Public Sector Case Interview

The public sector, encompassing government and related entities, is a unique topic when it comes to case interviews. Unlike the private sector, where profit and growth are the primary drivers, the public sector often grapples with broader societal issues, budget constraints, and political considerations

As a graduate looking to break into consulting with a focus on the public sector, it's crucial to understand the differences of the public and government sector to other areas in your case interview.

What Makes Public Sector Cases Unique?

  • Broader Objectives: Unlike private companies that primarily focus on profitability, public sector cases often revolve around societal benefits, policy implications, and long-term community impact.

  • Stakeholder Complexity: Public sector cases involve opposing stakeholders, including politicians, bureaucrats, the general public, and even sometimes international or regional entities. Communication and balancing their diverse interests is a challenge.

  • Budget Constraints: Government entities often operate within tight budgets. Finding cost-effective solutions without compromising on quality is paramount.

  • Regulatory and Political Considerations: Public sector solutions must often navigate a maze of regulations and be politically viable.

Types of Public Sector Cases

If you want to focus on public and government consulting, you will probably encounter a wide range of topics while working. Here are a few examples that will be further discussed in the expert section of this article:

Types of Public Sector Cases

Expert Insights on Acing the Public Sector Case Interview

Public Sector and Government cases can be solved effectively with a strategic approach. One approach to consider in these kinds of cases is Michael Moore's public value strategic triangle. This model emphasizes understanding the societal benefit or value being created, identifying who will support and authorize this value, and determining the investments and capabilities required to bring it to fruition. Other useful tools could be the PESTEL or SWOT analysis

While it's essential not to rigidly adhere to a framework, adapting it to the specific case can be a good start. For instance, if you're tasked with improving traffic conditions or building extra-wide bike lanes, you might begin by understanding the reasons and targets for reducing traffic. From there, evaluate specific projects or solutions, understand community stakeholders and their positions, and finally, assess the feasibility of your recommendations in terms of capabilities, funding, and potential bureaucratic challenges.

A crucial aspect of public sector cases is clarifying the objective at the outset. Is the primary goal profit-driven, or is it centered on societal benefit? Once this is established, you can delve into the nuances of public value creation, stakeholder analysis (see also the competing values framework), and budgetary constraints. Even if profit isn't the immediate goal, there's always a (mostly) tight budget to consider, and understanding the financial implications of your recommendations is paramount.

In the realm of public sector cases, partnerships can play a pivotal role. Collaborations with private companies or other governmental entities can often provide innovative solutions to longstanding problems. The political landscape is another vital consideration. Any recommendation, no matter how sound on paper, must be palatable to the political climate and the general population. Operational feasibility is another cornerstone. Can the government or public stakeholder feasibly implement your recommendation, especially in the face of potential bureaucratic challenges?

Public sector cases can span a vast spectrum, from macroeconomic challenges like improving life expectancy in a city to more operational concerns like reducing traffic jams. For each case, it's imperative to define the objective clearly. For example, a directive like "Improving the Healthcare system" can be interpreted in myriad ways - it could mean increasing the system's quality, making it more accessible, or reducing wait times.

Public Sector Case Example

Expert case by Ben
Your client is the Knight’s Watch Municipality. Their governor, John Snow, has engaged you, explaining that an evil army composed of White Walkers plans to destroy all of Westeros. He tells you that the Northern Kingdom is the only fortress capable of stopping this force. However, the wall is s ... Your client is the Knight’s Watch Municipality. Their governor, John Snow, has engaged you, explaining that an evil army composed of White Walkers plans to destroy all of Westeros. He tells ... (Open whole case)
300+
Times solved
0.0
< 100 Ratings
Intermediate
Difficulty

Things to Consider in Your Case Interview

In short, there are some implications that you should always keep in mind while solving public / government cases:

Things to Consider in Your Case Interview
  • Understand the Context: Always start by understanding the broader context of the case in front of you. Who is the stakeholder, who benefits, what are possible outcomes and risks.

  • Clarify Objectives: Always clarify the client's objectives. In public sector cases, these objectives can be multi-faceted and not always profit-driven.

  • Identify Key Metrics: Understand the key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant to the case.

  • Consider Multiple Solutions: Public sector problems often don't have a one-size-fits-all solution.

  • Factor in Implementation Challenges: Public sector solutions can face resistance from various quarters. Always consider the feasibility of implementation.

  • Practice with Real-world Scenarios: Join groups or platforms where you can practice case interviews with peers or experts. This real-world practice is invaluable.

The Right Approach

Public sector case interviews can be challenging, but with the right preparation and understanding of the sector's characteristics, you can excel. Always approach the case with an open mind, consider the broader societal implications, and practice as much as possible with other interested peers.

 

More Public Sector & Government Cases

Company case by Whiteshield Advisory
This case is representative of the type of problems that a client might engage Whiteshield to help them with. Before asking you any questions about the case, I will give you the background that you will need. There are several issues that I would like to cover with you today; please do not be surpri ... This case is representative of the type of problems that a client might engage Whiteshield to help them with. Before asking you any questions about the case, I will give you the background t ... (Open whole case)
4.1k
Times solved
4.5
< 100 Ratings
Intermediate
Difficulty
Expert case by Giulia
Our client is the government of an imaginary country which is suffering from strong protests and riots by its own population. The client would like to understand the reason for these protests. In a second step, the client wants you to make suggestions for improvement to end these protests. ... Our client is the government of an imaginary country which is suffering from strong protests and riots by its own population. The client would like to understand the reason for the ... (Open whole case)
9.5k
Times solved
4.5
200+ Ratings
Advanced
Difficulty
Expert case by Rushabh
The Government of Spain has tasked the City of Barcelona to increase their revenue generated from the City.Thus, in order to generate more revenue, the Local Government of Barcelona has engaged our firm to examine the viability of passing a new law imposing a fine on jaywalking violations.How should ... The Government of Spain has tasked the City of Barcelona to increase their revenue generated from the City.Thus, in order to generate more revenue, the Local Government of Barcelona has enga ... (Open whole case)
1.3k
Times solved
4.0
< 100 Ratings
Advanced
Difficulty
Are you looking for more insights from the consulting industry?
Then sign up now to not miss any new articles.
Do you have questions on this blog article?
Contribute to our Q&A forum and ask the community your question!
How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or fellow student?
0 = Not likely
10 = Very likely
You are a true consultant! Thank you for consulting us on how to make PrepLounge even better!