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2017 Case Interview Workshop III

2017 Case Interview Workshop III presented by the Consulting Club at the Texas Medical Center

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CASE INTERVIEW WORKSHOP
PART I & II REVIEW
OUTLINE
1. What is a case interview
2. What are consulting firms assessing during a
case interview
3. Overall strategy for preparing for case
interviews
4. Components of a case interview
WHAT IS A CASE INTERVIEW?
 Interview where the applicant is given a
business situation/problem/challenge and
asked to resolve the situation.
o Analyze in a structured, hypothesis-driven
manner
o Provide a data-backed recommendation
 Communicate with the interviewer as if you are
a consultant and the interviewer is the client
EXAMPLES OF BUSINESS
PROBLEMS
 How much profit can Cure Pharmaceutical Inc.
make three years after launching its new drug?
 A major fast-food chain is losing money in Texas,
why and what can they do to turn around?
 The competitors have adopted a new digital
technology, should auto insurance company BBB
follow?
 Should BlackRock Venture Capital firm acquire Big
Yellow School Bus Co.?
WHY DO CASE INTERVIEWS
EXIST?
 They simulate on-the-job experience
 Clients ask estimate questions all the time
 Prove yourself as a consultant
 Ask thought-provoking questions client hadn’t
considered
 Analyze data to discover new insights clients hadn’t
seen
 Develop data-supported conclusions that lead client
to a decision
WHAT CONSULTING FIRMS ASSESS
DURING A CASE INTERVIEW
 Hypothesis-driven problem solving
 Communication skills
 Public math skills
 Business acumen
 Client-facing demeanor

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2017 Case Interview Workshop III

  • 2. OUTLINE 1. What is a case interview 2. What are consulting firms assessing during a case interview 3. Overall strategy for preparing for case interviews 4. Components of a case interview
  • 3. WHAT IS A CASE INTERVIEW?  Interview where the applicant is given a business situation/problem/challenge and asked to resolve the situation. o Analyze in a structured, hypothesis-driven manner o Provide a data-backed recommendation  Communicate with the interviewer as if you are a consultant and the interviewer is the client
  • 4. EXAMPLES OF BUSINESS PROBLEMS  How much profit can Cure Pharmaceutical Inc. make three years after launching its new drug?  A major fast-food chain is losing money in Texas, why and what can they do to turn around?  The competitors have adopted a new digital technology, should auto insurance company BBB follow?  Should BlackRock Venture Capital firm acquire Big Yellow School Bus Co.?
  • 5. WHY DO CASE INTERVIEWS EXIST?  They simulate on-the-job experience  Clients ask estimate questions all the time  Prove yourself as a consultant  Ask thought-provoking questions client hadn’t considered  Analyze data to discover new insights clients hadn’t seen  Develop data-supported conclusions that lead client to a decision
  • 6. WHAT CONSULTING FIRMS ASSESS DURING A CASE INTERVIEW  Hypothesis-driven problem solving  Communication skills  Public math skills  Business acumen  Client-facing demeanor
  • 7. HYPOTHESIS-DRIVEN PROBLEM SOLVING Understand the problem/issue Draw hypothesis Lay out structure or issue tree Prioritize and focus on the major issues Perform quantitative and qualitative analyses Derive insights from the analysis Draw conclusions and make recommendatio n
  • 8. COMMUNICATION  Listen and take notes  Engage and align with the interviewer  Ask logical questions  Be structured in both verbal and written communications  Speak succinctly without rambling or being robotic  Speak firmly and convincingly
  • 9. PUBLIC MATH SKILLS  Do the math accurately  Do the math quickly  Speak out loud when doing the calculation
  • 10. BUSINESS ACUMEN  Know basic business terminology  Research the industries  Connect data and analysis with business needs  Make sound recommendations  Think of risks and next steps
  • 11. CLIENT FACING DEMEANOR  Present professionally  Be confident, not arrogant  Align with the interviewer proactively  Remain cool and calm when challenged  React properly to pressure or mistakes
  • 12. OVERALL STRATEGY 1. Understand the skills and abilities that should be demonstrated in case interviews 2. Acquire general business knowledge 3. Understand the different case types 4. Utilize external tools 5. Know how to open, analyze and close a case 6. Practice with partners in-person 7. Summarize cases practiced and keep a case journal
  • 13. *Adapted from Duke (Fuqua) casebook
  • 14. DIFFERENT CASE TYPES  By format  Candidate-led  Interviewer-led  Written/presentation  Group  By content  Market entry  Profitability  Growth, expansion, relocation strategy  Response to competition  Merger and acquisitions  Many others
  • 15. CASE INTERVIEW PREPARATION RESOURCES  Case preperation books  Case Interview Secrets  Case In Point  Crack the Case System  How to Get into Top Consulting Firms  Graph In Point  Business school casebooks  Consulting firm websites  Audio resources from Victor Cheng  Look Over My Shoulder  Behind Closed Doors  Consulting prep websites and their YouTube channels  caseinterview.com  managementconsulted.com  mconsultingprep.com  firmsconsulting.com  Magazines and newspapers  The Wall Street Journal  Harvard Business Review  The Economist  Bloomberg Businessweek  Financial Times  New York Times - Business Day
  • 17. COMPONENTS OF A CASE  Opening  Analysis  Closing
  • 18. OPENING THE CASE 1. Take notes 2. Summarize the prompt 3. Ask clarifying questions 4. Pause to prepare a structure 5. Present hypothesis and structure
  • 19. ANALYSIS 1. Select one component of the structure 2. Analyze using process of elimination 3. Comment on significance of numbers 4. Update structure with insights 5. Synthesize what you have learned 6. Move to next branch 7. Exhaust all branches
  • 20. Profit Revenue Price Volume Costs Fixed Variable Finished parts Raw materials Labor WORKSHOP I: PROFITABILITY Agriculture equipment assembly - tractors Profit – last yr $4M this yr -$2M Why? 160 tractors x $50K $6M Hypothesis: Pricing is driving low sales Objective: Why are profits down? comp doing fine premium product, higher price costs – raw materials, finished parts, labor sell to farmers
  • 21. WORKSHOP II: ADVANCED PROFITABILITY Objective: To maintain profits Hypothesis: Since revenues are bound to decline, profits can be maintained by cutting costs Profits Revenue Jet sales Quantity Price Jet maintenance Quantity Rate per jet Costs Jet sales Jet maintenance Client: Fighter Jet Manufacturer • Customer: U.S. Air Force • 10-year contract • Possible decline in revenues starting next year Clarifying questions • Only 1 customer • Only 1 product = $20 M/jet • Manufactures and maintains jet. Paid upfront for jet and yearly for maintenance.
  • 22. WORKSHOP II: MARKET ENTRY Client: Redox Solutions • Makes antioxidant treatments • A drug for KD passed phase I trials funded by a donor • KD market is saturated • CEO wants to push forwards. Doable? Clarifying questions • Need $300M  in year 1 • Redox sells drugs to patients • US market only • KD is an inflammatory disease targeting joints • Lung/heart disease kills patients, not joint damage • Drug advantages: no side effects in humans; may treat comorbidities unlike other drugs Objective: Should Redox Solution enter the KD market and make $300M  in Year 1? Hypothesis: Yes, considering their unique advantages 1 2 3 4
  • 23. TARGET MARKET AND CUSTOMERS KD market Market size Stakeholder needs Patients Providers Payers
  • 26. PRODUCT DETAILS Product’s value proposition Efficacy Safety Convenience Intellectual property X factors 40% Patente d granted this year No side effects Weekly injection May treat comorbidities
  • 27. CLOSING 1. State recommendation or conclusion clearly 2. Two or three supporting reasons 3. Risks 4. Next steps
  • 28. COMMON MISTAKES  Not understanding the objective  Not talking out loud  Asking too many questions  Using a generic or broad structure  Proceeding with the case in a random or non hypothesis-driven manner  Failing to present a strong recommendation
  • 30. DIFFERENT CASE TYPES  By content  Market entry  Profitability  Business situation/strategy  Mergers and acquisitions  By format  Interviewer-led  Candidate-led  Written/presentation  Group
  • 32. PROS AND CONS OF M&A Pros  Increases market share  Reduces competition  Introduces less risk (v.s. developing new products) Cons  Increases financial risks  May not achieve synergy  May introduce clash in company culture
  • 34. PROMPT Our client is a beer brewing and retailing company in the east coast. Their products serve the regional “low-end” market and the company has a steady growth in sales. Currently our client is actively seeking acquisition opportunities and interested in Bita Beer Company, a beer brewing company serving the “high-end” market in the west coast. Our client has hired us to help them figure out whether this is an attractive acquisition.
  • 35. SUMMARIZE THE PROMPT Candidate: Thanks for the information. This is an interesting case. It sounds like our client is doing well in business and looking for acquisition opportunities. Buying Bita Beer Company could be a great move for our client in terms of expanding their business. I’m happy to help them make the decision.
  • 36. CLARIFYING QUESTIONS  Client’s goal  Geography  Price
  • 37. CLARIFYING QUESTIONS Client’s goal  Candidate: Does our client have any specific quantitative goal for this acquisition?  Interviewer: The rationale of our client for this acquisition is to develop a premium beer product aiming the high-end market. Meanwhile, our client hopes the investment associated with this acquisition would be profitable in 5 years.
  • 38. CLARIFYING QUESTIONS Geography  Candidate: Our client is a east coast company. Why are they looking so far away for the acquisition?  Interviewer: Good question. That’s because currently there is no company in the east coast for sale. The premium beer market is mainly on the two coasts.
  • 39. CLARIFYING QUESTIONS Price  Candidate: I assume Bita Beer Company is on sale. If so, what is the asking price?  Interviewer: Yes, Bita Beer Company is on sale and asks for $200M
  • 40. PREPARE THE STRUCTURE Client: A Beer producer and retailer • Serving “low-end” market in east coast • Steady growth in sales • Acquisition target: Bita Beer Company a premium beer producer in west coast Clarifying questions • Return on investment (ROI) in 5 years • No acquisition target in east coast • Acquisition price: $200M Objective: Return on investment in 5 years Hypothesis: This will be an ideal acquisition and our client can achieve its business goal.
  • 41. PREPARE THE STRUCTURE Client: A Beer producer and retailer • Serving “low-end” market in east coast • Steady growth in sales • Acquisition target: Bita Beer Company a premium beer producer in west coast Clarifying questions • Return on investment (ROI) in 5 years • No acquisition target in east coast • Acquisition price: $200M Objective: Return on investment in 5 years Hypothesis: This will be an ideal acquisition and our client can achieve its business goal. Industry dynamics Market size Competition Market growth Synergy with client company Increase sales? Reduce cost? Brand value Company culture Cannibalizatio n Target company Customer Product Profitability Revenue Cost
  • 43. MARKET SIZE AND COMPETITION  Candidate: Do we have any data about how big the markets are and the market share of Bita Beer Company?  Interviewer: Yes. Why not take a look at Exhibit 1 and tell me what you find?
  • 44. EXHIBIT I Total: $800M Total: $1 billion 2015 West Coast Premium Beer Market 2015 East Coast Premium Beer Market
  • 45. INSIGHTS FROM EXHIBIT 1  Candidate: I found two things from Exhibit I: 1. In the west coast, Bita Beer Company takes 25% of the market share, which is the highest among all the other competitors 2. In the east coast, the market size is larger with relatively less competition. It seems domestic beer is more popular in the east coast.  Candidate: I’m thinking it could be a great opportunity if our client can introduce the beer of Bita Beer Company to the east coast. I would like to explore this idea later if we have time
  • 46. MARKET GROWTH  Candidate: Do we have any data about the overall market size and Bita Beer Company’s market share in previous years?  Interviewer: The overall premium beer market size has been stable in the past few years. Meanwhile, Bita Beer Company had an average of 5% growth of its market share in the past 3 years.
  • 47. PART I SUMMARY  Bita Beer Company is in a leading position in the west coast premium beer market.  The overall premium beer market growth is stable and Bita Beer Company outperforms it  Domestic premium beer is more popular in the east coast where there is less competition. It could be a good opportunity for our client to introduce a new premium beer.
  • 49. CUSTOMER AND PRODUCT  Candidate: What makes Bita Beer Company’s beer so popular in the west coast? Do we have any data about its beer and who are the customers?  Interviewer: Absolutely. Bita Beer Company has a trade secret that improves its brewing process, yielding fresher and better tasting beer. As for the customers, we don’t have any data about them. It seems that their beer is popular among all ages.
  • 50. CUSTOMER AND PRODUCT  Candidate: I would like to confirm that our client will be able to produce the beer of Bita Beer Company in the east coast after the acquisition. Are there any special processes that limit the factory only to the west coast?  Interviewer: That’s a good point. Actually all the techniques are transferable after the acquisition.
  • 51. PROFITABILITY  Candidate: I see. I was wondering is Bita Beer Company profitable?  Interviewer: That’s a good point. How do you plan to analyze that?  Candidate: Based on Exhibit I, we should have some information to calculate the revenue. If I can have some cost information, I should be able to calculate the profit.
  • 52. PROFITABILITY - REVENUE Revenue: $800M  25% = $200M  Candidate: Do they have any other source of revenue?  Interviewer: Not that we know of.  Candidate: Excellent. Do we have any data about their cost structure? Total: $800M 2015 West Coast Premium Beer Market
  • 53. EXHIBIT II Average cost of a bottle of beer ($)/bottle Raw materials 0.5 Labor 0.1 Transportation 0.2 Storage 1 Package 0.2
  • 54. INSIGHTS FROM EXHIBIT II  Two findings 1. Total variable cost = 0.5 + 0.1 + 0.2 + 1 + 0.2 = $2 2. Storage cost is the highest among all variable costs (50%)  Candidate: Do we have any information about how many bottles Bita Beer Company sold in 2015? I was also wondering what are the total fixed costs?  Interviewer: Yes, Bita Beer Company sold 80M bottles last year. And the fixed costs were $20M.
  • 55. PROFITABILITY  Total cost = $2  80M bottles + $20M = $180M  Profit = revenue  cost = $200M  $180M = $20M
  • 56. INSIGHT FROM EXHIBIT II  Bita Beer Company is a profitable company  However, the potential profit that our client can acquire in the next 5 years is $20M  5 = $100M. Our client cannot break-even in 5 years for the $200M purchase price  Variable cost, especially storage cost, is the major cost of the company. If the company would like to improve its cost structure, that might be a good starting point.
  • 57. Synergy with client company Increase sales? Reduce cost? Brand value Company culture Cannibalization SYNERGY WITH CLIENT COMPANY
  • 58. SYNERGY WITH CLIENT COMPANY  Candidate: Since it seems we can potentially reduce the storage cost, I would like to focus on that first. I was wondering why is the storage cost so high?  Interviewer: That’s a good question. There are two reasons:  Bita Beer Company has an outdated storage system. It requires an investment to upgrade it.  Bita Beer Company is only a beer brewing company. There is always a waiting period before transporting the beer to the retailer, which increases the storage cost.
  • 59. SYNERGY WITH CLIENT COMPANY  Candidate: That’s interesting. I was wondering what is the storage cost of our client and whether they can help Bita Beer Company to improve it.  Interviewer: The average storage cost per bottle for our client is $0.50.  Our client have recently upgraded its infrastructure for beer storage. Besides, our client is also a beer retailer, thus the waiting period is shorter. Actually our client has estimated the investment associated with upgrading the infrastructure of Bita Beer Company. This information can be found in Exhibit III.
  • 60. EXHIBIT III Plans Investment Storage cost ($)/Bottle Plan A $40M 0.8 Plan B $60M 0.6 Plan C $120M 0.5
  • 61. CALCULATION Plans ($)Saved/bottle Profit increased/year Plan A 1  0.8 = 0.2 0.2  80M = 16M Plan B 1  0.6 = 0.4 0.4  80M = 32M Plan C 1  0.5 = 0.5 0.5  80M = 40M Plans Total additional profit in 5 years Total investment Break- even? Plan A (20M + 16M)  5 = 180M 200M + 40M = 240M No Plan B (20M + 32M)  5 = 260M 200M + 60M = 260M Yes Plan C (20M + 40M)  5 = 300M 200M + 120M = 320M No
  • 62. INSIGHTS FROM EXHIBIT III  Candidate: After the calculation, it seems only investment plan B will allow our client to achieve its goal to break-even in 5 years. I would like to double-check our client’s financial ability to make sure they can afford the $260M investment.  Interviewer: That sounds reasonable. Our client is doing well in recent years and they can definitely afford the $260M investment.
  • 63. OTHER FACTORS FOR SYNERGY  Interviewer: What other factors should our client consider regarding this acquisition?  Candidate: That’s a good question. Can I have one moment to organize my thoughts?
  • 64. OTHER FACTORS FOR SYNERGY 1. Brand value: “low-end” vs. “high-end” 2. Company culture: management style 3. Geographical difference: west coast vs. east coast 4. Business opportunity in the east coast 5. Potential cannibalization?
  • 66. RECOMMENDATION Candidate: I recommend that our client acquires Bita Beer Company and invests $60M for upgrading its infrastructure. 1. Bita Beer Company is a profitable company with leading market share in the west coast. 2. By investing $60M, our client will achieve its goal to break-even the investment in 5 years. 3. Bita Beer Company owns a premium beer that can be assimilated into our client’s product line. This fits our client’s goal for this acquisition.
  • 67. RISKS AND NEXT STEPS  Risks  Potentially lose some old Bita Beer Company customers after the acquisition  Geographical difference could be a big risk factor  Next steps  Increase advertising to ensure customers believe that the beer quality remains the same after the acquisition  Set up regular meetings between the two companies to ensure effective communication  Evaluate the revenue and cost to produce and sell the premium beer in the east coast
  • 69. WRITTEN/PRESENTATION INTERVIEW  Format  Provided a large packet of information/data  Review individually  Discuss information with interviewer or organize slides and present  What interviewers look for  Data analysis skills  Ability to filter and synthesize data  Presentation skills
  • 70. SUGGESTED PRESENTATION FORMAT 1. The big conclusion 2. The big conclusion + three supporting reasons 3. Reason 1 + Chart demonstrating Reason 1 (probably one of the packet slides with your own headline on the slide) 4. Reason 2 + Chart demonstrating Reason 2 5. Reason 3 + Chart demonstrating Reason 3 6. Re-state conclusion and identify any remaining issues that might be worth exploring if given sufficient data or time. 7. Risks and Next Steps
  • 72. GROUP INTERVIEW  Format  Typically 4-5 candidates in a group  Answer questions in turn  Expected to write on a white board  Ask questions in the end  What interviewers look for  Teamwork ability and social skills  Problem-solving skills  Presentation skills in a team environment
  • 73. TIPS FOR GROUP INTERVIEWS  Be a friendly and cooperative team member  Do not wait for the next question. Be proactive!  Practice writing on a white board  Prepare an interesting question in the end

Editor's Notes

  1. Semi-hostile clients look for you to screw up
  2. Nervousness is often interpreted as lack of conviction