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Would this Mistake Lead to a Rejection?

Bain
New answer on Jun 27, 2023
9 Answers
1.5 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Sep 24, 2020

I just had my Bain interview and in one (of two) cases I had to calculate the Revenue of a business. Once I got to the number the interviewer stopped me and questioned my figure. I ran through my numbers and confirmed then but he stated that while my calculations were off, there was something I was missing. I went through the question again and he said that it was from the beginning. I finally realized that in the prompt he stated that 50% of revenue was given to X source. I then got the correct number and he seemed to laugh it off but the process of checking my math took potentially over a minute. Is this viewed as a big negative, or if the case went well otherwise would it not be a dealbreaker?

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Best answer
Ian
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replied on Sep 24, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

I understand your need to know, but, my question is whether it's worth even worrying about this?

If I tell you 100% DID get rejected, how will that change what you do with yourself today, tomorrow, next week?

If I tell you 100% DID NOT get rejected, how will that change what you do with yourself today, tomorrow, next week?

It honestly is 50/50. It depends on how you did on the rest of the case. It's a ding for sure...but if you nailed the rest of the case AND recovered as quickly as you said you did, you'll be fine.

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Udayan
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replied on Sep 24, 2020
Top rated Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /12 years recruiting experience

Listen to Ian, he is a wise man :)

Don't worry about what you cannot change and try and focus on other interviews you have. No person I have coached has been a good judge of their performance during the interview. There are SO many factors you just cannot keep a track of all of them.

Best,

Udayan

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Ian on Sep 28, 2020

Ha, just saw this! Right back at you!

Francesco
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replied on Sep 25, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

The short answer is no one knows. Two math mistakes are usually a deal-breaker. Having said that it depends on the rest of your performance.

I agree with the other comments that it is not a useful question anyway, as you cannot change the outcome.

Instead, I would try to understand why you missed the initial information. That could be useful for future interviews.

Best,

Francesco

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Cristian
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replied on Jun 27, 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi there, 

It's totally ok to make mistakes in the interview. 

What matters instead is how you recover and manage to continue. 

Mistakes are also part of the job. Rebuilding the relationship with the client (i.e., the interviewer during the actual recruitment process) is what matters in the end. 

Best,
Cristian

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Robert
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replied on Sep 26, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

Even though the math part and being comfortable with numbers is a vital element in evaluating your performance, I have the feeling that it's sometimes a bit too overrated.

Making a math mistake (to be more precise: in your case it's actually more a logical mistake) is not the end of your interview process - IF you did very well on all other components of the case!

If it will lead to a rejection or not can tell only your interviewer finally, but don't worry too much about it - too late to change anyway.

Hope that helps - if so, please be so kind to give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

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Kobi
Expert
replied on Sep 25, 2020
McKinsey interviewer|EM @ McKinsey & Company | 100% fit interview success rate | Coached +20 candidates | Personalized interview

I wouldn't worry about it. As an interviewer, I don't check whether the candidate can do perfect math 100% of the time and whether they can always remember every detail and assumption from the case. What I try to get is the overall ability of the candidate to structure a quantative approach and then execute it consistently. If I will put this candidate in front of a client would they be bright enough to stay one step in front of the client?

While it may sound very subjective it is actually quite easy to assess - after you interview enough candidates with similar cases it is very clear who can do it and who can't. A small calculation mistake or a small assumption don't really make a difference.

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Anonymous replied on Sep 26, 2020

Hi A,

You have to wait to figure out the outcome.

It doesn't make any sense now to get yourself all upset. So just chill and be cool. The best you can do in such situations is to beat the odds despite making a mistake.

Next time pay more attention to detail and check all the information needed for calculations before you start them.

Best,

André

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Mehdi
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replied on Sep 25, 2020
BCG | Received offers from all MBB & Tier 1Firms | Supporting you secure your top tier consulting offer

Hi there,

Don't overthink it, you cannot change anything right now, so just chill :)

You cannot change anything right now, rather than learn from this mistake and try to focus more next time to avoid it. I hope you get a chance to move to the next stage with Bain, but no matter what happens, keep in mind that you should focus well in your interview, and make sure you validate your numbers with the interviewer before starting your calculations.

All the best,

Mehdi

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Clara
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Content Creator
replied on Sep 25, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Unfortunately (or not) nothing changes, hence is better to forget about it.

I did a similar mistake and still got hired in McK, if it helps you.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Ian gave the best answer

Ian

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