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Ace your case at interview

These days the case-study component of an interview is pretty crucial, whether you’re applying for an investment bank, consultancy, tech firm, or retailer. It could mean make or break for your future career, so we’ve put together a few nuggets of advice to help you ace your case at interview…

What are they for?

Case studies are designed by interviewers to scrutinize your consulting skill set – testing your quantitative, analytical, problem-solving, and communications skills, as well as your creativity, flexibility, and ability to think fast under pressure.

Sounds straightforward enough, but brainstorming a bright business solution in the heat of an interview can be daunting…

Fear not – here’s the formula for a winning case study…

  • Remember that interviewers aren’t looking for a ‘right’ answer. They’re observing your ability to process information – the way that you gather your thoughts and approach a challenge.
  • You have so many resources at your fingertips – make the most of them. Lots of firms post practice case studies on their websites so you can avoid any nasty surprises on the day.
  • Reflect on all the business experience you’ve accumulated over the years – both in education and employment. You can use this to situate your answers and strengthen your argument.
  • You may be a case study guru, but you’ll be dead in the water if you don’t brush up on your knowledge about the firm and their clients… do your research!
  • Practice makes perfect – so regularly run-through sizing and estimation questions whenever you can - it’ll help you become fast and resourceful.

Top tips for when you’re in the hot seat…

  • Take the time to gather your thoughts and think carefully about your approach. Use this time to jot down ideas and formulate intelligent questions that will demonstrate your methodological and creative thinking.
  • Once you’ve decided on an approach, stick to it. Move methodically from one point to the next, and clarify each issue and solution as you go along.
  • A handy tip from Bain & Co is to ‘make it a business discussion, not an interview’, so be sure to engage in thoughtful conversation with your interviewer to showcase your business judgement and consulting skill set.

Think you need a little case study coaching? Freshminds is here to help. Whenever you apply to a role through us, our candidate managers will answer your burning questions about the interview process, to make sure you’re on top form for your big day.