Management consulting is a decades old industry. And the case interview has been a consistent staple in the consulting recruiting process. Some firms, however, use what’s known as the “case presentation interview” to test candidates. They use this to test more than just the ability to crack a case. Be sure to do your research and see if the firms you are recruiting for implement the case presentation interview into their processes.
What is the Case Presentation Interview?
The case presentation interview comes in various forms depending on the firm. The case presentation interview is usually a part of second or third round interviews. It’s often worked on as a group. As the name suggests, the case presentation interview involves analyzing a business problem and presenting a solution to interviewers.
Usually, however, they will follow something similar to the process below:
- Candidate is given a packet of information that includes the case prompt and data
- The candidate is given time either at home or on-site at the firm to review the information and create a presentation. (either by hand or on PowerPoint)
- Then, the candidate presents his or her insights and findings to one or a panel of interviewers
- Interviewers ask questions during and after the presentation
Consultants often need to analyze information quickly and present to clients. The case presentation interview is a good way to test skills that traditional case interviews can’t. These skills include:
- Presentation abilities
- Analyzing large sets of data and information
- Performance in a team setting
- PowerPoint skills
The Biggest Challenge in Case Presentation Interviews
The biggest challenge you’ll face with the case presentation interview is time management. Usually, the firm will provide you with a large set of data and extraneous information. Don’t try to read through every detail. Instead, try to form an opinion as quickly as possible, and find the data you need to support your thoughts.
When you first receive the packet of information for the case presentation interview, budget your time. Set a hard stop for how much time you’ll give yourself to review the information and force yourself to start working on the presentation. Regardless if you’re given 30 minutes or 2 hours, time will go by extremely quickly. Your interviewers will understand if your presentation isn’t perfect given the time constraints. With that said, you want to avoid spending too much time analyzing the information so that you get to creating the presentation in the first place!
Tips on Crushing the Case Presentation Interview
Though you can’t find as many resources for case presentation interviews as normal case interviews, there are still things to keep in mind to perform well. Here are the top things to keep in mind:
1. Use a structure just as you would in a traditional case interview.
After reading the prompt, think about the key categories you would include in a framework and data you need to test your hypotheses. Be organized in your thought process and use logic to get from one step to the next.
2. Use the case presentation interview structure to your advantage.
One of the biggest advantages you have as a candidate is that the data you need is all right in front of you. Unlike most traditional case interviews where you have to mine for the relevant data, the packet of information will have everything you need. After forming your hypotheses, you can instantly start testing to see which direction you should be headed.
3. For practice, use traditional case interview prompts and data.
If you know a case presentation interview is coming up and you really want to be ahead of the curve, use the information in your case books as practice. Since most case books have answer keys, it may be helpful to ask a friend to extract only the prompt and data to send to you.
4. Maintain confidence when delivering your presentation.
After putting in all that hard work on the presentation, you wouldn’t want your efforts to go to waste with a shaky delivery! Interviewers will be judging to see if you have the confidence in your analysis just as you would on the job as a consultant. We suggest practicing public speaking as much as you can before your case presentation interview.
The case presentation interview is a challenge for any candidate. Hopefully though, the insight from this article provides you with some clarity on what to expect and how to present a case study in an interview. Even if the case presentation interview is not preferred, do your best to have fun with it. In the end, this part of the process will provide both you and the firm a better idea if the role and the firm is right for both parties.