Missing a hint - would this be a problem?

Case Interview getting stuck interview outcome performance second round South east asia Southeast Asia stucture
New answer on Jan 16, 2022
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jan 15, 2022

Hi experts,

Currently I'm in a process with Tier 2 strategy consulting firms and I have done 2 rounds of interviews (total 4) for a post-MBA role in Southeast Asia market. 

On my last interview, I got a full brainstorming case which lasted around 1 hour (they asked ~5-6 questions in total). The case is about an industry which I'm not familiar with. At the beginning, the interviewer said that the framework that I shared was comprehensive and the interviewer did not ask anything about it. Then, we went to brainstorm each of the component in more details. The interviewer asked about how to target / assess the market. I provided two dimensions or approaches, and then when the interviewer asked “is there anything else?" And I tried to give answer but it did not come to what the interviewer expected. Until the interviewer shared on what the other approach is. So, my question is : how will it affect on my performance in your opinion?

Also, at the end the interviewer asked about how to calculate revenue stream for a service offering. I came up with an idea and the interviewer agreed on this. Then the interviewer asked again to do for another example for another service offering and I answered again and shared that the bigger approach is similar but the components are the same, then I ran through the component again. In your opinion, how will it affect on my performance?

 

I really appreciate your help!

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Moritz
CoachingPlus Expert
updated an answer on Jan 15, 2022
McKinsey | 100+ coachings & interviews @ McKinsey | ESADE MBA | Top rated for experienced hires & career transitioners

Nothing to worry about from what I can see. Just consider the following:

You could be giving a textbook answer with regards to initial framework or a structured brainstorming question, including all relevant 1st level buckets and an impressive list of 2nd level drivers. However, some interviewers will still ask you “what else?”, just for the sake of it and to see your reaction.

Also, if you do the above there's no guarantee you'll include what the interviewer is looking for. If it were a candidate led case, you would never notice because you could take it into the direction you deem appropriate. However, it sounds like an interviewer led case, where the interviewer provides overall direction. I can see why that might throw you off but that's to be expected.

Hope this helps. Best of luck!!

(edited)

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Pedro
CoachingPlus Expert
replied on Jan 16, 2022
# 1 Rated Bain Coach | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | FIT | Former Head Recruiter | Principal

Just to add a few thoughts:

  1. No interview is 100% perfect. It is actually not possible. You have limited time, and you cannot cover every possible aspect or idea. Actually you shouldn't. This is about being 80-20%, not 100-0%. So missing something is not necessaily an issue
  2. There are multiple potential good approaches for the same problem. Sometimes you even have a good approach that doesn't work on the specific case (e.g. because of limited information), but the interviewer will acknowledge that. 
  3. We ask “what else” the whole time. It may be because you didn't have many ideas. It may be to push you a little bit more so you hit the one relevant thing you've missed. It may be because we're seeing how you react. It's not a bad sign by itself
  4. Just make sure your approaches are customized to the specific problem. If you have two similar approaches for two different problems, you are probably using something too generic and need to review how you are approaching cases.
     

Good luck for the interviews,

Pedro

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Stephan
Expert
replied on Jan 15, 2022
Former BCG CON and political advisor here to help you crack the case (MBB, Europe & MidEast, non-business backgrounds)

Hi Anon,

on your main, and first, question: You are totally fine. This is NOT a red flag, or serious issue. If you did well throughout the interview, this will not be an obstacle and you will get the offer.

Best

Stephan

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Lucie
CoachingPlus Expert
replied on Jan 15, 2022
10+years of recruiting & top BCG trainer & BCG Project leader & experienced hire

Hi there, 

from what you write, I wouldn't say there is anything to red flag actually it seems the opposite, the interviewer followed you and agreed with the solution. 

"What else" or similar types of questions are usual way of asking, if you would go completely off track the interviewer does send hints to you with more questions than that question. 

 To just share my story, during the 4th interview with the most senior Partner I did only half of the case (I was given less time) and I recommended solution NO (there was only YES or NO option) while in the real case the answer was YES and I still got my offer…. the evaluation criteria are complex and whatever result you will get, always ask for feedback, what are the areas of improvement (you can request it from the 1st round of interview).

 

Wishing you all the best!

Lucie

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 15, 2022
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

So, ultimately, we really have no idea as we were not in the room with you.

However, it sounds like you did well. Not identifying every single brainstorming is not an issue, unless it was very obvious and they gave multiple hints. Ultimately, they may have just been trying to see how well you did when being asked to think further.

Fingers crossed for you!

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Moritz gave the best answer

Moritz

CoachingPlus Expert
McKinsey | 100+ coachings & interviews @ McKinsey | ESADE MBA | Top rated for experienced hires & career transitioners
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