Good books for preparing cases?

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New answer on Aug 14, 2020
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Anonymous B asked on Apr 28, 2017

What are some of the top 2-3 books for 'cases' ONLY? I am not looking for books like Case In Point etc. where more than half the book is dedicated to understanding what cases are, rather than the cases themselves.

I know Insead, and Kellog have theirs. But I am not sure how to get hold of them.

Thanks

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Currently
Expert
replied on Apr 29, 2017
I am here to get you an offer! | Got 8 offers including the 3 MBBs and non MBB like Wyman, Roland Berger, Strategy&.

Hi Anonymous :)
I would personally suggest Kellogg 2011, Wharton 2010, Stern 2016.
I would strongly recommand you to start by reading and understanding the sectors trends in Stern 2016. That would be very helpful to tackle the cases.
However, reading the cases in casebooks is not very uselful. You can leverage you experience in Preplounge by setting up meetings with mates/Experts and ask them to give you cases from those casebooks.
Finally, I would strongly suggest you to read the press (FT, Wall street journal, Local & national business press in your contry) in order to be up to date with the businesses.
I wish you the best for your preparation and do not hesitate to send me a message if you need any additional help/advice.
Norah

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Sarviin on May 26, 2020
Great recommendation on Stern 2016. Thanks Norah.

(edited)

Anonymous replied on May 28, 2018

While I agree with Guennal, there are obviously far better resources than others. Some MBA books specifically think that what makes a case hard is loads of math and complex calculations (e.g. NPV) where this will rarely be true in actual interviews, especially at pre-MBA level.

My favourite resources for cases when I was applying were (you should be able to find 2 & 3 quite easily with a google search, if not message me and I can send them to you):

1) Company websites: McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Oliver Wyman, etc. all have excellent examples of cases online. These are useful as they come straight from the source and are generally a good indication of how cases at a specific company are structured

2) ESADE business school case book: This book provides some excellent tips and then dives into some great beginner/intermediate cases. In the second half of cases in the book there is a drop in quality, but it was still one of my favourite resources when practicing.

3) MIT Sloan 2011 casebook: In my opinion the best case book released by a business school I have seen. Excellent cases of ranging difficulty from actual companies, which most closely resemble actual cases you will receive while interviewing.

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Originally answered question:

Case Books/Resources

Sidi
Expert
replied on Jun 28, 2018
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 300+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi Piers,

  • On your first question: case books such as Case in Point or Case Interview Secrets are a good starting point, but they will only provide you with a toolbox regarding how to frame your thinking vis-a-vis different business situation elements. It is however important to understand that practically all case books provide very poor guidance on HOW TO APPROACH a case and HOW TO DRAFT A ROADMAP for solving the case. This approach and roadmap needs to be rooted in rigorous and specific logic. This is completely different from the "framework learning philosophy" brought forward by most case books and are an actual root cause why many candidates will not be able to secure an offer.
  • On your second question: you can send through PDFs via the normal chat function on Preplounge.

Cheers, Sidi

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Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Sep 17, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Here is a full approach that you can follow:

1) Start with "Case in point" book - you can download this book for free everywhere. It's not the best guide on how you should approach the cases, however, it will give you the basic understanding.

2) Start practicing cases with partners here or find them locally. !!! Find experienced partners or coaches who can provide a good feedback!!!

3) Purchase and read Viktor Cheng Book (Amazon Kindle store) and listen to LOMS (his website). I recommend to reread the book and listen to LOMS every 15 cases. Every time, having more experience, you’ll be finding something new.

4) Practice fast math

  • Learn how to multiply double digit numbers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ndkkPZYJHo)
  • Learn the division table up to 1/11 (i.e. 5/6 = 83.3)
  • Learn how to work with zeros (Hint: 4000000 = 4*10ˆ6)
  • Use math tools (Mimir math for iOS), Math tool on Viktor Cheng website to practice

5) Below you can find a list of the most common case types and some high-level recommendations on structuring:

  • Market sizing - structuring from the supply or demand side. Structuring using a formula or using an issue tree
  • Profitability - basic profitability framework. Remember about different revenue streams and product mix
  • Market context cases (Market Entry, New product, Acquisition, etc). Always start with the big picture "market". Finish with something specific to the case (e.g. How to enter?"). Structure it as if you are defining the work streams for the real project.
  • Operational math problem (e.g. Should we increase the speed of an elevator or just buy a second one? How should we reduce the queues? Etc.) - Structuring as a process / value chain, with inflows, operations, and outflows
  • Cost cutting - I provided the recommendations on structuring it here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/operations-cases-mck-1105#a2134
  • Valuation - Purely financial structure with cash flows, growth rate, WACC / hurdle rate, etc.
  • Synergies - revenue synergies (price, qty, mix) and cost synergies (value chain).
  • Social / economics cases (e.g. How to improve the quality of life in the city? How to increase the revenues of the museum?) - huge variability. Practice 3-5 social cases before the interview

6) Also, I would try to 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

7) After solving 15-20 cases start preparation for the tests (Serch for PST / BCG online test here on preplounge)

8) ! Important: don't forget about the FIT interview part. Crafting you stories and backups stories will require a couple of weeks!

PS

Here is a good list of articles regarding the different parts of the case:

1) Start with clarifying questions:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/clarifying-questions-1786#a3956

2) Communicating while structuring. Here is a long post by me on how to communicate the structure during the case study:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-communicate-its-structure-for-the-case-study-1313#a2806

3) Using hypothesis. I made a post about hypothesis here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-state-a-hypothesis-and-match-to-the-structure-1156#a2268

4) Communicating while making calculations:

  • Always tell the interviewer your approach
  • Check with the interviewer that your approach is correct
  • Come to the interviewer with some preliminary answers
  • Check your assumptions with the interviewer

5) Communicating during the analysis of graphs / tables

  • Take a minute to look at the graph. Read the graph title. Look at the graph type and define the type (pie chart, line chart, etc). Look at the legend (ask for clarifying questions if necessary). Identify whats going on on the graph. Look for: Trends, % structures. Look for unusual things - correlations, outliers,
  • Make 3-4 conclusions from the graph. Think out loud on potential hypothesis on what could be the root cause / what are the consequences
  • Prioritize the most important for your current analysis and move forward with the case

6) Communicating while having questions on creativity

  • Ask an interview for a minute to think
  • Think of several buckets of ideas (e.g. organic growth / non-organic growth / differentiation). Remember to think as big as possible
  • Narrow down to each bucket and generate as many ideas as possible
  • Present the structure (buckets) and then your ideas

7) Communicating your conclusion. You can find a good example I've posted here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-much-answer-first-should-the-conclusion-be-1231#a2493

8) Communicating your FIT stories

Use the top-down approach while communicating your stories. "The Pyramid Principle" is the must-read by ex McKinsey on this topic.

I recommend using the STAR framework:

  • In Situation, you should briefly provide the context, usually in 1 or 2 sentences
  • Task usually includes 2 or 3 sentences describing the problem and your objective.
  • Then you provide a list of specific actions you took to achieve the goal. It should take 1 or 2 sentences per action (Usually 3-4 actions). Note that the interviewer can stop you any minute and ask for more details.
  • The results part should have 1 or 2 sentences describing the outcomes. This part is finalizing your story - make sure it can impress the interviewer and stay in the memory.

Best!

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Guennael
Expert
replied on May 26, 2018
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews

The BCG website has practise cases; most school consulting clubs also have books of prior cases. PrepLounge has a lot of material. Last but not least - obviously the former consultants here also have cases as well.

Ultimately though, it doesn't really matter: if you know how to crack a case, you know how to crack them all. This is why some people dont get a single offer, while others get them all. I suggest you focus on learning the basics (mechanics), no matter what company you will apply to.

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Originally answered question:

Case Books/Resources

Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Jun 28, 2018
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi Piers,

in terms of resources, I would recommend the following:

  1. Read Case In Point or Case Interview Secrets for a general understanding of what a consulting interview is. Don’t focus too much on the structures proposed in the books though, as they are not good enough nowadays
  2. Start to read MBA Consulting Handbook – you can find several for free online (Insead is a good one to start). Read the cases and try to apply your structure. Whenever you see there is something missing, upgrade your structure with the new insides. Try to read at least a new case per day – in this way you will absorb a lot better the information with constant learning
  3. After having read the first 10 cases in books/handbooks and basic theory, start to practice live. There is a relevant part of the interview score which is based on your communication, which you cannot practice at all if you read cases only
  4. Once you feel you are not improving anymore, if you have a tight time constraint or if you want a realistic assessment of your level, consider using experts support to strengthen your performance

Best,

Francesco

(edited)

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Astrid
Admin
replied on May 28, 2018
PrepLounge Head of Product & Marketing

Hi Anonymous A,

thanks for asking your question on our Consulting Q&A!

On PrepLounge, you can find real company cases in our Case Library. All the cases with the company's logo on the right next to the heading are cases from the respective firm and are used in real case interviews. You can filter those cases by selecting "Real Case" on the left of the case list.

If you go through our Bootcamp and start practising cases with other candidates or experts, you will not need any casebooks - as Gabriel explained perfectly.

All the best for the rest of your case prep!

Astrid

PrepLounge Community Management

PrepLounge Consulting Q&A Forum

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Gabriel
Premium
replied on May 27, 2018
INSEAD 13D' MBA prepping for MCK interviews; looking to give and get MCK-style cases from other advanced/pro candidates.

Agree with Guennael.

I started with Case in Point years ago which was a good start. I spent a lot of time reading multiple books after this but found that while it's a good start, the absolute best way to improve is to just do. Reading lots of cases isn't as helpful if it isn't paired with the practice bit.

Chalking up lots of case experience and being deliberate in improving and laddering your skills will help build those case skills down to muscle memory. I have many of the casebooks mentioned but I never read them -- much rather have the case given to me by a case partner before reviewing it after. Actual / real cases I have received can be as simple as "I want to start a ramen shop. Should I? Where do I start?" to quite complex one with tricky business logic.

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Originally answered question:

Best casebooks

Vasilis
Expert
replied on Apr 11, 2017
x-BCG Dubai, x-Recruitment lead for BCG, Case Interview Expert (350+ interviews, 100% recommendation rate), Ops Manager @ Uber

Hey! By far the top options are Case in Point by Cosentino and 100 Case Interview Secrets by Victor Cheng. Cheng's website is also super helpful - I would keep that as a side resource as well. Always keep in mind though, you should keep expanding these frameworks and making them your own - don't just copy and paste :)

Cheers,

Vas

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Anonymous updated the answer on Aug 14, 2020

Dear A,

Here are some important books for your preparation

1) Read the "Case in point" book - you can download this book for free everywhere. It's not the best guide on how you should approach the cases, however, it will give you the basic understanding.

2) Read Viktor Cheng Book (Amazon Kindle store) and listen to LOMS (his website). I recommend rereading the book and listening to LOMS every 15 cases. Every time, having more experience, you’ll be finding something new.

And don't forget about practice cases with experienced partners or coaches who can provide good feedback!!!

Good luck! If you need some help, just drop me a line!

Best,

Andre

(edited)

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