Preparing for a Consulting Case Interview – Complete Guide

Preparing for a consulting case interview might take from 60 to 80 hours of focused work. That might seem quite a lot of time invested in preparation and we advise you to take a look at the following guide to help you prepare. Additionally, we suggest you prepare for a McKinsey Pei by looking at different case scenarios and using various resources specifically written to teach you how to pass the interview. PEI in Mckinsey refers to a Personal Experience Interview and is a part of almost every interview. It focuses on the analytical and problem-solving skills of the applicant as well as assessing personal qualities to determine whether one would be a good fit for the position. So, let’s take a look at some of the main points to help you prepare for a consulting case interview.

Which Skills Are Evaluated?

Your interviewer may assess your problem-solving, business sense, creativity, math, logical thinking, and communication skills. You will be examined and your ability for solving and identifying problems will be assessed. During a case interview, you might be presented with a range of irrelevant and relevant pieces and you will need to know how to use the data to make recommendations. This way, you can prove you are able to think logically.

As a consulting candidate, you need to know some basic business concepts. If the interviewer asks you to present any innovative ideas and increase the profit of a restaurant, you need to come up with a range of relevant ideas. The interviewer will see whether you have a sense of business, innovation, and creativity.

You will be evaluated on how you conduct your approach. Whether it is a step-by-step guide or all-at-once. A good structure is important since you need to try to solve the case by creating a tailored framework.

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Schedule Live Cases With a Case Partner

The first thing in preparing for a consulting case interview is to schedule a mock case with a partner. If you don’t have a partner to practice with, you can skip this step. However, if you decide to practice with a partner, ideally this would be a former or current consultant since these people know the tactics and will advise you on how to answer certain questions. They also know how to give case interviews. Or, you can practice with someone who is also having an interview with a consulting firm, so both of you can share your knowledge, struggles, and tips.

Read Consulting Case Interviews

Read, read, read. Read as much as you can. Everywhere you can. You can begin your case interview prep by reading some eBooks which will give you instant access to the material on your PC. This is one of the most efficient ways to get prepared since it will take you a couple of hours to go through the material and read about different case scenarios and how to approach them.

Some of the books are structured in a way so you understand how to kill the case interview by summarizing background information and asking the right questions. Then, you can create a tailored and structured framework and learn how to answer quantitative and qualitative questions. In the end, you will deliver a strong recommendation and finish the interview with success.

Practice

Practice makes perfect. Practicing on your own is a doable option since you can spend some time working on certain cases included in the books or in other materials you’ve read. Most of the cases you’ll read will cover the most common types found in consulting interviews. Each case usually takes 20 to 25 minutes to complete and then you can compare your answers with those in the book. After you are done completing the framework, you need to practice presenting it in loud.

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Identify Areas of Weakness

As you study and go through the consulting case interview materials, you’ll come across areas you are struggling with. You will understand which part of the process gave you the most headaches. Was creating a framework difficult for you? Or solving profitability and market sizing problems? Or maybe answering brainstorming questions and interpreting graphs and charts. You will need to focus on the specific components you’ve had the most struggle with and spend some more time practicing to overcome your difficulties.

Prepare Answers to Similar Questions

There is much more than practicing. You should spend some time preparing answers to similar questions that you might be asked. Let’s be honest, the pattern and structure of most of the questions are similar, so you just need to learn how to think and tackle the problem.

Prepare For Other Interview Questions

At this point, you’ve come a long way and you need to prepare for additional questions you might be asked by the Human Resources department or the managers themselves. These are typical questions of why do you want to work in the firm, how you can be a great fit for the role, behavioral questions, etc.

Adam Hansen