Cultivating a Consultant | How did you Prepare for the Case Interview?

Here is the second video in our Cultivating a Consultant series as well as some accompanying commentary from Alex.  Enjoy!

One key characteristic of case interviews is that it requires a lot of preparation both on your own and with someone else. When you talk with people in consulting, you realize that there is no one person that was able to get an offer without preparing extensively for the case. In my opinion, one of the reasons that people from non-target school for MBB (McKinsey, BCG, Bain) don’t make it to the final round is because they don’t have access to a combination of resources and people who are crucial to master the case.

To better understand how to prepare for case interviews, you should first understand its different components. The case interview format is very similar across companies in consulting. There is always the expectation to have a clear framework, be structured in the way you communicate your thinking, be able to do math quickly and out loud, and be creative with the solution of the case. The best way to prepare is to tackle each component separately starting with mastering the framework, which is the backbone of a case.

Mastering the different components of the case requires lots of time. It is not only about # of hours, but also about the distribution of the time spent preparing for the case. It is more effective to spend 40 hours in 4 weeks than 40 hours in 2 weeks preparing for the case interview. This means that if you think that consulting might be an opportunity you want to pursue, you should start preparing as early as possible. Even if at the end you decide to pursue other opportunities, the case interview prep will help you in any type of interview across industries and functional areas.

-Alex Aserraf


By Rachid Macer
Rachid Macer Student Director, CareerEdge and Think Tank Colleague Team Rachid Macer