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Case study interviews are specific to the consulting industry as they not only test job applicants' qualifications and intellectual skills, but also provide job candidates with insight into the everyday work that consultants do. If you are pursuing a consulting career, you will face case study questions at every job interview.
Case study questions are typically long and include a lot of numbers. It is wise to have a pen and paper ready to write these down, so that you do not forget anything once you begin to tackle the consulting task in front of you.
Do not hesitate to summarize your notes aloud to make sure you have all the information or to ask the interviewer to repeat anything you may have missed. Act as if you were in a real situation with a real client and had to find a solution to his or her problem. Once you are presented with the relevant statistics and other case information, first pinpoint the problem the client is facing, then outline any hypotheses you would want to test in the course of working on the project and, in the end, provide conclusions to all your hypotheses.
In consulting case study interviews, you need to approach the problem in a structured way and know in which direction you are going rather than just throw out random ideas to see which one will resonate best with the interviewer, or she may get the impression that you are taking your consulting career too lightly.
Toward the end of the case interview, the interviewer will usually ask you if you have any questions. Make sure that you do. You can ask the interviewer about his or her work and what it entails, the results that the consulting firm expects from the ideal job candidate, the general responsibilities that go with the job, how performance is measured at the consultancy, the size of the department that you will hopefully be working at, what the organisation structure and management style is at the firm, and so on. This shows that you are genuinely interested in working for the consultancy and it may just be the thing that sets you apart from other candidates who have applied for the same position.
For further insights on case study interviews, Top-Consultant.com has developed a training workshop, “How to Ace Your Case Study Interview,” that runs once a month via web conference and can give you an advantage over other job candidates if you are pursuing a career in consulting. For details and to apply, visit Top-Consultant.com.
To find out which consulting firms are recruiting right now, visit our management consulting job board.