Case Interview

The case interview is an important part of the application process of many top tier companies. Especially in consulting and investment banking it is a common practice to go through before getting an offer as applicant. The case interview is an example of a real business problem based on the interviewer’s past work experiences. During the interview the applicant is required to solve the case by analyzing the business problem and by coming up with suitable and pragmatic recommendations for the imaginary client. The case interview is therefore effectively a role play in which the applicant assumes the role as consultant. During the case interview the following attributes will be monitored:

  • Structure and logic: the approach you take to solve a problem
  • Analytics: your usage and synthesis of data and ability to perform calculations
  • Soft skills: your communicative and persuasion skills (both verbally as non-verbally) in conveying your ideas
  • Business sense: how well your knowledge is on business-related topics
  • Thought leadership: can you come up with creative and innovative ideas and suggestions

Even though there are a wide variety of case interview topics, four general case interview scenarios can be distinguished:

Each of these scenarios have a different aim and should therefore be approached in a different manner. Sometimes cases might be combined such as a pricing case question in a market entry case or a profitability problem in a M&A case interview. However, since each of these problems follow a different structure, they are explained separately on their own pages. Luckily there is some sequence of steps that can be followed regardless of the case scenario.

  • Summarize the case question
  • Verify the objective(s)
  • Ask clarifying questions and define context
  • Develop and communicate a framework (based on the case scenario)
  • Formulate clear hypotheses and indicate possible analyses
  • Gather data and synthesize results
  • Quantify your analyses and make assumptions explicit
  • Be creative when formulating solutions
  • Be persuasive in communicating recommendations

Case Interview Structure

Figure 1: Case Interview Structure