What about Victor Cheng's LOMS and Case Interview Secrets book are outdated?

Victor Cheng Victor Cheng LOMS program
Anonymous A asked on Apr 05, 2021

I often hear that Cheng's materials are outdated. Aside from the fact that it's actually old (lol) what makes it outdated? Which pieces of advice just don't make sense in the current case interview landscape?

I'm genuinely curious as I've divided my prep into two - active (doing drills and casing with peers; latter is limited due to working hours) and passive (preplounge, reading materials incl. LOMS and case int secrets (don't worry I did not memorize frameworks :D))

Thank you!

on Apr 06, 2021
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on Apr 06, 2021
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While I also heard that a lot, I personally don't see anything wrong with them. I used the Case In Point as a prep material and had no issue for the interviews (same for my friends).

I think the main issue isn't rather or not they are outdated but rather than most people don't use it in a smart manner.

Case study books are supposed to be a base to understand how case interview works and what area you can use to solve a case. Of course, if you simply learn by heart all frameworks and then just apply the standard framework to every case it will not work. And I think that's something many people do.

So you have to slightly adapt your framework to fit the case. And I think that's the main point. Adapting your framework to the case. Of course nothing revolutional (I mean consultancy project are far from being revolutional to begin with so...) but your framework needs to fit your particular case.

This specification can come from the industry you're looking at (for instance for pharmaceutical, regulations and patentplay a huge role just like marketing to doctors for instance), the geography, the product or the end user to name few differenciation.

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Hey there,

I can answer this solely from a McKinsey perspective.

Be aware that frameworks were applicable in the 2000 years, the era of Victor Cheng and Case in Point. McK has long caught up on this and the cases you will get during the interviews are tailored in a way to test your creativity and ability to generate insights, not remember specific frameworks. Cheng was in McK before the year 2000, Cosentino never saw a consulting firm from the inside.

They both have contributed a lot and are definitely OGs when it comes to consulting case prep, however, their usefulness for McKinsey and BB has diminished over the years and could potentially even hurt candidates for McK interviews.

This is very much in line with the change in client problem's that the firm is facing. Over the last years, they have become much more diverse, complex and a cookie-cutter approach just doesn't cut it.

For instance, think about this actual McK case prompt: Our client's check-in machines break down at different rates in different locations. What potential reasons can you think of that could cause this?

Now, what framework would you apply to this?

Framework templates

  • provide a wrong sense of security that will translate to stress once you figure out how your approach won't work during the real interview - I have seen this so many times...
  • keep you from learning what is really important in a McK case interview, which is the ability to build issue trees, interpret charts, and perform math no matter the context, industry, or function of the case. You want to learn to think like a consultant, and not to memorize things like a high school student.

I have built my coaching around these pillars, teaching people how to approach McKinsey case questions, and demonstrating the effectiveness by providing actual McKinsey cases during the sessions to solve while steering clear of any framework templates. The success rate and reviews speak for themselves.

As for T2 and other firms, you might very well still get cases that can be solved with a typical 'market entry' framework or else. For instance, in Kearney, 7 years ago I still received a case that was taken 1 to 1 out of a Squeaker case preparation book, while McKinsey back then was already employing the more creative cases. Not every firm puts the same emphasis and rigor on candidate evaluation and assessments.

If you want to read more about this debate, I have written an extensive article on it here: https://strategycase.com/case-interview-frameworks/

Hope this answer helps!



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Hi there,

Great question and I totally agree with Cedric's point! Most resources (LOMS, Case in Point ,etc.) are great for you to move from 0 to 50 (i.e. get to the intermediate state). However, they are ill-suited to get you from intermediate to advanced. This is where good mentorship, coaching, PrepLounge partners, etc. come in!

Now, I think Victor Cheng LOMS was great for its time but is outdated in 2 key ways:

1) Hypothesis-driven - We are no longer singular hypothesis-driven, stating this boldly at the beginning of the case. Rather, we are hypotheses-driven or objective-driven. This is very different.

2) Standard/memorized frameworks - We can't just memorize the top 6 frameworks anymore. Casing requires new/tailored thinking across most cases. Even "standard" cases need to have their frameworks tailored! "Worse", a good half of cases in interviews are now non-standard".

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