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Case Study Interview Prep

In the last several years the “case interview” has become increasingly popular, especially in the field of consulting, as a means of evaluating a candidate’s analytical abilities. An employer utilizing this approach will present a hypothetical business problem, either from an actual in-house situation or a possible scenario drawn from the work experience reflected on your résumé.

The objective of the case interview is to test your analytical skills & your ability to take data and in a structured manner, derive a conclusion. You may be given incomplete information and be expected to ask several questions before responding. For the most part, the interviewer is primarily interested in how you approach the problem and logically reasoning your way through it. The specific answer is not as important as the method you use to get there.

The key to succeeding in case interviews is to stay calm and organize your answers mentally before you verbalize them. Career Development has a number of Case Interview resources to help you prepare. Also, plan on attending our Consulting Workshop to further help familiarize yourself with the consulting industry and its interviewing practices.

See the content below for everything you need to prepare for a case interview.

Additional links and resources:

Note: This list is not complete – most companies now post case studies on their corporate Websites)
David Ohrvall’s Case Interview Prep
McKinsey and Company online case study
Bain & Company case interviews
The Parthenon Group case studies

 

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Parts of the Case Interview
Case Interviews: A Complete Guide

A case interview process outlined above requires candidates to approach the problem as a “hypothesis driven” exercise. Such an exercise typically goes through the following process:

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Sample Frameworks
Case Interviews: A Complete Guide

Consultants typically use “frameworks” to provide a structure for illustrating specific business problems. Frameworks enable you to highlight key issues and then lay out your analysis at the beginning of the case. Wetfeet Press sponsors an “Online Ace Your Case” to demonstrate a typical business case and a sample solution and also sells “Ace Your Case” in hardcopy format. The following are only two of the many frameworks you can use in a case interview situation:

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Case Types, Case Examples and Advice – from Marc Cosentino’s Case in Point
Case Interviews: A Complete Guide

Case Types

Case Type: Entering a new market

Step 1: Investigate the market to determine whether entering the market would make good business sense Assess market attractiveness
Step 2: If you decide to enter the market, you need to figure out the best way to become a player

  • Start from scratch
  • Acquire an existing player
  • Form a joint venture or strategic alliance with another player

Case Type: Developing a new product

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Tips for Case Interviewing
Case Interviews: A Complete Guide

Five qualities of great case interview responses:

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Six Principles from Booz Allen Hamilton
Case Interviews: A Complete Guide

A typical case interview scenario opens with…. 

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Presentation on Case Interviewing: Notes from Marc Cosentino
Case Interviews: A Complete Guide

Case interviews try to determine how a person thinks. Firms like it when a student takes a “rip right through it” approach – eager to get into the question and work on it. Questions may be based on real recent cases; firms compare the student’s approach with want the consultant actually did in real life.

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