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Riccardo

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Have an interview with a firm coming up that is a 30 minute presentation case. Essentially, you get 30 mintues solo to solve a case that is later presented to partners.
Any tips on how to prepare? Any things I can get out of the way already?

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Riccardo replied on Jul 10, 2017
Ex-Bain | 8+ years MBB / Big4 Recruiter & Senior Interview Coach | Advanced Case/Fit Prep | MBA / Expert tracks
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Hi! To perform above average in this step, you need first to understand the principles of scoring and why this is different from a regular case study interview.

  1. First difference guidance vs data availability. While you still have to match information to develop sensible recommendation, in this exercise you have no guidance in the process, including the filtering of the relevant information. Plus you will be likely to receive even more information vs normal interview (usually tables and charts). This means in the final presentation an outstanding candidate don’t just explains why he/she selected what is IN, but ideally you also have to explain the why and what is OUT. To fine tune this skills ,while you practise presenting conclusions, make sure you do include in/out rational for your solutions.
  2. Second key difference is the number and depth of assumption you are allowed to build your conclusion on. While in a regular case interview the focus is normally to ‘validating’ your assumptions ‘as you go’ and then build recommendation on the refined info accordingly, here the focus is on the opposite process. You are entitled to more hypothesis and a broader scenario building – which you have to lock down to 1 in your final discussion. To make this practical in your training, use the ‘BA - Binary Approach’ to hyphotesis building a set of solutions (2+) on each.
  3. Client-facing communication. Heavier focus is put here on that. Make sure you are ready to defend challenge / manage fictious ‘harsh beaviors’ of the interviews.
  4. On-sell. Make sure you concude the interview with an agreement (on next steps or on the solution)


Feel free to reach for more tips on how to crack this step or to set your peformance apart from others in the process,

Best
Riccardo

Andrea
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replied on Jan 17, 2018
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To solve the case I would use the same approach used for oral case interviews but I’d go way deeper given that there is way more time and that likely is the expectation. I would also make sure you use (but don’t abuse) all the tools available to you to solve the case within the rules and guidelines they give you (e.g. if allowed make sure you do all the following - and more: reaching out back to them to ask clarifying questions, using spreadsheets or other software to model do analysis, do google searches for fact base etc).

Onto the written document itself I think the key in my opinion is to have it divided in two parts: main presentation and appendix. The main presentation is where you will present your recommendation to the interviewer(s) while the appendix is where you have all the back-up analysis that helped you come to that specific recommendation and eliminate others.

Indicatively the length of the main presentation should be 7-10 content pages (meaning you exclude from count cover, agenda and divider pages) if you have 30 mins to present, 15-20 if you have 1 hour. These times refer to presentation only time and do not include Q&A/discussion. You want it to keep it short and poignant.

I would organize the presentation into the following blocks:

-Executive summary (1 page all text that goes through the whole story)

-What we’ve heard from you and context (1-2 slides about problem statement, data behind it, and broader context)

-Decision framework (1 slide with decision framework dimensions and your assessment for each of them)

- [if you have long presentation time this goes here, otherwise in appendix] deep dive on each dimension of decision framework (1 page for each dimension of analysis and insights)

-Recommendation and impact summary (1-2 slides that provide your recommendation and it’s impact)

-Next steps (1 slide what would you do next to implement recommendation, what follow ups would you do)

General guidelines for the written presentation:

-The first thing you should do is to write your executive summary. You should write it as the story you would like to tell to the interviewer. Each sentence/paragraph should correspond to a slide you are going to present in your main deck. Each sentence paragraph ideally correspond closely to the main insight, and therefore title, of each slide of the deck. First write your story then design your slides, not viceversa. This because it’s easy to fall in the “trap” of getting “in love” with our own slides and adapt the story to fit the slides vs. telling the most clear and powerful story.

-Keep you titles consistent: either they are all action titles (Market growing at 5% YoY) or all descriptive titles (Market size evolution). Most consultancies prefer action titles

- Slides should present insights, not just data (e.g. don't just show that market growth is 5%, tell why it's relevant)

Style cheat-sheet (in no particular order):

- Minimum font is 12pt except for footnotes

- Put sources on each slide

- Make slides graphically appealing and consistent with each other (e.g. same colors for same metrics from slide to slide, consistent wording to indicate same concept)

- If you have access to any of the consultancy presentation try to mimic their format/style

- Max 1-2 key messages per slide

- One line slide titles are better than two line ones, fewer words are better than more, ~50 words max per slide (except exec summary)

- Align of objects within slide

- Don’t use abbreviations or not well-known acronyms (so ok to use EBITDA for example), if you have to, footnote them

- Make sure to do a spell check, twice (see title of your question)

- On graphs always remember to put unit of measure on both axis, and notable numbers on axis and magnitude (e.g. ‘000 widgets, $M, etc)

Please reach out directly if you have further questions or want advice

Hope it helps,

Andrea

Hugo
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replied on Sep 13, 2017
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Dear Anonymous,

Congratulations on your final assessment step!. The structure of your presentation should be similar to the structure you would present in a case interview (remember, there is no correct structure or unique answer). I would recommend this structure, as a guide, which I had used in several projects:

1) Executive summary: key messages to give to your audience

2) Competitive landscape: this topic is broad, so present the information that is relevant for your case (demand analysis, economy, regulations, trends, competition). For instance, if laws are critical for the market you are assessing, probably this topic deserves a whole slide.

2) Proposed strategy (which takes into account the company profile, strengths, weaknesses, etc.).

- If your presentation is long, you can even develop a business plan for each function that is relevant to the firm. Otherwise, this part can go in back up

3) Projections: All critical projections to implement the business, some typical examples are financials, CAPEX (especially in mining & metals projects), labour (especially in markets where high skills labor is constrained), etc.

Other recommendations:

1) I don't know how much time do you have for your presentation but have in mind that, as a rule of thumb, 6 minutes per slide is standard for Senior Executives

2) Rehearse your presentation several times and try to record yourself. This will give you 100% confidence during the presentation

3) Try to identify ahead the critical question that the audience would ask and be prepared for them. It is better if you have back up slides for these potential questions

4) Be careful with your story telling, spelling, grammar, margins, colours, etc. Remember that in consulting the final deliverable has to be perfect.

Success in your presentation.

Regards,

Hugo

Francesco replied on Jul 12, 2017
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Hi Anonymous,

I would recommend you to focus on 5 areas to crack a presentation case; I have reported them below with some suggestions on how to prepare for each of them.

1. Learn how to define a plan of action and stick to that

The first thing you should do in a presentation case is to define a plan and allocate in the best possible way your time. Assuming 30 minutes for the analysis, a good approach would include:

  • initial quick reading – 5 min
  • structure the approach – 2.5-5 min
  • make slides/answer to the questions adding detailed analysis and math – 15-20 min
  • final review – 2.5-5 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 presentation 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 a good practice for that.

3. Work on quick reading and quick understanding of key information

You will not 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 math to do in a presentation case. GMAT and McKinsey PST math should work well to prepare on this.

5. Learn how to communicate your slides

You normally have to present your findings at the end of a presentation case. I can apply the same structures of 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, it could make sense to clearly state when you are making hypotheses and that you will have to verify them with further analysis.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

Norah
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replied on Jul 09, 2017
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Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for reaching out.

This is a classic way to test your presentation and analytical skills. I had this kind of exercise when I interviewed for Monitor Deloitte. Do you need to present slides or just your answers?

Whatever, that's always good to sketch some drafts, but don't lose you time doing this.

What I would advise is the following:

1- take some samples of short case studies with graphs and quotes from clients and try to solve them in 30' and present them to a friend that prepares for consulting or a preplounge expert. I can send you some examples of this if you reach out to me by PM.
2- try to focus on prioritizing. Usually, there will be too much information and graphs for 30 minutes. Take your time (3-5') to go through all the material and select your priorities.

3- focus on the quant questions but do not neglect the qualitative part. Take assumptions and be ready to defend them.

4- do not neglect the presentation itself. Be prepared as if you were in front of client (i.e. with a strong story line) but be ready to be challenged by your interviewers, have your backup with your calculation method and your assumptions.
Best of luck and do not hesitate to reach out to me if needed.
Best,
Norah

Vlad replied on Apr 28, 2018
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Hi,

You'll be given a bunch of materials (Articles. P&Ls, company info, etc.) which you have to analyze and make a presentation (ppt, written or on the whiteboard). All the inputs will be inside and you'll have to select the most relevant ones.

Your presentation should include 3 parts:

  1. Context, Objective, the executive summary of recommendations
  2. Your analysis with conclusions
  3. Next steps

Here I've uploaded some written case samples here:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/zor4m49eyx5qxal/AABeUN6mtiGkWhEklRjszX2Oa?dl=0 (ask me for a password)

The best way to prepare is the following:

  1. Prepare for a regular case interview - it helps a lot. Basically, prep lounge website is about it
  2. 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: https://mitsloan.mit.edu/LearningEdge/Pages/Case-Studies.aspx Unfortunately free cases don't have the prep questions.

Good luck!

Hemant
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replied on Sep 27, 2016
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Here's a quick guide to cracking the presentation case:

1. skim through the presented case file in the first 10 minutes - note the major areas covered. 95% of what you are given will not be used directly.

2. get to the hypothesis ASAP. For example, if your case is about a quarterly profit report, design a sample slide deck on paper, say, slide 1: major financials (rev, costs, historicals, etc) slide 2: major obstacles / challenges and slide 3: major opportunities.

3. It's usually on paper, so design rough slides on paper and then whiteboard it if needed.

4. it's usually a 60min long exercice. Spend 5 mins skimming through the papers to knnow what's presented. ~15-20mins designing a framework for presentation (what will you present), ~15-20mins filling the right data points. 10mins creating slides on paper and ~5-10mins practiicng your deck delivery.

Sven
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replied on Jan 14, 2019
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Always focus on the core message and build your recommendation around it.

That means touch uppon the following points:
1. Conclusion
2. Quantitative + Qualitative proof
3. Assumptions behind it
4. Big picture: i.e. next steps, market framing etc.

An (Jack)
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replied on May 13, 2018
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Hi there,

3 quick tips from me that I find most of panel candidates miss

1) Define a clear storyline and structure in your deck

  • A lot of candidates will have pages and pages of analysis but little narrative linking the slides and lack of clear "so what"
  • After you do your analysis, I recommend you to write your story in bullet points first, thinking through them deeply, then plan your slides around that story

2) Know the messages in each slide - keep it short and sharp

  • Expect interviewers to interrupt you and ask questions. Therefore, make sure you get your key point across early and keep it succint. You will see more polished

3) Prepare for questions. Spend 20% of your time thinking and planning ahead for questions, polished Q&A can sometimes overcome a presentation that didn't hit on all the right points.

Hope that helps!

Anonymous replied on Sep 27, 2016

Hi, thanks for your question! Not sure if you only mean the presentation case, but also interview cases in general, so brief intro on case studies as part of interviews:

  • The interviewer typically presents you with a brief case description and question: "Our client is a large logistics company, and recently profitability has gone down. You are hired as a consultant to improve the situation"
  • You then are supposed to come up with an initial structure on how you would tackle this problem, i.e., to solve the case. Everything happens on paper, and you sit across the interviewer at the same table.
  • Once you establish the structure, you then start going through it (interviewee led cases). You ask relevant questions along the way, resembling the situation of you as a consultant working with the client.
  • In the end, you (hopefully) come up with a solution, and then summarize your findings, again orally or on paper.
  • For interviewer-led cases (McKinsey), the interviewer takes a more active role and asks you specific and more detailed questions about the case at hand. Once you master the interviewee-led case type, the interviewer-led case should be "easier". While the individual tasks may be more difficult in the interviewer-led case, I typically find candidates to have the most difficulty with establishing the structure and leading the case.
  • You will need to calculate something at some point which is also done on paper.

Hope that helps, good luck with your interviews!

Pre replied on Mar 03, 2019

Hi Anonymous A,

I have the same case for my interview in 2 days. Any advice ? What was your reasoning ? HOw did you proceed in solving the case ? What are the main points I should take in consideration in my presentation?

Thank you in advance for you answers,

Best regards

Please, do not hesitate to contact me on my e-mail address: p**********@g****.com. — Pre on Mar 03, 2019 (edited)

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