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Case Studies Interview

Case Studies Interview

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Published by xuyq_richard8867
A ‘case study’ interview can form part of the selection process for a professional position, especially for consulting firms specializing in strategic work.
A ‘case study’ interview can form part of the selection process for a professional position, especially for consulting firms specializing in strategic work.

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Published by: xuyq_richard8867 on Apr 13, 2010
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03/05/2012

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The Case Study
 What to expect & How toprepare
The Case Study Page 1© Careers and Employment, Swinburne University of Technology, 2007
Edition 1 May 2007
A ‘case study’ interview can form part of the selection process for a professional position, especially for consulting firms specialising in strategic work. They can also be used by any employer in the finance,banking, manufacturing or engineering industries looking for strong problem-solving competence.A ‘case’ is a scenario modelled after a real business or management problem. They are not designed toassess specific knowledge, but assess a candidate’s ability to think analytically about a typical situationor problem encountered in the workplace.These interviews offer candidates an opportunity to have a sense of the type of work that their consultants do, while allowing the employer to evaluate the competency levels of candidates. Usually,the interviewers don't have the "right answers" that you are expected to give. Rather, they are moreinterested in knowing what logic structures led you to the answers. Specific knowledge of the industrycovered by the case question is a bonus but not necessary.The employer is looking to test a candidate’s abilities in some or all of the following areas:
Listening skills
Analytical and reasoning skills
Structured thought
Reasoning and logic
Ability to organise and presentinformation and hypotheses
Quantitative skills
Problem-solving skills
Ability to manage ambiguity
Professionalism
Ability to perform under pressure
Creativity
Understanding of basic business andeconomic principlesNote that there are no right or wrong answers.Rather, you are being assessed on your abilityto structure your approach, break down theproblem, your ability to think under pressureand explain your findings in a logical andconvincing way.Case interviews can be very stressful for candidates and require more preparation thanother types of interview. In some situations,interviewers may deliberately present little or noinformation in their questions. So you'll have tofigure out your solution based on your ownresources, analysis and findings
.
Types of case questions
Case study interview questions may bepresented in four different ways.
1) Estimation questions
:
 
How many cars are there in Australia?
 
How many divorces take placenationally in any given year?
 
What is the market for digital cameraslikely to be in 15 years?
 
How many airplanes are in air rightnow?
2) Actual or theoretical client questions
:
 
An offline business wants to go online,what is your advice?
 
Australia Post is going to offer a newservice where customers can drop apackage directly into a driver's vehicle.What issues need to be thought about?
 
 The Case Study Page 2© Careers and Employment, Swinburne University of Technology, 2007
 
An airline finds that, while its revenuesare at an all time high, the company isstill operating at a loss. What is goingon?
 
You are contacted by ABC Pizza to helpthem develop a plan for entering thehome delivery market in a communitywhere XYZ Pizza has the dominantposition. As lead consultant to ABC,what would you do?
3) Brain Teaser Questions
:
 
What will be different if, in the future, if consumers have to pay for every drop of drinkable water piped to their residenceor business?
 
Why are manhole covers round?
 
How to know if the light inside therefrigerator is on or not?
4) Graphic Interpretation Questions
:
 
Interpreting data in a chart or other formof graph.
Tips
 
Maintain eye contact.
 
Listen carefully and take notes.
 
Make no assumptions.
 
Ask for clarification if necessary, makesure you understand the question.
 
Think out loud so that the interviewer understands your thought process.
 
If it's a client question, start bydiscussing the key issues you're facing.
 
Describe the structure of your approachfirst, and then discuss your findings indetail.
 
Present your thinking in a clear, logicalmanner and summarise the case.
 
Read body language. You can often tellif you're going in the wrong direction or bothering them too much.
Structuring your answer 
Prepare by taking along a pen andpaper to make notes
Analyse the case – voice your thinkingout-loud to demonstrate your understanding and analysis
o
Diagnose the problem andestablish a framework to testyour hypotheses
o
Elicit additional information byasking intelligent questions
o
Develop and analyse alternativesolutions
Organise your analysis of thealternatives so that it is clear andsystematic. Make recommendationsregarding the best solution and justify it
Present your analysis - summarise your conclusion/s as if you wererecommending it to the client. Make sureyou have clear supporting arguments.Be prepared to admit possible flaws inyour argument.
Resources
These consulting firms’ websites containexamples of case study interview questions andpotential approaches:Bain & Co
http://www.bain.com/bainweb/Join_Bain/case_interviewsMcKinsey & Company
http://www.mckinsey.com/aboutus/careers/applyingtomckinsey/interviewing/casestudies/index.aspThe Boston Consulting Group
http://www.bcg.com/careers/interview_prep/interview_prep_splash.jspWetFeet
www.wetfeet.com.auAce The case
www.acethecase.com
 
 The Case Study Page 3© Careers and Employment, Swinburne University of Technology, 2007
Sample Case Questions
1. Fromwww.acethecase.com
 

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