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How to prepare for unstructured cases appearing in 2nd round?

Recently I had two interviews with 2 partners, and both interviews are quite different from the traditional case process that I have consistently been practising. To be more specific here's some unexpected situation that I encountered:

1. Case is not structured, comparing to the cases given by consultant level interviewer. The case tends to be projects done by the partner. So usually just some simple background information + a few graphs.

2. Not much specific data. For instance, I know that the company is in problem and we need to help it turnaround. So I asked about the turnaround goal - is it revenue / profit / market share? The interviewer just told me everything is dropping.

3.Didn't have chance to layout initial structure. When I mentioned is it okay to draw my structure first, the interviewer asked me to answer several questions instead. The question itself was not those kinds of question an interviewer led style would ask. It is more about how would you solve this case, look in to ABC, verify hypothesis, etc.

My question is - how could I prepare for these kinds of untraditional case types and random case interview questions appearing in the second round? In 2nd round interview, the interviewer tends to challenge a lot on my thoughts, but this part was not practised enough during case interview with partners. Also, assuming it is a candidate led case, is it possible to solve the case without laying down a case structure in beginning?

Recently I had two interviews with 2 partners, and both interviews are quite different from the traditional case process that I have consistently been practising. To be more specific here's some unexpected situation that I encountered:

1. Case is not structured, comparing to the cases given by consultant level interviewer. The case tends to be projects done by the partner. So usually just some simple background information + a few graphs.

2. Not much specific data. For instance, I know that the company is in problem and we need to help it turnaround. So I asked about the turnaround goal - is it revenue / profit / market share? The interviewer just told me everything is dropping.

3.Didn't have chance to layout initial structure. When I mentioned is it okay to draw my structure first, the interviewer asked me to answer several questions instead. The question itself was not those kinds of question an interviewer led style would ask. It is more about how would you solve this case, look in to ABC, verify hypothesis, etc.

My question is - how could I prepare for these kinds of untraditional case types and random case interview questions appearing in the second round? In 2nd round interview, the interviewer tends to challenge a lot on my thoughts, but this part was not practised enough during case interview with partners. Also, assuming it is a candidate led case, is it possible to solve the case without laying down a case structure in beginning?

3 answers

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The only recommendation is to practice more cases, fix the basic frameworks and the major industry KPI/trends

Best,
Antonello

The only recommendation is to practice more cases, fix the basic frameworks and the major industry KPI/trends

Best,
Antonello

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Hi,

First, remember that casing isn't just about memorizing every step, industry, case type, etc. It's about learning how to be adaptable and nimble. So, always be prepared for the unexpected.

1. All cases are structured, wheather you realise the structure or not. It's your job to keep it organised and keep it to a good flow/framework!

2. Figure out what data/information you need and ask for it: The interviewer won't just give it to you (just like your client won't know what you need from them). Use your framework to dive into areas! If your interviewer insists they don't have data in that area (after you've gone specific), then go into another area of your framework (or expand out).

3.In this case try and keep a mini framework in your head. You can write as you talk as well.

When you say "not those kinds of questions an interview-led style would ask" this shows me that you're limited in your preparation....don't come in expecting a certain format/style! Be ready to drive your own case if needed. Think if you were on a real life project and asked to lead it...this is what they need you to demonstrate!

Honestly, I think you could benefit from a session with a coach. Finding other PrepLoungers to case with is great to get you 80% of the way there, but coaches will really test your thinking and make sure you truly understand what you're saying/doing. Intimately understanding the case/situation/problem and knowing why you're asking x question is the key to being able to adapt to whatever you encounter during the interview.

Hi,

First, remember that casing isn't just about memorizing every step, industry, case type, etc. It's about learning how to be adaptable and nimble. So, always be prepared for the unexpected.

1. All cases are structured, wheather you realise the structure or not. It's your job to keep it organised and keep it to a good flow/framework!

2. Figure out what data/information you need and ask for it: The interviewer won't just give it to you (just like your client won't know what you need from them). Use your framework to dive into areas! If your interviewer insists they don't have data in that area (after you've gone specific), then go into another area of your framework (or expand out).

3.In this case try and keep a mini framework in your head. You can write as you talk as well.

When you say "not those kinds of questions an interview-led style would ask" this shows me that you're limited in your preparation....don't come in expecting a certain format/style! Be ready to drive your own case if needed. Think if you were on a real life project and asked to lead it...this is what they need you to demonstrate!

Honestly, I think you could benefit from a session with a coach. Finding other PrepLoungers to case with is great to get you 80% of the way there, but coaches will really test your thinking and make sure you truly understand what you're saying/doing. Intimately understanding the case/situation/problem and knowing why you're asking x question is the key to being able to adapt to whatever you encounter during the interview.

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Hi,

Two major advice here:

  1. Do everything as usual unless the interviewer asks you to do smth different (e.g. if he tells you not to draw the structure - you simply don't do it
  2. Practice more cases. If you were confused by both cases - that means you did not have enough practice / enough variability of cases while practicing. There is no simple way here
  3. Learn the basic structuring methods: Math, Drivers, Value chain, Project steps, segmentation, frameworks, etc
  4. Develop industry knowledge - that's what I tell every candidate. You should know the basics of most common industries (retail, airlines, etc) to effectively p[roblem solve with partners

Best

Hi,

Two major advice here:

  1. Do everything as usual unless the interviewer asks you to do smth different (e.g. if he tells you not to draw the structure - you simply don't do it
  2. Practice more cases. If you were confused by both cases - that means you did not have enough practice / enough variability of cases while practicing. There is no simple way here
  3. Learn the basic structuring methods: Math, Drivers, Value chain, Project steps, segmentation, frameworks, etc
  4. Develop industry knowledge - that's what I tell every candidate. You should know the basics of most common industries (retail, airlines, etc) to effectively p[roblem solve with partners

Best

(edited)

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