1 Week Consulting Case Preparation

Shleaves's picture
Rank: Monkey | banana points 31

I have an interview with a large consulting firm in a week and have no idea how to start to prepare. I wasn't really expecting to get the interview, so I hadn't done much. Any resources you guys would recommend? I have Case in Point.

learning how to do a case interview in one week?

If you are learning how to do a case interview in a short period of time, it is important to have a plan. First, you should check the recruiting website of the firm you are interviewing with as many firms will provide a guide for how to approach the case interview. You should review this first.

After you've reviewed these resources, you can review the Case in Point method (CIP). This will teach you how to approach the case, what the interviewers are usually looking for, and what mindset you need to answer the problems. Our users also recommended checking out a guide such as the WSO Consulting Case Guide.

You review the overview of how to do the cases quickly so that you can get to the point of practicing. You should read more and more cases and practice. You can start off reading the problem, and then mapping out on paper how you would answer. You should also be speaking out your answers out loud.

There are two types of cases and you should practice both if you don't know what type of case you will have to attack in your interview:

Business cases - Things like profits declining, sales declining, market entry, competitor analysis, M&A will be important.

Brain teasers / quantitative / market sizing - These types of questions include: How many sticks of gum get sold in the US each year?

Resources for Case Study Practice

Check out part of Victor Chang's guide to case interviews below:

Need Help Preparing for Consulting Case Interviews?

Land at an elite consulting firm with the most comprehensive case interview prep in the world. The WSO Consulting Interview Prep Course has everything you'll ever need to land the most coveted jobs.

Consulting Case Interview Prep

Comments (14)

Best Response
Oct 11, 2012

CIP is fine to get a general sense of case studies: how to approach them, what the interviewer is looking for, what mindset you need to be in when tackling them etc etc. Also try the vault guide.

Try to get this initial reading and context done super quick since you only have 1 week. The key is practice. It's tempting to just keep reading through frameworks and tips, but that needs to inform your practice, not be a substitute.

Then do a load of cases. You can start off reading the problem, and then mapping out on paper how you would answer. But you really want to be speaking out your answer out loud, ideally with a practice partner who isn't an idiot (a current or ex-consultant is ideal, a fellow student who's keen on consulting, or just a relatively on the ball person who can act the part is fine).

You want to practice both types of questions:

  1. Business cases - get a feel for the main categories (see the resources above), but from memory things like Profits declining, sales declining, market entry, competitor analysis, M&A
  2. Brain teasers / quantitative / market sizing - how many sticks of gum get sold in the US each year?

The questions in the books I mentioned above are fine, particularly if you have limited time. But the best quality questions are those in the MBA casebooks (schools like Harvard and Michigan compile actual cases from consulting firms). Particularly if you are interviewing at a level above undergrad.

How quickly you adapt and get better varies from person to person. But I don't think I've met anyone who got an offer who hasn't done atleast 10-20 cases. Most did more. You want to get to the stage where cases become a thought process and mindset, rather than sticking to frameworks and pre-prepared lists.

Note: not sure what consulting firm you're interviewing for, this is from the perspective of MBB consulting

Good luck mate!

In short.

Read a bit, practice a lot
Do what you can in the time you have
Once your week is up, stay positive and structured

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2,037 questions across 209 consulting firms. 11 Cases developed by a McKinsey Associate, 10+ hours of video. The WSO Consulting Interview Prep Course has everything you’ll ever need to ace your consulting case interviews. Learn more.

Oct 10, 2012

Drop me a PM and I can provide you with some tips

Oct 11, 2012

Almost forgot, Victor Cheng's ~5hr video tutorial is genuinely pretty good. Former McK guy. It was my starting point when prepping. He holds your hand through the process and is great at getting you into the head of the interviewer.

Just make sure you practice what he talks about :) It's at caseinterview.com

Oct 11, 2012

Which firm? A lot of the big ones have sample cases on their websites, go through them. There are slight differences in how each firm tends to focus their cases (ex. I hear OW is more quant/logic, BCG a little more qualitative/strat), so it's good to learn a bit about their formats.

Currently: clinical psychologist (in training)
Previously: investor relations (top consulting firm), M&A consulting (Big 4), M&A banking (MM)

Oct 12, 2012

If you only have one week, I'd immediately throw out any books and long videos. You can peak through them from reference, you don't have time for the luxury of slow, passive learning. Your goal should be to get to the point where you can practice: with actual consultants (best case scenario), peers, listening along (LOMS-style), or by yourself (worst case scenario, but still helpful).

I'd go to the caseinterivew.com website and download the .pdf that accompanies his presentation as well as the .pdf on frameworks. Go through those and try to understand his approach. That should take 1-3 hours. Then, I would find the Wharton Casebook and read through the portions that are not practice cases or firm briefings...probably take 1-2 hours to do thoroughly.

Now, run a live practice or two to get a feel for your weaknesses. Then let your review sessions from there be an iterative process of test, identify weaknesses, go back to reference materials, repeat.

As another alternative, I've never used them, but if you're rich managementconsulted.com has an expensive crash session case prep.

Feel free to PM me if you want more info.

Oct 12, 2012

Also, don't be discouraged that you haven't had much practice. I know two people who have gone through interviews with little or no prior practice and received offers. It can happen; the whole process is a test of the way you think. If you are a hypothesis-driven, analytical thinker by nature, then you should find the interview fun and somewhat natural.

Oct 18, 2012

The first person I have ever had a mock interview with was a McKinsey Associate, and prior to applying to McK as a Junior BA, he didn't really had a clue what Management Consulting was, and he really never even did a case study...

For record, most of us are not like Him.....so keep practicing!

Oct 18, 2012

Look for victor cheng's videos. I think they are available on YT. They are free.

Oct 18, 2012

Thanks, they did the trick.

Oct 18, 2012

Sorry wrong window

Oct 18, 2012

aaaaa

Oct 18, 2012

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