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Case Interviewing Overview

What is a Case Interview?

Case interviews simply stated are real-time problem solving scenarios that aim to replicate the approach and types of interactions consultants have with clients. They typically take approx. 30-45 minutes in an interview setting (possibly longer when practicing). Examples of case questions include:

These may seem like big questions, and ultimately there is not one correct response. What a consulting firm is hoping to learn from engaging with you in a case interview is how you analyze quantitative/qualitative information, think creatively about solutions, and present your ideas. Much of what you will do as a consultant requires skills and industry specific knowledge you will gain on the job. Preparing for the case interview process is about demonstrating your transferable skills and interest in learning how to work in the way that consultants help their clients each day.

Common Types of Cases

The subject matter of a case will often fall into one of the following categories:

Many of the resources included below will provide a basic understanding of casing structures. Below are two “formulas” that order the steps you will take in a case interview:

Preparation Tips and Resources

By understanding the structure of a case interview, frameworks utilized when responding to a case and tips for evaluating quantitative and qualitative information, you can develop the skills and approach that works for you.

Resources:

Practice Cases with Peers and/or Alumni

While reading about the structure, process and strategies of casing can be helpful, actually practicing cases will allow you to develop the necessary skillset. Peers can be incredibly helpful with this. Additionally, while networking or engaging with alumni you may find consultants willing to either practice cases with you or provide advice.

Those who help you prepare for cases may be your future colleagues – so work to be an excellent case partner! Make practice a two-way street – especially when practicing with your peers.

Resources that include sample cases: consultingcase101.comKellogg Consulting Club Case Book (PDF)Wharton Consulting Club Case Book (PDF), employer sites also often share sample cases - visit the BCG Interactive Case Library for an example.

Attend Employer and NCA Hosted Events

Employers often host case workshops (mostly during spring/summer quarters) that will explain firm specific structure for case interviews. They may also host case competitions that allow students to form teams and practice case scenarios (these most often take place winter/spring quarters).

NCA provides opportunities for you to engage with employers/alumni for case practice. Annually NCA facilitates alumni mock case interviews and hosts “Case Interviewing with the Pros” (both are typically held in summer prior to the start of formal consulting recruitment). For alumni mock cases students “apply” via Handshake to be matched with an alumni case partner. The alumnus will present the student with a case (typically virtually/via phone) in a mock interview setting. The Case Interviewing with the Pros event allows small groups of students to rotate through several (in-person or virtual) sessions with employer/alumni guests who facilitate small group practice cases.