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Freshminds Graduate 5-a-day: top 5 tips on excelling at case studies

by Demelza Soumagnas August 25, 2011

Preparing for your first case study interview? Here’s how to ace it!

  1. Be clear on what’s being asked - Make sure you understand the brief and stay results focused throughout. You must answer the question given, not one you’d find a bit easier! Think too about why this case study has been given to you by this company. How does this fit with the work they do? Why is this relevant to the interview process? The clearer you are on the skills they’re looking for, the better you’ll be able to really shine.

  2. Take a structured approach - Structuring your case study well is key. Kick off with a brief introduction as to how you’re approaching the problem and make sure you finish up with a clear and concise conclusion. Remember your interviewer wants to see a structured and logical approach to breaking the problem down. They may also be looking to see how you’d perform in a client meeting so do present your thinking with confidence, keeping eye contact at all times.

  3. Show your workings -  Your interviewers love this phrase as much as your Maths teachers did. Case studies are not all about cracking the case, instead they’re about how you arrive at your conclusions. Take time throughout to step back and sense check your suggestions. Demonstrate that you’re comfortable using numbers, rounding up and down where appropriate. Make sure you explain why you’re taking the approach you are. This is all just as important as arriving at the right answer at the end.

  4. Demonstrate business judgment and common sense - Case studies aren’t just about the numbers, this is also your opportunity to demonstrate commercial thinking. Once you’ve covered the material you’ve been given in enough depth, it’s fine to bring in other industry-relevant information. Showing that you can draw out the business implications of data and information is key here as your interviewers will be looking for that brilliant combination of analytical and commercial skills.

  5. Ask for help  Your interviewer is looking to see how you’d react in a real-life business context so asking for help if you need it is key. You can present this professionally and with confidence politely asking for more information. Whatever you do, don’t blag. No one likes a blagger. 

Looking for more tips and advice about preparing for case studies at interview? Ask the experts! Our Graduate and Early Careers team are on hand for help and advice throughout your job search.

We also run career workshops for our network from interview preparation, CV sessions and assessment centre advice. Register your interest here, or apply to join the network.

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