BCG Interview: How To Shine

BCG interviews are unique in several ways. Find out 4 specific things that you can do to shine at your BCG case interview. No, we’re not talking about the usual things like case timing, case structure, or case math. We’re talking about 4 specific things that are important to BCG. Listen to Jenny Rae as she outlines these things and gives you insights on how to shine at your BCG case interview.

BCG-Interview_-How-To-Shine, BCG case interview, boston consulting group interview, case interview prep

BCG Interview: How To Shine- YouTube Transcription:

The BCG case interview. It’s a beast like none other. And many people think BCG is the nice firm. BCG is the kind firm. BCG is the creative firm.Which means I don’t have to practice, I can wing it, and I can roll in and rely on my amazing personality. But none of that is true. For BCG we actually think their interviews are the hardest in the case interview in total. And there are many reasons why. There are 4 things that you have to do right to shine at a BCG case interview. And this cocktail is quite unique in the case interview universe.

Creative Structure, Yet Data-Driven

First, you have to make sure that your structure is rampantly creative, but still very data-driven. What does that mean? It means that you need to never rely on an off-the-shelf structure. You can’t use our four structures. You can’t use Victor Cheng’s structures, or Marc Cosentino’s Case-In-Point structures. Nor can you use anyone else’s structures, copy them, and bring them into the interview. BCG prides themselves on being a tailor-made firm. Custom projects that they work on for each client that are unique and different.

Within your structure however, in order to not go totally off the map, you have to make sure that the second level of your structure for BCG, is data-driven, but still creative. What does that mean? It means that you will never have a structure for two BCG cases that sound the same, and use the same data. But you do have to be data specific about the things that you’re looking for.

Drive The Case

The second thing that you need to do to shine an a BCG case interview, is drive the case. And what’s surprising about this when you have this creative structure, is that your goal is not to cover a width of ideas. Your goal is to prioritize your structure for BCG and identify the first category that you want to look at, and the primary data that you will need to solve the problem. If you do that, your first category and the data that supports it are the most important thing that you’ll need to solve the problem. That will help you extract what you need from the BCG interviewer.

And just a little peek here behind the BCG curtain, when BCG creates their cases, individual consultants who actually worked on the projects create their cases. They design a one-page brief where they walk in with a prompt, with some data, and with some concluding ideas or guidance for the case. And sometimes with a couple of charts. If you use a great structure upfront, you will drive them through your structure, to extract the data from them, off of that piece of paper. And being self driven inside a BCG case is incredibly important because creativity only works when you’re able to actually build enough structure- enough of a fence around it to still solve the problem at hand effectively.

BCG Data- Charts & Graphs

The third thing that you need to do in a BCG case ties to the data. Some data you’re gonna nail, every time. You’re gonna put it in the beginning of your structure, you’re gonna get it off the paper, and you’re going to use it to solve a problem that will drive an insight. But not always. Sometimes BCG will surprise you by releasing, let’s say, a chart or a graph or something similar, as they’re walking through the case information. When you get that graph or that chart from them, you still have only five minutes to walk through what you see, and what the insights are.

And we still recommend our four-step math approach for that. Where you identify what the information is, where you provide a recap for that in step one. Identify what your structure is or what the structure of the graph is, what it’s saying. Where you do calculations on the graph. And then finally, where you provide your insights, both level one and level two. So you still need to understand how to do that.

And if you have never seen the complex, intellectual, creative, BCG charts like the BCG growth-share matrix, you won’t understand how to lay out one of those problems. So that needs to be a key part of your practice, and a key part of preparing to shine at a BCG case interview.

That’s three tactical things. The first, is build this rampantly creative but still data-driven structure. The second is to lead and drive through the case. And the third is to prepare yourself for the kinds of graphs and charts and data that you’ll get from BCG.

The BCG “X” Factor

But the fourth thing is actually probably the biggest differentiator. BCG has a reputation as the nicest firm. Out of all of the MBB firms, BCG people are the most approachable. They’re delightful. They’re fun to work with and clients comment all the time about how enjoyable it is to work with folks from BCG. What does that mean for you? It means that you need to be delightful, enjoyable, and you need to be enjoying yourself as you’re going through the case interview. BCG looks for that, x factor, beyond just the ability to dive seriously into the information.

To build a strict structure at the beginning. They’re not like McKinsey and they’re not wild like Bain, they’re somewhere in between. So you need to make sure that you’re smiling at your interviewer. That you’re pulling in anecdotes and information from your background. And that you are 110% on and engaged for the interview.

If you do these four things, build a rampantly creative but very structured beginning, drive yourself through the case, identify specific data and charts that you are likely to get at BCG, and finally just enjoy yourself immensely, you’re gonna shine at a BCG case interview.

If you’re looking to prepare for a BCG case interview, we have tips, tricks, and great coaches that can help you prepare. We’d love to give you more information at www.managementconsulted.com or on social.

Bonus Tip

Here’s a quick bonus tip if you made it to the end of the video. For BCG, they score you after you walk out of the room, not as you go. So make sure that you finish strong. A lot of people are surprised when they go through a BCG case interview. They feel like they’re beaten down, questioned, and run through the ringer. But then afterwards they get a call back.

This is because BCG looks for how you perform mentally and emotionally toward the end of a case, we you have had a lot of pushback. So just keep that in mind if you feel like you’re suffering through the BCG case interview. You’re trying really hard, and you’re engaged the whole time, and math goes well, and your insights are strong. It’s probably because they’re pushing you and testing you, and they’re gonna score you at the end. So just make sure that you don’t forget that as you’re working on concluding your BCG case interview.

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Filed Under: BCG