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Acing the Case Study Assessment

by laura2400 January 05, 2015
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​[Updated on Feb, 2024]

The Case Study of the consulting interview process may seem like the most daunting part for some. But there is, thankfully, lots of information out there to help you get an idea of things that could be asked. At the end of the day, you have to remember that these are the kinds of scenarios you will be dealing with every day as a consultant, so the true future consultants will be eager and enthusiastic for this stage of the process.

Often, the questions will address a variety of areas. These usually include Market Sizing, Business Operations/Strategy and Logic but could include some brain teasers too to test out your financial and business sense.

The first place to check out is the consulting firms' websites themselves. They want you to do well, and many of the firms have lots of tips and guidance, practice questions and help to get you through.

Assessment centre case study examples

Preparing for an assessment centre can feel intimidating; how do you know what a particular firm wants you to showcase, and how do you show off your strengths without coming across as arrogant or lacking in self-awareness?

We provide full resources on each firm's process below.

  • McKinsey - The firm places huge importance on problem-solving in their assessments. To make sure you are fully prepared, browse through their list of practice cases HERE.

  • Oliver Wyman - You can find plenty of information content on their main site. Get tips, practice questions and advice HERE. 

  • LEK - You can find interview preparation advice on LEK's main website HERE. While their YouTube channel is more about general work life than interview advice, you can watch their "Life as an Associate" and more below.

  • Accenture - If you're looking for real-world experiences, you'll find lots of YouTube videos dedicated to the Accenture interview process from past candidates. This is a great place to start as it often gives objective advice from people who have lived the candidate experience. However, if you want tips and tricks from the firm itself, you can find a detailed PDF explaining the full processHERE.  

  • Bain & Company - While this firm has a generalist page for recruitment, HERE, you'll find it difficult to find advice specifically on case study assessments. However, they offer more support on their YouTube channel, which covers a mock case interview at Bain. Watch this below.

  • PwC:You find advice on ability tests, case studies, technical interviews, telephone interviews and more HERE. 

  • OC&C: If you want application tips, as well as a more general insight into what the company looks for in a candidate, you can read their advice HERE. 

Now watch this full half-hour interview on how to crack the case study so you know what to expect when you're the one sitting there

Next, here are the top three Case Interview Gurus and their books and websites to check out...

  • 'Case Interview Secrets: A Former McKinsey Interviewer Reveals how to "prepare for a case interview in one week or less" by Victor Cheng to go with his website, which gives free advice upon subscription to a free newsletter. This book has won praise for its explanation of the rationale behind the case interview process. When you know what the interviewer is thinking, it can really help your understanding of how you can make your answers better. Victor Cheng also has a recorded presentation here:

  • 'Case in Point: Complete Case Interview Preparation' by Marc P. Cosentino is the book to go with his website.

The Wall Street Journal named it the MBA Bible, so it is worth a read with 40 strategy cases and many other types of questions, too. Here, you can watch a 2-hour workshop on the case interview success. The website also offers some other useful resources, including the following short pages on tips for acing the case interview, a simple framework for working through the case interview, and the 'commandments' to follow.

  • 'Crack the Case System: Complete Case Interview Prep' by David Ohrvall includes 150 integrated videos on the website.

And here are 10 more useful resources to check out and improve your case interview knowledge:

  • A HUGE document here from the business school at Emory University, which goes through literally hundreds of questions. It starts with getting the consulting interview but then goes on to detail all the aspects of an MBA 'in a nutshell'. This includes case study scenarios (helpfully listing the firms from which they originate), which could be useful to take a look at for practising your case study technique. Definitely take a thorough look through this for practice questions.

  • A pdf guide from Ace the Case that goes through the entire case study process, including all the sections, works through examples and comments on what the interviewer may ask and extends the discussion further. A definite must-read!

  • An even more important document to read through! Written by the Columbia Business School, it goes through the dialogue of case interviews to show how they progress and what interviewers may ask. Follow the work through examples and see if you would respond in the same way.

  • A good PDF guide from Yale on how case studies are structured and includes some clickable links for further info at the end.

  • This is a really useful tool for the case interview. If you know all the words they might throw at you in a question, then the method of calculating it shouldn't be so daunting. This website also offers three free sample interview questions for Business Problems, Market Sizing and Logic before you have to pay to access more material. Only $14.95 for the ebook too.

  • Worried about those awkward silences in an interview? Targetjobs advises thinking aloud as a way of processing your thoughts - it's certainly much more helpful for the interviewer than you sitting in silence!

  • I have not worked through examples, though, which is slightly less helpful. But plenty to work through to practice your technique.

  • There are loads of examples here, but it requires a $6.99 monthly subscription to read the whole article.

  • Buy 11 case studies for $49.99 from Wall Street Oasis.

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