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My preparation plan - Your opinion

Case Interview MBB preparation schedule
New answer on Feb 08, 2023
4 Answers
693 Views
Anonymous A asked on Feb 04, 2023

Dear PrepLounge community, 

I want to ask for some educated advice on the preparation plan I have drawn up for myself. 

The situation

I'm invited for interview days at Roland Berger (Munich) on February 24, and BCG (1st round) on March 23/24. 

My preparation so far

Since November I've been preparing part-time for case interviews. The “Case Interview Fundamentals” course from Crafting Cases served me as an introduction to the world of case interviews. Up to that point, I had not had any contact with interview formats for strategy consultants.

  • Hours spent on preparation since November: ~80-100h
  • Case Interviews with partners so far: ~ 10

The upcoming journey

Last week, I finished university and am now able to dedicate 100% to interview prep. I've worked out a plan to structure my preparation process for the next few weeks (see table below). During my past preparation, I have noticed that structuring and estimations are my major weaknesses. Therefore, I think these two elements shall be emphasized in my upcoming preparation. 

Short summary of the preparation plan

  • In sum, ~6 weeks á 56 hours prep time
  • Total hours dedicated to case interview & personal fit prep: 352h (152h till RB interview; 200h more for BCG interview)
  • Total # of cases planned: 42
  • Total # of drills planned: 211

My specific questions

  • Do you think the time dedicated to interview preparation as indicated on the spreadsheet is reasonable?
  • Are the weights allocated to each preparation method appropriate?
  • Do you think the resources (Cases, Drills, Videos, Casecoach) are appropriate/sufficient?
  • Am I missing important features of a good case interview preparation?

Maybe some of you are more experienced and have deeper insights as to whether there are other factors I've not considered so far which may have a significant impact on my success. I'm thinking about effects such as “case blindness” or “overdrilling”, i.e., focusing too much on quantity and ignoring other important aspects of successful interview preparation. However, I do my best to account for such side effects by having an open mind, using various sources of information, and also generating business acumen (see screenshot for more details). 

I would really appreciate any feedback on my preparation plan. Perhaps this might be helpful to other candidates in applying for consultant positions as well. 

 

(I hope the info on the screenshot can be read, maybe you need to zoom in a bit)

Thanks in advance! 

P.S.: I know some of you will advice me to consult a coach for the best possible preparation. However, currently this is not an option for me. Therefore, advice specifically related to the prep plan elaborated so far would be appreciated. 

(edited)

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Benjamin
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Feb 04, 2023
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer & top performer

Hello,

Congrats on securing the interviews. Now the ball is in your court to crush them and get the offer.

I think you have great initiative in coming up with a plan proactively and being thoughtful and determined about about what you need to do.

Commenting on a plan like yours as it is unfortunately not that straightforward and we may not be able to give an effective perspective because

  • It's hard to judge a plan without understanding your baseline
  • What if, to start with, you are already ‘blind sided’ in your self assessment by certain weak areas (i.e. you think you are not weak at a particular area, but actually you are)
  • The manner of your drills and what it involves is not clear as well. Doing effective drills are always great, but doing drills that aren't as effective may not be as great. How would we know
  • Thus, what I (and other coaches here) can comment on is maybe a few things around practice volume based on what ‘averages’ we've seen, or a few other pointers which would be matching what the interview evaluation criteria lists down (e.g. business acumen is different from creativity)

That being said, a couple of call-outs you can consider as you are going through your plan

  • From a volume POV, if you feel that you won't get burnt out by your plan, then its fine. I have known people who have prepped 8 hours a day, and I have known people have have prepped 1 hour a day. But it really depends on where they (and you) stand capability wise and what needs to be worked on
  • I hope that your numerical drills involve more than just mental math - being able to calculate things quickly is a different skill from being able to think quantitatively, structure your calculations and even organize them clearly in written form
  • Market sizing as a standalone question is becoming increasingly rare in interviews; rather, this is tested sometimes as part of a larger case. What is definitely more important is the ability to resolve ambiguity from first principles and be hypothesis/issue driven
  • I assume all your case practices will be with a case partner. Please make sure that you have quality case partners. It does not need to be a coach but if not a coach then it should be someone who has at least passed the interview and/or ideally worked in consulting for a few years and/or is an actual interviewer. Otherwise its easy to land in a blind-leading-the-blind situation

All the best!

 

 

(edited)

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Anonymous A on Feb 04, 2023

Hello Benjamin, Thanks very much for the elaborate answer! I'll definitely take the hints with me. To clarify some of the questions raised: - I will not ignore the other elements such as quantitative analysis, hypothesis testing etc. But I want to put focus on the weaknesses that I've been pointed to in case interviews so far. - I don't think the amount of prep will cause a burnout. In fact, I initially planned with 10h/day, but granted myself a little bit more spare time since the total preparation time seems to be far above average (when giving credit to online sources which mainly state 60-80 hours for case interview prep). Of course, this is up to the individual and cannot be generalized. - To me, numerical drills involve much more than just mental math. It's about being proficient in analyzing charts and data, focusing on the most important numerical aspects and contextualizing the insights as well as creating synthesis with the hypotheses and issues stated at the beginning of the interview. - 90% of my case practices are performed with a case partner. However, it is not easy for me to find "high quality" case partners since the network at my university includes only very few consulting aspirants. What I'm doing is always asking my interview partner to be very critical and give detailed feedback at the end of the interview. In return, I'm doing the same for them! Thanks again for the valuable and highly appreciated input! Best wishes

(edited)

Anonymous A on Feb 04, 2023

Me again - sorry for the mess, the sub-comment sections seem not to give the option to structure the text. A pity!

Hagen
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 05, 2023
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

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

  • In my opinion, your preparation plan looks quite extensive and well thought out.
  • However, I would highly advise you to watch out not to over-prepare which could lead to case study fatigue or becoming too “robotic” in your approach to case studies.

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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Anonymous A on Feb 05, 2023

Thank you for your opinion, Hagen! I'll try to make sure not to fall into the "fatigue"-trap.

Hagen on Feb 05, 2023

Sure thing, always happy to help.

Ian
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Feb 05, 2023
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

Speaking openly/frankly I don't think you'll get great answers from us here. It's not that we can't give good advice, it's that there is so much behind what you've written. To really process what you wrote and to really provide a good answer would take 20-30 minutes. Not to mention needing to actually ask you followup questions, talk things out, etc.

It's like sending a personal trainer your gym workout and then asking them to provide feedback. (A program has to be designed gorund-up for the individual)

Remember, time is a finite resource and people will generally allocate their time to where it is most compensated.

That said, here are some quick thoughts:

  1.  I love how organized you are! Organization and hard work are key to success here and you have both in spades!
  2. Remember to case others in cases that you struggled in (you can learn by casing others not just being cases)
  3. Remember, quality over quantity - 56 hours/week is a LOT
  4. Remember to take breaks
  5. Here are some of the major mistakes I see from candidates: https://www.preplounge.com/en/articles/pitfalls-case-interview-preparation

 

(edited)

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Anonymous A on Feb 05, 2023

Hi Ian, Thank you very much for your time. I understand that providing high-level feedback on that special situation is not possible without arbitrariness. However, your remarks already help me to adjust my path a bit. Especially, the "not boiling the ocean" rule from your article seems to be something I shall factor into my preparation and put emphasis not only on the content of the case but on the way I solve it. All the best!

Ian on Feb 05, 2023

Ah! I so glad to hear I was still able to help! It's exactly why we're here as coaches :)

Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 08, 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi there, 

Judging by the elaborate plan you developed, I get the sense that you are putting a lot of effort into your preparation :) So that's a great sign. But it's impossible to tell whether it's enough to bring you where you should be without actually seeing it in a live case. 

It's a bit like defining for you a plan to run an ultramarathon in 6 months from now without knowing whether you can even walk for 5 miles. 

So if coaching is not an option for you, then yes, your plan is the best bet. 

Best,

Cristian

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Benjamin

Content Creator
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer & top performer
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