What follows is a success story from a student who received offers from McKinsey, BCG and Booz with only a limited amount of time to prepare. This student shares his preparation and experience in the case interview process. I also follow-up with some advice on the importance of developing your analytical problem solving skills.
I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude for providing your case interview study materials on-line for free access to the world.
I applied to 3 selected firms that I felt a connection with (McKinsey, BCG and Booz) and received offers from each of them.
As I was about to travel overseas on volunteer work, I had a very condensed interview process with each firm (including one day with 6 straight case interviews in 8 hours!) and only a few days to practice before my first interview.
To tell the truth, once I found your website, I decided to use it exclusively and didn't even consider checking anywhere else as it seemed to have everything one could potentially learn about the recruitment process. Also, having to remember only two frameworks (Profit and Business Situation) is so much easier than the other complex alternatives that I discovered after completing the interview process.
I found your materials highly relevant to the recruitment process and your interviews provided a broad picture of what to expect, which is what I felt was most important during my brief preparation time.
Although I only used the frameworks directly in 50% of the cases provided to me, having the flexible frameworks and list of useful questions in my head provided the confidence to be able to respond to any case questions that were thrown at me from any direction.
Towards the end of the process, I also appreciated the concept of mixing the frameworks together to solve the compound cases. It just started to come naturally after a while as they fit so well together.
I didn't necessarily "crack" each case given to me. I now understand the point you stressed about being able to show you can think logically and demonstrating that your line of thinking can be used repetitively to rapidly collect information from the client in order to reach a defensible conclusion. The most important part of the case that I found was the synthesis. Even if my analysis hadn't reached anywhere, if I could come up with a strong synthesis it seemed to turn the tide of every case.
I selected the BCG offer due to (1) the amazing culture of the firm and the personalities of the people I met and (2) as it provided a unique proposition (instant promotion from the entry-level Associate position that I applied for) that I was simply not expecting. I can definitely credit my in-depth understanding of your simple frameworks to this success.
My Comments and Insights:
Congratulations! I love hearing about people's successes.
On a note for others, the repeatability of the analytical problem-solving process is a very important factor that's generally under-appreciated by most candidates.
Think of it this way. If I'm the Engagement Manager on a project and I sent you on an airplane trip halfway around the world to get some data... and it's your first week on the job... and you're totally on your own. Can I trust your analytical process will eventually figure out how to solve the problem?
This is why candidates who cracked the case but did so by guessing or via totally intuitive thinking (even if the intuition is correct) can't be hired. It's not clear the process is repeatable.