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Francesco

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6

Case with 60 minutes to prep and 60 minutes to present and discuss

Dear Community,

I have an interview at a firm in London which provides a long case with 60 minutes to prepare and then 60 minutes to discuss and present. I have done about 50 more traditional cases to prepare and while some skills will be transferrable, I am wondering what I can do over the next week or so to prepare.


I also have a call with a recruiter before the interview and can ask questions. Are there any good questions I can ask to get a better understanding?

Thank you!

-A

Dear Community,

I have an interview at a firm in London which provides a long case with 60 minutes to prepare and then 60 minutes to discuss and present. I have done about 50 more traditional cases to prepare and while some skills will be transferrable, I am wondering what I can do over the next week or so to prepare.


I also have a call with a recruiter before the interview and can ask questions. Are there any good questions I can ask to get a better understanding?

Thank you!

-A

6 answers

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Book a coaching with Francesco

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USD 429 / Coaching

Hi there,

In terms of what to ask, I would clarify the output they expect (usually it is 5 slides).

The key areas you will have to cover to prepare a panel/written case are the following.

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

The first thing you should do in a 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…

If you want to prepare quickly and are short of time, 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.

Best,

Francesco

Hi there,

In terms of what to ask, I would clarify the output they expect (usually it is 5 slides).

The key areas you will have to cover to prepare a panel/written case are the following.

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

The first thing you should do in a 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…

If you want to prepare quickly and are short of time, 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.

Best,

Francesco

Book a coaching with Ian

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Hi there,

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.

I have a number of written case I'd be more than happy to share with you! What I generally do with my candidates is, give them a written case x hours before our scheduled session (adjust # of hours based on the specific interview they're going to have), and then review their work during the session (as well as talk through tips+tricks to get better).

Other helpful Q&As

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/scenario-interview-presentation-prep-9325

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-practice-written-case-interviews-9199

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/case-interview-9228

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-practice-written-case-interviews-9199

Hi there,

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.

I have a number of written case I'd be more than happy to share with you! What I generally do with my candidates is, give them a written case x hours before our scheduled session (adjust # of hours based on the specific interview they're going to have), and then review their work during the session (as well as talk through tips+tricks to get better).

Other helpful Q&As

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/scenario-interview-presentation-prep-9325

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-practice-written-case-interviews-9199

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/case-interview-9228

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-practice-written-case-interviews-9199

Book a coaching with Florian

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Hey there,

For the written case practice I'd recommend you to look at regular case interview samples (there is a ton here on PL) and then work through them on your own. Look at the prompt and core question you are trying to solve, then look at the data provided and work on your recommendation.

Follow these rules:

#1 Already have a plan when you go in for the written case

Since time is usually limited, you should have a plan on how long you want to spend on each task of the assignment beforehand. For practice, use 20 minutes for the analysis and 5 minutes for the recommendation communication. For the real case adapt accordingly based on the time budget provided.

#2 Focus – quickly separate crucial information from the noise

Written cases usually present you with an information overload that you need to sort out

#3 Graphs and charts – interpret and distill key insights from graphs and charts

Written cases bombard you with charts, graphs, tables, and other visual depictions of data that you should use to test your hypotheses. Learn how to quickly read and interpret them

#4 Math – quickly draft equations and conduct pen-and-paper math

Get into the habit of quickly setting up and simplifying calculations

#5 Storyline – draft a compelling storyline and tell it with visually appealing outputs

Create a top-down storyline of your recommendations. State your primary recommendation, then use supporting arguments to strengthen your position

#6 Presentation and defense – communicate and defend your recommendation top-down

If you have to present your findings at the end of the case, follow the top-down approach of your slide deck. Be confident and engaging when going through your recommendation and supporting arguments.

I have written in great detail about written case interviews in this free article here (including links to free prep cases from b-schools): https://strategycase.com/how-to-crack-written-case-interviews

All the best!

Cheers,

Florian

Hey there,

For the written case practice I'd recommend you to look at regular case interview samples (there is a ton here on PL) and then work through them on your own. Look at the prompt and core question you are trying to solve, then look at the data provided and work on your recommendation.

Follow these rules:

#1 Already have a plan when you go in for the written case

Since time is usually limited, you should have a plan on how long you want to spend on each task of the assignment beforehand. For practice, use 20 minutes for the analysis and 5 minutes for the recommendation communication. For the real case adapt accordingly based on the time budget provided.

#2 Focus – quickly separate crucial information from the noise

Written cases usually present you with an information overload that you need to sort out

#3 Graphs and charts – interpret and distill key insights from graphs and charts

Written cases bombard you with charts, graphs, tables, and other visual depictions of data that you should use to test your hypotheses. Learn how to quickly read and interpret them

#4 Math – quickly draft equations and conduct pen-and-paper math

Get into the habit of quickly setting up and simplifying calculations

#5 Storyline – draft a compelling storyline and tell it with visually appealing outputs

Create a top-down storyline of your recommendations. State your primary recommendation, then use supporting arguments to strengthen your position

#6 Presentation and defense – communicate and defend your recommendation top-down

If you have to present your findings at the end of the case, follow the top-down approach of your slide deck. Be confident and engaging when going through your recommendation and supporting arguments.

I have written in great detail about written case interviews in this free article here (including links to free prep cases from b-schools): https://strategycase.com/how-to-crack-written-case-interviews

All the best!

Cheers,

Florian

Book a coaching with Gaurav

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Hi there,

it's a classical written case! The good news is that by having solved 50 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!

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

Cheers,

GB

Hi there,

it's a classical written case! The good news is that by having solved 50 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!

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

Cheers,

GB

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Hello!

Don´t you worry, is the typical written case, they are very common and fashionable lately.

The skillset needed is the same, but you need to be very opeartional and 80-20.

Look for written case keywords in the Q&A and you will find dozens of posts with veyr insightful information.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Hello!

Don´t you worry, is the typical written case, they are very common and fashionable lately.

The skillset needed is the same, but you need to be very opeartional and 80-20.

Look for written case keywords in the Q&A and you will find dozens of posts with veyr insightful information.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Hey,

This is a classic written case & presentation exercise. Which firm is this for- one of the BIG4 or boutique? have you applied for an experienced hire position and for which practice? Feel free to send me a direct message to discuss best approach & prep to tackle such cases.

You can ask the recruiter on how many slides they typically expect to see, any info they can give on industry & type of the case etc? They wont reveral much but try your luck anyway.

Hey,

This is a classic written case & presentation exercise. Which firm is this for- one of the BIG4 or boutique? have you applied for an experienced hire position and for which practice? Feel free to send me a direct message to discuss best approach & prep to tackle such cases.

You can ask the recruiter on how many slides they typically expect to see, any info they can give on industry & type of the case etc? They wont reveral much but try your luck anyway.

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