Although the actual case format can differ from one office to the next, preparation and practice is key to solving the case. Whether the firm is using a self-developed or standard GMAT test, your preparation plan should be more about enhancing your skills and knowledge in general than focusing in on a specific format or industry. Plan your practice and focus on improving the skills you will need as a consultant rather than focusing in on any one specific case. This will give you the confidence needed to deliver solutions regardless of what you are presented with. Knowing what to expect is good to know but should not decide your preparation plan.
Approaching Preparation From Two Angles
Let’s approach preparation from two angles. The first being general preparation and practice for learning and enhancing the base skills of a consultant. We will also look at specifically preparing for the Bain Written Interview, taking into consideration test formats, timing and what to expect.
Start With Basics
As a consultant, your problem-solving skills must be second nature for you. This can only be accomplished with the appropriate preparation and practice. You need to identify the fundamentals and then practice until you have accumulated the knowledge to apply and develop priority driven frameworks and structure that is not only customized but also client driven. So think big when setting up your preparation plan and remember to:
- Learn and enhance your knowledge of the core concepts and frameworks
- Enhance your problem-solving skills through practice case interviews
- Practice and enhance your strategic planning and skills
- Enhance your communication skills. (both oral and written skills)
- Practice and enhance your analytic skills
- Practice browsing rather than reading, this is important when you have to separate useful data from pages and pages of information, especially in the limited time
- Keep adjusting and updating your preparation plan to prioritize key areas of focus
- Practice with the same time constraints you will have in the test. This will enable you to hone in on key areas of practice
Practice With Written Case Interviews
Consider a study group or support partner that can assist you in practicing your problem solving and written case interview skills. There are a number of independent sites where you can find case interviews, even web-based forums, and groups that share experiences and offer support. You can also consider engaging with a personal consulting coach. Whatever you decide the key to preparation for a case interview is to practice, practice, and more practice! Use case interview and practice your analyzing, structuring and problem solving skills in different formats and industries. Taking time to apply the framework and structures will enable you to identify the areas you need to focus on practicing and allow you to adjust your preparation plan.
The Bain Written Case
The second round interview can include a written case which will call for you to develop a recommendation based on the challenge you are presented with. It is critical to keep in mind that there may be more than one potential action that your client could successfully take. You can reach out to the office to which you have applied to ask about the format of their interview. This will differ from office to office and as these cases are recycled, they are not constantly the same.
In general, with the written interview, you will be provided with 20–30 slide presentation what will describe a client's situation. You will receive 55 minutes to review the information to identify the key insights. You will then be required to prepare a handwritten recommendation prior to the start of the interview.
You will then be asked to present and discuss the recommendations. During the 40 minutes allocated to this, you will discuss the recommendation with the interviewer. It is possible but not always guaranteed that the interview may challenge your analysis of the facts. This is done to allow the interviewer to determine how you would handle the client when presented with the same challenges in the field.
- The test determines how persuasive your recommendations are, how you have analyzed data and identified key insights and how you have used those insights to recommend solutions.
- Pay attention to the time, prioritize and stay focused
- Be clear and concise, summarize your findings during the analysis and focus on delivering the details in your recommendations
- Not all the data will be valuable, practice on scanning the information and taking from it only what is needed to propose your recommendations
Want to learn more?
At My Consulting Coach we've tailored our course to teach you all you need to know to get that MBB offer .
Our case interview method
Our case interview course has been developed by MBB consultants with clear goals in mind - To teach you how to think, act and communicate like a world-class strategy consultant. By going through it you'll become equipped not only to ace the interview process, but also to be a top performer at your firm.
Other methods focus on helping you memorize dozens of frameworks and pre-packed structures. We take a different approach. We believe that distinctive candidates and distinctive consultants don't rely on crutches and that they use their own minds to solve the toughest problems. We're here to help them master the concepts and processes they need to be able to shine. We can support you in:
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Our coaching sessions
Coaching can help the best candidates to pinpoint their development points and turn them into strengths. They will give you self-awareness about your profile and how to best position yourself for that MBB offer. Equally importantly, they will give you the confidence to know you can succeed in such a challenging process.