Podcast: Day 0 with a tough candidate

Early this year, we spent a week in Middle East helping a candidate prepare for his case interviews. The son of a former client, this series of podcasts outlines the difficulties of placing someone starting from a zero base of preparation. I mean zero. We have changed some details but all the insights and examples are real. We were brought in to spend an entire week taking this candidate through a crash course in case preparation. In this first podcast we clearly outline the challenges we would need to overcome.

To be loaded…

Podcast: Day 1 with a tough candidate

This podcast focuses on the plan we put together for the candidate, how we managed his training and specifically the action steps we took to identify and fill the gaps in his knowledge. You learn that 24 hours in a day is not enough when English is not a first language, business is not a natural interest and the interview is 9 days ways.

Podcast: Day 2 with a tough candidate

We focus on the techniques we used to teach the candidate market sizing questions and practice math. Decision trees were a major part of the first 2 days were we just focused on estimation questions and building the core skills.

Podcast: Day 3 with a tough candidate

The day we began the core case and communication training. This was certainly a tough day. We had to teach the candidate how to learn. He was used to a rote style of learning where he was given the answer and would apply it. In consulting, there is no set answer and we had to teach him to apply analytic tools in highly ambiguous settings.

Podcast: Day 4 with a tough candidate

We moved to much tougher cases. We also introduced him to the McKinsey style of interviewer led cases. To be fair, he struggled immensely on this. However, the approach to get him to understand and tackle these cases was rather counter intuitive.

Podcast: Day 5 with a tough candidate

We set up Day 5 as the revision day. That did not go well at all when we realized the candidate was not trained in taking notes. For the entire morning we worked to compile notes for the candidate (from the last 4 days) and teach him how to take notes. This made us realize that he did not know how to learn cases. A key insight.

Podcast: Day 6 with a tough candidate

A day of more estimate questions and layering on more and more difficult cases. We also moved into fit questions. All candidates think this will be easier but are shocked how badly they do in this area. We had to basically start from first principles in teaching this candidate to communicate clearly, crisply and concisely.

Podcast: Day 7 with a tough candidate

After spending a week locked in an hotel conference room, we decided to do some live cases out in the mall. An interesting day because we would say it put the candidate under much more pressure. It was also a very important day since we taught the candidate how to shift his thinking styles repeatedly in a single conversation.

Podcast: Day 8 with a tough candidate

In this final day, we taught the candidate the backgrounds of the office to which he was applying, backgrounds of the partners in that office, key sectors and work done in the office, and helped him craft the questions he would ask. Definitely the most interesting day! We also discuss why this candidate placed successfully and the learning’s for both him and us.



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