expert
Expert with best answer

Sidi

99% Recommendation Rate

390 Meetings

2,793 Q&A Upvotes

USD 319 / Coaching

3

Why there is a difference in case interviewing approach?

One way of differentiating types of interviews is by the person who is leading the interview: whether it is interviewer led or interviewee led. For example, McKinsey is interviewer based and BCG is interviewee led.

I’m curious what drives this difference? Why does McKinsey prefer the first type and BCG - the 2nd type? Does this case interviewing approach reflect their way of managing real projects?

One way of differentiating types of interviews is by the person who is leading the interview: whether it is interviewer led or interviewee led. For example, McKinsey is interviewer based and BCG is interviewee led.

I’m curious what drives this difference? Why does McKinsey prefer the first type and BCG - the 2nd type? Does this case interviewing approach reflect their way of managing real projects?

3 answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best Answer
Book a coaching with Sidi

99% Recommendation Rate

390 Meetings

2,793 Q&A Upvotes

USD 319 / Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

given that I have done recruiting for both McKinsey and BCG, and hence have interviewed many applicants in both styles, I believe I can give a comment here. :)

The difference is essentially rooted in two different philosophies.

Candidate-led case style (BCG et. al): Here, the candidate's conceptual thinking ability, his ability to hypothesize and prioritize, as well as his leadership capacity to drive problem solving forward are under scrutiny. The interviewer will get try to get a holistic picture of the candidate! And over the course of 4-6 interviews, consistency of the candidate's process rigour is verified. Most firms have adopted this style.

Interviewer-led case style (McKinsey): McKinsey believes that a defined and limited set of qualities and abilities determine a consultant's success within the Firm. Hence, interviewers double down on these abilities in order to test them in a very focused way. This leads to the interviewer-led case style, which sometimes feels like multiple mini-cases under a common thematic umbrella. You can also see this philosphy in how McKinsey runs the fit part, which is much more focused compared to other firms: the Personal Experience Interview (PEI) at McK scrutinizes 3 defined dimensions in extreme detail (vs. more open discussion formats at other firms like BCG).

Cheers, Sidi

Hi Anonymous,

given that I have done recruiting for both McKinsey and BCG, and hence have interviewed many applicants in both styles, I believe I can give a comment here. :)

The difference is essentially rooted in two different philosophies.

Candidate-led case style (BCG et. al): Here, the candidate's conceptual thinking ability, his ability to hypothesize and prioritize, as well as his leadership capacity to drive problem solving forward are under scrutiny. The interviewer will get try to get a holistic picture of the candidate! And over the course of 4-6 interviews, consistency of the candidate's process rigour is verified. Most firms have adopted this style.

Interviewer-led case style (McKinsey): McKinsey believes that a defined and limited set of qualities and abilities determine a consultant's success within the Firm. Hence, interviewers double down on these abilities in order to test them in a very focused way. This leads to the interviewer-led case style, which sometimes feels like multiple mini-cases under a common thematic umbrella. You can also see this philosphy in how McKinsey runs the fit part, which is much more focused compared to other firms: the Personal Experience Interview (PEI) at McK scrutinizes 3 defined dimensions in extreme detail (vs. more open discussion formats at other firms like BCG).

Cheers, Sidi

(edited)

Book a coaching with Vlad

97% Recommendation Rate

388 Meetings

7,316 Q&A Upvotes

USD 299 / Coaching

Hi,

  1. First of all - it is a myth that at McK or BCG absolutely all cases are Interviewer-led. I know a lot of partners in both companies who don't hesitate to ask the interviewee led the case.
  2. Secondly - indeed almost all Bain cases and many BCG cases are interviewee-led. Thus you have to drive the case and you have to come to a certain number and the conclusion in the end.
  3. The reason for that is timing - BCG and especially McKinsey spend more time on the FIT stories (Structured stories - Personal impact, leadership, etc), while at Bain they just ask a couple of questions (a story about yourself, your motivation to work in consulting and Bain, no fit stories). If you want to save more time for FIT questions you need to guide the interviewee and prioritize his analysis and efforts

It may seem to you that these 2 types of cases are different, however, the interviewer-led type is just a simplified version of the interviewee-led case. My advice is to prepare a lot in the interviewee-led format so that you could solve both easily.

Best!

Hi,

  1. First of all - it is a myth that at McK or BCG absolutely all cases are Interviewer-led. I know a lot of partners in both companies who don't hesitate to ask the interviewee led the case.
  2. Secondly - indeed almost all Bain cases and many BCG cases are interviewee-led. Thus you have to drive the case and you have to come to a certain number and the conclusion in the end.
  3. The reason for that is timing - BCG and especially McKinsey spend more time on the FIT stories (Structured stories - Personal impact, leadership, etc), while at Bain they just ask a couple of questions (a story about yourself, your motivation to work in consulting and Bain, no fit stories). If you want to save more time for FIT questions you need to guide the interviewee and prioritize his analysis and efforts

It may seem to you that these 2 types of cases are different, however, the interviewer-led type is just a simplified version of the interviewee-led case. My advice is to prepare a lot in the interviewee-led format so that you could solve both easily.

Best!

(edited)

Hey anonymous,

This is a really interesting question. Let me share my view on the topic, purely from my McKinsey experience (as I've never worked for BCG): McK really cares (a lot!) about being structured and communicate super top down (that's one of the first lessions you learn as a new hire junior BA), and that's something you can only achieve (in better terms) if you follow an interviewer-led type.

Besides, it's much easier life for the interviewer.

Best

Bruno

Hey anonymous,

This is a really interesting question. Let me share my view on the topic, purely from my McKinsey experience (as I've never worked for BCG): McK really cares (a lot!) about being structured and communicate super top down (that's one of the first lessions you learn as a new hire junior BA), and that's something you can only achieve (in better terms) if you follow an interviewer-led type.

Besides, it's much easier life for the interviewer.

Best

Bruno

Related BootCamp article(s)

Getting Up to Speed

In order to repeatedly demonstrate prerequisite skills under the pressure of a real case interview, you need to learn the basics and practice cases.

1 Q&A

Related case(s)

Espresso, Whatelse?

Solved 2.6k times
Espresso, Whatelse? Espresso Whatelse is an Italian company that produces coffee and espresso machines since 1908. It is the Italian market leader and has a strong presence overall in Europe. In 2019, Espresso Whatelse has increased its revenues but it has seen declining profit margin. Your client wants to understand the root causes of this 2019 trend and how to increase its profit margin again.  
4.6 5 109
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

Espresso Whatelse is an Italian company that produces coffee and espresso machines since 1908. It is the Italian market leader and has a strong presence overall in Europe. In 2019, Espresso Whatelse has increased its revenues but it has seen declining profit margin. Your client wants to understand ... Open whole case

MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education

Solved 2.0k times
MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education Our client is SmartBridge, a nonprofit educational institution offering face-to-face tutoring services. The client operates in the US. The mission of SmartBridge is to help as many students as possible to complete studies and prevent that they drop from the school system, in particular in disadvantaged areas. The client is considering starting operations for its services in the Chicago area. They hired us to understand if that makes sense. Due to the nonprofit regulation, SmartBridge should operate on its own in the market, without any partnership. How would you help our client?
4.7 5 70
| Rating: (4.7 / 5.0)

Our client is SmartBridge, a nonprofit educational institution offering face-to-face tutoring services. The client operates in the US. The mission of SmartBridge is to help as many students as possible to complete studies and prevent that they drop from the school system, in particular in disadvant ... Open whole case

Hot Wheels

Solved 400+ times
Hot Wheels Problem definition: Our client is Korean Car Parts (KCP), a multi-national original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of car parts based in Korea. They've recently seen a decline in profits and have brought us in to understand how to address this falling profitability.
4.4 5 14
| Rating: (4.4 / 5.0)

Problem definition: Our client is Korean Car Parts (KCP), a multi-national original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of car parts based in Korea. They've recently seen a decline in profits and have brought us in to understand how to address this falling profitability. Open whole case

McKinsey Digital / BCG Platinion: Oil & Gas Upstream Technology

Solved 300+ times
McKinsey Digital / BCG Platinion: Oil & Gas Upstream Technology [PLEASE NOTE: This is a technically difficult case and should only be completed by those coming in as a Technology specialist, i.e. recruiting for McKinsey Digital, BCG Platinion, etc.] Our client is a multinational oil and gas company. While they are vertically integrated and have upstream, midstream, and downstream divisions, they have recently been experiencing competitivity issues in the upstream gas division, which brings in $1B in profits annually. Our client’s upstream division has offices in Australia and Indonesia. Their work is highly dependent on their IT systems, as they have to constantly monitor wells and pipes (pressure, hydrocarbon count, fluid makeup, etc.) The upstream division has two large legacy IT systems that are primarily used for downstream operations but have been modified for upstream purposes. These systems are managed by a central team in the US which is responsible for all IT issues across the business. They triage issues/enhancements and then manage development teams in India and Finland who complete the work.
4.3 5 11
| Rating: (4.3 / 5.0)

[PLEASE NOTE: This is a technically difficult case and should only be completed by those coming in as a Technology specialist, i.e. recruiting for McKinsey Digital, BCG Platinion, etc.] Our client is a multinational oil and gas company. While they are vertically integrated and have upstream, midstr ... Open whole case