Practising cases only on your own is no substitute for live practice with other candidates.
Believing that you can practice cases only on your own will lead to rejection. In our experience in placing 100+ candidates at the Top 3 firms, we have never seen anyone get the job without practising at least 25+ cases with someone playing the role of the interviewer. Our candidates that did not practice that much were all rejected.
That said, we do recommend candidates do some practice on their own to perfect specific skills they may be falling short on. Here are the three ways you can do that.
Structure case questions on your own
By spending five or six minutes per case, you can read the case question, come up with a structure, and reflect on whether it could be improved. In five hours you will have structured 50 cases.
Former McKinsey consultants on our CaseCoach team made case structuring a daily habit for 20-30 minutes every day for two weeks leading up to their interviews. Commit to a schedule that works best for you and be prepared to watch how your structuring skills improve rapidly as a result.
Inside our Interview Prep Course, you will find 50 never-seen-before Structuring Drills where you can practice your structuring skills and learn from best-in-class examples.
Read case questions and their solutions
This approach is more passive than the first one, but it is a good place to start if you’re completely new to cases and are simply looking to understand what a typical case question and answer looks like.
This will also help you familiarise yourself with a variety of industries and question types. However, this method doesn’t work so well later on because it’s too passive to build proper case-solving skills.
Watch sample interview videos
This approach is similar to simply reading case questions and solutions, except this time you can be a fly on the wall of what a real case looks like between the candidate and interviewer.
Our Interview Prep Course includes a number of sample case interviews where candidates who have gone on to receive offers from McKinsey, BCG and Bain are interviewed. We show you what they did well and where they could have improved.
Again, while watching sample interview videos shouldn’t replace real-life practice, watching best practice candidates is a great way to enhance the skills you develop as you practice cases in real life.
Practice your numeracy skills
A number of candidates slip up on the numeracy elements of the case—despite studying numerical subjects at university—because they’re not used to solving math problems with pen and paper while an interviewer looks over their shoulder.
Fortunately, the math in case interviews is only high school level. If you’re not 100% confident you can solve percentage changes or break even analyses on paper, then it’s worth drilling yourself on these common problems. You can do this by using the Math Drills inside our Interview Prep Course.
You can also check out this article where we share tips on how to prepare for the numeracy element of the case interview.
In summary, practising key skills for consulting interviews can be done on your own, but it should only be used as a supplement to in-person practice with other candidates. Click here to check our practice room.