Case Practice vs. Disciplined Practice

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I have recently received two consulting offers - one each from Ernst & Young and Deloitte in [a Pacific Rim Country].

I couldn't have achieved this without your emails, reference materials and the invaluable LOMS program.

Many thanks for all the work that you have put into the program and the continuous support that you give to all future consultants navigating the case interview process.

I only really started preparing for the case interviews a few weeks before the recruitment programs began.

This was because I initially steered away from the consulting industry and was exploring other options.

My journey came full circle and once I was mentally and emotionally committed to pursuing a management consultancy career, I threw myself wholeheartedly into the preparations.

In my opinion, your materials are the best on the market, and more importantly, you are a fantastic teacher and mentor.

One thing that helped me a lot during the final interviews was developing a repeatable system of revision.  I followed this process as I prepared for each interview:

1.  Short maths practice

2.  Some market sizing / estimation questions

3.  Run through 'cheatsheets' of frameworks

4.  Listen or read a couple of LOMS transcripts

5.  Practise a few cases

6.  Prepare for "fit questions" and think about additional questions for the interviewer.  I tailored these questions to the interviewer; i.e. it could be an HR person, a functional manager, or a Partner.

I wish I had developed this system at the start of my interviews..but I guess it's all about learning and discovering my strengths, weaknesses and employing a "rapid iteration' principle to learn from my mistakes.

I did reflect on each of my interviews and tried really hard to accelerate my learning curve.  By my final interviews, I felt very confident and in control, and the interviews were really just like conversations.

All the best to your readers in their individual journeys towards becoming management consultants.

Keep up the great work, Victor, and I hope you will continue to inspire many more future consultants across the world.

My Reply:

Congratulations on your offers. I'm glad Look Over My Shoulder® (LOMS) and my other resources were helpful in getting your E&Y and Deloitte offers.

I find your transition to a set practice routine very interesting for several reasons.

First, it takes a lot of the thinking out of the administrative aspects of case practice. There's no decision as to what to do today, you can just sit down and be productive very quickly.

Second, a standardized practice routine allows you to evaluate your practice regiment to see if it is missing anything.

For example, I noticed that you, like many of my other readers, spend a fair amount of time practicing answers to "fit" questions.

Initially, not everyone realizes this is an important part of the interview to practice.

But, at some point they figure this out, either because they had a bad interview (and got feedback that the problem area was the fit questions) or someone reads one of my articles and suddenly realizes it's an important area.

The key question is: after someone discovers this is important, what do they do next?

If the practice regiment is unstructured, then the person has to decide when to practice, how much to practice and essentially repeat the same decision every day.

In comparison, someone who has a set practice routine can simple decide practicing this area is important, include it as part of the pre-scheduled routine, and the practice will automatically take place (as part of the set routine) without having to "remember" to practice that skill area.

This is one of the reason that I advise my smaller company clients to have pre-scheduled, recurring meetings with standardized agendas.

This makes it very easy for an organization to adopt a new company-wide habit. Forget about reminding everyone to do something, just stick it in an auto-recurring meeting agenda and it will happen all by itself.

The same is true for case interview practice. Establish a routine, and whenever you need to add something to your practice regiment, just add it to the routine and never think twice about it again -- it will happen automatically as a matter of routine.

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