What is a Case Study Interview?
“Back of the envelope” Market Size Ques ons
Example of a Business Case.
Prepara on for Case Studies
Further Case Study Resources.
What is a case study interview?
A case study interview involves the analysis of a business ques on. It is usually a two‐way interac ve process, rather than a one‐way test. The interviewer presents a problem and asks the interviewee for their opinion. The interviewee is expected to ask a series of ques ons to enable them to make a recommenda on.
Tradi onally case study interviews have been used for management consultancy and, to a lesser extent, financial ins tu ons, and this quan ta ve style of case is the focus of this guide. Some industry companies now include cases as part of their recruitment process: these may have more of a qualita ve brief, but the general principles on how to structure an answer to a case ques on are s ll relevant.
Interviewer Objec ves...
Types of Cases...
Case study interviews can be used to test the following skills, knowledge and a tudes:
Case study interviews vary considerably, but can be divided into three main categories. The most common is the business case which is the most detailed.
Two shorter formats (5‐10 minutes) are "back of the enve‐ lope" market size es ma on ques ons, tes ng mental arithme c skills, and brainteasers which focus on logical and crea ve thinking.
1 Logic and analy cal skills: the ability to synthesise informa on quickly and to frame and structure
2 Quan ta ve reasoning.
3 Strategic skills: demonstra on of a broad‐based view and depth of insight.
4 Communica on skills: talking through business
problems and presen ng solu ons in a convincing and easily comprehensible manner.
5 Leadership skills: taking charge of the discussion.
1 Fit ques ons (5‐15 minutes)
2 Business case ques on (10‐30 mins)
3 Interviewee ques ons (5 minutes)
6 Crea vity and idea genera on.
7 The understanding of basic business principles and rela onships.
8 Energy and enthusiasm.
9 Confidence (but not arrogance).
10 Resilience and flexibility: working confidently under pressure.
More generally, case studies are used to assess whether the candidate will make a good impression on clients and fit well into the company. To be judged as a good fit, it is important to establish a rapport with the interviewer, building an enjoyable dialogue rather than just answering the ques ons asked. This relates equally to other aspects of the interview, such as explaining previous accomplishments, demonstra ng your understanding of the consul ng industry and the company’s compe ve posi on and explaining your mo va on to be a consultant.
“Back of the envelope” Market Size Ques ons...
These involve es ma on, assump on‐making and quick mental arithme c. They o en relate to sizing a market and take the form of a short case study . The interviewer is not expec ng you to provide the exact number, but is looking for a figure which falls within reasonable parameters. It is more important to demonstrate the ability to break down a problem logically and make relevant
Sample Ques ons...
Es mate the size of
the UK mortgage
What is the size of
the UK disposable
How many ATM
machines are there
in the UK?
First iden fy whether the interviewer will answer
your ques ons or whether you will have to make
assump ons. Begin your analysis with a ques on
and if you do not receive a response, start to make assump ons.
How many planes
Heathrow in one
Use easy round numbers for calcula ons and write
down the numbers as you come up with them. Use ...
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