How to Prepare for a Case Interview at a Top Consulting Firm

Case study interviews at top consulting firms like McKinsey, BCG and Bain are no easy ride, but you can give yourself the best chance of success by dedicating time to preparing for the interview. If you’ve been invited to interview then it’s not an opportunity to be missed by poor preparation. It takes multiple weeks to fully prepare for case interviews, so don’t leave it until you’ve got an interview invite to start doing the work.

Practice cases

While it might be cliche, ‘practice makes perfect’ is true in relation to case interviews.

We’ve found that it takes at least 25 live case practices, as both the interviewer and interviewee, to reach a good level of case proficiency. Playing both roles of the interview is useful as you will learn something new in both cases.

Your practice time needs to be well spent to really benefit from putting the effort in. To make sure you’re maximising your time use:

  • The interview scorecard provided in the Interview Prep Course so you know how you’re scoring against the dimensions being tested
  • High-quality cases that closely resemble the ones you will face in real interviews, test the right skills, stretch your abilities, and where a top-mark answer is provided
  • Good case partners who can deliver a case well and give you useful feedback

Learn the theory

Practising case interviews is essential, but so is understanding the theory behind them and learning the best techniques to solve cases effectively.  

Once you’ve done at least a few live practice cases, begin to learn the theory behind what it takes to complete a great case interview. But make sure you use high-quality resources.

Most of the case preparation material out there is sub-par and too surface level. There’s no use in wasting time on over-complicated case books or preparation material that only cover half of what you need, so make sure to invest in and corral the best resources you can find.

We also recommend watching videos of interviews where feedback is given on how well the interviewee does, so you can see what a great case interview looks like in practice.

Overall, quality is better than quantity and it’s important you learn from the best. Our Interview Prep Course is exactly where you can do that.

Develop the key skills

It is unlikely that someone will get a job in consulting just by having exceptional numeracy skills, but it is likely that someone won’t get the position if they don’t have them.

Unless you use maths in your life day to day, it is always helpful to brush up on your mental maths and do a number of drills every day to ensure you’re in the best shape possible going into a consulting interview.

Structuring and drawing insights from exhibits are two other key skills you must master, or risk receiving a rejection. Similar to numeracy, you can practice these skills in isolation outside of a case interview by using our 50 structuring drills and 50 exhibit drills in the Interview Prep Course.

Get good feedback

Don’t waste time practising cases and receiving feedback from people who don’t know what great looks like for case interviews.

Your ability to improve your case solving skills is directly correlated with the quality of feedback you receive, so make sure you’re soliciting practice and feedback from people who know what to look for when it comes to results.

You can do this by practising cases with current and former consultants, doing interviews at Tier 2 firms or other consultancies you’re not as excited to join, or working with a case coach to receive detailed feedback and coaching on your performance.

If you implement the four strategies we talk about here—practice, learning the theory, developing the skills, and soliciting high-quality feedback—you’ll be well on your way to succeeding in your interviews.

The most important element we see many candidates fail to do is get good feedback from people who know what a great case interview performance looks like.

To make sure you don’t make the same mistake, we recommend investing in your success by booking a case coaching session with former management consultants here.

  • Get our free prep material

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