The bank "His Earlship Charles", a domestic retail and private bank is in a difficult situation. Profits have been declining over the past years due to the ongoing low interest rates set by the central bank. Additionally, the bank is suffering from a decreasing number of customers. The boa ... Open whole case
The Case Interview
If you're looking for your dream job as a consultant, you'll first have to master the case interview. PrepLounge provides you with all the necessary information to become a pro at all case types and ace your job interview. But first, lets take a look at what we're dealing with.
What is a Case Interview?
A case interview is a specific kind of job interview that is commonly used in consulting firms. The applicant is given a question, problem or business situation which has to be solved by asking questions, applying structured frameworks and thinking out of the box.
Case interviews are well suited to evaluate a candidate's quantitative and qualitative skills, which are necessary in consulting jobs. Case Interviews are used in job interviews for management consulting jobs, but also in interviews for investment banking jobs. A consulting case study usually contains a primary question, which can be categorized as one of three types:
Case Interview Questions
The three core types of cases are:
- Business cases
- Estimating cases
- Brain teasers
A business case revolves around estimating a company's profitability and opportunities of investment and often portraits a business problem that requires solving. An estimating case, also known as market sizing case, confronts the applicant with the challenge of estimating the potential and profitability of a certain market for a specific product. A brain teaser is usually a riddle which requires logic and out-of-the-box thinking to solve. Overall, all three case types require applicants to thoroughly analyze the problem and find a well-structured approach to solve it. The way you deal with consulting cases reflects a part of your later work as a consultant. Eventually, it comes down to two questions that the case helps answering:
- Do I trust the applicant to work independently with a client?
- Is the applicant personally and professionally suited for intensive teamwork?
Explore over 100 real casesCase libary »
How to approach the Case
A case interview has no "correct" or "standard" answer. Instead, you might just end up exploring issues and walking down several paths. There are always multiple answers or recommendations to give in a case study. It might also be a different solution from what interviewers expect. In the end, what matters is particularly how you get there.
How to solve a Case Interview
When it comes to case interview solutions, tackling a case is similar to a real work day in consulting: You meet with the consultant and both of you work on solving a client's problem. During the interview, act as if you are already a consultant working at the conpany: Pretend you are solving a real case in a face-to-face conversation with your interviewer. The case questions are usually quite general in nature and cannot be solved on your own, so you'll need to initiate a dialogue, ask specific questions and present ideas and hypotheses.
So your interviewer is not looking for a "correct" answer. However, there are certain skills he will be assessing in analyzing the way you approach the case.
- Maths and analytical skill
- Skills in reasoning, presentation and communication
- General understanding of business and economical thinking
Case interviews usually follow a similar framework: You'll start off with a light conversation, involving a consultant who acts as interviewer. He will start with estimating whether you are a personal fit, followed by the actual case question. You have paper and pen available, so you should start taking notes at this point. Usually, your counterpart also collects them after the interview and uses them to judge the structuring of your method. Once you have received your question, repeat it and get clarification, to make sure you start off correctly. Clarify the objective of the case and take a moment to lay down the strucutre for the case solution. Afterwards, the interviewer will provide you with sufficient time to let you present your approach. The rest of the interview is intended to be a dialogue. Most of the questions have to be asked by you, in order to get closer to a solution. However, the consultant is willing to guide you through the case with his answers or by asking questions himself.
Apart from the types of cases described above, there are two major ways a case may be led:
- Interviewer-led case
- Candidate-led case
In an interviewer-led case the interview will have a more classical Q&A style. Hence it structurally differs from a candidate-led case interview, in which the applicant plays a more leading role in integrating participants and progressing the interview. You can find more information on interviewer-led cases vs. candidate-led cases in our Bootcamp.
Some case interviews may be conducted as group exercises. In that case applicants are briefed together as a group and discuss possible approaches. As being a team player is a very important skill for future consultants, including the group in solving the case may be your key to success here.
Case Interview Preparation - Why practice Case Interviews?
Whether you aim for a career in consulting with one of the small firms or you want to work for one of the big players like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Oliver Wyman, Roland Berger or Deloitte: Case interviews prepare you for the daily reality of your future work as a consultant.
Application and Job Interview process
Depending on if you are aiming for an internship or a full-time position, you'll have to participate in up to six case interviews in two or more rounds. Each interview is set to take 30-60 minutes. However, do not rush through the case and concentrate on what the interviewer says. Usually, he provides you with important details that will help you solve the case. Try to be proactive and lead through the case in a steady pace, because you will be provided these details only for showing effort: The interviewer estimates whether you ask for the data yourself and if you focus on crucial information only.
The perfect allround Case Interview Preparation
With PrepLounge you get a holistic training for your job interview. There are crucial skills to consider improving when practicing for your case interview. With the resources and Prep Plans available at PrepLounge you get a complete preparation instead of solutions for selective cases:
Why PrepLounge - What we have to offer
PrepLounge offers you a wide variety of possibilities to get ready for your career start in a top consulting firm:
- Use PrepLounge to find case partners online
- Benefit from our professional case coaches and coaching programs
- Gain access to a wide variety of case interview resources and practice case studies from our case library, also including real cases
- Receive valuable insights and news on consulting jobs and top consulting firms
Become part of the Consulting Community
Join our case interview community and practice case interviews with expert coaches or peers from all around the world. Prep for the various challenges that await you in the interview: Start with our huge variety of brain teasers, market sizing cases and more. Exchange experiences with peers from around the world in our consulting Q&A, or prep with mock-interviews. PrepLounge gives you the platform to successfully start your career in consulting.
Start practicing now
Mrs. Robinson and Mr. Friday live on an island. Their only access to civilization and trade are the inhabitants of the neighboring island, a people of excellent engineers (they also have electricity). The island is quite large with a small desert in the middle, surrounded by stormy sea. Mr. Friday h ... Open whole case
I’m thinking about setting up a wine cellar in my basement. The way I see it, shelf space would be divided into two sections: (1) a “drinking” section where I store bottles for my own consumption and (2) an “investment” section where I store bottles that I intend to sell at a profit after they appre ... Open whole case
Your client, large automotive OEM WyCar, has developed its first fully electric vehicle (EV) and introduced it as a pilot on the Austrian market last year. However, sales have been far below the expected numbers. The management has engaged you to support them in understanding the reasons and advise ... Open whole case
TrainCo is a manufacturer of rolling stock, or trains, with production sites in three European countries. The company has seen declining profitability over the past years; however, they are currently in a very good position to bid for and win a big contract for regional trains for a Swiss national r ... Open whole case
A friend of yours recently got promoted to the position of director of a university library. Yesterday, your friend received a call from the Ministry of Education, who offered him to be part of a national RFID pilot with his library. As your friend is unsure if he should pursue this option, he asks ... Open whole case
LumCO, a company producing injection-molded components for lighting applications, has operated successfully in its native European market. The company wants to open up one production facility each in China and the United States and establish their own distribution network in both countries to serve ... Open whole case
Duraflex is a German footwear company with annual men’s footwear sales of approximately €1 b. They have always relied on the boot market for the majority of their volume. In this market they compete with three other major competitors. In the fall of 2013, Badger – one of Duraflex’s competitior ... Open whole case
LubricantsCo, a very successful Asian premium producer of lubricants in their native region, would like to further increase their revenue and profit. The product range ranges from lubricants in the automotive sector (e.g. motor and gear oil) to industrial applications (e.g. fats, heavy-duty oils). ... Open whole case
You have been hired to support the owner of a bike-shop as a business consultant. The bike-shop has suffered a significant revenue decline during the last year, and now the owner would like you to assess the situation and options for the way forward. They want to know last year’s profit, i.e. how ... Open whole case
Private Bank Anytown disposes total assets of approx. EUR 3 bn on December 31, 2014. The growth strategy of the institution determined at the end of 2010, however, has a higher impact on the cost side than on the income side. Aggregated to the return on equity as defined central parameter of the ... Open whole case
We are a German owned water provider company based in the south west United States. As the biggest water provider in the region we serve the majority of the south west region. We measure our performance using the Economic Value Add (EVA) valuation technique. We are currently at a negative EVA lev ... Open whole case
We are an airline major operating out of India. We want to increase the number of passengers on all our flights. Could you please calculate the financial return of adding one more passenger per flight? Open whole case
As a B2B firm we manufacture test equipment for electronics firms. The revenue per product ranges from $500 to $100,000 as this is a high complexity business. On an average we hold 200 days of inventory which we would like to bring down to 100. What do you think we should do? Open whole case
King Burgers, a fast food chain has recently opened up new stores at several new locations and reapplied their business model in all the new stores. Unfortunately most of the new stores are barely breaking even. What do you think is the problem? Open whole case
The airlines covering the Cologne to London route are facing a competitive threat from a new rail tunnel connecting Britain and Germany by train. Which all factors do you think the airlines should consider before reacting to this threat? Open whole case
Calendar Cube You are given two cubes with 6 sides each (total 12 sides). What digits would you put on each cube for you to be able to show all the days of the month with these two cubes? Chopped Cube You are given a large cube made up of small cubes. Each side of the large cube is as wide ... Open whole case
We are a profitable American provider of fire and water remediation services. We are generally hired by insurance companies to provide cleaning services in the wake of burning and flooding damages. We we would like your counsel on whether to enter the growing USA traditional residential cleaning mar ... Open whole case
We are a large American music company with 40% market share and $50 billion revenue. Last holiday season the retailers were unable to replenish our CDs on their shelves because of our large degree of stockouts. We would like you to figure out why this happened. Open whole case