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How to prepare for first online case study interview - Public Sector Consultant

case study consultant Public Sector
New answer on Dec 31, 2020
3 Answers
5.1 k Views
Richard asked on Aug 27, 2018

Hi all,

I have been invited to undertake an online case study for a Public Sector Consultant role in the Middle East. Whilst I have significant professional experience, I have never had to do an online case study as part of a recruitment process (nor have I held a specific consultancy role before). As such, I was wondering if the community might be able to provide some guidance as to what to expect and how to prepare?

In terms of the information I have been given, I have been told the case study will be sent at a specific time, I will have two hours and I will need access to word and power point. The role itself is as a Public Sector Consultant.

Any insight would be hugely appreciated given my lack of experience on this topic.

Many thanks in advance!


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updated an answer on Aug 28, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


It would really help if you can put the name of the company here. Otherwise, it's really hard to help you.

It looks like you are talking about BCG case and you can find a sample here:

(PM me for a password)

The best way to prepare is the following:

  1. Train mental math. I posted the main tips here:
  2. Prepare for a regular case interview - it helps a lot. Basically, prep lounge website is about it
  3. Practice making slides. Look for publically available MBB presentations for reference. Good books are "Pyramid Principle" and "How to make it with charts"
  4. Practice reading cases fast and prioritizing the information. I found useful two sources:
  • Written cases you'll be able to find in google or in case books. I've seen a couple in "Vault Guide to the Case Interview" and "Insead Business Admission Test"
  • Harvard cases - either buy or try to find online. You can find a couple of MIT cases here for free: Unfortunately free cases don't have the prep questions.

The appropriate structure for BCG written case is:

Slide 1: Context, Objective, Recommendations

Slide 2-4: Analysis (Usually 1 slide with a table, 1 slide with graphs and 1 slide with pros and cons)

Slide 5: Next steps or risks & mitigation

Good luck!


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Content Creator
replied on Dec 31, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

My approach

Public sector cases are tricky because they feasibly be any case type (Product Launch - new service for citizens; M&A - merging two departments; even Profitability - cost cutting mandate). For any public sector case, I recommend:

  1. First identifying the type of case it is.
  2. Second, leverage your knowledge of the public sector as constraints/considerations.


Regards #2, you know that public perception is particularly important to consider in any public sector move. Additionally, you can count on bureacracy/slowness in implementation. You should identify the goal/mission of the organisation as well and keep this top of mind (if it loses money, but achieves it's goal of helping the poor, no problem). Howvever, just because the government sector doesn't have profit as a target, doesn't mean you should ignore the profit tree altogether - governments are still obliged to take into costs (and sometimes revneues) in decisions (example: setting up a public transport initiative). Don't get tricked into thinking you can't consider the economics of the case!

Other items to consider include, but are not limited to:

  • Politlcal landscape (i.e. upcoming elections, special interest groups)
  • Sustainability
  • Private-public partnerships
  • International vs governmental vs state vs local partnerships/alignment
  • Income = taxes/budgetary landscape
  • Digitialization of government

Framework Resource

In terms of resources, the UPenn Wharton 2011 casebook has a framework for public sector. It's split into:

  1. Strategic rationale (Mission of organisation and stakeholder reactions)
  2. Deal economics (planned investment and returns, if any)
  3. Other (Required capabilities and risks)

Practice Cases

If you want some practice cases:

  • Tepper 2008's "NGO Effectiveness"
  • Colombia 2011's "MadeCasse"

Hope this helps, and please don't hesitate to ask any follow-up/clarifying questions!

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Content Creator
replied on Feb 27, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


I always suggest my coachees not to focus on the industry, but type of case (e.g., profitability, M&A, pricing, market entry, etc.)

Hence, if you cannot find more than a couple of PS cases to practice, don´t worry! The way I see it, it´s impossible to have insights about all industries. It´s too time consuming, and that time can have a much better ROI in other parts of the prep.

Hence, if you practice enaugh (and this means +50 cases), you will came across almost all common industries. This will give you the basic insights for the interviews. Precisely not to have to study the intrinsics of every industry, it is key to have an approach to cases that is holistic and ambibalent, to ensure it can work with all of them.

This is precisely the focus of my coaching sessions with my coachees, PM if you want.

Hope it helps!


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Vlad gave the best answer


McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School
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