How to ace your case interview

Do you have an interview coming up and are you not sure about what to expect? Don’t fret, here is some good advice on how to ace the case interview! It’s all about assessing, understanding and explaining – read ahead!

Things to remember

Are you not sure what to expect from your case interview? Are you not sure what to expect from it? Here is something to calm the nerves: a little insight into what companies are looking for as well as tips on how to impress the observer.

We hope it helps!

You’ll be asked to demonstrate your problem-solving skills, your analytical ability, as well as your strategic and logical thinking. These case interviews can also help us assess your common sense, creativity, and comfort with ambiguity. At the same time, you’ll gain insight into our approach because these cases represent real client projects.

Cases can help us assess a candidate across multiple dimensions, and your answers should project clear thinking, practical judgment, and a professional demeanour. Apply this five-step approach while working through the case interview:

  • Understand the issue; ask clarifying questions as needed
  • Identify the underlying assumptions
  • Summarize specific issues and findings
  • State your recommendations
  • Outline next steps and expected results/impacts

Employers want candidates to have an effective and enjoyable case discussion so we encourage you to follow the case interview tips below. You are not expected to provide the “right” answer, but rather clearly convey your logic and thought process. Sample case interviews provide examples and mimic an actual case dialogue.

Case Interview Tips

To help you demonstrate your best thinking in the case interview, we encourage you to:

  • Take notes throughout the case exercise
  • Be sure you understand the case question
  • Ask questions, but don’t use them as a crutch – we’re interested in how you connect the dots, not in painting the picture for you
  • Develop and articulate a framework and the initial hypothesis that you intend to explore
  • Take time to compose your thoughts – don’t just start talking
  • Structure your analysis into a clear, logical story
  • Walk the interviewer through your thinking and explain your assumptions
  • Don’t panic – engage the interviewer in a business conversation
  • Don’t forget that the case interview is an opportunity to learn about a specific project

Here, too, a little sneak peek at what they will be looking for when they observe you:

Rapport and Communication

  1. How well did the interviewee build rapport?
  2. Did he/she present his/her points concisely and clearly
  3. Did the interviewee lead the discussion?

Structure, Planning and Logic

  1. Did the interviewee clarify the issue? How effective where his/her questions in getting further information and direction?
  2. Did the interviewee make notes and use them during the case?
  3. Was the interviewee’s structure logical and comprehensive? Did he/she break down the case into its component parts?

Analysis

  1. Did the interviewee analyse the information looking at each component part?
  2. Did the interviewee take into account the big picture?
  3. Was the recommendation to the point, persuasive and based on data/analysis?
  4. How comfortable was the interviewee with calculations?

 

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