 years in Renewables & Sustainability back then!

Yes, the market has slowed down, but recruiting is usually by office or country level, so it's difficult to make a general statement. Of only, this raises the bar a bit.

To give you an idea of how much time you should spend preparing, in my experience, practicing 15-20 cases is sufficient, if you do it strategically. My recommendation is as follows:

  • Read up on the typical approaches and standard frameworks to get the concept.
  • Then, do 5-6 cases to get a practical feeling for what a case is like. Start with easier ones - e.g. market size mini cases, simple profit tree cases, etc. This will help you develop a rudimentary sense for how cases work
  • The next 5-6 cases should cover cases from all major types and help you gain the experience and comfort with standard frameworks and the thinking required for solving the cases.
  • Lastly, you will want to do 6-7 cases to hone your skills. Practice with people who understand what they are doing - experienced interviewers, coaches, etc. that can give you 1-2 main items of feedback after each case that you can then practice to apply and improve on in the next case. During this time, you should also practice to move away from off-the-shelf frameworks and tailor, or - even better - develop your frameworks specifically during the case.

The further you move towards the final interview, the more important it is to practice with experienced interviewers. While you can easily ask any friend or practice with peers for the first few cases, you should aim for qualified, professional feedback as you approach the finishing line.

However, keep in mind, that this requires a strong plan and strategic approach to the preparation. I regularly see people doing 30-40 or even more cases. While this can also lead to success, in my eyes, it is a bit of a waste of time, especially for experienced hires that often also have a regular job to do while preparing for the consulting interviews.

Let me know if this helps. I'm also happy to elaborate any of the above in more detail. DM me if you like.

Hi Olivier!

great to see someone with a similar background! I joined Bain after 9 years in Renewables & Sustainability back then!

Yes, the market has slowed down, but recruiting is usually by office or country level, so it's difficult to make a general statement. Of only, this raises the bar a bit.

To give you an idea of how much time you should spend preparing, in my experience, practicing 15-20 cases is sufficient, if you do it strategically. My recommendation is as follows:

  • Read up on the typical approaches and standard frameworks to get the concept.
  • Then, do 5-6 cases to get a practical feeling for what a case is like. Start with easier ones - e.g. market size mini cases, simple profit tree cases, etc. This will help you develop a rudimentary sense for how cases work
  • The next 5-6 cases should cover cases from all major types and help you gain the experience and comfort with standard frameworks and the thinking required for solving the cases.
  • Lastly, you will want to do 6-7 cases to hone your skills. Practice with people who understand what they are doing - experienced interviewers, coaches, etc. that can give you 1-2 main items of feedback after each case that you can then practice to apply and improve on in the next case. During this time, you should also practice to move away from off-the-shelf frameworks and tailor, or - even better - develop your frameworks specifically during the case.

The further you move towards the final interview, the more important it is to practice with experienced interviewers. While you can easily ask any friend or practice with peers for the first few cases, you should aim for qualified, professional feedback as you approach the finishing line.

However, keep in mind, that this requires a strong plan and strategic approach to the preparation. I regularly see people doing 30-40 or even more cases. While this can also lead to success, in my eyes, it is a bit of a waste of time, especially for experienced hires that often also have a regular job to do while preparing for the consulting interviews.

Let me know if this helps. I'm also happy to elaborate any of the above in more detail. DM me if you like.

Hi Henning, thanks very much for the feedback! It is actually very exciting that we share a common ground after spending some time in the energy industry before pivoting to consulting. Thanks for the tips! I would be very happy to chat with you off-line if your times allows it since I have already dived into the bullet points you have enumerated. I will ping you soon! — Olivier on Oct 06, 2020

Awesome! Looking forward to chat. — Henning on Oct 06, 2020

Hi Olivier,

As you know the market slowed down due to COVID-19 but is expected to take offat any time as clients adapt to the current situation.

As you know, the recruitment is slowed down but firms as still hiring especially for some key positions & industries. I recently coached some candidates who got a call from MBBs inviting them to interview in a short notice (2-3 days), so it's impotant to get ready and to expect an interview invitation at any time.

I would advise you to start familiarizing yourself with the consulting toolkit (frameworks, math tricks, etc.) and to start practicing with other candidates here on PrepLounge. I would also adivse you to alternate the case practices between candidates and experts so that you get valuable feedback on your performance and you monitor your progress. You might want to practice 4-5 cases every week, including 1 with an expert for instance. If you do this consistently (for 1-2 months), I believe you will be ready to interview at anytime.

I will be happy to answer any other question you might have.

All the best,

Mehdi

Hi Olivier,

As you know the market slowed down due to COVID-19 but is expected to take offat any time as clients adapt to the current situation.

As you know, the recruitment is slowed down but firms as still hiring especially for some key positions & industries. I recently coached some candidates who got a call from MBBs inviting them to interview in a short notice (2-3 days), so it's impotant to get ready and to expect an interview invitation at any time.

I would advise you to start familiarizing yourself with the consulting toolkit (frameworks, math tricks, etc.) and to start practicing with other candidates here on PrepLounge. I would also adivse you to alternate the case practices between candidates and experts so that you get valuable feedback on your performance and you monitor your progress. You might want to practice 4-5 cases every week, including 1 with an expert for instance. If you do this consistently (for 1-2 months), I believe you will be ready to interview at anytime.

I will be happy to answer any other question you might have.

All the best,

Mehdi

Thank you very much Mehdi for your insights! — Olivier on Oct 10, 2020

Related case(s)

Bain case: Asian lubricants producer

Solved 159.3k times
Bain case: Asian lubricants producer LubricantsCo, a very successful Asian premium producer of lubricants in their native region, would like to further increase their revenue and profit. The product range ranges from lubricants in the automotive sector (e.g. motor and gear oil) to industrial applications (e.g. fats, heavy-duty oils). According to preliminary examinations, further growth potentials in the Asian core market are rather limited. Thus LubricantsCo would like to investigate options to internationalize in the passenger car business – also outside the premium segment which is given priority. Therefore your consulting firm was instructed to elaborate a market entry strategy for the European market.  
4.6 5 29538
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

LubricantsCo, a very successful Asian premium producer of lubricants in their native region, would like to further increase their revenue and profit. The product range ranges from lubricants in the automotive sector (e.g. motor and gear oil) to industrial applications (e.g. fats, heavy-duty oils). ... Open whole case

Bain Case: Old Winery

Solved 69.0k times
Bain Case: Old Winery You have inherited the “Old Winery” from your grandfather, a winery which has been family owned for five generations and can be dated back to the 16th century. Half of the eleven hectares are used to grow white grapes, the other half to grow red grapes. They are grown in the conventional way, i.e. they are not organically farmed and certified. The vine stocks are in a good condition regarding age and care. Overall, only ¼ of the harvest is made into wine by the winery itself; the rest is sold. Your grandfather never wanted to change the image of the winery and left the managerial and administrative task to a young and energetic wine-maker. Due to the not so well-known brand , the demand for the “Old Winery” wine is currently rather low. You do not intent to run the winery operatively, given your limited knowledge of wine making, but find the idea of owning a winery exciting. Your plan is to give the winery some fresh impetus.
4.4 5 1888
| Rating: (4.4 / 5.0)

You have inherited the “Old Winery” from your grandfather, a winery which has been family owned for five generations and can be dated back to the 16th century. Half of the eleven hectares are used to grow white grapes, the other half to grow red grapes. They are grown in the conventional way, i.e. ... Open whole case

BCG Questions

Solved 27.3k times
BCG Questions What arouses your interest when you are working / studying / doing another activity (from the CV)? Tell me of a time where you had no idea what you were doing. When did you use an uncommon approach to do something? Have you ever had responsibility for other people? Tell me of a situation where you were not the official leader.
4.5 5 212
| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0) |
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit Interview | Topics: Personal fit

What arouses your interest when you are working / studying / doing another activity (from the CV)? Tell me of a time where you had no idea what you were doing. When did you use an uncommon approach to do something? Have you ever had responsibility for other people? Tell me of a situation where ... Open whole case

Bain Questions

Solved 24.9k times
Bain Questions Tell me about a difficult situation you had to cope with. Tell me of a task which you didn’t like doing and explain why you performed it nevertheless. Why do you do things? What do you like doing most / What is your favorite hobby? Walk me through a situation where you showed leadership skills.
4.6 5 296
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0) |
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit Interview | Topics: Personal fit

Tell me about a difficult situation you had to cope with. Tell me of a task which you didn’t like doing and explain why you performed it nevertheless. Why do you do things? What do you like doing most / What is your favorite hobby? Walk me through a situation where you showed leadership skills ... Open whole case

MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education

Solved 17.0k times
MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education Our client is SmartBridge, a nonprofit educational institution offering face-to-face tutoring services. The client operates in the US. The mission of SmartBridge is to help as many students as possible to complete studies and prevent that they drop from the school system, in particular in disadvantaged areas. The client is considering starting operations for its services in the Chicago area. They hired us to understand if that makes sense. Due to the nonprofit regulation, SmartBridge should operate on its own in the market, without any partnership. How would you help our client?
4.6 5 602
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

Our client is SmartBridge, a nonprofit educational institution offering face-to-face tutoring services. The client operates in the US. The mission of SmartBridge is to help as many students as possible to complete studies and prevent that they drop from the school system, in particular in disadvant ... Open whole case