Consulting firms have come to rely on
the infamous case interview to screen candidates and select only the
very best from the pack. Even the best-credentialed candidate can
have significant difficulty landing a consulting position if he or she
is inadequately prepared for case interviews. Advance preparation
and practice is therefore the key to success. Learn the tricks of
framing your response to a case question, and become comfortable
tackling any case that comes your way.
about current interview practices of individual firms!
Boston Consulting Group
FROM THE BOOK
Management Consulting: A Complete Guide to the Industry - 2nd Edition
(Biswas & Twitchell, John Wiley & Sons), Chapter 6: Mastering
the Case Interview.
have worked hard to secure an interview. You have diligently researched
the firm's background, spoken with their consultants, polished your
resume, and written a winning cover letter. Now, the only obstacles
between you and an offer are the infamous rounds of case
is a case interview?
traditional interview includes three parts: an initial greeting, a
discussion of the candidate's resume, and a final question-and-answer
session. What, then, is a case interview? It is an expanded
version of the traditional interview, which is uniquely characterized by
its inclusion of a fourth part: a case question. Case questions
can ask you to discuss almost anything, from estimating the number of
gas stations in the United States, to measuring the impact of El Nino on
the world price of grapes..."
are some examples of case questions?
questions are infinitely variable. They can be based on any
industry, company, or organization, and may be either reality based or
entirely fictional. Although most deal with business situations,
some cases may have to do with everyday life activities (e.g. "Why
do the hands on a clock turn clockwise?") Although cases vary
greatly from requiring intensive quantitative analysis to demanding
purely abstract thinking, most case questions can be grouped into 10
is the purpose of a case question?
case question is intended to test a candidate's ability to think and act
like a consultant in an intense face to face situation. By
simulating a client-consultant interaction, interviewers are able to
observe firsthand how a candidate would manage a discussion with a
client. Case questions are intentionally abstract, usually obscure
and puzzling, and often technical. They are designed to test your
ability to think creatively, make sense out of ambiguity, handle
abstraction, and systematically derive an answer when an answer seems
next to impossible..."
FROM THE BOOK
I need to practice cases?
preparation cannot wait until the last minute. You should begin to
practice immediately, and continue to do so throughout the entire
application process. Most
candidates who fail the case interview do so because of inadequate
preparation. They simply read through a list of sample case
questions and think about how they would answer them. But when
they are faced with the pressure of a face-to-face case interview, these
candidates suddenly realize how inadequately prepared they are.
Passive preparation is not enough; preparing for case interviews
requires an active investment of time into practice..."
is a case framework and why will it help me answer case questions?
you jump into the discussion of a case, you should outline your intended
path of analysis. Not only will this help you structure your
thinking, it will also give your interviewer a road map for following
the logic of your discussion. Consultants refer to this analytical
outline as a "framework:" an intellectual tool that directs an
analysis toward the critical issues of a case in a logical manner.
Frameworks, such as Porter's Five Forces or BCG's Growth-Share Matrix,
are frequently used in business strategy classes. Others, such as
the 4-P's (Product, Price, Place, Promotion) and the 3-C's (Company,
Competitors, Customers), are frequently used in marketing classes...
When selecting a framework you may want to look beyond the traditional
and develop your own. Use your imagination to develop a framework
that suits the unique needs of a case..."
much does a Boeing 747
what Boeing says!
airlines sell fee
services like travel insurance?
are manhole covers
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