How To Prepare For Case Studies In Management Consulting Interviews


Management consulting interviews are notorious for case studies. They are not your standard job interview, but rather a series of case descriptions and hypothetical or theoretical problems in business, which are expected to be analyzed or solved by the candidate. Preparation for such interviews is crucial to success and getting hired with a top management consulting firm.

Firms, such as McKinsey or Bain present a series of case studies during the interviewing process. The skills necessary to successfully perform on a case study interview are the similar skills needed to work effectively as a management consultant. Management consulting experts are required to understand the basic concepts in business, such as market structure or financials, as well as think analytically and in a highly structured manner. A management consultant’s daily job basically consists of real-life case studies, so the case study exercise in an interview setting provides the hiring committee an active assessment of how well the candidate performs in core firm activities.

BCG and A.T. Kearney have been using case study interviews for years with proven success. Hiring committees from these leading management consulting companies indicate that the process is nearly foolproof. If a candidate performs significantly well on a case study interview, they show that they will be a good fit for the company.

Preparation is needed before going in front of a hiring committee at any firm. In fact, top consulting firms like Booz recommend practicing as much as possible with friends, co-workers, and other consultants. Practicing in front of the mirror is a great way to overcome insecurity and provides a wonderful way to self-examine in terms of body language and style.

There are a number of case study practice guides available on the market today. In fact, some companies offer practice questions and interviewing tips on the company website. You don’t need to drain your bank account by purchasing every study guide that was ever published, but selecting two or three solid and reputable guides may help you to succeed on your management consulting interview. The more exposure that you have to the types of questions and cases offered, the more prepared you will feel going into your interview.

It is important to think about cases and scenarios in your everyday life in preparation for your case study interview. This means, for example, that when reading the business section of the New York Times, you should put yourself in the position of the CEO. Ask yourself how you would handle the problem: what would you do, what kinds of things would you do to lead your team. By presenting yourself with these types of scenarios on a constant basis, you are preparing yourself for the management consulting interview. It is important to be able to think quickly on your feet and present an answer with confidence and determination.

The case study is valued so highly that you performance on this task accounts for at least 50% of your determining score. It cannot be emphasized enough that it is crucial for you to prepare for these kinds of interviews. Doing well on this portion of the management consulting interview weighs heavily on you getting hired by the firm. If you are looking for an offer at one of the leading consulting firms, the best thing to do is practice, practice and practice some more. You cannot practice enough for the case study stage of the interview; when you are sure you have done enough, you need to go back and do more.

Landing a job at a management consulting firm is no easy task, but you can increase your chances of getting hired by doing your homework ahead of time. Take the case study interview portion of the hiring process seriously and land the job of your dreams.

Need strategies for your management consulting interview? Download our free guide, “How to Land a Consulting Job” to get more insight into case studies and the interview process. offers insights to help you land the consulting job of your dreams.



Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1800 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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