What did you find most helpful when preparing for case interviews?

Pinan's picture
Rank: Senior Chimp | 26

I've done a decent amount of reading up on case interviews (case in point, victor cheng videos, consulting clubs at my uni) but still don't know where to go from where I'm at -- when I practice cases from case books I frequently struggle to find the correct "path" to go down that leads me to the solution outlined by the case book. I've heard people say some case interviews can be open-ended, while others can have a more concrete "path" that leads to a specific answer. Is it common for real case interviews to have only one specific path that the interviewee must go down to correctly solve the case? If so, how did you prepare yourself to the point where you felt confident that you'd be able to see the path the interviewer wanted you to follow to find the solution?

Comments (56)

Nov 14, 2017

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Nov 14, 2017

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Nov 14, 2017

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Jun 8, 2017

Just so we're clear, have you been mainly practicing interviewer-led cases (where the interviewer usually directs you down a specific path), or candidate-led cases (where you basically have to do everything yourself)? These days, the former is more common than the latter, although this isn't reflected in a lot of older case books. For reference, the interviewer-led model is also referred to as a McKinsey-style case.

Jun 10, 2017

The cases I've been practicing come from the post in this forum with all the free business school case books, most from Illinois and Wharton. I believe they're a mix of interviewee and interviewer led, but mostly interviewee led. Has anyone had the same struggle of not including the interviewer's desired path in their framework? It seems that as the case goes on it always becomes more clear, but the initial 30 seconds I take to come up with a framework after being given the case and gathering info/asking preliminary questions seems to never include the problem or beginning of the path of the case

Nov 14, 2017

Catherine1405, sorry about the lack of response. Maybe one of these topics will help:

  • Private Equity Interview Prep Pack- New Case Webinars Added projects for the week and then end the webinar with a Q&A from the audience. 8. Case Study Prep for ... interview table, looks for in a candidate during growth equity case study interviews. Sid will touch on the ... the WSO Private Equity
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  • More suggestions...

No promises, but sometimes if we mention a user, they will share their wisdom: @upperhandy @tvocale @Hayek

Hope that helps.

Nov 14, 2017

I think, to begin with, you should learn some fundamental concepts and logical solving problems behind the case through some free videos on Mconsultingprep.com or some books such as "Case interview Secrets". They equip you with business knowledge and intuition and enable you to crack any single case you can encounter.
Besides that, you can practice online cases. Most consulting firm websites have plenty of cases such as BCG, Bain even they have simulated videos about case studies.
Hope this is a good start for you!

Nov 14, 2017

Case interview is always the hardest part on the way to MBB, and you need a solid foundation as well as a rigorous study plan for it.

To pass this round, I refer (suggest) you to the E2E product, which I have bought recently. I noticed that this product has some good points when providing almost case interview concepts you will need. They also set those concepts into two group: The Intuitive and the Practical.

The Intuitive are those often with a business background and some real world experience. This concept requires you know a lot of the business words, terminologies. On the other hand, the Practical, are those with a compromised business background, but instead, master the methodology of the case interview. This concept requires you to know what to do in each and every step, how to frame a pitch, how to deliver a message in the best way possible.

With vivid presentation through video series, this product help you familiarize with both groups and steer you toward to master the art of case interview. If you are looking for a great resource for prepping case interview, you can give it a shot.

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Nov 14, 2017

I've actually seen firms besides consulting firms use the case interview. It's a good way to assess a candidate's thought process even beyond consulting.

Here's my opinion on how to approach the process:

1) Gather resources - gather as many past cases as possible, and consulting prep books within your budget. Ask around your friend groups who may have gone through the process in the past esp if you're at school. They likely will have some google drives or old pdfs and books

2) Skim- read through books, esp case transcripts. Understand the basic frameworks (ex. profitability, Victor Cheng's "business situation"). When you read through transcripts, follow along and write down notes. When a framework is whipped out, write down the framework. When a quantitative part of the case comes up, do the math on paper. When taking notes, you don't necessarily need to follow the exact same process of the text, you can figure out what works for you and what you understand easily.

3) Zero in - ask past consultants, look online, understand the specific format of the firms you are applying to. For example, McKinsey tends to do interviewer-led cases now. LEK loves market sizing. Look for past cases of those specific firms. You want to feel really prepared for the format when you enter the actual interviewer (because you've practiced those types of cases before!)

4) Practice with friends - this is the most important part. Practicing with friends is like 1000x more effective than practicing alone. It doesn't even need to be someone who's familiar with consulting. Alot of the value of practicing with friends is that they can give you feedback on what "sounds" like a good answer, which is almost just as important as the content of your case interview. You can also ask friends who currently work at the firms you're interviewing with to just spend like 20-30 mins on the phone giving you a practice case.

Hope this helps, this is what worked for me personally, but everyone has different preparation processes.

Array

Jun 8, 2017

Reputationally, BCG is especially known for doing candidate-led interviews, but I've interviewed at McKinsey, Bain, A.T. Kearney, Oliver Wyman, and Parthenon, and all of them gave interviews that I would describe as majority "interviewer-led." As a candidate, you're expected to lay out a framework/"plan of action" at the beginning of these cases, but from there, the interviewer generally points you in the direction that they'd prefer to take. At that point, they'll give you a graph, some numerical data, etc. It's up to you to make your own conclusions from that data, but the direction of the case was always very interviewer-determined in my experience.

Nov 14, 2017

Hi I am not a Wizard, check out these threads:

  • Those who got MBB offers: How many live cases did you do? for people who got McKinsey, bain, or BCG offers, how many live cases did you do to prepare? mbb ...
  • Preparing for a Case Interview? WSO has 15+ MBB Mentors. have been Engagement Managers, Case Team Leaders, or held other leadership roles at McKinsey, BCG, or ... what to expect, how to prepare for recruiting, and we also offer mock interviews for simulated, intense ... Adam has extensive experience conducting consulting case interviews from his time at BCG
  • Choosing between McKinsey, Bain, and BCG? McKinsey vs Bain vs BCG If you've worked hard enough to secure an offer at all three firms then ... In terms of pay and time off Mckinsey & Co. leads the group. Bain comes in first for best work ... whole, Mckinsey and Company pays its first year associates the best by a large degree. MBB: Management
  • Non-Target to Bain/BCG Intern referral for McKinsey, and they still didn't want to interview me. I was rejected from some OCR ... into interviews with LEK, Oliver Wyman, BCG, and Bain. I made it to the final round with all four ... me in an interviewer's mind, even if it's unintentional. The way to combat that for
  • Info on Mckinsey, Bain, BCG in BRAZIL Anyone here had experience with McKinsey, Bain, or BCG in Brazil? I am looking to interview and ... offices. Appreciate any possible info! interview jobs Bain McKinsey BCG Case Brazil ... want to get a feel for how the corporate culture differences down here compared to Nort
  • "Why BCG (or McKinsey? Bain?) " type of interview question Hi Folks! I was wondering what is the best way to tackle this seemingly innocuous interview ... question "Why BCG?" What things should I mention in my answer? Thank you very much! mbb BCG ...
  • McKinsey Interview vs. Bain Interview vs. BCG Interview Non-Target with Bain and BCG this week. WSO- I really need your help. How do the B's interviews differ ... from McKinsey 's? What should I expect and should I prepare any differently? More Case, Less Case ... So I have made it to final rounds with McKinsey but just got a pair of first rounds from ...
  • No offer from 2 MBB internship interviews, how to recover? I interviewed with them for their internship programs. Besides practicing cases, what's the best way I can ... prepare myself for this upcoming recruitment season? I probably did about 50-60 practice cases prior to ... Bain and BCG (Bain was 1 round and BCG was 2, didn&#
  • More suggestions...

Or maybe the following users have something to say: @adschifter @VenHasen @MBAhopeful17

Hope that helps.

Nov 14, 2017

There's a lot of resources out there, books etc, but I think prep websites are the best because you get a variety of resources in one place, and more interactive content. There's a lot of these as you probably know, the bigger ones being preplounge, Mconsulting Prep... I'd recommend two "smaller" ones which are more geared towards exclusive, original, high-quality content: Firmsconsulting and Vocaprep (which has a detailed video format course, podcasts, cases to practice with, a tool to find practice partners...).

Ultimately it depends on how you prefer to learn, but there are some key elements to practice:
- review basic math skills
- read up on the case interview content/ structure
- practice cracking cases on your own
- eventually, practice with peers -- this is important, especially to get feedback

As for how many hours you should put in, there's no set number, but usually the more the better. You'll reach a point after having practiced with enough different cases where you feel comfortable tackling any kind of case.

Jun 10, 2017

Sort of related to OP's question, but here are a few tips I found useful:

1) Immerse yourself in business while recruiting. Read the WSJ over breakfast or work your way through a business book if you have time. You may not realize it, but you pick up so much from these resources. Just being able to talk intelligently about business goes a long way, and I think reading helps with that.

2) Write down a few areas for focus/improvement at the start of each case. Keep this sheet of paper/word doc/whatever visible during the case so you can keep referring back to it. For example, I would often write down "be deliberate with your math and speak it all out" which I found helpful. You can evaluate your performance on what you wrote down after the case is over.

3) Extending on the post above, definitely debrief with your partner at the end of every case. You will improve more if you keep track of what you did right/wrong.

4) (Like the poster said above) try to case with the best partners possible. I definitely improved from being exposed to others solving cases at a high level.

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Nov 14, 2017

Victor Cheng's videos on Youtube are a good place to start.

Nov 14, 2017

There's no reason for you to start this early. A little over a month should be enough prep.

Nov 14, 2017
pnb2002:

There's no reason for you to start this early. A little over a month should be enough prep.

There is definitely reason to start this early. It's never too early to start. For me, the key to success was allowing time for the frameworks/questions to "sink in" and become second nature. I would not have been able to secure an MBB offer if I started only a month in advance. Not everyone is the same, but that's my advice.

Nov 14, 2017

Yes, I do agree that you shouldn't sound "mechanical" during case interviews. So it's not a bad idea to start early, but make sure you avoid that.

Nov 14, 2017

The book Case in Point by Marc Cosentino was the best resource I used and still the best I've ever come across

I previously worked for McKinsey in London and have started a blog about consulting and how to get into it at www.theconsultingcoach.com

Nov 14, 2017
TheConsultingCoach:

The book Case in Point by Marc Cosentino was the best resource I used and still the best I've ever come across

Disagreed. CIP is good for skimming through to get a sense of what happens during a case interview, but not for actually preparing for them. (That's also the general consensus among my MBB class.)

There are a lot of other tools that are much better for case interview:
- David Orvahll's Crack the Case
- Victor Cheng's book / LOMS
- Wharton and Ross casebooks (easily found on the internet)

Nov 14, 2017

I'd say watch Cheng's videos, listen to LOMS and then just do a ton of live case interviews (and practice mental math). I disagree that you can start too early if your primary focus is on doing live case interviews and not on studying.

Nov 14, 2017

My off-the-cuff ratings:

Case in point - Pretty bad, outdated. It was once one of a few resources, but has been surpassed by many others.
Cracking the Case - Solid cases, especially the "starts" for solo practive. DO NOT both with any of his ridiclous acronymic frameworks.
Victor Cheng (youtube, Case Interview Secrets, LOMS, caseinterviewmath.com) - Solid. Not sure I'd pay for LOMS again, but if a friend has it, it's worth a listen.
MBA Casebooks - These are, by far, your best bet, if you can find them. Kellogg ('11 or later) and Wharton ('08 or later) are top of the heap.

Nov 14, 2017

trader.2, bummer your thread hasn't had a response yet. Maybe one of these threads could point you in the right direction:

  • Case Study Debt Financing Hey guys! I have been given a case study to prepare for an Investment Banking AC. They want me to ... your help. Case Study Debt Financing ... the company so I am really struck. Any suggestions on how to approach this? Thank you very much for ...
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  • Case study preparation- Debt Financing Hi, I have been given a take home case study to prepare. The case study asks us to recommend ... very much for your advice! debt financing case study assessment centre ... financials (EBITDA, and peers financials. Could anyone give me some advice on how to approach this? Thank you ...
  • Notes for Technical Interview Questions GGM is so sensitive to unknown assumptions, while an exit multiple is more understandable Case study ... piece of each formula, you will not (or at least you should not) proceed to the next round. How would ... helpful to determine how much debt would have to be raised)- Sources * Existing cash * New Debt * New ...
  • Case study interview for MBB consulting- 24 of my best tips on how to get in professors give you a grading rubric to explain specifically how your exam will be scored, case interviewers ... on how to interact with the interviewer during key stages of the case. When the interviewer switches ... one practices too many cases without trying to perfectly practice on how to create a relevant and ...
  • Finance Degree Worth More Than Accounting Degree? Career? Learn How to Network like a Master. Inside the WSO Finance networking guide, you'll get ... Finance would be worth it? IB jobs seem to be more favorable for Finance majors, but at the same time many ... degree. What do you think, Finance or Accounting? Is Finance a Good Major for Undergraduate Studies ...
  • Boutique IB on the spot case study HALP!!!! how to prepare for this? The case study is up to 1.5 hours long. The firm specializes in the following ... I have an upcoming on the spot case study for a small boutique on the west coast (US). This is an ... entry level analyst position (I graduated undergrad last month) and the case study is the 1st round ...
  • Case study model a question. I'm currently working my way through a real estate case study and I have been tasked with ... acquisition price in Year One. In regards to the Capital point above- could someone explain how this fits ... insight or help would be greatly appreciated. Model case study Real Estate capex ...
  • More suggestions...

If we're lucky, maybe these professional users will respond: @firstcalled @ToonArmy @Felix-Fu1

Hope that helps.

Nov 14, 2017

PM'ed.

Nov 14, 2017

bump

Nov 14, 2017

like anything - practice. look for case interview books on scribd.com
it's a great site and mostly if not completely free content.

if you can get your hands on harvard cases and the likes, analize the shit out of them, alone, with friends (who know what they're talking about) and make sure you understand all the workings of the business world.

"... then, lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it."

Nov 14, 2017
dreamtheater12:

Subject to the individual's level of experience, responsibilities will include:

* Performing quantitative and qualitative analyses on the wealth market and WMA
* Developing surveys and participating in interviews of WMA clients and advisors
* Working in teams and collaborating with stakeholders across the organization
* Developing and tracking project team activities and deliverables
* Communicating findings / recommendations and influencing the organization to act

This seems highly embellished by HR on bullet point 3 and 5...

Nov 14, 2017

anyone??

Nov 14, 2017

Skim through Case in Point

Nov 14, 2017

sign up for www.caseinterviews.com and watch the videos on the website. very helpful. and read case in point.

Nov 14, 2017

dreamtheater12 - how was the interview? im also doing rounds for a small consulting firm.

Nov 14, 2017

Are you able to provide any insight as to what the question ended up being?

Nov 14, 2017

Thanks! It's very useful stuff.

Nov 14, 2017
aspiringconsultant:

Thanks! It's very useful stuff.

No problem--glad the link worked!

Nov 14, 2017

thx

Nov 14, 2017

Yes you should. Just be respectful in your email and ask for more information regarding your case study. At least learn the format (paper? interview?). Most HRs would be friendly about this. Good luck!

My formula for success is rise early, work late and strike oil - JP Getty

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Nov 14, 2017

I'm very interested in doing this as well. I'll be in Houston all summer but if anyone around here would like to practice cases or if people are interested in practicing over skype, pm me.

Nov 14, 2017

I think there are a few study groups already going on...woudl check the groups. Also, if you haven't seen our case interview guide I'd check it out: //www.wallstreetoasis.com/guide/consulting-case-inte...

Thanks and best of luck!
Patrick

Nov 14, 2017

Use Case in Point, best case prep there is

Nov 14, 2017

I would recommend Victor Cheng's look over my shoulder advice over case in point. It's more targeted and less generic.

Nov 14, 2017
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Jan 11, 2019