Preparing for D-day
While the placement processes for all companies have certain common elements, Consulting Companies like Bain Capability Network (BCN) also introduce an element of a Guesstimate Round, and a Case Round. Starting with something common to both the rounds: Structure. A structured thinking process is a requisite skill for these interviews and the job in general Along with having a structured process, communication skills, both verbal and written are paramount.
While a conventional interview can be aced with a thorough study and understanding of the concepts, a case interview calls for an additional element of “Live Case Practice”, where the preparation takes place in a structured interviewer-interviewee interaction to simulate the conditions of the actual interview. Thus, it is my suggestion to undertake this preparation in a group of 3 or 4 people, who are as serious about the process as you are; the quality of people you practice your cases with can make a difference in how well you handle the stressful situation of an interview.
As opposed to a conventional interview, the solutions to a case interview are more often than not, not unique. There is immense scope for the directions you can take with your solution, thus a group allows you to generate multiple ideas and approaches while vetting your own approach to ensure that towards the end, you are well equipped to view a problem from multiple perspectives. Given the extended break, it is a great opportunity to pick up numerous guesstimates, start developing your approaches to cases with the help of the material, your teammates, and your seniors.
Further, a well-established opinion about the case interviews is that while the final answer does have some bearing, the approach you take along with your thought process becomes a major decision-making criterion in your favour. Thus, it is important that during your preparations you keep an open mind about the solutions. A common mistake that candidates make is to fit all problems in the 4 or 5 case study frameworks that they study in the material. What they often miss, is the fact that the material is available to everyone, and so presenting your solutions in a generic way earns you no points. Further, the cases in the interviews, and what you’ll work on in the future would rarely fit neatly in a case. This is the point where the flexibility to work with the data you have at your disposal and the flexibility to bend the structures to suit the needs of your clients.
Keeping the above in mind, and armed with confidence and perseverance, no interview is too hard to crack. Best of luck for your placement processes!