I recently received an MBB Associate offer as an experienced hire. For the 3 1/2 months from the initial HR interview to final round I dedicated about 10 hours per week to study (5 hours p/w "active" + 5 hours "passive” prep). So, I guess 150 hours total prep. I began with limited business background (although I like to read, so probably had fairly good general knowledge, which helps during the interview process).
By “active” prep, I mean full concentration tasks: taking notes from study manuals and business books; practising cases; and writing out PEI answers.
By "passive" prep, I mean: reading PrepLounge posts; listening to podcasts/videos of others doing cases; and listening to podcasts about the firm, interview process and consulting industry.
I walked out of the Final Round thankful I had done that much study. For me, personally, the 150 hours felt like the absolute minimum I needed to pass.
1. If you have limited preparation time, don’t underestimate the importance of the personal experience interviews (PEI). I got a better return on investment with the time spent on PEI prep.
I spent about 10 hours preparing PEI and communication skills before Round 1. I’m fairly sure that’s what tipped me over the edge to make Final Round. The feedback inferred ‘fit’ had got me over the line. They said my PEI was fantastic but cases would need work to pass Final Round. Before Round 1, I had only done 5 live practice cases (but completed about 15 total before Final Round).
2. Consider a couple of paid online coaching sessions to practice PEI and a case. This saved me a lot of time by helping me to focus prep time on my weak spots. I could have reached the same outcomes without the coaching, but it would have taken much longer.
3 The Firms Consulting free podcasts on case interviews and strategy are fantastic and cover the entire process - from writing resumes to understanding the cultures of MBB firms and what they are (probably) judging you on at interviews. As an outsider, non-MBA who does not work or socialise in consulting circles, I doubt I would have succeeded without this material. I listened to the free Firms Consulting podcasts on my way to work and while exercising. It made a big difference. Before Final Round, I subscribed to 1 month of the paid Firms Consulting LOMS style podcasts (called The Consulting Offer- TCO).