Case Interview Preparation Tips

Welcome to our preparation tips for case interviews!  Whether you are just curious about case interviews or have an interview coming up, these tips and resources will help you feel more prepared and confident.

What is a Case Interview?

A case interview is a role playing exercise in which an employer assesses how logically and persuasively you can present a case. Rather than seeing if you get the “correct” answer, the objective is to evaluate your thought process. (Adapted with permission from Case In Point: Complete Case Interview Preparation by Marc Cosentino). 

Case interviews are very commonly used in the interview process for consulting firms and companies in similar industries. In the case interview, you will typically be given a business problem and then asked to solve it in a structured way. Learning this structure takes preparation and practice. You can learn more and practice using the resources listed below. 

Why are Case Interviews Used?

Case interviews allow employers to test and evaluate the following skills:

  • Analytical skills and logical ability to solve problems
  • Structure and thought process
  • Ability to ask for relevant data/information
  • Tolerance for ambiguity and data overload
  • Poise and communication skills under pressure and in front of a client

What are the Common Types and Structure of Case Interviews?

Common case scenarios include:

  • Profit – Identify reasons clients experience decrease in profits, identify ways clients can increase profits
  • Strategy – Assisting a client entering a new market, developing a new product, or investigating pricing or growth strategies
  • Operations –  Helping clients increase sales, reduce costs, improve bottom line
  • Market Sizing – Estimation scenarios and market-sizing questions that rely on quantitative abilities and logic to estimate a numerical answer

4 Main Parts to Each Case:

  1. Prompt
  2. Clarifying Questions
  3. Case
  4. Recommendation

How Can I Prepare for Case Interviews?

1.) Read through the following general tips about case interviews

  • Listen to the problem and take notes
  • Verify the objective
  • Ask clarifying questions
  • Think big picture first; structure the problem
  • Organize your answer and manage your time
  • Be creative and brainstorm
  • Listen to the interviewer’s feedback
  • Think aloud (but think first)
  • Bring closure and summarize
  • Demonstrate enthusiasm & a positive attitude

2.) Utilize these resources to learn about and practice cases on your own and OUT LOUD with case partners

    • Case in Point – This book, by Marc Cosentino, is a comprehensive guide that walks you through the case interview process from beginning to end. This guide has helped many students over the years and can serve as an excellent foundation for how to approach business problems
    • Casequestions.com – The companion website to Marc Cosentino’s book listed above offers preparation for case interviews, along with links to top 50 consulting firms
    • Management Consulting Case Interviews: Cracking The Case – tips for case interviews from the other side of the table, from Argopoint, a Boston management consulting firm specializing in legal department consulting for Fortune 500 companies
    • Management Consulted – Free case and consulting resources such as Case Interview Prep Guide, Market Sizing Drills, Math Drills, case videos, consulting firm directory, and more
    • Preplounge.comFree case preparation access for to up to 6 practice interviews with peers, selected cases, and video case solutions
    • RocketBlocks – Features consulting preparation such as drills and coaching
    • Practice sample online cases on consulting firm websites such as McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte and more!  

3.) Schedule a mock case interview appointment with Chris Di Fronzo or Karen Dankers – our advisors for the Finance, Consulting, Entrepreneurship, and Business Career Community

4.) PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE cases out loud on your own (yes, that can feel odd) or preferably, with another person. See #2 and #3 above for resources and ideas to find partners to practice live cases

5.) Enjoy and have fun solving business problems!

By Karen Dankers
Karen Dankers Assistant Director, Business & Finance