What is the criteria to understand when its the right momento to go to interviews? Is it when your performance is perfect anytime you do cases? Is it a feaseable target?
The right moment to stop practicing and to go to interviews
- Tests - you can do McKinsey PST with 22/26 result / have 710+ at GMAT
- Cases - do the cases with at least a couple of employees / coaches and get positive feedbacks
- Make sure you know how to approach cases that hard to find in the casebooks but are pretty common at the interviews (operations, non-profit, etc)
- FIT - get some positive feedback from the existing employees / coaches
You will never be 100% ready, and luck (or lack thereof) will always play a role - this is real life after all.
From a pure 'case interviewing' perspective, I think you are ready when you can lay out a framework, follow it, give interim conclusions and a solid final conclusion even in a state of high stress or sleep deprivation: at that point, your brain can run the case on auto pilot, and you only have to really focus on cracking the actual case without having to worry about the mechanics.
For me, I knew I was ready after listening to LOMS and knowing in advance whether what the candidate was saying was right or why it wasn't (and how to do better); a few subsequent mock interviews with MBB consultants / coaches confirmed it - and my subsequent admission to BCG proved it.
As others have already pointed out already, the first big hurdle is to actually get an interview - and you will likely have to apply before you are ready. Good luck!
some criteria that signal you are good enough for an interview are the following:
- Reached passing score for tests you will have to do as part of the application (eg McK PST, BCG Potential test)
- Have practiced all the major fit questions and received positive feedback from experienced peers/current interviewer consultants/experts
- Have practiced all the major case types and received positive feedback from experienced peers/current interviewer consultants/experts. Although there is no specific number of cases you need to reach, it is unlikely you can perform well if you have done less than 30
- Have prepared your questions at the end for the interviewer
- Have defined a calendar to interview first with the less interesting companies to minimize risks
Note that you may apply before reaching all the previous points, as there is some time lag between the moment you apply and the one you will receive an invitation; moreover, you could also be able to postpone the interview if needed.
I'd argue that 'going to interviews' should not be a hard milestone of itself: aim to first obtain some real interviews at companies that are not on your list of favorites, and then only go to the next step of interviewing with your target companies.
So you should already start interviewing when you feel 80% ready, and be very attentive to the feedback you get and how you assess your performance. Then for your favorite companies you should indeed feel really on top of your game, and meet some objective criteria like Vlad mentions.
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