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Sap behavioral & fit interview questions (2).
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Interview Type: Behavioral and Fit Interviews . Consulting Firm: SAP Consulting Services first round job interview. Industry Coverage: None Number of Questions: 200
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In our decades of working with SAP solutions, we’ve taken on virtually every business challenge imaginable. Here are a few of the most recent examples that may be relevant to you.
Finance transformation. Inventory management. Regulatory compliance. HR transformation. CRM. Supply chain. Global growth. You name it, and we’ve helped clients use SAP solutions to do it. And along the way, we’ve learned a few things – some of which may be helpful to you in your own SAP journey. So whether you’re looking for ways that others facing similar challenges have used SAP to help, or simply want to find out if we’re up to the job of helping you, please have a look at this mix of video case studies and write-ups.
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Astellas Reinforces the Foundation - Pharmaceutical Firm Uses SAP Upgrade as Launching Pad for New Business Initiatives
Since implementing SAP ERP in 2006, the timing for an ERP upgrade just never seemed right for the Americas division of global pharmaceutical firm Astellas. Despite the pressing goal of standardizing on a single SAP platform across its global regions, there were always other IT projects under way, such as adding functionality to the existing system, opening new geographies, or integrating newly acquired companies onto the IT platform.
Brewing up Process Change
Grupo Modelo manages risk with SAP's latest solutions for GRC.
Agropur Fine Cheese Division
Read how a food company laid the foundation for expansion with a fast, focused implementation of SAP R/3® Enterprise.
Amtrak's legacy HR systems had left the station. Next stop: HR transformation with SAP ECC 6.0
Arla Foods: Cultivating Sophisticated Financials with SAP BusinessObjects™ Software
Learn how Arla Foods gained an international foot print for accurate financial reporting and the ability to immediately analyze its financial situation at any point.
This case study explains how BlueWater's implementation of SAP as its customer-care platform is leading the way for small- and mid-sized utilities to harness the power of SAP.
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I need help for my case study interview. Can someone explain some typical cases in FI/CO and the tips how to crack those case. I have my interview lined up. Please help ASAP. Also if someone is aware of the responsibilities of a Business Technology Analyst in Enterprise Application practice please help.
I'm new to SAP so if you can mention the must knows before giving any interview?
P.S-- If someone has technical and Behavioral interview questions with answers as well please help me with those.
For those interviewing for KPMG advisory or consulting roles, KPMG interviews consist of case interviews, a written case interview, and behavioral or fit interview questions. There are typically three rounds of interviews that candidates go through before receiving a KPMG job offer, but the interview process slightly varies by office.
Typically, you should expect an interview process similar to the following:
- First round : Two 30-minute interviews. One interview will be focused on a case interview while the other is focused on behavioral or fit interview questions.
- Second round : A 30- to 40-minute behavioral or fit interview, a 30- to 40-minute case interview, and a 60-minute written case interview for a total of three interviews.
- Third round : Some candidates may be given a third round of interviews. Expect two to three 30- to 40-minute interviews. These interviews are typically focused on behavioral or fit interview questions, but you may also be given case interviews.
If you have an upcoming KPMG advisory or consulting interview or are expecting to interview with them, we have you covered.
While KPMG does provide a few interview tips , their advice is fairly generic and not that useful. In this article, we’ll go into more detail on exactly what to expect in your KPMG advisory or consulting interview. We’ll cover:
- The 4 steps to solve any KPMG case interview
- KPMG case interview examples
- How to ace the KPMG written case interview
- The 10 most common behavioral or fit interview questions
The 4 Steps to Solve Any KPMG Case Interview
A case interview, also known as a case study interview, is a special type of interview that nearly every single consulting firm uses. KPMG case interviews simulate what the consulting job will be like by placing you in a hypothetical business situation in which you are asked to solve a business problem.
You will need to ace every single case interview in order to land a KPMG job offer.
KPMG case interviews are all candidate-led. You will be in the driver’s seat of the case interview and will be expected to ask the right questions, perform the right analyses, and decide the direction of the case.
Follow these four steps to solve any KPMG case interview or case study interview:
1. Understand the case
The case will begin with the interviewer giving you the case information. While the interviewer is speaking, make sure that you are taking meticulous notes on the most important pieces of information. Focus on understanding the context of the situation, the company, and the objective of the case.
Don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions if you do not catch something. If you are not familiar with the industry, it is completely acceptable to ask how it works. Sometimes, repeating the information back to the interviewer is helpful to confirm your understanding of the case.
Finally, make sure to verify the objective of the case. Not addressing the right business question is the quickest way to fail a case interview.
2. Structure the problem
Develop a framework to help you tackle the business problem. A framework is a tool that helps you structure and break down complex problems into smaller, more manageable components. With a framework, you’ll be brainstorming different ideas and organizing them into different categories.
It is completely acceptable to ask the interviewer for a moment of silence so that you can collect your thoughts and think about the problem.
Once you have identified the major issues or areas that you need to explore, walk the interviewer through your framework. They may ask a few questions or provide some feedback.
3. Solve the problem
Once you have developed a framework, you can begin to solve the problem. To solve the case, you’ll likely need to answer a mix of quantitative and qualitative questions.
When solving quantitative problems, make sure to walk the interviewer through your approach before doing any math. Check if the interviewer has any further information for you before making your own assumptions. Finally, neatly label your calculations and write out all numbers so that the interviewer knows exactly what you are doing.
When answering qualitative questions, try to structure your answer in a logical way to make it easier to brainstorm or communicate your point of view.
For both quantitative and qualitative questions, make sure to go beyond just answering the question. Think about how your answer impacts the answer to the case. Always try to tie the implications of your answers to the case objective. This will help you develop a hypothesis for what a potential recommendation could be.
4. Make a recommendation
In the last step of the case interview, you’ll present your recommendation and provide the major reasons that support it. You do not need to recap everything that you have done in the case, so focus on summarizing only the facts that are most important.
It is also good practice to include potential next steps that you would take if you had more time or data. These can be areas of your framework that you did not have time to explore or lingering questions that you do not have great answers for.
KPMG Case Interview Examples
Below are some examples of KPMG case interviews or case study interviews that past candidates have received. These should give you an idea of the types of cases you may see on your interview day.
Example #1: National Zoo
Your client is one of the oldest national zoos in the United States. The zoo hosts over 2,000 animals in its 150-acre park. Your client is looking to increase revenues and profits and is considering purchasing a giant panda from China to place in its newest exhibit. You have been hired to help them make this decision. What would you recommend?
Example #2: Brewing Company
Our client is the largest American beer brewing company. The American beer market is dominated by three large players. The rest of the market is comprised of small mom and pop breweries.
What would happen to our client if the second largest and third largest American brewing companies decided to merge?
Example #3: Chemical Company
Your client is a privately owned chemical manufacturing company that specializes in producing car wash chemicals. After a series of aggressive acquisitions, your client has become the market leader in car wash chemicals, but revenue growth has been flat over the past few years.
Your client is looking to increase revenues by 20% without reducing profit margins over the next two years. How would you go about achieving this?
Example #4: Yoga Studio
Your client is Ms. Johnson, the proud owner of an up-scale yoga studio in New York City. Her yoga studio is known for high quality instruction and a relaxing atmosphere. Ms. Johnson has been operating the studio for the past five years.
Over the past year, your client has made a few major investments, but has noticed that her profits have been declining. How would you determine what is causing the decline in profits and what should be done to address it?
Example #5: Pharmaceutical Company
Your client is Pfizer, an American pharmaceutical company that develops and produces medicines and vaccines in a wide range of therapeutic areas. The CEO is worried about the company’s financial performance five years from now, when three of their blockbuster drugs come off patent.
What can Pfizer do to ensure that it continues to grow and be profitable?
Example #6: Insurance Company
Our client is an American auto insurance company. They are the second largest auto insurer in the United States and provide coverage for more than 30 million motor vehicles and more than 20 million policy holders.
Until recently, most car insurance is sold to car owners by insurance brokers. Insurance companies pay brokers a commission for each policy sold. Recently, car owners have started buying insurance directly from insurance companies over the phone.
You have been hired to help our client determine whether they should invest more in selling policies direct to customers over the phone.
How to Ace the KPMG Written Case Interview
Here’s how the KPMG written case interview works:
- The interviewer will give you a packet of 20 – 40 pages of graphs, charts, tables, notes, and other text
- You’ll have anywhere between 45 - 60 minutes to analyze the information in the packet and make slides to present your analysis and recommendation
- Afterwards, you will present your slides to the interviewer who will ask follow-up questions on your analysis and findings
Follow the steps and tips below to ace your KPMG written case interview.
1. Understand the business problem and case objective
The first step in completing a written case interview is to understand what the objective is. What is the primary business question you are trying to answer with the data and information provided?
Answering or solving the wrong business problem is the quickest way to fail a written case interview. Therefore, the first thing you should do is to read the instructions and the case background information so that you clearly understand the primary question you are trying to answer.
2. Read the list of major questions
Some written case interviews will provide you with a list of 3 – 4 key questions that you will be expected to address or answer.
Once you understand the overall business problem and case objective, read through the list of key questions. This will tell you what the most important areas of the case are. These will be the questions that you want to investigate and answer first.
If the written case interview is more open-ended and does not provide you with a list of key questions, skip this step and move onto the next step.
3. Quickly flip through the material to identify what information exists
The next step is to flip through the information packet that is provided to see what information is available. Identify what data you have and what data you do not have.
If the written case interview has provided you with pre-filled slide templates, make sure to flip through those as well.
The goal in this step is not to read and analyze every slide. That would take too much time.
Instead, you want to get a sense of what data and information is out there. This will help you decide and prioritize which slides are most important to read and analyze in more detail later.
4. Create a framework
Before you begin reading and analyzing the information in the slides in more detail, you should create a basic framework to help guide your analysis.
Select 3 to 4 broad areas that you think are the most important to analyze. In other words, what are the 3 to 4 things you need to know to answer the primary question of the written case interview?
If the written case interview has provided you with a list of 3 – 4 key questions, make sure to include these important areas in your framework.
Sometimes, these 3 – 4 key questions are your entire framework and you will not need to add anything else. Other times, you may identify important areas from flipping through the slides that you want to add to your framework in addition to these 3 – 4 key questions.
If the written case interview has provided you with pre-filled slide templates, these slides often provide clues on what the most important areas are.
5. Match information that exists to areas in your framework
Now that you have a solid framework to guide your analysis, the next step is to identify what information you can use to answer each area of your framework.
Since you have already flipped through the material and catalogued what information exists, you can match different pieces of information that exist to areas in your framework.
6. Read and analyze the material
The framework you created tells you what questions you need to answer. From the previous step, you know which slides the information is in to answer each question. All that is left to do is to read and analyze the information that is relevant to each area of your framework.
As you answer the major questions in your framework, make sure to write a one or two sentence summary of the key takeaway or answer. This will help you remember the work that you have done and make it easier to decide on a recommendation.
7. Decide on a recommendation
Once you have finished reading and analyzing all of the important and relevant material, you should have a list of key takeaways or answers to the major areas of your framework.
In this step, you’ll read through the key takeaways and decide on what recommendation they collectively support.
You should not expect every key takeaway to support your recommendation. Often, you’ll have key takeaways that support your recommendation, but also key takeaways that go against your recommendation.
If this is the case, you’ll need to mediate conflicting insights and decide on which insights are the most important. Remember that there is typically no right or wrong recommendation. As long as your recommendation is supported by data and evidence, you will be in great shape.
8. Structure your presentation slides
When you have decided on a recommendation and have the supporting data and evidence for it, you’ll want to create a structure for your presentation slides.
A simple, but effective structure you can use is:
- Slide 1: Present your recommendation and the three reasons that support it
- Slide 2: Present your first reason and the data that supports it
- Slide 3: Present your second reason and the data that supports it
- Slide 4: Present your third reason and the data that supports it
- Slide 5: Summarize everything that you’ve covered so far
- Slide 6: Present potential next steps
If the written case interview has already provided you with pre-filled slide templates, the structure of your presentation slides may already be decided for you. If not, you can incorporate the pre-filled slide templates into your overall presentation structure.
9. Fill in your slides
Once you have the structure of your presentation slides, the next step is to fill in the slides with content.
When filling in slides, make sure you use descriptive slide titles that clearly communicate the main message of the slide.
Additionally, try to make your slides easy to digest. Each slide should have one key message.
10. Review your slides and prepare for potential questions
If you have time remaining, review your slides one more time to check for any mistakes or errors. You can also spend some time cleaning up the slides to make them look neat and polished.
Afterwards, you can brainstorm potential questions the interviewer may ask you during your presentation. They may want to know how you performed your analysis or reached your conclusions. They may also challenge your assumptions or interpretations of the data.
Preparing for potential questions that could be asked will help your presentation go much more smoothly and you’ll feel much more confident while presenting.
The 10 Most Common Behavioral or Fit Interview Questions
In addition to case interviews, you will likely be asked a few behavioral or fit interview questions . There are ten questions that are most commonly asked.
1. Why are you interested in working at KPMG?
How to answer: Have at least three reasons why you’re interested in working at KPMG. You could mention that you loved the people that you have met from KPMG so far. You can talk about KPMG’s massive global presence and expertise in nearly every industry and function. You can speak to KPMG’s work culture and their emphasis on work life balance. Finally, you can mention their investment in their consultant’s professional development through their Continuing Professional Education (CPE) courses.
2. Why do you want to work in consulting?
How to answer: Again, have three reasons why you’re interested in consulting. You could mention the fast career growth opportunity, the opportunity to develop soft and hard skills, or the level of impact that you can make by working with large companies on their most challenging issues.
3. Walk me through your resume
How to answer: Provide a concise summary of your work experience, starting with the most recent. Focus on emphasizing your most impressive and unique accomplishments. At the end, tie your experiences to why you are interested in consulting.
4. What is your proudest achievement?
How to answer: Choose your most impressive, unique, or memorable accomplishment. Structure your answer by providing information on the situation, the task, the actions you took, and the results of your work.
5. What is something that you are proud of that is not on your resume?
How to answer: This is a great opportunity to highlight an accomplishment that is not related to your professional work experience. Perhaps there is a non-profit that you volunteer at, a side project or business that you work on, or a hobby that you have won awards or recognition for. Choose something that is impressive and interesting.
6. Tell me about a time when you led a team.
How to answer: If possible, choose a time when you directly managed a person or a team. For this question and the following questions, make sure that you structure your answer. Structure your answer by providing information on the situation, the task, the actions you took, and the results of your work. This is known as the STAR method and is commonly used to answer behavioral or fit interview questions.
7. Give an example of a time when you faced conflict or a disagreement.
How to answer: When answering this question, focus on emphasizing the steps you took to resolve the conflict or disagreement. Speak to the interpersonal skills you had to use in order to mediate the situation. Interviewers want to know that you are a great mediator and that you can handle conflict in a constructive way.
8. Tell me about a time when you had to persuade someone.
How to answer: Choose a time when you were able to change someone’s mind. Focus on emphasizing the steps that you took to persuade that person and what impact and results this had. Interviewers want to know that you are a great communicator and a good people person.
9. Describe a time when you failed.
How to answer: Choose a time when you failed to meet a deadline or did not meet expectations. Focus on emphasizing what you learned from the experience and how you used that experience to deliver even better results in the next opportunity that you got. Interviewers want to see that you don’t get discouraged from failure and that you treat those experiences as learning opportunities.
10. What questions do you have for me?
How to answer: This is a great opportunity to get to know the interviewer on a more personal level. Ask them questions about their experience in consulting or their career. Express genuine interest in what they have to show and ask follow-up questions. The more you can get the interviewer talking about themself, the more likely they will have a positive impression of you.
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Case Study Interview Guide With Sample Questions and Answers
Updated March 8, 2023
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The case study interview is a critical piece of the employee selection process for professional service firms. For consultancies, its specific purpose is to assess aptitude for partner-track roles.
Historically, the case study interview has been used to hire associate-level employees – those who are expected to work directly with business clients and produce a stream of billable services.
In recent years, case study interviews have expanded to analyst-level employees, in organisations that are usually the target clients of consultancies, especially in tech, healthcare, eCommerce and even NGOs.
Such analyst-level employees provide internal support to senior management, researching and vetting strategic opportunities.
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The case study interview typically consists of a single session, in which the candidate is presented with an authentic business scenario similar to one the firm regularly handles with its clients.
The candidate is asked to study the problem, perform analysis and render advice on how to handle the scenario. Depending on the industry the consultancy serves, the candidate may be asked to demonstrate how that advice might be implemented, and show specialized technical proficiency.
The session most commonly takes place onsite, in person, and one-to-one with the interviewer, but may be conducted remotely, or in a group setting.
No particular formal training is required to 'ace the case'. Yet most candidates find they need substantial preparation to get into the consulting mindset and sharpen the skills that interviewers are most looking for.
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The World of Consultants, Their Clients and Business Cases
Consultants are hired by senior managers of client organisations to advise on business strategy .
An effective business strategy drives competitive advantage, which in turn creates economic efficiencies that sustain multiple periods of cash generation, ultimately boosting the business value of the client organisation.
A business strategy is often characterised by a range of possible decisions, each having a unique set of risks and rewards. Deciding which path to pursue is highly momentous. Everything the client does hence comes at the expense of some opportunity it does not pursue.
The primary job of senior managers is to craft business strategy, determine the best course of action, and direct its execution. It is extremely difficult work requiring great focus, assimilation of tremendous amounts of information, intensive analysis, and serious reflection on all possible consequences.
The reality of senior managers’ jobs, however, is often much different. Their days are usually spent shuttling from one meeting to another, putting out fires, answering emails and phone calls, and in general, dealing with matters that are more urgent than important.
Time and attention are their scarcest resources, and there is never enough of either to devote to all the important aspects of business strategy.
Senior managers are fond of saying something to the effect of: “If I had just two weeks when I didn’t have to do anything else, I could do it myself”.
While that might be true, the fact is they aren’t ever likely to get even two hours, much less two weeks. Consultants provide that additional capacity senior managers so desperately need.
In some cases, that extra capacity comes in the form of expertise that the client firm doesn’t have readily available.
In others, consultants provide independent validation of business strategies, thereby assuring governing boards and executive committees that they aren’t committing their company’s fortune to a cleverly articulated hunch.
In short, successful consultants are trusted advisors and partners of their client firms’ senior managers, doing much of the work they would do if not so time-constrained.
Consultants perform research and analysis , evaluate business cases , and help manage the pipeline of business opportunities for their senior manager clients.
Over time they learn to complement their clients’ business intuition and anticipate future consulting needs.
What Is a Case Study Interview and Why Do Consultancies Like to Use Them?
A case study interview is a miniature simulation of a typical client engagement, centred on a business problem that a client has likely contended with.
The interview is usually conducted in a single session lasting 20 to 30 minutes, though sometimes it can be considerably longer.
During this time, candidates are briefed on a strategic decision similar to one a client has faced and will be asked to analyse the situation, interact with the interviewer, and devise a solution.
The case study interview may also include the candidate outlining a PowerPoint presentation that would be delivered to the client, and giving a verbal summary of each slide.
Most case study interviews are conducted in-person by the interviewer, with ample opportunity for interaction with the candidate.
Some case study interviews are less structured, and in these cases, it is up to the candidate to drive the interview.
Some may even be conducted remotely using a video-conferencing app, with the interviewer absent most of the time, and the candidate left alone to work on the case.
Consultancies favour case study interviews for several reasons. First and foremost, case studies represent an authentic work sample of the often fiendishly difficult work of business strategy, and the attendant tasks consultants deal with every day.
That includes gathering and analysing information, prioritising findings and determining what’s missing, creating structures to make things understandable, putting results into a greater context, understanding trade-offs, creating blueprints for implementation, and delivering presentations.
How candidates interact with the interviewer also provides insight into what sort of relationship they will have with senior managers who are paying hefty rates for the firm’s services. They are looking for evidence that candidates can communicate effectively with executives , and build durable, trusting business relationships with them.
Consultancies also like case study interviews because, as work samples, they are a valid predictor of future job performance . Additionally, the cases used in interviews are often standardised so that they can be used to compare multiple candidates according to the same criteria.
Finally, most applicants for consulting roles have high grades from top schools, a background of overachievement, and impressive work experience, and therefore cannot be differentiated on that basis. Case studies are an effective way to distinguish the best among a pool of the best.
If you need to practice consulting case interviews, try out this preparation pack from JobTestPrep .
At What Stage of the Application Process Can You Expect the Case Study?
The selection process for consultants always involves multiple stages, with the case study interview occurring later in the process, after you’ve successfully completed the so-called 'fit interviews' .
During the fit interview stage, candidates need to demonstrate that they have the temperament of a successful consultant, which is established mostly through behavioral interviewing . They also need to demonstrate that they’ll fit in well with the culture of the firm and its clients. In short, if you’ve made it this far, you have laid the groundwork to do the job.
But can you really do it? The case study interview seeks to determine whether you can apply your background, skills and achievements to future consulting work, day after day, client after client. No two consulting engagements are the same, and the work is often gruelling.
Much of the time you will find yourself stretched to the limit of your abilities. Your world will be full of unsolved problems, with no easy way to get answers. You will come to rely on the ingenuity of your colleagues as much as your own.
What Skills Are Case Studies Looking to Test?
At the case study interview stage, the major questions the consultancy will want to answer include:
- Are you someone they would want on their team, and can depend on for insight, energy and contributions?
- Are you inherently curious, a quick learner, and eager to learn about things even if they aren’t particularly interesting to you?
- Can you think on your feet and adapt to a changing conversation?
- Do you come across as presentable, poised and confident in front of clients, most of whom are senior managers?
- Can you make presentations that are clear, relevant, logical and actionable?
Specific skills they are wanting to see are:
Analytical thinking . Especially in framing issues, breaking situations down into a range of discrete alternatives, structuring complex situations, and rendering findings into concrete business language.
Asking appropriate questions . Interviewers want to see that you respect where the limits of available information are, and can quickly determine remedies. More practically, they want assurance that you are always mindful that both you and your client are understanding one another.
Business intuition . That includes focusing on relevant areas, avoiding getting hung up on trivia, and anticipating challenges in the absence of hard data.
Communicating effectively . That includes building rapport with clients and their staff, active listening, giving clients the confidence they’ve been heard, and speaking in the language of the client.
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What to Expect on the Day of the Case Study Interview
The case study interview session will likely begin like a standard interview, with introductions and a small talk to help put you at ease. The location will usually be an interviewing room or a vacant conference room.
The interviewer will introduce the business situation and provide exhibits, which often include an excerpt from a financial statement, and perhaps a bullet-point summary of the facts of the case. The interviewer will ask if you have any questions, and then you will be prompted to begin working on the case.
Cases are usually self-contained, so it is unlikely you will need internet access to do research. However, you will likely have to perform calculations, and will either be provided with paper and pens or allowed to use the calculator on your mobile phone or the whiteboard in the room.
During the case, the interviewer may stay in the room to address any questions you have. The interviewer may also offer prompts, guide you to the next step, or provide hints.
Many interviewers will offer verbal or tacit feedback along the way, and it is important to pay attention to it. You may occasionally find yourself getting stuck, and it is entirely appropriate to ask questions of the interviewer to help get back on track.
At the conclusion, you may be given feedback on your overall performance, or an opportunity to debrief with the interviewer.
Common Types of Case Study Questions
Case study questions usually fall into one of the following four categories:
- Estimation questions
- Actual or theoretical client questions
- Brainteaser questions
- Graphic interpretation questions
JobTestPrep offers practice packages to prepare for assessment centre case studies .
This type of question requires you to think on your feet and work out the solution to a problem with only your own limited knowledge. Such questions include:
- How many cars are there in England?
- How many children are born each year in Europe?
- How many mobile phones will be sold in 2023?
- How many night buses are there in London?
Actual or Theoretical Client Questions
This type of question requires candidates to analyse an actual or possible client issue. Examples include:
- A well-known business wants to develop itself online. What is your advice?
- A well-known high-street cafe chain is doing badly. How do you suggest they improve?
- A company has found that its revenues are higher than ever, but the company is still operating at a loss. Why is this?
- You have been contacted by a sushi chain to help them develop a plan to enter the home delivery market in a community where another sushi chain already has a market-dominant position. You are the lead consultant for this client, what do you suggest they do?
Graphic Interpretation Questions
This type of question requires candidates to interpret data from some kind of chart or graph. The data may be actual company data, data that has been made up or data that refers to something else entirely.
Case Study Example Topics
Case study questions are most likely to cover general business strategy topics. Candidates can expect any of the following during their case interview:
Build a business case for developing a major new product, service, technology solution, or customer experience
Build a business case for a developing new line of business, spinning off an existing one, or creating a subsidiary business
Recommend whether to pursue a purchase, divestiture, acquisition, merger, joint venture, strategic alliance, or major partnership
Recommend whether to enter a new market and if so, by what competitive strategy (for example, cost, service, quality)
Determine how best to improve company or business unit growth, and how it might affect critical areas of the company’s financial statements, especially revenue, gross margin, EBITDA, or profitability
Determine how best to price or segment a new product or service offering Determine whether to rehabilitate a brand
Determine how to respond to a major competitive threat (for example, “Google / Amazon / Microsoft just entered our space”)
How to Prepare and Practice Effectively
When preparing for the case study interview, it is important to keep things in perspective. You are not being assessed on your mastery of business strategy. Rather, the interviewers are looking at whether you take a critical approach to complex business problems, and can break them down into components logically, thoroughly and clearly.
They want to see whether you apply a structure to those components, one that highlights meaningful differences in choices a client may face. And they are especially interested in whether you ask insightful questions that increase everyone’s knowledge and drive the conversation toward a solid conclusion.
In light of that, here are some practical ways you can prepare for the case interview:
Step 1. Gain a Working Understanding of the Standard Frameworks Used in the Consulting Industry
There are numerous online resources to help familiarise you or refresh your understanding.
Keep in mind these frameworks are not hacks and must be applied appropriately if you decide to use them during your case study interview.
Step 2. Get Comfortable With Fundamental Analysis Techniques
One of the most common is MECE (mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive), but there are several others .
But the goal is the same – lay out a range of feasible solutions with no gaps in between.
Step 3. Sharpen Your Ability to Make Back-Of-The-Envelope Calculations
Especially financial ratios , so that you can make comparisons or decisions quickly.
Step 4. Develop a Concise Style for Putting Business Situations and Solutions Into Narrative Form
Harvard Business Review or MIT Sloan Management Review articles contain particularly good examples of consulting solutions told as compelling stories.
Step 5. Practice Several Actual Cases
Most of the top consulting firms offer online guidance, worked examples and actual cases.
Another good resource is your university’s careers services department. Many have extensive case interview preparation materials, and staff who can conduct a practice case study interview with you.
Step 6. Practice Active Listening
Listening is a highly cultivated skill among senior managers. You will come across as very junior if you cut them off or act too eagerly when it’s your turn to speak.
Note that if you are answering a question in your head while the interviewer is still talking, you are not listening!
To develop your consulting case interview technique, consider practising further using online resources such as this preparation pack from JobTestPrep.
Tips on How to Perform Well During the Case Study Interview
Actively engage with the interviewer . Ask questions to make sure you are both understanding matters, and being understood.
Demonstrate that you are enjoying the challenge . Consulting is gruelling work. Show that you can bring energy to a consulting engagement, and that you’re the kind of person clients would want to work with, especially when the going gets tough.
Treat the interviewer as you would one of the firm’s most valued clients . Communicate using the language of the client where appropriate.
Keep the conversation moving forward . At every step make sure that you are bringing structure to the business problem, and keeping all the issues in proper context.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are case study interviews.
Case study interviews are used in the latter stages of the application process for top-level roles, especially in the professional services or consultancy industry.
Candidates are presented with a case study based on a realistic and relevant scenario and must study the problem, analyze the provided data and information, and present a conclusion or a recommendation.
Case study interviews are about your ability to effectively understand and analyze a business problem to produce a solution, but they are also about your thought processes and ability to communicate decisions and recommend appropriate solutions.
The case study interview will normally take place in a ‘typical’ interview environment – in-person, at the office and with either a single interviewer or a panel. In some cases, it might happen remotely or as part of a group exercise with other applicants.
In the case study interview , you are being assessed on your strategy, how adaptable and fast learning you are, and how you use critical thinking and logic to analyze information. You will also be evaluated on your general business acumen and your knowledge of the company and wider industry, alongside desirable characteristics like insight and curiosity.
When presenting your findings, the interviewer wants you to come across as confident, presentable, and poised, while being able to distill complicated ideas and solutions in the simplest form to make them both understandable and easy to implement.
What type of jobs have case study interviews?
Case study interviews have been traditionally used as a part of the application process for associate-level jobs in the consultancy industry. These roles are usually directly involved in generating income for the business by collaborating with clients in a consultant capacity, so the case study interview is an in-depth work sample.
In recent times, case study interviews are also being used in the recruitment of analysts, where strategy and business acumen are needed alongside analytical skills for success in a job that provides detailed support for senior management in terms of internal problem solving and external profit growth.
You might also expect to deal with a case study interview if you are looking for a role in IT, especially at higher levels with some level of business-wide decision making. Managers in many industries might be provided with an employee-related case study to deal with as part of the interview process to assess leadership style and understanding of typical HR processes and procedures.
How do I prepare for the case study interview?
The case study interview is not as much about getting the ‘right’ answer as it is about the process of getting there, so it is a difficult one to prepare for. However, the more you know about what to expect in the interview, the better you will be able to perform. Articles like this one on Wikijob will give you an extensive overview of the structure of a case study interview, as well as what to expect on the day.
One of the best sources of information about the case study interview is likely to be the business for which you have applied. This is especially true with the Big Four consultancy firms (PwC, Deloitte, KPMG and EY) as they use the case study in many recruitment processes and have lots of resources on their recruitment site to help candidates to get prepared.
You will also be expected to have a good working knowledge of the wider industry that you are a part of, and the company you have applied for in relation to that. Knowing more about the consultancy space, for example, will give you an idea about what the business values are, and you can use this when considering the right course of action to suggest.
You can also get excellent preparation advice from JobTestPrep , with guided practice cases and revision resources to help you get used to different types of questions, how to approach the problem, and different strategies and structures to use to answer.
The case study interview is not just about how effectively you can analyze the problem – it is also about selecting and recommending a course of action. You will need presentation skills to be able to give this information to the relevant clients if you get the job, and this means that you need to hone your skills to perform well in the interview, too.
Practice active listening, speaking clearly, and using popular presentation software like PowerPoint because you might be expected to put together and talk about a slide show to make your recommendation.
What types of case studies can be given in an interview?
The case study that you will be given in your interview is likely to be realistic and relevant to the role you have applied for. In some cases, it will be a fictitious problem based on something that you might need to do if you get the job, while in others it might be a real customer problem that you are being asked to solve.
The case studies are usually based around different strategy issues and topics that a consultant or analyst might be asked to help with, including things like:
- Acquisitions – Whether to complete a merger or create a partnership or strategic alliance
- Creation – New business, new product line, enter a new market
- Growth – How to grow a business unit or the company as a whole
- Threat – Dealing with a big company entering the space
- Development – New technology, product, or service
- Pricing – How to price and segment a new product or service
What are the common case study interview questions?
The common case study questions that you might be asked in a case study interview are about strategy, but they are also usually relevant to the role you have applied for. There are three main types of questions that you might be asked:
- Graphic interpretation – Ability to read and understand data presented in a graph or table
- Estimation – A question that challenges your ability to extrapolate from your limited knowledge to find an answer to a question like “how many cars are in England.”
- Client questions – This is the most used type of question and is based on theoretical or genuine issues that a customer of the business might have. You might be asked to help a customer achieve a move into a new market, for example.
What are the best free online resources to prepare for case study interviews?
When you are applying for a job with a company that uses case study interviews as part of the recruitment process, you will often find the best free resources to help you prepare on their career site. Making use of the resources the company provides is the best way to be prepared because you will be using the information they have provided, which is usually closely aligned to the actual content of the assessments and interviews.
For a more broad view of case study interviews including techniques and definitions, articles like this Wikijob resource will provide you with a lot of information that will help you prepare, including tips.
We recommend that anyone facing a case study interview gets access to the free resources available at JobTestPrep , with practice case studies. The Prep Packs are a paid-for source of invaluable information that includes techniques, frameworks and extra ideas that will help you work to your absolute best in the interview.
How can you prepare a presentation for a case study interview?
It is highly likely that as part of the case study interview , you will be expected to create a presentation of your results.
In some cases, this might be through an informal discussion with the interviewer, but in many cases, you will have to present your recommendation more formally so that you can be assessed on your presentation skills, communication, and confidence.
In this case, you should prepare for the presentation by practicing presentations. Some case interviews will expect you to create a slideshow of your findings and speak about them, so knowledge of software like PowerPoint will help here.
The most important preparation you can do is about how you present yourself. The interviewer wants you to be poised, confident and comfortable with what you are saying, so you can get the best results by practicing speaking clearly, taking complicated ideas, and simplifying them, and actively listening when you are asked a question. Think of any topic – work-related or not – and create a short presentation on it that could be understood by anyone, and then present it to a friend or a relative.
What is the best way to structure and layout your notes in the case study interview?
When you undertake a case study interview , you will be provided with some source material and the facility to make notes – and these notes will be pivotal in your performance, ensuring that you can make the best recommendation through detailed analysis.
The way you approach the case study will depend on several factors, but you should always create some form of ‘issue tree’ that considers the problem that needs to be solved and can be branched out into smaller questions and problems.
To do this effectively, take a good couple of pages of notes related to the data and information that is provided by the interviewer. There will likely be some extraneous information provided that could muddy the waters of your thinking but making notes will help clarify it. It is especially useful to keep numbers in mind, whether that is related to staffing, profit, or stock – this is important.
You will then need to use a couple of pages to create the issue tree structure and begin to answer some of the questions.
The final part of your note-taking should be the recommendation and the preparation that you need to do to present your findings to the interviewer.
Don’t forget that you are expected to make notes through the process, but you should also speak to the interviewer and let them know what your thought processes are – and ask for more data if you have any gaps. When they are speaking, make sure you are listening and you understand what they are saying before taking any notes – active listening is an important skill in a consultant or analyst.
How much time do you have to think about the answer in a case study interview?
In the case study interview , you are not necessarily going to be given a specific amount of time to think about your answer because the whole interview is about your thinking process.
What this means in practice is that you will be reading and analyzing the information, devising a structure and a strategy and concluding in a live environment, consulting with the interviewer to ask questions and get clarity.
By thinking aloud and making notes, you will have enough time to contemplate how you are tackling the question.
A typical case study interview can last as little as 30 minutes, but many are considerably longer at half a day or even a full day (depending on the role, the company, and the industry you have applied for).
What should I study to ace the case study interviews?
One of the first things that you need to study for the case study interview is the material that is provided by the company you have applied for – or ones in the same industry.
As many of the major consultancy firms use case study interviews for associate-level recruitment and analysts, the case studies tend to be similar enough that the resources provided will be useful even for a job at a competitor.
You also need to be au fait with the company and the wider industry, identifying trends across businesses and the specific values of the organization you have applied for.
In terms of the case study itself, knowledge of analysis techniques and the frameworks used in consulting will be useful – even if you don’t use them in that particular case, you might need them later in the role (once you ace the interview).
Aside from confidently creating issue trees and ensuring your data gathering is Mutually Exclusive and Collectively Exhaustive (MECE), some things you will need to know include:
- Porter’s Five Forces (barriers to entry, competitive dynamics, supplier power, buyer power, threat of substitutes).
- 3 C’s (Company, Competitors, Clients)
- BCG Growth-Share Matrix
- McKinsey 7S Framework
- Affinity Diagram
- 4 Ps of Marketing (Product, Price, Promotion, Placement)
- Force Field Analysis
- Product Market Grid
- SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats
Think about what is important to analyze for a business too, like profit margins, expenses, and ROI, as well as consumer metrics like User Lifetime Value and demographics.
What is the next step after a case study interview?
The case study interview is usually the last step in a recruitment process for top-level roles and will have taken place after the more traditional ‘fit’ interview where you will be asked competency-based and motivational questions.
You will have already surpassed other applicants through the initial paper sift, any aptitude or psychometric testing, and interviews to get to the case study.
This means that if you are successful in the case study interview, the next step will be a job offer or a salary discussion.
You can’t cram for a case study interview. But you can prepare in such a way that your analytical acumen, communication skills , and business intuition are all razor-sharp on the day of the interview. Furthermore, you can show that you are one of the few who can take on the consultant mindset, and appear natural doing so.
In summary, here are the steps you can take that will show you grasp the fundamentals of consulting, and have the aptitude to master them over your career:
Get familiar with the most common business case scenarios, and the important differences between them.
Develop a working method for breaking down business cases into components, and for structuring these components.
Get knowledgeable about analysis frameworks , how they can be used as problem-solving tools, and where it is appropriate to use them.
Cultivate a narrative style that gets people interested and excited about your work.
Use a conversational style that begins with asking good questions, and is driven by wanting to be the best listener in the room – not the best talker.
This article was written in partnership with LiveCareer . Since 2005, LiveCareer has been developing tools that have helped over 10 million users build stronger resumes and CVs, write persuasive cover letters, and develop better interview skills. These tools include their free resume builder and CV builder .
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