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What time will someone without interview experience approx. need to prepare?

Felix asked on Oct 15, 2018 - 3 answers
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replied on Oct 15, 2018
Experienced strategy consultant, now running own consulting business
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As always: It depends.

And of course, there's Parkinson's Law: A task will take as long as it is given time to take.

But, in all seriousness, it is impossible to answer that question without knowing you. You may be ultra-talented, super-smart, have the personality that people want to marry you after one date, so you may be fine with just winging it.

Or you are a nervous wreck with the social skills of Rainman so you may never be ready...

The answer is probably somewhere in the middle. Do a couple of cases, maybe do a practice run here on preplounge and see how it feels. At some point you will start to feel at ease - then you're ready

replied on Oct 16, 2018
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Most people need to study > 100 hours to become proficient and not rely on luck too much. A typical preparation template here on PrepLounge looks like this (most common package is 5 sessions):

1. Early in the prep, do a couple of cases with coaches, to help you understand what "good looks like" and figure out where you need to go

2. Then, do a number of practice cases with fellow candidates

3. Mid-way through the prep, do another case with a coach, for course correction

4. More practice cases with fellow candidates

5. Near the end, do the last 2 cases with a coach for tune-ups and start preparing the fit

6. As needed, do some mental math as well

Obviously, you don't have to pay for a coach to give you pointed, personalized and actionable feedback... but it helps! Yes, I have a conflict of interest here - but I wouldn't coach if I didn't think I was making a difference, and the same applies to every other coach on PL.

I studied over 120 hours, and that's with a business background and >10 years of business experience. Some enter MBB after 10 hours of prep, but they are definitely the exception

Vlad replied on Oct 15, 2018
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It depends on several factors:

  • Role (e.g. it's much easier to pass the interview applying from a top MBA)
  • Company (McKinsey PST may require a lot of prep)
  • Prior background
  • Time you can dedicate per day (if you are working full-time it may take much longer)

Purely case prep requires a couple of months with dedicated 2-3 hours per day.