Case Interview Tips

The purpose of case interviews is to gain insight into how you approach unfamiliar problems, your analytical capabilities, and your ability to think creatively. Our case interviews simulate (in 25-40 minutes) the types of questions we tackle in real client engagements. Previous case interviews have focused on:

  • The effect on consumers and competitors of bundling two medical products
  • The effect on pricing of a merger between two ice cream chains
  • The overcharge to consumers caused by a cartel producing digital music players

Generally, our case interviews will take the following format:

Brainstorming—the interviewers will present you with background information and ask you to brainstorm about the situation.

  • Restate the question and clarify any key points before you begin your answer
  • Use the language of the question to guide your response
    • E.g., “Beneficial, harmful, or both” provides multiple categories for your answer
    • “Why?” is a given for any question, even if it’s not asked verbatim
  • Explaining your thought process is more important than the final answer you provide

Calculations—once the background has been established, we typically provide some numbers and will ask you to estimate others as needed. With this information, a series of calculations are made. You should talk through your thought process and how you are setting up your calculations.

  • Acknowledge alternative approaches
  • Do not be afraid to make assumptions as long as they are sensible, supportable, and clearly articulated to the interviewer
  • Simplify the math when possible
  • Recognize results that don’t make sense, a common mistake is adding too many or too few zeroes to an answer (e.g., millions instead of thousands)

Conceptual discussion—after you’ve performed the calculations we may ask you to further evaluate your solution and assumptions and how they fit into the broader concept of the case.

  • Be sure to focus not only on the most obvious answer but also on additional effects
  • We are more interested in how you support your answers than if they are “right” or not