Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Case Practice

So I have been practicing a lot of cases lately...trying to get ready for the interviews that I have coming up and for the interviews that I hope to have coming up! Tonight I have a 7 o'clock case practice session in Cambridge where I will meet a group of about 20 people to practice cases. I hope to be able to pair up with someone that I've never practiced with before so that I can get a new set of perspectives and criticisms.

I have found that the best resource for learning to practice cases is Marc Cosentino's book "Case in Point." Before you actually start practicing cases, I would recommend that you read the first 60 pages of this book...the intro is all about learning what an interviewer is looking for in a case and lays out a number of frameworks that are the foundation for structuring your answer to case questions.

When I first started to practice cases, I made 15 or so note cards with the type of case listed on the front, i.e. entering a new market, declining profits, competitive response, increasing revenue, etc... On the back of these cards I put the framework or strategy that Cosentino recommends using to solve that particular type of case. I would flip through these note cards when I was walking home from work, eating lunch, or on the train and within a week or so I had everything pretty well memorized. Once you know your frameworks, you can actually begin to be productive when you practice cases.

After you have been practicing for a while, it is important to develop your own unique twists to each of the frameworks so that when you begin interviewing it will not be so aparent that you are using a "canned" will loose instant points for lack of creativity! It is also important to practice with different people. Start practicing with someone who is also new to cases, but as you get better it helps to practice with someone that is an expert so they can really push you to become better. The night before an interview it might help to go over a case with someone that will give you some positive feedback just to get your self esteem back to where it needs to be before you deliver your best case ever!


  1. I appreciate your effort & time to present your ideas and regularly post them. I'm a new follower to your blog.

    It is true that online one can find information on consulting; a day in a life of a consultant, but you are trying to present useful info of a day in a life of consultancy seeker!

    Keep it up, as I'm sure it will be useful to read for me and many similar surfers who want to know about the details of going through the recruiment process.

  2. Considering-

    Interesting blog. Everyhing you've described so far is a fairly typical experience of trying to get into consulting when you don't have the proto-background that auto-selects people in.

    3 things got me my consulting gig out of grad school, despite having a bad resume and coming from a non-core school:

    1) Use case in point. Everything else is crap.

    2) Practice 1 hour/day, every day. Do cases, do math problems, set up structures out loud. There is a strong correlation between time spent practicing, nailing the case, and getting the offer.

    I believe that a case really does not judge innate skills - rather, it tests your ability to spend many hours practicing an inane task just to look good for 30 minutes. Precisely the type of skill useful in consulting.

    3) Get very clear on the answers to 2 questions: why do you want to work here, and why should I hire you? Nail these two, and everything else follows.

    Good luck. Lots of layoffs through the last 8 months, and work is picking up, so you got a shot.

  3. Hi, your blog is so clear!!!... I´m going to aplicate to Bain in a few weeks, and it would be great if someone can explain some interview questions and cases. It would be great for practice!


  4. hi guys.
    do you know any good websites that have case practices online?
    i have already tried out Bain, McKinsey and BCG.
    other tips would be helpful for my study!
    thanks :)

  5. Hi

    I read this post 2 times. It is very useful.

    Pls try to keep posting.

    Let me show other source that may be good for community.

    Source: Accounts payable interview questions

    Best regards