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Francesco

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8

PwC Deals Strategy case interview in Asia

Hi Everyone,

I am going in for a case interview in Asia. I will be given the case for an hour to study and have another hour to present.

Any tips on the case topics and scope of questions for the case interview. So I can get a better idea of how I should prepare.

Thank you!

Hi Everyone,

I am going in for a case interview in Asia. I will be given the case for an hour to study and have another hour to present.

Any tips on the case topics and scope of questions for the case interview. So I can get a better idea of how I should prepare.

Thank you!

8 answers

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Book a coaching with Francesco

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Hi Sophie,

The key areas you will have to cover to prepare a panel/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…

In terms of how to prepare, 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 panel 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

Hi Sophie,

The key areas you will have to cover to prepare a panel/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…

In terms of how to prepare, 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 panel 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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Hey there,

For a written case interview, follow these steps and learn these skills.

  1. Have a time plan ready before you go into the case - how long do you want to spend on each activity?
  2. Separate the crucial information from the noise - there will be a lot of (irrelevant) data
  3. Interpret the graphs and charts - distill the key insights and outliers
  4. Quickly draft equations and conduct pen and paper math - find the quantitative insights needed
  5. Draft a compelling storyline for your recommendation - make it a top-down, Pyramid Principle inspired answer
  6. Present and defend your answer - again top-down, don't be defensive when asked for feedback

The skills assessed are the same as for any case interview, so keep preparing for those as well.

I have written a longer article on the steps of the written case interview applicable for your case here: https://strategycase.com/how-to-crack-written-case-interviews

Fingers crossed!

Florian

Hey there,

For a written case interview, follow these steps and learn these skills.

  1. Have a time plan ready before you go into the case - how long do you want to spend on each activity?
  2. Separate the crucial information from the noise - there will be a lot of (irrelevant) data
  3. Interpret the graphs and charts - distill the key insights and outliers
  4. Quickly draft equations and conduct pen and paper math - find the quantitative insights needed
  5. Draft a compelling storyline for your recommendation - make it a top-down, Pyramid Principle inspired answer
  6. Present and defend your answer - again top-down, don't be defensive when asked for feedback

The skills assessed are the same as for any case interview, so keep preparing for those as well.

I have written a longer article on the steps of the written case interview applicable for your case here: https://strategycase.com/how-to-crack-written-case-interviews

Fingers crossed!

Florian

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Based on a previous candidate I coached, my understanding is that it's not that different from a traditional case interview (i.e., strategy and M&A cases) and so I would definitely continue to practice those. The big difference of course is the need to sift through lots of information under time pressure. Here I would suggest data heavy case books such as HBS as well as the McKinsey PST to practice being to read and understand exhibits and data quickly.

Like any test, it's important for you to have a strategy around how you will spend the one hour preparing. Say 5-10 mins for reviewing the different material, 5 mins to come up with an approach, 30-40 mins to build your answer and conduct analyses, and then 5-10 mins to review your output and preparing the key speaking points. You don't want to be in a postion where you've spent the majority of the hour getting lost in all the pieces of information.

Good luck!

Based on a previous candidate I coached, my understanding is that it's not that different from a traditional case interview (i.e., strategy and M&A cases) and so I would definitely continue to practice those. The big difference of course is the need to sift through lots of information under time pressure. Here I would suggest data heavy case books such as HBS as well as the McKinsey PST to practice being to read and understand exhibits and data quickly.

Like any test, it's important for you to have a strategy around how you will spend the one hour preparing. Say 5-10 mins for reviewing the different material, 5 mins to come up with an approach, 30-40 mins to build your answer and conduct analyses, and then 5-10 mins to review your output and preparing the key speaking points. You don't want to be in a postion where you've spent the majority of the hour getting lost in all the pieces of information.

Good luck!

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Hello Sophie!

Congrats for the interview!

This modality you are talking about is called WRITTEN CASE, in which you have time to prep.

The most important thing is ability to anlalise in an 80-20 way.

In any case, there are tons of threads in this Q&A with useful info and links to materials. Just search with WRITTEN CASE

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Hello Sophie!

Congrats for the interview!

This modality you are talking about is called WRITTEN CASE, in which you have time to prep.

The most important thing is ability to anlalise in an 80-20 way.

In any case, there are tons of threads in this Q&A with useful info and links to materials. Just search with WRITTEN CASE

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Hi Sophie,

Hi there,

First, congratulations!

Now remember, the written case applies the same principles as a live case. As in, be really clear in the objective and ruthlessly cut any information that does not help inform the answer. You need to quickly go through the information, figure out what truly supports the objective and what doesn't.

I have a few real-life written/take-home cases. Happy to take you through some of them for practice!

Hi Sophie,

Hi there,

First, congratulations!

Now remember, the written case applies the same principles as a live case. As in, be really clear in the objective and ruthlessly cut any information that does not help inform the answer. You need to quickly go through the information, figure out what truly supports the objective and what doesn't.

I have a few real-life written/take-home cases. Happy to take you through some of them for practice!

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Hi Sophie,

Prepare for M&A , Financial Analysis topics. If you are expected to make a ppt, please also have a slick ppt template ready (5-6 slides). Expect a long case (8 pages +) with plenty of data to look at, so time it well.

Feel free to message if you would like to discuss more.

Good luck!

Hi Sophie,

Prepare for M&A , Financial Analysis topics. If you are expected to make a ppt, please also have a slick ppt template ready (5-6 slides). Expect a long case (8 pages +) with plenty of data to look at, so time it well.

Feel free to message if you would like to discuss more.

Good luck!

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Hi Sophie,
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

Hi Sophie,
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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