What should I work on preparing to enter I and II tiers consulting companies

Bain BCG field of focus Mck
New answer on Jan 23, 2021
4 Answers
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Eli asked on Jan 03, 2018
Currently Preparing for McKinsey and Bain interviews in late March

What should I work on mainly preparing to enter I and II tiers consulting companies?

I know that it differs from one to another (depending on one`s weakness), but say out of 100 hours spent (probably in reality around 500 hours):

How many hours on average should be spent focusing on:

-solving cases

-standard test

-fit questions

-envelope questions

-finding contacts in the company

-other things like reading the company`s published articles

Thanks in advance for your advice


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Anonymous A replied on Sep 27, 2020

100 hours sounds like a lot! When I was practicing, the ones who had done the most practice interviews ended up not getting the job. I thought they sounded too robotic and were not creative. I would aim for 30-40 lives cases (with 50 being a big maximum). After that you'll get robotic and it will hurt your performance. The rest of the time can be spent on practicing FIT (but again here, be authentic and do not rehearse), reading about different industries, and learning about the firms. I personally did 15 cases before round 1 (I wish I did more, glad it worked out, but I just didn't have enough time), and ~20 more for round 2. Got 2 MBB offers.

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Anonymous replied on Sep 26, 2020

Hi Eli,

Good question.

Generally, candidates spend over 100 hours cracking different types of cases to get prepared. All in all, preparations can take up to a couple of months not to be in a rush and to really get prepared.

You can start improving your networking in advance, not to worry about that during the preparation process for the interviews themselves.

The fit part is also very important. If you have an opportunity to practice it together with someone who has experience in round interviews, that would be great.

If you need any further help or coaching during the process, feel free to dm me.



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replied on Feb 23, 2018

Hey Eli,

I fully subscribe Mitch's points, but fell the need to add a small caveat: if you're applying to McKinsey you definitely need to devote a significant time to the fit part - I've seen so many candidates failing McKinsey simply because they didn't prepare well enough for the fit portion (it's really different from everything else you've done or prepared for other firms).

Best and good luck


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replied on Jan 23, 2021
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

Hi Eli!

In my experience, practicing 15-20 cases is sufficient, if you do it strategically. My recommendation is as follows:

  • Read up on the typical approaches and standard frameworks to get the concept.
  • Then, do 5-6 cases to get a practical feeling for what a case is like. Start with easier ones - e.g. market size mini cases, simple profit tree cases, etc. This will help you develop a rudimentary sense for how cases work
  • The next 5-6 cases should cover cases from all major types and help you gain the experience and comfort with standard frameworks and the thinking required for solving the cases.
  • Lastly, you will want to do 6-7 cases to hone your skills. Practice with people who understand what they are doing - experienced interviewers, coaches, etc. that can give you 1-2 main items of feedback after each case that you can then practice to apply and improve on in the next case. During this time, you should also practice to move away from off-the-shelf frameworks and tailor, or - even better - develop your frameworks specifically during the case.

The further you move towards the final interview, the more important it is to practice with experienced interviewers. While you can easily ask any friend or practice with peers for the first few cases, you should aim for qualified, professional feedback as you approach the finishing line.

However, keep in mind, that this requires a strong plan and strategic approach to the preparation. I regularly see people doing 30-40 or even more cases. While this can also lead to success, in my eyes, it is a bit of a waste of time, especially for experienced hires that often also have a regular job to do while preparing for the consulting interviews.

Let me know if this helps. I'm also happy to elaborate any of the above in more detail. DM me if you like.

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