BCG CaseInterviewGuide

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BCG CaseInterviewGuide

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  • CRACKING THE CASE!

    Case Interview Guide

  • TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Introduction/Review of Interview Basics

    Practice Cases Case 1: Supermarket Deli Turnaround Case 2: China Outsourcing Opportunity Case 3: Growing Specialty Paper Sales

    - 1 -

  • WHY CASE INTERVIEWS?

    Cases help us gain insight into how you might approach and analyze a typical business issue Assesses your problem-solving capabilities, analytics and

    business judgment Gives you a perspective of what consultants do

    Cases are representative of our work Our interview cases are frequently taken from real BCG case work However, keep in mind that in the interview there are not always clear right or

    wrong answers

    To do well on the case, the interviewer is looking for you to Provide a clear structure for your analysis Prioritize the components of the problem Listen and use relevant information to develop a clear recommendation

    Case performance is not the only metric BCG uses to evaluate candidates, others include Education, work and life experiences Interpersonal and communication skills

    Use sound business judgment to take the quickest (i.e., least resource intensive) path to the highest impact conclusion. BCG interviewer

    Use sound business judgment to take the quickest (i.e., least resource intensive) path to the highest impact conclusion. BCG interviewer

    - 2 -

  • INTERVIEW FORMAT45 Minute Interview

    Discuss prior experiencesOpen discussion (accomplishments, motivations)

    Case introductionCase discussionCase wrap up

    Q&A, your chance to ask questions

    10-15 minutes

    20-25 minutes

    5-10 minutes

    Typically you are given two cases in the first round of interviews and three in second round Typically you are given two cases in the first

    round of interviews and three in second round

    - 3 -

  • INTERVIEW FORMATBreaking Case into Five Components

    BCG role

    Introduction Approach Analytics Recommendation Next steps/other areas to explore

    Pose problem to be solved

    Provide basic facts (will vary in detail)

    Evaluate structure to solve case

    Provide data and context as asked

    Evaluate analytical performance (math, deductions, etc.)

    Wrap up interview in time

    Evaluate recommendation

    May prompt with is there anything else [Co.] should consider?

    Evaluate next steps

    Your role

    Confirm basic facts as given

    Articulate rationale and sequence of analyses to solve case

    Explain what you are thinking and why

    Progress data collection per your approach

    Execute computations

    Articulate impact (so what) per step

    Conclude analyses with actionable recommendation

    Address problem posed in introduction

    Translate recommendation to implementation

    Incorporate tangential areas for investigation

    Without explaining the right approach, very difficult to succeed in other steps

    Without explaining the right approach, very difficult to succeed in other steps

    - 4 -

  • KEY EVALUATION CRITERIA

    Effectiveness and impactEffectiveness and impact Problem solving and insightProblem solving

    and insight Presence/communicationPresence/communication

    Tolerance for ambiguity

    Self-motivated/directed

    Leader and team player

    Intellectually curious

    Drives to results

    Tolerance for ambiguity

    Self-motivated/directed

    Leader and team player

    Intellectually curious

    Drives to results

    Framing/organizing the problem

    Prioritization of issues

    Identifying relevant information

    Drawing appropriate conclusions from facts and analysis

    Identifying implications and next steps

    Framing/organizing the problem

    Prioritization of issues

    Identifying relevant information

    Drawing appropriate conclusions from facts and analysis

    Identifying implications and next steps

    Listening skills

    Concise and articulate

    Credible/mature

    Listening skills

    Concise and articulate

    Credible/mature

    - 5 -

  • QUICK TIPS: DOsBased on Feedback from BCG Interviewers

    Open discussionOpen discussion Solving the caseSolving the case

    Relax Attitude shows through Keep it conversational and fun

    Be enthusiastic and authentic Know your story Be genuine to yourself

    The basics: bring pen and paper, ask clarifying questions

    Listen, Listen, Listen

    Prepare a few questions to ask interviewer at the end of the interview

    Relax Attitude shows through Keep it conversational and fun

    Be enthusiastic and authentic Know your story Be genuine to yourself

    The basics: bring pen and paper, ask clarifying questions

    Listen, Listen, Listen

    Prepare a few questions to ask interviewer at the end of the interview

    After the setup, ask 2-3 value added clarification questions to help you frame

    Use a relevant framework to help structure and prioritize. There is no standard approach

    Think out loud make your logic/rationale explicit

    Pace yourself Avoid a frantic start collect your thoughts Be aware of the time you need to be

    progressing towards a recommendation

    Stop and summarize when necessary

    Make it easy for the interviewer to follow calculations Write down numbers Dont overcomplicate the math

    Draw conclusions from the facts - identify pivotal evidence for your argument.

    Conclude with a recommendation - what should the client DO? Have a viewpoint and conviction

    After the setup, ask 2-3 value added clarification questions to help you frame

    Use a relevant framework to help structure and prioritize. There is no standard approach

    Think out loud make your logic/rationale explicit

    Pace yourself Avoid a frantic start collect your thoughts Be aware of the time you need to be

    progressing towards a recommendation

    Stop and summarize when necessary

    Make it easy for the interviewer to follow calculations Write down numbers Dont overcomplicate the math

    Draw conclusions from the facts - identify pivotal evidence for your argument.

    Conclude with a recommendation - what should the client DO? Have a viewpoint and conviction

    - 6 -

  • QUICK TIPS: DONTsBased on Feedback from BCG Interviewers

    Open DiscussionOpen Discussion Solving the CaseSolving the Case

    Focus solely on the case; the open discussion is also important in our evaluation of you

    Fumble the basics (e.g., why are you interested in consulting?)

    Show concern/hesitation when the interview shifts to the case

    Provide long, technically detailed descriptions of your experiences

    Try to steer the conversation

    Ignore interviewers signals regarding pace, e.g. answering 2 minute question with 10 minute monologue

    Focus solely on the case; the open discussion is also important in our evaluation of you

    Fumble the basics (e.g., why are you interested in consulting?)

    Show concern/hesitation when the interview shifts to the case

    Provide long, technically detailed descriptions of your experiences

    Try to steer the conversation

    Ignore interviewers signals regarding pace, e.g. answering 2 minute question with 10 minute monologue

    Begin asking variety questions before establishing approach to problem.

    Repeat back every detail of the case set up

    Get so set on a framework that you are unwilling to accept a new direction

    Avoid the math - interviewers are looking for your comfort level with numbers

    Ignore given information, clues on relevant issues

    Get bogged down on less important issues

    Make critical assumptions without explaining htelogic behind them

    Take too long to formulate the summary think of the 30 second elevator speech

    Ask how did I do? or did I get the right answer?during the interview

    Begin asking variety questions before establishing approach to problem.

    Repeat back every detail of the case set up

    Get so set on a framework that you are unwilling to accept a new direction

    Avoid the math - interviewers are looking for your comfort level with numbers

    Ignore given information, clues on relevant issues

    Get bogged down on less important issues

    Make critical assumptions without explaining htelogic behind them

    Take too long to formulate the summary think of the 30 second elevator speech

    Ask how did I do? or did I get the right answer?during the interview

    - 7 -

  • HOW TO PREPARE

    Practice problem solving Case examples (this book!, Wet Feet Press, consulting club casebooks,

    www.bcg.com) Interview workshops and mock interviews Student peers, former BCG Associates, former BCG summer interns Make it as realistic as possible (e.g., timing, write down ideas/approach,

    talk out loud)

    Give cases to others to see things from the other side

    Talk to alumni and friends who have experience with case interview formats

    Practice helps train you to structure the problem and think out loud;however, beware the risk of becoming robotic with over-practice

    Practice helps train you to structure the problem and think out loud;however, beware the risk of becoming robotic with over-practice

    - 8 -

  • TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Introduction/Review of Interview Basics

    Practice Cases Case 1: Supermarket Deli Turnaround Case 2: China Outsourcing Opportunity Case 3: Growing Specialty Paper Sales

    - 9 -

  • Case 1Case 1

    CASE #1 - SUPERMARKET DELI TURNAROUNDProblem Set-Up

    The client is a national supermarket chain that is facing a very difficult situation. Low-price competitors like Wal*Mart, Costco, and Dollar General