What are some ways you can improve guiding the interviewer through the math portion of a case

math
New answer on Aug 03, 2020
6 Answers
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Jonathan
Skilled
asked on Jul 30, 2020

So obivously now with interviews becoming virtual, I find the silence in a quant. portion of a case really amplified. One area i've always received feedback in, is speaking more/taking the interviewer through my math structure/approach and avoiding the long silences.

Does anyone have any great tips for how I can really drill down on this skill outside of cases? I find it inefficient to do a 1.5 hour case prep where you might get 1 math question.

Should I just redo old cases and then pretend I'm doing the quant live?

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 30, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

This is indeed a great point to flag, since it´s one of the things that got more complicated with the online version of the loops.

Indeed, "guiding your interviewer through your toughts" is always a classic in coaching sessions.

There are indeed many techniques that you can leverage to improve:

  • Never doing the calculations on your own and only communicating result. Instead, commenting every point out loud, to ensure the interviewer follows every step
  • Problem-solving with the interviewer, precisely as you would do with your client (e.g., atm, we have calculated a total cost of 5MM €, is this a number with which the client, given his/her industry knowledge, would be comfortable?)

Hope it helps!

Best,

Clara

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Francesco
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replied on Jul 30, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi Jonathan,

It is very difficult to fix a communication problem alone. I would suggest you practice with peers or a coach just the math part of the case (I do a session exactly on that, please PM me in case you are interested).

In terms of how to structure the math part, I usually recommend the following:

  1. Repeat the question – candidates sometimes do mistakes answering the wrong question in the math part
  2. Present how you would like to proceed from a theoretical point of view (you may ask for time before presenting if you initially don't know how to approach the problem)
  3. Ask for time and perform the first computations
  4. Present interim steps to the interviewer to keep him/her aligned – don’t just say the final number
  5. Continue with the computations until you find the final answer
  6. Propose next steps on the basis of the results you found

Best,

Francesco

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Robert
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Aug 03, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Jonathan,

Most important aspects here:

  1. Make sure you precisely understand the question and what you need to deliver. Precisely.
  2. Approach that top down - instead of jumping into something, first develop an overall plan/structure how you will come up with the answer (several reasons for that).
  3. Fill in the numbers
  4. Execute your math and talk the interviewer through your calculations.

As you can already see, lots of interaction here and hardly any silence here. If it feels differently, you are doing something wrong.

Hope that helps - if so, please be so kind to give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

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Anonymous replied on Jul 31, 2020

Dear Jonathan,

It doesn't required as much effort as you might think about it. All you need to do is pretty simple:

• Outline the logic and structure of your calculation

• Make it transparent to the interviewer. Show your structure on a piece of paper to him/her or simply explain word by word

• Next proceed with a calculation where you can aso update the interviewer on the intermediate results of your calculations after every step. Or simply ask him to give you 30 seconds to complete with calculations so that you can get back to him with an actual result. Ask him'her whether this is ok?

Actually, if you want we can practice one of he interviews with you and I can easily show this in practice so that you get even a better idea.

If you are interested, drop me a line, and let's get your offer.

Best,

André

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Antonello
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 31, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

In interviews the aspect which causes more errors is pressure: start to solve calculations with strict time constraint. For longer formulas always share the calculation structure with interviewer before starting to write down the numbers: this helps to take time, to reduce the pressure and gives you the opportunity to receive a first feedback by the interviewer avoiding wrong calculations.

I recommend practicing with:

Best,
Antonello

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Anonymous A replied on Jul 30, 2020

Hi Jonathan

I tend to post replies like this anonymously as I don't want it to come across as marketing. But having been in your shoes many times - there is no better alternative than working with an experienced coach

Case interviews are tough. Generic advice on maths for virtual interviews :

1) explain your algebraic equation up front and then break down the calculations

2) tell your interviewer the output after each calculation vs just the answer at the end

But again - I don't think mastering the above skills by practicing yourself is going to be very effective

Best

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Clara gave the best answer

Clara

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