How to Ace a Consulting Case Interview
Are planning to get a job in management consulting? If you have already set your sights to this goal, you should know that the case interview would be the final determining factor if you are indeed fit for the consulting gig. Apparently, this is one if not the most dreadful stage of the recruiting process.
Firms use case interviews basically to assess your analytical ability and problem-solving abilities. They want to know your overall approach in dealing with real life business problems.
With that, here are some tips to help you prepare and ace your case interviews:
Practice Your Numbers
Case interview is an opportunity to show off your quantitative skills. But in order to do this, you must ensure that you don’t freeze up on the quantitative section. So the key is simple – play and practice with numbers! The more you practice your math skills, the easier it will eventually get. You need to be comfortable running numbers as case interviews generally require estimates and other mental calculations.
It will also help if you perform calculations out loud during the interview. This will allow your interviewer to correct you if you make a mistake with regard to the given facts, figures, or charts. You don’t want to perform calculations silently and then arrive at an incorrect result, right?
Keep Up with Industry News
Stay up-to-date with the latest news about business and management. Read up! You’ll never know what will be given to you during your interview. If you don’t have enough knowledge about business and management, how can you come up with relevant questions and answers?
So keep current with the news and regularly read relevant publications like The Economist to be aware of the major trends in different industries and regions.
Practice with a Qualified Person
Yes, you need to read through as many cases by yourself. However, you also have to practice cases with a qualified friend or colleague. You should spend time on mock case interviews to really gauge whether or not you are 100% ready for it. Simulating the interview environment with someone who is knowledgeable about the industry would help you further improve.
There are plenty of practice cases you can take advantage of online. Remember, the more you practice, the more types of cases you’ll see, and the more confident you’ll be on the day of your actual interview.
Ask Questions—Relevant and Brilliant Ones
Don’t hesitate to ask questions during your interview, particularly if it involves clarifying certain important information about the case. Listen carefully as you take notes. And when the interviewer asks whether you have any questions before proceeding, always say yes. Why?
Asking clarifying questions if something is a bit unclear highlights your listening skills. Also, some of the most important details about the case are not given immediately unless being asked. So don’t be afraid to ask additional information if you feel there’s a need to. This will only demonstrate that you are genuinely interested in solving the problem.
Structure Your Recommendations
After acquiring all of the information you need, think for a while and structure your recommendations. Like in your practice sessions, first prioritize the supporting details for your solutions and then identify the potential risks and implications.
A good structure is the key to acing a case interview. It’s really not more of your final answer, but how you think or how you process a bunch of information to create a logical structure to solve a problem.
Verbally share your structure as this will allow the interviewer to lead you to the right path. And importantly, it is a great way to build a rapport with your interviewer.
Try your best to enjoy the process. If you stay calm and collected, it will show that you can handle pressure very well – something that is expected from a consultant.
Are you really interested to become a management consultant?
Consultingfact.com is an online resource that helps aspiring management consultants achieve their career goal. We provide articles, ebooks and guides both for students and professionals to help them well prepare for the consulting recruiting process.