Free Guide to Strategy& Consulting Case Interviews

You want to work at Strategy& and are now faced with the question of how to apply to this consulting company? Then you've come to the right place because in this article we will guide you through the entire application process at Strategy&, the requirements you need to meet, what to expect and what tips and tricks will help you get your job offer from Strategy&. 

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Five values they are looking for in a candidate
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In the heart of Strategy&'s legacy is a rich tradition of innovation, dating back to the origins of Booz Allen Hamilton in 1914. Renowned for shaping management consulting and pioneering supply chain management, the firm's 2014 union with Booz & Company and PwC solidified its holistic "strategy-to-execution" approach. Seamlessly integrated into the PwC network, Strategy& leverages its comprehensive capabilities, steering clients through transformative journeys that include averting bankruptcy at Chrysler Corporation and supporting Deutsche Telekom's cloud-based transformation.

As a global leader in strategy consulting, Strategy& has a presence in 60 countries with a workforce exceeding 3000 professionals. Rooted in a storied history of contributing foundational concepts, including supply chain management, the firm aligns seamlessly with PwC's mission, offering comprehensive end-to-end consulting services. Serving as a talent hub, Strategy& is a major recruiter from prestigious business schools, placing emphasis on case interviews to highlight its commitment to analytical prowess and problem-solving skills.

In the dynamic business landscape, the firm's legacy of innovation, unwavering commitment to excellence, and strategic vision continue to shape the trajectory of global strategy consulting, solidifying its enduring influence in the industry. Ranked as the second-largest recruiter from Columbia Business School in the US and the third-largest from INSEAD in Europe, Strategy& places a spotlight on the case interview as the focal point of their rigorous selection process, ensuring a commitment to excellence and analytical acumen in their consultants.

As part of their rebranding, Strategy& was integrated with PwC and they have adopted a set of common values. They have five values that they look for in their candidates:

 

strategy& values

1. Act with integrity: 

  • Expectation:
    Candidates should demonstrate honesty, transparency, and ethical behavior in their professional interactions.
  • Context:
    Given PwC's historical role as an accounting firm with a focus on financial transparency, integrity is considered a foundational value.

2. Make a difference:

  • Expectation:
    Candidates are encouraged to prioritize actions that create a positive impact on colleagues, clients, and society.
  • Context:
    This value emphasizes a focus on meaningful contributions that extend beyond commercial considerations, aligning with the firm's commitment to societal well-being.

3. Care: 

  • Expectation:
    Candidates should excel in case interviews, highlighting their analytical prowess and problem-solving skills.
  • Context:
    Case interviews are a focal point in Strategy&'s selection process, underscoring the importance of analytical thinking in consulting roles.

4. Work together: 

  • Expectation:
    Candidates should exhibit effective teamwork skills and collaborate efficiently in project teams.
  • Context:
    Collaboration is critical in consulting, and the ability to work harmoniously towards common goals is essential for successful project outcomes.

5. Reimagine the possible:

  • Expectation:
    Candidates are expected to think innovatively and identify new ways of working or innovative products.
  • Context:
    In the face of a rapidly changing business world and emerging technologies, Strategy& values individuals who can envision and drive new possibilities for clients.

There are four stages to the Strategy& application process:

 

Strategy& Application process

1. Resume and Cover Letter Submission:

  • Initiation:
    The process kicks off with candidates submitting their resumes and cover letters online, presenting an opportunity to showcase their academic achievements and relevant professional experiences.

  • Expectations:
    Beyond the academic and professional qualifications, Strategy& is keenly interested in applicants who embody the five core traits integral to the firm's values.

2. Online Assessments:

  • Introduction:
    Adopting PwC's online assessment methodology, this stage involves a trilogy of evaluations: a numerical reasoning test, a games-based assessment, and a video interview.

  • Timeline:
    The assessments, spanning over 2 hours, are strategically spread across a 4-week period, offering a comprehensive evaluation of candidates' analytical abilities and suitability for consulting roles.

3. Super Day Style Interviews:

  • Format:
    Strategy& introduces a 'super day' style for interviews, streamlining the evaluation process.

  • First-Round Interviews (Morning):
    Led by junior consultants, the first round consists of two interviews. It commences with a 15-minute Personal Fit Interview, followed by a case interview question. Prompt feedback and decisions regarding the afternoon session are provided at the end of the morning.

  • Second-Round Interviews (Afternoon):
    Senior consultants, including partners and directors, conduct two interviews mirroring the first-round format.

  • Outcome:
    Post-second round interviews, candidates receive detailed feedback or, in the case of successful candidates, a coveted job offer.

4. Final Decisions:

  • Closure:
    The application process concludes with candidates receiving conclusive feedback or, for those who have demonstrated exceptional potential, a formal job offer from Strategy&.

In aligning its application process with PwC's online assessments, Strategy& emphasizes a holistic evaluation approach. The 'super day' structure not only expedites the interview process but also ensures candidates receive timely feedback, enhancing the transparency and efficiency of the recruitment journey. This multi-stage process underscores Strategy&'s commitment to identifying and nurturing top-tier talent to further solidify its position as a global leader in strategy consulting.

Strategy& has two interview formats across their network: experience/fit questions followed by a case interview question and experience/fit questions followed by a structured case interview.

4.1 Case Interview (Question)

Real-life Scenarios:
Strategy& structures its case interviews around real-life client examples. Interviewers often draw from their own client engagements, leveraging familiarity with data and context.

Attributes Assessed:

  • Approach and structure

  • Analytical and creative thinking

  • Application of data

  • Communication skills

  • Business acumen

Evaluation Criteria:
Success in a case interview is gauged based on a candidate's proficiency across these attributes, determining their capability to fulfill the responsibilities of a Strategy& consultant.

 

4.2 Experience Interview

Preliminary Insights:
Conducted prior to the case interview, experience questions delve into a candidate's motivations, past experiences, and decision-making skills.

​Sample Questions:

  • Why are you interested in Strategy&?

  • Why are you interested in consulting?

  • What experience are you most proud of?

  • What experience do you wish you could do over, and how would you do it differently?

  • What is a difficult decision you have made in the last year?

  • What is an example of a time when you showed initiative and leadership?

  • What aspects of your internship did you like less?

  • What do you most like to do in your free time?

  • What attributes would you bring to a case team?

  • Describe a role where you changed the direction of a team. How did you do it?

Key Strategy:
Structuring responses to these questions is crucial, showcasing a thoughtful and strategic approach even when discussing non-business-related topics.

 

4.3 Case Interview (Structured)

Information Pack:
In this structured case interview, candidates receive a 15-20 page information pack and 10 minutes to read it. They formulate three high-level questions they wish to address. The interviewer leaves during this reading period.

Evaluation Focus: Similar to traditional case interviews, the emphasis is on evaluating a candidate's decision-making process, considering trade-offs, and assessing the robustness of recommendations.

Structured Approach:
Strategy& follows a well-defined structure for case interviews, reflecting the core elements of the consulting process.

Key Steps:

  • Situation and problem: 
    Understanding the context and defining the problem.
  • Hypothesis validation: 
    Offering an initial hypothesis and explaining the intention to validate it.

  • Framework development:
    Creating a structured framework for analysis.

  • Root cause analysis:
    Exploring the framework to identify the root cause of the issue.

  • Mathematical calculation (sometimes):
    If relevant, incorporating mathematical calculations.

  • Creativity test (sometimes):
    Demonstrating the ability to think creatively and propose alternatives.

  • Recommendation:
    Synthesizing findings and providing a clear and concise proposal.

The Strategy& interview process is a nuanced journey, designed to holistically evaluate candidates' analytical prowess, strategic acumen, and adaptability to the intricacies of strategy consulting. This multifaceted assessment requires candidates to navigate real-life scenarios, draw on experience-based insights, and showcase structured problem-solving abilities.

At the inception of the case interview, the scenario is unveiled by the interviewer, presenting a tangible challenge.

An example might be:

"A high street retailer seeks to reduce costs by 30% in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. How would you approach this?"

Candidates embark on this journey by formulating an initial hypothesis, articulating their intention to validate or refute it. Subsequently, a meticulously crafted framework is developed to guide the analysis, adhering to the MECE (Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive) principle. Successful exploration of the framework unveils the root cause of the client's issue, allowing for relevant calculations.

The creativity test introduces a layer of complexity, requiring candidates to propose alternatives when faced with client constraints.

For example:

"The client opposes store closures; suggest alternative cost-cutting measures."

This test is iterative, assessing the candidate's ability to think creatively and adapt solutions as per evolving constraints. Culminating the process, candidates synthesize their findings into a clear and concise recommendation, showcasing their ability to distill complex analyses into actionable proposals.

The Strategy& interview process is not merely a gauntlet; it's an opportunity for candidates to demonstrate their strategic thinking and problem-solving prowess in a simulated consulting environment.

6.1 Fast Maths

Case interviews are pressurized situations where your anxiety levels are heightened and you don’t have the safety net of notes or the internet to fall back on.

For in-person interviews, it is common that one of the questions will have a mathematical element or be a market sizing question included. These require long maths calculations without a calculator. If you haven’t practiced long addition, multiplication, division, or subtraction recently then it is a good idea to do so. Being quick at maths shows your competent quantitative skills and reduces unnecessary pressure during the interview, increasing your overall performance.

6.2 Practice

As with maths, practicing case interviews is the best way to improve your performance. Through practice, you will begin to develop a robust approach that satisfies the structure and framework components of the case and you will recognize how to navigate the case successfully.

If you are applying to Strategy& then you are probably applying to other strategy consulting firms too, this practice will be relevant to all the firms you apply to as they all use case interviews in their application process.

6.3 Apply Structure to Everything

The key requirement of a candidate in a case interview is the application of structure, specifically with a MECE approach. As mentioned above, you can even apply structure to the FIT questions and it is recommended you do so.

An example answer to the question ‘walk me through your CV’ would be to segment your experience into: 1) Experience relevant to consulting 2) Experience not relevant to consulting and then briefly cover the experience you have in each bucket. This shows you understand what consulting is and what is relevant and also a key skill of a consultant – structured thinking.

If you can demonstrate robust structured thinking in your interview, you will score highly.

7. Conclusion

In conclusion, the Strategy& consulting case interview process is a well-structured journey emphasizing analytical skills, strategic thinking, and adaptability. The firm's integration with PwC brings a comprehensive evaluation approach, focusing on values like integrity and teamwork. The 'super day' style interviews efficiently assess candidates, led by both junior and senior consultants.

The case interview follows a defined structure, challenging candidates with real-world scenarios and time-pressured tasks. Success requires mastering fast maths, consistent case interview practice, and applying a structured approach.

Overall, it's not just a hurdle, but an opportunity for candidates to showcase their abilities in line with Strategy&'s commitment to excellence and innovation in global strategy consulting.

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