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Developing industry understanding for case interviews

Anonymous A asked on Feb 27, 2019

Hi, 2 questions:

1. What do you think should be the aspects to research to develop a good understanding of an industry for case interviews?

2. What are some of the more common industries in case interviews? (knowing the cases most often come from the interviewers' past projects)

Thank you!

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Vlad replied on Feb 27, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School
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Hi,

Focus on the most common industries in the following priority (sorted by probability of getting a case): 1-retail and CPG; 2-airlines; 3-Telecom; 4-banking; 5-natural resources; 6-tech

There are several sources of info to develop business sense:

1) Cases - you simply solve 50-70 cases and get a broad knowledge of different industries, common pitfalls and questions. The key here - find good partners who already had case interviews with MBB companies

2) Company reports, equity reports, IB roadshow docs - usually have a good overview of company and industries. The most useful source!!!

3) HBS cases - quite useful, but not sure if lot's of them available publically. Probably worth buying

4) Books - one good book about airlines with numbers and industry analysis can give you all needed industry knowledge

5) News, Industry blogs

For each industry, you should understand:

  • Revenue streams
  • Cost structure
  • Margins
  • Key performance indicators
  • Key revenue drivers
  • Industry trends

I strongly recommend practice drawing structures for each industry - profitability, value chain, etc

Then I will switch to getting functional knowledge and key concepts in:

  • Marketing (Brand and trade marketing tools, etc)
  • Supply chain (Ops metrics like cycle time and throughput time, distribution and delivery specifics, etc)
  • Finance (Basic Accounting and Valuation)

Good Luck