Ready for your interview? Case study interviews may be the most frightening part in the process of becoming a part of top tier management consulting firms like McKinsey or Bain. However, that shouldn’t be the case. Read more in this blog post on how to prepare…
Management Consulting Case Interview Structure
Case study interviews generally involve finding increased revenue or profitability due to a change in the dynamics of an industry. Other examples may include entry to new markets, development of new products or attempting to figure out why specific departments (marketing, operations, etc.) are underperforming compared to prior results.
Case interviews take roughly 30 to 45 minutes, usually with a structure that includes the following parts:
The interviewer presents a business scenario. With your diagnostic skill, you identify the areas that must be investigated. This stage is critical since no issues are resolved unless the main problems are pointed out.
During this stage, the management consulting interviewer asks you specific questions related to the case. Thus, you’ll be able to dissect every factor for a thorough analysis. This will include integration of digits to back up your hypothesis.
Conclusion and Recommendations
The interviewer will ask you to come up with recommendations. Make sure you did not miss any important data or make any potentially wrongheaded assumptions. Most management consulting interviewers focus on the strategies and processes involved, so don’t worry if you can’t always come to an inordinately concrete solution.
Example of a Management Consulting Case Study Interview
One example used by Boston Consulting Group revolves around a Canadian retailer that has overtaken its primary competitor in a certain country. However, the largest U.S. discount retailer bought the competitor. You are then asked how to react to this new development.
Based on the given information, you can assess whether the success of the U.S. retailer can be addressed using their existing strategies. You can ask specific questions about their main strategy and calculate how much revenue they have earned from it.
After analyzing all aspects of scenario, you can conclude whether the U.S. retailer did the right thing. Then, you can generate recommendations on what both companies should do to sustain their businesses.
How to Prepare for Case Study Interviews
You will only feel confident during the interview if you have prepared for it well. Below are three things you must do to boost your performance.
Practice on your own.
Take management consulting case study interviews for practice. You can start on your own by reviewing the sample cases used by BCG, Bain, and Mckinsey themselves:
Ask a friend to help you out
One important thing to remember in these management consulting cases is that you will not be taking notes and staring at a computer screen during the interview. If you have a friend, colleague or family member who can take the role of the interviewer, it may aid in your preparation, even if it feels silly at first. You can also use recent articles from the business press and make the headlines into your own case studies to analyze.
Familiarize some frameworks
Know the necessary frameworks for different types of management consulting case interviews. These frameworks will help you structure and analyze a problem, and give you more time to think about a recommendation. Take a look at our guide to Guide to Case Interview Frameworks, which might be helpful for you.
Things to Remember During the Interview
Even if you have prepared well for this challenge, you are still clueless about what will transpire during the interview. However, as long as you keep the guidelines below in mind, everything should go smoothly.
If you have relevant questions in mind, muster your courage to ask the interviewer and clarify your confusion. All data won’t be completely stated unless you utilize your probing skills.
Some management consulting candidates come to the interview so prepared they have memorized a list of questions to throw to the interviewers. Because they’re occupied with asking what they’ve prepared, they fail to closely listen to the answers. This is a big no-no since you might disregard the right path that the interviewer is leading you down.
Focus on facts and ideas and arrange them in progression. This way, you’ll see the underlying relationships behind them. Also, ensure that the method or framework you’re using is the most appropriate one you can think of.
If you want more tips on how to prepare for consulting interviews, then download a free guide. ConsultingFact.com offers guides for resumes, cover letters, case interviews, case frameworks, and other material that will help you land a consulting job.