What to do if you know the case?

Anonymous A asked on Mar 07, 2018

Hello,

Some of my friends who had their interviews with the same office before me gave me the cases they received in their interviews. How should I react in case I happen to receive the same case in the interview?

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Juan Pablo replied on Mar 08, 2018
I did my internship in consulting and now I am preparing actively for interviews

Sometime ago I read that the best interview of a BCG´s Partner was when the interviewee told him that he had done the same case previously and when he changed it, he did such a good job that the attitude of being honest and being confident enough to do a different case, sum up a lot of points to him.

In the other hand, if you decide to stick with the case and ignore that you had done it before, just do it as you were doing it for the first time, being help by your confidence that you know how to do it. Don´t follow the suggested structure that the case suggested, because if they suspect that you have done it, you will be out.

Best

Francesco replied on May 31, 2018
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Hi Anonymous,

knowing the case, and in particular its solution, could be helpful (you obviously know where it is going to go); however it doesn’t mean you will necessary move to next round due to that. A consulting interview indeed tests several areas, which are not related to the solution only; as an example

  • Ability to structure
  • Personal attitude
  • Communication skills
  • Creativity
  • Ability to summarize information
  • Math

Knowing the case could actually be detrimental, in case you move “too fast” to the solution. In this way the interviewer will either think you are lucky or you knew the case.

As suggested, you may either keep the case (nothing wrong with it – as mentioned, it could be different later on) or ask to change it. In case you keep it, you should solve it in the traditional way (take time to think, structure, go back to your structure to gain time, etc).

Best,

Francesco

Vlad replied on Mar 07, 2018
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Hi,

Agree with Bruno. McKinsey casebooks have a lot of cases with similar company / topic / beginning but having different areas to analyze.

If you decide to keep the case - pls do the following:

  • Don't smile or show in any way that you know the case
  • Try to forget everything you know about the case and get back to your knowledge only if you are stuck
  • Build the structure and go through the structure in a way you would do that from a scratch
  • Still, take time to think and behave as natural as possible

Best,

Anonymous replied on Mar 07, 2018

Hey anonymous,

You basically have two options, that are entirely up to you:

  • you are honest and refer it in the beginning of the case; then, it's up to the interviewer to decide on changing or not to a different case (I've heard of people trying to fake they knew the case in order to avoid a case in a difficult industry or opening!!!)
  • you don't disclose it, and just do your best - sometimes, even if the beginning of the case is the same, the development might be different btw

Best

Bruno

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