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2 Hour Written Director-level Case Study - Advice Needed

case study Written case interview Written test
New answer on Feb 29, 2024
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Feb 13, 2024

Hi,

I was just informed that I have a 2-hour written case study for a consulting interview (Director-level) in two days for a boutique firm. 

I'll receive the information the night before and have one hour to prepare slides on-site, followed by a one-hour presentation to partners.

I'm seeking advice on two key questions:

  1. Efficient information analysis: How can I effectively analyze the information provided the night before in a short period of time to prepare for any scenario?
  2. Slide deck template: Is there a suggested template for presenting my findings, like a 5-slide structure below?


Slide Template Example:

Slide 1: Executive Summary

  • Briefly state the case context, objective, and key recommendation.

Slide 2: Problem & Analysis

  • Define the main problem and analyze its root cause(s)
  • Include supporting data and evidence.

Slide 3: Solution & Recommendation

  • Explain proposed solution, highlighting its benefits and alignment with the case objective.
  • Use data or visuals to illustrate impact.

Slide 4: Risks & Mitigations

  • Outline potential risks and respective mitigation strategies to explore.

Slide 5: Next Steps & Future Opportunities

  • Recommend further analysis or actions based on findings (potential future on-sell opportunities)

Overview of answers

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Best answer
Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 13, 2024
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

Highly recommend getting a coach for this one.

There's not much we can say on a Q&A to help. Rather, you need slides/templates from a coach, direct guidance on how to solve the case, editing/framing of the story, etc. etc.

=======HOW TO DO WELL======================

While each scenario requires a different approach, the fundamentals are the same.

  1. Remember that most casing tips apply here (i.e. be very clear+focused on the objective, ruthlessly cut out information that doesn't help you meet this objective/question, get your story right, make sure to think + communicate in a structured way, etc. etc.)
  2. Practice/simulate this as much as possible beforehand...getting a coach to help you run through scenarios + how to react in inevitably challenging moments will do a world of good.
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Anonymous A on Feb 14, 2024

I just received a 200+ page Prospectus on IPO (initial public offering). Any suggestions?

Ian on Feb 14, 2024

Yes! Hire someone to help you work through it if you don't know what to do!

Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 15, 2024
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

1) How can I effectively analyze the information provided the night before in a short period of time to prepare for any scenario?

In general for a written case I would recommend the following.

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1. Prepare in advance with other written cases

You should be able to find a few written cases online to use for your self-prep. Ideally, the cases should include:

  1. Graph interpretation
  2. Math calculation
  3. The amount of information you expect for your interview (if unknown, I would target at least 10-20 slides/pages)

2. Outline an action plan to analyze the material

If you have 60 minutes to review the material, a possible approach is the following (to adapt based on the amount of information and questions):

  • 3 min – Read the questions
  • 10-15min – Read the material
  • 5-10 min – Structure the approach
  • 25-30 min – Perform math/ Identify answers/ Create slides
  • 5 – Final review

3. Define a strategy to present your results

To present your findings in the second part, I would suggest keeping the same structure used for a conclusion in a live interview, that is:

  1. Summarize the main questions you have to answer
  2. Present your proposed answers and detail the motivation behind
  3. Present risks and next steps for the areas you have not covered

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2) Is there a suggested template for presenting my findings, like a 5-slide structure below?

I would recommend taking into account the following:

A) Structure of the presentation

Normally the structure for a 5-slide presentation is the following:

  • 1st slide – summary of the questions and your answers
  • 2nd, 3rd and 4th slides - supporting arguments for the first slide
  • 5th slide - risks and next steps

B) Content of each slide

There are 3 basic components for most slides:

  1. Title
  2. Written content 
  3. Graphs / Tables

Many candidates structure the title as a mere description of what the chart/content is about.

A great title instead shows the implication of the graph/content as well.

Example: say a graph is showing a cost structure for a division.

  • A bad title would be: “Cost structure from 2005 to 2015”.
  • A good title would be: “Cost structure of Division XYZ is not sustainable”.
  • A great title would be “Cost structure of Division XYZ is not sustainable due to ABC”, assuming you have insights on that.

The rule of thumb is that if you read all the titles of the slides, you should get a clear idea of the message of the presentation.

C) Presentation of the slides

When you present, I would recommend the following steps for each slide:

  1. Introduce the slide: “Let’s move to slide 2, which will show us why we have an issue with this division
  2. Present the main message of the slide: “As you can see, we have a cost structure that makes it unfeasible to be competitive in this market
  3. Provide details: “The graph, indeed, shows how our fixed cost is XYZ, while competitors can benefit from economies of scale. Indeed…

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If you want to prepare further, I do a session covering all the points above and written case material as well. For more information please feel free to PM me.

Good luck!

Francesco

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 13, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Reach out, and I'm happy to share a couple of examples of written cases so you have that as a starting point for the practice. 

Your suggested structure for the deck works, but please be flexible and make sure that you develop an approach that is specific to that case and the questions they ask. 

Best,
Cristian

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Anonymous A on Feb 14, 2024

Hi Christian, I'll reach out shortly. I just received a 200+ page Prospectus on IPO (initial public offering). Any suggestions?

Cristian on Feb 14, 2024

That's a huge document to digest in the time you have available. Start by reading the intro / executive summary and then the conclusion. Then get clarity on what the case requires you to investigate and go more targeted in depth on the document.

Florian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 13, 2024
Highest-rated McKinsey coach (ratings, offers, sessions) | 500+ offers | Author of The 1% & Consulting Career Secrets

Hi there,

If it is a take-home case, you can work with GPT to do the heavy lifting for you (summarize information, find key takeaways, analyze).

Regarding the presentation, I would create it in a top-down format.

  1. A short description of the situation and complication to trigger the attention
  2. Recommendation(s)
  3. Supporting arguments and data

This is essentially how all C-level presentations are created based on being top-down and following the Pyramid Principle. Do not turn it around and explain the lengthy process of analysis before getting to conclusions (bottom-up).

All the best,

Florian

 

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Anonymous A on Feb 14, 2024

I just received a 200+ page Prospectus on IPO (initial public offering). Any suggestions?

Benjamin
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 18, 2024
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer & top performer

Hi,

Sharing some general pointers:

  1. Efficient information analysis
    • Begin with the end in mind - or in essence you need to be hypothesis driven
    • Think about what potential ‘answers' or outcomes you would like to get to, and then work backwards to validate them
  2. Slide deck template
    • Unfortunately this really depends on the nature of the task and the objective 
    • You could have templates, but ultimately for someone of your level, you need to think about story and storyline
    • This will dictate the structure and flow of the deck

All the best!

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Pedro
Expert
replied on Feb 29, 2024
30% off in April 2024 | Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

This is about building a storyline. Pyramid Principle can be helpful here.

In any case, what you have to think is what is the key message, and then what are the 3-4 key things that support that message and possible 1-2 caveats. You build your presentation around those, using simple messages. 

Remember, this is about focusing on what is really critical, not on being an expert in every small detail.

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