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Writing case at BIG3

Sergey

Hello, dear consultants!

I've applied to the top tier consulting company and got an invitation for the writing case. I explored all examples on the official web site and found out that it's quite a difficult challenge for me. Could anybody share your experience with me? On average, case includes 60-70 pages of text and graphs about the company. I'm expected to prepare 4 slides drawn with my hands for 1 hour. What are the main tips for this stage? Should I draw slides with the information from the case or should I invent something new?

Thank you!

(edited)

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Francesco replied on 03/07/2018
#1 Expert for coaching sessions (1800+) | Ex BCG | 900+ reviews with 100% recommendation rate

Hi Sergey,

The usual steps to follow in a written case are:

1. Learn how to define a plan of action and stick to that

2. Practice graph interpretation

3. Work on quick reading and quick understanding of key information

4. Practice quick math

5. Learn how to communicate your slides/answers (if required)

At the following link you can find a detailed description of each of these areas:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/hi-guys-who-has-experience-with-doing-a-bcg-written-case-any-ideas-on-how-to-prepare-for-this-suggestionskey-takeawaysexamples-are-more-than-welcome-thanks-a-lot-for-your-help-569

When you have also to prepare slides, quoting a previous answer I would also recommend to work on

#1: structure the order of the slides

Normally the structure for a 5-slide presentation is the following:

  • First slide sums up the question and provides the answer
  • Second, third and fourth slide have the supporting arguments for the first slide
  • Fifth slide has the next steps

#2: structure the content of each slide

There are three basic components for slides:

  1. Title
  2. Chart or data
  3. Label for chart

Many people structure the title as the mere description of what the chart is telling. A great title, instead tells the implication of the graph. Eg say the graph is showing a cost structure for a division. A bad title would be: Cost structure from 2005 to 2015. A good title would be: Cost structure of Division XYZ is not sustainable”. A great title would be Cost structure of Division XYZ is not sustainable due to ABC, assuming you have insides on the cause. The rule of thumb for the title is that if you read all the titles of the slides together you should get a clear idea of what is going on.

# 3: present the slides

When you present, I would suggest the following steps for each slide:

  1. Introduce the slide: “Let’s move to slide 2, which will show us why we have an issue with this division”
  2. Present the main message of the slide: “As you can see, we have a cost structure which makes for us not feasible to be competitive in this market”
  3. Provide details: “The graph, indeed, shows how our fix cost is XYZ, while competitors can benefit from economies of scale. Indeed…”

To answer your second question: you will have to use the information in the package to create slides, of course adding your own insides.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

Vlad replied on 03/07/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Here I've uploaded some written case samples here:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/zor4m49eyx5qxal/AABeUN6mtiGkWhEklRjszX2Oa?dl=0

The best way to prepare is the following:

  1. Prepare for a regular case interview - it helps a lot. Basically, prep lounge website is about it
  2. Practice reading cases fast and prioritizing the information. I found useful two sources:
  • Written cases you'll be able to find in google or in case books. I've seen a couple in "Vault Guide to the Case Interview" and "Insead Business Admission Test"
  • Harvard cases - either buy or try to find online. You can find a couple of MIT cases here for free: https://mitsloan.mit.edu/LearningEdge/Pages/Case-Studies.aspx Unfortunately free cases don't have the prep questions.

Check if the calculator is allowed. So far it was. If not - you have to train mental math. Basically, you need to develop 3 calculation skills:

1) Learn how to multiply double digit numbers (google fast math tips or The Veda math).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYrgjMubh-c

2) Learn how to work with zeros. Best way - always use 10^power instead of zeros

Example:

300x9000 = 3*10ˆ2 x 9*10ˆ3=3x9*10ˆ(2+3)=27*10ˆ5

Handwritten it looks not that complicated. If you get used to writing all the numbers that way, you will never loose zeros and all multiplications/divisions will be replaced with + or -.

3) learn the division table up to 1/11 (i.e. 5/6 = 83.3%). It will help you calculate any percentage problems

4) Use math tools (Mimir math for iOS, Math tool on Viktor Cheng website) to practice. Train, train, and train again

Good luck!

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