Bain Written Case Interview

I recently was sent this question from a student looking for advice on how to prepare for a Bain Written Case Interview. What follows is the student’s original question and my advice on how to prepare.


I've purchased LOMS and have just completed my first attempt at all the cases. Your best practice examples are so useful.

I was just wondering if you had any advice on how to practice or attempt to answer/structure a written case interview study that I will have to tackle for a final round Bain interview coming up soon. That would be fantastic.

All I know about the written case is that I will be provided with 60 slides and need to answer a business question - preparing six slides to present to an interviewer.

Any resources or practice written cases that you know of would be much appreciated.

My Response:

I would suggest working on your data interpretation, structuring and your synthesis skills in order to ace the case.

On my resource page for the McKinsey Problem Solving Test , I share some resources on how to improve your data interpretation skills (which is basically what you will need to do when reviewing the 60 slides provided to you).

I also suggest if you have not already reviewing this information on the Written Case on Bain’s own website.

Answering the business question is probably most equivalent to creating a hypothesis and a custom issue tree to test your hypothesis -- as demonstrated numerous times in the Look  Over My Shoulder®Program.

The reason you want to mentally go through this step is most likely out of the 60 slides you are provided; you will not need 50 of them.  The idea is to overwhelm you with a lot of data to see if you can figure out what is important and relevant.

If you try to incorporate all 60 slides into your thought process, it can become overwhelming.

Instead, go through the 60 slides to figure out what is going on in the company...come up with a hypothesis... and then go back to look for the specific slides that provide the data to test your hypothesis.

If you come up with a hypothesis and think about what data you need to test it (essentially a custom issue tree -- see the sample diagrams in LOMS), it helps you focus on only those pieces of data that are relevant to your hypothesis.

And the creating the six slides to present to the interview is equivalent to the "synthesis" examples also in Look Over My Shoulder®.

When you write your six slides, I would suggest using something similar to the following format, which is the same as what I refer to as "synthesis" -- but converted into PowerPoint format.

Slide 1:  The big conclusion

Slide 2:  The big conclusion + three supporting reasons

Slide 3: Reason 1 + Chart demonstrating Reason 1 (probably one of the 60 slides with your own headline on the slide)

Slide 4: Reason 2 + Chart demonstrating Reason 2

Slide 5: Reason 3 + Chart demonstrating Reason 3

Slide 6: Re-state conclusion and identify any remaining issues that might be worth exploring if given sufficient data or time.

For more case interview preparation materials, see my free video series on Case Interview Secrets.

Additional Resources

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Vishal B Sep 24, 2014, 2:57 am

    This is brilliant. Many thanks.