if you are not confident in term of your level of preparation it is far better to reschedule the interview – there is no penalty for that. The day when you should reschedule depends on your level of current preparation, the hours you can put to prepare per day and how you are going to prepare – many people need 100-150 hours to properly prepare to land an offer, less with proper coach support/good partners.
In terms of the timeline for coaching, I personally recommend to do a minimum of 5 cases before the first session. I would not recommend to do it too late though, since otherwise you won’t have time to apply the learning – the majority of the mainstream frameworks from Cosentino and Victor Cheng are simply not good anymore.
In terms of general preparation, I usually recommend the following approach:
- Define a calendar for your preparation. Identify how many hours you have before interviews, then allocate a time slot for preparation in your calendar for each day, working on the following points.
- Read Case In Point or Case Interview Secrets for a general understanding of what a consulting interview is. Don’t focus on the structures proposed in the books though, as they are not good enough nowadays.
- Start reading good MBA Consulting Handbooks – you can find several for free online (Insead is a good one to start). Read the cases and try to apply your structure. Whenever you see there is something missing, upgrade your structure with the new insides. Try to read at least a new case per day – in this way you will absorb a lot better the information with constant learning. Structure your remaining daily preparation with at least 5-10 minutes per day for each of the following: market sizing, fit questions and mental math.
- After you have read the first 5-10 cases in books/handbooks and basic theory, start to practice live. There is a relevant part of the interview score that is based on your communication, which you cannot practice at all if you read cases only. Keep track of your mistakes and see if you repeat them. If so, try to identify the source of the mistake (feedback of experienced partners would be particularly useful for this). Be sure to focus on both fit and case.
- Once you feel you are not improving anymore, if you have a tight time constraint or if you want a realistic assessment of your level, consider using support from experts to strengthen your performance
- Before the interview, be sure to prepare your questions for the interviewer – great way to show you prepare in advance and to connect more with the interviewer for a good final impression.