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Will case studies at MBB differ for people with natural science background?

Case Interview case studies Engineering MBB not economics Physics
Recent activity on Mar 04, 2017
3 Answers
3.9 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Mar 03, 2017

Good day guys,

I was wondering, whether someone who majored in f.e. Physics will receive different case studies, more appropriate to their background, or if one has to learn all the economics tools beforehand.

All the best


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replied on Mar 04, 2017
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


Think of it this way - many people who apply don't have a relevant background. That also means you have to develop business knowledge prioritising the industries that are most common in cases.

1) Retail - make sure you understand key retail metrics (P&L lines, same store sales, revenue per square meter and per person, etc) and how distribution works as well as its metrics (share on shelf, etc)

2) Airlines - read about profitability issues, different routing models, cost structure, industry metric s like load factor and make sure you know all possible additional revenue streams

3) Telecom - I would read industry reports and try to understanf how telecom is transforming with internet penetration and tech innovations

4) Banking - you should know the key products in corporate and retail banking and how they earn money (Interest, commision, transactional)

5) PE / M&A - go through available case examples and read about different PE strategies

Good luck!

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replied on Mar 03, 2017
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

generally speaking, the cases will not be different for different backgrounds, therefore as already mentioned you would need to know the basic business terms and concepts. There may be two main elements though that may change in the case related to your education:

  1. The interviewer will have lower expectations on your knowledge of terms/sectors unrelated with your background, thus would not be a problem if you would ask more questions compared to someone coming from that sector. Eg if you are a Physics major, you may ask questions on what is market cap or P/E ratio, while a Finance major may raise some doubts on the interviewer with such questions.
  2. They may try to concentrate on areas they would expect you may be less strong in the case. Thus, if you are a Math major, they will likely spend more time on the qualitative part, while if you are coming from a background related to history or marketing, they may spend more time on the quantitative section of the case.

Hope this helps,


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Anonymous B replied on Mar 03, 2017

Hey :) In my experience, it depends on the interviewer. Some try to find cases that are suitable for the candidates' background but it doesn't necessarily have to be, and can just be a normal case study that any candidate would get. Either way, you will have to learn all the relevant business concepts, even if you come from a non business background.

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Vlad gave the best answer


McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School
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