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Andrea

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54

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

54 answers

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Dear A,

I would recommend you three fundamental books to start with and actually get an idea of the process:

(a) McKinsey case book, which can help you better understand the whole interview mechanics and what happens behind the stage
(b) Case In Point by Cosentino to understand different types of cases and approaches to crack them
(c) LBS book, which is a great introduction into the entire application process

Hope it helps,

If you have any further questions, feel free to ask.

Best,
André

Dear A,

I would recommend you three fundamental books to start with and actually get an idea of the process:

(a) McKinsey case book, which can help you better understand the whole interview mechanics and what happens behind the stage
(b) Case In Point by Cosentino to understand different types of cases and approaches to crack them
(c) LBS book, which is a great introduction into the entire application process

Hope it helps,

If you have any further questions, feel free to ask.

Best,
André

Thanks Andre, this is really helpful — Peter on Oct 02, 2020

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Hi!

Great way to use all that free time now :)

Here are my 5 tips:

1) Practice mental calculation daily (percentages, decimal places, large numbers, arithmetic) – even though it's not the most important part of the interview and it's allowed to make mistakes, you need to master your numbers very comfortably. If you don't, during the interview you will start feeling nervous and will perform worse on other things. I was doing at least 30 min a day of mental arithmetic for several months (download one of the apps on your phone, there are plenty, like Mental Math Practice, or Brain Booster Games).

2) Cases, cases, cases – do as many as you can. After you gather a bit of experience of practicing with your fellow students, try to find a person who is now working or has worked in the past at the MBB's recruting and ask them to simulate an interview with you. Or book a coaching session here on Preplounge.

3) Prepare and practice personal fit interviews – they are as important as the cases. Write down your stories, practice telling them with your fellow students, or with an expert (again, here on Preplounge)

4) Beware of your mental state – try not to stress too much before and during the interview (I know it's easier said than done). Do sports, take care of your health, try yoga, meditation – whatever makes you less stressed. I've seen so many candidates pale as a sheet of paper during my time as an interviewer at McKinsey, all worried and jittery – as you can imagine this doesn't help your performance.

5) If you get rejected, it's not the end of the world, do prepare yourself mentally for this thought! A close friend of mine became depressed for months after being rejected at McKinsey. I think it was because she treated this as a "do or die" situation. Do not do that! There are infinite options of different careers and adventures out there, you don't need to become a strategy consultant to be happy. Just try to embrace this before going into the interview room – and you will be better prepared for both failure and success.

Good luck! DM me if you want to discuss in more detail!

Best,

Daniel

Hi!

Great way to use all that free time now :)

Here are my 5 tips:

1) Practice mental calculation daily (percentages, decimal places, large numbers, arithmetic) – even though it's not the most important part of the interview and it's allowed to make mistakes, you need to master your numbers very comfortably. If you don't, during the interview you will start feeling nervous and will perform worse on other things. I was doing at least 30 min a day of mental arithmetic for several months (download one of the apps on your phone, there are plenty, like Mental Math Practice, or Brain Booster Games).

2) Cases, cases, cases – do as many as you can. After you gather a bit of experience of practicing with your fellow students, try to find a person who is now working or has worked in the past at the MBB's recruting and ask them to simulate an interview with you. Or book a coaching session here on Preplounge.

3) Prepare and practice personal fit interviews – they are as important as the cases. Write down your stories, practice telling them with your fellow students, or with an expert (again, here on Preplounge)

4) Beware of your mental state – try not to stress too much before and during the interview (I know it's easier said than done). Do sports, take care of your health, try yoga, meditation – whatever makes you less stressed. I've seen so many candidates pale as a sheet of paper during my time as an interviewer at McKinsey, all worried and jittery – as you can imagine this doesn't help your performance.

5) If you get rejected, it's not the end of the world, do prepare yourself mentally for this thought! A close friend of mine became depressed for months after being rejected at McKinsey. I think it was because she treated this as a "do or die" situation. Do not do that! There are infinite options of different careers and adventures out there, you don't need to become a strategy consultant to be happy. Just try to embrace this before going into the interview room – and you will be better prepared for both failure and success.

Good luck! DM me if you want to discuss in more detail!

Best,

Daniel

Great tipps, especially 4 and 5 are incredibly important. And remember that there are more firms than MBB. You also need a bit of luck in your interviews, and sometimes luck is not on your side. So keep on moving and try other firms as well. — Anonymous O on Mar 21, 2020

Originally answered:

Systematic case interview prep

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Hi,

I am sure other coaches will answer in a very detailed way.
For myself I will only tell you the following tips :

- Combine different ways of practicing : on your own, with other candidates, with real consultants /coaches

- Practice each of the dimensions indvidually with focus exercice : maths, structuring, recommandation

- Always look for feedback, and once you receive work on it

- Don't wait too long before simulating real interview with consultatn / coaches : this will give you a sens of the real situation and expectation + relevant feedback on your perf

Best

Benjamin

Hi,

I am sure other coaches will answer in a very detailed way.
For myself I will only tell you the following tips :

- Combine different ways of practicing : on your own, with other candidates, with real consultants /coaches

- Practice each of the dimensions indvidually with focus exercice : maths, structuring, recommandation

- Always look for feedback, and once you receive work on it

- Don't wait too long before simulating real interview with consultatn / coaches : this will give you a sens of the real situation and expectation + relevant feedback on your perf

Best

Benjamin

You have to be more patient while going through the interview round you have to keep all your computer related topic up to date while it will be more applicable so you can go through  for more detail — Lucifer on Jul 28, 2018 (edited)

Hi Cassie,

For preparation, I recommend 3 three things:

  1. Read Case Interview Secrets from Victor Cheng. I would almost go as far as to say: you have almost no chance in getting through the day without it. Think about his LOMS (Look over my shoulder) package.
  2. Leverage the boot camp from PrepLounge to get up to speed on the basics both in terms of structure and content.
  3. Do as many meetings with fellow interviewees as possible (through the PrepLounge meeting board) and think about investing in a coaching session (Francesco is amazing, e.g.). Ultimately, the “right” number of cases depends on a) your previous knowledge, b) your available time and c) your progress. Note, like preparing for a big competition in sports, there is a plateau for case performance after which the marginal value of doing one more case becomes negative.

Finally, to help you put my recommendation into perspective, I was preparing for several final round interviews. I had done a tone of reading, watched free YouTube videos (Firmsconsulting, MasterTheCase, etc.), talked to people, and booked coaching sessions. I arrived at the conclusion that without decent preparation it's exceptionally difficult to pass. It's very transparent on what the consultancies expect from you so everybody has a fair chance to convince the interviewers. While that is generally good, it means that most interviewees have practiced a lot and, as result raised the average.

Doing what I did, helped me secure a Sen. Associate position at McKinsey. Keep in mind, this is n=1.

Good luck

Hi Cassie,

For preparation, I recommend 3 three things:

  1. Read Case Interview Secrets from Victor Cheng. I would almost go as far as to say: you have almost no chance in getting through the day without it. Think about his LOMS (Look over my shoulder) package.
  2. Leverage the boot camp from PrepLounge to get up to speed on the basics both in terms of structure and content.
  3. Do as many meetings with fellow interviewees as possible (through the PrepLounge meeting board) and think about investing in a coaching session (Francesco is amazing, e.g.). Ultimately, the “right” number of cases depends on a) your previous knowledge, b) your available time and c) your progress. Note, like preparing for a big competition in sports, there is a plateau for case performance after which the marginal value of doing one more case becomes negative.

Finally, to help you put my recommendation into perspective, I was preparing for several final round interviews. I had done a tone of reading, watched free YouTube videos (Firmsconsulting, MasterTheCase, etc.), talked to people, and booked coaching sessions. I arrived at the conclusion that without decent preparation it's exceptionally difficult to pass. It's very transparent on what the consultancies expect from you so everybody has a fair chance to convince the interviewers. While that is generally good, it means that most interviewees have practiced a lot and, as result raised the average.

Doing what I did, helped me secure a Sen. Associate position at McKinsey. Keep in mind, this is n=1.

Good luck

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Hi,

I suggest you follow the steps below:

  1. Get an idea about theoretical concepts: As you do not have any experience in consulting or at least the preparation of consulting interviews, I suggest you start with working you the theoretical concepts with which to solve case studies. There are several books on the market, like „Case in Point“ or „Case Interview Secrets“, or you may use the „Bootcamp“ here on Preplounge. This will teach you how approach different types of case studies in general and guide you through the basic concepts.
  2. Start improving your calculation skills and general knowledge about different industries: Start practicing both mental arithmetic and how to do calculations without a calculator - this will become very important as almost every case involves a certain amount of calculations. Further, if not already doing so, start reading newspapers and get an idea of different industries (what is this, how do they work etc.) - this will help you to get a better understanding of the context of different case studies.
  3. Solve case studies with other people: This is an essential part of the preparation process. Practice solving case studies until you feel it is now routine. The key here is to not only do this on your own but most of the time with other candidates. This will (1) put you in a „real“ interview situation when you take the role as interviewee and (2) make you aware of frequent mistakes people make whenever you are in the role as interviewer. There is no right number of cases you should solve before doing real interviews.

Hope this helps!
Dorothea

Hi,

I suggest you follow the steps below:

  1. Get an idea about theoretical concepts: As you do not have any experience in consulting or at least the preparation of consulting interviews, I suggest you start with working you the theoretical concepts with which to solve case studies. There are several books on the market, like „Case in Point“ or „Case Interview Secrets“, or you may use the „Bootcamp“ here on Preplounge. This will teach you how approach different types of case studies in general and guide you through the basic concepts.
  2. Start improving your calculation skills and general knowledge about different industries: Start practicing both mental arithmetic and how to do calculations without a calculator - this will become very important as almost every case involves a certain amount of calculations. Further, if not already doing so, start reading newspapers and get an idea of different industries (what is this, how do they work etc.) - this will help you to get a better understanding of the context of different case studies.
  3. Solve case studies with other people: This is an essential part of the preparation process. Practice solving case studies until you feel it is now routine. The key here is to not only do this on your own but most of the time with other candidates. This will (1) put you in a „real“ interview situation when you take the role as interviewee and (2) make you aware of frequent mistakes people make whenever you are in the role as interviewer. There is no right number of cases you should solve before doing real interviews.

Hope this helps!
Dorothea

Best Answer
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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

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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Hi Anonymous,

I would recommend the following:

  1. Define a calendar for your preparation. Identify how many free hours for preparation you have before your interview, then allocate a time slot for preparation in your calendar for each day, working on the following points.
  2. Start reading good MBA Consulting Handbooks – you can find several for free online (Insead is a good one to start). Read the cases and try to apply your structure. Whenever you see there is something missing, upgrade your structure with the new insides. Try to read at least a new case per day – in this way you will absorb a lot better the information with constant learning. Structure your remaining daily preparation with at least 5-10 minutes per day for each of the following: market sizing, fit questions and mental math.
  3. After you have read the first 10 cases in books/handbooks and basic theory, start to practice live. There is a relevant part of the interview score that is based on your communication, which you cannot practice at all if you read cases only. Keep track of your mistakes and see if you repeat them. If so, try to identify the source of the mistake (feedback of experienced partners would be particularly useful for this). Be sure to focus on both fit and case.
  4. Once you feel you are not improving anymore, if you have a tight time constraint or if you want a realistic assessment of your level, consider using support from experts to strengthen your performance
  5. Before the interview, be sure to prepare your questions for the interviewer –great way to show you prepare in advance and to connect more with the interviewer for a good final impression.

In case you have to do the PST, be sure to work on some tests before the interview day. You can find some tips at the following link: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/what-is-the-best-way-to-prepare-for-mckinseys-pst-3440

Best,

Francesco

Hi Anonymous,

I would recommend the following:

  1. Define a calendar for your preparation. Identify how many free hours for preparation you have before your interview, then allocate a time slot for preparation in your calendar for each day, working on the following points.
  2. Start reading good MBA Consulting Handbooks – you can find several for free online (Insead is a good one to start). Read the cases and try to apply your structure. Whenever you see there is something missing, upgrade your structure with the new insides. Try to read at least a new case per day – in this way you will absorb a lot better the information with constant learning. Structure your remaining daily preparation with at least 5-10 minutes per day for each of the following: market sizing, fit questions and mental math.
  3. After you have read the first 10 cases in books/handbooks and basic theory, start to practice live. There is a relevant part of the interview score that is based on your communication, which you cannot practice at all if you read cases only. Keep track of your mistakes and see if you repeat them. If so, try to identify the source of the mistake (feedback of experienced partners would be particularly useful for this). Be sure to focus on both fit and case.
  4. Once you feel you are not improving anymore, if you have a tight time constraint or if you want a realistic assessment of your level, consider using support from experts to strengthen your performance
  5. Before the interview, be sure to prepare your questions for the interviewer –great way to show you prepare in advance and to connect more with the interviewer for a good final impression.

In case you have to do the PST, be sure to work on some tests before the interview day. You can find some tips at the following link: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/what-is-the-best-way-to-prepare-for-mckinseys-pst-3440

Best,

Francesco

Thanks a lot! Much appreciated! — Anonymous H on Oct 09, 2019 (edited)

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Hi,

I recommend the following approach:

1) Start with "Case in point" book - you can download this book for free everywhere. It's not the best guide on how you should approach the cases, however, it will give you the basic understanding.

2) Start practicing cases with partners here or find them locally. !!! Find experienced partners or coaches who can provide a good feedback!!!

3) Purchase and read Viktor Cheng Book (Amazon Kindle store) and listen to LOMS (his website). I recommend to reread the book and listen to LOMS every 15 cases. Every time, having more experience, you’ll be finding something new.

4) Practice fast math

  • Learn how to multiply double digit numbers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ndkkPZYJHo)
  • 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

5) Below you can find a list of the most common case types and some high-level recommendations on structuring:

  • Market sizing - structuring from the supply or demand side. Structuring using a formula or using an issue tree
  • Profitability - basic profitability framework. Remember about different revenue streams and product mix
  • Market context cases (Market Entry, New product, Acquisition, etc). Always start with the big picture "market". Finish with something specific to the case (e.g. How to enter?"). Structure it as if you are defining the work streams for the real project.
  • 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.) - Structuring as a process / value chain, with inflows, operations, and outflows
  • Cost cutting - I provided the recommendations on structuring it here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/operations-cases-mck-1105#a2134
  • Valuation - Purely financial structure with cash flows, growth rate, WACC / hurdle rate, etc.
  • Synergies - revenue synergies (price, qty, mix) and cost synergies (value chain).
  • Social / economics cases (e.g. How to improve the quality of life in the city? How to increase the revenues of the museum?) - huge variability. Practice 3-5 social cases before the interview

6) 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

7) After solving 15-20 cases start preparation for the tests (Serch for PST / BCG online test here on preplounge)

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

PS

Here is a good list of articles regarding the different parts of the case:

1) Start with clarifying questions:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/clarifying-questions-1786#a3956

2) Communicating while structuring. Here is a long post by me on how to communicate the structure during the case study:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-communicate-its-structure-for-the-case-study-1313#a2806

3) Using hypothesis. I made a post about hypothesis here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-state-a-hypothesis-and-match-to-the-structure-1156#a2268

4) Communicating while making calculations:

  • Always tell the interviewer your approach
  • Check with the interviewer that your approach is correct
  • Come to the interviewer with some preliminary answers
  • Check your assumptions with the interviewer

5) Communicating during the analysis of graphs / tables

  • Take a minute to look at the graph. Read the graph title. Look at the graph type and define the type (pie chart, line chart, etc). Look at the legend (ask for clarifying questions if necessary). Identify whats going on on the graph. Look for: Trends, % structures. Look for unusual things - correlations, outliers,
  • Make 3-4 conclusions from the graph. Think out loud on potential hypothesis on what could be the root cause / what are the consequences
  • Prioritize the most important for your current analysis and move forward with the case

6) Communicating while having questions on creativity

  • Ask an interview for a minute to think
  • Think of several buckets of ideas (e.g. organic growth / non-organic growth / differentiation). Remember to think as big as possible
  • Narrow down to each bucket and generate as many ideas as possible
  • Present the structure (buckets) and then your ideas

7) Communicating your conclusion. You can find a good example I've posted here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-much-answer-first-should-the-conclusion-be-1231#a2493

8) Communicating your FIT stories

Use the top-down approach while communicating your stories. "The Pyramid Principle" is the must-read by ex McKinsey on this topic.

I recommend using the STAR framework:

  • In Situation, you should briefly provide the context, usually in 1 or 2 sentences
  • Task usually includes 2 or 3 sentences describing the problem and your objective.
  • Then you provide a list of specific actions you took to achieve the goal. It should take 1 or 2 sentences per action (Usually 3-4 actions). Note that the interviewer can stop you any minute and ask for more details.
  • The results part should have 1 or 2 sentences describing the outcomes. This part is finalizing your story - make sure it can impress the interviewer and stay in the memory.

Best!

Hi,

I recommend the following approach:

1) Start with "Case in point" book - you can download this book for free everywhere. It's not the best guide on how you should approach the cases, however, it will give you the basic understanding.

2) Start practicing cases with partners here or find them locally. !!! Find experienced partners or coaches who can provide a good feedback!!!

3) Purchase and read Viktor Cheng Book (Amazon Kindle store) and listen to LOMS (his website). I recommend to reread the book and listen to LOMS every 15 cases. Every time, having more experience, you’ll be finding something new.

4) Practice fast math

  • Learn how to multiply double digit numbers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ndkkPZYJHo)
  • 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

5) Below you can find a list of the most common case types and some high-level recommendations on structuring:

  • Market sizing - structuring from the supply or demand side. Structuring using a formula or using an issue tree
  • Profitability - basic profitability framework. Remember about different revenue streams and product mix
  • Market context cases (Market Entry, New product, Acquisition, etc). Always start with the big picture "market". Finish with something specific to the case (e.g. How to enter?"). Structure it as if you are defining the work streams for the real project.
  • 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.) - Structuring as a process / value chain, with inflows, operations, and outflows
  • Cost cutting - I provided the recommendations on structuring it here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/operations-cases-mck-1105#a2134
  • Valuation - Purely financial structure with cash flows, growth rate, WACC / hurdle rate, etc.
  • Synergies - revenue synergies (price, qty, mix) and cost synergies (value chain).
  • Social / economics cases (e.g. How to improve the quality of life in the city? How to increase the revenues of the museum?) - huge variability. Practice 3-5 social cases before the interview

6) 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

7) After solving 15-20 cases start preparation for the tests (Serch for PST / BCG online test here on preplounge)

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

PS

Here is a good list of articles regarding the different parts of the case:

1) Start with clarifying questions:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/clarifying-questions-1786#a3956

2) Communicating while structuring. Here is a long post by me on how to communicate the structure during the case study:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-communicate-its-structure-for-the-case-study-1313#a2806

3) Using hypothesis. I made a post about hypothesis here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-state-a-hypothesis-and-match-to-the-structure-1156#a2268

4) Communicating while making calculations:

  • Always tell the interviewer your approach
  • Check with the interviewer that your approach is correct
  • Come to the interviewer with some preliminary answers
  • Check your assumptions with the interviewer

5) Communicating during the analysis of graphs / tables

  • Take a minute to look at the graph. Read the graph title. Look at the graph type and define the type (pie chart, line chart, etc). Look at the legend (ask for clarifying questions if necessary). Identify whats going on on the graph. Look for: Trends, % structures. Look for unusual things - correlations, outliers,
  • Make 3-4 conclusions from the graph. Think out loud on potential hypothesis on what could be the root cause / what are the consequences
  • Prioritize the most important for your current analysis and move forward with the case

6) Communicating while having questions on creativity

  • Ask an interview for a minute to think
  • Think of several buckets of ideas (e.g. organic growth / non-organic growth / differentiation). Remember to think as big as possible
  • Narrow down to each bucket and generate as many ideas as possible
  • Present the structure (buckets) and then your ideas

7) Communicating your conclusion. You can find a good example I've posted here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-much-answer-first-should-the-conclusion-be-1231#a2493

8) Communicating your FIT stories

Use the top-down approach while communicating your stories. "The Pyramid Principle" is the must-read by ex McKinsey on this topic.

I recommend using the STAR framework:

  • In Situation, you should briefly provide the context, usually in 1 or 2 sentences
  • Task usually includes 2 or 3 sentences describing the problem and your objective.
  • Then you provide a list of specific actions you took to achieve the goal. It should take 1 or 2 sentences per action (Usually 3-4 actions). Note that the interviewer can stop you any minute and ask for more details.
  • The results part should have 1 or 2 sentences describing the outcomes. This part is finalizing your story - make sure it can impress the interviewer and stay in the memory.

Best!

Hi,

I managed to get offers at all consultancies I applied (Bain, BCG, GoetzPartners, Strategy&, etc.) by using the following approach:

1) Cross-read a case prep book (e.g. Case in Point) - around 5h

2) Apply for a consultancy which is not your first choice and see where your improvement areas are

3) Derive a case prep plan depending on your improvement areas as realized in a very early interview process

4) Join Prep Lounge and do 5-10 cases and derive your improvement areas again

5) Prep with a Prep Lounge expert to tackle your remaining improvement areas and refine your forward prep plan together

6) Continue with Prep Lounge for 10-15 cases and listen to Vitor Chengs cases

7) Apply for 3-4 consultancies and manage to organize the interview sequence, starting with least desired company and finishing with the most desired one

I hope this provides some ideas for your interview preparations! Good luck!

Hi,

I managed to get offers at all consultancies I applied (Bain, BCG, GoetzPartners, Strategy&, etc.) by using the following approach:

1) Cross-read a case prep book (e.g. Case in Point) - around 5h

2) Apply for a consultancy which is not your first choice and see where your improvement areas are

3) Derive a case prep plan depending on your improvement areas as realized in a very early interview process

4) Join Prep Lounge and do 5-10 cases and derive your improvement areas again

5) Prep with a Prep Lounge expert to tackle your remaining improvement areas and refine your forward prep plan together

6) Continue with Prep Lounge for 10-15 cases and listen to Vitor Chengs cases

7) Apply for 3-4 consultancies and manage to organize the interview sequence, starting with least desired company and finishing with the most desired one

I hope this provides some ideas for your interview preparations! Good luck!

Thank you very much for you detailed answer. really appreciated :D — Cassie on Aug 21, 2017

Originally answered:

First steps - baby steps?

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Hi there,

There are typically 3 steps to cover for you to be prepared: (1) reading materials and frameworks, (2) listening to or reading interview experiences and (3) practicing actual cases. Also, on top of how you can prepare yourself, it is crucial to have in mind what skills you need to master to get accepted into a major consulting firm and how each of the 3 steps will help you in that task. In my perspective there are four key skills:

a) Clarifying the problem at hand b) Structuring an approach to the problem (a.k.a. find / apply a framework to the problem) c) Based on the approach structured, conduct the analysis d) Draw, synthesize and communicate conclusions / insights / recommendation or next steps

Steps 1 & 2 will give you a good perspective on what is expected from a top-notch candidate in each of the four skills. Step 1 will help you with understanding what is a good and structured approach to the different problems. Step 2 will help you understand the best ways to clarify the problem at hand, how to go about your approach conducting the analyses and how to synthesize your findings, conclusions and recommendations. Finally, Step 3 will help you become fluent in all the four skills.

When should you move from one step to the next? There is no general rule, as those three steps will probably overlap (i.e. you'll probably refer back to the frameworks while practicing actual cases). Anyhow, my advice would be:

a) read the materials that you find relevant (I personally recommend Case Interview Secrets by Victor Cheng, that will cover steps 1 & 2); b) Start practicing after having read the materials - this should take ~80% of your prep time (e.g. if you have ten days to practice, you should dedicate ~8 days for practicing cases)

I hope it helps!

Best regards,

Paulo

Hi there,

There are typically 3 steps to cover for you to be prepared: (1) reading materials and frameworks, (2) listening to or reading interview experiences and (3) practicing actual cases. Also, on top of how you can prepare yourself, it is crucial to have in mind what skills you need to master to get accepted into a major consulting firm and how each of the 3 steps will help you in that task. In my perspective there are four key skills:

a) Clarifying the problem at hand b) Structuring an approach to the problem (a.k.a. find / apply a framework to the problem) c) Based on the approach structured, conduct the analysis d) Draw, synthesize and communicate conclusions / insights / recommendation or next steps

Steps 1 & 2 will give you a good perspective on what is expected from a top-notch candidate in each of the four skills. Step 1 will help you with understanding what is a good and structured approach to the different problems. Step 2 will help you understand the best ways to clarify the problem at hand, how to go about your approach conducting the analyses and how to synthesize your findings, conclusions and recommendations. Finally, Step 3 will help you become fluent in all the four skills.

When should you move from one step to the next? There is no general rule, as those three steps will probably overlap (i.e. you'll probably refer back to the frameworks while practicing actual cases). Anyhow, my advice would be:

a) read the materials that you find relevant (I personally recommend Case Interview Secrets by Victor Cheng, that will cover steps 1 & 2); b) Start practicing after having read the materials - this should take ~80% of your prep time (e.g. if you have ten days to practice, you should dedicate ~8 days for practicing cases)

I hope it helps!

Best regards,

Paulo

Hi there,

If you only need to learn about case cracking for a single 1.5h interview, I would recommend that you watch some case cracking videos on Youtube and that you learn about the different frameworks of a typical case interview. Alternatively, you can also have a few sessions with experts who can help you gain valuable time by covering the most important & relevant things for you.

Happy to answer any other question you might have.

All the best,

Mehdi

Hi there,

If you only need to learn about case cracking for a single 1.5h interview, I would recommend that you watch some case cracking videos on Youtube and that you learn about the different frameworks of a typical case interview. Alternatively, you can also have a few sessions with experts who can help you gain valuable time by covering the most important & relevant things for you.

Happy to answer any other question you might have.

All the best,

Mehdi

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Hi Anonymous,

In order to avoid duplicate content, I link here one of my previous blog posts:

https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-best-resources-to-prepare-for-McKinsey-case-interviews/answer/Robert-Steiner

Hope that helps!

Robert

Hi Anonymous,

In order to avoid duplicate content, I link here one of my previous blog posts:

https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-best-resources-to-prepare-for-McKinsey-case-interviews/answer/Robert-Steiner

Hope that helps!

Robert

(edited)

Will look at it, thanks a lot! — Anonymous H on Oct 07, 2019 (edited)

Originally answered:

Action plan to prepare interviews

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Hi Anonymous!

This is a topic which I frequently discuss with my mentees. Indeed, it might make sense to adopt an approach which follows several "stages". The following strategy has proved to give outstanding results in terms of MBB offers:

1. Concentrate on proper preparation with excellent case partners/experts (several weeks)

2. Make sure your written applications (CV, cover letters, referrals) are on point!

2. Once you feel really comfortable on fit, cases and your application, apply to several Tier2 firms

3. Continue practicing cases!

4. Schedule interview days with the Tier 2 firms that get back to you

5. Once T2 interviews are scheduled, apply to MBB

6. Continue practicing cases!

7. Go through T2 interviews and get used to the setting (if you focused your preparation on MBB, you will realize that interview formats and cases might be a bit different at T2 firms, but don't get irritated by that fact). Try to get at least one offer (this is a great psychological help!)

8. Schedule interview days with the MBB firms that invited you

9. Continue practicing cases!

10. Nail interviews with MBB firms and celebrate your offer(s)!

Cheers, Sidi

Hi Anonymous!

This is a topic which I frequently discuss with my mentees. Indeed, it might make sense to adopt an approach which follows several "stages". The following strategy has proved to give outstanding results in terms of MBB offers:

1. Concentrate on proper preparation with excellent case partners/experts (several weeks)

2. Make sure your written applications (CV, cover letters, referrals) are on point!

2. Once you feel really comfortable on fit, cases and your application, apply to several Tier2 firms

3. Continue practicing cases!

4. Schedule interview days with the Tier 2 firms that get back to you

5. Once T2 interviews are scheduled, apply to MBB

6. Continue practicing cases!

7. Go through T2 interviews and get used to the setting (if you focused your preparation on MBB, you will realize that interview formats and cases might be a bit different at T2 firms, but don't get irritated by that fact). Try to get at least one offer (this is a great psychological help!)

8. Schedule interview days with the MBB firms that invited you

9. Continue practicing cases!

10. Nail interviews with MBB firms and celebrate your offer(s)!

Cheers, Sidi

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

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

Originally answered:

Starting prep

Okay so I get that you are just starting to case, but what else have you covered? Have you familiarized yourself with what to do, what is expected and how to go about doing these? If yes, then it comes down to

  1. Practice, practice and more practice. Start with beginners or people with similar skill level who have done their homework as well. Then progress to more experience folks, also do leverage the experts every now and then for sake of calibration.
  2. Get actionable feedback from your practice sessions ( As both an interviewee and Interviewer)and implement corrective action, find some sort of way to track say typical mistake you make or bad habits etc. and ensure they fade away as you progress.
  3. Work on mental math and estimation as often as you can ( use Prep lounge math tool)
  4. Do cases you failed again (after a good amount of time has passed)
  5. Always time yourself and ensure you simulate true casing environment every time you practice.

If No, then familiarize yourself with the process by doing the following below, and then moving to the items above:

  1. Read books- Case in point (Marc Cosentino), Case interview secret (Victor Cheng) etc.
  2. Use Prep lounge videos, case boot camp and other resources etc
  3. Ask question (like you did on prep lounge) to others who have gone through the process

Hopefully this helps!

Okay so I get that you are just starting to case, but what else have you covered? Have you familiarized yourself with what to do, what is expected and how to go about doing these? If yes, then it comes down to

  1. Practice, practice and more practice. Start with beginners or people with similar skill level who have done their homework as well. Then progress to more experience folks, also do leverage the experts every now and then for sake of calibration.
  2. Get actionable feedback from your practice sessions ( As both an interviewee and Interviewer)and implement corrective action, find some sort of way to track say typical mistake you make or bad habits etc. and ensure they fade away as you progress.
  3. Work on mental math and estimation as often as you can ( use Prep lounge math tool)
  4. Do cases you failed again (after a good amount of time has passed)
  5. Always time yourself and ensure you simulate true casing environment every time you practice.

If No, then familiarize yourself with the process by doing the following below, and then moving to the items above:

  1. Read books- Case in point (Marc Cosentino), Case interview secret (Victor Cheng) etc.
  2. Use Prep lounge videos, case boot camp and other resources etc
  3. Ask question (like you did on prep lounge) to others who have gone through the process

Hopefully this helps!

Originally answered:

First steps - baby steps?

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Paulo just gave a really solid anwser obviously, and you can't go wrong reading Victor Cheng's books (or watching his 6 hours of free video on YouTube).

Beyond this though, a good rule of thumb - no matter the topic - is you should learn 30% of the time, and test your learning 70% of the time (or 20/80 as Paulo suggests - close enough). Doing a case is akin to testing yourself -> this is absolutely where you need to spend most of your time and energy. Review prior feedback, read books and articles and whatnot, but DO NOT overlook the actual practice.

Good luck!

Guennael -

Ex-BCG Dallas

Paulo just gave a really solid anwser obviously, and you can't go wrong reading Victor Cheng's books (or watching his 6 hours of free video on YouTube).

Beyond this though, a good rule of thumb - no matter the topic - is you should learn 30% of the time, and test your learning 70% of the time (or 20/80 as Paulo suggests - close enough). Doing a case is akin to testing yourself -> this is absolutely where you need to spend most of your time and energy. Review prior feedback, read books and articles and whatnot, but DO NOT overlook the actual practice.

Good luck!

Guennael -

Ex-BCG Dallas

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Dear anonymous,

In order to prepare for case interview, I suggest the following approach:

  • Read the Case in Point (Cosentino) in order to get a first approach with the Case interviews
  • When you have read most of it, start doing cases on yourself practicing with frameworks, math and structure of the interview.
  • Practice with other people (candidates/coaches)
  • Start developing your application strategy considering your target companies and timeline
  • Read some chapters of the Case Interview Secrets and listen to the recordings of the LOMS program

While you are practicing for your cases, you have to consider also some time to prepare your CV/Cover Letter and the Fit Interview that is a fundamental part of the interview.
Consider that you will need around 1.5/2 months to prepare and at least 40/50 cases.

Feel free to contact me if you wan to discuss further.

Best,
Luca

Dear anonymous,

In order to prepare for case interview, I suggest the following approach:

  • Read the Case in Point (Cosentino) in order to get a first approach with the Case interviews
  • When you have read most of it, start doing cases on yourself practicing with frameworks, math and structure of the interview.
  • Practice with other people (candidates/coaches)
  • Start developing your application strategy considering your target companies and timeline
  • Read some chapters of the Case Interview Secrets and listen to the recordings of the LOMS program

While you are practicing for your cases, you have to consider also some time to prepare your CV/Cover Letter and the Fit Interview that is a fundamental part of the interview.
Consider that you will need around 1.5/2 months to prepare and at least 40/50 cases.

Feel free to contact me if you wan to discuss further.

Best,
Luca

Talk to current consultants to be sure it's what you want to do. I know a bunch of ex-McK consultants who moved to banking and have never been happier. Try (very hard) to not be blinded by the prestige on MBB.

If you're 100% sure, check out Victor cheng's material (videos, etc), Case in Point, and the Vault Case Interview Guide. Also stay up-to-date on the economy and industry trends.

And have fun with case prep. The more you do them, the more fun they become, which will make you interview process easier.

Talk to current consultants to be sure it's what you want to do. I know a bunch of ex-McK consultants who moved to banking and have never been happier. Try (very hard) to not be blinded by the prestige on MBB.

If you're 100% sure, check out Victor cheng's material (videos, etc), Case in Point, and the Vault Case Interview Guide. Also stay up-to-date on the economy and industry trends.

And have fun with case prep. The more you do them, the more fun they become, which will make you interview process easier.

Thank you so much.. I really appreciate. I have started with Victor's videos. They are really insightful. — Emmanuel on Aug 02, 2018

Originally answered:

First steps - baby steps?

Hi,

Can someone please share the links to Victor Cheng's videos.

All the ones I find are really short and ask me to login to some website for the complete access.

Hi,

Can someone please share the links to Victor Cheng's videos.

All the ones I find are really short and ask me to login to some website for the complete access.

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Honestly, the best thing you can do for a crash course is hire a coach! Even an hour or 2 can catapult your understanding of these things.

*Cue shameless plug*: Coming from an IT background I've helped a lot of candidates with exactly this. Happy to talk more, but you really need to dive into the major topics within Infrastructure Tech.

A lot of company websites have great info. For example, I'm helping a candidate with CMA Strategy Consulting, and I just love their breakdown of some of the key tech infrastructure topics they have here:

https://cmacap.com/areas-of-focus/

Honestly, the best thing you can do for a crash course is hire a coach! Even an hour or 2 can catapult your understanding of these things.

*Cue shameless plug*: Coming from an IT background I've helped a lot of candidates with exactly this. Happy to talk more, but you really need to dive into the major topics within Infrastructure Tech.

A lot of company websites have great info. For example, I'm helping a candidate with CMA Strategy Consulting, and I just love their breakdown of some of the key tech infrastructure topics they have here:

https://cmacap.com/areas-of-focus/

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Hi,

If you have an upcoming interview, you don't have the luxury to carry out a full preparation plan. Therefore, I suggest that you master the few techniques and skills that cover a large chunk of it but it will require a daily regimen.

DM me, I'd be happy to give you the introduction session (as a gift of support) and set you up with a short term plan (involving self practice, casing with an expert, and key networking directions).

Rakan

Hi,

If you have an upcoming interview, you don't have the luxury to carry out a full preparation plan. Therefore, I suggest that you master the few techniques and skills that cover a large chunk of it but it will require a daily regimen.

DM me, I'd be happy to give you the introduction session (as a gift of support) and set you up with a short term plan (involving self practice, casing with an expert, and key networking directions).

Rakan

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Hi,
there are 4 aspects of the application process you have to focus on:

  • CV and cover letter: prepare impactful documents that highlight your achievements, skills, and motivation.
  • Test: you should understand if your office assesses candidates with PST, SHL or Imbellus, since every McK office can use one of these 3 standards.
  • Personal Experience Interview: fit and CV questions to assess your personal impact, leadership skills, and entrepreneurial spirit. You should prepare impactful stories about your experiences that cover these 3 main pillars.
  • Case Interview: typical business case to evaluate your structure in approaching problems, problem-solving skills, and business sense. This is the most time-demanding aspect to work on. I recommend reading Cosentino's Case in point to fix the theory. Then, what will be really important is practicing mock cases with other candidates here on Preplounge.

Hope it helps,
Antonello

Hi,
there are 4 aspects of the application process you have to focus on:

  • CV and cover letter: prepare impactful documents that highlight your achievements, skills, and motivation.
  • Test: you should understand if your office assesses candidates with PST, SHL or Imbellus, since every McK office can use one of these 3 standards.
  • Personal Experience Interview: fit and CV questions to assess your personal impact, leadership skills, and entrepreneurial spirit. You should prepare impactful stories about your experiences that cover these 3 main pillars.
  • Case Interview: typical business case to evaluate your structure in approaching problems, problem-solving skills, and business sense. This is the most time-demanding aspect to work on. I recommend reading Cosentino's Case in point to fix the theory. Then, what will be really important is practicing mock cases with other candidates here on Preplounge.

Hope it helps,
Antonello

Originally answered:

Starting prep

Hi,

I would recommand looking into Victor Cheng´s material. he has 4 classic frameworks (profit / loss, business situation, M&A, and demand & supply problem framework) with which you can or should be able to solve most of the cases.

Hi,

I would recommand looking into Victor Cheng´s material. he has 4 classic frameworks (profit / loss, business situation, M&A, and demand & supply problem framework) with which you can or should be able to solve most of the cases.

Originally answered:

First steps - baby steps?

Hi there,

just one more thing and more on the broader strokes:

It immensely helps (for interviews, but overall life and career even more) to read some of the seminal books and articles that have shaped how we approach business and economics. The frameworks that consultants use are often a destillation of this.

Good examples are:

- The Innovators Dilemma by Clayton Christensen

- From 0 to 1 by Peter Thiel & Blake Masters

- Competitive Strategy by Michael Porter

- The McKinsey Mind by Paul Friga

- High Output Management by Andrew Grove

- Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim

- Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

- Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore

- Winning by Jack Welch

If you really want to read stuff on the cutting edge (great for small talk), you might want to look at things like

- Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom

- The second Machine Age - by Brynjolfsson & McAfee

- Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance

Have fun,

Elias

Hi there,

just one more thing and more on the broader strokes:

It immensely helps (for interviews, but overall life and career even more) to read some of the seminal books and articles that have shaped how we approach business and economics. The frameworks that consultants use are often a destillation of this.

Good examples are:

- The Innovators Dilemma by Clayton Christensen

- From 0 to 1 by Peter Thiel & Blake Masters

- Competitive Strategy by Michael Porter

- The McKinsey Mind by Paul Friga

- High Output Management by Andrew Grove

- Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim

- Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

- Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore

- Winning by Jack Welch

If you really want to read stuff on the cutting edge (great for small talk), you might want to look at things like

- Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom

- The second Machine Age - by Brynjolfsson & McAfee

- Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance

Have fun,

Elias

Originally answered:

First steps - baby steps?

Concerning step 1, i.e. reading materials and frameworks, I'am also working a lot with preplounge's boot camp. You have a good overview there. However, I'll also order Victor Cheng's book as the combination of both is certainly more effective!

Concerning step 1, i.e. reading materials and frameworks, I'am also working a lot with preplounge's boot camp. You have a good overview there. However, I'll also order Victor Cheng's book as the combination of both is certainly more effective!

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