Developing Your Career

Turning Up the Heat: Preparing for a Case Interview

By Greg Simpson on March 14, 2013

Are you prepared to make the best “case” for yourself in a case interview? An outgrowth of business school case analyses, the case interview is used primarily in the management-consulting and investment banking arenas, and is gaining in popularity in other business segments, including research, marketing and consumer product management.

In a case interview, candidates are introduced to a business issue and then asked to analyze the problem, develop a solution and support their recommendations. Designed to test the mettle of candidates, case interviews reveal quantitative, analytical, creative, communication, problem solving and interpersonal skills. It’s a very effective way to evaluate how well a candidate deals with the pressure that comes with working with the most senior level executives.

Here are a few tips to help you nail a case interview:

  • Prepare. Conduct an Internet search for “case interview questions” and check out the abundance of sample interview questions, some with suggested responses and comments from actual “survivors” of the process.
  • Practice. Many management consulting groups provide practice cases and invaluable tips right on their websites. Check out Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Bain & Company. Practice until you become comfortable with the process.
  • Have fun. Develop and test your problem solving skills playing McKinsey & Company’s Team Leader game.

Some job seekers may regard the case interview as a challenging format to tackle. However, it presents a terrific opportunity to illustrate how your skills match up against a real business challenge. Get ready to make your case.

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