How to prepare for Written Case Interview

Written case interview
New answer on Feb 28, 2021
8 Answers
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Pooja
Skilled
asked on Feb 25, 2021

Hello,

I have an interview with Deloitte on 3rd March, and its going to be a written case interview. They will provide a case study and within 1 hour I need to prepare a Presentation based on that. After that I will have a one on one discussion with the interviewer. How can I prepare for making a presentation for a case study. What are the relevant things that needs to be included in the PPT. How should it be started and ended?.

Best, Pooja

(edited)

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 25, 2021
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi Pooja,

First, good luck!

I recommend the following:

  1. Remember that most casing tips apply here (i.e. be very clear+focused on the objective, ruthlessly cut out information that doesn't help you meet this objective/question, make sure to thinking + communicate in a structured way, etc. etc.)
  2. Practice/simulate this as much as possible beforehand...getting a coach to help you run through scenarios + how to react in inevitably challenging moments will do a world of good.

I have a number of written case I'd be more than happy to share with you! What I generally do with my candidates is, give them a written case x hours before our scheduled session (adjust # of hours based on the specific interview they're going to have), and then review their work during the session (as well as talk through tips+tricks to get better).

Other helpful Q&As

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/scenario-interview-presentation-prep-9325

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-practice-written-case-interviews-9199

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/case-interview-9228

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-practice-written-case-interviews-9199

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Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 26, 2021
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi Pooja,

The key areas you will have to cover to prepare a written case are the following.

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 your time in the best possible way.

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 practice to stick to the time allocated to maximize your final performance.

2. Practice graph interpretation

You will probably have to analyze graphs as part of the data provided. The best way to practice is to take graphs from online sources and use a timer to test in how much time you can understand the key message. McKinsey PST graphs are 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, therefore you have to understand where to focus. The ideal way to practice is to use long cases such as HBS ones. You should then learn to absorb the key information of the case. Quick reading techniques could also help.

4. Practice quick math

You will probably have some math to do as part of the data analysis. GMAT and McKinsey PST math should work well to prepare for this.

5. Learn how to communicate your slides/answers

When you have to present your findings in the second part, I would suggest the same structure used for a conclusion in a live interview, that is:

  1. Summarize 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 hypotheses with the interviewer while you prepare 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 summarizes 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 about.

A great title instead shows the implication of the graph as well.

Example: 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…

If you want to prepare quickly and are short of time, I do a session exactly on that.

Before the session, I can send you the data source to work on. We can then simulate the presentation during the class, reviewing step-by-step all the improvements needed.

Please feel free to send me a message in case you have any questions.

Best,

Francesco

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Pooja on Feb 26, 2021

Thank you for the detailed explanation

Torben
Expert
replied on Feb 25, 2021
Volkswagen Consulting| Your Automotive and Mobility Expert | Inhouse Consulting | China

Hi Pooja,

first of all, try to prepare for this case study as you would prepare for any other case study.

You can expect a significantly higher amout of information provided, though (e.g. graphs, articles, etc). Therefore:

  • Try to practice filtering information in a fast manner (e.g. scan/screen what are the relevant pieces here)
  • Set yourself a time limit for each of the phase (e.g. limit yourself to 10 minutes of initial screening - set a timer!) -> It's important not to lose track of time
  • As for the slide structure, you can stick to the following:
    • First: Summarize the question and top-level answer (top down approach)
    • Then provide 2-3 slides arguing your point: What is the evidence supporting your answer?
    • Last Slide: Provide an outlook. You know, consulting is all about selling the next project ;) Think about providing some suggested next steps to the client
    • Tip: You can first outline all 5-6 slides by writing their action titles (headlines) which describe the content of them. Helps a lot!

Hope this helps. Let me know if you need anything else in preperation, or if anything was unclear. If you're unsure about how to structure content on a slide in an efficient manner, feel free to reach out to me!

Best, Torben

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Florian
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Feb 26, 2021
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

I have a few tips for written case interviews as well:

#1 Already have a plan when you go in for the written case

Since time is usually limited, you should have a plan on how long you want to spend on each task of the assignment beforehand.

#2 Focus – quickly separate crucial information from the noise

Written cases usually present you with an information overload that you need to sort out

#3 Graphs and charts – interpret and distill key insights from graphs and charts

Written cases bombard you with charts, graphs, tables, and other visual depictions of data that you should use to test your hypotheses. Learn how to quickly read and interpret them

#4 Math – quickly draft equations and conduct pen-and-paper math

Get into the habit of quickly setting up and simplifying calculations

#5 Storyline – draft a compelling storyline and tell it with visually appealing outputs

Create a top-down storyline of your recommendations. State your primary recommendation, then use supporting arguments to strengthen your position

#6 Presentation and defense – communicate and defend your recommendation top-down

If you have to present your findings at the end of the case, follow the top-down approach of your slide deck. Be confident and engaging when going through your recommendation and supporting arguments.

I have written in great detail about the BCG written case interview in this free article here, which is very similar in nature: https://strategycase.com/how-to-ace-the-bcg-written-case-interview

All the best!

Cheers,

Florian

(edited)

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Antonello
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 25, 2021
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi Pooja
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.

Best,
Antonello

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 26, 2021
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Written case interviews are indeed becoming very fashionable nowadays as a way to interview!

Remember that the skillset tested is the same than in the "usual" cases, hence, all the practice you may have done totally plays in your favor.

One important point to add is the need to be very 80-20, structured and to the point, since the prep time is very short, so we need discipline with the analysis to have enaugh time to prep the communication strategy.

There are many many entries in thsi same Q&A regarding written cases, hence, I would recommend you to look with the keywords "written case"

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Rishabh on Feb 26, 2021
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(edited)

Luca
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 26, 2021
BCG |NASA | SDA Bocconi & Cattolica partner | GMAT expert 780/800 score | 200+ students coached

Hello,
For the written case you will be usually provided with a pack of 20-30 slides that you need to analyse to answer questions using 4-5 slides and present them to your interviewer.

In order to crack the interview you should consider the following points:

  • Prepare for a traditional case interview: the competencies and the problem solving skills requested are pretty much the same
  • Define a plan of action according to the time given: one of the most important aspect of these cases is the ability to manage your time. You should consider the followinf steps: Initial reading, decide the approach, analysis, slides and final review.
  • Train quick reading skills and maths: there are a lot of good sources online, even the GMAT integrated reasoning section could be good.
  • Train slide-making skills: this is a crucial part because, as consultatn, slides are your most important communication tool. Be aware that there are some "golden rules" that you have to consider for making slides as a consultat. You can find something online but feel free to contact me for a quick analysis.
  • Learn how to present slides in an effective and professional way

You can find some good examples of written cases online, but I could forward you what I have. Contact me if you are interested.

Hope it helps,

Luca

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Gaurav
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 28, 2021
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi Pooja,

The good news is that by having solved the usual cases, you've already tackled one big chunk of the preparation! In theory, you just need to apply the technics you already know, + 80-20, plus time management, create a nice structure, and be correct in your math!

Regarding the presentation, keep it short and simple:

  • around 5 slides: in the beginning, you state the problem and your hypothesis, then proceed with your arguments and close with an overview / suggestions for the next steps

Hit me up if you have any further questions! Good luck with your interview;)

Cheers,

GB

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Ian gave the best answer

Ian

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