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What to expect on the day of case interviews

Anonymous A asked on Jan 28, 2019

How do MBB firms pick which type of case to give to candidates who interview on the same day? I am particularly interested in how Bain and BCG choose what cases to give out to candidates. Is it up to whoever is interviewing? Or, do firms agree to give a same case to all candidates who get interviewed on the same day and get different cases on the next round based on the first round? Does one interviewer interview all candidates on the same day or do they have different interviewers for different slots? How do firms standarize the level of different cases that are given out to candidates who are intervieweing for the same position?

I ask with a plenty of understanding that yes, life is not fair. You take what you get and you are the one who can make a difference by figuring out how to respond to what's given to you! It never hurts to know what to expect on the day of interviews though. In addition to clarifying my questions above, if you have any other tips on what to expect on the day of your case interviews, feel free to share. Thanks!

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replied on Jan 28, 2019
Ex-MBB recruiting team, Now career guide/startup mentor, Captain at Sail Nation
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Hi Anonymous,

As an ex-Bain consultant, I would like to help you out with this. For sure with a numbered way :)

  1. I suggest you find more about your interviewer after learning who will interview you. Find his linkedin, biographies, facebook and such. If you can find out his MBA school or focus industries, then you can prepare accordingly!
  2. If number 1 is not possible, then focus on case industries and case functions that your dream MBB focuses on. For example, it is known/guessed that Oliver Wyman in Turkey focuses strongly on finance industry and Simon Kucher focuses on pricing problems.
  3. Interviewers may change the case or its difficulty for different candidates as each candidate has a different backgrounds, different experiences and different skills to be tested. The case for a MBA graduate would be different than the case for a fresh bachelor graduate.
  4. Mostly, the first round interviews are easier than the second round and final round interviews. Because the candidates for the first round are less prepared and not yet examined for the coming rounds.
  5. In addition to these points: as Vlad commented below, the case is up to who interviewing you and he may have another urgent meeting, so somebody else may show up for your meeting.

Feel free to contact me if you would like to talk in more depth and such :)

replied on Jan 28, 2019
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Agree with the others! No offense, but you are clearly concentrating on completely the wrong questions here! Get your case solving skills to the required level instead of trying to anticipate the topics that might come up! If you know how to approach, narrow down and solve business problems, then the topic is not important at all!

Cheers, Sidi

Vlad replied on Jan 28, 2019
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To be honest - I don't think this knowledge will help you. It will be much more productive if you just prepare.

The answer is - It depends:

  • Some interviewers have their own cases, others use cases from a bank
  • Some interviewers are doing multiple interviews in a row, others just come to one interview
  • Some interviewers are scheduled for an interview date, but then they have a client meeting and they are urgently looking for the replacement.

Pls, concentrate on prep. I believe you can spend extra time thinking about these variables only after solving 100+ cases:)


replied on Jan 28, 2019
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I'm with Vlad - even assuming you could anticipate the general topic of your cases, it wouldn't do you much good: we can completely change a case by simply modifying one word... The only way to really prepare is to understand case interview mechanics, and practice practice practice. Having some familiarity with a specific industry may help you, but it may also hurt you if that means you "think" you know the answer and stop thinking.

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