Explaining The Purpose Of The Data
Say why you need that data, so the interviewer knows you can actually use it.
There are only two purposes for data in case interviews: to test a hypothesis, and to understand the context.
You can use the following scripts to when to reason your data requests:
For now, Im hypothesizing that the root cause of this problem comes from the X branch. Since this hypothesis can only be tested with the data on X, may I have those figures? < testing hypothesis>
For now, I hypothesize that the root cause of the problem comes from the X branch of this issue tree. However, to further break down the problem in a spot-on way, to better understand the context of our clients problem, I will ask a few more questions. Does that sound reasonable to you? < understanding the context>
Actual Or Theoretical Client Questions
This type of question requires candidates to analyse an actual or possible client issue. Examples include:
- A well-known business wants to develop itself online. What is your advice?
- A well-known high-street cafe chain is doing badly. How do you suggest they improve?
- A company has found that its revenues are higher than ever, but the company is still operating at a loss. Why is this?
- You have been contacted by a sushi chain to help them develop a plan to enter the home delivery market in a community where another sushi chain already has a market-dominant position. You are the lead consultant for this client, what do you suggest they do?
Case Study Interviews Explained
Even if youve never participated in one, its likely youve heard stories about the case study interview format. The case study puts you, the candidate, on the spot to solve a business problem posed by the interviewers.
Case study interview questions cover a wide range of topics and do not look for a single right answer. Instead, the format gives the interviewers a look at how you respond spontaneously while applying problem-solving skills to create a solution to the business challenge presented.
For example, an exercise might ask what the potential market size is for a vegan food company within a prospective city and if setting up shop within the region would be worth it. The case study may not share all the details to help you reach an answer, but it should prompt you to ask questions that help you structure your thought process.
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Stuck In Cases What To Do
Weve all been there that scarily awkward feeling when you dont know what to do next in a case interview, that fear of being rejected.
In every stuck situation, the most important thing is to remain calm and collected then methodically work your way out. Ill teach you how to get out of those situations, with style.
There are actually 3 different kinds of stuck, and for each, I have a different solution:
Lets go through each in detail.
Do Marketing Case Studies Really Work
Absolutely. A well-written case study puts prospective clients into the shoes of your paying clients, encouraging them to engage with you. Plus, they:
Case studies serve your clients too. For example, they can generate positive publicity and highlight the accomplishments of line staff to the management team. Your company might even throw in a new product/service discount, or a gift as an added bonus.
But dont just take my word for it. Lets look at a few statistics and success stories:
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Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Diving Deeper Into Case Interview Preparation
Right now, you may be thinking to yourself that consulting interviews sound impossibly difficult. Or you may think that they sound like interesting business problems that youd enjoy solving.
Perhaps youre not sure.
If you think that answering case interviews is not something that would come naturally to you, dont worry, youre not alone!
Getting good at consulting interviews requires a lot of preparation.
Before you commit to putting in the time required to prepare for the management consulting interview process, you should ask yourself if a career in management consulting is right for you.
Key Questions to Ask Yourself Before Pursuing a Career in Consulting
- Do you enjoy solving the types of business problems asked in case interviews?
- Do you have a background in business principles or are you willing to invest the time it will take to develop one?
- Are you passionate about pursuing consulting as a career?
Management consulting jobs might pay well and provide the opportunity to pursue attractive careers, but if you dont like solving business problems, you probably wont like the work youll do as a consultant. If you dont enjoy analyzing business cases, save yourself a lot of preparation time and frustration.
Focus on career options that better meet your interests.
Or, perhaps solving business problems with smart, driven professionals sounds like its your dream job.
If so, move onto the deeper dive into case interview prep below!
Case Presentation Interview: New Style Of Case Interview
Management consulting is a decades old industry, and the case interview has been a consistent staple in the consulting recruiting process. Some firms, however, have continued to iterate and have introduced the case presentation interview to test candidates in a new way.
Firms use this to test more than just your ability to crack a case. Instead, in a case presentation interview, your ability to understand which data is important, remain focused on solving the core business problem, and making a concise yet persuasive presentation is paramount.
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Study What A Company Is Looking For In An Applicant
Employers look for different skills depending on the type of position theyre hiring for. A case study interview can evaluate if theyre a match for the position.
Here are some of the skills that employers look for during a case study interview:
- Logical and actionable thinking process
- Analytic mind
How To Prepare For A Case Interview At The Big 4 Firms
If you are applying for a role within management consulting for one of the Big 4 Deloitte, EY, KPMG or PwC, you may be asked to undertake a case interview. A case interview is a type of job interview in which you will be presented with a specific business situation, and asked to answer questions on how you would handle this specific situation. It may be a situation you are likely to encounter in your day to day job or it could be a question unrelated to your role. For example, you may be asked how you would determine the market for a new product launch, and youd need to be able to ask questions and extract information to be able to determine this. Case interviews can be complex, but it is important to take a deep breath and think things through carefully before you start.
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When Choosing A Case Study Subject Pick A Raving Fan
Your sales and marketing team should know which clients are vocal advocates willing to talk about their experiences. Your customer service and technical support teams should be able to contribute suggestions.
Clients who are experts with your product/service make solid case study candidates. If you sponsor an online community, look for product champions who post consistently and help others.
When selecting a candidate, think about customer stories that would appeal to your target audience. For example, lets say your sales team is consistently bumping into prospects who are excited about your solution, but are slow to pull the trigger and do business with you.
In this instance, finding a client who felt the same way, but overcame their reluctance and contracted with you anyway, would be a good story to capture and share.
Ask Pertinent Questions And Use Information From The Interviewer To Form Hypotheses About The Problem And Explore Potential Options
After you brainstorm key aspects of the case problem and structure your approach to solving it, share your approach with your interviewer.
If the interviewer suggests a place to start your analysis, follow their lead.
Otherwise, suggest the best place to start digging into the case.
Make sure the questions you ask the interviewer touch on all the key aspects of the problem you identified including the clients internal organization, the market for their product, and their competition.
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How To Ace Your Case Study Interview
Our tips will help you approach your case interview with confidence
For most prospective West Monroe candidates, the case study interview is perhaps the most daunting part of the application process. Why? Because our case studies dont simply assess what you know the technical or industry capabilities that one can study for they assess how you think. And thats on purpose. For one thing, it levels the playing field, allowing candidates with diverse backgrounds and skillsets with the opportunity to succeed. For another, venturing into the unknown and relying on the ability to think like a consultant mirrors what we at West Monroe often have to do on the job. In our 45-minute interviews, candidates are given a story-driven case study pulled right out of a real-life West Monroe project from there, the candidate will act as a consultant on the project. Were looking for our candidates to demonstrate critical thinking , problem solving , and communication skills . Just because were more focused on seeing how you think doesnt mean you cant prepare. Thats why weve outlined three key pieces of guidance for prospective candidates. Follow these, and youll be well on your way to acing your case study interview.
Learn And Keep Track Of Your Progress
You can do as many cases as you like, but if you do not learn from them, you will not going to improve your case performance. This is why you should do the following: At the end of each case that you solve, whether it is on your own, with a case partner or expert, write down in your own words what mistakes you have made and what you learned. After a few days, redo the case and apply your learnings to ensure that you are making progress. Keeping track of your improvements will keep you motivated and make sure that you dont repeat the same mistakes.
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Specifics Of An Interview As A Method Of Research
Specificity of the method consists is in the fact that a person as a direct participant in the social processes and phenomena under study is the source of primary sociological information. The interview is the most flexible method of collecting sociological information. It suggests a conversation on a specific plan with the respondent, based on the personal contact between the sociologist and the respondent.Case study interview process is a situation of verbal exchange, where one person is trying to obtain information or expressions of opinions or beliefs from another person .
Case Study Interview Preparation Strategy:
To prepare for the case study interview, the candidate has to understand the firms recruitment sample case studies. This type of work can involve by the other type of work i.e. how the company works with its clients etc.
The candidate has to have a glance at the press releases to understand the type of work that the organization undertakes. This will help the candidate to analyze the recommendations, a business carried out and also the clients feedback.
Here one can also gather a deep knowledge of the case study interviews by undergoing workshops, presentations, etc. As there are two types of case studies, the performance of the candidate will be evaluated.
- Mission impossible and market sizing case study interview
- Condensed project assignment interview
The basic structure of every question has to answer and also the reasoning and voice assumptions are to manage. This helps them understand the reasoning challenges and the assumptions that can be made accordingly. Here are some approaches for case study:
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What To Expect On The Day Of The Case Study Interview
The case study interview session will likely begin like a standard interview, with introductions and a small talk to help put you at ease. The location will usually be an interviewing room or a vacant conference room.
The interviewer will introduce the business situation and provide exhibits, which often include an excerpt from a financial statement, and perhaps a bullet-point summary of the facts of the case. The interviewer will ask if you have any questions, and then you will be prompted to begin working on the case.
Cases are usually self-contained, so it is unlikely you will need internet access to do research. However, you will likely have to perform calculations, and will either be provided with paper and pens or allowed to use the calculator on your mobile phone or the whiteboard in the room.
During the case, the interviewer may stay in the room to address any questions you have. The interviewer may also offer prompts, guide you to the next step, or provide hints.
Many interviewers will offer verbal or tacit feedback along the way, and it is important to pay attention to it. You may occasionally find yourself getting stuck, and it is entirely appropriate to ask questions of the interviewer to help get back on track.
At the conclusion, you may be given feedback on your overall performance, or an opportunity to debrief with the interviewer.
Use The Case Presentation Interview Structure To Your Advantage
One of the biggest advantages you have is that the data you need is all right in front of you. Unlike most traditional case interviews where you have to mine for relevant data, the packet of information will have everything you need. After forming your hypotheses, you can instantly start testing to see which direction you should be headed.
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Buy Time With Repetitions
A common trick consultants use is the repeating of facts or overall goals. By doing this you are showing a fundamental comprehension of the case and are emitting an aura of control, gradually heading towards a solution. This technique can give you more time to think. Articulating the facts of the case can also be a source of clarity and allow you to form solutions more quickly.
Develop Personal Interview Scripts
Every tip Ive mentioned in the previous 7 chapters are for recurring situations in case interviews, and they can be dealt with using formulaic responses.
What that means for you the candidate is that you can make personal scripts and learn them by heart until they all become your second nature. That will save you a lot of brainpower to use on the issue tree.This approach has proven successful with all of my coachees, and its also a major part of our Case Interview End-to-End Secrets Program. You will find my own personal script I used back in the day, and I will also personally give feedback to scripts of members of the program.
So open your document tool and start writing now. Once youve finished the scripts, learn them by heart one at a time. When you feel comfortable with every one of them, you can move up to a higher level and practice with whole cases.
Do Further Mock Cases Review And Improve
Practicing for case interviews is a time-consuming process but as long as you have the right method, you will make it!
Stay tune with us on this website and our Youtube channel for continuously updated information on case interviews and management consulting recruitment you can also subscribe in the newsletter below for free materials and other insightful contents!
Good luck with your case prep!
If A Hypothesis Is True Drill Down If Its False Go Sideways
What happens when we test a hypothesis?
Assuming that we have access to enough data, it either gets proven TRUE or proven FALSE. How do we proceed from here?
- Proven True: go DOWN the issue tree to sub-branches! Lets say the metal detector identified the key IS indeed on the first floor. Go deeper. Draw sub-branches of that first-floor branch and repeat the process.
- Proven False: go HORIZONTAL to other big branches! Lets say the metal detector denies the key presence in the first floor. We then can cross out this branch and go test others, a.k.a: the second and third floor.
Test, Sleep, Test, Repeat until the ROOT-CAUSE shows up!
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The Most Common Case Study Interview Questions
Case study interview questions generally mirror the work of the employer.
If a candidate is interviewing for a role that is focused on a specific industry or function its necessary to have researched the typical projects that might be worked on and their respective solutions. These types of problems will likely come up during the case interview.
If a candidate is interviewing for a generalist role, they should get familiar with the most common business questions faced by CEOs, and their approaches to solving them. Consultants at MBBs are commonly involved in solving these questions and they often tend to come up in business case interviews. The questions include:
However, to avoid candidates gaming the system, the top-tier firms are moving away from the more common types of cases. London Business School MBA students reported that a third of the case study interview questions they saw when interviewing with top consulting firms did not fall within any of the above question types.