Remember your high school days, when you used to stress out over a simple maths test? Well, the case interview is the upgraded, adult version of it, that lets you relive those stressful moments all over again. Only this time, it’s far more serious.
Jokes aside, as infamous and hard as case interviews can be, anything can be handled with the right mindset and preparation. So make sure to begin preparing on time, and really put your mind to it.
When leaving college or university it is important to be prepared for the world of job interviews so take a look at how consulting case interviews work to ensure you’re prepared.
Case Interview Format
Case interviews are an integral step to your job application at any top-level consultancy. It’s important to keep in mind that it’s not the only step, as you need to get called up for it beforehand, but if your job application was lunch – a case interview would be the main course.
For a more detailed look into this main course, take a look at these My Consulting Coach case interview examples. As far as problem-solving preparation is concerned, there is no better way to prepare yourself than practicing various case interview examples.
There is the question of the fit interview as well, where you will need to come up with a clear answer to questions such as: Why are you the right match for this position? What do you have to offer to the company? Why have you chosen that company in particular? How well do you think you’ll fit into the company?
As for the problem-solving part of the case interview, you are likely to get a business problem to solve, in most cases a business problem that the company experienced at some point in the past. You are on a limited time schedule and will need to guide the interviewer through the whole process. They will want to see the way you approach the problem, how you react to your mistakes should you make any, the way you communicate your answers, etc.
Case Interview Examples
Without a shadow of a doubt, the best way to prepare yourself for the problem-solving part of your case interview is to start digging up as many case interview examples as you can find on the web and start going through them.
Where To Find Them?
Fortunately, we live in an age where you can find pretty much anything on the internet. Case interview examples are no exception. Aside from various less-known sources on the web, all the MBB consultancies have their own case interview examples on their official websites.
We highly recommend going through all the examples that the MBB-group firms have to offer. If you are for instance applying at Bain, it’s natural that you will focus on Bain’s case examples, but do not skip the rest. Diverse examples are exactly what you need, as you will want to cover all possibilities in your preparation.
It’s safe to say that every single consulting firm will do its best to create a unique case for the case interview. You can never know for sure what kind of problem you’ll be getting, what industry it will be from, or just how complex it will be.
However, previous experiences indicate that there are several archetypes that could cover most of the cases. You could categorise the problems based on their type, as follows:
– Starting a business
– Entering a new market
– Profitability issues
– Acquiring a company
– Growth strategies
– Pricing strategies
– Developing new products
Any of these subjects is likely to find its way to your case interview. So make sure that they’re your bread and butter by the time your interview day comes. No generic framework will help you solve a truly complicated case, you will have to adapt to each problem at hand and create a framework of your own that can handle the needs of the case.
So, the more case interview examples you go through, the more different custom frameworks you’ll get to create, giving you the required experience in frameworks adapting that you will most definitely need in your case interview.
Work On Communication Skills
In the consulting business, it’s not all just about equations, evaluations, and problem-solving. While this is your main task in every case, a big part of your work is down to communicating with your clients, keeping them in touch with what is going on, and making sure they understand everything you are doing for them.
There will be lots of clients, meaning lots of different personalities. Some easy to handle, some less so. It is your job to once again adapt to every situation, and find a way of making it work with everyone.
Your communication needs to be eloquent and professional, while also making you look confident and assured, as your clients will always want to know that you have things under control and that you know what you are doing. Good communication is important for building a trusting relationship with your clients.
Aside from the fit interview, where your personality will be brought up as a subject, the interviewer will be paying special attention to your communication skills during your case interview. Make sure to think in a logical manner, structure your thoughts coherently, and always take your time to think before you say something.
Yes, case interviews are hard. And yes, they can be pretty stressful and time-consuming to prepare for. However, the rewards can be extremely pleasing should you make it through the whole process.
Starting your preparations early is probably the biggest chunk of advice that you can get. Case interview examples are numerous, and you will need to go through all the types to make sure you understand how to handle all types of problems. This requires time and lots of it.
And in reality, the case interview is not the only thing you need to focus on. You will need to do your best when working on your consulting resume and cover letter as well, as these are the prerequisite for getting called up to the interview in the first place.
So warm up a chair, create a plan for your case interview prep, and get to work in order to achieve your consulting goals.