What follows is a success story from a CaseInterview.com student who recently received a BCG internship offer. In the story the student shares her tips for becoming more confident, practicing case interview math and practicing cases. I also share my follow-up with my tips for these areas as well.

Success Story:

I first of all would like to thank you for your help. Your resources have been invaluable to me.

After having succeeded at receiving an offer from Oliver Wyman, I also received  an internship offer with BCG (Germany), which I am going to accept.

I think there are several reasons to my achievement:

1)  Learning from my failure at Bain internship recruiting
2)  Practicing mental math
3)  Practicing cases (alternating LOMS and practice with friends)

The feedback from Bain interviewers was along the lines: “You are such a wonderful, nice person, you’ve got so much to give – just be more relaxed and confident in how you perform.

Another very important thing was that my math computations sometimes were inaccurate, and the interviewer had to point that out –Big mistake!

Structure of the problem and sharing it with the interviewer were obviously not great either.

After that interview, I reconnected with some candidates (Bain had organized a social networking dinner before the interview day, so I got to know a couple of them quite well) and one of them, who got an offer, recommended www.caseinterview.com to me.

And this is where it all started:

I realized that the only way for me to get that confidence is to know for sure that I can do a case – any case!

– I was reading your emails and did not only discover insights but gained confidence knowing that there are other people struggling just as I was, and some of them are succeeding – it just takes time and practice.

– I have found a really great tool for mental math training to use in addition to your Case Interview Math Tool

http://www.alexander-halles.de/sub-html/kopfrechner.html

It’s in German, but actually quite intuitive. It’s great to train adding and subtracting number between 0 and 20 first, until you get really good at them and don’t THINK about the computations, but do them automatically.

Then train the simple, one-digit multiplications the same way. And then go further!

It’s great to see that after each session, the number of seconds (average) that you need to solve a computation is getting less and less. Seeing the progress has been my main motivation to continue.

And it all went much quicker than I’d expected!

– Practicing via LOMS had the greatest benefit of listening to a vivid dialogue between a really confident and calm coach and various candidates.

Realizing that “these are the same mistakes I would have made!” made me internalize the habits, up to a point that I was hearing your voice, e.g. asking “Do we have any information on that?” during the interview and was just repeating/imitating it!  A very strange feeling. And it was so much fun to solve those really interesting cases!

– Practicing with friends made me think about the LOMS tactics myself and internalize them even further.

A great deal of talking about myself – just randomly about everything – was helpful to realize my true strengths and weaknesses, so I could do well on the “personal/CV” part of the interviews.

When I walked into Oliver Wyman interviews, I was seeing all those other candidates who probably looked the same way I did three months ago.

And again, this feeling of having made progress made me feel confident about myself and about my choice of the consulting profession. The same happened during the BCG interviews.

I am very much looking forward to connecting with all the other “alumni” and reading your New Consultant newsletters!

THANK YOU!

My Response and Follow-up

You’re quite welcome and congratulations on your offers from BCG and Oliver Wyman. I am glad Look Over My Shoulder® and my other resources were useful to you.

Thank you so much for sharing your preparation process so candidly with others — both the ups and the downs.

The journey to a successful outcome is not always a smooth one, and that point is often overlooked by many starting the process or in the middle of it.

It’s also useful to know that dramatic improvement is possible.  Thank you for proving that for my other readers.

I did download and try the math practice tool. Although I do not read German, I was able to figure it out. Apparently, 2 + 2 = 4 in any language I did find the repetition useful, and see where using that and the CaseInterviewMath.com tool would help build skill and confidence.

I do find it amusing that some LOMS members get so accustomed to the problem- solving approach in LOMS that they “hear” my voice in their head during a live case interview.

Rest assured, this is not really my voice but that of my former colleagues at McKinsey — I too heard it from someone else so manytimes that I ended up internalizing it as well.

It is not like one is born with this skill!  It is very much a learned skill.

Equally interesting is how once you start working, you will quickly be able to recognize someone else who works for MBB, even if you do not know of their background.

They just ask certain kinds of insightful questions that are very logical.

For MBB alumni who then work in industry for a few years, and then come back to work with a fellow MBB alumni — one thing I hear all the time is how “refreshing” it is to work with someone who thinks like they do.

It is that same “voice” you were referring to that they are referring to.

One thing you mentioned that I thought was worth emphasizing was your comment “the only way for me to get that confidence is to knowfor sure that I can do a case – any case!”

This is where the preparation and practice come into play. Confidence comes from really know your subject matter extremely well.  There are other ways to enhance confidence by eliminating certain body language habits, but at the core confidence comes from expertise and mastery.

Once again, congratulations on your offer, and thank you for sharing your preparation process with others. I know my other readers find this both useful and inspirational.