Case coaching for your McKinsey interview, Bain interview, or Boston Consulting Group interview will be one of the most important parts of your interview preparation process. It’s no exaggeration to say that this will play a bigger role in whether you get hired than your resume and GPA, although those need to be top notch as well! (Check out our advice on crafting an MBB resume.)
If you’re not familiar with the case interview portion of the consultant hiring process, you’re probably feeling confused right now. Get ready to take some notes. Top consulting firms like McKinsey, Bain, and BCG don’t just make hiring decisions based on university prestige, work experience, or people skills. You also must consistently score high across multiple, live case interview conversations.
What Is Case Interview Coaching?
A huge component of the interview process is what’s known as the case interview. The case interview is less like a normal job interview and more like an audition. In the case interview, you will be given a scenario involving a client’s problem or objective. These scenarios are often based on real-life consulting projects. It is your job to play the consultant in this interview conversation. Over the next 20-45 minutes, you will get to analyze a broad array of data in multiple different forms, develop a recommendation, and finally present & defend that recommendation.
The case interview is likely to draw on your business acumen, as well as whatever business-related education and expertise you’ve accumulated. But it is very much its own animal. Simply having an undergrad degree or even an MBA is unlikely to leave you adequately prepared for the case interview.
That’s where case interview coaching comes in. Just like with the SAT, the GMAT, and so on, you can work with an experienced, highly trained, and professional case interview prep coach to help you get ready for your case interview. As there are private SAT coaches, there are also consulting case interview coaches.
As consulting continues to be one of the hottest career paths for young, talented people, the number of coaches advertising their services is skyrocketing. Can anyone be a case interview prep coach? Is there any special experience required? How do you know you’re getting the best case interview coaching? Let’s discuss.
How to Know You’re Getting the Best Case Interview Coaching
What should you even look for in a case interview prep coach? How do you find one, and how can you evaluate them along the way?
Many aspiring management consultants assume that the best consultants—that is, the most senior and most prestigious—will inevitably make the best coaches. There’s a certain logic to that line of thinking. Surely, if someone has risen so far in a career, they must be the best one to help you advance in that same career path, right?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way. Teaching and coaching are special arts—not just anyone can do them. There are several experienced management consultants who also offer case interview coaching on the side. Some even command top dollar on account of their status in the industry, without really helping their clients (unfortunately!).
But also consider the flipside—just because someone has experience teaching or coaching in general doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be effective case interview prep coaches.
A good rule of thumb is to only work with someone who does coaching full-time (or close to it!). This will keep you away from the coaching hobbyists who are merely trafficking in the prestige of their firms.
MBB Case Coaching
Further, if you’re looking to get hired at one of the big three firms, work with a coach who has specific interview experience there. Many full-time case interview prep coaches have worked for the big three firms and have conducted case interviews on those firms’ behalf. The perspective these coaches can offer, after having been specifically trained to conduct their firm’s case interviews, is beyond measure.
This experience will make them superior to consultants who only know how to go through cases from the applicant’s side. Coaches with experience as interviewers can help you learn not just how to approach the cases, but what interviewers will be looking for as you do.
All the coaches at Management Consulted fit this criterion.
3 Qualities of an Expert Case Interview Prep Coach
You want to be sure you’re getting the best case interview coaching. So, we’ve broken down the ideal case interview prep coach into three specific teaching qualities.
They don’t sugarcoat their feedback
Case interview prep coaching isn’t the same as standardized test coaching. With standardized tests, you’re simply dealing with right and wrong answers. With the case interview, you’re dealing not only with math and analytical concepts, but also with people and communication skills. This makes the feedback from your case interview prep coach that much more important, as well as personalized. Given the personal nature of this kind of feedback, many coaches may try to sugarcoat their feedback. This arises from an over-abundance of caution, as they don’t want you to feel insecure that they’re criticizing you as a person.
But this security is something you should be willing to receive (and provide for yourself!) before you seek out help. When you do, you want to be sure your interview prep coach doesn’t sugarcoat anything. The last thing you want is to pay for coaching and not get the advice that will help you land your dream job.
They give you tips you can apply on the spot
Any adequate coach can tell you about the basic frameworks that you’ll need to approach case interview problems. But broad concepts will only take you so far in the case interview. There’s never a single right answer, and interviewers can hit you with surprise questions at any time. The case interview requires not just knowledge but the ability to adapt and think on the fly. A top-quality prep coach will be able to give you tips you can apply on the spot, in every part of your case interview. And multiple practice sessions with the same coach can allow you to demonstrate an improved performance as you put all their feedback to work.
They can immediately identify weak spots
You shouldn’t have to put in much time with a coach before they can start offering you substantive advice on how to up your game. This is a good way of testing a coach’s experience and expertise. If they can really see from the interviewer’s perspective, they should be able to pick up on things right away that you can do to improve your case interview performance. Interviewers make quick decisions to quantitatively evaluate you in the interview. Your prep coach should be able to as well.
There are more case interview prep coaches in the world than ever before. But if you’re trying to land a job at a top firm like McKinsey, Bain, or BCG, “adequate” isn’t going to cut it. You’re going to want to do your homework and be sure you’re getting the best case interview coaching money can buy.
Management Consulted has your back. We offer you top-quality case interview coaching, our coaches have experience interviewing for the top firms, as well as serious teaching chops. And they only work with us here at MC! Make the right move for your consulting career and check out Management Consulted’s case interview coaching options.
- Case Interview: Complete Prep Guide
- Free Case Interview Prep Course
- An Insider’s Look at The Case Interview Scoring System