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What kinds of cases in an interview for an applicant without a business background at BCG?

BCG Case Interview consulting The Boston Consulting Group
New answer on Jun 30, 2020
8 Answers
1.7 k Views
Marvin asked on Feb 17, 2020

Hey everyobody,

I am a 26 years old student with a background in medicine. I applied as visiting associate at BCG and I got an invitation for an interview in April. Do you have any idea/ experience with the kind of case I will probably be confronted with? Will they be different than the case a business student would have to face? I have absolutely no experience in solving/ dealing with case studies and I am doing my best to approach them. Do you guys think that a month of preparation (~3h/d) is a solid foundation for somebody without a business background? I am currently working full-time in a hospital and, to be honest, I am very exhausted when I come home, I am worried that I won't develop enough profiency until my interview. I am very helpful for every kind of advice.
Alle the best,
Marvin

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Best answer
Sidi
Expert
replied on Feb 17, 2020
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi Marvin,

  • You will face absolutely identical cases as everybody else. There is no difference and your background is 100% irrelevant to the type of case you receive.
  • From experience, my mentees applying from a full-time position need about 8-12 weeks to get to the required level if they start from scratch. My recommendation would be to allow for enough time - putting yourself under time pressure is very counter productive, and against the career impact of switching to a firm like BCG, a delay of one or two months is completely insignificant.

Cheers, Sidi

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Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 01, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Marvin,

Cases will be the same as for business background – no difference. In terms of the preparation, with 3h/day for 30 days you would end with 90h total – may be slightly short of what needed, in particular considering you could be tired and thus not particularly proactive. My suggestions are:

  • Reschedule for the following month if possible and/or
  • Use a coach to speed up preparation

Best,

Francesco

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Luca
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 28, 2020
BCG |NASA | SDA Bocconi & Cattolica partner | GMAT expert 780/800 score | 200+ students coached

Hello Marvin,

First of all congratulations for the invitation!
You will face standard business cases, the interviewer doesn't really care about your background since you will be a BCG consultant as the others with business background.
It's impossible to say if one month is enough without seeing your performance, but I would suggest to solve at least 40/50 cases before going to the interview.

Best,
Luca

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Nathaniel
Expert
updated an answer on Feb 18, 2020
McKinsey | BCG | CERN| University of Cambridge

Hello Marvin,

Coming from non-business background myself, I can assure you that the firm will give practically similar case as to others irrespective of their backgrounds.

As such, preparation is key, and usually a preparation of a minimum of 2-4 months is required, depending on the intensity of your engagement per day.

I would say for a month, 3 hours per day is on the low side, espcially if it involves learning and undrstanding the structure and how to solve a case, as it needs time for all the materials to seep within your overall understanding.

As with science / engineering approach, the key is to understand the governing equation, rather than memorizing the derivatives formula. Hence trying to get accustomed to the basic framework as much as possible and modify it according to the different forms of cases is recommended.

Hope it helps.
I wish you the best of luck and don't hesitate to reach out should you need further help.

Kind regards,
Nathan

(edited)

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Anonymous replied on Jun 30, 2020

Hi,

The case used in interview would be the same regardless of the candidate's prior background.
If there is totally no prior business knowledge, 1 months can be tight. 2-3 months probably work out better. Otherwise, if you already have some business sense by your own reading/studying, it is possible to expedite, but would suggest you get some professional support to make sure you get systematic feedback and have a clear understanding of your readiness before going in.

Best,

Emily

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Antonello
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 29, 2020
McKinsey | NASA | top 10 FT MBA professor for consulting interviews | 6+ years of coaching

Hi Marvin, you will be assessed with the standard cases you can find in the best libraries. No limitations based on your background. feel free to text me for some good materials to practice with.

Best,
Antonello

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Vlad
Expert
replied on Feb 17, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

You will have exactly the same cases, thus you should work on your business acumen

Business Acumen is all about building proper industry and functional knowledge. Here is how you can do that:

  1. Practice more cases with the other candidates. Try to start with the most common industries - Retail, Consumer Goods, Airlines, Banking

  2. Study the annual reports of the public companies in each industry. They have a good overview of the company and the industry.

  3. Get the industry information from relevant books, magazines, etc. We'll recommend some good reading in the next lessons.

  4. Study MBA cases. They have a good industry overview. You can purchase HBS cases here: https://hbr.org/store/case-studies

  5. Follow this course further and you'll learn a lot about different industries

For each industry, you should understand:

  • Revenue streams

  • Cost structure

  • Average margins

  • Key Performance Indicators

  • Industry trends

.

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 17, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello, congrats for the interview!

  • Regarding the cases you will have to face, they will be "normal" ones, just as everyone else who will interview for this position. Normally, each interviewer has his/her own case that they repeat candidate after candidate. Hence, it is completly regardless of who you are and what your background is. However, the FIT part will be totally tailored and in your case, as someone with an unsual background, will be deep (I know it for my own experience, since I am an architect, 100% weird too)
  • For prep, if you start from scratch, I would see it´s too tight -particularly, as you mention, since you are combining it with a full-time job-. In these cases, best is to call HR and explain that, due to how interested you indeed are to prep for this the best way you can, you will need to postpone it for some weeks. They will totally understand.

Finally, having guidance from a coach would save you time and point you directly into the DOs and DONTs.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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