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What type of cases can I expect in the 1st round of interviews at BCG (German office)?

Anonymous A asked on Jun 15, 2018 - 4 answers

Hi, I made it into the first round of interviews at BCG Germany and was wondering if anyone has recent experience with that. I am (of course) particularly interested in the specific type of cases. Maybe someone knows which case types or even which specific problem definition I will most likely face. Cheers!

(edited)

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Dorothea
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replied on Jun 15, 2018
Ex-Oliver Wyman with 100% interview success rate - specialized in female career coaching
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Hi,

I agree with Vlad - there may be all types of cases, so it is important that you have prepared accordingly.

Cases during the 1st round tend to involve more calculations than cases during the second round do (this may only not be true, if you struggled a bit with calculations in the first round, but still get invited to the second).

In my experience, there is a high likelihood of receving at least one classic profitability case as well as a market sizing case as these are the easy ones to prepare for the interviewer.

In general, the 1st round will be rather case-heavy, however it is important to perform well on the personal fit part as well.

Best

Vlad
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replied on Jun 15, 2018
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Hi,

Actually all types of cases:) Below you can find a list of the most common case types and some high-level recommendations on structuring:

  • Market sizing - Marketsizing can be either a separate case or a part of the case. Structuring from the supply or demand side. Structuring using a formula or using an issue tree.
  • Profitability - basic profitability framework. Remember about different revenue streams and product mix
  • Market context cases (Market Entry, New product, Acquisition, etc). Always start with the big picture "market". Finish with something specific to the case (e.g. How to enter?"). Structure it as if you are defining the work streams for the real project.
  • Operational math problem (e.g. Should we increase the speed of an elevator or just buy a second one? How should we reduce the queues? Etc.) - Structuring as a process / value chain, with inflows, operations, and outflows
  • Cost cutting - I provided the recommendations on structuring it here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/operations-cases-mck-1105#a2134
  • Valuation - Purely financial structure with cash flows, growth rate, WACC / hurdle rate, etc.
  • Synergies - revenue synergies (price, qty, mix) and cost synergies (value chain).
  • Social / economics cases (e.g. How to improve the quality of life in the city? How to increase the revenues of the museum?) - huge variability. Practice 3-5 social cases before the interview

Also, I would try to focus on the most common industries in the following priority(sorted by probability of getting a case): 1-retail and CPG; 2-airlines; 3-Telecom; 4-banking; 5-natural resources; 6-tech

Best!

Anonymous B replied on Aug 11, 2018

Hi! Congrats on your interview with BCG--how did it go? Do you remember about how long it took between when you applied, and when you heard back/what was this proces like? If you have any insight at all I'd really appreciate it!
I will be applying to consulting firms here in Germany in the next month or so, currently learning about the cases and trying to improve my German to interview-level. Pretty nervous about the interviewing/working in German aspect (native English speaker from the US) but I really want to work in consulting and I definitely want to stay here in Germany.

Any insights at all would be incredibly helpful. Thank you in advance!

Konstantin Alexander updated his answer on Jun 18, 2018

Hi,

this is my first answer to a question here, but I thought, I might be able to give you an idea, as I have successfully passed the first round of BCG a couple of days ago.
The interviews were very friendly and down-to-earth.
In both interviews the cases made up to 50% of the time, however do not underestimate the importance of the personal fit questions, please.
My first case was quite quantitative and was about restructuring the fee policies of an online reatil bank, where I was given three graphs about different key numbers that had to be examined.
The second case was entirely qualitative, where we discussed (more conversational) how a certain sports association in Germany could improve the number of spectators watching the tournaments in the stadiums.


Again, I can only emphasize that what they were looking for was structure and creativity, not a framework. At least that was how I experienced it.

Overall, what seemed to be much more relevant, was open-mindedness, being honest with your answers and a friendly, "client-presentable" approach.

Good luck and all the best,

Konstantin

(edited)

Hi Konstantin! I will be applying to consulting firms here in Germany in the next month or so and while of course my first goal is to get an interview invitation, I'm currently fairly nervous about actually receiving an interview. I'm coming from a liberal arts background (I'm doing my Masters here in Germany but am originally from the US), so I'm only now learning about cases, etc...however, my main concern isn't cases so much as doing the cases/interviews in German. I'm obviously a native English speaker and have been learning German now for 2.5 years. My level is B2-C1, but I am of course still trying to improve my confidence/grammar/etc...my main concern is getting into the interview and my German mind going blank/not understanding the interviewer. While I'm guessing from your name that you are German, if you have any insight in which languages your interviews (with BCG and any other firms you've interviewed with) were conducted in it would be greatly appreciated! While I know certain things in consulting in Germany are conducted in English, I know the general company languages are in German. I love living here and intend to live here for the foreseeable future, so I want to get my German to this higher level, I'm just a bit nervous that I might not be quite there yet when my interview time comes. Thanks again for any insight! — Anonymous on Aug 11, 2018

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