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Case presentation and first interview

Anonymous A asked on Sep 27, 2016 - 2 answers

Hi guys,

I have some first round interviews coming up and am practicing cases at the moment. I don't have an awful lot of prior experience and am looking for some info on the presentations (if required) of some case solutions. To start with the dumbest question: the presentation is always done on paper right? (not on powerpoint/computer)? I guess you sort of form a template in your head, so that whenever you have to present/come up with slides, you have a rough idea about the structure (title, problem, hypothesis, key data, company external/internal effects, etc.)?

Would be great if you could briefly advice me on this :), thanks!

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replied on Sep 27, 2016
Current partner @ Andreessen Horowitz (VC firm). Ex-Mckinsey, ex- strategy guy at Google.
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Here's a quick guide to cracking the presentation case:

1. skim through the presented case file in the first 10 minutes - note the major areas covered. 95% of what you are given will not be used directly.

2. get to the hypothesis ASAP. For example, if your case is about a quarterly profit report, design a sample slide deck on paper, say, slide 1: major financials (rev, costs, historicals, etc) slide 2: major obstacles / challenges and slide 3: major opportunities.

3. It's usually on paper, so design rough slides on paper and then whiteboard it if needed.

4. it's usually a 60min long exercice. Spend 5 mins skimming through the papers to knnow what's presented. ~15-20mins designing a framework for presentation (what will you present), ~15-20mins filling the right data points. 10mins creating slides on paper and ~5-10mins practiicng your deck delivery.

Anonymous replied on Sep 27, 2016

Hi, thanks for your question! Not sure if you only mean the presentation case, but also interview cases in general, so brief intro on case studies as part of interviews:

  • The interviewer typically presents you with a brief case description and question: "Our client is a large logistics company, and recently profitability has gone down. You are hired as a consultant to improve the situation"
  • You then are supposed to come up with an initial structure on how you would tackle this problem, i.e., to solve the case. Everything happens on paper, and you sit across the interviewer at the same table.
  • Once you establish the structure, you then start going through it (interviewee led cases). You ask relevant questions along the way, resembling the situation of you as a consultant working with the client.
  • In the end, you (hopefully) come up with a solution, and then summarize your findings, again orally or on paper.
  • For interviewer-led cases (McKinsey), the interviewer takes a more active role and asks you specific and more detailed questions about the case at hand. Once you master the interviewee-led case type, the interviewer-led case should be "easier". While the individual tasks may be more difficult in the interviewer-led case, I typically find candidates to have the most difficulty with establishing the structure and leading the case.
  • You will need to calculate something at some point which is also done on paper.

Hope that helps, good luck with your interviews!

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