EY (Ernst & Young) is one of the most desirable workplaces for anyone pursuing a consulting career. Thus, the selection at EY is highly competitive, and the EY case interview is a big challenge for those who want to enter this prestigious company.
This article will provide a complete guide to EY case interviews, in-depth case prep materials, and tried-and-true tips to help you ace every case.
The EY case interview is a candidate-led interview designed to test various skills necessary for a successful consultant, such as problem-solving and analytic abilities, by asking candidates to analyze and resolve complex business problems.
The EY case interview has two rounds, which happen in the last stage of the EY recruitment process, and each round lasts about 30-45 minutes.
EY case interview looks for six core strengths
EY looks for six core strengths throughout its recruitment process: Adaptability, Curiosity, Collaboration, Learning Agility, Resilience, and Relationship Building. EY also looks for Integrity, Personal Ownership, and Motivation, alongside written communication and numerical skills.
Adaptability: the ability to quickly adapt to new situations and use their creativity to find innovative solutions to problems.
Curiosity: you constantly seek out new information and learn new things, can apply your thinking, and seek out answers to complex problems.
Collaboration: you can adapt your communication style based on the audience and communicate complex information in simple terms.
Integrity: be honest and have ethics day-to-day - make your decisions based on doing the right thing
Learning Agility: the ability to grasp new concepts quickly and apply that learning immediately
Resilience: committed to reaching your goals through a positive outlook under intense change and pressure
Motivation: be truly motivated about your future roles and works at EY
Relationship Building: the ability to build a rapport with people from all walks of life
The EY case interview is in the last stage of the EY recruitment process
EY case interviews are in the third stage of EY recruitment. Typically, there are three stages in the EY screening process: Online application ⇒ Online assessments ⇒ Interviews.
You must pass all three stages to receive a job offer from the company. On average, the EY recruitment process takes about 6-8 weeks to complete.
Stage 1: Online application
To apply for a position at EY, you must first attempt a resume and cover letter screening. At this stage, candidates are asked to either upload their resumes or fill out an application form on the EY website.
Here, you can also discover EY opportunities by keyword or location and better understand the role through detailed information in the job descriptions.
Stage 2: Online assessments
EY online assessments (or EY Strength assessments) come right after the resume screening round. This stage includes a set of pre-interview tests assessing skills and traits necessary for a position at EY. Candidates can encounter one of the following components of the test:
Aptitude test: consists of various mini-tests on numerical, verbal, logical, and situational judgment skills, assessing candidates' cognitive ability and workplace behavior.
Written test: multiple choice questions on specialized knowledge, general knowledge, IQ test, and an essay. This test type is designed to test a candidate’s knowledge, mental and language skills.
Game-based assessment: games that assess candidates' workstyles, personality traits, and abstract thinking by recording your playing behavior and results.
Learn more about this screening round in our comprehensive guide to EY Online Assessments.
Stage 3: Interviews
The interview stage at EY often consists of three rounds:
The first interview: a video screening that lasts about 30 minutes, asking common first-interview questions about your background, motivation, and goals.
The second interview: a one-on-one interview with EY consultants or managers. There are two types of interviews: Case interview and Behavioral interview, each of which often takes between 30 and 45 minutes.
The final interview: besides the case interview and behavioral interview, there is also a group interview testing your collaboration and teamwork skills. Each interview in the final round takes you about 30-45 minutes.
You might also encounter a written case interview in the interview stage at EY. So make sure you are fully prepared with our Case Interview End-to-End Secrets Program!
EY case interviews are often candidate-led. This format requires you to lead the case by breaking down problems, hypothesizing the root causes, and collecting data from the interviewer to test your hypotheses.
Candidate-led case interviews, therefore, are less structured than interviewer-led ones, in which you have to answer given questions from the interviewers.
Candidate-led cases focus on one big problem
A candidate-led case interview involves solving a problem entirely rather than relying on breakdown questions like an interview-led case.
To solve one big problem, you need to apply the top-down approach, which means breaking it down into smaller parts and tackling each. This is a regular consultant task, showcasing your organized and structured manner.
Candidate-led cases are flexible
In candidate-led case interviews, candidates can explore the case with their own strategy. The interviewer usually has a “universe” of information about the client and their problem, which the candidate can freely use to research.
Additionally, the interviewer can “make up” new data to support your ideas if you develop new solutions and approaches.
Candidate-led cases focus less on being right
The primary goal of candidate-led cases is to examine HOW you solve problems rather than getting a specific solution. In candidate-led case interviews, you are asked to break down the problem independently, with little help from the interviewer.
As a result, a higher margin of error is acceptable, unlike interviewer-led ones, where you are effectively guided through the process.
To ace the candidate-led case interview, you need to understand the fundamentals of a candidate-led case. Our Case Interview End-to-End Secrets Program features countless instant-result tips and techniques for case interviews to help you maximize your performance!
After learning the tips and some sample cases, you will need exclusive feedback. Book a meeting with our coaches at MConsultingPrep now! Those ex-consultants will help you practice specific candidate-led case interviews, give you the most detailed and concrete feedback, and suggest the most suitable improvement methods.
EY case interviews usually include three types of interviews: individual case interview, group case interview, and the less encountered written case interview.
EY individual case interview
This is the standard type of PwC case interview. PwC has a similar candidate-led case interview style to BCG and Deloitte. Candidates will receive the case from the interviewer, which they need to define the issue and give solutions. There will be two or three cases for a 45-minute session.
EY group case interview
The group case interview is popular in BCG, Bain and Big Four firms. A group case interview will usually go through five stages:
Stage 1: You will be assigned to a group of 3–6 applicants.
Stage 2: The group will be given a case and relevant information to solve.
Stage 3: You will be given 10 minutes to examine the case and prepare alone or in collaboration with another team member.
Stage 4: The group will discuss case questions for 20 minutes while the interviewers observe and take notes.
Stage 5: The interviewers will ask questions about the cases in the next 20 minutes.
EY written case interview
The written case presentation is sometimes encountered at EY. However, if you encounter this type, the process should be:
The case question and data are usually provided 48 hours before the presentation.
Candidates must prepare PowerPoint slides and evidence to support their findings on presentation day.
Each candidate would have 15-30 minutes for presentation and another 15-30 minutes for Q&A with the interviewer.
To solve the EY case interview, you need to develop an issue tree to break down your case. To create a suitable issue tree, you can use common frameworks for case interviews: Profitability framework, Business situation framework, McKinsey M&A framework, 4P/7P marketing mix, or Porter’s five forces model.
To further enhance your case interview performance, you can also apply five effective tools (or mini-frameworks): External vs Internal, Quantitative vs Qualitative, Costs vs Benefits, 2x2 Matrix, and SWOT analysis.
Five common frameworks for case interview
Profitability framework is mostly used to mathematically break down problems before switching to the qualitative framework for solutions. To use the profitability framework, candidates will split profits into revenues and costs.
Business situation framework is used to analyze a company situation in four area - Company, Competitor, Customer, Products (3C-1P). This 3C-1P framework is flexible for many purposes, however it may be too generic and need customization depending on the situations.
McKinsey M&A framework is used to assess a proposed merger and/or acquisition on three aspects: standalone values of each involved company, their synergy, and other factors. This framework is MECE and promotes customizations, and is one of the best M&A frameworks.
4P/7P marketing mix in marketing for tangible work analyzes the 4P - Product, Price, Place and Promotion; while in service marketing three other Ps will be added in - People, Process, and Physical evidence. This framework focuses on the marketing aspect, hence unsuitable for multi-function strategies.
Porter’s five forces model analyzes the industry surrounding a business in five aspects - Suppliers, Customers, Competitors, New entrants, and Substitutes. This framework is used to get an industry overview and understand the client’s context.
Five effective tools for case interview
External vs Internal method is quick and easy to segment information about a particular entity. The internal branch concern what is inside or intrinsic of the said entity, and the external branch concerns the outside factors.
Qualitative vs Quantitative mini-framework is used for evaluations. Dividing items into two MECE groups reduces confusion and minimizes the risk of missing an essential item.
Cost vs Benefit in the decision-making process is very straightforward - if the benefits of an option outweigh its costs, that option can be chosen.
2x2 Matrix is a decision-making tool where options are examined using two criteria, each of which forms an axis of the matrix.
SWOT analysis mini-framework is seldom used in case interviews for being too generic. However, it can be used for a quick and easy evaluation of a company’s positioning within the industry context.
To have a deeper understanding of the common framework used in the case interview, you can check our free article on Case Interview Framework.
Though EY case interviews can vary in difficulty and question types, these five practical steps can give you the best preparation for any case:
Step 1: Familiarize with candidate-led case examples
The first thing to do is examine examples of candidate-led case interviews to familiarize yourself with the case flow and how to interact with the interviewer.
Knowing the importance of practicing, MConsultingPrep provides reliable training resources in our Case Interview End-to-End Secrets Program, with comprehensive exercises, simulation videos, and insightful tips and tricks to help you develop every aspect of case interviews.
Step 2: Practice consulting math
Consultants require math skills to handle massive amounts of quantitative data. Some tried-and-true math practice tips are:
Use Your Head: Do all your daily calculations mentally unless an EXACT answer is required.
Flatten the Learning Curve: At the beginning, a piece of scratch paper and a 5% margin of error may help; once you feel confident, throw the paper away and reduce the margin.
Establish a Routine: Allocate some time for daily practice. This may seem hard at first, but you can feel the improvement once you’ve overcome the inertia.
Step 3: Develop business intuition
Case interviews are easier to pass if you have good business sense. Getting better at business intuition takes time, so start early, practice every day, and be patient. Step by step, these business insights will begin to feel natural to you.
You can improve your business sense in two ways:
Written Sources: It's a good idea to read business papers daily. You can also find excellent articles on the EY Reporting website itself. Be careful, though, because the important thing is not how many pages you read but what you learn from them.
First-hand Experience and Observations: Don't just show up to work; try to figure out what the senior managers are doing, the reasoning behind each decision they make, and how it has affected the organization.
Step 4: Learn the fundamentals and frameworks
To excel at EY case interviews, you’ll need a solid understanding of the fundamentals and structured approaches. Case interview fundamentals such as hypotheses, MECE, issue tree, and other frameworks are the backbone of any case, so try to master their application in case interviews.
Read more on our comprehensive Case Interview Guidebook to familiarize yourself with crucial terminologies, concepts, and problem-solving fundamentals.
Step 5: Perform mock interviews
The best strategy to prepare for a case interview is to practice as many mock cases as possible. During your practice, take time to study and review your cases thoroughly so that you can identify your areas of improvement and develop specific approaches for each question type.
Also, find a former consultant to support your practice; they've been through numerous case interviews, both real and mock, so they understand what's expected of a candidate.
Our experts from prestigious consulting firms will give you detailed feedback on your performance, a personalized study plan, and reliable training resources for EY case interviews. Book a coach right now to make practicing easier!
Check out our Case Interview End-to-End Secrets Program if you want to practice more sample cases and get instant-result techniques for EY case interviews. In addition to mock issues and video guides, we also offer fundamental theory and intuition exercises to develop your case interview expertise!
Nine tips for the perfect EY individual case interview
Tip #1: Understand the procedure of a candidate-led case interview
There is a five-step procedure to approach the PwC candidate-led case interview.
Taking the case: You need to take notes on all information regarding the clients and the case situation. Keep your notes organized to refer back to them easier.
Clarifying: You will have time to gain more information and/or clarify the points you haven’t fully understood about the cases.
Structuring: You will need to break down the case business problem into smaller components to create the issue tree, allowing you to solve it in an effective and cohesive manner.
Hypothesizing: You must develop the hypothesis based on evidence and available data about the problems and find the root cause. If the initial hypothesis in a branch of the issue tree no longer makes sense, go to the next branch. If the hypothesis matches, stick to it to find the root causes and solutions.
Pitching: The pitch is your case interview's final product, where you summarize all findings and recommendations to solve the case. You need to deliver the pitch in a structured, top-down manner.
Tip #2: Have a perfect case opening
There are four reasons to make a good case opening while you deliver your case interview:
First, it shows you have complete control of the upcoming problem-solving process, which is critical in candidate-led cases.
Second, you can demonstrate your whole leadership and relationships with proactiveness - aligning yourself with PwC's five qualities mentioned above.
Third, a good case opening creates a great first impression. Consultants are expected to perfect everything from the beginning to the end, so this could make a good head start for a 30-minute interview.
Finally, this is an opportunity to align during the interview. After the interviewer has outlined the case details, explain the case to the interviewer in your own words to ensure you grasp the issue and align with the interviewer.
Watch more: How to open a case perfectly?
Tip #3: Map your next moves
Pause occasionally to summarize where you are and where You are going next. It gives you a sense of direction and authority; additionally, you get plus points in the interview for an organized approach.
This also gives your interviewer a chance to help you with your mistake. If your interviewer gives you advice, take it – assume it’s intended to be helpful.
Tip #4: Be consistent with your intended hypotheses
Always speak with the current hypothesis in mind, and that hypothesis must be in the issue tree. The sole purpose of the hypothesis-driven approach is to have your efforts and problem-solving steps guided and structured.
Therefore, to avoid being overwhelmed by piles of data in your case interview, do a sanity check by returning to your issue tree. If your action does not correspond to your present place on it, go back immediately!
Tip #5: Deliver your pitch in one structured manner
This is the most important tip because you need to show that you own the consultant qualities - being structured and straight to the point. Present your analyses in one perfect, insightful, top-down, concise, and captivating final pitch.
Find a way to structure the problem; this will guide your discussion with the interviewer. Briefly explain the framework you plan to use, allowing the interviewer to comment. In general, the simpler the framework, the better. Once the interviewer endorses your framework, stick to it.
To structure your speech:
Begin with a summary line that states the key takeaway/intention.
Separate what you want to say into distinct sections. As much as possible, avoid jumping back and forth between items.
Number your items so you and your interviewer can keep track of them. It's even better to specify how many things you'll discuss beforehand.
Make your recommendation based on the conclusions you reached from your discussion, even when you are unsatisfied with the little data and lack of time to discuss all the issues.
Tip #6: Make a personalized script
Make a script of what you are going to say and rehearse it a hundred times. Practice all formulaic phrases, such as the opening or data request. With enough practice, those lines will become second nature to you.
The secret to seeming professional in a case interview is to talk in a systematic and formal manner. Using scripts also saves brainpower, which you will undoubtedly want in case interviews.
Tip #7: Keep your notes organized
Neat note-taking greatly assists with your train of thought, making storing and organizing information easier. You are also demonstrating to the interviewer that you are well-organized and meticulous.
Divide your notes into three categories to make them easier to read and interpret: data, presentation, and scratch paper. When the interview begins, take three pieces of paper and name them appropriately. Here is the content that should be on each type of note:
Datasheet: note down and process any data the interviewer gives you and your calculations.
Presentation sheets: draft things you’ll say to the interviewer.
Scratch paper: anything else you need to write, such as brainstorming ideas.
Tip #8: Avoid long pauses
Take a minute to think; don't be afraid of the silence. If you need silence to think, ask for a timeout or announce think-out-loud mode. However, taking it too long will backfire, especially if you can’t come up with something worthy of the long wait. Use the pause prudently, and always try to think as fast as possible while still being “correct”.
Tip #9: Find and ask for more insights
Try your best to be in-depth and comprehensive with your analyses. Always ask yourself, “Am I overlooking something?” and “Can I drill down further?”.
This is also helpful when you are stuck in your analysis. You can try asking for insights from the interviewer (remember to state your purpose clearly) like this:
If you have a piece of data and don’t know what to make of it, ask for benchmarks to put the data into perspective.
If you are unsure which framework to employ, consider "segmentation" - look at how the customer or the industry often segments that item. If you need to know how they do it, ask the interviewer.
When you cannot see the problems in the case (probably resulting from the “MECE” of your issue tree), ask the interviewer nicely for a way out.
However, remember to manage your time well. If you take too long, the interviewer might force you to move on, and you will lose the time to solve the case holistically.
Four tips for the perfect EY group case interview
You will be evaluated with many other candidates in group case interviews. So, how can you make yourself stand out? Here are six helpful recommendations to ace a group case interview.
Tip #1: Manage your ideas
Take your time processing the question and developing an orderly and structured response. If you allow yourself time to analyze, your answer will be more robust. Ask the interviewer for a few minutes to organize your thoughts, but avoid excessive silence when necessary.
Try not to intervene forcefully while others are speaking in group interviews. If you have a brilliant idea, write it down. That way, the flash of brightness won't fade from your memory.
Tip #2: Decide whether your role is a leader or team member.
This is the decision that needs to be made on the spot - other candidates are going for the “leadership role” of the discussion. If you want to lead, go right at it. However, you can still demonstrate desirable consultant qualities even as a team member.
If you decide to be the team leader, emphasize your facilitator role.
It’s a good idea to be proactive in proposing what topics to discuss, in what order they should be addressed, and how much time should be allocated to each issue. You can bring the group’s focus back together if the group gets off track.
By the end of the group discussion, make a point to compile people's various points. This puts you in a position to bring everyone together and ensure all candidates are on the same page.
If you decide to be a team member, speak to add value.
Candidates will take turns presenting answers to the interviewer. Before it’s your turn, listen carefully to other people’s answers and the interviewer’s feedback.
This way, you can add valuable and helpful insights to the discussion. Remember, good points go to the quality of what you say, not the number of times you speak up.
Tip #3: Ask good questions
Asking outstanding questions will set you apart. It demonstrates that you are attentive and willing to learn more.
Great questions often target one or more objectives: explaining an unfamiliar term, clarifying the issue's purpose, or expanding the team's understanding of the setting or business.
Tip #4: View others as teammates
Seeing people as colleagues puts you in a collaborative attitude, which allows you to work successfully with others. You look to be both a helpful leader and a team player in this manner.
You can be the first to answer your interviewer's question to avoid seeming timid. You can encourage co-interviewees by emphasizing their excellent ideas, adding what you believe is lacking, and explaining your reasoning.
Three tips for the perfect EY written case presentation
While only some get this type of interview, preparing for the worst is better. Below are three tips to help you go through an EY written case if you actually encounter it!
Tip #1: Skim and scan to gain an overview of the case quickly
Skim the data for a summary, then focus on supporting evidence. You need to remove irrelevant data by starting with a defined goal to find the data that answers questions or supports your findings.
You can practice speed-reading in daily activities. When reading newspapers, for example, ask yourself questions regarding the topics covered, then explicitly hunt for solutions in the articles.
Tip #2: Timebox your activities during the presentation
To ensure adequate time management, allocate a precise time limit for each activity.
When that time limit is nearly over, quickly wrap up what you’ve been doing (e.g., skimming data) and move on to the next step (structuring the problem).
You easily make mistakes in a pressured interview setting, so set aside some time for contingencies.
Tip #3: Present recommendations first
Tell them your solutions first and explain later – it’s the results that count!
The chart titles on a consultant's slide contain the most valuable insights, and their presentations and pitches start with the conclusion. You are an aspiring consultant, so act the same way during case interviews.