1.What is Case Interview?
Case Interview is a special type of interview extensively used for management consulting recruiting. In most of them, the candidate will be presented to one or more business problems which he / she will work with the interviewer to gather relevant information and solve the problems.
2.Why Case Interview?
The Management Consulting field requires a very specific set of skills and Case Interview is the most effective way to test those. In these case interviews, candidates are brought into a very consulting-like environment where they are given real business problems and have to “conduct” researches and analyses to solve the problems.
3.Common myths about Case Interview
I need a lot of business knowledge to succeed in Case Interview… No! This is much more like a skill test than a knowledge test. Most knowledge required are some very basic business concepts. Consulting skills are much more critical: how smart, how fast, and how structured your problem solving methodology is.
4.Different formats of Case Interview
Through its evolution, consulting interviews are developed into a number of formats. In this blog, we will deeply dive into two major formats: (1) Candidate-drive cases and (2) Interviewer-drive cases.
Although the two formats require different approaches at the extreme ends, most case studies are a mixed of the two formats. We strongly recommend you to carefully study both of the two formats. Breaking down into two formats is just a way for us to better structure our materials and for you to better structure your study.
(1) Candidate-drive cases
In this format of Case Interview, the candidate takes control of the whole process. He/she has to give out a plan, ask for data, identify the problems, and provide solutions. The interviewer takes a very passive role in the process, only answering questions and providing helps if needed. In other words, Candidates are on their own on solving a big problem.
Interviewer: Thank you for coming today. The case we will be solving today is about a furniture producer in Indiana named Future Furnished, which has been losing money for the last few years. Now how would you help them?
(2) Interviewer-drive cases
In this format, the interviewers will guide the process and have candidates answer multiple (sometime unrelated) more specific questions. In some sense, candidates are given multiple mini-cases instead of a big comprehensive case. This format of case interview is more popular at McKinsey.
Interviewer: Thank you for coming today. The case we will be solving today is about a furniture producer in Indiana named Future Furnished, which has been losing money for the last few years. Now here is my first question for you: What is your estimation of the market size (in billion USD) of home furniture in the Indiana?
Interviewer: Very good! My next question for you: What are things that furniture customers value when shopping? In other words, on what key points do customers differentiate and pick furniture producers?
Interviewer: My next question …
See in-depth materials on Case Interview Articles
5.What will you be evaluated on?
We have discussed above that interviewers will look for some specific skills through case interview. So how would their evaluation sheet of your performance look like? The following is the best reflection of how most case interviewers would evaluate you.
Structured approach – 30% – Does he /she have a structured and systematic methodology in every step in the case?
Critical thinking – 20% – Can he / she successfully realize key insights / observations and appropriately drive the investigation?
Math – 20% – Does this candidate have a good touch on numbers?
Communication – 15% – Can he / she clearly and effectively communicate his/her thoughts to me?
Professionalism – 15% – Can I comfortably put this candidate in front of my client?