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Time allowed to draft initial structure & scoring by interviewers

Case Structuring
New answer on Nov 29, 2020
6 Answers
1.2 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Feb 26, 2020


Request guidance on case structuring time limits.

  1. I usually time between 3-4 minutes and I structure 3-4 levels deep. However, this poses 2 challenges
    1. The time to structure
    2. Communicating the structure (Especially on audio/video interviews)
  2. Are candidates marked negatively ( perceived as not quick thinkers) if one takes 3-4 minutes? What is the expected time limit and how it structure scored (% weight to entire case performance)?

Thank you in advance for the guidance.

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Content Creator
replied on Feb 26, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

3-4 minutes is definitely too long. Ideally, you don't need to write down the 3-4 levels deep. Better, be able to talk to (and think about) the deeper level when/where needed.

The essence of a case is being able to take a lot of information and boil it down quickly into what actually matters. If you think about it, by taking so long and considering so much, you're doing the opposite (taking a long time, and not honing in on what matters).

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Content Creator
replied on Feb 26, 2020
BCG |NASA | SDA Bocconi & Cattolica partner | GMAT expert 780/800 score | 200+ students coached


To structure your solution you should not take more than 2 minutes. It's not important to structure until the fourth level, if you don't have enough data and you don't know which bucket of your structure you will have to drill down, it could be just a waste of time. More over, it would be boring for your interviewer to listen to all those details that are strictly correlated with the case resolution.

My suggestion is not to go too much in details and to present your structure in 1 minute maximum. Then, once that you start solving the case, you can drill down and add details to each bucket of your structure if you really need them for your analyses.


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updated an answer on Feb 26, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


1. Take max 2 min to create the initial structure. Taking more time will be perceived negatively.

2. If you present your structure for 4 min:

  • The interviewer will get bored and stop listening
  • You are stealing your own time that you could have spent solving the case

I am sure you have smth wrong with your structure / presenting your structure if it takes that much time



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Content Creator
replied on Nov 29, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi Anonymous,

I totally understand that you want to be prepared as well as you can when presenting your structure, but 3-4 minutes can be considered as too much time for that.

I recommend you to use not more than 1-2 for that.

Besides, you don't have to structure so many levels deep. Use the time to prepare the initial points and to understand how you will be moving forward.

Do you need any further help?


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Content Creator
replied on Feb 29, 2020
McKinsey | NASA | top 10 FT MBA professor for consulting interviews | 6+ years of coaching

I recommend staying in 1.5 minutes. 2/3 levels of issue tree blocks are enough. You can discuss the rest when you present your structure


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Content Creator
replied on Feb 26, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


A priori, it seems a bit too much, I would try to keep it in 2-3 mins max. However, if you are taking too long the interviewer will make you "feel" it in a subtle way: by looking at you in a "let´s hear it" way, or directly telling you.

Furthermore, you don´t need 4 layers of granularity here, you can save some time there.

Hope it helps!



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