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Hello,

I recently found the website and I am still not sure how it works to practice with live partners. I hope you can help me with suggestions of how to advance as fast as I can.

I have my 1st round of interviews at McKinsey coming up in 2 weeks and I want to prepare the best I can in this short period. I have read Victor Cheng's book, have some knowledge of Case in Point (although I find the Ivy Case Framework too difficult to understand), I'm beginning to listen to LOMS too and have done 1 practice case study with a current MBB consultant.

I'm here to find partners who have some experience with cases and can help me understand the best way to do the cases but I'm afraid that as a beginner I can't do the same for my practice partner. Therefore I'm wondering how does the website work for people who are still starting out and can't return the favor? Should I attempt to give a case to my partner and give feedback without any experience? And where do I even find a case to give to my partner?

Sorry if my questions sound stupid, I thought this is the best way to get informed quickly on how to proceed.

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Originally answered:

Case Study Interview in 2 Weeks

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Vlad
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replied on Sep 10, 2018
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Hi,

I recommend the following approach:

1) Start with "Case in point" book - you can download this book for free everywhere. It's not the best guide on how you should approach the cases, however, it will give you the basic understanding.

2) Start practicing cases with partners here or find them locally. !!! Find experienced partners or coaches who can provide a good feedback!!!

3) Purchase and read Viktor Cheng Book (Amazon Kindle store) and listen to LOMS (his website). I recommend to reread the book and listen to LOMS every 15 cases. Every time, having more experience, you’ll be finding something new.

4) Practice fast math

  • Learn how to multiply double digit numbers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ndkkPZYJHo)
  • Learn the division table up to 1/11 (i.e. 5/6 = 83.3)
  • Learn how to work with zeros (Hint: 4000000 = 4*10ˆ6)
  • Use math tools (Mimir math for iOS), Math tool on Viktor Cheng website to practice

5) Below you can find a list of the most common case types and some high-level recommendations on structuring:

  • Market sizing - structuring from the supply or demand side. Structuring using a formula or using an issue tree
  • Profitability - basic profitability framework. Remember about different revenue streams and product mix
  • Market context cases (Market Entry, New product, Acquisition, etc). Always start with the big picture "market". Finish with something specific to the case (e.g. How to enter?"). Structure it as if you are defining the work streams for the real project.
  • Operational math problem (e.g. Should we increase the speed of an elevator or just buy a second one? How should we reduce the queues? Etc.) - Structuring as a process / value chain, with inflows, operations, and outflows
  • Cost cutting - I provided the recommendations on structuring it here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/operations-cases-mck-1105#a2134
  • Valuation - Purely financial structure with cash flows, growth rate, WACC / hurdle rate, etc.
  • Synergies - revenue synergies (price, qty, mix) and cost synergies (value chain).
  • Social / economics cases (e.g. How to improve the quality of life in the city? How to increase the revenues of the museum?) - huge variability. Practice 3-5 social cases before the interview

6) Also, I would try to focus on the most common industries in the following priority(sorted by probability of getting a case): 1-retail and CPG; 2-airlines; 3-Telecom; 4-banking; 5-natural resources; 6-tech

7) ! Important: don't forget about the FIT interview part. Crafting you stories and backups stories will require a couple of weeks!

PS

Here is a good list of articles regarding the different parts of the case:

1) Start with clarifying questions:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/clarifying-questions-1786#a3956

2) Communicating while structuring. Here is a long post by me on how to communicate the structure during the case study:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-communicate-its-structure-for-the-case-study-1313#a2806

3) Using hypothesis. I made a post about hypothesis here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-state-a-hypothesis-and-match-to-the-structure-1156#a2268

4) Communicating while making calculations:

  • Always tell the interviewer your approach
  • Check with the interviewer that your approach is correct
  • Come to the interviewer with some preliminary answers
  • Check your assumptions with the interviewer

5) Communicating during the analysis of graphs / tables

  • Take a minute to look at the graph. Read the graph title. Look at the graph type and define the type (pie chart, line chart, etc). Look at the legend (ask for clarifying questions if necessary). Identify whats going on on the graph. Look for: Trends, % structures. Look for unusual things - correlations, outliers,
  • Make 3-4 conclusions from the graph. Think out loud on potential hypothesis on what could be the root cause / what are the consequences
  • Prioritize the most important for your current analysis and move forward with the case

6) Communicating while having questions on creativity

  • Ask an interview for a minute to think
  • Think of several buckets of ideas (e.g. organic growth / non-organic growth / differentiation). Remember to think as big as possible
  • Narrow down to each bucket and generate as many ideas as possible
  • Present the structure (buckets) and then your ideas

7) Communicating your conclusion. You can find a good example I've posted here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-much-answer-first-should-the-conclusion-be-1231#a2493

8) Communicating your FIT stories

Use the top-down approach while communicating your stories. "The Pyramid Principle" is the must-read by ex McKinsey on this topic.

I recommend using the STAR framework:

  • In Situation, you should briefly provide the context, usually in 1 or 2 sentences
  • Task usually includes 2 or 3 sentences describing the problem and your objective.
  • Then you provide a list of specific actions you took to achieve the goal. It should take 1 or 2 sentences per action (Usually 3-4 actions). Note that the interviewer can stop you any minute and ask for more details.
  • The results part should have 1 or 2 sentences describing the outcomes. This part is finalizing your story - make sure it can impress the interviewer and stay in the memory.

Best!

Thanks for the detailed reply. — Akhil Nemani on Sep 25, 2018

Originally answered:

Case Study Interview in 2 Weeks

Francesco
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replied on Sep 10, 2018
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Hi Anonymous,

I agree with Guennael, it makes sense to try to postpone the interview if you already feel you won't be ready. Besides that, I would recommend the following:

  1. Define a calendar for your preparation. Identify how many hours you have per week to dedicate to consulting prep and how many weeks in total you have before interviews, then allocate a time slot for preparation in your calendar for each day. It’s important you write it down to self-commit or you will start to skip some prep time pretty soon, in particular if you don’t have pressure for an interview scheduled soon – and it is definitely better to start slowly and constantly than rushing towards the end close to the interview. Ideally you want to have a minimum of 100 hours to dedicate to the preparation before your interviews.
  2. Read Case In Point or Case Interview Secrets for a general understanding of what a consulting interview is. Don’t focus too much on the structures proposed in the books though, as they are not good enough nowadays.
  3. Start reading MBA Consulting Handbook – 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 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 experts’ support to strengthen your performance
  6. 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

Hi Francesco, Thank you very much for your helpful comment. I have searched for the Case in Point download and I have just found the 7th edition. Is it good enough? Or I should try to find a newer edition? Thank you — Marta Sáenz de Pipaón on Sep 10, 2018 (edited)

I also would like to comment your third point. You said that you recommend a daily preparation of 5 to 10 minutes for three different parts. Market sizing, fit questions and mental math. May you facilitate any link or book to train each of this part? Thank you in advance — Marta Sáenz de Pipaón on Sep 10, 2018 (edited)

Hi Marta, yes, version 7 should be enough, as mentioned the reading is just for general understanding of how the consulting interview is structured. As for your remaining points: Mental math - you should be able to find some resources to practice it daily on both Victor Cheng website and on PrepLounge. Fit: this is a bit different according to your current level. In general, the following could be a good link to start: https://bit.ly/2PGPgoq. Market sizing: Case in point has some suggestions on it, although not particularly great; still can be a starting point to create your own structures. Hope this helps! — Francesco on Sep 18, 2018

Anonymous replied on Oct 06, 2017

As you have interviews in two weeks, I suggest you go to the "Case Partners" site and try to get as many case meetings with partners as possible. Once you gained some inital experience Iyou might wish to have one or two sessions with an expert to refine your skills.

Overall, try to get 20+ case studies if you feel you have troubles with the case interviews or if you feel insecure. Chances of success increase significantly with practice.

Best of luck!

Originally answered:

Case Study Interview in 2 Weeks

Guennael
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replied on Sep 10, 2018
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3 top recommendations that first come to mind:

1. Ask if you can postpone a little bit. Worth a shot, no real downside -> why show up if you are not ready, you'd waste both your time and theirs. Most consultancies will at least try to accomodate

2. Study as much as you can during the time you have left. Work with a coach (yes, I'm a coach - I'm not the only one though, and truthfully believe that'd be the fastest way for you to improve)

3. Leverage free and paying information on the web. PrepLounge obviously has a ton of material (top notch I might add - and I did not create it nor am I incentivized to say this, so that's just my honest opinion); Victor Cheng also has 6 hours of free YouTube videos on how to crack a case, well worth your time

Good luck, don't give up.

Tyrion Lannister replied on Jul 22, 2017
High-borns only! Targaryens preferred. Absolutely NO Lannisters! :-)

Dear Hilal,

I must say, I agree whole-heartedly with Vlad.

I will also go further and recommend that you ditch 'Case in Point' (is this what you meant by Case Point'), and focus more on Victor Cheng's 'Case Interview Secrets.'

As one who has used both, I would say that the value the latter imaprted to my preparatory efforts was considerably more meaningful than that by the former.

All the best in your preparatory efforts.

thank you! — Hilal on Jul 22, 2017

Anonymous A updated her answer on Oct 06, 2017

Hi Teddy.

First of all I am very new to this as well and I am sure you are not the only one in this case.

Second, in order to find partners you should see a meeting board on your home page and you then select partners depending on time and level. You can also put your time preferences and wait for people to select your meeting proposal. In your case the most optimal way will probably be selecting available meetings rather than waiting for someone to select you since you are a beginner.

Third, there is a case library that you can access under case materials I believe, which will be on top of your screen after case partners and coaching.

Fourth, I am sure you can give some useful feedback provided that you practiced with a current MBB consultant. Regardless, you should mainly focus your practice with advanced partners since you dont have much time. What I would suggest is to do a mix of practice with advanced candidates and beginners as well.Your feedback will be more useful to beginners and you can also pick up on their mistakes as you interview them which is useful to improve your performance. Try to also get an expert that would help you refine your skills.

Fifth, there are no stupid questions. We are all here to learn.

I hope it helps and good luck!

(edited)

Joseph replied on Jan 11, 2019

Many people only train on cases and neglect the personal experience part of the interview. Big mistake. If you want to crack the interview within 2 weeks, it is as important as the case and will help the consultant determine a decisive question about your fit: ‘would I want to have this person on my team?’. The good news is that this part of the interview is more predictable than the case and thorough preparation will help you a great deal.

If you want then you can get free resources from the top MBB consulting firms for your Preparation.

Here’s are some references:

  • https://www.zerotombb.com/free-resources
  • https://igotanoffer.com/pages/case-interview
  • https://www.mckinsey.com/careers/interviewing
  • https://mconsultingprep.com/case-interview/

Originally answered:

Case Study Interview in 2 Weeks

Anonymous B replied on Sep 23, 2018

Hi! How did your interviews go? I hope they went well!

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