When management consulting firms recruit new employees they often use case interview questions.
In order to prepare for a case study interview, you’ll need to learn what to expect as well as how to successfully answer such questions.
Case interview questions are typically business problems that require the interviewee to use logic and problem-solving abilities. While the type of questions will vary depending on the field (for instance financial consulting jobs vs. healthcare consulting jobs), the reason for a firm’s use of this technique is ultimately the same.
It gives the recruiter an opportunity to get a sense of how you think and work. It shows whether you are well-suited to the job and the organization.
After reading this article, refer to the following articles:
• Case interview examples – case interview questions
• Management Consulting Interview Questions: Case Consulting Interview Questions
• Situational Interview Questions and Answers
• Business Analyst: Interview Questions for Business Analyst Position
How to Answer Case Interview Questions
Case study interview questions can be complex, but the way in which you answer is more important than the answer itself.
You won’t typically be solving the answer to a case interview question in a room by yourself. It is usually a very interactive situation where ideas are exchanged with the interviewer. When answering these questions you should feel free to clarify information and question the interviewer. After all, that is what you would be doing on the job.
In a case interview you will be supplied with materials to solve the questions (paper or whiteboard, writing utensil, calculator, etc.).
Case questions aren’t simple one-line questions. When one is posed to you by the interviewer you should take notes and gather all the details. Make sure you understand the question and clear up any confusion you have with the interviewer.
Don’t worry about asking questions. This will not make you look like you have trouble understanding the information, but rather will show that you are careful enough to work with the correct information.
As you work through the complex problem, feel free to continue to ask questions if they arise. These interview questions may take you as many as 40 minutes to answer. You can also expect to meet with several individuals during the interview process and be faced with several different questions.
Don’t be surprised or disappointed if you do not come to a complete answer to a case interview question. Sometimes the question is just posed as a means to find ways to solve problems. Often answer to these questions will be estimates. It’s more important to show your logic, common sense, and analytical abilities than to come to an absolute figure.
The interviewer is mostly interested in seeing the path you take to arrive at a possible solution. You should feel encouraged to discuss these paths and methods with your interviewer.
Pace yourself so you don’t rush through and overlook important aspects of the problem. Show an intelligent, thoughtful approach, not a “barrel ahead” one or an overly careful, fearful, and tedious one. It is important to show confidence without recklessness. If you see an innovative approach to solving a problem, go ahead and show it! Consulting firms want out-of-the-box thinkers as well a well-rounded individuals. Don’t be afraid to show an approach that is not considered standard.
Case Interview Examples
Case interview questions fall into a few types, these are:
• Estimation – Give an estimate based on statistical or other data.
• Brain Teaser/Puzzles – Give an answer using logic. “
• Interpretation – Arrive at an answer based on data from graphs and charts
• Theoretical Problem – Find a solution to a typical business problem.
Further reading – Case interview examples – case interview questions
Management Consulting firms help other businesses maximize their potential. It is for this reason they must ensure their employees are innovative, yet structured solution-seekers. They look for highly qualified people from a variety of educational backgrounds. Recruiters desire professionals who have excellent analytical and business skills, can take on challenges, can solve problems, and possess good communication and presentation skills.
Lynn Mattoon is a Content Editor & Career Writer for FinancialJobBank.com , a Beyond.com career communities. You can follow her on Twitter at BeyondCareers.