Case prep tips & tricks

Case prep advice

We asked consultants from various Bain offices their best piece of advice when preparing for case interviews.  Here's what they had to say.

Study the frameworks well enough to feel comfortable going 'off-script' in a guided way. We want to see how YOU (not prep books) think about a problem - that’s why we’d hire you!

- Annie Hockey, San Francisco

Ask people, 'what does good look like'? Do not settle for 'you need to do this better'.

- Sean Breen, Chicago

Focus on the aspects of a case that you find most challenging in your preparation for interviews. This might be creating a framework, synthesizing and communicating a concise recommendation, charts, the math, or something else altogether. As you get feedback from peers or connections at Bain, target these specific areas for improvement rather than just going through entire new cases.

- Meghan Palmer, New York

Make sure to practice giving/receiving cases with a wide variety of people. This will allow you to see a variety of 'good approaches' and to take bits and pieces of what others do well to fold it into your own style.

- Michael Zhou, Atlanta

While it’s important to be competent in all aspects of the case (the framework, math, chart interpretation, etc.), it’s far more important to demonstrate your creativity and business acumen. Prepare to the point where you can consistently get through the case, but don’t go overboard. Come interview day, over-preparation can detract from ingenuity.

- Shane Mangin, New York

Take the interviewer’s role just as seriously as the interviewee’s. Practice active listening and try to see how your counterpart fares in comparison to your own improvement areas.

- Troy Koltes, Zurich

For the math, there is no right or wrong method for handling zeros and percentages. The only wrong method is to have more than one. Pick a single way that you are going to use to handle zeros and percentages, and stick with it. The more you practice the better you will be at it.

- Leo Schrantz, Washington, D.C.

Practice with a wide variety of cases so you’re not over-indexing on the industries that you already feel comfortable with!

- Meghan Kenny, London

Quality Over Quantity: 24-48 hours after you do a case with someone, redo it yourself. Make sure you know what the right clarifying questions would be, what the perfect framework would entail, and how to do all of the math. This is a sure way to make sure you’re building your skills with each case and not just getting reps in.

- Riki Smolen, Chicago

Drive the conversation! Always think about what would come next and follow-up a key takeaway from an exhibit with how it relates to the case question. Also, you’ll get a lot of feedback from different people; don’t try to address every piece of feedback you get, but focus on the advice you continue to hear over and over again.

- Joey DeRosa, New York

Remember to take breaks and enjoy the case process! Don’t get too stressed or over-case just for the sake of hitting a particular number. You WILL get there in time for interviews and should enjoy the ride along the way!

- Caitlin Breen, Chicago

Mock case interview

Check out the video below to get an inside look at Bain's case interview.

Case interview prep

Check out our Case Prep Library to access materials that will serve as helpful resources while you navigate the interview process.