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What does driving a case mean?

Actively preparing for interviews with AT Kearney Mckinsey & Bains MBB MBB case interview prep
New answer on Oct 20, 2020
6 Answers
1.2 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Oct 11, 2020

How do you drive it if the cases are predefined by the interviewer?

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Anonymous replied on Oct 12, 2020

Driving the case means taking the control of the conversation. Think of the interview as a role play: You're the consultant and the interviewer is a client that doesn't know how to approach their problem. The client would want the consultant to tell them what to do, then ask smart questions to get to the bottom of it and lastly propose a solution. This is exactly how you drive the case. Specifically, this will mean:

  • You need a strong framework to tell the client what to do
  • Use the framework as map through the case and refer back to it consistently
  • Understand when you have gotton to a key insight or exhausted a dead end, then move on to the next branch of your framework
  • Lastly, tie everything together into a holistic solution and give a strong case recommendation
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Content Creator
replied on Oct 12, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

It's like sitting in your car's driver seat.

You know the map to get to your goal (creating and following your structure).

You know where to stop and turn to the left or right (wrapping up in between and changing to next topic of analysis).

You know when you arrived (giving your final synthesis and recommendation).

In a real-life situation you are paid for defining the process and doing the work to come to a solid conclusion of a given client's issue. The client won't guide you step-by-step because he doesn't know it, that is why he hired you in the first place.

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


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Content Creator
replied on Oct 11, 2020
Top rated Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

Great question! This is something that becomes especially relevant for interviewee led cases (BCG, Bain) but is also important for McKinsey. What it comes down to is this

  • When I present you with a prompt - can you ask the right questions to structure the case
  • Once you structure it can you walk me through it in a clear and detailed manner
  • Are you able to then pin point areas to focus on based on the identified priorities when discussing the structure
  • Can you propose next steps and further structures or questions based on the above
  • When presented information like a graph do you wait for me to ask you to interpret it or do you quickly start identifying what you see and use that to focus on key areas to prioritize
  • At the end of every question can you clearly articulate what the answer says, tie it back to the question asked and the overall question the case is assessing and then suggest next steps?

Driving a case comes down to always being on top of the case, being proactive in your approach as opposed to waiting to be told what to do and always tying it back to the overall objective as well as the question being asked

Hope this helps,


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Content Creator
replied on Oct 13, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

You need to picture yourself at the client site, in front of a whiteboard, with your team, figuring out what you need to do next on this project.

Truly reflect on what you need, what you're missing, or what you don't currently understand about the situation. Then, ask questions to fill this in.

This is super hard to learn, and impossible to teach through some written tips/techniques. I'd be happy to give you a crash course in this - 1 hour is all you need to have a complete mindset shift in this area!

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replied on Oct 12, 2020
BCG | Received offers from all MBB & Tier 1Firms | Supporting you secure your top tier consulting offer

Hi there,

Driving the case means taking the lead of the discussion and using the interviewer as a resource to cracking the case. The interviewer plays the role of the client and he/she provides you with data when available, but you will be the one driving the discussion until your provide a final recommendation at the end.

I hope this helps!


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Content Creator
replied on Oct 20, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi Anonymous,

Driving a case means literally leading the conversation, playing the leading role.

Above all, you need to:

  • ask good clarifying questions and get prepared a strong structure to present;
  • lead the interviewer through the case consistently referring back to the set structure;
  • reflect on each point that is unclear and share the key insights you get;
  • propose the next steps and recommendations at the end.

This is a general description of how the case is driven.

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