Case Interviews

Management Consulting, Finance, and other industries using case interviews typically include business cases or other analytical questions. Here are some pieces of advice and types of questions for you to consider.

Tips for Case Interviews

Æ Always explain the rationale behind your responses to questions to show employers that you have a grasp on business strategy in problem-solving.

Æ Seemingly “ridiculous” questions may be testing your ability to analyze and reason through a situation/problem.

Æ If you are asked quantitative questions during interviews, such as calculating yield-to-maturity, costs of capital etc. the interviewer is trying to evaluate your analytical skills and how you approach answering these types of questions.

Æ Some companies use a Super Day Interview format.

Æ For an upper-level finance position, additional questions may focus on business strategy or philosophy.

     Adapted from afponline.org

Examples of Case Interview Questions

  • A client is experiencing declining profits and sells gourmet coffee in Lexington. How can they approach this?
  • We have a client whose company is experiencing issues with cash flow and needs to do a reduction in force or manage its costs- what would you recommend?
  • How would you approach an opportunity to buy a business? Assuming money was not an issue, what criteria would you use to evaluate whether to purchase it and how to value it?
  • We have a company who needs a good turnaround person to help save it. Where would you start and how would you proceed?
  • One of our clients is experiencing a decline in business because one of their competitors has decided to enter the market with a similar product. How would you approach this issue as a consultant to the client?
  • How many greeting cards do you think Hallmark sells for Mother’s Day?
  • What types of issues would you anticipate if you are given a start-up to grow? How would you evaluate market size?

Preparation and Research

Preparation is key to the case interview! Here are some resources to help you prepare for your case interview.

Videos

Bain & Company – Case interview

YouTube Channel – Case Interview 101: A great introduction to Consulting Case Study Interviews

Articles and Examples to Practice

Oliver Wyman Group

The Boston Consulting Group – Practice Case Interviews

Vault – How to End a Case Interview on a High Note

Management Consulting Case Interviews Top 10 Case Interview Tips

Other Resources

BloombergHoovers, CEO Express, and various business journals to conduct your research and develop questions. You should also review the company’s annual reports and financial information, as well as recent Form 8-Ks and 10-Ks. Additionally, social media sites, like LinkedIn and Twitter, are great for gaining additional insight into a company and its culture.

Vault and Glassdoor for reviews of companies, interview questions, and more!

How to Use Your Interview Time Efficiently, including the top 25 commonly asked interview questions, with best answers and red flags.

 Practice

Below are some resources to help you practice your answers to case questions.

Vault – Sample Interview Questions: Consulting  

YouTube channel  Consulting Case Interview and other

McKinsey & Company (optimal for management consulting and finance roles)

Mergers & InquisitionsHow to Dominate Your Investment Banking Interviews and Win Offers

PrepLounge  is a case interview community, focused on management consulting, where candidates with similar career goals get connected, practice cases and sharpen their consulting skills.  PrepLounge has video cases, cases students can practice, a community where folks can find each other and practice together, and brain teasers, quant teasers, etc. 

Additional Readings

If you are trying to explore a business, finance or consulting role, you should start interview preparation in advance. Here are some books you can read to help you prepare and practice potential Case Interviews.

  • Ace Your Case II!: Consulting Interview: The WetFeet.com Insider Guide (Insider Guides Series: Company Insider), WetFeet (2011).
  • Case in Point: Complete Case Interview Preparation, Marc P. Cosentino (2013)
  • Case Interview Secrets: A Former McKinsey Interviewer Reveals How to Get Multiple Job Offers in Consulting, Victor Cheng (2012)
  • Crack the Case System: Complete Case Interview Prep, David Ohrvall (2011)

 

Don’t forget to check out our Interviewing page for general information on interviewing,