Time to structure a case

Time limit
Recent activity on Mar 24, 2018
3 Answers
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Tim asked on Mar 22, 2018
Preparing for a BCG interview, so candidate-led cases only please. Made it to decision-round in April and reapplying

Any advice on how long you should take to structure a case? I currently take about 90 seconds. Some people I know take a lot less, some people take more. Is there a preference at the MBBs for how long they're willing to give you?

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replied on Mar 22, 2018

Hey Tim,

If you're taking 90sec...this means you are doing just great (assuming your frameworks are good obviously!). More important than the time you take, what really matters is the quality of it (often spending less than 1min just results in a poor structure anyway)



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replied on Mar 22, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


  • 1-2 min for initial structure. But the faster the better. 1.5 looks fine
  • Up to 1 minute for the conclusion. Again, the faster the better. But always take the time! Your conclusion should be very well structured and your arguments should include supporting numbers and you need time to collect them
  • 30 sec - 1 min for questions on creativity. It's really hard to be creative "On-the-go"

It's a bit more tricky with taking time during the case:

  • It's not OK to take 30 seconds and then come up with just 1 or 2 ideas. And then if the ideas are not correct to keep the science again. This is called "Guessing"
  • It's OK to take 30 seconds, draw a new structure (or continuation of your previous structure) and come up with a structured way to approach the problem further.



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replied on Mar 24, 2018
Former BCG Principal and decision round interviewer

As other said, one to two minutes is fine. I would also suggest to write structure on piece of paper - turning around and explain is appreciated, but not necessary. Also structure when drawn should be easy to follow (e.g. a decision three with subsequent branches, bullet list, buckets of dimensions you want to consider). In terms of detail - ideal structure should be 2-3 level deep (e.g. under "market" you want to have competitors and few other categories, under "competitors" you can have how close is their product to ours, etc)

Hope it helps,


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