Seeking advice on improvement plan after failing on interview

Case Interview
New answer on Mar 25, 2020
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 11, 2020

Hi, I have received the result that I have failed to get an offer from MBB today, and I am super down now...Would really appreciate hearing some honest and constructive feedback from you guys:

1.I have practised around 100 cases and interviewed with one firm (attended 3 case interviews). I am wondering is it because I am not smart and talented enough to crack the case interviews, or I might be preparing in the wrong way. In your experience, is a natural-born talent a prerequisite to succeed in the case interviews, or, if preparing hard enough and in the right way, there is a fairly high chance to succeed? I am not sure whether I should persist in this path now after failure...

2.Here's the feedbacks I got, would really appreciate to learn some preparation methods to strengthen the weakness points:

(1) Not enough drive. The interviewers had to give me hints.

(2) I performed okay, but there was not "shining points". And as I am applying for post-MBA level, they expected some shining points.

(3) The structure was general, and analysis is not deep enough.

(4) Not creative enough.

(5) There was one chart about 4 customer segmentations, and I was not able to propose a well-defined marketing strategy for each segment.

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Francesco
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replied on Mar 12, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

in terms of your first point: if you made to the finals, you have the skillset to get an offer. In general interviewing with only one firm is very risky, as there are elements that are not in your control (say one partner may not like you for whatever reason – then no way you can get an offer) which won’t lead to an offer. Thus at this stage I would work hard on the areas you reported and apply to the other MBB if possible or to second tier (you can switch to MBB from a second tier after few years).

In terms of your second point: if you got so many improvement points after 100 cases, this means your peers are not giving you good enough feedback. The options to improve here are:

  • Change peers trying to find more advanced candidates
  • Work with a coach that can help you to identify improvements for the points you listed

Best,

Francesco

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Robert
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replied on Mar 11, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for your honest information - painful enough to write that down.

Since you are asking for honest feedback as well: I see unfortunately too many candidates around mixing up quantity vs. quality of case interview prep, and somehow my gut feeling tells me that you were more on the quantity than quality side of case interview prep - all points you mentioned somehow point into the direction that you basically know how cases are running, but definitely the "shining" was missing all over the place. Typically this happens if candidates mainly/solely prepare with peers - and how should a peer challenge you that much as a real interviewer, and how should a peer give you feedback about something where he himself is not an expert?

So I can only advice investing in a good high-quality coach (again don't mix quantity and quality) at least (!) for a couple of sessions - in the very beginning ot make sure you are on the right track at all, sometimes in between for a reality check, and towards the end of your case interview for fine-tuning. That's the bare minimum to be somewhat on the safe side and benefit from a steep learning curve + honest detailed feedback.

And: case interviews is neither rocket science nor brain surgery - it's a matter of high quality prep and persistence. And it does not tell us anything about your skills or suitability - from my perspective it's more a question of how well did you organize your prep process!

Hope that helps - if so, please give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

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Udayan
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replied on Mar 11, 2020
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

Sorry to hear you did not make it - consider the fact you got this far, very very few people manage to get to the final rounds of MBB and that is a huge accomplishment. You have done some excellent self-reflection and now is the time to take a pause and tie a bow on your MBB application process.

I imagine that for the last few months this has been a significant focus of your life. It is all consuming and exhausting and when it ends I know it can feel overwhelming. I can also tell you many people that I personally know who were very smart and deserved to get in but did not make it went on to have amazing careers elsewhere and many others who got in were not so happy with it. So use this time to also reflect on your overall career goals and come back to this only after a break of a few months with a fresh mind.

Best,

Udayan

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Clara
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replied on Mar 11, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Thanks for your detailed explanation (being self-critical is indeed the 1st step towards tacking the issues ;) )

In a nutshell, you are at the point in which you need to take things from GOOD to GREAT, since good is not enaugh here.

For what you shared, you are in the point in which you reached the classical asymptot, and you are not improving anymore to get those "shiny" moments.

At this point, I would look for the help of a coach. With all the basis done, it shouldn´t take you long, since you don´t need to learn how to do cases anymore. You only need to make the work you have done so far shine, and a coach would point you in no time in that direction.

If you don´t wanna spend that kind of money, very experienced candidates would be your 2nd best choice :)

Good luck, you are almost almost there!

Cheers,

Clara

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Antonello
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replied on Mar 25, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, I'm sorry about the result. The recruiting process is very hard and even if you arrive fully prepared the decision are human-based and depends on the performance, on the fit with the interviewer and on other external factors (other candidates, numbers of project in the office, covid, ...).

However, if you are still motivated into consulting (tier2 are great as well! I definitely recommend applying to OW, RB, S&, ATK), it will be important to work on the negative feedback received and in particular:
- work with some interview expert (coach/your friend now in consulting/your network of alumni of the MBA), to get mature feedback really important for your prep
- work with good cases. It doesn't matter how many, but how good they are in improving your creativity (e.g. with nice trends and tips per industry)
- work on the communication and the fit part, to really show your drive and enthusiasm into consulting

Best,
Antonello

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Luca
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replied on Mar 12, 2020
BCG |NASA | SDA Bocconi & Cattolica partner | GMAT expert 780/800 score | 200+ students coached

Dear anonymous,

95% of the people that applied for MBB are in the same situation - there is no reason to be so down.
No one can really assess the situation without seeing your performance, but bear in mind that passing case interview sometimes could be also a matter of luck. I know many people that didn't pass interview in tier-2 and then received an offer from McKinsey or BCG.
Focus on your mistakes and don't give up!

Luca

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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