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Any consultants here?

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 
Any tips for case interviews? I have one coming up in two weeks. I've read case in point and watched all the videos on and have scheduled practice sessions with my school's career services.

That being said, any tips for when you're performing the case live in front of the interviewer? What are the major DOs and DONTs? Are calculators kosher? Is it okay to mention that you might be stuck and ask for some guidance? Etc..

post #2 of 53
I'll follow this thread for any tips since I have an interview coming up soon too - but I don't plan on bringing a calculator nor telling them I suck... stuck... whatever
post #3 of 53
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I'm just looking to hear some of those atypical tips, beyond the usual 'read case in point,' or 'practice cases with someone else,' or 'get comfortable with mental math.'
post #4 of 53
have you started 4 different threads in this subforum over the past week or so?

SF is probably not the best place for employment advice.
post #5 of 53
My view is key thing is to communicate in structured way. You won't have all the answers but you should at least know how you might approach a problem & communicate in a clear, logical way. I don't think you bring your own calculators - if there's an interview that requires a calculator they should have it there. Doing quick mental math is one of the things that are tested, so you should be comfortable with that.

Good luck!
post #6 of 53
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by ginlimetonic View Post
have you started 4 different threads in this subforum over the past week or so?

SF is probably not the best place for employment advice.

I'm also posting on but none of my threads have gotten any responses. So now I'm here.
post #7 of 53
Maybe I should start charging for advice here

Do your research know what the company is about.

At interview correct posture is important, be concise and articulate don't waffle.

Your the product, pitch it the best you can, the questions they ask will be linked to the what they want to see in terms of your skills and confidence in your abilities to perform the job.
post #8 of 53
Thread Starter 
Please share your knowledge!

post #9 of 53
Originally Posted by GreenFrog View Post
Please share your knowledge!
Your lucky I am in a good mood and I accept the laudatory comments. Successful interviews begin with the right job application. Don't waste words be concise, state what you have done and where. Do your research find out about the company what they do and where you would fit into it. At interview the candidates i have seen win the job present confidently are articulate and are concise. Most of them exude confidence in their ability, you can always pick a winner straight up. The panel with pay attention to him, they have seen the application and made certain judgements, they obviously think you have what they are looking for because they have called you to interview. Now its up to you to convince them. Posture is important, don't slouch sit up straight pay attention, make eye contact with the panel. When responding to questions be concise don't waste words. Are you familiar with the Situation Task Action Response technique look it up and another is CAR Circumstance Action Result. As I said earlier your the product, there interested so sell it to them. Remember confidence is everything that and good research.
post #10 of 53
Having some friends who went through the interview process and having gone through a case based interview process myself (for a non-consulting job) the main tips I have are the following:

- Do everything you'd normally do in an interview, i.e dress well, sit up straight, be polite, confident but not arrogant, etc. Basic stuff that many people forget.

- Answer the questions in a deliberate but natural way and show the panel that you're thinking through the problem. They aren't there to crush your dreams, they're there to (hopefully) hire you. They don't expect you to know the answers, only to show that you can think reasonably quickly and proceed logically.

- Whatever steps youre taking, verbalize them. Explain to the panel you're thinking and why you're proceeding the way you are to answer a specific question. Again, this could be totally off base but the end result doesn't really matter. They could be asking how much is spent on toothpaste in California in a given year and your answer could be off by several billion dollars but as long as you go to your wrong answer in a logical manner, you'll probably be alright.
post #11 of 53
A few general hints which might help (I worked until recently for an MBB firm and interviewed dozens of candidates) 1) Don't waste too much time on Case in Point, use the time to practice cases with a friend. Your school will likely have a consulting club...try to find practice partners there. Use the cases on the websites of the big firms. 2) Nobody does brain teasers anymore (e.g. How many rats live in NYC...) 3) Don't repeat the case setting word-by-word. I know that the Case-in-Point guy wrote that you should do this. If I ever meet him I'm going to punch his nose for that. Of course, it is perfectly fine to ask clarifying questions. 4) Don't use standard frameworks like Porter's 5 forces or the 4 Ps, 5 Cs. Nobody spends money on consultants to have them present such trivial stuff. 5) Lay out a problem-specific framework at the beginning to show that you understand the key issues and that you can solve a problem using a structured approach. OK, almost everybody does this. However, most candidates lay out a framework at the beginning and never use it during the solution process. Here's where you can stand out. 6) Practice without won't have one in the interview 7) Do not try to come up with fancy concepts/methods/facts unless you understand them and can back them up. Two negative examples from real interviews: a) Candidate: Now I'll do an NPV analysis using a discount rate of 5% Me: Why 5%? Candidate: This is industry typical Me knowing that this is BS: Based on which source? Candidate: Ahmmmmm, I made it up b) Candidate in the recommendation: The client should focus on entering markets similar to its home country. E.g. western-type democracies like Saudi Arabia and the UAE 8) The case is only one part of the interview. Don't forget to prepare for the experience part (you resume, you general capabilities, strengths and weaknesses). Prepare a few questions to ask at the end of the interview. Bring a note pad and a pencil or pen. Oh and since this is style forum: Wear a solid dark suit (gray, navy .... black is OK too), a white shirt (barrel cuff or french cuff), a halfway conservative tie, black belt and clean black dress shoes. No need to go fency, just show that you know the basic components of business dress. Good luck!!!
post #12 of 53
Thread Starter 
Thank you sir, that was VERY helpful. I have a question regarding frameworks.. I like the frameworks victor cheng pointed out, and the two most widely-used ones are the Profit/Loss framework and the business situation one. For the profit one, it basically requires that you segment the cost structures into fixed and variable costs, which can further be segmented into the product chain (raw materials, manufacturing, distribution, servicing), and then the revenue drivers. It's a pretty straightforward one. The business situation one is widely applicable to many scenarios: entering a new market, making a new product, etc. It starts off with figuring out information about the customer, product, company, and competition, so you're basically segmenting each one extensively until you're able to gain some insight as to what the issue is and how to solve it. They're very general to the point where you can use them for most situations, but you say that problem-specific frameworks should be used. So my question is, would such frameworks be frowned upon?
post #13 of 53
The first one is something you use for "declining profits cases" once you have established that profits go down due to higher cost rather than declining revenues. no problem here. The second one is too general. Think about how you can make this more specific to the most common questions like M&A, new product, market entry, etc.
post #14 of 53
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by AlexE View Post
The first one is something you use for "declining profits cases" once you have established that profits go down due to higher cost rather than declining revenues. no problem here.

The second one is too general. Think about how you can make this more specific to the most common questions like M&A, new product, market entry, etc.

For the case of declining revenues causing declining profits, wouldn't you use the same framework?

Cheng also has a framework for M&A, but it basically entails using the business situation framework twice: once each for the acquiring and acquired companies.

As for new product, market entry, I believe the framework covers the most fundamental bases, but what do I know? I'm not quite sure, for example, how different the framework for a new product would be from one for entering a new market.
post #15 of 53
Without going now into all the details: I would not waste lots of time in the interview on analyzing the cost structure if you have confirmed that cost are not the issue and people simply don't wanna buy the products/services anymore. You gotta find out how to get sales up again. Looking only at company 1 and company 2 in an M&A is not sufficient since the combined company will not simply be the sum of the original two. There are upsides, i.e. revenue and cost synergies, and downsides, e.g. cultural clashes, loss of key talent, government required divestments to avoid monopolies. New product: need to ensure financial viability and explicitly check the technical viability (if it is engineering/technology based), e.g. do we have the knowledge, tools to develop it...are there IP issues (product may be patented)...for new market entry (with existing product) ensuring financial viability, building a local organization or finding local partners and recognizing cultural differenes are some things to look at.
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