Wednesday, August 10, 2022

How To Practice Case Interviews

Don't Miss

Develop Fast And Reliable Maths Skills

Case Interview Quantitative Test Practice

The first step of your preparation should be to develop fast and reliable maths skills. Virtually all case interviews involve maths. As a consequence, doing maths quickly and accurately is essential to have good chances of success.

To be clear, you don’t need to become a maths Phd to crack case interviews. You just need to be able to do basic maths extremely efficiently. Our advice is to proceed in two steps here.

First if your maths are really rusty, you should review how to do basic operations such as additions, subtractions, divisions and multiplications mentally. This might sound very basic, but 80% of the maths mistakes people make are basic calculation errors. You can avoid this by spending sometime upfront making sure you have solid maths fundamentals.

Practice With A Case Partner

Regardless of your background, you will need to put in significant time practicing cases. The solitary practice is useful, but your case interview prep will only progress so far without actually simulating the case interview. As such, finding good case partners is perhaps the single most important aspect of your preparation. To help you out here, My Consulting Coach offers an intuitive, user-friendly, and – importantly – – FREE meeting board, where you can get in touch with fellow consulting applicants from across the globe with whom to practice case studies. Candidates are listed along with their background and case experience and the board has easy-to-use tools for both direct invitations and scheduling open meetings.

We recommend you to practice 1-3 cases per day with peers depending on your available time. You can start doing so once you have covered our Building Blocks , to then ramp up your practice when you have completed the course and have more time . My Consulting Coach provides 45+ interactive consulting case interview questions and answers for you to crack with your partners, so you will have plenty to keep you busy! Two tips:

Study The Interview Format

If you’re doing your first RocketBlocks peer session, congrats!

First, familiarize yourself with what a case interview looks and feels like. Below, we’ve included a “straw man” outline:

Phase
  • Interviewer introduces the case scenario
  • Candidate clarifies basics about the scenario
  • Candidate proposes a structure/framework for working through the case
Problem analysis & discussion
  • Candidate analyzes data
  • Candidate probes for insights and relevant info
  • Interviewer provides charts, data, info as appropriate
  • Candidate states the recommendation and supports with key findings
  • Candidate highlights any key next steps and/or caveats

If you’re good here, skip to step #2. If you haven’t seen a case before, we recommend checking out our example videos. Part I is below .

Don’t Miss: Top 10 Behavioral Questions

How To Solve A Case Study In 10 Steps

Step 1: Listen actively and take notes. Write down every piece of information, especially numerical data.

Step 2: Restate the question. Pause, paraphrase, and make sure you understand the problem statement by confirming with the interviewer.

Step 3: Clarify the objectives and identify the problem. Ask specific questions and double-check on objectives. Make sure you completely understand the problem.

Step 4: Write out your structure. Ask your interviewer for a minute to prepare your structure and organize your notes. Identify your case type and use an issue tree to customize your structure. The branches of your issue tree should be MECE.

Step 5: State your hypothesis. Now that you have set up the issue tree, your task is to test each branch to see if it is the root cause of the problem. Where to begin? A hypothesis based on an educated guess helps here.

Step 6: Think out loud. Sharing your thoughts allows the interviewer to interact. Refine or rebuild your hypothesis as you find out more.

Step 7: Gather more data in order to test your hypothesis. Proactively ask for relevant data and always segment it . Try to evaluate whether trends have been company-specific or industry-wide.

Step 9: Choose a recommendation and use the Pyramid Principle to structure your conclusion. Ask for a minute to gather your thoughts and then state your recommendation. You need to deliver a one minute, top-down, concise, structured, clear, and fact-based summary of your findings.

Some Typical Case Interview Questions

McKinsey Case Interview: Consulting Case Practice

case interview

  • A company is considering entering a new market. What are some things that the company should consider?

Or,

  • A company is experiencing declining sales. What could be the cause, and how would you recommend addressing it?
  • You are advising a client on a potential investment. What are the key considerations you would advise them to think about?
  • A startup has hired you to help them evaluate a new product. What are the pros and cons of launching this product?
  • You are advising a client on a potential investment. What factors would you consider to make a recommendation?

Also Check: Questions To Ask Cfo During Interview

Practice Explaining Your Work

Prepare to narrate your case analysis to the interviewer by explaining your thoughts aloud while completing your work. Explaining how you interpreted the information and brainstormed solutions gives the interviewer insight into your ability to use logic and overall consulting mentality. Practice speaking clearly and simplifying complex ideas to share your advanced expertise with others.

Delivering The Perfect Closing Pitch

You have one minute to summarize all of your findings to the client CEO. What would you say?

Your answer must be short, to-the-point,action-oriented, and client-friendly.

The closing pitch of the case interview is sometimes called the elevator pitch, where you supposedly meet the client CEO inside the elevator and must somehow deliver the results of the project before the elevator arrives at its destination floor .

Regardless of the wording, the principles remain the same, and your closing pitch must consist of these 4 parts:

  • Introduction / Lead-in
  • Next step
  • Don’t Miss: Best Interview Attire For A Woman

    How To Prepare For Case Interviews

    Case Interview preparation is a long and tough process. In an ocean of books, videos, programs, how do we navigate to maximize learning? Most materials floating around are quite good, at least in terms of substance. But the timing and the organization of them can be confusing.

    • Too much theory in the beginning can burn brain power very quickly.
    • Tackling cases without basics can develop bad habits, which eventually cost more time to unlearn.
    • Practicing complicated cases in the beginning can destroy morale drastically.

    So a good study plan is constantly switching between 3 activities: reading theory, watching examples, and practicing, with cases increasing difficulty level. Its so crucial to start with super easy cases, be patient, and stay on that level until you are ready to move up. There are so many skills, habits, and scripts to develop and these take time.

    The quickest way to do just about everything is Step by Step

    Even for candidates with cases coming up urgently, I still strongly recommend spending the most valuable time practicing cases that match your level. After all, cases are just the context. What you will be evaluated on is your approach, your skills, your techniques, etc.

    So, this is a sample study plan you can adopt for yourselves:

    The 5x Case Studies I Recommend Doing If You Are A Beginner

    Learn Case Interviews in Under 30 minutes

    1.Stern case book: Drinks Gone Flat

    This is a good introduction to a very common type of case . I liked the solution presented for this case, in particular how it started first by isolating the problem of declining sales .

    2.Stern case book: Sport bar

    This is an investment case . Even if the solution presented in this case book is not MECE, it covers the most common quantitative questions you might have in such a case. I recommend doing this case.

    3.Stern case book: MJ Wineries

    This is a profitability case. I liked the solution presented in this case because it illustrates how specific good candidates should be. The case is talking about wine, so a good candidate should mention the quality of lands and grapes as important factors.

    4.AGSM case book: Piano tuners

    This is a typical market sizing question. How to answer this type of questions is a must-know before going to your interviews.

    5.Darden case book: National Logistics

    Again, this is a very common type of case . I liked the broad range of questions asked in this case, covering key skills assessed by consulting firms during case interviews: brainstorming skill , quantitative skill and business sense.

    You May Like: Best System Design Interview Prep

    Pwc Case Interview Examples

    Healthcare AI InnovatorHelp a health care information provider improve its communication with pharmaceutical clients to improve outcomes.

    Love at First ByteHelp a data management client comply with new regulations.

    Prioritizing Ethics and IntegrityHelp a software company leverage data analytics to comply with regulations.

    Telecom Giant Doubles its Size With an AcquisitionHelp a telecommunications company integrate a newly acquired business.

    Skills Required In A Consulting Interview

    In Cases there is no right or wrong answer, what really matters is the way you think the problem through, how confident you are with your conclusions and how quick you are with the back of the envelope arithmetic. If you visit McKinsey, Bain and BCG website pages on case interviews, you will find that the three firms look for very similar traits. Broadly speaking, your interviewer will be evaluating you across 5 areas:

    One: Probing mind

    Showing intellectual curiosity by asking relevant and insightful questions that show show critical thinking and proactive nature. For instance, if we are told that revenues for a leading supermarket chain have been declining over the last 10 years, a successful candidate would ask:

    We know revenues have declined. This could be due to price or volume. Do we know how they changed over the same period?

    instead of a laundry list of questions such as:

    • Did customers change their preferences?

    • Which segment has shown the decline in volume?

    • Is there a price war in the industry?

    Two: Structure

    Structuring means creating a framework, i.e. a series of clear consecutive steps in order to get to a solution to the problem. The focus of case interview frameworks is not on reaching solution themselves, but rather on how to get there.

    Three: Problem solving

    Four: Numerical agility

    Five: Communication

    Don’t Miss: Prepare For System Design Interview

    Join Thousands Of Other Candidates Cracking Cases Like Pros

    Estimation

    Estimation questions can often seem very daunting on the first impression. Where would we even start in working out how many cars are sold in Berlin, for example? The key to estimation case questions is the ability to logically break down the problem into more manageable pieces. . In consulting case studies, this will generally mean segmenting a wider population to find a target group. For example, starting from the total population of Berlin and narrowing down on the cohort of individuals who will buy a car that year.

    There are many ways to segment the same starting population. However, whilst several different segmentation schemes might be equally valid, it is crucial to choose the specific method best suited to the question you have to answer and to leveraging the data you have available.

    Segmentation must be allied with assumptions in order to arrive at an estimation. These assumptions are the guessed element of estimations we mentioned above. Assumptions cannot just be plucked from thin air, but must always be reasonable.

    The example below showcases both the segmentation and assumptions made in an estimation of the size of the wedding planning market in London:

    Profitability

    To take an example, just to take revenues as a fraction of profit, the incoming revenues for an insurance firm might be broken down as follows:

    Pricing

    Valuation

    Where:

    CF = Cash Flow r = Discount Rate

    Competitive Interactions

    Impress Your Interviewer On Fit / Pei Questions

    Case Interview Preparation

    Finally, one of the most common mistakes candidates make when preparing for consulting interviews is to focus too much on cases, and to neglect fit / personal experience interview questions.

    We recommend putting about 25% of your preparation time aside to prepare good answers to common fit and PEI questions. We are currently working on adding a section about this specific topic to this guide. In the meantime you should read this blog post on frequent McKinsey PEI questions how to answer them.

    Recommended Reading: Preparing For System Design Interview

    Lek Case Interview Examples And Practice

    • : This video provides an example of how to estimate the market size for medical consumables by general practitioners in the United Kingdom. The video is short and provides a great example on how to structure an approach to market sizing.

    Why Are Case Interviews Conducted

    Case interviews are conducted so that interviewers can get a better understanding of a candidate’s ability to solve problems and think analytically. For example, if you are applying for a management consulting position, the interviewer may want to see if you can analyze the information presented as well as perform calculations and determine a logical solution while under pressure.

    Additionally, case interviews are used to determine how a candidate thinks. Because many consulting and other related positions required individuals to work with upper management and make high-level decisions, interviewers want to ensure that they are selecting the best and brightest employee for the position. Many case interview questions do not have a “right answer” but rather are designed to test how an individual thinks and engages with problems as part of a team.

    Related: How To Conduct Case Interview Prep

    Read Also: What To Wear For An Interview Women

    Would You Like To See This Youtube Video

    Without your consent we cannot embed YouTube videos. Click the button below to allow YouTube videos to be embedded.

    By allowing this service, you consent, in accordance with article 49 paragraph 1 sentence 1 lit. a GDPR, to your data being processed in the USA. The USA is not considered to have adequate data protection legislation. Your data could be accessed by law enforcement without prior public trial in court. You can change your settings regarding consent to external services at any time in our Cookie and Privacy Settings.

  • Get a feeling and true understanding of the problem and the objective
  • Lay out an exhaustive, well-thought-through structure
  • Build an initial hypothesis and prioritize the different areas
  • Gather data based on your hypothesis and priorities
  • Evaluate the data keeping in mind your problem and goal
  • Track down the root cause and the area which would have the biggest impact
  • Develop possible solutions, weigh them, and choose the best one. Make sure your solution is based on the data irrespective of whether it is positive or negative. Keep in mind that the best feasible solution is truly the best solution!
  • Do you need more insightful tips on how to approach your case interview in management consulting? Read our comprehensive case interview guide that gives you tips for your case interview preparation, step-by-step explanations to solve the case, and lastly 13 valuable tips for your actual interview day.

    The Best Preparation For Case Interviews Is Practice

    McKinsey Case Interview Practice #2: Pharma Acquisition
    • Case Prep Timeline: A weekly guide for practicing cases, including tips and resources.
    • Management Consulting and the Case Interview Process: This guide includes an introduction to consulting, examples of cases, two common case interview methods and tips for acing the case interview.
    • RocketBlocks: Interactive, skills-based web application that helps you prepare for consulting interviews. with your Yale email address. The access code can be found in Yale Career Link/Career Library/OCS Instructional Guides.
    • Review the practice cases provided on-line by many of the large consulting firms .
    • The Applicant Journey: Interviews with successful applicants .

    You May Like: Interview Attire Women

    Align Early Align Often

    Always try to reach and maintain a consensus with co-workers and your boss, from the most mundane tasks to the largest projects.

    Nobody wants to spend a whole week building a model that the team doesnt need its a huge waste of time and resources. As such, consultants have this aligning habit very early and often a little time spent on reaching an agreement now will save a lot of trouble later.

    Remember to align in case interviews as well at the start of the case, and every important step.

    Dont Read Straight Through Sample Case Interview Examples Or Passively Watch Videos

    Some people think that the best way to improve their chances of passing a case interview is by reading as many cases interview examples as they can.

    Its not.

    This is like reading about how to play tennis but never picking up a racket. To get better at tennis, for example, you need to actually pick up a ball and be active. The same applies to your interview preparation.

    Stop and think at each step in the case interview question. Come up with your own answer and say it out loud. Practice driving each part of the case interview example yourself.

    • How would you structure your analysis of the problem?
    • What questions would you ask the interviewer?
    • How would you set up the case math problem?
    • What recommendation would you make to the client?

    After youve developed your answer, compare it to the suggested answer for the case.

    What did you get right?

    How did your answer and the case interview example answer differ?

    Are there things you miss consistently across multiple case interview examples?

    The answers to these case interview examples can look simple when you just read through them, but its not easy to come up with all the key aspects of the solution on your own.

    Nail the case & fit interview with strategies from former MBB Interviewers that have helped 85% of our clients pass the case interview.

    3. Find Partners to Practice Case Interviews with.

    You May Like: Interview With Cfo

    More articles

    Popular Articles