While there are no set rules on how to solve a case, we have found that some advice can help you succeed.
Listen to the interviewer and ask questions
The interviewer will begin by laying out the problem. You should take time to align your thinking, ask clarifying questions, and communicate your line of reasoning to your interviewer. The interviewer will also give you hints and help along the way, so don’t be afraid to take notes.
Structure the problem and develop a framework
Take a moment to think about the case to gain perspective. Putting together a structure and a framework will help you clarify each step and enable you to identify the analysis you may want to perform to reach a solution.
Think before speaking
Take some time to organize your ideas; don’t jump too fast to conclusions.
Focus on high-impact issues
Concentrate on the issues that will really make a difference and create value for your “client,” but make sure that you explain the reasons behind your choices.
Generate a hypothesis and explore options creatively
Make suggestions on how to solve the key issues you have identified. The interviewer will be looking for the same things a BCG client would expect when working with us—innovative approaches that can change the rules of the game and creation of lasting competitive advantage.
Demonstrate Business Judgment
Given that there is limited information available, the interviewer will ask you probing questions about your comments, hypotheses, or conclusions to test your capability to use your judgment.
Make quick and accurate calculations
At some point, the interviewer will ask you to make some simple calculations. Rather than testing computational skill, this is meant to see if you can use numbers to quickly form opinions and guide decisions. Your calculations should be accurate and integrated into what you have discovered so far.
Synthesize your thoughts and draw conclusions from your analysis
At the end of the interview, you should summarize the key hypotheses and options you have developed. Then, conclude with your recommended solution to the client’s problem.
Don’t rush into the analysis without developing an understanding of the problem
During the discussion, the interviewer will work with you to organize your thoughts and steer you toward a solution. Don’t be afraid to ask questions that check your understanding.
Don’t panic if the answer is not apparent
There is no right or wrong answer in our interviews, and you are not expected to know everything about business. The objective of the interview is for us to learn about your approach to solving business problems, so remember to discuss your line of thought with the interviewer.
Don’t defend your solution at all costs
If the interviewer challenges the solution you propose, don’t go on the defensive. Acknowledge the possibility that the interviewer has brought up a relevant perspective that you had not considered and reexamine your thinking accordingly.
Don’t internalize your thought process
The interview should be a dialogue between you and the interviewer, so make sure you communicate your logic and underlying assumptions.
Don’t stick to an artificial framework
Standard frameworks you have learned in school may appear relevant, but they may not hold up after closer consideration.
Don’t circulate cases or use advance knowledge
The case presented might sound familiar to you: BCG cases are sometimes discussed by people who have been involved in our interview process. Remember, however, that we attempt to use fresh cases in our interviews, so jumping to conclusions about the case before you have heard all the details could be distinctly disadvantageous.
One last piece of advice: be yourself and have fun discussing the case. If you find this conversation exciting and entertaining, you'll likely enjoy being a consultant at BCG.