Secrets to a successful case-study interview

January 09, 2023

Secrets to a successful case-study interview

Prepping for (and maybe fretting) the case-study interview?

While this kind of interview may appear intimidating, consider this: The interviewer really wants you to do well.

So, shake off the nerves, relax and have fun.

Tips for standing out in the case-study interview: 

  • Take your time; don't rush it.  Talk through the problem. If you can't make sense of it, take a moment and allow yourself some time to process what you've been missing. If you get stuck, get creative. Don't let yourself get bogged down; rely on your ingenuity. 
  • Ask questions.  You can always ask your interviewer to define an acronym or to repeat or confirm details. If the interviewer asks, “How do we achieve success?”, don’t be afraid to ask, “What does ‘success’ mean to you? Is it turning a profit? Raising the company’s profile?” When you work on a client project, you need to ask questions to figure out what the problems might be, and the same applies here. The interviewer is your biggest asset in the room. They have the information you need to “solve the case” successfully. Use them wisely!
  • Be flexible.  The focus of a case-study interview may vary. So, be prepared to participate in whatever discussion the interviewer has in mind. They may spend the first half of the interview asking about your previous experience, or they may dive right into the case study at the start. The bottom line: Be flexible, and be ready to discuss the work you do and how you do it.
  • Use visual aids.  Don’t be afraid to use pen and paper, sketch out your thoughts, and talk through the problem at hand if it helps you get your ideas across. What matters most is demonstrating that you can solve problems.
  • Focus on impact.  Inventory the information you have, and then dive in where you can have the most impact. Don’t forget to discuss your thought process and explain your assumptions.
  • Tell a story.  Your experience has helped you progress in your career and education; use that experience. For example, in a business case study, you could bring your experience as a traveler to a case about a hypothetical airline. Your individuality is important. Your unique insights will serve you well when you’re interviewing.
  • Pay attention to cues.  If the interviewer says something, it probably means something. Don’t dismiss seemingly extraneous details. For example, the interviewer might say, “The case is about a retailer who wants to increase the value of a company it purchased, and the owner loved the brand when growing up.” The purpose of that detail is to indicate that turning around and selling the asset is not an option for making it profitable, because the owner is attached to it.

Preparing for the job you want can take time, but it’s a worthwhile investment—especially when you receive an offer.

Your ideas, ingenuity and determination make a difference. 

Find your fit  with Accenture. 

Get the latest stories delivered to your inbox by selecting “Life at Accenture.”

Anaam Zamorano


Career in Consulting

interview case study tips

16 Case Interview Tips

In this article, you’ll find 16 case interview tips to help you land a job in Consulting. 

All interviews with top consulting firms are divided into 3 parts: the fit interview, the case interview, and the opportunity for the candidate to ask questions. 

During a case interview, the interviewer asks you to solve a complex problem in as little as 30 minutes… while carefully scrutinizing every word you say or analysis you do. 

And here is the blunt truth: less than 3% of candidates manage to get a lucrative consulting job offer.  

But I’ve got good news : this article below shows you 16 case interview tips that will help you be one of those successful candidates.

Let’s get right into those 16 case interview tips now! 

Before your interviews: optimize your preparation with these 8 case interview tips:

  • #1 – Understand the assessment criteria
  • #2 – Develop your (structured) problem-solving skills
  • #3 – Develop your analytical skills
  • #4 – Develop your business acumen
  • #5 – Develop your communication skills
  • #6 – Learn this concept of Finance
  • #7 – Practice with a focus on quality, not quantity
  • #8 – Practice with (ex) Consultants

During your interviews: ace the case study with these 8 case interview tips:

  • #9 – Communicate your thought process
  • #10 – Be (extremely) structured
  • #11 – Think about the Big Picture
  • #12 – Demonstrate business judgment
  • #13 – Take time to think
  • #14 – Make accurate calculations
  • #15 – Use ‘educated guesses‘ when concrete data is not provided
  • #16 – Keep clean and organized notes

Before your interviews: Optimize Your Prep With These 8 Case Interview Tips

Case interview tip #1 - understand the assessment criteria.

There are 4 skills assessed during case interviews. 

Case interview tips: the 4 skills assessed during case interviews

First, your interviewers will assess your problem-solving skills .

Specifically, they want to test your ability to break down a complex problem into smaller and easier-to-manage pieces.

In other words: that’s your capacity to create a MECE issue tree, which is your roadmap to solve the problem. 

For instance, here is the evaluation form used by one of the MBB to assess a candidate’s problem-solving skills:

Case interview tips: structured Problem Solving

Secondly, your interviewers will assess your analytical skills . 

Here, they want to test your ability to analyze a large amount of information and derive useful insights from those analyses (the ‘so what?’). 

For instance, here is the evaluation form used by one of the MBB to assess a candidate’s quantitative skills:

Case interview tips: quantitative skills

Thirdly, your interviewers will assess your communication skills .

Particularly, they want to test if you can express your points clearly and concisely.

Because, as a Consultant, you will do a lot of presentations on different and somehow complex topics. 

For instance, here is the evaluation form used by one of the MBB to assess a candidate’s communication skills:

Case interview tips: communication skills

Lastly, your interviewers will assess your business acumen .

Specifically, they want to test your ability to conduct a thoughtful discussion about business issues.

Can you recognize which issues should be prioritized?

Do you offer practical solutions?

Can you think of the implications of a business fact or information?

Those are some sample questions that your interviewers will ask themselves.

For instance, here is the evaluation form used by one of the MBB to assess a candidate’s business acumen:

Case interview tips: business judgment

Now, let’s see some examples of questions that can be asked in case interviews to test those skills.

Example of questions asked to test the 4 skills

In the next 4 sections of this article, we will look at how to best develop each of these 4 skills before your case interviews . 

But before we discuss how to develop those 4 skills, be careful:

It takes time to master those skills and meet the expectations of top consulting firms.

That’s why I recommend starting your prep early.

Ideally, you should start your case interview prep 3 months before your interviews.

However, you can be case-interview-ready in as little as 4 weeks if you have a well-structured plan . 

Now, let’s see the second of the 16 case interview tips. 

Related article : 11 must-know frameworks to ace your case interviews

Case interview tip #2 - Develop your (structured) problem-solving skills

Consultants consider themselves as professional problem solvers.

This means that they don’t solve a problem by jumping randomly from one analysis to another. 

Instead, they approach every problem in a structured way. 

To do so, they use several problem-solving techniques, including the famous MECE issue trees . 

And, of course, during case interviews, your interviewers will assess your ability to create MECE issue trees.  

So, if you struggle with creating MECE issue trees, you can do the following exercise :

A useful exercise to develop your capacity to create MECE issue trees

Step_#1- Pick up a case from this list

Step_#2- To create your initial structure, write on a piece of paper all the factors that can be a root cause or a solution for the problem. 

This is a brainstorming exercise, so take your time (even 15 minutes is ok) and be as detailed as possible.

Step_#3- When you have a solid list of factors (target minimum 30 different factors), take another piece of paper and organize the factors you found in categories and subcategories . 

Again, take your time. When you organize your ideas into categories, you can find more ideas, which is perfect. 

Step_#4- Repeat this exercise with 10-15 different cases. Then you will see many benefits emerging. 

First, you will need less and less time to find a solid list of ideas. 

Secondly, you should start thinking of the categories and subcategories first (before the detailed ideas). This means that you start thinking top-down (and not bottom-up) about a problem, which is exactly what you must demonstrate during your case interviews.

Now, let’s see the third of the 16 case interview tips.

Case interview tip #3 - Develop your analytical skills

Structuring the case problem well is great, but, to distinguish yourself, you will have to get to the ‘so what?’ ideas in a case . 

That’s why, in this paragraph, I will define analytical skills and show you how to improve yours. 

So, first, what are analytical skills?

In short, your interviewers want to know if you can gather the right information, analyze this information, and form more complex ideas from it. 

In other words: can you turn data into actionable information?

case analysis

Secondly, how to improve your analytical skills?

Here, I’ve listed 5 ways to develop your analytical skills and crack any cases:

#1- Determine the causal relationship between 2 elements

You will impress your interviewer with your analytical skills if you can easily discuss the cause and effect relationship between 2 facts.

For instance: if a new player enters a market (the cause), your client’s market shares might go down (the effect). Another potential effect: their marketing expenses can increase (to protect their market shares).

Attention: you must be able to make a distinction between correlation (the trending of two or more variables in the same direction) and causation (when a trend in one variable causes a trend to occur in one or more other variables).

Thus, for every data and information provided in a case, ask yourself:

  • What’s this data mean for the problem? For my client?
  • What are the implications of this data?

#2- Practice with GMAT questions

You can practice both the verbal and quantitative sections of the GMAT to develop your analytical skills.

And all the questions are good exercises to strengthen your analytical thinking.

#3- Talk about a problem or a situation with other people

Here, the goal is to consider opposing viewpoints.

When analyzing data in case interviews, the best candidates can consider all possible interpretations and are not stuck in one way of thinking.

That’s why, talking with someone else about a problem or a business event can expand your perspective, fix the biases you might have, or deepen your way of thinking.

Also, at the end of a practice session, you can discuss with your case buddy the different ways to approach and solve the case problem.

#4- Learn how to read and interpret data

Before analyzing data, it’s important to correctly read the data provided, whether it’s in a chart, a table, or in a text.

To do so, I recommend reading articles in business newspapers (like The Economist).

For instance, you can see how the article details the data represented in the charts and the conclusions made from these charts.

Also, you can read articles from the websites of McKinsey, BCG, or Bain & Company; these articles have many well-commented charts.

For instance, here is an interesting article to read .

#5- Examine past business decisions

I love reading interviews from CEOs.

Because it’s a gold mine of information.

Especially when an article explains why a CEO made a particular strategic decision.

For your prep, read such interviews and list the facts that led a CEO to make a decision.

Now, let’s see the fourth of the 16 case interview tips.

Case interview tip #4 - Develop your business acumen

‘Thinking business’ should seem natural and almost second nature during your interview. 

Otherwise, having difficulty developing key business insights can indicate that you may struggle on a consulting engagement, leading to rejection. 

One of the useful tactics for learning to ‘think business’ is when you learn about recent business events, try to figure out the (direct and indirect) implications of the event .

For example, imagine that the OPEC nations have decided to restrict the supply of oil. 

A first direct implication can be: gas prices will increase, which means that oil company revenues will increase as well. 

An indirect implication can be: the sales of SUVs will decrease, which means that  Auto companies will be offering more sales promotions on SUVs.

Another indirect implication can be: the use of public transportation will increase.  

And so on… you can think of dozens of other implications. 

If you want to learn more about how to develop your business acumen, contact me.

Case interview tip #5 - Develop your communication skills

This is probably the skill that is the most difficult to hone.

At least, it was for me…

As a Strategy Consultant, you must speak the CEO-level language, which has 3 characteristics:

  • Being concise . A CEO has a busy agenda, so your communication must be sharp and to the point
  • Starting from the high-level message and go into details only if needed . Never start by sharing the nitty-gritty details first.
  • Being structured . Even if Consultants may sound like robots, this is the best way to be understood when presenting solutions to solve a complex problem.

A good starting point to learn how to speak the C-level language, I recommend reading a book named ‘the pyramid principle’ by Barbara Minto.

Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto

She was the first female partner at McKinsey and she defined the concepts behind C-level communication. 

This book is a must-read if you are serious about getting into Consulting. 

Case interview tip #6 - Learn this concept of Finance

You don’t need to have a Master in Finance to be a case interview champion. 

However, having some basic knowledge of Finance can help you solve a case. 

For instance, to determine how to reduce operating expenses, you can use the key components of a P&L (a.k.a. profit and loss statement or income statement) . 

The P&L statement is a financial statement that summarizes the revenues and costs incurred during a specific period (namely a quarter, a semester, or a full year). 

Key financial concept: the Income Statement

Also, the P&L statement provides a clear view of the 4 cost categories that need to be deducted from revenue to calculate the margin.

#1: The costs of manufacturing (or production) : it includes all the costs and expenses directly related to the production of the products or services provided by the company. 

COGS is deducted from revenues (sales) to calculate gross profit and gross margin. Higher COGS results in lower margins.

#2: The costs of selling : Selling expenses include the costs of selling (marketing expenses, salaries of sales staff) and distributing the products.

#3: The costs of administrating : G&A expenses include the costs to manage the company (labor costs for IT, HR, etc. + Rent + Utilities, etc.).

#4: The costs of investing : Depreciation is an accounting convention that allows a company to write off an asset’s value over a period of time, commonly the asset’s useful life. 

Now, let’s go back to our case interview example of how to reduce operating expenses. 

Instead of structuring your cost analysis with the overused Fixed and Variable Costs, you can break down your analysis by using the 4 cost categories above. 

Case interview tip #7 - Practice with a focus on quality, not quantity

You already know this: practice makes perfect. 

But practice makes it permanent too.

In other words, you can develop bad habits. 

Then you can repeat these bad habits during real interviews with a $100k+ job at stake…

Plus, over-practicing can result in mental burn-out and drive your thinking towards frameworks and past cases you’ve seen instead of thinking creatively and independently on the big day.

(That’s the mistake I made when I was first preparing for my interviews)

Thus, here is an exercise you can do to sharpen your case cracking skills without going through 80+ case studies:

Step_#1 – Prepare one case that you’ll give as an interviewer.

Step_#2 – Give this case to at least 10 different people. They will solve the case using different perspectives and approaches.  

Step_#3 – Put together the best practices from your peers to build your approach.

Step_#4 – Repeat the process with another case.   

Also, I recommend creating and maintaining an error log.

In other words: keep track of the mistakes you made and develop a plan to improve your weaknesses . 

Case Interview Error Log

When you review this error log (for instance every week), what kinds of error patterns are you noticing?

Then, your weakest areas must be where you spend the most of your prep time.  

Case interview tip #8 - Practice with (ex) Consultants

Relying solely on other beginners / non-consultants is basically “the blind leading the blind” and may result in unproductive feedback (and rejection).

On the other hand, doing a mock interview with a Consultant have many benefits:

  • Practice with a real, qualitative case interview example
  • Get feedback from an expert and learn how to fix your weaknesses
  • Better understand how do you position yourself against other candidates
  • Feel more confident and better prepared for the big day

Interesting, don’t you think?

So, before the interview, you must build relationships with Consultants at your target firms.

For instance, you can:

  • Attend as many events as possible for the firms that interest you. At these events, talk to as many people as possible to make a good impression.
  • Have a good set of questions to ask firm representatives to show your level of interest in the company.
  • Get the contact information for each person with whom you speak and follow up with an email after the event.
  • Important: always make a positive impression when interacting with company representatives. Assume that all interactions with a firm’s employees can affect your standing.

Finally, I recommend doing mock interviews with Consultants only when you’ve reached an intermediate level.

Feedback from Consultants should be relied upon to sharpen your case cracking skills, not initiate them.

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During Your Interviews: Ace The Case Study With These 8 Case Interview Tips

Case interview tip #9 - communicate your thought process.

This is important:

During your case interviews, the game you’re playing is NOT to find the right answer. 

There is no right or wrong answer.

BCG There is no right or wrong answers

Instead, the game you’re playing is to show your interviewers how you think.

In other words, they want to understand your thinking process . 

Therefore, make sure you always communicate clearly your reasoning and your assumptions. 

Talking through what’s going through your mind (in general terms) can give the interviewer a chance to give you correct information if you’ve got something mixed up or ask follow-up questions to gain more insight about you as a candidate. 

This tip goes for when you’re doing your math, brainstorming, and providing some sort of insights in response to a question .

Finally, as mentioned in the case interview tip #5, read the book named The Pyramid Principle to learn about how to talk like a Consultant. 

Case interview tip #10 - Be (extremely) structured


This is one of the most important case interview tips.

Being structured is the thing you should focus on most from the start of the interview until the end. 

Structure everything from the paper that you take your notes on…to the way you do your initial case issue breakdown…to your setup and execution of the math…to what you say in your final case wrap-up. 

And having a structured approach to everything you do in a case interview is more important than getting the “right” answer to “crack” the case.

For instance, you won’t get an offer if you don’t know how to break down case problems into distinct segments to create a structured roadmap. 

MECE Issue Trees

Also, be sure that your problem components are MECE .

  • Mutually Exclusive : there is no overlap between the issues to be investigated
  • Collectively Exhaustive : all potential issues have been identified and are present in your issue tree

Finally, be creative .

This is pretty self-explanatory, but try not to get bogged down and restricted to the format or ideas that a particular framework might lead you to.

There are many ways to solve a problem and a little creativity may be just what it takes to get you over the top when the interviewers are doing their evaluations.

Case interview tip #11 - Think about the Big Picture

Think about the “Big Picture” whenever you can in your case interviews… don’t dig too deep in the details until you have to. 

Digging too deep early and getting lost “in the weeds” can lead to missing out on information that might get you to the desired answer. 

If the first thing that pops into your mind is the details of what information you want, take an extra second to think about why you need that information and it will likely give you another layer of structure for your analysis. 

The “Big Picture” thinking should be the foundation of your approach at all stages of the case, but it is especially important when you’re doing your initial case “roadmap” and issue tree. 

The executives and managers that you’d be consulting to will likely have a “Big Picture” view of things, so you should train yourself to have the same sort of outlook.

Case interview tip #12 - Demonstrate business judgment

  • Prioritize the case discussion on the most important issues
  • Make practical and tangible recommendations
  • Is this issue large or small relative to the others?
  • Is my recommendation practical?
  • Will my recommendation make a difference in the short life span of an investor or CEO tenure?
  • Knowing the risks, is this how I would spend my money if I were accountable?

Case interview tip #13 - Take time to think

Take time to think about what you’re going to say before you say it. 

There is nothing wrong with taking 5 or 10 seconds to think through something when the alternative is simply saying the first thing that comes to mind. 

Remember, you’re not in a race against the clock…you’re in a race to get a Consulting offer.

Case interview tip #14 - Make accurate calculations

When I coach people I’m always very strict with this rule:

NEVER round numbers.

Most interviewers don’t like it and can reject you if you round numbers.

First, believe it or not, but for Consultants, there is a strong correlation between your mental math skills and your chances to be a successful Consultant.

Secondly, if they give you numbers to compute in a case interview, test your quantitative skills, not how good you are at simplifying the calculations.

Thus, you must learn some math tricks to answer math questions accurately and quickly, even in a stressful context like a case interview.

For instance, you can use the rule of 10’s and the rule of halves.

This rule consists of breaking difficult numbers into either tens or halves to do quick calculations.

Example: what is 37% of 25,000?

  • 25,000 / 10 = 2,500 => 10% of 25,000
  • 2,500 / 2 = 1,250 => 5% of 25,000
  • 2,500 / 10 = 250 => 1% of 25,000
  • From the above, you can answer the question: (3 x 2,500) + 1,250 + (2 x 250) = 7,500 + 1,250 + 500 = 9,250 = 37% of 25,000

A last piece of advice: do not try to do calculations in your head unless you’re sure you can solve them correctly.

Case interview tip #15 - Use ‘educated guesses‘ when concrete data is not provided

Finding the balance between when and when not to use assumptions is a tough question.

So I always default to the following rule of thumb…

If you need a piece of information during the case, ask for it.

The worst that can happen is that the interviewer won’t have the information and you’ll have to make an assumption (an ‘educated guess’) about it.

And the alternative to not asking is making an invalid or incorrect assumption and going down the wrong path when the interviewer had a ton of data waiting for you all along.

Basically, use assumptions within reason and know that, in many cases, the interviewer likely has data that can help you crack the case wide open if you use it right.

In case you have to make assumptions:

  • Say out loud what your underlying hypotheses are
  • Use numbers that are easy to compute
  • Leverage the information already disclosed in the case to come up with ‘realistic’ assumptions
  • Or leverage information you know from comparable industries to come up with ‘realistic’ assumptions

Now, let’s see the last of the 16 case interview tips.

Case interview tip #16 - Keep clean and organized notes

This case study tip is about note-taking in case interviews .

A good reason for having clear notes is so that you don’t confuse yourself during interviews.

When under the stress of an interview situation, it is easy to lose track of a number, a fact, or some piece of data that could help you solve a problem.

And the time it takes to find that lost data is time that you could be plugging away at your case analysis.

Neat note-taking is a simple way to avoid that problem.

So how to take neat notes?

With these 3 tactics:

First, use 3 separate sheets of paper (landscape-oriented).

  • One sheet of paper for your structure (your MECE issue tree)
  • The second sheet of paper for the facts & data given by the interviewer
  • Another sheet of (scrap) paper for math calculations

Important: even if you are doing some calculations in your head, be sure to write our solutions down so you can refer back to them later. 

Secondly, use tables to demonstrate structured presentation of information . 

For instance, you can organize your notes (and the calculations you must perform) like this:

Use Tables To Keep The Information Structured

Lastly, write in pencil . 

This may seem basic, but being able to erase mistakes can go a long way toward producing clean and easy-to-read notes. 

That wraps up the 16 case interview tips and techniques presented in this article. 

I hope you found those 16 case study tips interesting and useful. 

Now, it’s time to hear what you have to say. 

Were any of these case study interview tips new or surprising? Or maybe you have a question.

Either way, let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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You need 4 skills to be successful in all case interviews: Case Structuring, Case Leadership, Case Analytics, and Communication. Enroll in our 4 free courses and discover the proven systems +300 candidates used to learn these 4 skills and land offers in consulting.

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How to Succeed in a Case Study Interview

How to Succeed in a Case Study Interview

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Instructor: Jena Viviano

You’ve nailed the first few rounds of interviews, and now you’ve been invited to participate in a case study interview. Curious about what this next stage of the process looks like? In this course, Jena Viviano breaks it down for you, explaining the basic components of a case study interview, how to prepare, and what to do to project confidence and engage your interviewer. Learn how case study interview questions are used and why employers find them beneficial. Discover the key elements that interviewers use to evaluate your answers. Plus, learn how to formulate key questions to dig deeper into the case, develop your own framework for every case study answer, and craft a conclusion with supporting rationale that’s concise and clear. Jena also provides tips for quelling your performance anxiety, as well as sample case study questions that give you a better understanding of what to expect.

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Case study interviews

Case study interviews put you in the driver’s seat: you’re given a real business problem to work through and solve. The logical reasoning you use to work through the case is just as important as the conclusions you reach.

Case study interviews are common in recruitment for management consulting roles but can be used in other industries as well. They’re different to standard ‘question and answer’ interviews, as case study interviews involve working through a business problem or scenario with the interviewer to reach a logical conclusion. This situation mimics the work management consultants do for their clients, giving the interviewer an insight into how you might perform on the job.

Example case study interview formats and scenarios

Most case interviews are conducted face-to-face with the interviewer or a panel. Your case will be given to you either verbally or in writing, and you’ll be required to describe the assumptions, strategies and steps you’re using to solve the case out loud within a designated time frame. Most interviewers will provide pen and paper or a whiteboard and marker so you can record important information, perform mathematical calculations, or visually demonstrate your thinking process by using flow charts or diagrams. Less common case interview formats include written exercises or role plays.

The type of case or problem will vary depending on the employer and the role. Common types of cases include: 

  • Real or theoretical business scenarios : ‘LMN is a medium-sized grocery chain wishing to expand its online presence and services. What issues will need to be examined to decide whether this is a viable opportunity?’. You may be provided with some basic numerical and/or statistical data in these cases.
  • Numeracy scenarios asking you to estimate figures: ‘How many people do you think will vote in the next New South Wales Government election?’
  • Lateral thinking scenarios : ‘What creative suggestions and methods can you suggest to further decrease the number of smokers in Australia?’
  • Interpretations of pictorial information such as graphs or charts.
  • Corporate and business strategies examining profitability, growth opportunities, business mix, customer service improvements, investment strategy (viability of acquisitions) or performance improvement (e.g. effective management structuring, performance measurement, staff rewards systems and process improvements).

It’s not necessary for you to have in-depth knowledge of the industry on which the question or scenario is based, but it’s useful to have a reasonable grasp of basic business principles and some knowledge of current affairs in the corporate sector. Research your target company prior to the interview to find out more about their clients and the scope of their work. 

What do case study interviews assess?

Working through a case gives you the opportunity to display problem-solving skills, quantitative reasoning skills, analytical skills, logical reasoning, communication skills, creativity, and the ability to think on your feet and work through a problem in real time.

The interviewer may also be assessing the personal qualities you display during the process of solving the case, like your ability to stay calm in a stressful situation and your general interpersonal skills.

Structuring your response

There may not be a single ‘correct’ answer to any case study interview question or scenario, as your thought processes used to reach a conclusion are as important as the conclusion itself.

When you are given your case, it can be useful to go through the following steps to ensure that your response is clear and well structured:

  • Have a clear understanding of the case and what’s required: do you need to solve a problem, make a recommendation or help a company make a decision?
  • Synthesise and filter the information provided as necessary. Identify the key issues and decide which information is most pertinent to the case. It’s possible that not all the information provided will be equally relevant.
  • Develop a structure for how you will approach your answer and talk this through with your interviewer.
  • Make sure your approach is organised – take it step by step.
  • Explain your thinking and decision-making processes to the interviewer. Do not assume that they know why you are proceeding in a certain way.
  • Ask for more information or clarification. The case interview is a two-way street and the interviewer may reveal further information if you ask (just be clear about why you are asking).
  • Anticipate concerns or objections as the interviewer may ask questions to highlight weaknesses in your argument.
  • Support your conclusions with evidence, particularly in scenarios where you have been given figures or statistics.

Tips for handling case study interviews

  • Visit the web pages of any of the major management consulting firms and look for the section on careers and interview preparation for good tips. Practice talking through the cases as you would in the interview room.
  • Listen carefully to what the interviewer says, take notes and refer to them if necessary to summarise the scenario, analysis and solution.
  • Make use of any resources in the room, such as a whiteboard, pens and paper.
  • Use visual aids to document and demonstrate your structure or response. Depending on the question, you could use organisational charts, pie charts, timelines, graphs, flow charts or any other project management methodology.
  • Be realistic. The interviewer is looking for real-world solutions to the problem so be wary of proposing unrealistic budgets, risky endeavours or other solutions that would be excessively difficult to implement.
  • Showcase your communication and interpersonal skills. Treat the interviewer as you would treat a client in the workplace. Use positive body language and try to explain your reasoning clearly.
  • Ensure your conclusions flow logically from the steps you have taken throughout the interview.

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Useful links.

  • IGotAnOffer - Case interview examples

Sample job interview questions

Here are some common job interview questions to guide your practice. Research your industry and review the job ad or job description to determine which questions are most relevant to the role you’re seeking.

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Behavioural interviews

Behavioural interviewing, also known as ‘competency-based interviewing’, is a common technique among internship and graduate recruiters.

Telephone interviews

Phone interviews are an important part of the recruitment process, requiring the same preparation and professionalism as a face-to-face interview.

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7 Case Interview Tips To Help You Land a Consulting Offer

  • Last Updated October, 2020

Rebecca Smith-Allen

Former McKinsey Engagement Manager

Does it feel like there’s too much you need to do to prepare for your case study interview?

If you’re taking case study interview preparation seriously, it can feel like you’re drinking from a firehose of information!

But taking your case interview preparation seriously will set you apart from many candidates.

In this article we’ll cover:

  • The Key to Acing Your Case Interviews
  • Our 7 Case Interview Tips
  • Links to Articles that Provide Further Consulting Interview Tips

The Key to Acing Your Case Interviews: Structured Problem-Solving

The most important thing to remember as you prepare for case interviews is that the answer to the case problem is not the most important thing.

If your interviewer asks you about a problem you read about in the Wall Street Journal that morning or one you have a perfect textbook answer for, these textbook answers will not get you a second round interview unless you also show the structured problem solving used to arrive at that answer .

Every consulting client is different and every business situation is unique, so a profitability problem could be driven by pricing or unit volume sold, fixed costs or variable costs. 

This is why you need to break the problem down and consider each of the possible components, and only once you’ve considered each, move on how you’d address the problem.

With that in mind, here are our 7 case study interview tips:

views allow you to get a good sense of what types of problems consultants solve and what a consulting case looks like from beginning to end. 

You’ll also get a good sense of the skills you need to succeed in consulting and learn how to exhibit your skills and experience in the best light possible in your resume and cover letter and during your interviews.

7 Case Interview Tips

1. start early.

You can learn to case in as little as 2 weeks, but don’t put that pressure on yourself if you don’t have to. Get an early start so you’ll have plenty of time to practice.

See our video, How to Pass the Case Interview without Spending 100+ Hours Preparing to jump-start your case interview prep.

2. Focus on the Most Common Cases Types First

If you were studying for English exam would you (1) go to and learn all the words in the English language or would you (2) figure out what the most common questions on the exam would be?

Similar to how you wouldn’t prepare for an English exam by cramming everything there is to know, there is no reason to cram everything there is to know about business ahead of your case interviews.

Focus on what is most important and what comes up the most often. 

To find those common types, you can find them here on the Common Case Interview Question Types page.

3. Master the 4-Part Approach to Answering Case Interview Questions

The 4 parts to answering a consulting case interview are:

  • Opening – Make sure you understand the client’s problem.
  • Structure – Brainstorm all factors relevant to the problem and organize them to ensure you address them in a complete and logical manner.
  • Analysis – Gather data to identify which of the factors related to the business case are the most important. You’ll use this data to create a recommendation for your client.
  • Conclusion – Present your recommendation to “the client” (your interviewer), in a well-structured and persuasive manner.

Breaking a case question into its 4 parts will make it feel less overwhelming and ensure you don’t jump ahead to an answer without showing your problem-solving skills.

See our Ultimate Guide to Case Interview Prep for more on the 4-part approach to answering case study questions.

Nail the case & fit interview with strategies from former MBB Interviewers that have helped 89.6% of our clients pass the case interview.

4. Take Good Notes on Case Facts During the Interview

It’s important to be clear on the facts of the case.

Jot down any financial figures and other key facts. Also, make note of key aspects of the case you outlined in the structure part of the interview.

Case interviews can be long and involved—twenty-five minutes or longer.

You don’t want to forget to analyze an important aspect of the problem or fail to address key conclusions you reached when you get to the recommendation phase.

During a case interview, you’re allowed to use paper. Use as many sheets as you need to stay organized.

Watch Video 2 on our Consulting 2020 Bootcamp series for more on why taking good notes is important.

5. Pause Before You Launch into Your Analysis

When you are asked a question in an interview, it’s natural to want to start talking about your answer right away.

Take a second to think through the things you want to address to make sure you don’t forget a major issue.

It can feel awkward to have silence during an interview, but during this part of a management consulting interview, it’s totally expected.  

6. Practice with a Case Interview Partner

It can be tempting to read through all the examples of case interview questions and answers you can find as you rush to be as prepared as possible for your consulting interview.

Don’t!  Remember, it’s not about the answer, it’s about how you structure the problem.

You need to practice coming up with a structured way of breaking down a business problem, going step-by-step through the analysis, and then summing up your findings in a recommendation.

You won’t learn to do this by reading case questions and answers, you’ll only do this by practicing case interviews live with a partner or coach and getting feedback.

Case Interview Practice: Tips on How to Be Efficient & Effective has more on what to look for in case partners and where to find them.  

7. Practice Case Interview Math

You are not allowed to take a calculator into consulting interviews, but math frequently comes up in business cases and market-sizing problems.

You can use a pen and paper or just do the math in your head.

Even people who are normally comfortable doing math in their head may not be comfortable doing this during an interview under time pressure.

Practicing case interview math will help. See our article on Case Interview Math for more on what to practice.

Other Articles that Will Make Your Case Interview Prep Efficient & Effective

  • Our Ultimate Guide to Case Interview Prep is the place to start your preparation. We discuss why management consulting companies use case interviews and break down the 4-part approach to answering a consulting case in even more detail.
  • Case Interview Examples. We have links to dozens of consulting firm and consulting club casebooks you can use to practice.
  • The McKinsey Case Interview . Find out what’s different about a McKinsey case and how to ace it.

Still have questions?

If you still have questions on our case interview tips, leave them in the comments below. We’ll ask our My Consulting Offer coaches and get back to you with answers.

Help with Case Study Interview Prep

Thanks for turning to My Consulting Offer for advice on case interview prep. My Consulting Offer has helped almost 85% of the people we’ve worked with get a job in management consulting. For example, here is how Ella was able to improve her casing and get offers from all the firms she interviewed with…


3 Top Strategies to Master the Case Interview in Under a Week

No thanks, i don't want free strategies to get into consulting..

We are sharing our powerful strategies to pass the case interview even if you have no business background, zero casing experience, or only have a week to prepare.

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interview case study tips

47 case interview examples (from McKinsey, BCG, Bain, etc.)

Case interview examples - McKinsey, BCG, Bain, etc.

One of the best ways to prepare for   case interviews  at firms like McKinsey, BCG, or Bain, is by studying case interview examples. 

There are a lot of free sample cases out there, but it's really hard to know where to start. So in this article, we have listed all the best free case examples available, in one place.

The below list of resources includes interactive case interview samples provided by consulting firms, video case interview demonstrations, case books, and materials developed by the team here at IGotAnOffer. Let's continue to the list.

  • McKinsey examples
  • BCG examples
  • Bain examples
  • Deloitte examples
  • Other firms' examples
  • Case books from consulting clubs
  • Case interview preparation

Click here to practise 1-on-1 with MBB ex-interviewers

1. mckinsey case interview examples.

  • Beautify case interview (McKinsey website)
  • Diconsa case interview (McKinsey website)
  • Electro-light case interview (McKinsey website)
  • GlobaPharm case interview (McKinsey website)
  • National Education case interview (McKinsey website)
  • Talbot Trucks case interview (McKinsey website)
  • Shops Corporation case interview (McKinsey website)
  • Conservation Forever case interview (McKinsey website)
  • McKinsey case interview guide (by IGotAnOffer)
  • McKinsey live case interview extract (by IGotAnOffer) - See below

2. BCG case interview examples

  • Foods Inc and GenCo case samples  (BCG website)
  • Chateau Boomerang written case interview  (BCG website)
  • BCG case interview guide (by IGotAnOffer)
  • Written cases guide (by IGotAnOffer)
  • BCG live case interview extract (by IGotAnOffer) - See below

3. Bain case interview examples

  • CoffeeCo practice case (Bain website)
  • FashionCo practice case (Bain website)
  • Associate Consultant mock interview video (Bain website)
  • Consultant mock interview video (Bain website)
  • Written case interview tips (Bain website)
  • Bain case interview guide   (by IGotAnOffer)
  • Bain live case interview extract (by IGotAnOffer) - See above

4. Deloitte case interview examples

  • Engagement Strategy practice case (Deloitte website)
  • Recreation Unlimited practice case (Deloitte website)
  • Strategic Vision practice case (Deloitte website)
  • Retail Strategy practice case  (Deloitte website)
  • Finance Strategy practice case  (Deloitte website)
  • Talent Management practice case (Deloitte website)
  • Enterprise Resource Management practice case (Deloitte website)
  • Footloose written case  (by Deloitte)
  • Deloitte case interview guide (by IGotAnOffer)

5. Accenture case interview examples

  • Case interview workbook (by Accenture)
  • Accenture case interview guide (by IGotAnOffer)

6. OC&C case interview examples

  • Leisure Club case example (by OC&C)
  • Imported Spirits case example (by OC&C)

7. Oliver Wyman case interview examples

  • Wumbleworld case sample (Oliver Wyman website)
  • Aqualine case sample (Oliver Wyman website)
  • Oliver Wyman case interview guide (by IGotAnOffer)

8. A.T. Kearney case interview examples

  • Promotion planning case question (A.T. Kearney website)
  • Consulting case book and examples (by A.T. Kearney)
  • AT Kearney case interview guide (by IGotAnOffer)

9. Strategy& / PWC case interview examples

  • Presentation overview with sample questions (by Strategy& / PWC)
  • Strategy& / PWC case interview guide (by IGotAnOffer)

10. L.E.K. Consulting case interview examples

  • Case interview example video walkthrough   (L.E.K. website)
  • Market sizing case example video walkthrough  (L.E.K. website)

11. Roland Berger case interview examples

  • Transit oriented development case webinar part 1  (Roland Berger website)
  • Transit oriented development case webinar part 2   (Roland Berger website)
  • 3D printed hip implants case webinar part 1   (Roland Berger website)
  • 3D printed hip implants case webinar part 2   (Roland Berger website)
  • Roland Berger case interview guide   (by IGotAnOffer)

12. Capital One case interview examples

  • Case interview example video walkthrough  (Capital One website)
  • Capital One case interview guide (by IGotAnOffer)

13. Consulting clubs case interview examples

  • Berkeley case book (2006)
  • Columbia case book (2006)
  • Darden case book (2012)
  • Darden case book (2018)
  • Duke case book (2010)
  • Duke case book (2014)
  • ESADE case book (2011)
  • Goizueta case book (2006)
  • Illinois case book (2015)
  • LBS case book (2006)
  • MIT case book (2001)
  • Notre Dame case book (2017)
  • Ross case book (2010)
  • Wharton case book (2010)

Practice with experts

Using case interview examples is a key part of your interview preparation, but it isn’t enough.

At some point you’ll want to practise with friends or family who can give some useful feedback. However, if you really want the best possible preparation for your case interview, you'll also want to work with ex-consultants who have experience running interviews at McKinsey, Bain, BCG, etc.

If you know anyone who fits that description, fantastic! But for most of us, it's tough to find the right connections to make this happen. And it might also be difficult to practice multiple hours with that person unless you know them really well.

Here's the good news. We've already made the connections for you. We’ve created a coaching service where you can do mock case interviews 1-on-1 with ex-interviewers from MBB firms . Start scheduling sessions today!

The IGotAnOffer team

Interview coach and candidate conduct a video call

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Tips for Case Study Interview: an Effective Guide

Table of Contents

Regarding job interviews, case studies are becoming increasingly popular for employers to assess a candidate’s problem-solving skills and analytical abilities. However, preparing for a case study interview can be nerve-wracking, particularly if you’re not sure what’s expected of you. With some tips for case study interview , you’re sure to ace your interview! In this article, we’ll share some for presenting interview case studies confidently, so you can impress your potential employer and secure that dream job. Whether you have extensive experience or just starting, these tips will help you navigate the interview process and stand out from the competition.

What is an Interview Case Study?

In an interview case study, the candidate is presented with a hypothetical scenario or real-world problem related to the job or industry. The candidate is then asked to analyze the situation and provide a solution or recommendations. The purpose of an interview case study is to assess the candidate’s problem-solving skills, analytical ability, creativity, and communication skills. It also helps the interviewer understand the candidate’s thought process , how they approach complex problems, and how they work under pressure. Interview case studies are commonly used in consulting, finance, marketing, and management, where problem-solving and critical thinking are essential. The scenarios presented can range from simple to complex and may involve topics such as market research, product development, financial analysis, or operational strategy. The candidate is typically given a set time to analyze the scenario and develop a solution. They may be asked to present their findings to the interviewer or a panel of interviewers. The interviewer may ask follow-up questions to assess the candidate’s understanding of the problem and their proposed solution.

Interview: An Overview

Most interviews are divided into three major sections;

Personal background

During the interview, the interviewer wants more details about you and how you would fit into the company. For instance, the interviewer might ask you to narrate how you have left your footprints in a team environment. You could be asked to describe a situation where you had to navigate challenges, convincing others to see your view and support a decision. The interviewer may be interested in knowing your reasons for pursuing a career with the company.

The case study allows you to showcase your ability to analyze complex issues and find practical solutions. The interviewer will present a business challenge during the interview. It will not require extensive knowledge of specific industries or processes, and some cases have no right or wrong answers. Your questions and thought processes are more important than coming up with a real solution.

Questions and answers

This section of the interview is your opportunity to inquire about working in a firm or your interviewer’s experience. It is a chance to familiarize yourself with the people and the company’s culture. Come prepared with a handful of questions that matter to you, and your interviewer will try to answer them.

Tips for Case Study Interview

Preparing for a case study interview can be strenuous, but with the right strategy, you can increase your chances of success. Here are some practical tips for preparing for a case study interview:

Understand the format

Research the company or industry and learn about the typical layout and structure of their case study interviews. This can help you understand what to expect and how to prepare.

Practice, practice, practice

Find practice case studies online or in business books and practice solving them. Try to solve the case studies within the time frame given in an interview, and practice presenting your findings to others.

Brush up on your analytical skills

Review basic concepts in statistics, financial analysis, and problem-solving. You should also practice mental math and quick calculations.

Develop a framework

Develop a framework or methodology for approaching case studies. This can assist you in gathering your thoughts and findings and presenting a straightforward solution to the interviewer.

Practice communication skills

The ability to communicate clearly and concisely is crucial in a case study interview. Practice presenting your findings to others, and receive feedback on your communication style and presentation skills.

Stay calm and composed

Case study interviews can be stressful, but staying calm and collected is essential. Take a deep breath, listen carefully to the interviewer, and take your time to analyze the problem before presenting your findings. Remember that the purpose of a case study interview is to assess your problem-solving, analytical, and communication skills. By preparing in advance and practicing, you can increase your confidence and improve your performance in the interview.

A person writing on a notebook with a laptop next to them

Sample Interview Case Study Questions and Answers

Here are some examples of interview case study questions and sample answers:

Question:  You are a consultant for a retail company experiencing declining sales. The company’s management team wants to know the root cause of the decline in sales and how to reverse the trend. What steps would you take to analyze the situation and develop a solution? Answer: I would request access to the company’s sales data and other relevant financial and operational data to understand the current situation better. I would also interview key stakeholders, such as customers, employees, and suppliers, to understand their perspectives on the reasons behind the sales decline. Next, I would perform a SWOT analysis to ascertain the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Based on the analysis, I would recommend strategies such as introducing new product lines, and increasing marketing efforts. And others like optimizing pricing and promotions, improving customer experience, and reducing operational costs. I would then present my findings and recommendations to the management team and discuss each strategy’s feasibility, risks, and expected outcomes.

Question:  You are a marketing manager for a new technology startup developing a mobile app to help people track their fitness goals. What marketing strategies would you recommend to promote the app and gain market share?

First, I would conduct market research to identify the target audience, their needs, preferences, and buying behavior. I would then develop a value proposition and messaging that resonates with the target audience. Next, I would recommend combining digital and offline marketing strategies like social media advertising, and influencer marketing. As well as others like search engine optimization, email marketing, and event sponsorships to reach potential users. I would also leverage data analytics to track user behavior and optimize marketing campaigns based on their effectiveness. Additionally, I would explore partnerships with fitness influencers, gyms, and other fitness-related businesses to increase brand awareness and drive app downloads. Finally, I would measure the ROI of the marketing efforts and make necessary adjustments to achieve the marketing goals.

Wrapping up

Presenting case studies during job interviews can be anxiety-inducing, but it doesn’t have to be. Following the tips for case study interview above, you can prepare effectively. And deliver a polished and confident presentation showcasing your skills and experience. Remember to research the company and its needs, practice your presentation, use visual aids effectively, and be concise and transparent in your communication. With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to acing your next interview case study presentation and landing your dream job. Good luck!

Tips for Case Study Interview: an Effective Guide

Abir Ghenaiet

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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  14. 16 Case Interview Tips

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  15. How to Succeed in a Case Study Interview

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  16. Case Interview Prep

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  17. A Quick Guide to Preparing for a Case Study Interview

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  18. Case study interviews

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  19. 10 Tips To Prepare and Practice for a Case Interview

    The following are 10 tips that you can use when preparing for and participating in a case interview: Take notes. Many companies allow interviewees to take notes during a case interview. Be prepared with pen and paper and take as many notes as possible as the interviewee discusses the case question.

  20. 15 case interviews tips for McKinsey, BCG and Bain

    Tip #1: Start early This might sound obvious, but case interviews can be challenging, so you should start preparing early. Some of the people we work with start studying up to 6 months before their interview. Starting that much in advance is not necessary to get an offer, but the earlier you start the higher your chances of getting an offer are.

  21. Case Interview Tips: Take Your Casing from Good to Great

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  22. 47 case interview examples (from McKinsey, BCG, Bain, etc.)

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  23. Tips for Case Study Interview: an Effective Guide

    Tips for Case Study Interview Understand the format Practice, practice, practice Brush up on your analytical skills Develop a framework Practice communication skills Stay calm and composed Sample Interview Case Study Questions and Answers Example 1 Example 2 Answer Wrapping up

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