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CONSULTING INTERVIEW PREPARATION

Portions of this presentation are based on previous presentations by A.T. Kearney, Deloitte Consulting and PricewaterhouseCoopers. These presentations were part of the Kelley School of Business, Management Consulting Academy Case Interview Workshops (originally prepared by Dr. Idie Kesner)

Dr. Paul N. Friga - 2008

This work is under the direction of Dr. Paul N. Friga

Whats Our Agenda?


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Describe Interview Types


Behavioral Interviews Case Interviews

Why Case Interviews?


Tests Skills

Basics of Case Interviews


General Approach Dos and Donts Standard Methodologies Case Interview Categories Sample Case Interviews Sample Categories

What is a behavioral interview?


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The purpose of a behavioral interview is to review an individuals qualifications and to assess his/her fit with the company. The questions posed are designed to allow the interviewer to assess the candidate on the following dimensions:
(1) Skills and abilities (e.g., leadership and teamwork skills, communication skills, knowledge and analytical skills), (2) Relevant work experiences, and (3) Personality (e.g., maturity, enthusiasm, confidence)

Interview Types

What are typical behavioral questions?


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Why did you choose Indiana University? Is Indiana University what you expected? Why or why not? Why did you choose your major(s)? Why did you leave your job to go back for an MBA? (if international student) Why did you choose to come to the U.S. for your MBA and why now? (if with a job for a short period of time) Why were you with xxx for such a short period of time? (if have a time gap on resume) What were you doing during the gap between mm/yy and mm/yy? What did you learn from your former career that you think will help you in consulting? (if 2nd year student) What surprised you about your internship experience? Why are you interested in consulting? Why do you think you will make a good consultant? Why are you interested in our firm? What area of our firm are you most interested, and why?
Interview Types

What are typical behavioral questions?


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What is your greatest victory or biggest accomplishment? What is your greatest defeat? What is your greatest strength? What is your greatest weakness or area requiring improvement/ development? What three words would your former boss use to describe you? How would you define your leadership style? Based on your work and educational experiences, what are the top 3 lessons youve learned about motivating people? Give an example of a project when you were assigned responsibility for the project, but where the objectives were vague or unclear. How did you handle the situation? Give an example of a time when you faced resistance when it came time to implement a particular solution or implement a particular change. How would you handle this resistance? Describe a time when you had to persuade a superior that you had the right idea. Describe a time when you provided constructive feedback to someone. What was the feedback? How was it delivered? What did you learn from the situation? Who is the most difficult person youve ever worked with/for? What made him/her difficult to work with? How did you handle the situation?
Interview Types

What are typical behavioral questions?


6 Give an example of a project when you assumed a leadership role. What lesson did you learn about leadership from this example? Describe a time when you had to define the scope of a project . Describe a time when you had to evaluate a project mid-term. Describe a time when you had to accelerate a solution to a problem you encountered at work. Tell me about a time when you went the extra mile but it wasnt really your responsibility? Give an example of a time when you had to use out-of-the-box-thinking to solve a problem. Or, describe what you would consider your most creative idea or solution. Give an example of a time when you stuck your foot in your mouth. How did you handle the situation? What was the most challenging goal you ever set for yourself? How did you go about achieving it? What do you do to celebrate your successes? Do you have any questions for me? (be sure to have at least 3 excellent questions which pertain specifically to that firm!)
Interview Types

What are typical behavioral questions?

Expect possible questions that require out-of-the-box thinking!

Interview Types

General tips for behavioral interviews


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Make sure everything on your resume is explainable


Look for items that would raise eyebrows (e.g., frequent job switches; confusing or inconsistent dates; mismatch between academic major and internship) and make sure you have good answers ready to go.

Consider responding in groups of three


When responding to open ended questions, listing 3 items will often keep the length of your response in the right range not too long or too short (e.g., 3 reasons you think youd make a good consultant; 3 reasons you want to work for a particular firm; 3 reasons you want to get into consulting). Before the interview learn about the firm; be able to show were you fit and why you are a good fit.

Do your homework about the firm Dont overuse any one example

Try to find multiple examples to answer different questions rather than going back to the same example over and over again. Be relaxed but not too casual; show a good sense of humor but not be flippant; be enthusiastic but not bouncing off the walls. Come prepared to ask several intelligent questions that show your knowledge of the company and the industry.

Balance your style/mood

Be prepared for the end game

Interview Types

What is a case interview?


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In a case interview, the interviewer provides a brief case description (either in written or oral form). The description is typically of a business situation, and the purpose is to test the candidates ability to do the following:
Quickly assimilate and structure a problem Efficiently collect and evaluate the relevancy of data Assemble a logical and coherent solution Articulate findings in a concise, persuasive manner
Interview Types

Why use case interviews ?


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Offer snapshot of consulting engagements Simulate the communication between a client and a consultant as they approach a problem Identify how a candidate will deal with the variety of challenges on a consulting engagement Answer the question: Do I want to staff this candidate on my project?
Why a Case?

Case interviews evaluate more than functional & technical skills


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Skill
Interpersonal & other soft skills Communication skills Organizational skills

Key Questions
Is the candidate relaxed and confident? Is the candidate mature? Does the candidate demonstrate poise? Is there a good fit? Is the candidate engaging? Is the candidate a good listener? Is the candidate asking insightful, clarifying questions? Is the candidate good at organizing the information provided? Is the candidate good at developing a framework for analyzing the information? Is the candidate stating assumptions clearly?

Is the candidate comfortable discussing the multifunctional aspects of Strategic thinking & problem solving skills the case? Is the candidate examining the organizational and cultural issues as well as the functional and strategic? Is the candidate approaching the problem at the right level of detail? Creativity Analytical skills Is the candidate thinking creatively? Is the candidate demonstrating analytical horsepower? Is the candidate comfortable with complex, unstructured and ambiguous problems?
Why a Case?

The Basics of Case Interviews


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1 3 5

General Approach

Dos and Donts

2 4 6

Standard Methodologies

Specific Frameworks

Sample Categories

Sample Cases

Summary/Q&A

Key Components of a Case Interview


13 Listen to Case Interviewee Activity
Listen Ask questions Break problem into logical parts Propose solution Apply framework to test solution Summarize results

Clarify Problem

Decomp ose Problem

Hypothes ize

Test Hypothe sis

Summari ze Findings

Relative Amount of Information Sharing

Interviewer Interviewee

Source: Accenture (01)

Case Basics

Approach case questions logically


14 Listen to the Case Get the facts straight Summarize key points Clarify Major Issues Restate problem(s) Ask clarifying questions Organize the issues

Apply Appropriate Framework Use appropriate framework to organize analysis & response Develop one or more hypotheses for each issue

Reformulate hypothesis or move to your next hypothesis

Ask key questions to validate or invalidate each hypothesis

Summarize Tell the story Identify insight Make recommendations & identify issues/next steps
Case Basics

Approach case questions logically


15 Listen to the Case Get the facts straight Summarize key points Clarify Major Issues Restate problem(s) Ask clarifying questions Organize the issues Apply Appropriate Framework Use appropriate framework to organize analysis & response

Develop one or more hypotheses for each issue Reformulate hypothesis or move to your next hypothesis Ask key questions to validate or invalidate each hypothesis

Summarize Tell the story Identify insight Make recommendations & identify issues/next steps
Case Basics

Approach case questions logically


16 Listen to the Case Get the facts straight Summarize key points Clarify Major Issues Restate problem(s) Ask clarifying questions Organize the issues

Apply Appropriate Framework Use appropriate framework to organize analysis & response

Develop one or more hypotheses for each issue Reformulate hypothesis or move to your next hypothesis Ask key questions to validate or invalidate each hypothesis

Case Basics

Summarize Tell the story Identify insight Make recommendations & identify issues/next steps

Approach case questions logically


17 Listen to the Case Get the facts straight Summarize key points Clarify Major Issues Restate problem(s) Ask clarifying questions Organize the issues Apply Appropriate Framework Use appropriate framework to organize analysis & response

Common Mistakes Not listening Not understanding the objective Moving too quickly into fact finding Success Keys to Understand the question Structure the problem & organize the given data into a meaningful framework

Develop one or more hypotheses for each issue Reformulate hypothesis or move to your next hypothesis Ask key questions to validate or invalidate each hypothesis

Summarize Tell the story Identify insight Make recommendations & identify issues/next steps
Case Basics

Approach case questions logically


18 Listen to the Case Get the facts straight Summarize key points Common Mistakes Moving to an answer too quickly Failing to ask specific questions Incomplete data gathering Failing to display logic Keys to Success State assumptions Start at a high level Keep objective in mind Be thorough and organized
Case Basics

Clarify Major Issues Restate problems Ask clarifying question(s) Organize the issues

Apply Appropriate Framework Use appropriate framework to organize analysis & response

Develop one or more hypotheses for each issue Reformulate hypothesis or move to your next hypothesis Ask key questions to validate or invalidate each hypothesis

Summarize Tell the story Identify insight Make recommendations & identify issues/next steps

Approach case questions logically


19 Listen to the Case Get the facts straight Summarize key points
Common Mistakes Losing sight of original question Providing inadequate solution Failing to summarize Failing to link solution to data gathering Keys to Success Strive to answer the question Organize data to support arguments Be as thorough as possible Follow with game plan for open issues

Clarify Major Issues Restate problems Ask clarifying question(s) Organize the issues

Apply Appropriate Framework Use appropriate framework to organize analysis & response

Develop one or more hypotheses for each issue Reformulate hypothesis or move to your next hypothesis Ask key questions to validate or invalidate each hypothesis

Summarize Tell the story Identify insight Make recommendations & identify issues/next steps

Case Basics

Approach case questions logically


20 Listen to the Case Get the facts straight Summarize key points Clarify Major Issues Restate problems Ask clarifying question(s) Organize the issues

Apply Appropriate Framework Use appropriate framework to organize analysis & response

Framework
Issue Key Questions Hypothesis Develop one or more hypotheses for each issue Reformulate hypothesis or move to your next hypothesis Ask key questions to validate or invalidate each hypothesis

Conclusion

Summarize Tell the story Identify insight Make recommendations & identify issues/next Case Basicssteps

Structure analysis around issues and hypotheses


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Business situation/client objective Issue Issue Issue

Sub issue
Output Output

Sub issue
Output

Sub issue

Sub issue
Output

Sub issue
Output Output

Output

Output

Output

Work from high to low level


Case Basics

Identify key questions to test your hypotheses


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Issue

Hypothesis Key Question Hypothesis Key Question

Hypothesis Key Question Hypothesis

Hypothesis Key Question

Key Question
Case Basics

The Basics of Case Interviews


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1 3 5

General Approach

Dos and Donts

2 4 6

Standard Methodologies

Specific Frameworks

Sample Categories

Sample Cases

Tips for case interviewing


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Do
Raise cross-functional issues Adopt CEO (or top executives) perspective Consider tangibles (e.g., financial considerations) & intangibles (e.g., organizational and cultural issues) Challenge conventions Lead to insight and resolution Stay in focused
Case Basics

Dont
Force fit a standard framework Speak before thinking carefully Rely on finding a silver bullet Use buzz words Waste time on topics not related to the question

Use the case interview as an opportunity to send the signal that you are
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Resourceful Results orientation Analytical & logical Enthusiastic (high energy level) Flexible (not overly rigid) Creative Inquisitive (eager to learn)

Confident (without being arrogant) Positive (vs. negative) Poised under pressure (not easily rattled or distracted) Able to learn from adversity

Can I put this candidate in front of my client? Can this candidate own a complex problem and deliver results?
Case Basics

The Basics of Case Interviews


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1 3 5

General Approach

Dos and Donts

2 4 6

Standard Methodologies

Specific Frameworks

Sample Categories

Sample Cases

Standard methodology: Cost/revenue framework


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Profit Revenue Cost

Quantity

Price Price discrimination Changes in pricing structure Viability of pricing over time Discounts or couponing Competitors pricing

)(

Fixed Capital equipment Land Buildings

Variable Labor Materials Energy

Customer segmentation New/existing Loyal/switchers Channel restrictions or temporary disturbances Changing consumer demands

Case Basics

Standard methodology: The Four Cs


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Market Positioning Of XYZ Company

Costs Break down the companys cost structure Fixed Variable Estimate the competitors cost structure Understand trends in cost structures

Customers Segment the companys customer base New/existing Loyal/switchers Examine company profitability by segment How much do they purchase? At what price?

Competitors Identify major competitors Traditional Unexpected substitutes What are the competitors strengths and weaknesses Profits Costs Investigate market share

Channels Identify relative channel leverage Sources of advantage Sustainability Impact of channel strategies on market positioning

Case Basics

Standard methodology: The Four Ps


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Product What are the products differentiating attributes? Why does the consumer purchase this product? Place (Distribution) How is the product distributed to consumers? What new methods of distribution are coming available? Promotion What advertising medium is used to sell the product? What is the most effective method of getting the word out? Price How is this product priced? How are its competitors priced?

Unique packaging Superior cleaning power Affinity marketing cool people drink XX

Retail store Warehouse store, Sams Club Mail order Internet/electronic distribution

Newspaper versus TV versus radio ads Retail placement aisle-end displays New media?

Value pricing/ Every Day Low Price Premium pricing Price discrimination

How effective is this products marketing campaign?


Case Basics

Standard methodology: Porters Five Forces Analysis


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Barriers To Entry Economies of scale Capital costs Cost advantage of existing competitors Barriers to exit Patents Supplier Power Number and size of suppliers Switching costs/product differentiation Availability of substitutes Possibility of forward integration Intensity of Market Rivalry Number and size of competitors Industry growth rate Product differentiation factors Industry margins/pricing Buyer Power Significance of the purchase relative to cost structure Switching costs Purchase volume Threat of backward integration

Threat of Substitutes Relative price/value of the substitute compared to industrys product Cost of switching to substitute Buyers propensity to switch Case Basics

Standard Methodologies:5 Forces+


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Power of suppliers

Power of buyers Should we enter xxx (new market)? Entry barriers

Economic factors

Threat of substitutes

Political/Legal/Governmental Factors Technological Factors Social/Demographic Factors Geographic/Environmental Factors Note: Start with the factors that are most important and those with which you feel most comfortable Case Basics

Intensity of rivalry

Standard methodology: 6 Factor Analyses


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Economic Factors Political/Legal/Governmental Market Financial

Market/Competitive

Technological

Competition

Client Capabilities

Social/Demographic

Geographic/Environmental

Customers

Cost Structure

External Environmental Analysis 6 Factor Model


Case Basics

Deloitte Consulting 6 Factor Model

Standard methodology: 7S
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Shared Values Styles Systems

Strategy

Staff Skill

Structure

Case Basics

The Basics of Case Interviews


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1 3 5

General Approach

Dos and Donts

2 4 6

Standard Methodologies

Specific Frameworks

Sample Categories

Sample Cases

Why use frameworks?


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Facilitate a mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive analysis of the issues Provide structure to your analysis, communication, and summary Highlight gaps that need investigation Promote identification of important insights Help you move logically & rationally through the case

Case Basics

Case Interview Frameworks - Overview


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Determine Key Issue(s) Develop Hypotheses Gather Data / Test Hypotheses Refine Answer Develop Options Make Recommendation

As the interviewer describes the situation, think about what are the key issues facing general managment Develop hypotheses Decide what data you need to better understand the issues Listen to the facts Evaluate which facts are critical to the key issues Probe for more detail in critical areas Use facts and numbers appropriate in building argument Summarize options before making recommendation State pros and cons - be fact driven Make your recommendation Case Basics

Case Interview Frameworks


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There is no golden rule, more than one framework may be applicable Use an appropriate framework Do not force a framework Be hypotheses driven Be prepared to revise your hypotheses Mutually Exclusive and Collectively Exhaustive (MECE) Listen for clues from the interviewer Accept direction from the interviewer Display your thinking visually / graphically Be transparent in your analysis Leave time to summarize and make recommendations

Using Frameworks

Case Basics

Case Interview Frameworks


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The Three Cs The Four Ps Porters Five Forces (+govt.) Supply & Demand The Profit Equation Internal - External NPV Analysis

Some General Frameworks

Dont be afraid to create your own framework, as long as it is logical, appropriate and transparent to the interviewer.
Case Basics

Specific Case Interview Frameworks


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Determine The Key Drivers Bottom Up or Top Down?

Make Assumptions

Market Sizing

Calculate Use Round Numbers! Common sense check!

Analyze Results Implications?

Increasing Factors

Decreasing Factors

Adjust Answer

Adjust Answer

Case Basics

Specific Case Interview Frameworks


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What's Driving the Decline?

Declining Profits

Gather Information

Analyze Using Profit Equation

Revenues

Expenses

Price

Volume

Product Mix

Fixed Costs

Variable Costs

Unusual Expenses

Decreasing Comp. pressure?

Decrease

Increase

Selling Less Profitable Items

- Added Capacity?

- Raw Material Prices

- Writeoffs - Lawsuits

- Market Conditions - Competition

Higher Marg. Costs - Org. Dysfunction - Overtime

Case Basics

Specific Case Interview Frameworks


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Increase Profitability
Revenues COGS SG&A

Price

Unit Volume

Direct Material

Direct Labor

Variable O/H

Price Sensitivity - Elasticity

Existing Market - Promotion - Place

Scale Economies /Diseconomies - Supply Constraints

Replace w/machines - Union?

Cost Acctg. - Allocation Drivers - Does pricing reflect Cost

Competitive Environ. - Substitutes

New Markets - Geographic - Economies of Scope

Inventory Mgmt. - Carrying Costs - Shrinkage

Can we explore economies of scope with entry into adjacent industry?


Case Basics

Specific Case Interview Frameworks


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Should We Increase Capacity?

Increase Capacity
Investment vs. Improvement

Market Demand

Industry Capacity

Market Trends

Improve Productivity

Add Capacity

Competitors Plans

Threats

Cyclical / Seasonal Economy

Bottlenecks Design for manuf.

Add shifts Acquire Outsource

Global Competition Consumer tastes Substitutes

Case Basics

Specific Case Interview Frameworks


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Customer Turnover
What Has Changed in the Following Environments? Company Customer Competition Regulatory

Product Is quality sagging?

Tastes changing?

Are low cost competitors stealing from us?

Do new tax incentives exist?

Price Have sensitivities changed? Overpriced versus our competition? Place Is our distribution getting squeezed out? Are Customers Changing Channels? Promotion Are we spending? Push vs. pull? Has public image changed?

Disposable income?

Are diffentiated competitors stealing from us?

Any new regulations restricting the use of our product and favoring substitues?

Demographics of our target?

Are competitors integrating into distribution and shutting us out? Are they offering our customers special incentives to switch? (particularly with substitutes)

Do new substitutes exist?

Case Basics

Specific Case Interview Frameworks


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Competitive Response
Customer - What do they want? - How do they choose? Competitor - Where are we positioned? - Where is the competition? Company - How do we add value?

Values/Tastes

Price Sensitivity

Purchasing Habits

Product Place

Resources to respond?

Business relationships

Susbsitutes Demographic changes New customers?

Disposable income Mature market?

Distribution channel Price Bundled product? Promotion Normal good?

Cost structure Tangible Intangible Finances

Distributor Vendor Customer

Given the above, is it worth making a competitive response? How will the competition react? Applying game theory or PARTS analysis may help.
Case Basics

Specific Case Interview Frameworks


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New Product Information


Customer Does product met a need? Competition Is there any? Company Can we do it?

Product Have we done homework? What does the segment want? Proliferation of products already? Price Have we explored sensitivity? Can we make a profit at this price?

Yes

No

Finance Are we able to finance the launch? Should we buy an existing producer?

Many

Few

Are there barriers to entry?

Will we be first movers?

Operations D0 we have capacity? Supply network?

Is market growing? Promotion Push or Pull? Cost of launch? Will current promotions help? Place Is distribution aligned with customer? Are we experienced in this channel?

What wil be the strategy? Low cost or Differentiated?

Yes Can we beat them?

Any precious resource that we own? (Ricardian rents)

Can we eat the young?

No Can we erect some?

Marketing Will we cannibalize existing products? Is this a complement / bundled good Does it build on resources?

Case Basics

Specific Case Interview Frameworks


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Internal External Quantitative Doesit match our growth strategy? - ROE/ROI Cultural Differences of Customers - Tastes / product preferences - Values / gender roles Methods of Conducting Business - Introductions - Government contacts Educational Differences ROI / Hurdle Rate

Alliance with local firm? - Joint venture/distributor

Cash Flows

Can our resources succeed overseas? - Flexible enough to adapt?

Amount

Is organization consistent with overseas 'autonomy'

Economy & Exchange Rates

Timing - Startup / disposition - Operating Discount Rate

Corporate Values - Bribery W orker's conditions / child labor

Seasonality - W eather

International Expansion

Distribution system - Transportation infrastructure - Different channels Political Climate - Instability

Local Market - Size - Competition

Case Basics

Specific Case Interview Frameworks


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Investment Decision

Investment Decision
Other Factors

NPV Analysis

Useful Life

Cash Flows

Discount Rate

Strategic Fit

Synergies

Environmental

Political

Competitors

Timing - Opportunity Cost

- Risk Free Rate - Inflation - Risk Adjust

- Missing Links of Value Chain

- Seasonality - Volatility - Inflation Demand Cycle

Stability Regulation

- Current Supply Potential Demand

Size - Market Potential - Outflows - Working Capital

Case Basics

Specific Case Interview Frameworks


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Understand Purpose Diversification? Gain Market Share? Geographic Expansion?

Company Acquisition

Analyze Opportunity

Internal Factors

External Factors

Strategic Objective

Strengths & Weaknesses

Industry Attractiveness

Identify Acquisition Candidates

Resources

Acquisition Fit Porter's Five Forces Three C's Soft Issues - Culture/Fit - Management Hard Issues - Price - Balance Sheet

Case Basics

Specific Case Interview Frameworks


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Two Options Both Designed to Raise the Value of the Company

Hostile Takeover Defense

Self-Help

White Knight

Are We Highly Levered? (Relative to the Industry)

Classic M&A Is there a Firm That...

Yes

No

Has Financial Strength Strategic Compatability

Do We Have Cash?

Issue Debt, Buy Back Stock Cultural Fit

Yes Then Buy Back Stock to Raise Stock Price

No Can We Release Good News to Raise Stock Price?

Case Basics

If all else fails & no frameworks comes to mind?


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Consider simple dichotomous frameworks


Profit-Loss Revenue-Cost Supply-Demand Internal-External Strengths-Weaknesses Variable Costs-Fixed Costs

Design your own framework Use 2x2 matrices Rely on basic financial statement
Incomes statement Balance sheet Cash flow statement
Case Basics

The Basics of Case Interviews


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1 3 5

General Approach

Dos and Donts

2 4 6

Standard Methodologies

Specific Frameworks

Sample Categories

Sample Cases

What are the basic categories of cases used in interviewing?


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Business Function and Strategy


New product introductions Marketing problems Alliance opportunities Response to changing regulations E-commerce or technology requirements

Other
Sizing Brain teasers Wild card

Most common

Case Basics

The Basics of Case Interviews


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1 3 5

General Approach

Dos and Donts

2 4 6

Standard Methodologies

Specific Frameworks

Sample Categories

Sample Cases

Industry analysis case studies


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Examples
A group of investors is considering building a 40,000-seat concert pavilion in the Northwest suburbs. What factors should they consider? A manufacturer of automotive batteries is losing market share and profitability is eroding. What should the company do? A national provider of in-home health care services is considering purchasing a regional managed care facility with 250 physicians. What factors should our client consider in making this decision? A leading manufacturer of automobiles is considering acquiring a national rental car company. What factors are important in this decision?
Case Basics

Industry analysis case studies Key Points to explore


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Market
Competition

Customer/supplier relations

Barriers to entry/exit

Financials

Market size and segmentation Analyze product demand/trends Customer requirements Analyze competitive economics Determine levels of Product differentiation Market integration Industry concentration Evaluate negotiation power Identify substitutes Assess vertical integration Evaluate companies entering/exiting Determine competitor reaction to new entrant Analyze economies of scale Predict learning curve Research government regulations Identify key financials Evaluate potential ROI Assess risk factors of industry Determine fixed and variable costs

Case Basics

Market expansion case studies


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Examples
U.S. domestic express package company; both air and ground transport capability. Over $7 billion in revenue. Highly profitable. European company suggests they form an alliance to provide service between the U.S. and Europe. Should the client enter the international market? If so, what should the clients strategy be? How should revenues be split? European manufacturer of confectionery products wants to enter the U.S. market with premium product line. Should the client consider entering the U.S. market? A national retailer has approached our client, a manufacturer of fast-moving consumer products, and asked them to consider manufacturing a private label product line for them. The manufacturer is burdened with excess manufacturing capacity, so the proposal looks attractive. What factors should management consider in making the decision?
Case Basics

Market expansion case studies Key points to explore


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Size of market
Understand competitors

Identify data sources for market size Understand growth trends Identify current service providers Evaluate strengths/weaknesses Estimate competitors cost structure Identify key customer segments and respective needs Identify gaps in current services Discuss cost-benefit trade-offs Identify clients strengths and weaknesses Compare client capability to competition Understand clients cost structure Determine potential competitive advantages Project expected revenue and costs Estimate capital expenditures Perform sensitivity analyses

Analyze customer needs

Assess clients capabilities

Understand economics

Case Basics

Profitability case studies


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Examples
The U.S. subsidiary of a French spring water bottler is experiencing a drop in profits. Why? A Japanese automotive components (brakes, shocks, struts) manufacturer with a 12% share of the U.S. market is experiencing declining profits. 20% of the products are shipped in from Japan and 80% are manufactured in U.S. facilities. What might be causing the decline and what actions should be taken? A company makes Stairmasters, treadmills, etc. to sell to health clubs. How can profits be increased? Your client is a consumer products company. The board wants to know if its advertising campaign for their new brand of chips has been successful. How would you evaluate the campaigns performance?
Case Basics

Profitability case studies Key points to explore


59 Costs Fixed and variable Labor costs Suppliers Materials Customers Price sensitivity Segmentation Cost-benefit trade-off Competition Pricing Capacity Basis of differentiation Channels Relative leverage Market segmentation Strategy
Case Basics

Plant utilization Quality Economies of scale Distribution

Pricing case studies


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Examples
Your client is a concert pavilion. Revenues at performances are declining. Given the concert pavilions goal is to maximize exposure while covering costs, what should be done? An inventor of a new athletic shoe wants to know: (1) What the market is for his shoe, and (2) how to price it. What steps should be taken? How should a major retailer price its services in the electronic and appliance service business?

Case Basics

Pricing case studies Key points to explore


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Identify the type of market Monopoly Oligopoly Perfect competition Issues to address Consider what the market will bear Think about the long-term effects of pricing decisions Think how the competition will respond to changes in pricing What is the elasticity of demand? Consider the consumers sensitivity to price changes Consider methods to create price discrimination Consider using strategic tactics such as creating loss leaders or traffic builders

Case Basics

Investment cases
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Examples
A German manufacturer of consumer products is considering opening a manufacturing facility in Poland to meet Eastern Europes growing demand for its products. What factors should the company consider? A Midwest-based pharmaceutical company is considering opening distribution warehouses on the West Coast to handle the growing Western territory. What factors should it consider? An automotive manufacturer is considering consolidating three of its East Coast assembly plants into one location. What factors should it consider? A company of chocolate and confectionery products is considering acquiring a regional soft drink manufacturer. Are the distribution synergies sufficient enough to justify an acquisition?

Case Basics

Investment cases Key points to explore


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Sustainability of profits in segment Market size and dynamics Competitive position Product differentiation and standards Price dynamics Distribution of costs

Case Basics

Market sizing & general sizing cases


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Examples
How many gas stations are there in the U.S. ? How many cars drive across the Golden Gate Bridge each day? How many real estate agents are there in the U.S.? What is the annual worldwide demand for insulin? What will be the demand for treadmills in the U.S. in 2030? How many Diet Cokes does United Airlines serve in 1 year on its airplanes? How many golf balls can you fit in a Boeing 747? How many dollar bills does it take to circle the Earth?
Case Basics

Market sizing & general sizing cases Key Points to explore


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Maintain your cool Demonstrate that you feel comfortable with numbers Round numbers to make mental calculations easy; use pen & paper if you need them to keep track of estimates State your assumptions & be resourceful in the way you use information Use a structured approach (bottom up or top down) Feel free to ask lots of questions Have some ballpark numbers you can use to get the process started

Case Basics

Wild card case studies & brain teasers


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Examples
Whats a good R-squared? What do you think about todays WSJ article on the merger between A & B? You are a hunter. You exit your house with a rifle, walk 1 mile south, 1 mile west, and shoot a bear. Then, you walk 1 mile northeast back home. What color was the bear? I have three coins in my pocket. One is 2-headed and the other 2 are fair coins. I reach into my pocket and pull out one and place it on the table. What are the odds of it being a head. Draw the decision tree for this. I have two 8 ounce glasses; 1 contains wine and the other contains water. I take 1 teaspoon from the wine glass and stir it into the water glass. I take 1 teaspoon out of the water glass and stir it into the wine glass. What are the proportions of wine-to-water in each glass?

Case Basics

Wild card case studies & brain teasers Key Points to explore
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Maintain your cool When analyzing a true wildcard, demonstrate that you can think out-of-the-box When analyzing a more traditional mathematical problem, demonstrate you knowledge of statistics & probability In all cases, demonstrate your problem solving logic

Case Basics

Final case interviewing hints


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Listen carefully to the complete problem and take notes. Ask for clarification on any points or terms you dont understand (e.g., industry specific jargon) Take a moment to collect your thoughts and organize the information Make subtle use of frameworks throughout the process (e.g., to organize information, to ask questions, and top summarize your response) State your assumptions and give the interviewer an overview of the big picture Focus on demonstrating appropriate skills and thought processes, not just right answers (walk the interviewer through the process)
Case Basics

Final case interviewing hints


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Work through your answers starting with the most important concepts & concepts you understand best Approach your answer from a multifunctional or cross-functional perspective (unless direct otherwise) Adopt perspective of CEO (unless directed otherwise) Ask insightful follow-up questions Dont circle around; get to the point Drive toward conclusions & summarize at the end If you are interrupted, make sure you can get yourself back on track after the diversion
Case Basics

Final case interviewing hints


70

Introduction/background Behavioral questions Case(s)


Scenario review Clarification & organization Probing questions & hypothesis testing Conclusions

5 minutes 0-5 minutes 20-40 minutes

End questions
Case Basics

0-15 minutes

Final case interviewing hints


71

Manage your time Take a moment at the end to mention other things you would have liked to have covered if time had permitted Respond to cues from the interviewer (body language and verbal comments) Use good communication skills Be confident and relaxed Practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, and then practice some more!

Case Basics

Landing a Job in Consulting CPR

Codified Research Practice Case Interviews Reach Out in Person


Websites of key consulting firms Vault.com and wetfeetpress (on the industry, cases and firms) as well as case books (e.g. bschool jobs, Case in Point, etc.) KFBS Consulting Club slide decks and case books from other schools 100 - Alone, (yes 100) read the case, sketch the issue tree (with hypotheses) and check the answer (& modify) 25 Peer interviews with classmates (through the consulting club) 2 with faculty 2 with alumni (and more with case coaches that the consulting firms may offer to help you)

Attend firm presentations to learn about culture and meet folks Keep careful records of contact information and firm research Contact any friends and acquaintances who work or used to work at the firms Discuss your approach with the CMC, faculty and alumni The goal is to get to know the inside feel of a firm and whether it seems right for you!

Dr. Paul N. Friga - 2008