As a partner at a top-tier consulting firm, I've conducted multiple first- and decision-round interviews. My experience conducting decision-round interviews have given me unique insights into what it takes to succeed in a case interview. This experience enables me to provide targeted feedback and guidance to candidates as they prepare for their interviews.
In this macro environment and competition, applying vanilla frameworks and doing correct maths does not take candidates too far. The bar is rising every single year. I've identified three key principles that are critical to success that will continue to separate “great” from “good”: first-order thinking, executive presence, and creativity grounded in pragmatism.
- First-order thinking is about understanding the fundamentals of a problem before trying to solve it. It involves breaking a problem down into its component parts, identifying the underlying causes and drivers of those parts, and understanding the interrelationships between the parts. This type of thinking is critical for success in case interviews because it allows you to build a comprehensive and thorough understanding of the situation at hand
For example, a strong candidate would compare a struggling company to a car that has multiple problems: a broken engine, a flat tire, and low fuel. If you fix the engine, the car might start, but it won't get very far on a flat tire or with an empty tank of gas. A first-order thinker would look at all of the car's problems and develop a holistic plan to get it up and running
- Executive presence is the ability to project a sense of leadership, confidence, and authority in your interactions with interviewers and partners in the firm. It's not just about what you say, but also how you say it, your body language, and your overall demeanor.
In a case interview, a candidate with executive presence might take charge of the discussion, asking thoughtful questions and directing the conversation in a productive direction. They might speak clearly and confidently, using concise language and avoiding jargon. They might also be aware of their body language, making eye contact and using open, relaxed body language. By demonstrating these qualities, the candidate projects confidence and leadership, which can make a strong impression on the interviewer
- Creative and pragmatic thinking is the ability to think outside the box and develop novel solutions, while also being grounded in practicality and realism. In a case interview, this might mean proposing a unique solution to the problem at hand, but also being able to demonstrate how the solution could be realistically implemented and would result in measurable benefits
I'll bring my knowledge and perspective to help achieve your goals. I'm passionate about helping you succeed, and I'll be by your side every step of the way. That is a promise!!