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Tips and Tricks of Case Interviews

By Tom Rochtus Subscribe to RSS | November 26th 2011 | Views:

Case interviews are a part and parcel of every aspiring management consultant’s life. And if your plan is to face a Mckinsey case interview or Bain case interview, then it’s sure that you will need to face several rounds of case interviews. But to know what exactly are case interviews let’s go into the details.

The style of case interview or technique used by management consulting firms for recruiting new employees is case interview. The case questions are designed to make the candidate think by using common sense and logic. The questions are either a business problem or an estimating exercise. Consulting organization’s aim is to analyze the candidate’s ability to perform basic calculations with large numbers and structuring an answer.

Case interview’s objective is not to get an appropriate answer from the candidate but more to demonstrate the ability of the candidate to solve complex problems and the way he thinks. The interviewer tries to analyze and view the candidate as a colleague with whom they can work in a team. The consulting case interview can often be interactive as the interviewer and candidate ask questions and seek clarifications.

Generally, a one on one style is adopted in a case interview and the candidate is given a pen and paper to jot down the ideas which come to his mind and perform calculations. After a general introductory conversation, the interviewer poses the case questions. It’s advisable to keep jotting down the information which you think can be used in the answers. The candidate can be interviewed by more than one person in day, each session lasting for about 30 minutes to an hour depending on the difficulty and specifications of the round. It’s important to not to get nervous or tensed and be confident all through the process. It’s advisable to listen to the introduction very carefully and ask questions if necessary. Formulate a hypothesis in your mind and test their reasonability.

You can directly ask the interviewer whether you need to take notes or not. It will work for your benefit if you are able to keep track of the minutest of details of the case interview. Fit the problem into a framework to be able to solve it more efficiently. Prioritize you responses in a way that you start supporting your arguments with your strongest points first in a case interview.

Tom Rochtus - About Author:
This article is based on content from Victor Cheng, Marc Cosentino and Tom Rochtus on how to ace case interviews.

Please check the following materials for more background:
- LOMS by Victor Cheng
- Case in Point (4th edition) by Marc Cosentino
- Case Interview Success (1st edition) by TOm Rochtus

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