Cookie and Privacy Settings

This website uses cookies to enable essential functions like the user login and sessions. We also use cookies and third-party tools to improve your surfing experience on preplounge.com. You can choose to activate only essential cookies or all cookies. You can always change your preference in the cookie and privacy settings. This link can also be found in the footer of the site. If you need more information, please visit our privacy policy.

Data processing in the USA: By clicking on "I accept", you also consent, in accordance with article 49 paragraph 1 sentence 1 lit. GDPR, to your data being processed in the USA (by Google LLC, Facebook Inc., LinkedIn Inc., Stripe, Paypal).

Manage settings individually I accept
expert
Expert with best answer

Vlad

97% Recommendation Rate

389 Meetings

8,090 Q&A Upvotes

USD 239 / Coaching

3

What to do during a Case Interview

Hey guys,

I will soon have my first Case Interview for a job. I practised approx. 50 cases alone. So, I wondered what it's like to to a case with the interviewer in real life. The interviewer reads the case and I take a minute to structure my thoughts and tell hime how I will approach and structure the problem? Can I take notes on my points and explain my thinking after that or should that be simultaniously? Can I do my calculations in detailed writing and should I explain every move (e.g. when calculating 910*840 - 128*240)? What do do (seriously) when I am stuck, how to ask for advice in that case?

I just can't imagine.. I watched many solution-videos on preplounge but I can't think of what to do in real life.. do I bring my own pen and pat (:D)?

Feeling so stupid right now.. but thank you in advince! Im grateful for every answer:)

Hey guys,

I will soon have my first Case Interview for a job. I practised approx. 50 cases alone. So, I wondered what it's like to to a case with the interviewer in real life. The interviewer reads the case and I take a minute to structure my thoughts and tell hime how I will approach and structure the problem? Can I take notes on my points and explain my thinking after that or should that be simultaniously? Can I do my calculations in detailed writing and should I explain every move (e.g. when calculating 910*840 - 128*240)? What do do (seriously) when I am stuck, how to ask for advice in that case?

I just can't imagine.. I watched many solution-videos on preplounge but I can't think of what to do in real life.. do I bring my own pen and pat (:D)?

Feeling so stupid right now.. but thank you in advince! Im grateful for every answer:)

3 answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best Answer
Book a coaching with Vlad

97% Recommendation Rate

389 Meetings

8,090 Q&A Upvotes

USD 239 / Coaching

Hi,

First of all - you should definitely practice cases with someone - just reading the cases is not enough.

It's absolutely vital to have a structure, business sense, and the right fit. But if you can't communicate it properly, it is a signal that you will not be able to communicate your ideas to the client as well.

Here is the approach to the proper communication during the case:

1) Start with clarifying questions:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/clarifying-questions-1786#a3956

2) Communicating while structuring. Here is a long post by me on how to communicate the structure during the case study:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-communicate-its-structure-for-the-case-study-1313#a2806

3) Using hypothesis. I made a post about hypothesis here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-state-a-hypothesis-and-match-to-the-structure-1156#a2268

4) Communicating while making calculations:

  • Always tell the interviewer your approach
  • Check with the interviewer that your approach is correct
  • Come to the interviewer with some preliminary answers
  • Check your assumptions with the interviewer

5) Communicating during the analysis of graphs / tables

  • Take a minute to look at the graph. Read the graph title. Look at the graph type and define the type (pie chart, line chart, etc). Look at the legend (ask for clarifying questions if necessary). Identify whats going on on the graph. Look for: Trends, % structures. Look for unusual things - correlations, outliers,
  • Make 3-4 conclusions from the graph. Think out loud on potential hypothesis on what could be the root cause / what are the consequences
  • Prioritize the most important for your current analysis and move forward with the case

6) Communicating while having questions on creativity

  • Ask an interview for a minute to think
  • Think of several buckets of ideas (e.g. organic growth / non-organic growth / differentiation). Remember to think as big as possible
  • Narrow down to each bucket and generate as many ideas as possible
  • Present the structure (buckets) and then your ideas

7) Communicating your conclusion. You can find a good example I've posted here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-much-answer-first-should-the-conclusion-be-1231#a2493

8) Communicating your FIT stories

Use the top-down approach while communicating your stories. "The Pyramid Principle" is the must-read by ex McKinsey on this topic.

I recommend using the STAR framework:

  • In Situation, you should briefly provide the context, usually in 1 or 2 sentences
  • Task usually includes 2 or 3 sentences describing the problem and your objective.
  • Then you provide a list of specific actions you took to achieve the goal. It should take 1 or 2 sentences per action (Usually 3-4 actions). Note that the interviewer can stop you any minute and ask for more details.
  • The results part should have 1 or 2 sentences describing the outcomes. This part is finalizing your story - make sure it can impress the interviewer and stay in the memory.

Best!

Hi,

First of all - you should definitely practice cases with someone - just reading the cases is not enough.

It's absolutely vital to have a structure, business sense, and the right fit. But if you can't communicate it properly, it is a signal that you will not be able to communicate your ideas to the client as well.

Here is the approach to the proper communication during the case:

1) Start with clarifying questions:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/clarifying-questions-1786#a3956

2) Communicating while structuring. Here is a long post by me on how to communicate the structure during the case study:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-communicate-its-structure-for-the-case-study-1313#a2806

3) Using hypothesis. I made a post about hypothesis here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-state-a-hypothesis-and-match-to-the-structure-1156#a2268

4) Communicating while making calculations:

  • Always tell the interviewer your approach
  • Check with the interviewer that your approach is correct
  • Come to the interviewer with some preliminary answers
  • Check your assumptions with the interviewer

5) Communicating during the analysis of graphs / tables

  • Take a minute to look at the graph. Read the graph title. Look at the graph type and define the type (pie chart, line chart, etc). Look at the legend (ask for clarifying questions if necessary). Identify whats going on on the graph. Look for: Trends, % structures. Look for unusual things - correlations, outliers,
  • Make 3-4 conclusions from the graph. Think out loud on potential hypothesis on what could be the root cause / what are the consequences
  • Prioritize the most important for your current analysis and move forward with the case

6) Communicating while having questions on creativity

  • Ask an interview for a minute to think
  • Think of several buckets of ideas (e.g. organic growth / non-organic growth / differentiation). Remember to think as big as possible
  • Narrow down to each bucket and generate as many ideas as possible
  • Present the structure (buckets) and then your ideas

7) Communicating your conclusion. You can find a good example I've posted here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-much-answer-first-should-the-conclusion-be-1231#a2493

8) Communicating your FIT stories

Use the top-down approach while communicating your stories. "The Pyramid Principle" is the must-read by ex McKinsey on this topic.

I recommend using the STAR framework:

  • In Situation, you should briefly provide the context, usually in 1 or 2 sentences
  • Task usually includes 2 or 3 sentences describing the problem and your objective.
  • Then you provide a list of specific actions you took to achieve the goal. It should take 1 or 2 sentences per action (Usually 3-4 actions). Note that the interviewer can stop you any minute and ask for more details.
  • The results part should have 1 or 2 sentences describing the outcomes. This part is finalizing your story - make sure it can impress the interviewer and stay in the memory.

Best!

Book a coaching with Francesco

100% Recommendation Rate

2,973 Meetings

7,338 Q&A Upvotes

USD 379 / Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

I have replied below to your questions. As mentioned by Vlad, you should definitely do some live practice before the interview, that can help you a lot in improving, in particular for what concerns your communication.

The interviewer reads the case and I take a minute to structure my thoughts and tell hime how I will approach and structure the problem?

The process I would recommend is the following:

  • The interviewer reads the prompt
  • You repeat the information
  • You clarify the goal, business model and potential constraints we have
  • You ask for one minute of time to structure
  • You can then present your structure

Can I take notes on my points and explain my thinking after that or should that be simultaniously?

Assuming you refer to questions asked by the interviewer, both at the beginning and during the case, you can always ask for 1 minute (beginning of the case) or 30 seconds (during the case) to structure your approach and develop it on paper. After that, you can present your points.

Can I do my calculations in detailed writing and should I explain every move (e.g. when calculating 910*840 - 128*240)?

You should present the formula without numbers, align with the interviewer on the formula and once confirmed it’s ok, proceed with the math. You don’t need to go though all the numbers of the math so far that you aligned on the formula before, just present the main intermediary results to align during the process.

What do do (seriously) when I am stuck, how to ask for advice in that case?

If you get stuck you should:

  • Repeat all the relevant information you received until the moment
  • Ask for one minute of time to think
  • If still stuck, ask for help

Do I bring my own pen and pat?

I would suggest bringing them as backup, but you can normally use the ones the consultant will offer you.

Best,
Francesco

Hi Anonymous,

I have replied below to your questions. As mentioned by Vlad, you should definitely do some live practice before the interview, that can help you a lot in improving, in particular for what concerns your communication.

The interviewer reads the case and I take a minute to structure my thoughts and tell hime how I will approach and structure the problem?

The process I would recommend is the following:

  • The interviewer reads the prompt
  • You repeat the information
  • You clarify the goal, business model and potential constraints we have
  • You ask for one minute of time to structure
  • You can then present your structure

Can I take notes on my points and explain my thinking after that or should that be simultaniously?

Assuming you refer to questions asked by the interviewer, both at the beginning and during the case, you can always ask for 1 minute (beginning of the case) or 30 seconds (during the case) to structure your approach and develop it on paper. After that, you can present your points.

Can I do my calculations in detailed writing and should I explain every move (e.g. when calculating 910*840 - 128*240)?

You should present the formula without numbers, align with the interviewer on the formula and once confirmed it’s ok, proceed with the math. You don’t need to go though all the numbers of the math so far that you aligned on the formula before, just present the main intermediary results to align during the process.

What do do (seriously) when I am stuck, how to ask for advice in that case?

If you get stuck you should:

  • Repeat all the relevant information you received until the moment
  • Ask for one minute of time to think
  • If still stuck, ask for help

Do I bring my own pen and pat?

I would suggest bringing them as backup, but you can normally use the ones the consultant will offer you.

Best,
Francesco

Dear A,

I would defifnitely recommend you to make some live practice with expert coaches on the platform. First - you will get a spirit of real life interview. Second - you will get a structured feedback on the further ways for you to improve.

I also agree on what experts mention in their answers. This is really valuable things.

If you need any help, feel free to reach out.

My colleagues and I would be happy to help you.

Best,

André

Dear A,

I would defifnitely recommend you to make some live practice with expert coaches on the platform. First - you will get a spirit of real life interview. Second - you will get a structured feedback on the further ways for you to improve.

I also agree on what experts mention in their answers. This is really valuable things.

If you need any help, feel free to reach out.

My colleagues and I would be happy to help you.

Best,

André

(edited)

Related BootCamp article(s)

Getting Up to Speed

In order to repeatedly demonstrate prerequisite skills under the pressure of a real case interview, you need to learn the basics and practice cases.

1 Q&A

Related case(s)

MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education

Solved 7.4k times
MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education Our client is SmartBridge, a nonprofit educational institution offering face-to-face tutoring services. The client operates in the US. The mission of SmartBridge is to help as many students as possible to complete studies and prevent that they drop from the school system, in particular in disadvantaged areas. The client is considering starting operations for its services in the Chicago area. They hired us to understand if that makes sense. Due to the nonprofit regulation, SmartBridge should operate on its own in the market, without any partnership. How would you help our client?
4.6 5 305
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

Our client is SmartBridge, a nonprofit educational institution offering face-to-face tutoring services. The client operates in the US. The mission of SmartBridge is to help as many students as possible to complete studies and prevent that they drop from the school system, in particular in disadvant ... Open whole case

Espresso, Whatelse?

Solved 6.0k times
Espresso, Whatelse? Espresso Whatelse is an Italian company that produces coffee and espresso machines since 1908. It is the Italian market leader and has a strong presence overall in Europe. In 2019, Espresso Whatelse has increased its revenues but it has seen declining profit margin. Your client wants to understand the root causes of this 2019 trend and how to increase its profit margin again.  
4.6 5 317
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

Espresso Whatelse is an Italian company that produces coffee and espresso machines since 1908. It is the Italian market leader and has a strong presence overall in Europe. In 2019, Espresso Whatelse has increased its revenues but it has seen declining profit margin. Your client wants to understand ... Open whole case

Coronavirus Times - COVID-19 Brainteaser

Solved 1.6k times
Coronavirus Times - COVID-19 Brainteaser You and your family are faced with a challenging set of decisions. Due to coronavirus, your partner has taken a 20% paycut and you are worried you may lose your job. In addition, while daycare is still open, you are worried that sending your two children there will increase the risk of them bringing the virus back to your house, where your elderly grandparents are also staying. How would you go about thinking about this problem, and what would you recommend?
4.6 5 32
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)
Difficulty: Beginner | Style: Brain Teaser | Topics: Brain teaser

You and your family are faced with a challenging set of decisions. Due to coronavirus, your partner has taken a 20% paycut and you are worried you may lose your job. In addition, while daycare is still open, you are worried that sending your two children there will increase the risk of them bringing ... Open whole case

Chinese Chess - Airline Business During COVID-19

Solved 1.5k times
Chinese Chess - Airline Business During COVID-19 Sky China, a government-backed Chinese airline, has recently seen profits plummet due to COVID-19. Profits are down 80% in the months of February and March, but are showing early signs of a rebound in April.  They've brought you in to first investigate what can be done immediatedly to prevent hemorrhaging cash and surive in the short-term. They are also looking to see how the current situation can be viewed as an opportunity, and what can be done to prepare for the future. 
4.4 5 37
| Rating: (4.4 / 5.0)

Sky China, a government-backed Chinese airline, has recently seen profits plummet due to COVID-19. Profits are down 80% in the months of February and March, but are showing early signs of a rebound in April. They've brought you in to first investigate what can be done immediatedly to prevent hemor ... Open whole case

McKinsey Digital / BCG Platinion: Oil & Gas Upstream Technology

Solved 1.2k times
McKinsey Digital / BCG Platinion: Oil & Gas Upstream Technology [PLEASE NOTE: This is a technically difficult case and should only be completed by those coming in as a Technology specialist, i.e. recruiting for McKinsey Digital, BCG Platinion, etc.] Our client is a multinational oil and gas company. While they are vertically integrated and have upstream, midstream, and downstream divisions, they have recently been experiencing competitivity issues in the upstream gas division, which brings in $1B in profits annually. Our client’s upstream division has offices in Australia and Indonesia. Their work is highly dependent on their IT systems, as they have to constantly monitor wells and pipes (pressure, hydrocarbon count, fluid makeup, etc.) The upstream division has two large legacy IT systems that are primarily used for downstream operations but have been modified for upstream purposes. These systems are managed by a central team in the US which is responsible for all IT issues across the business. They triage issues/enhancements and then manage development teams in India and Finland who complete the work.
4.5 5 31
| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0)

[PLEASE NOTE: This is a technically difficult case and should only be completed by those coming in as a Technology specialist, i.e. recruiting for McKinsey Digital, BCG Platinion, etc.] Our client is a multinational oil and gas company. While they are vertically integrated and have upstream, midstr ... Open whole case