Consulting Case Interview Course

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Comments (4)

Jul 13, 2014 - 9:24pm

Your interviewer needs to follow your logic and read how you've labeled your structure/charts/data. Unless you're an especially talented cartoonist, that is probably going to involve some text.

My advice: learn to write in small caps. I typically have very compact cursive writing that would have been impossible for an interviewer to read, so I did a little bit of practice writing in capital print letters. Wouldn't want to do an essay that way, but it got me through "customer," "capabilities" and "competition" just fine.

Jul 13, 2014 - 11:34pm

I often can't read my own class notes a week later, and case interviews went just fine. Some tips:

1. Don't write an essay. Yes, mapping a framework requires some boxes, arrows, and words, but keep it simple.
2. Use symbols and abbreviations where possible. Don't make up your own shorthand, but feel free to use R for revenue, Π for profit, and VC for variable costs.
3. Be clear in your thinking and explanation. If you have a great framework, the interviewer should be in lock step as you're explaining it. If someone who's given the same case 20 times can't follow because of the handwriting, that's probably not the only reason.
4. Layout in advance. I don't think it really scores you bonus points, but I found it helpful to take some pre-formatted paper with me. Nothing fancy: top section of every page for a title, left sidebar for intro notes on the first page only, pages numbered so I could quickly flip them as I pulled together my reco/next steps. It takes practice, but every page should look like a really solid draft ppt slide.
5. Calculations. This is where I struggled the most to stay neat. One good strategy is to do all the calcs on a separate sheet and transfer them to a table (or whatever format is appropriate) on your current "slide." I found this too cumbersome, and usually chose to make a big ass table on the current page. This also helps tremendously with the inevitable awkwardness of public math. Draw a table, use the time labeling your headers to talk about the inputs required and steps needed for the calculation. Make columns for any intermediate calcs required. Then plug in numbers and talk through each step.
6. Paper. Don't be afraid to use it. One main idea per page, again just like a slide. I hit double digits during quite a few of my cases.
7. Small caps. Interesting suggestion from @"Laocoon". I use this coping method when I'm filling out forms (e.g. at the doctor's office), but never thought to use it during cases.
8. Practice. It sounds trite, but focus on taking an extra second or two as you're writing to do it more clearly.

Good luck!

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