Management Consulting Prep

Case Interview General Case Study Interview Questions

In my previous Case study interview article, I introduced a very helpful study tool to improve business intuition in order to perform better in case interviews: using professional “case studies” on consulting websites (those that have nothing to do with recruiting). In this article, I will further explain this by using some illustrative examples.

Note: if you are looking for some sample Q&As for typical case study interview questions, you may visit our Case Interview Questions  page. This article is purely devoted to the illustration of using real-life case studies for business intuition purposes.

Now, as I mentioned in the previous article, there are a lot of good sources for real-life case studies. Let’s now use an example from McKinsey.

In any case study on McKinsey’s website, content is often presented in a very structured way with 3 sections: Challenge, Discovery, and Impact.

What I suggest is to read the “Challenge” part and STOP. Try to tackle it on your own as if it is the case you’d get in a real interview.

1. This is a sample “Challenge” from a case study at McKinsey:

“The IT department for a global multi-business company was struggling to meet heightened demand for increasingly complex technology solutions. This frustrated the company’s business leaders, who were relying on technological solutions to drive multiple changes in the business model.

The company realized that continuing down this path without making some adjustments in the technological delivery model jeopardized its goals for deepening its IT capabilities. This would have hindered its ability to quickly implement business strategies and to maintain a competitive edge in the market. Senior management asked McKinsey to help change the IT organizational model in a way that would more effectively support strategies.”

2. Several questions/items you can tackle yourselves to best simulate the real interview:

  1. Do a recap of the problem, rephrase the case context.
  2. What are some clarifying questions you would ask?
  3. What is the key objective of the case? In other words, what is the case question?
  4. Draw yourselves an issue tree (or framework) to tackle the problem.
  5. Pick a branch and dig deeper. What are some hypotheses on where theroot-cause is?
  6. Of those root causes, what are some possible solutions?
  7. Are there any obstacles when implementing those solutions?
  8. Any other question you can come up with on your own…

Now if you are new to case interviews and to business in general, it’s very common to stall right at this step. Sometimes you face an industry and function you have little insights about. But this is a good exercise for your business intuition.

Once you have tried your very best tackling the questions above, it’s time to read on to the Discovery and Impact sections. Do so and try to go back to the questions above and tackle them again. That’s how you gain business insights and improve intuition.

Now this is the full link to the “challenge” example above! Click here

Have fun practicing with case studies for interviews and improving your business sense!

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