We recently got this e-mail:
I have practised around 100 cases and feel reasonably confident about the verbal case interview. The written case, however, seems like a big and quite scary unknown. I didn’t have the chance to practice much on the written format, so I just hope that what I have been doing to prepare for the verbal cases will be useful.
The verbal case study and the written case study are essentially the same concerning logic, structure and analytical thinking. Hence, preparing for the verbal case will be extremely valuable for your written case. However, the difference in format will require you to adjust some aspects of your approach, including how you:
1. MANAGE YOUR TIME
Usually you’ll have 55 minutes to prepare, and while it’s enough, it’s not a lot. You need to get through about 30 slides, come up with a recommendation, and support that recommendation with facts. Candidates are also meant to go through a huge pile of data which could make them susceptible to mistakes. Proper time allocation is required in order for candidates to work quickly while also making sure not to commit errors.
2. BACK UP YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS
It is not enough to give recommendations based on sound logic, because at the end of the day, decision makers want to see (in figures) what effects your recommendation will have on their pockets. It is crucial that you back up your recommendations with actual figures as it lends better credibility to your work.
3. KNOW THE PROS AND CONS OF YOUR ANSWERS
While writing your recommendations, thinking carefully about why you made certain decisions will help you write a more balanced report. Since there is no right answer for the case, it is crucial to anticipate what you could have done differently as the interviewer might decide to investigate your choices. Know the strengths and weaknesses of your recommendation going into the conversation, so you can have a good conversation about why you chose the path you chose, and what would need to be true to change your mind.
4. ANSWER FIRST
When you present your findings to your interviewer, start with your recommendation. Then, you can walk through your reasoning, the risks, and any alternatives you considered.
5. AN INTERVIEW IS A CONVERSATION
Although a written case is a formal presentation, make your presentations like a dialogue. Be ready to explain your assumptions and modify them if needed. Also, watch out for when an interviewer is giving feedback, and readily incorporate them. After all, that is how you would tackle it in a work setting.
Getting overly tensed up would do you no good and you would be more susceptible to errors. The written case study is similar to what you would face on a daily basis at any consulting project. Let it flow in you naturally.
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Our case interview method
Our case interview course has been developed by MBB consultants with clear goals in mind - To teach you how to think, act and communicate like a world-class strategy consultant. By going through it you'll become equipped not only to ace the interview process, but also to be a top performer at your firm.
Other methods focus on helping you memorize dozens of frameworks and pre-packed structures. We take a different approach. We believe that distinctive candidates and distinctive consultants don't rely on crutches and that they use their own minds to solve the toughest problems. We're here to help them master the concepts and processes they need to be able to shine. We can support you in:
1) Understanding business fundamentals: Get your mini-MBA with our Marketing, Strategy and Economics, Accounting & Finance modules
2) Learning how to crack a case: Identify the problem, Build a problem driven structure, Lead the analysis and how to provide recommendations.
3) Shaping your approach with our building blocks: Master profitability analysis, competitive dynamics, pricing discussions, among others.
Our coaching sessions
Coaching can help the best candidates to pinpoint their development points and turn them into strengths. They will give you self-awareness about your profile and how to best position yourself for that MBB offer. Equally importantly, they will give you the confidence to know you can succeed in such a challenging process.