Are you an aspiring management consultant? Do you plan on interviewing with top management consulting firms such as Mckinsey, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Bain, Booz Allen Hamilton, Mercer, L. E. K Consulting, A. T. Kearney, Roland Berger or others? If you answered yes to both these questions then you are guaranteed to face several rounds of case interviews. So what is a case interview?
A case interview is a style of interview question or interview technique used by management consulting firms when recruiting new employees. The case question is generally a business problem or estimating exercise designed to make you think on your toes, use logic and common sense. Consulting organisations want to see that you can structure an answer and perform basic calculations with large numbers.
The objective of the case interview is not to get it right, but more to demonstrate your ability to solve complex problems and how you think. The interviewer wants to see you as a colleague with whom he or she would want to work with in a team. Often the case interview can be very interactive, as you ask questions, seek clarification and bounce ideas off your interviewer.
The case interview is generally a one on one style interview and you are given a pen and paper or perhaps a whiteboard on which to write, brainstorm, perform calculations and structure your answer. After some light conversation and getting to know you, the interviewer will then pose the case question. Feel free to take notes because a lot of information may be coming your way. Clarify the questions details to ensure you are of a common understanding and on the right track before launching into the case. The interviewer will then watch you and is there to answer any questions, give more information when needed and guide you on the problem.
You can expect to be interviewed by 1, 2 or 3 different people on any one day with an average 30 mins to an hour assigned to each interview. The case question itself can last anywhere from 20 - 40 mins depending on its difficulty and the specific round of interview.
Although you may feel tense, nervous and anxious, the important thing is to relax be confident and have fun!
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