McKinsey and BCG interview preparation - 2nd attempt

BCG case interview preparation Case Prep MBB McKinsey & Company reapplication
New answer on Jan 24, 2023
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jan 22, 2023

Hi everyone,

I made it to the final rounds of BCG and McKinsey 1.5 years ago  but did not receive any offer unfortunately. 

I reapplied this year and my interviews with McKinsey and BCG are scheduled in one month. Is it enough time to start my prep all over again knowing that I am currently working in a strategy consulting firm? 

How should I proceed to practice in the most efficient way possible (review cases I done previously or focus on practicing on new cases, focus on industries knowledge, etc)? 

Also, I do not have any case partner for now. Is it detrimental or can I practice cases on my own since I had already been through the whole interview and prep process before? 

 

Thank you in advance for your help.

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Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 23, 2023
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

1) I reapplied this year and my interviews with McKinsey and BCG are scheduled in one month. Is it enough time to start my prep all over again knowing that I am currently working in a strategy consulting firm? 

Most candidates need at least 50-100 hours starting from scratch to be offer-ready. Given you already prepared before, one month could be enough – it mainly depends on the following:

  • Your current level
  • The material you use for the preparation
  • How much time you can dedicate to the prep per day

2) How should I proceed to practice in the most efficient way possible (review cases I done previously or focus on practicing on new cases, focus on industries knowledge, etc)? 

If you have a list of previous cases that you found challenging it would definitely make sense to review them.

In terms of general preparation, I would recommend the following:

  1. Define a calendar for your preparation. Identify how many hours you have before your interview and allocate a time slot for preparation in your calendar for each day, working on the points below.
  2. Start reading good MBA Consulting Casebooks – you can find several for free online (INSEAD is a good one to start). Read the cases and try to apply your structure to solve them. Whenever you see there is something missing, upgrade your structure with the new insights. Try to read a new case per day – in this way you will absorb better the information with constant learning.
  3. After the first 5-10 cases in books/casebooks and basic theory, start to practice live. PrepLounge can be helpful to connect with other candidates for that. 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.
  4. Keep track of your mistakes and see which ones you are repeating. This is very important, as otherwise you may do a ton of cases without fixing the real issues. If you find common mistakes, try to identify the reason for them (feedback from experienced partners would be particularly useful for this). Be sure to focus on both the behavioral part and the case part during the mocks. The case part should also cover market sizing, math and graph analysis.
  5. Before the interviews, be sure to prepare your questions for the interviewer  – a great way to show you prepared in advance and to connect with the interviewer for a good final impression. Ideally, try to get information on who they are and study their profile to have good questions to ask.

3) Also, I do not have any case partner for now. Is it detrimental or can I practice cases on my own since I had already been through the whole interview and prep process before? 

You could prepare and get an offer without practicing with peers, however working with a case partner is going to make your prep more efficient and increase your chances, so I would look for that if possible.

Good luck!

Francesco

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Cristian
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replied on Jan 23, 2023
Top McK Coach|Public & Verifiable success rates|Honest feedback: no sugar-coating|Success stories ➨ tinyurl.com/43rkxa8f

Hi there, 

Congrats on the new invite for the interviews!

Let me take your questions one by one.

How should I proceed to practice in the most efficient way possible (review cases I done previously or focus on practicing on new cases, focus on industries knowledge, etc)? 

If you still have access to your notes, I'd try going though them quickly to refresh your memory. Then try to write down with bullet points all the ‘learnings’ from back then (both in terms of what you learned from practicing cases and the feedback received from the interviews). Then start doing cases again. 

Also, since you're a consultant already, you skills might have developed but you probably don't have as much time. I'd suggest you consider hiring a coach to be both more efficient with the time and also to maximize your chances of getting in this time.

Also, I do not have any case partner for now. Is it detrimental or can I practice cases on my own since I had already been through the whole interview and prep process before? 

Don't only practice on your own. The ideal practice combo is to do some on your own, some with other candidates and then some with a coach. By only practicing on your own you're missing our on some critical feedback components. 

Best,

Cristian

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Florian
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Content Creator
replied on Jan 23, 2023
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hi there,

Congrats on the second chance. Many people get into MBB on their second try so that should give you some confidence! :-)

Regarding your questions/background/timeline/income level (since you are already a consultant), I would highly recommend booking an experienced coach to go through a proper case session with detailed feedback and a tailored preparation plan.

This will not only show you where to develop and save you days of prep time (+ plus give you the right cases and materials for you to work on your own, + link you up with other strong case partners to practice with) but also demonstrate to you how to ace any McK or BCG you will come across in the future.

If you don't want to engage a coach, I would do the following:

  1. Go back to your previous case performance and take inventory of strengths and weaknesses. What were the reasons that they did not give you an offer the last time? Identify these issues.
  2. Create a preparation plan both around your strengths (those will give you the offer) and your weaknesses (those will avoid a rejection), slotting in case practice with peers, drills, case-reading, skill-building, with at least 1 hour per day during the week and 5-8 hours on weekend or off-days. 
  3. Identify the differences in McKinsey and BCG interviews and commonalities: https://preplounge.com/mckinsey-interview
  4. Constantly adjust as you move along to make sure you are actually improving and not stagnating. Be brutally honest. One of the key issues I see with unsuccessful candidates is that they don't put in the hours into their weaknesses (e.g., if math is your weakness, there is no excuss not to hammer math drills and take math courses 2 hours a day for 1 month to work on it).
  5. Work on your PEI stories for McKinsey: https://www.preplounge.com/mckinsey-pei
  6. Create strong answers for all typical BCG fit questions, especially highlighting the more challenging ones ("times you have failed, etc.")
  7. Be flexible to adjust your course of action. It might be that you don't feel ready in a month from now. MBB usually allow you to reschedule and move interviews, especially if you are an experienced hire.

I would base most of the preparation on individual case practice and skill building and then sprinkle in case practice with others on top.

Cheers,

Florian

 

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Hagen
Expert
replied on Jan 23, 2023
Bain Project Leader and interviewer for 7+ years | >95% success rate | mentor and coach for 6+ years

Hi there,

First of all, congratulations on being invited again by McKinsey and BCG!

I think this is an interesting question that may be relevant for many people. I would be happy to share my thoughts on it:

  • Use the time you have wisely: One month can be enough time to prepare, but it will depend on how much time you are able to commit to your preparation. Make a schedule and stick to it, this way you can focus on your most important areas of improvement.
  • Prepare the same way you did last time: Remember that you were successful until the final interviews last time, so prepare the same way you did last time. Still, practicing case studies on your own will only get you to a certain point but definitely not to the level of readiness you want to achieve.
  • Practice with a coach: Given your limited amount of time of one month and full-time work in strategy consulting, consider working with a coach. A coach can help you focus on the areas where you need the most improvement and provide you with valuable feedback.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on how to address your specific situation, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best,

Hagen

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Jan 23, 2023
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

If you've already made it to the final round then you know what you're doing!

You need to get back and refresh yourself.

You 100% need to practice with others. Please don't prep alone. You need multiple case partners - reading cases only get you so far.

Given 1)You have been here before and failed 2) Don't have a case partner 3) Are unsure of what to do 4) Have a short-ish timeline, I highly recommend a coach

Here's some reading to help you prep: https://www.preplounge.com/en/articles/pitfalls-case-interview-preparation

 

(edited)

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Erica
CoachingPlus Expert
replied on Jan 24, 2023
Ex-McKinsey, former recruiting team member

Congrats with your interviews!! I similarly was a second time applicant and learned some things along the way

1. You're in a good spot - you've already done like 80% of the work through keeping up with networking and from your past experience

2. BETTER case prep is more important than MORE case prep. Resist the urge to sign up for 30 peer cases - though some can be helpful. As others noted, a coach can help to (1) give you a plan and (2) give you clear places to focus in your prep so you aren't spinning your wheels

3. Pat yourself on the back - it takes a lot of mental and emotional energy to go through the process and you're still a month away, so you're on a great path!

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Pedro
Expert
replied on Jan 24, 2023
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | FIT | Market Sizing | Former Head Recruiter

You have enough time.

You should review cases and practice with peers. 

Nothing replaces the pressure of having to think on the spot when facing a new case. It is critical to find a good partner though.

It is also important that you have a view on why you didn't get the offer, so you can focus on that.

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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