How to Practice Cases Without a Partner


I'll have interviews at McKinsey, Bain and hopefully BCG in the next 3-4 months. I'm starting seriously with my preparation now, one hour per day on weekdays and six to eight hours on weekends -- I don't have much time between work and university.

How should I practice? Consider I do not have a practice partner, and I've already seen your videos and taken notes.  Should I go for a lot of case practicing (using the case books from b-schools) and then go through LOMS in the month before my first interview? Or go through LOMS now, and then go for a lot of practicing? The first idea seemed to me to be the best, because going through LOMS as my last step in preparation woud help me refine my techniques and I could answer before listening what the interviewee said (and then compare with the right answer); but then I reconsidered it: maybe practicing now, without any experience, would make me get some bad habits that would show up when listening to LOMS (maybe too late), so better LOMS now, fully understand how my approach should be when solving a case, and then practice, practice, practice -- knowing what to do and how to do it.

About cases from B-schools' case books -- there are plenty there and they are solved. How can I practice analyzing a case? I mean, I can read the case question in the case book, state a hypothesis and then develop my issue tree, but how in the hell can I analyze it alone? Without reading the solution, how would I realize that I did it wrong or well? Just comparing my conclusion to the one in the example?

I didn't want to bother you with these doubts, but I really cannot be sure how to practice on my own and analyze if I'm doing it well or wrong.

Thanks a lot, Victor, you are being really helpful!!!  I hope someday I could help you with something as you are helping me.


My Reply:

Oh, definitely go through LOMS now. The value of LOMS increases the more time you have to use it, get used to it, and get it to be second nature. Then practice, so you get used to actually using the LOMS skills with a real person looking at you, asking questions you weren't expecting, and otherwise creating a stressful situation.

Do it right, practice it right... is better than practice it wrong a lot, then fix it at the end.

It is hard to practice on your own. Best you can do is set up issues trees that are multiple layers deep. If you can't get a partner, then you basically have to look at the answer, and go through the whole case using what I've taught... even though you already know the answer.  Get accustomed to the process.

You won't be able to practice the last piece of doing the process without foreknowledge, but the experience of my students suggests that quite often, getting so used to the process alone is often enough to get the offer.

Good luck!

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