Radio Interview

CASE INTERVIEW

ACE THE CASE

Steps to being a case interview pro

CASE INTERVIEW OVERVIEW

The case interview is meant to assess your ability to think like a consultant and navigate challenging situations that you might encounter on the job. Consider the following factors when preparing for your case interview:

 

  • Structure - This is by far the most important element of casing. Although structure can look like many things, the most common interpretation is to create an issue tree, which is a tool that helps you break down a problem into logical constituents. Each branch of the issue tree serves as its own line of problem-solving.

 

  • Creativity - Creativity in a case interview refers to your ability to come up with out-of-the-box answers. Oftentimes, your interviewer will ask "brainstorming" questions to assess your creativity, such as "Give me three quick ways you could value a new business."

 

  • Quantitative analysis - Quantitative analysis is not to be confused with mathematics. Much of the actual computation you will do is simple, and mistakes here are largely about overlooking a zero or comma. The main way to get the quantitative analysis right is to set up the mathematical problem correctly, making the rest flow easily. There are surprisingly few equations or formulas you need to know to master this; the key is to understand the question being asked and interpret it quantitatively.

 

  • Synthesis - Synthesis is an important skill all consultants must have in their arsenal. It refers to the "so what?" aspect of a question. For example, what is the implication of your quantitative reasoning? Do the numbers seem high, low, or just right? What have you learned about what the client should do? A strong candidate is very adept at synthesizing their findings and presenting them at the end of each question.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR CASE INTERVIEWS

  • There are ample resources that will help you to prepare for the case interview. Start with Case in Point by Marc Cosentino. While I recommend the entire book, my favorite chapters are three, four, and five. Chapter four, which focuses on the Ivy System and different case types, is particularly important. Next, read Case Interview Secrets by Viktor Cheng

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  • Start practicing cases with other people. Find experienced partners or coaches who can provide good feedback. Alternatively, seek other students also looking to get into consulting. Practicing with others is very beneficial. 

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  • ​Set aside some time for market sizing questions, which you can practice on your own.

HOW DO I PREP FOR THE QUANT SECTION?

Practice using previous questions as well as GMAT/GRE resources where applicable.

There are several question types to practice, which include: 

  • Formulas:

  • Interest rates

  • Compound margin

  • NPV

  • CAGR 

  • The "Rule of 72"

Additionally, practice the following to ensure efficiency and ease:

  • Fast multiplication, especially for larger numbers

  • Multiplication tables up to 15

  • Fast division

  • Order of magnitude calculations

  • Ratios/Proportions

  • Profit/Breakeven

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These questions shouldn't scare you—with proper preparation, they should be exceptional points in your interview!

IMPORTANT STEPS TO FOLLOW DURING A CASE

  • Listen carefully to what the interviewer is asking. When you discern the point of their question, you can provide a sufficient answer. Pay attention to body language cues, too.

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  • Summarize every question you are asked. Include critical information such as numbers and figures when answering your question. This helps you stay on topic and proves you listen well.

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  • Start with clarifying questions, if you have any. It is better to ask questions straight away than to pretend you understand and answer the question ineffectively.
     

  • When preparing an answer, always ask for a minute to structure your thoughts. Use the time to create an issue tree and plan out your answer before speaking. Your interviewer will respect that you are careful and structured in your response. 
     

  • Communicate the structure and walk through it step by step when answering the question. This helps you stay on track. 
     

  • When answering quant questions, always layout your approach and ask the interviewer whether the method is correct.
     

  • Minimize errors by writing down calculations in a clear step-by-step manner

Book a session with me to go over case interview in detail. I have real world cases that I use in my coaching sessions. In addition, I have detailed rubric of over 35 things real interviewers look for during a case. A session with me will quickly allow you to identify your strengths and areas to focus on. I will then create a detailed plan for you to follow to make sure you are a top candidate!