Expert with best answer


100% Recommendation Rate

281 Meetings

1,709 Q&A Upvotes

USD 319 / Coaching

Note paper - Is it okay to prepare before the interview?

Anonymous A asked on Jan 08, 2019

Hi there - I've got a basic question on the use of note paper for an in-person interview.

In order to write better notes, I've been advised to divide my note paper into quadrants and put headings at the top of each quadrant (basic headings like 'client', 'objective' and 'background' that I use to organise my notes on the problem statement). My question: is it okay to take 'pre-prepared' paper into the interview?

By this I mean, is it okay for me to draw up my note paper with quadrants + headings before the interview, and then take this 'pre-prepared' paper in with me?

I've got my first consulting interview next week and I'm not sure if bringing my own note paper is the norm (or if firms prefer candidates to write on paper they provide).

I'd feel more comfortable having my note paper prepared beforehand, rather than having to draw out quadrants/headings infront of my interview. But thought I'd ask the question to check with you guys.



3 answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best Answer
replied on Jan 08, 2019
McKinsey Engagement Manager & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 90+ candidates secure MBB offers
Book a coaching with Sidi

100% Recommendation Rate

281 Meetings

1,709 Q&A Upvotes

USD 319 / Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

I would clearly advise against this! It will come across overly robotic and generic! A case interview should first and foremost be a DISCUSSION (albeit a very structured and analytical one). As an interviewer I want to see how you THINK about the SPECIFIC QUESTION that I have asked you. It will be very irritating to see you pull out a pre-conceived and pre-structured sheet of paper - no matter what it actually contains. Just as any client would be irritated if you come up with an obvious "cookie cutter approach" to their specific problem.

All the best! Sidi

replied on Jan 08, 2019
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews
Book a coaching with Guennael

99% Recommendation Rate

243 Meetings

1,226 Q&A Upvotes

USD 319 / Coaching

Short answer: No!

Long answer: Absolutely not!

Truthfully, you may not even be able to use your own paper - and even if you are, interviewer would rightfully think you are "cheating". Look, if you need something that basic to do well in the case, I think you aren't near ready and better practice a lot more before your interviews.

Vlad replied on Jan 09, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School
Book a coaching with Vlad

97% Recommendation Rate

344 Meetings

4,559 Q&A Upvotes

USD 319 / Coaching


It doesn't really matter. I had the note papers for each of my interviews with all the three companies and got the offers.


Related BootCamp article(s)

Getting Up to Speed

In order to repeatedly demonstrate prerequisite skills under the pressure of a real case interview, you need to learn the basics and practice cases.