The Consulting-Interview - Case Interview Dos and Donts


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Tipps about the Case Interview at consulting firms

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The Consulting-Interview - Case Interview Dos and Donts

  1. 1. The Consulting Interview Stefan Menden
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>The Consulting Interview </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Introduction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal fit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Case Interview </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Questions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Summary and Q&A </li></ul>
  3. 3. About Online-Career Networks Insider-Dossier Guidebooks <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Consulting-Interview </li></ul><ul><li>Finance-Interview </li></ul><ul><li>Automotive </li></ul><ul><li>Accounting </li></ul><ul><li>Consumergoods </li></ul><ul><li>Law-Firms </li></ul><ul><li>Brainteaser </li></ul><ul><li>Psychometric tests </li></ul><ul><li>Scholarships </li></ul><ul><li>Consulting-Cases </li></ul>
  4. 4. Agenda <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>The Consulting Interview </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Introduction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal fit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Case Interview </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Questions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Summary and Q&A </li></ul>
  5. 5. The consulting environment
  6. 6. The recruiting process
  7. 7. The recruiting process
  8. 8. Agenda <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>The Consulting Interview </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Introduction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal fit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Case Interview </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Questions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Summary and Q&A </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>The consulting interview </li></ul><ul><li>(Analytical skills test) </li></ul><ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Personal fit interview </li></ul><ul><li>Case Interview </li></ul><ul><li>Questions </li></ul><ul><li>(Presentation, Group assignment) </li></ul><ul><li>The consulting reality </li></ul><ul><li>Complex problems </li></ul><ul><li>Demanding hours </li></ul><ul><li>Changing priorities </li></ul><ul><li>Teamwork / new teams </li></ul><ul><li>High impact </li></ul><ul><li>... </li></ul><ul><li>The interviewer‘s checklist </li></ul><ul><li>Does the candidate have: </li></ul><ul><li>Drive, motivation </li></ul><ul><li>Flexibility </li></ul><ul><li>Analytical ability </li></ul><ul><li>Quantitative skills </li></ul><ul><li>Communicative & leadership skills </li></ul><ul><li>Maturity </li></ul><ul><li>Will the candidate enjoy consulting? </li></ul><ul><li>Do I want to work with this person? </li></ul>Why consulting firms use case interviews
  10. 10. The components of the consulting interview Introduction / small talk Personal fit / experience Case Interview Questions 1 2 3 4 3-5 mins 5-15 mins 30-45 mins 3-5 mins
  11. 11. Part one: Introduction Do’s <ul><li>Listen attentively, keep eye-contact </li></ul><ul><li>Ask questions, join in conversation </li></ul><ul><li>SMILE </li></ul> Don’ts <ul><li>Don‘t take over the lead </li></ul><ul><li>Don‘t pretend </li></ul><ul><li>Don‘t think that this is not already part of the interview </li></ul> <ul><li>Clarify process </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce nervousness </li></ul><ul><li>Get first feeling for candidate‘s social skills </li></ul><ul><li>Get to know the interviewer </li></ul><ul><li>Explain the process </li></ul><ul><li>Small talk </li></ul>
  12. 12. Part two: Personal fit / experience interview Do’s <ul><li>Present your previous experience in a cohesive way </li></ul><ul><li>Add interesting details and personal experiences </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepared to answer questions about your CV </li></ul> Don’ts <ul><li>Don‘t just repeat what‘s on paper </li></ul><ul><li>Don‘t be arrogant </li></ul><ul><li>Don‘t be too nervous </li></ul> <ul><li>Does the candidate fit into our team and culture? </li></ul><ul><li>Do I want to work with this person / spend long hours in the same room? </li></ul><ul><li>Can the candidate represent our firm in front of clients? </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss your CV and personal achievements </li></ul><ul><li>Understand your motivations and communication style </li></ul><ul><li>Why do you want to become a consultant? </li></ul><ul><li>Why with our firm? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Personal fit: Typical questions „ Talk about yourself“ „ What are your strong points?“ „ What are your weak points?“ „ Why did you choose your particular subjects in university?“ „ What was your greatest challenge?“ How did you overcome it?“ „ Why do you want to go into consulting?“ „ When did you lead a team?“ „ Your grades are not outstanding, don‘t you think?“
  14. 14. Personal fit exercise: Skill assessment <ul><li>Take a piece of paper and draw a 5x3 table like this: </li></ul>1) 1st column: What do you think are the 5 most important skills a consultant needs 2) 2nd column: Score yourself against these skills (Points 1-10) 3) 3rd column: How can you prove this from your CV?
  15. 15. Personal fit exercise 2: SWOT introspection S trengths W eaknesses O pportunities T hreats
  16. 16. Part three: The Case Interview Mini Case Business Case Market-Sizing Brainteaser The Case Interview Typical types of questions
  17. 17. Business Cases <ul><li>Often based on real cases </li></ul><ul><li>Often a part of a more complex problem </li></ul><ul><li>No one-size-fits-all solutions </li></ul><ul><li>Often include a strategic and a quantitative part </li></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><li>Market entry </li></ul><ul><li>Product innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Competitive Response </li></ul><ul><li>Reaction to changing market conditions </li></ul><ul><li>M&A activities </li></ul><ul><li>… </li></ul>
  18. 18. Example case „ Your customer is a European low-cost-airline. The CEO asks you to prepare a recommendation for the board meeting this afternoon if the company should offer transatlantic routes as well.“
  19. 19. How to solve the case Hypothesize & ask questions Structure the case Solve the case Present and evaluate 1 2 3 4
  20. 20. Frameworks to structure business cases <ul><li>Profit equation </li></ul><ul><li>Michael Porter‘s Five Forces </li></ul><ul><li>4 P‘s: Price, Product, Place & Promotion </li></ul><ul><li>SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) </li></ul><ul><li>2x2-Matrix </li></ul><ul><li>Break-Even-Calculation </li></ul><ul><li>4 C‘s: Customer, Competition, Cost, Capabilities </li></ul><ul><li>… </li></ul>Use frameworks to structure problems – not as a one-size-fits-all solution to problems
  21. 21. Structuring problems: The pyramid principle
  22. 22. The most important framework The profit equation
  23. 23. 2x2 Matrix high high low low
  24. 24. How to tackle the case interview Do’s  <ul><li>Take notes </li></ul><ul><li>Ask for missing information </li></ul><ul><li>Lead the conversation </li></ul><ul><li>Listen for details </li></ul><ul><li>Take your time </li></ul><ul><li>Structure, structure, structure </li></ul><ul><li>Involve the interviewer in your thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Clearly state your assumptions </li></ul><ul><li>Sum up your conclusions </li></ul>
  25. 25. How to tackle the case interview Do’s <ul><li>Don‘t „copy-paste“ your solution / framework  think! </li></ul><ul><li>Practice mental arithmetic and written calculations without calculator </li></ul><ul><li>Sanity-check your conclusions and assumptions </li></ul><ul><li>Be well prepared and up-to-date on current economic events </li></ul><ul><li>Let your hypothesis guide you </li></ul><ul><li>Practice cases by inventing your own </li></ul><ul><li>Relax, keep cool and have fun! </li></ul>
  26. 26. How to tackle the case interview Don’ts  <ul><li>Don‘t be too spontaneous </li></ul><ul><li>Don‘t guess </li></ul><ul><li>Don‘t go into unimportant details – be 80/20 </li></ul><ul><li>Don‘t be arrogant </li></ul><ul><li>Don‘t come late </li></ul><ul><li>Don‘t lose your calm and maturity – imagine you are presenting to your client </li></ul>
  27. 27. Market sizing <ul><li>Test ability to structure a concrete problem </li></ul><ul><li>Test quantitative abilities </li></ul><ul><li>Test mental arithmetic skills and written calculation without calculator </li></ul><ul><li>Test ability to handle large numbers accurately </li></ul><ul><li>Often part of a business case </li></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><li>Market size / potential of a product or service for a country, region, city </li></ul><ul><ul><li>„ What is the market size for car stereos in Germany?“ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Calculation of the market share of a company </li></ul><ul><ul><li>„ What is the market share of Volkswagen in Germany?“ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Quantitative exercises </li></ul><ul><ul><li>„ How many tennis balls fit into a Boeing 737?“ </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. Brainteaser <ul><li>Ability to structure an abstract problem </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to elaborate and present a solution in a coherent way </li></ul><ul><li>Tenacity </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to tackle a seemingly unsolvable problem </li></ul><ul><li>Quantitative skills </li></ul><ul><li>Creativity </li></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><li>„ How many seconds from now until New Year’s Eve?“ </li></ul><ul><li>„ You are on a boat on a lake and raise the anchor – will the water level rise or fall?“ </li></ul><ul><li>„ Why are manhole covers round?“ </li></ul><ul><li>Weighing balls </li></ul><ul><li>Measuring the angle between hands on a clock </li></ul>
  29. 29. Questions Do’s <ul><li>Prepare a few questions, that </li></ul><ul><ul><li>are not too obvious </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>are related to your background </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>are about experiences of the interviewer </li></ul></ul> Don’ts <ul><li>Don‘t have no further questions </li></ul><ul><li>Don‘t ask „stupid“ questions </li></ul> <ul><li>Are you really interested in consulting and this firm in particular? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you have the right communicative skills? </li></ul><ul><li>„ Do you have any further questions?“ </li></ul>
  30. 30. Agenda <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>The Consulting Interview </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Introduction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personal fit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Case Interview </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Questions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Summary and Q&A </li></ul>
  31. 31. Insider-Dossier Books: Recommended reading <ul><li>Shop: </li></ul>
  32. 32. Stay in touch! <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>-  </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>