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Case Interview

New answer on Feb 28, 2021
6 Answers
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Christina Sabani asked on Feb 09, 2021

Hi, i am going to have a case study panel interview for a senior manager position, probably it is going to be business plan for 5 years or Market entry. Do you have any tips in what should i pay attention? What should be the structure given the fact time is limited? Thanks

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Content Creator
replied on Feb 10, 2021
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Christina,

I assume you will have a panel where you are going to receive information in advance and then will have to present to the interview in 30-45min with Q&A.

If that’s the case, I would consider the following:

1. Learn how to define a plan of action and stick to that

The first thing you should do in a panel/written case is to define a plan and allocate your time in the best possible way.

Assuming 60 minutes for the analysis, a good approach would include:

  • Initial quick reading – 10-20 min (this may depend on the amount of material)
  • Structure the approach – 5 min
  • Make slides/answer to the questions adding detailed analysis and math – 25-35 min
  • Final review – 10 min

You should practice to stick to the time allocated to maximize your final performance.

2. Practice graph interpretation

You will probably have to analyze graphs as part of the data provided. The best way to practice is to take graphs from online sources and use a timer to test in how much time you can understand the key message. McKinsey PST graphs are good practice for that.

3. Work on quick reading and quick understanding of key information

You won’t have time to read and prioritize everything, therefore you have to understand where to focus. The ideal way to practice is to use long cases such as HBS ones. You should then learn to absorb the key information of the case. Quick reading techniques could also help.

4. Practice quick math

You will probably have some math to do as part of the data analysis. GMAT and McKinsey PST math should work well to prepare for this.

5. Learn how to communicate your slides/answers

When you have to present your findings in the second part, I would suggest 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 answer and detail the motivation behind
  3. Propose next steps for the areas you have not covered

As you will not be able to double-check hypotheses with the interviewer while you prepare the presentation, you should clearly state when you are making hypotheses and that you will have to verify them with further analysis.

When you have to prepare slides I would also recommend to work on:

A) Structure the order of the slides

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

  • First slide summarizes the question and provides the answer
  • Second, third and fourth slide have the supporting arguments for the first slide
  • Fifth slide has the next steps

B) Structure the content of each slide

There are three basic components for slides:

  1. Title
  2. Chart or data
  3. Label for chart

Many people structure the title as the mere description of what the chart is about.

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

Example: say the 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 insides on the cause.

The rule of thumb for the title is that if you read all the titles of the slides together you should get a clear idea of what is going on.

C) Present the slides

When you present, I would suggest 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 which makes unfeasible to be competitive in this market
  3. Provide details: “The graph, indeed, shows how our fix cost is XYZ, while competitors can benefit from economies of scale. Indeed…

In terms of how to prepare, I do a session exactly on that.

Before the session, I can send you the data source to work on. We can then simulate the panel during the class, reviewing step-by-step all the improvements needed.

Please feel free to send me a message in case you have any questions.



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Content Creator
replied on Feb 09, 2021
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello Christina!

Couple of questions to be able to orient you better:

  • Have they specified whether this is a written case? (i.e., they will give you some time -from hours to a couple of days- to look at the case and prep the answer). I am asking this since a whole business plan is something quite big -scope wise- for a normal interview
  • I would advise you to have with you some bullets on the classics of market entry. Feel free to PM me to have one solved case, but overal ensure you look at market (growth, size, breakdown, volatility) + the specific business case for us -5P of Porter r always a good checklist-.

Hope it helps!



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Content Creator
replied on Feb 09, 2021
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi Christina,

A bit hard to advise here as your questions are a bit vague....the structure depends on your case, as does what you should pay attention to.

That said, I recommend the following:

  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, make sure to thinking + 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.

Good luck!

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Anonymous replied on Feb 10, 2021

Hi Christina,

congrats on the interview. To answer the question, it would be great to get a little bit more context (e.g., What do you mean by a "Panel interview").

However, for a business plan, I would analyze the following points

  • The Goal: Where do they want to be in the 5 year time frame?
  • The Strategy: How do they get there?

E.g., if the goal is growth 100% in terms of revenue, I would analyze the following

  • Organically
    • How can the client leverage our existing products in existing markets and increase sales here
      • E.g., new customers
      • E.g., sell more to existing customers
    • How can the client grow in new markets
    • What new products could be developed by the client?
  • Inorganically
    • Are there promising targets to acquire that could help the client grow

For a market entry situation, I would analyze

  • Does it make sense to enter that market?
    • Market size
    • Market growth
    • Competitive intensity
  • If yes, how?
    • Client's knowledge of the market
    • Entry barriers (e.g., in China only via joint venture)
    • Time frame to enter (does it need to be quick?)

Please mark that these are super general points and your structure should always be tailored to the prompt given to you.

Hope this helps.

Cheers, Jonas

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Content Creator
replied on Feb 28, 2021
#1 MBB Coach(Placed 750+ in MBBs & 1250+ in Tier2)| The Only 360 coach(Ex-McKinsey + Certified Coach + Active recruiter)

Hi Christina!

I assume it is going to be a written case, right?

The good news is that by having solved the usual cases, you've already tackled one big chunk of the preparation! In theory, you just need to apply the technics you already know, + 80-20, plus time management, create a nice structure, and be correct in your math!

In case you need to do a presentation, keep it short and simple:

  • around 5 slides: in the beginning, you state the problem and your hypothesis, then proceed with your arguments and close with an overview / suggestions for the next steps

Hit me up if you have any further questions! Good luck with your interview;)


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Content Creator
replied on Feb 10, 2021
BCG |NASA | SDA Bocconi & Cattolica partner | GMAT expert 780/800 score | 200+ students coached

Hello Christina,

I assume that you will be provided with a written case and taht you will have to prepare a presentation for your interview. In order to takle this kind of interviews you should consider the following points:

  • Prepare for a traditional case interview: the competencies and the problem solving skills requested are pretty much the same
  • Define a plan of action according to the time given: one of the most important aspect of these cases is the ability to manage your time. You should consider the followinf steps: Initial reading, decide the approach, analysis, slides and final review.
  • Train quick reading skills and maths: there are a lot of good sources online, even the GMAT integrated reasoning section could be good.
  • Train slide-making skills: this is a crucial part because, as consultatn, slides are your most important communication tool. Be aware that there are some "golden rules" that you have to consider for making slides as a consultat. You can find something online but feel free to contact me for a quick analysis.
  • Learn how to present slides in an effective and professional way

You can find some good examples of written cases online, but I could forward you what I have. Contact me if you are interested.


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Francesco gave the best answer


Content Creator
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching
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