Management Consulting Prep

Case Interview - Tips and Technique Case interview Last Minute Preparation

You may have heard of 80/20 principle, which explains that you can gain 80% of your output by giving only 20% of your effort. In other words, case interview takes time to master, however, there are some quick tips and techniques that enable you to achieve 80% of your case interview result.

  A quick glance

  1. Killer tip No.1: Create a first great impression
  2. Killer tip No.2: Number your items
  3. Killer tip No.3: Apply the “map habit” as much as possible
  4. Killer tip No.4: Stick to the big and original problem
  5. Killer tip No.5: Take a good note

1. Killer tip No.1: Create a first great impression

Outperforming in the beginning of case interview is a plus point as you have already been better than 50 – 70% candidates. The good new is: it is not challenging to master the opening. Below are 6 steps that you should take: 

We may take it for granted but Interviewer are busy people. So thank them and do it sincerely!

Subconsciously, we like people who give us a complementary. So don’t miss the chance to subtly flatter the interviewer. 

You should tell them sincerely with a big smile in order to create a comfortable atmosphere.

This is beneficial in many ways. Firstly, it makes sure you solve the right problem. The quickest way to bomb a case is to solve the wrong problem. Secondly, even if you do get the problem right, doing this tells the interviewer that you have the habit of a good consultant.

This gives the interviewer a clear vision of your approach, which make sure they will not get lost. You can number your steps for better structure.

For example: 

“Now I would like to first ask a few clarification questions about the case. Once I am positive that we are on the same page as to what needs to be solved, I will sketch out a structure and use it to find out where the root-cause might be. And lastly, once the bottleneck has been isolated, I will look for solutions to fix it. Does that sound like a good approach to you?”

… Of course we know that the interviewer will say yes, right?

Asking the last question gives others an impression of you as being a humble and client-friendly person. 

It is time to solve the problem after clarifying questions, drawing framework and analyzing the case.

2. Killer tip No.2: Number your items

Not only you should be MECE in your case framework but it is also essential to be MECE in structuring and delivering your pitches. In two examples below, which one do you think have better MECE structure? 

Example No.1: 

“In order to help In & Out with their profitability problem. I would look at Revenue and find out if that‘s what causing profit to go down or not. I would also look at cost and do the same.”

Example 2:

“In order to help In&Out with their profitability problem, I would try to look at the following two items. No.1: sales revenue. And No.2: cost of goods sold.”

Using your intuition, you can find that the latter is better. The magic behind example 2 is that the candidate simply numbers his items: No.1…., No.2……., etc. 

If you haven’t got the idea of MECE, click this article or follow our youtube channel to find out more.  

3. Killer tip No.3: Apply "Map Habit" as much as possible

Definition of Map Habit

Think about "map habit" like the times you go on road trips. As the driver, at multiple times during your trip, you pause, look at the map, and see what part of the journey you have covered to get an idea on where you are heading next. Similarly, in case interviews, you should also pause often to brief the interviewer on what you have done and where you are going next in the approach.

This is not very difficult to do, but it’s beneficial in multiple ways:

1. It helps the interviewer understand and follow your approach easier
2. This tip makes you sound really structured and systematic
3. It helps you be more aware of your own approach and not get lost with the flow of the case

4. Killer tip No.4: Stick to the big and original problem

Under great pressure of case interview, it is a high chance that sometimes you might be off the beaten track. 

One simple tip you can follow is to write the key information in BIG and BOLD letters in your notes. Once you look at your note, you can notice what you have done.

5. Killer tip No.5: Take a good note

Case interview by nature requires you to connect all provided information. Therefore, if you do not intent to take note, you will get lost yourself after 10 – 15 minutes of discussing. Then in case, the interviewer asks you to solve some case interview maths based on discussed info, you are doomed not to pass. 

Remember taking notes, but a good not a bad one. You can consult our note system if you do not know where to start! 

Learn more about Taking note at: 

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