Consulting brain teasers are well known. However, their actual use in interviews has been decreasing. Whilst previously brain teasers were used to assess how candidates performed challenging tasks under pressure, full case interviews are now generally preferred for this purpose.
That said, you should still know what brain teasers are, as you could still be asked to solve them in interview. Indeed, whether they come up in interview or not, they can still be a useful component of your prep. In particular, brain teasers make great exercises to build the specific problem solving mindset which is so essential consulting and which your interviewers will be looking for.
Try Out a Brain Teaser!
Here are a few examples of different kinds of brain teaser which you might encounter. Just scroll down for the corresponding answers!
- There are 12 black socks and 12 white socks together in a drawer. It is dark, and you cannot tell them apart. What’s the smallest number of socks you need to take out without looking to be sure of having a matching pair?
- Is there anything “interesting” about the following sequence of numbers?
- 8, 11, 5, 4, 9, 1, 7, 6, 10, 3, 12, 2, 0
- In a tiny cabin in the woods, two men lay dead. The cabin is not burnt, but the woods around it have burned. How did the men die?
- 3 socks. Assume the first sock is black. The second one could be black, in which case you have a matching pair. If the second sock is white, the third sock will be either black and match the first sock, or white and match the second sock.
- The digits are in alphabetical order. (Eight, eleven, five, four, nine, one, seven, six, ten, three, twelve, two, zero)
- It is the cabin of a plane and the plane crashed. This is known as a “Lateral Thinking” exercise, and it revolves around your ability to see that the word “cabin” can mean multiple things. multiple things.
Your Priority: Case Interview
Whilst you might be asked to tackle brain teasers, they will generally be present only as an add-on to the standard case interview. If you want to land any job in consulting, you are going to have to put in an excellent performance in that case interview - that you can be sure of!
This means learning to solve case studies. To be able to reliably solve cases every time will require you to learn a whole set of specific skills and background knowledge. Depending on your professional background, this might be pretty intimidating - but don't worry, MyConsultingCoach has you covered, with everything you need in one place! Let us explain...
Our case interview method
Our MCC Academy case interview course was developed with a single goal in mind – to help candidates succeed by teaching them to think, act and communicate like a world-class strategy consultant. After completing our course, you’ll be equipped not only to ace the interview process, but also to hit the ground running on day one of the job.
The idea of getting hired by acquiring the fundamental skills associated with the job might seem obvious. However, our approach is actually in stark contrast to the old-fashioned case interview systems you have probably have run into already.
These other methods simply have you memorise perhaps a dozen “standard” frameworks. This shortlist of generic recipes is supposed to allow you to answer any case question the interviewer comes up with. This is in spite of the fact that that cases will be based on real engagements, where major firms were forced to call in consultants as they couldn’t solve the problem in-house… In short, frameworks are unlikely to give you correct answers.
Our unique Problem Driven Approach allows you to tackle each case on its own merits, developing a bespoke solution to capture all of the problem’s unique complexities – just like a real consultant! We equip you with everything you need to know, starting from the ground up. Specifically, we can support you in:
- Understanding business fundamentals: Get your mini-MBA with our Marketing, Strategy and Economics, Accounting & Finance modules
- Learning how to crack cases: Identify the problem, build a bespoke problem driven structure, lead the analysis and how to provide recommendations.
- Accelerating your approach with our building blocks: Master profitability analysis, competitive dynamics, pricing discussions, among others to let you deal with recurring themes in cases without restricting you to simplistic frameworks.
Our coaching sessions
Coaching from a real MBB consultant can help even the best candidates pinpoint their weak points and turn them into strengths. As well as helping you master case studies, a coach will give you a new self-awareness of your profile and how best to position yourself for an MBB offer. Just as importantly, they will give you the confidence to know for sure you can succeed against such a formidable challenge!