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Seven Steps to Surviving the Case Interview by v6XTCxT7


									                                Seven Steps to Surviving the Case Interview1

      1. Listen carefully when the interviewer asks the question.
         Take detailed notes and make sure you understand what the interviewer wants.

      2. Determine if you have all the necessary information.
         Determine whether you have all the necessary information. Ask for clarification if there are
         gaping holes. (They may be trying to test and see whether you recognize that critical
         information is missing.)

      3. Think before you speak.
         Take a few minutes before you start to share you answer. Plan your answer and think about
         where the path will take you.

      4. Identify a framework.
         Frameworks help you structure your argument. It helps the interviewer follow your answer.
         Make sure you communicate the framework or plan you are using.

      5. Explain your thinking methodically.
         Identify the most important issues first. A structure will ensure that you cover the most
         important points first.

      6. Listen for hints.
         The interviewer will provide more data and hints as the case goes on. Be sure to use the
         hint. The interviewer is probably trying to nudge you in a direction.

      7. Summarize.
         Wrap up the case with a brief summary of how you are going to approach the problem.
         Also, try to provide a few tips on what you would do if you had more time (i.e.

    Based on information provided in the Wetfeet, Ace Your Case! Guide, 2002.
                              Five Categories of Consulting Cases
Attacking a case problem is much easier if you understand the different formats they come in.

      Market Sizing-determine how big a problem is, how many products are used, etc.

   Classic Questions: How many paint stores in the US? How many manhole covers?
   How big is the personal computer market in the US?

      Brain Teasers-puzzles or questions that challenge the candidate’s ability to think

   Classic Questions: What are all computers putty gray? Why are manhole covers round? Tell
   me different ways you could determine whether the light inside the refrigerator is still on after
   the door is closed?

      Business Operations-problems relating to running the day-to-day operations of a business

   Classic Questions: A bank discovers its customer turnover is 15% higher than the industry
   average. Why?

      Business Strategy-questions focusing on future business strategy, usually at a top level

   Classic Questions: Variation 1: A bank is thinking about going into the brokerage business.
   Should it?
   Variation 2: A cereal company is thinking about introducing a natural cereal. How should it
   make the decision?

      Other Types-Resume, etc.
                                        Useful Consulting Frameworks

          3 Cs
           Customer, Company, & Competition

           Useful for Business Strategy and New Market Opportunity Questions

          4 Ps
           Product, Price, Promotion, and Place

           Useful for Marketing and New Product Development Questions

          Porter’s Five Forces
           Barriers to Entry, Buyer Power, Supplier Power, Substitute Products, Rivalry

           Useful for Firm Strategy and New Business Opportunity Questions

                          What to do when you are stuck during a case interview

          Try to find a possible answer or at least a partial answer to get some credit

          Take a minute to think through things and jot down some notes

          Tell the interviewer you have misinterpreted information and suggest another approach.

                         What capabilities McKinsey is seeking in its candidates2

          Problem solving: Possesses analytical and conceptual reasoning abilities, curiosity,
           creativity, business judgment, tolerance for ambiguity, and quantitative facility.

          Influencing others: Is able to positively influence others, shows an interest in other people
           and self-confidence without arrogance, listens, understands, and responds well to others.

          Leading others and building relationships: Is able and willing to take on leadership roles,
           seizes opportunities and takes action, helps to build highly effective teams with a shared
           vision, and is sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of other team members.

          Achieving goals: Sets high aspirations for self, expects and achieves outstanding results,
           handles obstacles well, shows signs of entrepreneurship, and willingness to take personal


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