Improving Case Interview Presentation Skills

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Greetings from Western Europe.

Thank you very much for all the material.  I have found it extremely useful and much more insightful than the books recommended by MBB in Sweden.

I am writing to share a method I have been using for case interview preparation.

My context for learning is that it has been entirely independent, as I have found no one to practice with.

To try and make the transition from reading/writing to verbalising my cases, I have been using a voice recorder.

As I listen to the LOMS cases, I stop the player at the end of each interviewer answer and record my own response, and then play it back.

This seems to have:

1) It increased my confidence in verbalising my reasoning, as well as making apparent some of the problems in my articulation skills ( I used to speak in a very melodic way -- very annoying!)

2) I have found this to be a good a way to internalise the hypothesis driven methodology in solving cases because it is 'proactive'.

Keep up the good work. I hope to get back to you in the near future with a very exciting offer notification.

 

My Reply:

I'm glad my materials have been helpful in your preparation, and thank you for sharing your case interview practice tip.

I have been encouraging others to record themselves and play it back, but unfortunately not that many people do it.

Hour per hour, it is probably the single best way to improve one's verbal communication skills (listening to how you actually sound vs. how you think you sound).

Keep in mind, "thinking out loud" by verbalizing your reasoning to an interview is a specialized skill that is different than just being able to do public speaking.

Critical reasoning is a left brain (the logical part of your brain) activity. I believe verbal communication is a right brain (emotional/sensory part of your brain) activity.

To explain your reasoning out loud to an interviewer requires you to integrate these two normally distinct skills.

It takes some practice to do this well.

And the more that I think about it, that ability is something I did while I was at McKinsey all the time.

When working with clients and partners, I often felt like I was a diplomat at the United Nations:

1) thinking to myself my real opinion

2) considering how to best communicate that point

On the one hand, I often felt like my verbal communication was very guarded -- being extremely precise in what I said so as not to mislead... almost like being in a legal trial, and an attorney asks you a very specific question on the witness stand.

While it is not always like this in consulting, there are moments when you need this skill to be "on".  Practicing syntheses with an audio recorder is one very useful way to do this.

The reality is that in our head, we all sound brilliant to ourselves.. but once you actually hear what you sound like, sometimes it is not as good. But, once you notice any weird habits (very normal -- if you have not done this before) you can look out for them and change them.

I did the exact same thing when preparing for live national television interviews I did for Fox.  I both audio recorded and video recorded myself for hours and hours (just to prepare for a three-minute interview... which I will tell you is a lot harder than a case study interview. Not only do you only have time to cover three points in a TV interview, you often only have time to cover three sentences!)

So if your verbal skills are not especially articulate or concise (two traits consulting firm partners love), it is possible to improve those skills with practice.

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