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What are the best tips to prepare for a case interview?

Are there any tips to consider when presented with a business scenario?

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Richard’s Answer

Hi Kathelyn!

When it comes to case interviews, I would recommend doing three things:
1. Familiarize yourself with the "rules of the game"
2. Read up on common business thinking
3. Practice, practice, practice

Maria has drawn a really good outline on what the "rules of the game" are. When doing case interviews, understand that the interviewers are trying to assess your ability to break down a ambiguous problem (such as "Company X is experiencing a decline in profits. Why?") and structure it based on individual components of the business. I would say once you get the Problem Structuring part of the case interview mastered, the rest should be relatively easy to follow-through.

When it comes to structuring the problems, it would definitely help to read up on common business theory. This includes things such as the profitability framework (profit = revenue - costs). Additionally, definitely read up on the different components that a business will consider when developing its strategy. This commonly includes the 3Cs: cost, customers, and competition. To aid in your development of business theory, I highly recommend investing in resources that will directly teach you the materials. Maria has given a really good website that teaches you the fundamentals of case interviews. I would also recommend Case in Point and CraftingCases. The latter you can Google and watch their modules for free!

Lastly is practice. Case interviewing is a skill on its own, and through much practice you will get better at it. I also recommend practicing with people who understand the game too; you wouldn't want to learn basketball from a football coach!

My final tip is don't get discouraged! When I first practiced case interviewing, I felt so incompetent because I can't answer a simple market-sizing question. Nevertheless, keep pushing through and sooner or later you'll understand.

Best.
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Amanda’s Answer

Hey Kathelyn,

I have both done case interviews myself as well as conducted them. The key for being prepared is checking out sample case interviews online and practicing as much as you can. There are certain structures for how to conduct case interviews in the most effective way, so check those out as well. It's always important to take your time, ensure you are communicating clearly to the interviewer what your thought process is, and making sure you ask any clarifying questions if needed.

In terms of practicing, choose some sample case studies, grab a friend, and run through the case with them. It's important to practice cases out loud as this can make a big difference in how you practice your communication and articulate your thoughts. Lastly, I would take into account what type of consulting you are interviewing for. For example, if you are interviewing for a technical consulting position, you may have a case study that also has questions on how to introduce or implement a new technology and what your strategy for that would be. If you are looking at management consulting, it might be more financial and numbers focused where you might have to do some quick math during the case study.

At the end of the day, practice is very important and remembering that a case study is just a problem you are being asked to solve- which you do everyday!

Good luck!
Amanda
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Sikawayi’s Answer

Hello Kathelyn, Thank you for your question. The first thing you need to remember is that there looking to hire people who are thrust Worthey. Just because you may not run back to the counter at the grocery store and tell them you got too much change doesn't mean you are not thrust Worthey. These will be basic common-sense questions. For example, they may give you a question about a coworker would you leave work early or stay and help your coworker? You will be fine as long as you don't get nervous, best of luck
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Maria’s Answer

Hi Kathelyn! Case interviews can be stressful! This website has a great overview and some key tips: https://www.caseinterview.com/case-interview-basics.

The foundational skills to demonstrate are:

Problem Structuring
Logical Reasoning
Analysis
The Ability to Draw Conclusions from Data
The Ability to Synthesize or Communicate Your Conclusions

It's important to describe how you arrive at your conclusions.
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Scott’s Answer

It is always about the process that you get to the answer rather than the answer. I would always start with understanding the current situation and start with a hypothesis.
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Aneri’s Answer

Hi, Kathelyn! I currently work in the consulting industry and have led many sessions on case & technical interview prep. I have also gone through this process myself with consulting companies. Each company will have a different structure and and their own specifics, however here is a summary of the advice I usually provide for consulting case interviews:

- Make sure you thoroughly review & understand the problem/case you are being given: take notes on key points, capture the facts, and highlight
what is relevant
- Don't be afraid to ask questions! If there are any points or facts that you would like to clarify, take the time to do so
- Make sure you are clear on the core question that you are trying to solve. It can be easy to get lost in all of the information you are provided, so always try to keep the main problem and objective in mind
- Feel free to break the problem into components to better understand it/the main factors. This is also a great way to fully assess the issue and start to brainstorm potential solutions
- Don't be afraid to ask follow-up questions while going through the process - the interviewers are usually there to help you and will continue to clarify any additional queries on the information while you brainstorm. This is also a good way to make sure that the plan you are creating isn't missing any information/doesn't include any incorrect assumptions
- Present your plan/solution! Start by quickly recapping the main facts and objectives of the case. Then, walk through your solution, plan, and final recommendation. Make sure to have a few key facts/points ready as support for your solution. Feel free to also suggest next steps

As a final piece of advice, don't fret too much on coming up with the "best" solution - oftentimes there is no one correct solution to these cases! Interviewers will be looking more towards how you approach the problem, your creation of an informed solution, and your skills articulating/presenting the final recommendation.
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