Consulting Case Interview Preparation Guide Part 1

In general, case interview is very common in interviews with consulting companies, interviewer will measure a candidate’s attitude toward risk and comprehensive logical analysis ability with some cases, to see whether a candidate is flexible and can adapt quickly.

There are two stages of case interview: preparative stage and formal case interview stage. During the preparative stage, you may need to introduce yourself. Then answer the interviewer’s question about your resume and some broadly issues about personal considerations.

The next stage is a formal case interview. Case interview is to draw a conclusion about some business issues with analysis. Unlike other kinds of interviews, case interview is an interactive process. You will get some business issues from the interviewer and are required to provide an analysis and advice on these issues. Your task is to put forward some logical questions to the interviewer in order that you could have more comprehensive and detailed realization on these issues, and finally give a conclusion through systematic analysis.

Please keep in mind there are not absolutely correct answers in case interview, interviewer concerned about your analytical ability and creativity exhibited during the interview, but not the answer.

Purpose of case interview

Consultant will spend lots of time with their clients and colleagues for the purpose of intercommunion, and they were required to have some special qualities in order to succeed in consulting projects. These qualities include: ability to remain calm under pressure, ability to quickly established an assumption according to the details of projects, and make a conclusion depend on strong logical analysis capability and so on. Therefore, the cases interview which highly interactive and tight bounds for practical as well as strong requirement analysis skill would let interviewer evaluate the qualities of candidates effectively.

Which qualities are crucial in case interview?

Leadership

Consultant must be able to work independently and lead a focused team to achieve common goals. Therefore, the leadership is very important to a consultant. During the case interview, you need to grasp the initiative and ask target questions confidently in order to embody your leadership potential.

Analysis ability

Analysis is the core competency in consulting industry. In case interview, your task is to put forward assumption depending on the facts, understanding the meaning of the data, and then form a set of analytical framework, reached the conclusions and recommendations finally. During the case interview, you need to put effective and purpose questions in order to embody your analysis ability.

Expression ability

Once the consultant has carried out a detailed project analysis as well as work out best strategy, he need to demonstrate the solutions and recommend it to the consulting team and discuss it with clients. Therefore, the ability of expression is also very crucial to a consultant. For this reason, in case interview you should always spend some time think before speak, would rather to slow down a bit than stammer.

Energetic

Consulting firms want their consultant still energetic enough when them appearance before customers even after 12 hours aircraft time. So give your interviewer a firm handshake, a genuine smile with self-confidence and clean appearance will leave the interviewer a good impression and get a good start in case interview.

Calm

In case interviews, sometimes the interviewer will deliberately create a very tense atmosphere, for example, ask constantly aggressive questions and always deny you. These does not mean that you have come a wrong way, In fact they want to inspect whether or not you could stay calm under pressure. You should know that when a consultant face to face with clients, it is very important quality of thinking deeply under pressure and resolve the problems calmly.

Types of case interviews

There are three general types of cases interview: guesstimates, business cases and brainteasers. Let’s discuss these in detail:

Guesstimates

These kinds of questions are always referred as market assessment, you need to estimate the size of a market even though the details are not available, such as: you may be asked to estimate the elevation of rocky mountain.

Same as the other case interviews, it is not very important to get a correct answer, but the method you decomposed a large-scale project into several small-scale projects and resolve each one respectively is really the most crucial, as well as you should have some common sense to answer these kinds of question.

Business cases

For business cases interviews, the most common case is that interviewer ask you how to analyze an project according to the description of project background such as market entry, profit decline, industry analysis, sales decline and so on. The interviewer always doesn’t provide you enough detailed information, so you need to keep on asking targeted questions in order to get more useful information.

Brainteasers

Brainteasers are often very hard and very tricky questions that include mystery question and numerical estimates question. The purpose of these questions is to inspect your creativity and ability to analyze and resolve issues under pressure.

In general, case interview will include either a long time business case, or two short time cases: almost inevitably one should be guesstimates and the other one might be brainteasers or a short time business cases.

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