Following is a success story I received from an F1Y who persevered after a McKinsey rejection, reinforcing the importance of preparation in the case interview process.
Thank you for creating a wonderful source for case interview studies. I want to share my experience with you so that many people in my situation can feel better.
I am from the most reputable university in my country, with a near to perfect GPA and GRE scores. Last year, I had my first case interview ever with McKinsey with less than 2 days of bad preparation, and it made me so nervous that I did really bad on the fit part.
Naturally, I was rejected. This made me question whether I was not a good fit for consulting. In the end, I decided that I would not be sure without putting all my effort into it and getting rejected despite the effort.
This year, I prepared for the interviews really well for 2 months, not less than 1 hour per day. Developed my own frameworks after first mechanically using yours and then making them less generic by different groupings and industry based tailoring. Worked hard on how to open the cases and walk the interviewer through the logic of my framework by listening to LOMS.
It paid off well in the end. Yesterday, I got my offer from BCG (latest addition to 3 other offers from lower tier firms) and now I can tell everyone that if you know that you have the analytical thinking abilities, one rejection means nothing.
They might even tell you that they are surprised at your lack of structural thinking, it does not mean that you really lack it. Consulting people use those structures every day and they might seem natural to them; but to a non-business degree student, they are not. Preparation really is important.
So, what I would suggest in case of one rejection is postponing application to those firms that recruit year round at least 2-3 months and get prepared.
And I thank you again for the best resource available on the internet.
Congratulations on the BCG offer! Also, thank you for raising a very good point about dealing with rejection.
The job interview process, including case interviews, is a probabilistic endeavor. The better prepared one is, the higher the likelihood of success. Even with great preparation, the success rate is rarely 100%. For example, despite my own extensive preparation, I wasn't able to get past BCG round 1. Like you (but with a different firm), had I let that one rejection stop me from continuing, I would have missed out on many other opportunities that followed.
Thanks for sharing your experiences and good luck at BCG.