Principal/Partner’s Cases vs Normal Cases

New answer on Oct 31, 2020
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Anonymous A asked on Nov 24, 2018


What are the difference between cases by partners/principals and 1st/2nd round cases?

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Anonymous replied on Nov 24, 2018

This is not quite the right question. The right question is "How do interviews with partners / principals" differ from earlier round interviews? They differ in a few ways.

  1. Fit: Partners have been in the firm a long time (many since University or Business School) and consider it a very special place. They put more emphasis on "Why consulting" and especially "Why their firm".
  2. Experiences / Personal Impact: Partners are looking for candidates that will become future partners and view your past experiences as indicative of future performance in the firm. So, they are looking for examples of past experiences that paint the picture for them of how you are going to perform in the firm and how that is going to make you succeed all the way to partner
  3. Cases: First, unlike more junior consultants that interviewed you in the 1st/2nd round, Partners usually haven't been through interview training. So, they are less apt to "go by the book" in their scoring. The cases they use don't always come from the active case library and can be based on their current projects or current events. Second, they are trying to transpose your performance to a client situation. For instance, during a quantitative problem, they judge the setup and walkthrough as importantly as coming up with the right answer because they are trying to imagine you walking their long-time client through a quantitative session (e.g., how we got to the -3% cost reduction figure) and assessing whether you would confuse the client or the client would come out confident in the #s.

So, whereas #3 is most important in early rounds, more emphasis is placed on #1 and #2 in final rounds.

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replied on Nov 24, 2018
Collected McKinsey & BCG offers/ Ex-McKinsey consultant/Harvard/WBS/MSU

Dear A,

Interview with partners depends on how you performed in the 1st round. Different scenarios are possible:

  1. In case you performed well in the 1st round and didn’t get any advices on particular skills improvement (e.g structure, calculations etc.) Interview will be less structured: discuss variety of different topics, during which partner will assess your social skills, creativity, approach to different things to understand how you behave in front of a client and what your values are. What is more, short case is a part of such interview as well: market sizing or brainstorming.
  2. If a candidate lacked a particular skill, or there was a fit issue in the 1st round, then the second interview round might test specifically for that issue. Cases partners use might be similar to the first round with a push towards specific skill you lack (structuring/calculations). Partners will ask more analytical questions and the business cases will be more detailed: for example more deep-dives in a structure. Furthermore, partners might use cases from their personal experience, as they are owners.

Hope this was helpful.

All the best,

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Content Creator
replied on Oct 31, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


Congrats for moving to final round!

As it has been outlined, its very similar, but :

  • Cases you can expect are more "free riding" - less organized than the ones your found in the 1st round or most prep pages
  • Stronger emphasis in the FIT part, as outlined before by other coaches.

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