CONSULTANTS: How much practice did it take for you to pass your case interview?

Awhile ago, I went to a Boston Consulting Networking event. I asked a consultant how did he prepare. He said he had done at least 100 prep interview cases and also read through another 100!

What about you? Or any other tips on how you prepped for the case interview?

Comments (12)

Most Helpful
Jul 4, 2018

The guys who do 100+ cases are usually those who don't get in or if they do get in, are the ones that need to read email 10 times to make any sense of them. Over preparing at it's finest. I did around 20 and that worked well enough for me. The cases are mainly for structure and how you think, the rest is your personal business knowledge. You can do 100 cases but if you advise a pork company to expand into Saudi Arabia you'll get dinged from everyone.

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Jul 6, 2018

Actually heard a story about someone getting dinged from an MBB middle east office because in a market sizing case, they did not build in the assumption that half the market (i.e. women) could not work in the particular market.

Might be an exaggerated story though, because many women do now work across industries, even in Saudi Arabia.

Gimme the loot

Jul 6, 2018

That seems nuts but it's a fair consideration to make. If 5 years ago you did market sizing for an auto company expanding to Saudi Arabia and identified the target market as people between 18-25 (for a particular model) but didn't discount it by 50% to remove the women that could not drive at the time the client wouldn't be happy.

Jul 6, 2018

This is highly dependent on you and the quality of your preparation. Most important is to make sure you prepare the right way and internalize good habits early so you don't have to rewrite them later (learning via current/past consultants, past candidates or material like Victor Cheng's, at least to start and sprinkled throughout your prep).

I've met people who've done anywhere between 25 and 150 cases to get offers [from MBB]. Another BCG consultant said she'd done about 40-50 in a workshop call, stating that's around the figure MBB offerees do on average. I myself received about 80 and correspondingly gave about 80, the first ~30 or 40 of which weren't practiced properly, imparting habits I had to unwrite.

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Jul 7, 2018

This is a really helpful tip, thank you! That's true it can be hard to find experienced consultants who wouldn't mind giving you an interview and feedback when you're a student....

Jul 7, 2018

Read Case in Point extensively and understand how to adapt its framework to all cases. Rarely will you get one that matches the framework exactly (except market sizing questions), but things like how to cut costs, expand into new markets, etc. will come up in one form or another.

You have to take a step back and think logically during the actual case interview. Think about what you are really trying to accomplish and what the logical steps are to get there. Casing is only as hard as you make it.

As for practice cases, I literally did zero with a partner. I read through Case in Point and made sure I understood all of the different scenarios and I was fine.

Jul 7, 2018

Thank you so much! It's reassuring that you did fine w/o a case partner.

Jul 7, 2018

I'm of the opinion that you should try to be fairly natural in the interview room. That way you are guaranteed to come off as "human" and to never get stuck in a poor framework. With that being said, I probably only practiced around 8-10 ish live cases myself but proctored 60 or so for other people which helped. This doesn't work for everyone but I'd say if you get it and they are feeling good, there isn't a ton of benefit to continuing to practice just for kicks and it may even make you seem robotic.

Jul 7, 2018

this went well

Jan 3, 2020

Received an offer from an MBB firm. After the first-round interview, received a decision back within about one week and was invited to select a time for the final round interview. After the final round, decisions are meant to come out the day of in most cases (there are exceptions).

Jan 3, 2020