What is the best way to prepare for a first case interview here at PrepLounge?

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Recent activity on May 27, 2020
38 Answers
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Anonymous C asked on Feb 26, 2018

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Andrea
Expert
replied on Feb 26, 2018
Former BCG Principal and decision round interviewer

1. Read the fundamentals (cosentino, cheng, MBA consulting club books)

2. Practice 10-15 cases with peers

3. Have first check-in with expert to nip in the bud any vices in your form

4. Practice 10 more cases with peers

5. Start alternating 5-10 cases with peers with 1-2 with experts (according to time, ability and willingness to invest, capability with case-type interviews). I’veseen People be ready to go with as little as 20 cases in total and I’ve seen people who practiced 150 cases and I could tell that they would need a dose of luck to pass their interview (even though they would have made amazing consultants)

6. Finish off with just expert interviews according to need

7. Do not do anything besides relaxing and sleeping the 24-48 hours before interview

Take the above with a grain of salt, one size doesn’t fit all and the above is clearly a high-level, albeit prescriptive, structure that I would recommend to someone I do not know but that I would like to set up for success.

hope it helps,

andrea

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Vlad
Expert
replied on May 09, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

In terms of resources - Start with Case in point and Victor Chengs books and LOMS.

In terms of case types I would start with either market sizing or with profitability cases since they are much easier:

1) In market sizing cases I would try to understand the basic approach:

  • How to structure market sizing case
  • Key tools (Assumptions, Households, using personal experience, adjustments, age groups, Income split via 80/20, peak / off-peak calculations, replacement rate, using size of the area to calculate markets, calculating adjacent markets, sanity checks, etc).
  • How to do math in the case interview

2) In Profitability cases, I would learn

  • How to ask clarifying questions
  • How to structure profitability cases
  • How to work with data (Comparing with competitors, segmentation, historical data)
  • How to answer the questions on creativity
  • How to provide recommendations

3) Then I will switch to Market context cases (Market Entry, New product, Acquisition, etc). In addition, I would learn how:

  • Structure market context questions
  • How to analyze graphs and tables

4) After that I would look at other case types: Operational math problem (e.g. Should we increase the speed of an elevator or just buy a second one? How should we reduce the queues? Etc.), Cost Cutting, Valuation, Private equity due diligence, Synergies, etc.

Also, I would try to focus on the most common industries in the following priority(sorted by probability of getting a case): 1-retail and CPG; 2-airlines; 3-Telecom; 4-banking; 5-natural resources; 6-tech

Also several things that you should be doing on a regular basis:

1) Every 10 cases revisit the previous cases and think how you would structure them differently now having the new experience and having solved the new types of cases

2) Build business judgment. Read about different industries and functions. I strongly recommend practice drawing structures for each industry - profitability, value chain, etc . Then I will switch to getting functional knowledge and key concepts in Marketing (Brand and trade marketing tools, etc), Supply chain (Ops metrics like cycle time and throughput time, distribution and delivery specifics, etc), Finance (Basic Accounting and Valuation). Good sources might be:

  • Books - one good book about airlines with numbers and industry analysis can give you all needed industry knowledge
  • Company reports, equity reports, etc - usually have a good overview of company and industries.One of the best sources to prepare
  • HBS cases - quite useful, but not sure if lot's of them available publically. Probably worth buying

Again, every 10 cases revisit the previous cases and think how you would structure them differently now having the new knowledge

3) Practice fast math

  • Learn how to multiply double digit numbers (google fast math tips)
  • Learn the division table up to 1/11 (i.e. 5/6 = 83.3)
  • Learn how to work with zeros (Hint: 4000000 = 4*10ˆ6)
  • Use math tools (Mimir math for iOS), Math tool on Viktor Cheng website to practice

4) Read Viktor Cheng Book and listen to LOMS. I recommend to reread the book and listen to LOMS every 15 cases. Every time, having more experience, you’ll be finding something new.

! Important: don't forget about the FIT interview part. Crafting you stories and backups stories will require a couple of weeks!

Best!

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Bart on May 10, 2018

Thanks a lot for the comprehensive explanation Vlad. I also like your approach of first starting with the easier cases.

Vlad
Expert
replied on Feb 26, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Agree with the approach of the other experts. Several things that you should be doing on a regular basis:

1) Every 10 cases revisit the previous cases and think how you would structure them differently now having the new experience and having solved the new types of cases

2) Build business judgment. Read about different industries and functions. I strongly recommend practice drawing structures for each industry - profitability, value chain, etc . Then I will switch to getting functional knowledge and key concepts in Marketing (Brand and trade marketing tools, etc), Supply chain (Ops metrics like cycle time and throughput time, distribution and delivery specifics, etc), Finance (Basic Accounting and Valuation). Good sources might be:

  • Books - one good book about airlines with numbers and industry analysis can give you all needed industry knowledge
  • Company reports, equity reports, etc - usually have a good overview of company and industries.One of the best sources to prepare
  • HBS cases - quite useful, but not sure if lot's of them available publically. Probably worth buying

Again, every 10 cases revisit the previous cases and think how you would structure them differently now having the new knowledge

3) Practice fast math

  • Learn how to multiply double digit numbers (google fast math tips)
  • Learn the division table up to 1/11 (i.e. 5/6 = 83.3)
  • Learn how to work with zeros (Hint: 4000000 = 4*10ˆ6)
  • Use math tools (Mimir math for iOS), Math tool on Viktor Cheng website to practice

4) Read Viktor Cheng Book and listen to LOMS. I recommend to reread the book and listen to LOMS every 15 cases. Every time, having more experience, you’ll be finding something new.

! Important: don't forget about the FIT interview part. Crafting you stories and backups stories will require a couple of weeks!

Best!

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B
Expert
replied on Feb 26, 2018
NOT AVAILABLE

Hey anonymous,

Would you be able to clarify what do you mean: how to prepare to do your first mock interview with other candidate/expert at preplounge? Or how to use/leverage preplounge to do your first real life interview?

Assuming it’s the second, I would strongly advise you on: I) strongly leverage practice sessions with other candidates of (at least) your level; ii) go through the support materials on topics that you may feel bigger development needs; iii) if you can’t have access to friend in consulting (or formers), leverage the wide network of experts here to guarantee that you’re not missing being on some key points

Best

Bruno

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Anonymous replied on May 27, 2020

Dear A,

I would recommend you the following algorithm:

1. Identify the companies interesting for you. Many people are interested
mainly in MBB, you can start defining the exact list of companies interesting
for you for the internship
2. Check the requirements and application details.
3. Start your preparation with reading Case In Point by Cosentino for a
general understanding of what a consulting interview is.
4. Start learning and practicing the cases. Some you can find in Case
Library and practice it with your partner or experience coach.
5. Purchase and read Viktor Cheng Book (Amazon Kindle store) and listen
to LOMS

Once you feel you are not improving anymore, I would recommend you to
take an expert coach for structured feedback and polishing your own
performance.

Hope this helps,

Best,

André

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Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on May 10, 2018
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Joep,

a good preparation for a consulting interview will likely move through the following areas:

  1. General understanding of the process: get a general idea on what a consulting interview is about
    • Resources: Case in Point, Victor Cheng free videos, PrepLounge Resources section
  2. Learning structures and main fit questions
    • Resources: Victor Cheng Look Over My Shoulder, MBA Handbooks, PrepLounge Resources section, Expert sessions
  3. Practicing with live partners to apply knowledge and improve communication
    • Resources: PrepLounge P2P interviews, friends preparing for consulting.
  4. Final review to eliminate the last mistakes
    • Resources: PrepLounge P2P interviews (experienced users), friends working in consulting, Experts sessions

You should be aware that just reading Case in Point and doing Victor Cheng LOMS won’t be sufficient as preparation. This material is ok to get an understanding of the process, but not to get to the advanced level to get an offer. You should definitely complement it with live preparation.

During the whole preparation, you should focus on the usual steps for case interviews, working on:

  1. Fit questions (eg Why do you want to work for McKinsey?)
  2. Cases (eg Our client is a commercial bank losing money, how would you increase profits?)
  3. Your questions at the end for the interviewer.

All these steps are important for your final assessment; in particular, as also mentioned by Vlad, don't undervalue the fit part, which has the same weight as the case, although shorter in terms of time allocation in the interview.

Best,

Francesco

(edited)

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Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 26, 2018
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

a good preparation for a consulting interview will likely move through the following areas:

  1. General understanding of the process: get a general idea on what a consulting interview is about
    • Resources: Case in Point, Victor Cheng free videos, PrepLounge Resources section
  2. Learning structures and main fit questions
    • Resources: Victor Cheng Look Over My Shoulder, MBA Handbooks, PrepLounge Resources section, Expert sessions
  3. Practicing with live partners to apply knowledge and improve communication
    • Resources: PrepLounge P2P interviews, friends preparing for consulting
  4. Final review to eliminate the last mistakes
    • Resources: PrepLounge P2P interviews (experienced users), friends working in consulting, Experts sessions

You should be aware that just reading Case in Point and doing Victor Cheng LOMS won’t be sufficient as preparation. Such material is ok to get an understanding of the process, but not to get to the advanced level to get an offer without further live preparation.

During the preparation, you should focus on the usual steps for case interviews, working on:

  1. Fit questions (eg Why do you want to work for Deloitte?)
  2. Cases (eg Our client is a commercial bank losing money, how would you increase profits?)
  3. Your questions at the end for the interviewer.

I would actually not recommend doing nothing in the 24-48h before the interview. Although you should not ideally cover new stuff as you won’t have time to integrate it in your approach, that’s a great time to review all your previous mistakes (because yes, ideally you should keep track of them) and re-read the most challenging cases (you should keep track of them as well).

Finally, please keep in mind that a good preparation to target an MBB offer starting from zero will require a minimum 150h on your own (less if you use experts coaching – you should be able to save 5-15h per session according to the coach), thus you should structure a calendar accordingly.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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Andrea gave the best answer

Andrea

Former BCG Principal and decision round interviewer
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