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When do you show your interviewer your notes?

Anonymous A asked on Oct 13, 2018

I understand that it is reasonable to show the interviewer your notes when you communicate your structure and do the math. Should I show my notes during brainstorming or creative questions as well? Recommendation? Any other times I should show my notes?

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replied on Oct 13, 2018
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews
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You are certainly welcome to, but dont use this as a crutch. I never want to see notes for example, and expect you to take me through your structure and thought process well enough that I would understand with my eyes close anyway.

Note - I had a 2nd round interview with BCG via video conference, since a partner was OOO and the firm scrambled to find someone else available. I couldn't have shown my notes if I'd wanted.

Benjamin replied on Oct 15, 2018
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In general I reccommand to consider your interviewer as a client and yourslef as a consultant.

So basically you want ot share your note each time you feel it's needed for the good understanding of your oral message. Below the typical situations where to share notes but this could be done at other time as well :

- when explaining the initial structure

- when describing a value chain

- when synthetizing info. and findings of the case

- when moving to another section of your structure, especially if your were very deep in details before, getting back to your plan will help the interviewer follow the reasonning

Last but not least, if you have to share your notes, this means to make an effort to write as clearly as possible on your paper so it can be read easily by someone else.


Vlad replied on Oct 14, 2018
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  • Always show your structure and walk the interviewer through your structure with the pen at the beginning of the interview
  • You can also rotate your paper and show your structures during the interview, however since the structure during the interview are less complicates (not multi-level) - you don't need to do this


Anonymous B replied on Oct 13, 2018

I would show my notes everytime I took some time to develop a structure, specially if it is a more complex one.

So I generally reserve that for the beginning of the case, and for questions I am using a formula, such as in market sizing.

I would not show my notes in the recommendation, as recommendations should be action oriented, clear and concise.