Stacking your skills up against a real business challenge
If you’re a candidate for consulting case interview, you’ll be asked to demonstrate your problem-solving skills, your analytical abilities, as well as your strategic and logical thinking. These case interviews can also help us assess your common sense, creativity, and comfort with ambiguity. At the same time, you’ll gain insight into our approach because these cases represent real client projects.
Cases can help us assess a candidate across multiple dimensions, and your answers should project clear thinking, practical judgment, and a professional demeanor. Apply this 4-step approach while working through the case interview:
- Listen & Clarify
- Plan & Hypothesize
- Think and Gather
- Structure & Close
Practice case interview will be very useful
Listen & Clarify
– Listen actively
– Focus and concentrate!
– Write down EVERY piece information especially numerical data
– Pause, paraphrase the problem and clarify all questions
Example:“So, if I understood you correctly…”
Double check on objective: “Is reducing production costs our only goal in this case?”.
– Don’t be afraid to ask – make sure you understood the problem 100%
Plan & Hypothesize
– Plan the solution structure (roadmap)
– Ask for 1 minute to gather your thoughts
– Identify case type and corresponding framework
– Describe and draw the framework you want to use for the interviewer
– Ideally you should start with the problem you want to solve. Then lay out how you want to get there and where you will use assumptions
– Organize your notes (consultants are supposed to be always “client-ready”)
Think & Gather
– Think out loud
– The interviewer is interested but has no crystal ball. You have to tell him what you are thinking. Sharing your thoughts allows the interviewer to interact. He will give you hints such as nodding if you are on the right track. If you ever get stuck, the interviewer is in a better position to help you out since he knows where you are in your thought process
– Thinking aloud is client friendly!
– Gather data the right way
Structure & Close
– Stay structured throughout the case
– Always refer to the structure you have set up at the beginning of the case
– Remember: be flexible with your structure as the case evolves
– Don’t jump around framework branches without finishing analyzing a branch, always solve problems serially
– Explore branches of your issue tree and eliminate when you reach a dead end
– Summarize findings when switching major branches. This can also be done during the case.
They want candidates to have an effective and enjoyable case discussion so we encourage you to follow the case interview tips below. You are not expected to provide the “right” answer, but rather clearly convey your logic and thought process. Sample case interviews provide examples and mimic an actual case dialogue.
To help you demonstrate your best thinking in the case interview, we encourage you to:
- Take notes throughout the case exercise
- Be sure you understand the case question
- Ask questions, but don’t use them as a crutch—we’re interested in how you connect the dots, not in painting the picture for you
- Develop and articulate a framework and the initial hypothesis that you intend to explore
- Take time to compose your thoughts–don’t just start talking
- Structure your analysis into a clear, logical story
- Walk the interviewer through your thinking and explain your assumptions
- Don’t panic—engage the interviewer in a business conversation.