Brainteasers are a type of problem that focuses on a single issue rather than complex business cases. They require out-of-the-box thinking, logic or math skills and can take the form of riddles, word problems or visual puzzles. These tasks are designed to test your problem-solving skills, analytical thinking and ability to remain calm under pressure.Typical problems cover everyday life's topics and might even include unrealistic assumptions. All necessary information is usually included in the question so that further assumptions are not necessary. This article explains in more detail why brainteasers are useful in case interview preparation and how to solve them. Why Are Brainteasers Useful?First, in consulting case interviews, brainteasers are rarely used. Regular cases are considered more suitable as they allow the interviewer to better test key skills needed in a consultant (structured, analytical and conceptual thinking). However, brainteasers add significant value to the preparation process of several reasons:Enhancing Creative Thinking: Brainteasers demand unconventional solutions that go beyond the standard approaches used in typical business cases. This hones the ability to think outside the box and encourages flexibility in developing and applying different problem-solving frameworks.Building Stress Resilience and Speed: Brainteasers often place candidates under time pressure, mimicking the stressful situations commonly encountered in consulting. Regular practice with these challenges helps candidates remain calm and think clearly, even when the solution is not immediately apparent.Strengthening Mathematical and Logical Skills: Many brainteasers involve numbers or require logical deductions. Regular practice with these tasks improves the ability to quickly translate problems into mathematical or logical equations, a skill that is also valuable in complex business analyses.Avoiding Standard Solutions: By working on brainteasers, candidates reduce the risk of becoming too dependent on standard frameworks. This practice sharpens their ability to consider alternative solutions, which can be crucial in unpredictable business situations. How to Solve BrainteasersWhen approaching brainteasers, the method you use to tackle the problem is often more critical than arriving at the correct answer. Brainteasers test not only your creativity and logic but also your ability to structure your thoughts and communicate your reasoning clearly. By following a systematic approach, you can effectively break down complex puzzles and demonstrate your problem-solving skills:Structure Before Solution: The approach to solving a brainteaser is often more important than the final answer. Write down all the information provided, listen carefully, and make sure you haven’t missed or added anything. A structured approach demonstrates your ability to systematically analyze and tackle a problem.Brute Force: When a problem requires a specific number and the possible solutions are limited, a trial-and-error approach can be effective.Example: Replace 'x' with the digits 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 to make the equation xx * x = xxx true. Solution: 54 * 3 = 162.Logic: Many brainteasers can be solved by logically interpreting the information given and drawing the correct conclusions.Example: Five friends have 10 cookies. They vote on how to split them in alphabetical order. Anyone who doesn’t get at least 50% of the votes is out. Anton votes first. The maximum number of cookies he can demand is 8. Key Takeaways - What Brainteasers Are Useful forBrainteasers are not common in case interviews but are highly useful for preparing for unconventional problem-solving situations.They enhance creative and structured thinking, build stress resilience, and improve mathematical and logical skills. Brush up on your mental math skills. Being quick and accurate with numbers is crucial!Focus on the problem-solving process and structure rather than just finding the correct answer. You are looking for a brainteaser to practice with?👉 Check out our brainteaser library, where you can find many different brainteasers to practice with!👉 Also have a look at our recommended resources or browse the Case Library for your case interview preparation!

I was actually asked a similar question, but with ping pong balls.

The way I went about it (and it seemed to have worked):

- First, i inquired about the Jumbo Jet and, more specifically, i asked if it was compepletely empty or if it was filled with seats and other furniture.
- In case teh interviewer tells you that the airplain is empty, simply calculate the volume of the golf ball, the volume of the different parts of the plane (e.g. body, tail, etc) and then divide the volume of the plane by the volume of the golf ball. Conclude by reducing the number by 5% since it would be impossible for all the balls to perfectly fit in the airplane, hence there is still a certain amount of free space.
- in case the interviewer tells you that the plane is completely furnished, you will have to approximate a capacity of free space (i'd say 60%).
- in this scenario you should also consider the different between the cabin and the luggage storage on the plane (different capacities)

Hope this helps you