Case Interview Secrets Summary


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Originally published at: https://blog.12min.com/case-interview-secrets-summary/

A Former McKinsey Interviewer Reveals How to Get Multiple Job Offers in Consulting


You always wanted to work as a consultant. And now you are invited for an interview. Or, you just went to an interview, and you failed badly.

Then, you are in the right place.

Our summary of “Case Interview Secrets” will give you the questions you can expect in job interviews at consultancies, and hence help you ace your interview, get the job.

So, scroll down and join us for the crash course on landing the job of your dreams.

Who Should Read “Case Interview Secrets”? and Why?

Once you have passed the seemingly hardest part of the job quest and have been asked to an interview at your preferred consultancy, it is time to consider how to become the candidate that they will employ.

Now, a job interview conducted at a consultancy most of the time is not just another job interview, where you will get a bunch of questions about your prior experiences.

Instead, you have to be prepared to answer both qualitative and quantitive questions.

In “Case Interview Secrets”, author Victor Cheng shows you how to ace the process by giving you an overview of the questions you might expect, and how to answer them.

We recommend this book to all readers who are preparing for a job interview and all of those who failed one and want to know what went wrong.

About Victor Cheng

Victor Cheng is a business book author, a public speaker, and a strategic planning consultant. He previously worked at the McKinsey & Company as a management consultant.

"Case Interview Secrets Summary"

Have you ever partook in a job interview at a major consulting firm?

If you have, you already know that it is not a mere conversation about your previous endeavors and qualifications. Instead, you will get a business case to solve.

The questions that you can expect in a case interview usually feature two types of quantitative questions.

First, you will get math questions that involve interpretation of data or arithmetic, percentage calculation.

Honestly, these questions can be daunting, but you need to try to answer them as quickly as possible. Do you know what you need to be able to do that?

Practice.

Just like with everything else in life, practice is the key to mastery.

So, what can you do daily to improve your speed and confidence?

One thing you can do is practice using old interview questions. Of course, keep in mind that the questions are always changing, so practicing like this will only automate your reasoning and make you comfortable with such types of problems.

The second type of quantitative questions that you can expect to get is computational-level estimates.

What are these?

These questions present a problem in which you are given a few pieces of information, with which you will need to work to make estimates.

Answering these types of questions can be hard since you will have to work with large numbers in your head.

To make the task easier, either break up the numbers or round up the numbers.

In fact, in most cases, you will just need to come up with a rough estimate.

If you ever go to a case interview, you will probably be confused because of all the obscure estimations interviewers ask you to do.

However, you need to understand that the interviewer does what the clients will make you do if you become a consultant.

So, case interviews are simulations of your future job.

Key Lessons from “Case Interview Secrets”

1. Determining a Product’s Market Size 2. The Need for Interpersonal Skills 3. General Business Questions

Determining a Product’s Market Size

First, you have to know that the purpose of such questions, if they ever come up, is to observe how you decide to approach them.

Knowing that you will know that coming up with the correct answer is not crucial.

So, the first thing you need to do is to find proxies or factors that can help you get to your answer.

But remember, once you have found proxies, identify and keep in mind their limits, because they are only a rough estimates to guide your predictions.

The Need for Interpersonal Skills

Interviewers do not ask for correct answers to their questions. Yes, they will appreciate your accurate predictions and developed analytical skills, but they will also look for excellent interpersonal skills.

If you become a consultant, you will continuously work with people, so you need to be calm and confident. So, if you are nervous and fidgety, you will most likely fail at getting the job, since the interviewer knows that a client will not trust recommendations that come from a nervous consultant.

General Business Questions

If you successfully answered the two types of quantitative questions, your interviewer might ask you some general business questions as well.

To handle such questions use frameworks.

  • The Profitability Framework will help you conduct a quantitative analysis, by breaking profit based on its components in revenue group and cost group.
  • The Business Situation Framework will help you analyze the client’s business, market, and industry, and determine such things as why the variable costs are so high. It does that by dissecting the business and revealing information of its subsegments: company, competition, customers, and products.
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“Case Interview Secrets” Quotes

[bctt tweet="If there isn’t any obvious segmentation pattern, avoid stating the segmentation pattern you want to see. Instead, phrase your question such that the interviewer tells you which segmentation pattern is the right one to use." username="get12min"]

[bctt tweet=“Just like a scientist devises an experiment to test a working theory about a disease, you need to determine how to test your client’s problem or challenge. Interviewers commonly call this step problem structuring.” username=“get12min”]

[bctt tweet=“A fixed cost doesn’t change as the number of units sold changes.” username=“get12min”]

[bctt tweet=“A variable cost changes, typically linearly, with the number of units sold.” username=“get12min”]

[bctt tweet=“When analyzing costs, it’s often useful to segment them into fixed versus variable costs. You can do this in two ways. One way is to disaggregate your cost per unit into fixed costs per unit and variable costs per unit.” username=“get12min”]

Our Critical Review

“Case Interview Secrets” is an excellent book for beginners that would like to avoid the hurdles. More knowledgeable readers and seasoned campaigners may find many of the content familiar. However, the puzzles and problems that Cheng inserts in the book will make it enjoyable and fun for readers.

Overall, expect to get a good lecture on how to become more confident when going for job interviews in consultancy firms.