How bad was your first ever case interview, and what helped you get better?


Bombed mine and I feel awful for wasting my interviewer's time. It was a complete disaster and it was evident that I didn't know what I was doing. I know there're resources like Victor Cheng and Case in Point, but those just didn't click for me. I feel terrible. If you're reading this, interviewer, I'm so sorry for wasting your time. 

Comments (15)

Sep 5, 2020 - 9:38pm

I know how you feel. Prior to IB, I tried PE recruitment for internships and the case interviews genuinely made me feel dumb. I know exactly what you're feeling right now but you just have to say, fuck it. It's whatever at this point.

  • Prospect in Consulting
Sep 6, 2020 - 12:12am

Only thing that helped was doing 20+ live cases with a ton of different partners on Skype. Found them on Hit or miss for partner-quality but you end up building connections with the good ones and end up with a number of very good case partners. Nothing else had quite that much impact on my performance.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Sep 6, 2020 - 6:39pm

This is me right now- reading resources and  doing practice cases (albeit just me right now as don't want to waste anyone's time) and everything seems straightforward but then when it comes to solving- it seems like I have no clue what I'm doing about halfway through a case.   

Sep 8, 2020 - 10:39am

Don't worry about it. My first bombed interview was for S&T and I got destroyed on every question.


If it makes you feel better, having been on the other side of the table for years now, we prefer people who bomb over a lot of other candidates (liars, arrogant kids, ppl who ask u 100 questions in Q&A and don't shut up, ramblers, etc.) If you bomb, you save us time and we're usually thinking about work or when we can get back home anyways.

Sep 8, 2020 - 4:21pm

I studied engineering in undergrad but didn't want to do it, so I interviewed for some consulting jobs. Now it's common in engineering to use engineering notation for numbers, it's similar to scientific notaion (7.3 x 10^5 or whatever), but instead of just one sig fig and then the decimal, you always make sure the exponent is a power of 3 (using the previous example, 730 x 10^3, or just 730E3). Helps a lot when dealing with kilo-, mega-, giga-, etc. a lot. I still use it since we make the same breaks for dollars (thousands, millions, etc.). In my interview I kept writing and talking about all the numbers in engineering notation since it's so much easier to do the mental math that way, and my interviewer was so confused, he made me stop two or three time for me to explain the math again because he didn't understand what I was doing. Needless to say, I did not get that job. 

  • Associate 2 in Consulting
Sep 9, 2020 - 6:47am

When I first started out doing cases I wasn't bad at the calculations and business rationale of things, but sucked at the assumptions. I had one case where I had to estimate the market value of protein bars in the UK and I came up with something like $3B instead of $200M or so because of some very wrong assumptions at the start.

Sep 11, 2020 - 10:53am

Sometimes on big assumptions I'll point out to the interviewer that I'm about to make one and ask them "does this sound reasonable to you?" If it's something you interact with every day like coffee don't fuck up on an assumption, but it's totally understandable if you don't know how much the average gas grill costs if you've never bought a grill before

Sep 10, 2020 - 8:55am

An interview is always a learning experience, if your interview hasn't been great then you should have more takeaways from it. Being optimistic is the key. 

Visionary | Lead | Enthusiast
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