How Do I Actually Go About Studying Cases?

I've having some trouble getting started with studying Cases. I have the Ivy Case System and I understand what it's asking me, however, the Cases I see arent structured like questions I can just write down or like talk through they feel like something that I NEED someone else to ask me the questions in order to progress and I don't really have someone in my immediate reach to help me with these interviews. Any tips or pointers for I should go about studying Cases?

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Hey there,

It can be tricky when you get started, especially if you are not in an environment that can help you out (e.g., college consulting club). I went through the same thing when I prepped.

My approach was as follows:

  1. Start by just reading all the material I could "about" case interviews, so think YT videos, blog posts on Management Consulted, PrepLounge, here, and everywhere and anywhere. Just to understand what a case was and how a case interview "happened"
  2. When I had a grasp on the general lines, I then did ~5 cases by myself. I'd read the prompt, think of a few follow up questions I would like to have answered, checked some of the data supplied if any, and then checked my answer against the actual recommendation (needless to say it wasnt super productive, but it helped me just get a sense of what to do)
  3. Then, pretty quickly moved to caseing with other people (I used CaseCoach, but other sites are equally good, like PrepLounge), where I emphasised doing new cases, trying different types of partners, and being super feedback-oritented
  4. I had one case with an M / EM / PL at my target firm early on, and I did add a session with a coach after ~8-10 cases to gauge my main areas of improvement, and again one more time after ~20 cases to see how I had improved. Everything afterward was a real case in an interview doing my BCG and Bain rounds (ended with ~30 cases total, inc. ~10 with actual/former MBBs)

I found that for entry-level roles, the cases aren't that hard, so you just want to work on minimising small errors, and if you do make one at some point (by omission or other), make sure to catch it and correct it before they do. You can do that by sense checking your figures / conclusions constantly (e.g., you get a revenue figure and you had market share earlier, ok, whats the market size implied? If it's $10M for something nationwide, it's probably wrong, so go back to your notes).

Do remember there is no "magic" number for cases, though I'd say 10-20 is generally a minimum to get the hang of it. There is more benefit to doing weird / out-of-the-box cases than doing 30 pricing cases (after 2-3, you should get it). Coaches can be helpful, especially if you don't have access to former/current MBB/T2 people in your network to practice with, for me it was a big confidence boost. Finally, if after you start getting good at them, you still don't enjoy doing cases, then consulting probably isn't for you (at least not long term).

Best of luck!

FYI, below was the approach I followed for every case (little laundry list of To Do's I ran through each time).


1. Clarify problem

  • What is the goal?
  • What is the geo?
  • What are the relevant segments?
  • What is the trend?
  • What is the business model?
  • What is XXX? [there is almost always a word / term that needs defining]

2. Structure thoughts

  • What do I need to know/believe to address issue?
  • Relevant factors?
  • Relevant steps?
  • Do level 1 well
  • Do level 2 when presenting structure

3. Investigate/Analyse

  • Start with priority #1
  • Go sequentially in decreasing order of priority
  • Signpost points and analysis
  • Explain why you do what you do or why you ask what you ask
  • Relate it to the overall goal

4. Summarise/Synthesise

  • Recap client/problem briefly
  • Recommendation
  • Supporting points/Risks
  • Next steps

So how do I go about practice it? I’ve given the other comments a good read so I have a rough idea but I wanna make sure I can get a clearer picture.

To get started find either 1) someone else who is also preparing for a case interview, or 2) a business-minded friend who loves you a lot or can be persuaded with gifts/favors, and ask them to role-play as the interviewer. If 1), typically you’ll each give a case to each other (schedule at least 90 minutes for this). The case documents typically give some guidance to the interviewer (“Ask the candidate the following question”) so it’s not an impossible task for them.

Some ways to find 1) include attending webinars by consulting firms or participating in case prep workshops. As someone else mentioned, many universities have consulting clubs that will help. If you’re not currently a student you could try reaching out to the leaders of the club at your alma mater or a college nearby. Once you find a practice buddy, ask them to introduce you to their other case prep partners — widening your practice network will give you more diverse feedback perspectives and increase opportunities for scheduling practice sessions.

For case materials, you can pay for access to case libraries online, but you can also ask practice partners if they have case books they’re willing to share since there are a lot of PDFs from business schools floating around people’s hard drives.

Lastly, the most critical piece of advice I can give based on my own experience is to get started actually practicing as soon as possible. Don’t just read about casing or go through worked examples. You have to do the cases with another person. It feels scary in the beginning but it is the only way you’re going to get there.

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