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Should I tell my interviewer that I already did the case he/she is giving me?

Case Interview MBB
New answer on Jul 31, 2023
6 Answers
1.1 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Mar 21, 2023

Hi everyone,

Let's assume that during an interview, my interviewer gives me a case that I had already been given during my last attempt for the same company or while training with case partners.

Should I tell him/her that I already know the case? Or should I keep it to myself?

Does MBB keep a track record on the cases you were given during your previous attempts?

Some people suggest to be honest, other think that saying the truth will bother also the interviewer beacause he would need to find another case and one should take the opportunity of knowing already the case to ace it.

I know that the chances of having this specific case is very low but we never know.

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Best answer
Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 22, 2023
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Q: Let's assume that during an interview, my interviewer gives me a case that I had already been given during my last attempt for the same company or while training with case partners. Should I tell him/her that I already know the case? Or should I keep it to myself?

I don’t think there is a realistic chance you will get the same case you received from that firm in the past. This would mean the company is using the same case they gave 1-2 years before AND you get the same interviewer. If you do get the same interviewer and the same case, you could mention you got the same case from him/her in the past, however I don’t think I ever heard of a situation like that.

On the other, I helped candidates who got the same case that was given to others (I have a 1.500+ questions DB and if the timeframe is short, I saw a candidate might get the same cases given). In that case, it is not possible for them to know that you know and it’s up to you to decide whether to reveal it or not.

Keep in mind that even if the prompt is the same, the case itself might be different later on (I heard stories of candidates knowing the case from another candidate, providing the solution to that case, which was wrong because the interviewer altered the case in the meantime). Additionally, there is a part of the evaluation which is not related to knowing the solution of the case.

Best,

Francesco

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Dennis
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Content Creator
replied on Mar 21, 2023
Ex-Roland Berger|Project Manager and Recruiter|7+ years of consulting experience in USA and Europe

Hi,

this scenario has a very low likelihood. If a company kept recycling the same cases over several years (recruiting cycles), it would pretty much be guaranteed that candidates knew what to expect because people talk about the cases they were given.
Therefore, there are typically new cases all the time and a lot of interviewers base them on real life projects they have been working on. Add to that the rotation of interviewers for different recruiting days/interview rounds and you have many permutations of cases a candidate could get. 

But for the off-chance of you getting the same case twice, I’d be strategic about it. 
You‘ll likely still get exposed to plenty of new stuff along the way. 

Good luck

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Hagen
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Content Creator
replied on Mar 22, 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:

  • First of all, unfortunately, I have seen this situation with my coachees a few times already. While I am not disclosing the company's name, strategy consulting companies seem to not always thoroughly track candidate history.
  • Moreover, as you already mentioned, there are advantages and drawbacks to both options. As such, while I do not feel this is something you need to prepare mentally for, I would advise you to react in the way that feels right for you when you are in the situation.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on how to best prepare for your upcoming interviews, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best,

Hagen

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Ian
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Content Creator
replied on Mar 22, 2023
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

I would be truly truly shocked if this happens! I don't like saying “never” or “always”, but we're talking like a .00001% chance here.

Utimately, you need to weigh the “risk” that they tracked your past case with the “reward” of you doing better on the case.

The decision is yours based on your values/risk threshold etc.

Seriously though, you probably have better odds of winning the lottery.

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Cristian
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replied on Jul 31, 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi there, 

It's almost impossible for them to give you a case that you know because most interviewers come up with the case on their own. 

If you happen to know it however, do tell them. Otherwise they'll be able to tell and then it won't look good on you.

Best,
Cristian

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Emily
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Mar 21, 2023
Ex McKinsey EM & interviewer (5 yrs) USA & UK| Coached / interviewed 300 +|Free 15 min intro| Stanford MBA|Non-trad

It is extremely unlikely that this will happen, but if it does I recommend being honest. If they were to find out that you didn't own up to having done the case before it'd be an immediate rejection - honesty is so important. 

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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