BCG recently developed a new iteration of Online Case aptitude test called BCG Casey - a chatbot simulating a traditional case interview. This tool is being used more by BCG as it is still proving effective and is gradually becoming a mandatory test when applying to BCG in almost every office at present.
There are a lot of uncertainties around it since this online assessment is a novel experience for prospective BCG consultants. Hence, this paper will provide you with more details regarding the format, interface, and nature of the content so that you can comprehend and become accustomed to this online chatbot interview.
Please remember that all images of the chatbot interface in the article are taken from the BCG Casey Simulation tool of MConsultingPrep
You will be interviewed by a chatbot named Casey
BCG Online Case Experience or “Casey” is a business case under a conversation format including a set of questions regarding interactive chatting environment. It is an online test that was developed in 2020 and used more frequently in 2021. Candidates can do it from any location where they feel most comfortable.
Time limit is 25-30 minutes with 6-8 questions
The duration of the BCG Casey test ranges from 25 to 30 minutes, depending on the number of questions involved (normally 6-8 questions). It is important to note that once the assessment begins, you will not have the option to pause it, and you will experience tremendous time pressure.
The BCG Casey test lasts 25-30 minutes, with 6-8 questions. You cannot pause during the test. Every five minutes, the bot notifies you of the remaining time (e.g. “15 minutes left”); this adds to the already-stressful time pressure.
Video record section at the end
After finishing your conversation with the chatbot, you will receive a prompt to record yourself on camera and present your final pitch for the entire case. You will be given 60 seconds for preparation and an additional 60 seconds to deliver your presentation. It is important to note that this time allocation is separate from the 30 minutes provided in the previous section.
The case context provided is typically concise and uncomplicated, usually involving a client who is facing emerging concerns or news. You will be provided with the necessary information regarding the context before you do anything further.
There are four answer formats
Eventually, there will be four types of answer format that will appear when you take the test including: multiple-select multiple choice, single-select multiple choice, long-text freeform, short-text freeform. Each answer format will typically have different material and approach methods, which I will elaborate on later in the article.
Multiple-select multiple choice
This is the most popular question format in the BCG Online Case Experience accounting for 40% to 60% of all questions. This type of format is displayed like the below image. After reading the question, click on see options to pop up all the choices. Some questions like the example below can have up to 10 choices so it is going to take up the whole screen.
In terms of strategy, notice that in every question of the multiple-select multiple choice format the question always gives you a clue as to how many choices to select. Sometimes it gives you an exact number like select three best, but sometimes it is just a hint.
Single-select multiple choice
This particular format closely resembles the multiple-select multiple choice format, with the key distinction being that there is only one correct choice. Unlike the previous multiple-select type, all available options will be displayed directly within the answer box. It is essential to note that there is a single correct option, and once you click on any choice, your answer will be immediately submitted without the option to revise it.
The user interface for this answer format is relatively simple. It features a message box reminiscent of messaging applications, with a send icon located on the right-hand side, allowing for submission by pressing the enter key.
It is important to note that special text formatting options are not available, thus the use of hyphens and capitalizations serves as the preferred means of emphasizing ideas. BCG explicitly emphasizes that the optimal answers should be concise and adhere to a limit of no more than four to six lines.
On the other hand, the short text answer format only allows you to enter in numbers. It often comes with math questions and the question will always clearly instruct you on rounding or how many decimal places to include. Hence, be careful when pressing the enter key into this answer format as it will submit the answer and there is no undo.
Final pitch (video answer)
Once you finish chatting with the AI, your final assignment entails recording yourself on camera and delivering your ultimate recommendation in the form of a pitch for the entire case. You will be granted 60 seconds for preparation and an additional 60 seconds for the actual presentation.
It is essential to note that this timeframe is separate from the 30 minutes allocated for the preceding section.The time limit here is very strict as candidates have reported instances of automatic cutoffs when exceeding the allotted duration.
These questions often present a scenario or problem and ask candidates to identify the most helpful option or the type of information that should be gathered. While they may appear to be data-focused questions on the surface, they actually require candidates to employ structuring techniques and create an issue tree.
Every BCG online case starts with a structuring or information question, for instance:
- Which of the following would be most helpful
- What statistics about ABC should the team gather
- Which piece of information would help ECG move forward with the project and Etc
When approaching these questions, it is advisable to carefully read through the provided options and mentally construct an issue tree based on the available choices. The issue tree helps in organizing the different aspects of the problem and identifying the most comprehensive and relevant options among the choices.
Candidates should aim to select options that collectively cover the issue tree and address the various components of the problem. This demonstrates their ability to think critically, analyze complex situations, and identify the most relevant information or factors to consider when structuring a case.
Each case typically includes approximately two quantitative/mathematical questions. These questions are usually presented in a short text answer format, with occasional instances of single select multiple choice.
The majority of quantitative questions are accompanied by an exhibit, providing around 20 data points, of which approximately half may be extraneous information.
It is not necessary to possess knowledge in accounting or finance, as the calculations and formulas involved are generally straightforward. Common mathematical concepts revolve around weighted averages, probabilities, and compound percentages. Familiarizing yourself with these types of mathematical problems through practice can greatly enhance your performance.
In these quantitative questions, you can typically determine whether your answer is correct or incorrect based on the follow-up question. If you are asked to provide further elaboration on how you arrived at the answer, it indicates that your response is correct. However, if the chatbot prompts you to address specific calculations or smaller steps, there is a possibility that your initial attempt was incorrect.
Critical thinking & logical question
The critical thinking and logical questions in the BCG Casey chatbot test assess your ability to analyze a given scenario, apply logical reasoning, and make informed judgments.
These questions often involve evaluating different courses of action, determining cause-and-effect relationships, or identifying the most logical conclusion based on the provided information.
An example of critical thinking & logical questions is: which of the following course of action would likely make you more rich? However, you need to pay attention to the wording and notice if there is any “qualifier”, which is how airtight the logic has to be? The example question can be asked with several different qualifiers from weak to strong:
- Which of the following courses of action would LIKELY MAKE you more rich?
- Which of the following courses of action would MAKE you more rich?
- Which of the following courses of action would CERTAINLY MAKE you more rich?
This is important because we would grade each of the answer choices on the following scale.
In some cases, the context of the scenario may influence the logic and reasoning behind your answer choices. Take into account relevant factors, constraints, or specific conditions mentioned in the question when evaluating the options.
The final category of questions in the assessment consists of intuition or insights questions. These particular questions are highly popular but also the most challenging to master. There is no predefined formula or universal strategy to approach them, and improving in this area requires diligent practice.
As the name implies, these questions require you to generate or select a range of insights, elements, factors, and so on, based on a given context. The specific insights, elements, or factors can vary significantly, encompassing root causes, effects, solutions, and more.
For instance, in the aforementioned example of how to become rich, some examples of Intuition or Insights questions include:
- What are some personal expenses that tend to increase after getting married
- How can one become more disciplined in saving money?
- What are effective talking points to persuade a life partner to reduce spending on clothing?
- What are potential reasons for the underperformance of the stock market in the past six months?
- In what situations would one need to utilize an emergency fund?
These questions highlight the nature of intuition or insights questions, which demand thoughtful analysis and the ability to derive meaningful conclusions based on given scenarios
Other BCG online assessment tools utilized a negative scoring system for incorrect answers. Consequently, it was advisable to abstain from guessing when encountering a question for which one lacked any relevant knowledge, as incorrect responses would directly result in point deductions from the final score.
However, this aspect is no longer a factor in Casey, the current iteration of the online case format. In Casey, the selection of candidates is not solely based on the accuracy of their answers, but also on their approach to problem-solving and their ability to break down complex issues.
Candidates are obligated to provide an answer for each question in order to progress to the subsequent one, leaving no alternative but to make an educated guess even when uncertain of the correct response.
Regarding the evaluation criteria, while BCG does not disclose official information, insights can be gleaned from the BCG Interactive Case Library. The majority of criteria focus on the problem-solving aspect of the consulting role:
In the BCG Casey chatbot, candidates are evaluated based on their problem-structuring skills. This involves approaching problems in a structured and mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive (MECE) manner.
Additionally, the test evaluates the candidate's capability to gather data and test hypotheses during the problem-solving process. This is one of the most visible criteria in this test that highlights its importance in demonstrating strong analytical and problem-solving capabilities, a crucial skill for management consultants.
Qualitative and quantitative processing
In the BCG Casey chatbot Test, candidates' math and analytical skills are evaluated, specifically their ability to analyze and process both qualitative and quantitative information within the case.
This assessment tests their proficiency in performing relevant mathematical calculations, with an emphasis on common business-world calculations such as percentages, averages, and working with large numbers. The test aims to determine how effectively candidates can apply these processing skills to the given scenarios and derive meaningful insights.
Another trait that also falls into the grading criteria of the BCG Casey chatbot is candidates' business intuition. The test focuses on their capacity to evaluate potential costs and benefits, make informed decisions, and provide sound conclusions and recommendations based on their business knowledge and experience.
The objective is to determine how well candidates can apply their business intuition toward complex scenarios and provide relevant insights and directions tailored to the specific business context presented in the case.
Data synthesis & interpretation
Last but not least, candidates' aptitudes for data synthesis and interpretation are also a criteria assessed in the BCG Casey chatbot. This entails their proficiency in summarizing and synthesizing all relevant information to derive viable solutions for the client. Hence, it measures their ability to draw meaningful conclusions from data, adopting a hypothesis-driven mindset.
Candidates are expected to either incorporate their conclusions into existing hypotheses or generate new hypotheses that are relevant to the case at hand. The test aims to assess candidates' ability to analyze and interpret data effectively to make informed decisions and provide valuable insights to the client (in the case).
“How similar is this compared to an actual case interview?" is always one of the most asked questions by candidates. Initially, this assessment uses the case structure and flow quite similar to an actual case interview, it even utilizes a chatbot to create a feeling of two-way communication like in the case interviews.
However, in reality, there are still clear distinctions between it and a real case interview. A few of these distinctions are as follows:
More time pressure
Case interviews are typically characterized by time constraints, but candidates frequently express that Casey, in particular, intensifies this pressure. Unlike the McKinsey Solve assessment, which allows for sufficient time and avoids rushing candidates excessively, Casey adds to the sense of urgency.
Throughout the assessment, there are constant reminders displaying the remaining time, and candidates are abruptly stopped if they fail to complete the recording of their final video recommendation within the allocated time frame.
There is no interviewer feedback
In a conventional case interview, the interviewer has the ability to guide and support the candidate to navigate through a question. This is not only about supporting, but it also allows the interviewer to gain a comprehensive understanding of the candidate's thought process at each stage of the problem, rather than stopping the assessment immediately after one mistake is made.
However, in the case of Casey, this supportive element is absent, which means that initial calculation errors or mistakes in structuring the problem can significantly disrupt the candidate's approach to a question or even impact the overall performance in the entire test.
Calculators are allowed
One notable distinction from a traditional case interview is the allowance of calculators and other similar tools in the Casey test. Similar to the McKinsey Solve assessment, BCG does not impose any restrictions on the resources you have at your disposal while taking the Casey test from the comfort of your own home.
This may initially appear as a glimmer of hope for candidates with limited quantitative backgrounds. However, it is important to note that this provision actually introduces additional difficulties when you take a real-life case interview.
Heightened demands on Mathematical Skills
The heightened emphasis on mathematical proficiency in Casey compared to a traditional case interview is a direct consequence of the previous factors. With basic arithmetic being facilitated by the calculator, Casey has the freedom to assess your mathematical abilities in other aspects.
The true challenge lies in your ability to devise a well-structured approach to the question and the specific path you navigate through the calculations, rather than solely focusing on number manipulation. This particular aspect may be advantageous for individuals with a background in "academic math" compared to a standard interview.
Interpret Text Fast
Last but not least, even though a case interview is verbal, Casey demands you to swiftly read, comprehend, and grasp fairly lengthy amounts of text. Combined with the above time pressure factor, this might be seen as a significant obstacle for the contenders of this online assessment since it requires more in terms of soft skills in computing.
It will be challenging to judge whether an assessment is difficult or easy because it is based on each person's subjective perspective. Thus, this section will place more emphasis on clarifying the difference of BCG Casey chatbot from other online assessments of MBB consulting firms.
Logic & Structuring and Business intuition are the two criteria that BCG Casey chatbot requires candidates to meet at the highest level. This is consistent given that the BCG Casey seeks to imitate an interviewer-led case and that the two criteria are the two major traits in the consultant case interview.
The BCG Casey chatbot places a stronger priority on testing these two areas than the majority of other online tests from McKinsey or Bain, as well as their own product - potential tests.
However, it is also comparable to other online assessments in that they put a strong emphasis on time management, frequently setting a time limit that is tightly associated with the amount of queries. This is a difficult point of BCG Casey chatbot that candidates are often frightened.
On the contrary, the 2 criteria that are said to be the easiest of BCG Online Case Experience are numerical and verbal reasoning. This tool is less focused on accuracy or presentation as well as more on business than math compared to other tests like BCG potential test or McKinsey PST.
Finally, interface complexity of Casey chatbot is also reported as being on the more difficult side of the spectrum. The majority of candidates are concerned since they do not know which button will actually submit their answer while there is no reverse button.
Nevertheless, this issue can be solve by practicing the BCG Casey simulation to get used to the interface before doing the real test
BCG Online Case Experience vs BCG Potential test
I have to separate a part about the BCG potential test because there are similarities and confusion between these 2 assessments.
Although the BCG Casey chatbot takes the place of the BCG Potential Test, they are fundamentally different – the Online Case Experience, as the name suggests, is a virtual, chatbot-based interview, while the Potential Test is a standardized test similar to GMAT, GRE or PST.
The biggest implication of this information is that the candidate must prepare for case interviews sooner than before – however, this should be viewed as good news, since instead of having to spread the time and effort between case interview and test practice, the candidate can focus on the case interview side only and still pass through the whole recruitment process.
Additionally, the chatbot interview seems to have a more dynamic time constraint – good judgment and good luck will lead to lower numbers of questions (since there’s no need for “redirection”).
BCG Online Case Experience
BCG Potential Test
25-30 minutes (total)
60-190 seconds (per question)
45 minutes (total)
103 second (per question)
Case interview materials
BCG Interactive Case samples
PST, GMAT, GRE
BCG Potential Test samples
Prepare everything within reach
One of the most basic things that many candidates overlook and neglect to adequately prepare for is to ensure that you have all the necessary tools and resources readily available during the BCG Online Case Experience. Before starting the test, make sure you have your calculator, paper, pen, and any other materials that you may require.
Although this is only at a basic level, being well-prepared will ensure that you perform your best on the assessment. Having all relevant tools at hand will save you valuable time and enable you to navigate through the test seamlessly.
Find a comfortable seat
Secondly, creating a conducive environment is essential for optimizing your performance during the BCG Casey chatbot. Remember you are at your house, find a comfortable seat that provides proper back support and ensures ergonomic comfort.
Additionally, try to select a bright place where it will not interfere with your work process. Also, a strong and stable internet connection is also crucial to avoid any disruptions during the test. By selecting a suitable seat, you can eliminate unnecessary distractions and maintain your focus on the assessment.
Take Notes After Each Question
As you progress through the BCG Casey chatbot, it is advisable to take notes after completing each question. This practice is particularly important because some questions may require insights or data from previous questions within the same case. By jotting down key points, important calculations, or relevant information, you can quickly refer back to them when needed.
In addition, taking notes helps you maintain a logical flow of thought and ensures that you provide accurate and well-structured answers. It also allows you to keep track of your progress and easily review your responses before submitting them.
Do Not Be Distracted by the Time Limit
Maintaining concentration and avoiding getting distracted by the time limit of the BCG Casey chatbot is indeed significant but it is challenging to execute. The reminders about the remaining time can create a sense of urgency, but it is important to maintain a steady pace and not rush your decisions.
Prioritize accuracy and thoughtful analysis, taking time to understand each question and approach it strategically. Effective time management is key - allocate sufficient time to each question while keeping the overall time limit in mind.
Stay composed, think critically, and deliver well-structured responses. By staying focused and managing your time effectively, you can optimize your performance in the test.
Although the BCG Casey Chatbot is conducted online, it is crucial to maintain a certain level of professionalism throughout the assessment. Remember that at the end of the test, you will be required to record a video presenting your final pitch for the entire case.
Dress appropriately and ensure that your background is clean, tidy, and free from any distractions. Creating a professional appearance and setting reflects your dedication and commitment to the assessment. It also contributes to a positive first impression, which can make a difference in how your responses are perceived.