How to Succeed in a Case Interview?
If you are interested in joining a consulting firm, you almost certainly heard about case interviews. To the uninitiated, the case interview can be quite scary.
Case interviews consist of 2 parts. The first part tests your problem-solving skills and second part tests your fit with the consulting firm interviewing you.
Here are a few tips to help you prepare.
1. Learn case interview skills and only thereafter practice them
You need to learn case interview skills before you can practice them. If you start practicing right away you will likely develop many bad habits and may even worsen your chances of passing various rounds of case interviews and getting an offer. With our members we recommend to at least master The Consulting Offer Season 1 with Felix material before doing their first practice session.
2. When the interviewer gives you a case, restate the question to make sure you understood it correctly
It is very common for candidates to misunderstand the real question the interviewer is asking. Candidates often hear something and immediately go to cookie-cutter frameworks, like revenue minus cost or the 4-Ps of marketing, instead of first taking time to understand the question properly.
As you repeat the question rephrase it in your own words to ensure you understood it correctly.
3. Once you understood the question ensure client’s goal is clear
When the interviewer gives you a case question make sure you clearly understand the client’s goal. For example, is there a monetary value that you need to consider? Let’s say a client wants to double the revenue within the next year. If so, you need to find out what are the current revenue numbers. This will help you figure out the monetary amount your client is trying to achieve. For example, if a client’s current revenue is 100 million dollars per year, it means their goal is to have 200 million dollars in revenue next year. Moreover, you need to clarify that there are no other objectives you need to pay attention to.
4. When you are given a case, approach solving the problem in a structured manner
It is crucial to approach solving a problem or even answering a FIT question in a structured manner. When solving a case question, write down your structure. Make sure it is Mutually Exclusive and Collectively Exhaustive (MECE), use a decision tree, also called an issue tree, to help you structure your thinking. You can learn more about how to develop decision trees here.
5. Make the interview enjoyable for the interviewer
This is a simple thing you can do to help you stand out during case interviews. Don’t view your interview as a test. View it as a conversation. Listen to the interviewer and try to make sure the interviewer likes you and is enjoying the interview. Pay attention to subtle cues. The interviewer may try to nudge you in a different direction. Listen to the interviewer, answer specific questions the interviewer asks you and use subtle cues to make sure you remain on the right path.
Next, strengthen your case interview skills by going through these free case interview examples and use on the go time to listen to case interview podcasts to help you make the most of your time.