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When to work with a consultant? (undergraduate student no business experience)

Bain & Company Case Interview McKinsey
Recent activity on May 24, 2023
5 Answers
992 Views
Anonymous A asked on May 23, 2023

I've recently started my case interview preparation. Here's my current plan: reading sections of "Case in Point" every day, reading 1-2 articles a day, listening to McKinsey and Bain podcasts, and practicing mental math online (turns out I suck at it).  I haven't practiced any cases yet as it's only been three days of preparation and an article online said to take a week of understanding before trying out any cases. 

The applications for full-time positions at Bain and Mckinsey close in early July. I want to work with a consultant on prep lounge, but, I want to be 60-70% prepared when I approach a consultant. I have a full-time internship and a full summer course load. Working 16 hours a day every day is starting to get overwhelming so I want to make sure I am as efficient as possible with my preparation.

I'd appreciate suggestions on how to further prepare myself before consulting a professional because the more I read case in point, the less I feel like I actually know. Additionally, given my limited time (1 month) before applications are due, do you think I have enough time to sufficiently prepare? It seems like most individuals have already applied in the past, giving them at least a year of case preparation ahead of me and others on reddit prepare for at least 6 months.

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Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 23, 2023
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

1) I'd appreciate suggestions on how to further prepare myself before consulting a professional 

In terms of general tips, I would recommend the following:

How to Prepare for a Consulting Interview

If you want to have at least 2 coaching sessions, I would recommend to do the first as soon as you have read/done 5 cases (so that you know the basics). The coach should then help to create the right foundation and develop a prep plan for you as well (you can ask if they can do so via message before having the session). You can then schedule the last session close to the interview.

The additional advantage of a coach is they could help to find referrals as well in case you need them. Given the current recruiting situation, I would highly recommend to look for them.

If you wait till late to do a coaching session you risk to internalize bad practices and waste time. From what you shared, some of the activities you are planning to do are not effective and you could improve faster with other steps/material (if you want please feel free to PM me for details).

2) Additionally, given my limited time (1 month) before applications are due, do you think I have enough time to sufficiently prepare? 

The time needed to prepare depends on:

  1. The time you have available per day
  2. The material you use
  3. Your current level

So it is difficult to comment without knowing the above.

Most candidates need 100+ hours to be ready starting from zero if they prepare on their own, but that depends as well on the variables above.

If you need more help please feel free to reach out.

Good luck!

Francesco

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 24, 2023
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

Ok, so, really important, the most effective case prep depends on the individual.

Do what works for you. However, always self-assess and go why am I doing this and is this helping.

Here is my main advice (again, it does depend, but this is the most “true”):

  1. Drop case in point. It's outdated/not optimal use of learning time
  2. Get casing (in 1 week is fine). Do more than 2/week and fewer than 10 per week
  3. Save your cases and review them periodically
  4. Case other people in cases that you struggled in
  5. Don't wait for 60-70% prepared. I recommend you start coaching at 30% (just the first session as least)
  6. Keep up the reading + podcasts! (Consider The Prof G show, robinhood snacks, and skimming the FT)
  7. Stop working 16 hours/day. You need to change something. You need time/energy and headspace. Find a way to cut your hours
  8. Don't worry about the 6-12 month folks. 2-3 months until interview is ok.
  9. Feel free to reach out to me when ready. I love your work ethic and would love to support you!

Here's some reading to help:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/articles/pitfalls-case-interview-preparation

https://www.preplounge.com/en/articles/how-to-shift-your-mindset-to-ace-the-case

 

  1.  
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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 23, 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi there, 

It sounds like you're really trying your best, but actually I'd suggest pretty much the opposite of what you're doing. 

If you want to be effective and efficient about the process (basically to get as much out of every hour that you invest in the prep), then I'd get an expert assessment ASAP. A coach would help you understand what you're doing well (and should be doing more of), and what needs to change, how to change it and then provide materials for that. This way you'll be working in a very targeted manner on what is necessary for you to improve on. 

I'd also drop the podcasts, ‘case in point’ and everything else and actually start practicing cases. At the moment it seems like you're boiling the ocean / beating about the bush a bit :) even though you are so motivated and have high aspirations. 

Feel free to reach out and we can carve out a working plan together to get you faster where you need to be. 

Best,
Cristian

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Pedro
Expert
replied on May 23, 2023
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

I suggest dropping “case in point” ASAP. Its a sure recipe for… failure, as it “teaches” you to approach cases with the wrong mindset, one where you memorize frameworks and try to apply them to “case types” regardless of case specifics (and a few more other relevant mistakes). I strongly warn against that material at this point.

For a very quick primer, I believe that Victor Cheng's videos (just google) are a quite decent material. It is still based on the “buckets” mindset which is it's major flaw, but it is a much better resource to explain you the mechanics of a case. 

Regarding articles and podcasts… you are wasting your time. It's very passive training and 99% of it won't be relevant for your preparation. Use the resources section here at preplounge instead or a MBA case book (e.g. Darden MBA case book is a good resource to explain you business concepts and industry issues).

Reserve some time to prepare for market sizing / estimates.

And start doing cases. You can start on your own, but then practice a few times with peers. You will only understand how to prepare once you start doing cases… before that it will all feel very distant to you and you won't be able to absorb much before doing those first few cases.

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Anonymous replied on May 23, 2023

Dear candidate yes,

 

Focus your prep more effectively.

A) Practice an all round set of cases and very challenging cases, this way you have a great mix of opportunities. Also if you could, be sure to practice in sessions, do active live cases throughout.

B) Master case excellence, for example arrive as fast as you can at the right conclusions.lwarn to structure, to deduce hypothetical conclusions, to summarise cases but by bit and drive them throughout section by section. Ti weigh in what your conclusions means to the overall case.

3) network ahead of time, chances are often better if you networked and are able to mention your experiences in interviews.

 

Best regards,

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Francesco

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