Case interviews are generally based upon real client problems which the interviewer him/herself has experienced.
What to Expect
Case interviews can be anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes in length and are believed to test your analytical and problem solving skills.
Typically, the interviewer poses a business problem and you, the interviewee, ask questions about that problem. The interviewer should guide you and keep you on track. Your goal is to sort out the key issues, put together a logical approach to solving the problem, and offer a solution if possible.
Case interviews are intended to test more than your ability to analyze and figure out a problem.
They provide the interviewer with a snapshot of how you would stand up on a client meeting team.
For more preparation for Case Interviews, contact the Career Resources Center for access to casequestions.com.
Profit Improvement Cases
These cases test your ability to determine the most important factors that contribute to a firm’s revenues and profits and an understanding of cost dynamics. The task here is to show the interviewer how you would isolate the source of the problem and then recommend a solution. Example: You are put on a case team hired by a large manufacturer of paper products whose profit is down 20% over last year. Your role is to stop this downturn in profits — what would you do?
Industry Analysis Cases
These cases ask you to use your knowledge of microeconomics, marketing and even common sense to analyze an industry or market. Example: You are a small regional airline considering expanding. What are the key issues and what options would you suggest?
Market Entry / Expansion Cases
These test your ability to evaluate viable markets and opportunities and prioritize factors that make it easy or difficult to enter the market. Example: One of your clients has come to you interested in entering the market for roller-blade accessories? How would go about coming up with a recommendation?
These cases ask you to focus more heavily on finance and to think of the scenario in terms of long-term payoff. Example: A concrete manufacturer is considering purchasing a small regional concrete producer. Should they?
Market Sizing Cases
The interviewer is not looking for a RIGHT answer. Interviewers are looking for people who can think on their feet, are comfortable with ambiguity, can make logical assumptions and then come up with reasonable estimates with confidence. The key to answering market sizing questions is making assumptions with confidence. Example: How many golf balls are in the air in the world right now? 6. Brainteasers/Oddballs Although these cases are rare, be prepared to get something that does not look like a business problem. This is usually in addition to the other cases and it is another way to evaluate your creativity and problem solving skills.
Case Interview Tips
Process is important. Explain your thinking to the interviewer throughout your approach.
- Think first, speak second.
- Ask questions. Make observations. Then formulate your hypotheses.
- Construct a logical framework that identifies the critical issues of the case and articulate it. Your interviewer cannot read your mind. Unless you make your thought process clear to her or him, you risk appearing unstructured in your logic.
- Take notes. Ask the interviewer if you need or if they mind that you take notes.
- Prioritize your responses — Support your arguments with your strongest points first.
- Summarize your conclusions at critical points during the interview.
- Look for parallels to industries or issues with which you have had some experience.
- Be confident. Practice cases with each other. Be prepared with inquisitive questions.
- Speak about your past experience with emphasis on why you did what you did and what the results were.
- Get feedback. Sometimes this is appropriate, sometimes it is not. If the case was a real example, they may tell you what really happened. Each case is a learning experience, and it might be good to know that you missed the boat completely — next time you will do better.
For more tips on case interviewing, click here.