Get Active in Our Amazing Community of Over 458,000 Peers!

Schedule mock interviews on the Meeting Board, join the latest community discussions in our Consulting Q&A and find like-minded Case Partners to connect and practice with!

how should I prepare for Walmart 's "Situational Case Interview" ?

written case
New answer on Mar 23, 2020
4 Answers
5.5 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Mar 19, 2020

Hi all , next Tesday I will have my next round of interview with Walmart which is called "Situational Case Interview". Basically the formart is like this : they will give me case material up front and I will have aound 1 hour for preparetion , then me and the assesor will go through seveal situational business cases.

my quesion is :

  1. how should I prepare for such kind of case interview ? are there any recommended material I can practice ? ( I've been googling and most of the material I can find are typical candidate lead cases ). Since I 'm interviewing with Warmart , I assume I should focus on retail industry cases right ?
  2. What is the difference between case interview for a particular corporate and for consulting firms ? are there any specific points I should pay attention to ?

Overview of answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
Content Creator
replied on Mar 19, 2020
McKinsey / ex-Interviewer at McKinsey / I will coach you to rock those interviews


A few thoughts:

  • I believe the logic of preparation shall be similar to preparation for MBB interviews, because in the end they would be looking for the same things (structure, logic, creativity, math skills, ability to formulate hypotheses).
  • Since it will be interviewer led, I think the best way to prepare is to do a few McKinsey-type cases (you can find them on McKinsey website).
  • Once you get your material, in that hour that you got, look for something which catches the eye (outliers) and try to formulate some preliminary insights (hypotheses).
  • I think you are right about cases being focused on retail industry.
  • Harvard Business Review has elaborate and big cases – definitely for you to look into

If you want to discuss in more detail, DM me, I will be happy to brainstorm with you further.


Was this answer helpful?
Content Creator
updated an answer on Mar 20, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

I replied to your questions below:

How should I prepare for such kind of case interview ?

The structure of your interview seems the same of the standard written cases in consulting, for which I would recommend the following steps.

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 in the best possible way your time. 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 then practice to stick to the time allocated, in order to maximize your final performance.

2. Practice graph interpretation

You will normally have to analyse graphs in a written case. The best way to practice is to take graphs from online resources and use a timer to test in how much time you can understand the key message. McKinsey PST graphs could be 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, so you have to understand where to focus. The ideal way to practice is to use long cases such as HBS ones, and practice on reducing the time needed to absorb the key information that can answer a defined question. Quick reading techniques could also help.

4. Practice quick math

You will normally have some math to do in a written case. GMAT and McKinsey PST math should work well to prepare on this.

5. Learn how to communicate your slides/answers

If you have to present your findings at the end of the case, I would apply here the same structure used for a final sum up in a live interview case, that is:

  1. Sum up 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 hypothesis with the interviewer as in the live case before 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 sums up 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 telling. A great title instead tells the implication of the graph. Eg 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…”

You don’t have to necessarily practice on retail (although if you find cases on that may help for business acumen), it is more important you practice on the general basic points for written cases listed before.

What is the difference between case interview for a particular corporate and for consulting firms ?

The main difference is that corporates pay more attention to the specific sector they operate, thus it would be important you show knowledge of the Walmart industry, their business model and their recent trend. The rest would be quite similar to a standard consulting interview.

If you want to practice written cases, please feel free to PM me, I do a specific session based on that where I can send you a couple of cases in advance and we can work on the presentation part for one of them during the class.




Was this answer helpful?
Content Creator
replied on Mar 23, 2020
McKinsey | NASA | top 10 FT MBA professor for consulting interviews | 6+ years of coaching

case preparation will be the classical one with 2 additional points to focus on:

  • 80-20 prioritization: quickly navigate an important amount of data to find what really matters to the case resolution;
  • Executive summary: develop 1-2 pages to present that sum-up the problem and your recommendations.

I have a couple of well done written cases, feel free to text me for sharing.


Was this answer helpful?
Content Creator
replied on Mar 19, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


With the information you provide, totally seems like the classical "written cases" that some MBB do.

In Bain´s page, for instance, they talk about them and how to prepare them >

It´s not different from a normal case in the principals, so you can also prepare by doing "usual" cases, given there are plenty and also more people to practice them with. However, don´t limit the prep to those since written have some specificities.

Hope it helps!



Was this answer helpful?
Daniel gave the best answer


Content Creator
McKinsey / ex-Interviewer at McKinsey / I will coach you to rock those interviews
Q&A Upvotes
121 Reviews
How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or fellow student?
0 = Not likely
10 = Very likely
You are a true consultant! Thank you for consulting us on how to make PrepLounge even better!