Eyeing a career at Deloitte? You’ll have to ace the feared Deloitte case interview. What is Deloitte? Deloitte is one of the Big 4 firms with offerings spanning Tax, Audit, M&A, Risk, and Consulting. Out of all the Big 4 firms, Deloitte is generally considered to have the most prestigious consulting offering. The firm is one of the largest consulting firms by revenue globally and, as such, has significant volume and breadth of work. Unlike companies like McKinsey, Bain, and BCG whose consulting services historically focused on strategy, Deloitte’s offerings span:
- Strategy & Analytics (formerly known as Strategy & Operations) – this group is most comparable to McKinsey, Bain, and BCG and is the most common practice group candidates apply to if they are looking to get into traditional strategy roles. Management Consulted considers Deloitte Strategy & Analytics as the best non-MBB option in consulting.
- Core Business Operations
- Customer & Marketing
- Enterprise Technology & Performance
- Human Capital
Deloitte differentiates itself in its ability to serve clients holistically from strategy through operations while also transforming their clients’ workforces and enabling their clients’ underlying technology.
The Deloitte case interview is designed to mirror a real-world consulting project and is used to test the candidate’s problem solving and analytical skills. The cases are also designed to test business judgment and logic.
Generally, the Deloitte case interview follows similar structures to those from other consulting firms (e.g., BCG, Bain, Oliver Wyman). However, within the interview process, Deloitte typically includes one group interview which is less typical for other firms.
Let’s jump in.
Table of Contents:
- Keys to the Deloitte Case Study Interview
- The Deloitte Recruiting Process
- Core Skills to Showcase to Deloitte
- What to Expect in a Deloitte Case Interview
- Deloitte Case Interview Prep
- Deloitte Case Interview Variations
Keys to the Deloitte Case Study Interview
There are multiple keys to the Deloitte case study interview.
Clarify the question when needed: It is extremely important to answer the question being asked during the case interview. You will not be “docked” or judged for clarifying the question; however, if you answer the wrong question, you will not do well.
Develop a MECE framework: The framework should be tailored to the case and not a carbon copy out of a case book.
Structure, structure, and structure your answers: Deloitte is known for its market sizing questions. In these cases, it is especially important to write out and verbalize your structure before moving to solve the problem. Read our market sizing guide for more tips.
Practice mental math: The cases will include some quantitative questions – full stop. It is important to practice mental math ahead of time to solve the problems quickly and accurately. Utilize our free math drills to help you prepare.
Write notes throughout the case and keep your notes organized: Throughout the case, you will be given A LOT of facts. It may be hard to know what information is critical as you look back on your notepad. It can be helpful to put stars or boxes around the most critical facts, so you can easily reference them as needed
Synthesize your interim findings and clearly state how you got to your answer: At the end of each question, it is important to state your key conclusions and the supporting points.
Provide a recommendation, and follow it with next steps: At the end of the case, you will be asked for a recommendation. It is critical to take a clear stance on the problem rather than a wishy washy answer or an “I don’t know.” To add more nuance to your answer, it is helpful to include the next steps the client will need to take.
Read about industry / market trends: Superstar candidates will link the themes in the case to real life applications and trends in the industry. It is helpful to have a broad understanding of trends going on in the market and tie them into the case, when relevant. For example, in 2022, key trends can include: shift towards e-commerce, supply chain shortages, focus on wellbeing, rising interest rates, etc.
Stay calm and take your time, when needed: Ultimately, it is important to keep your composure throughout the process (even if things don’t go right) and take a deep breath!
Ultimately, the key to mastering these skills is practice, practice, and more practice. Resources to practice Deloitte case interviews are included below.
The Deloitte Recruiting Process
Your Deloitte case study interview will also depend on the part of the recruiting process you are in. The process typically involves 3 steps:
- Resume / Cover Letter Screening
- 1st Round Interviews
- 2nd Round Interviews
The 1st round of interviews usually involves one 30-45 minute behavioral interview and one or two 30-45 minute case interviews. Your interviewer will be a consultant or lower level manager.
The 2nd round of interviews is notably different at Deloitte compared to other consulting firms. Typically, candidates will go through one behavioral interview, one case interview, and a group case interview.
Core Skills to Showcase to Deloitte
Deloitte, like any consulting firm, is looking for:
- Problem solving skills
- Analytical skills
- Strategic and logical thinking
- Common sense
- Comfort with ambiguity
There are several ways to showcase these skills throughout the case interview:
Problem Solving Skills
Generally, candidates can showcase problem solving skills when developing the case framework. Specifically, the firm is looking for candidates to create a mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive (“MECE”) framework. In addition, good problem solvers understand the “so what” implications from their findings and can link the implications to the client’s problem statement. For example, let’s say the case is centered around a top CPG player (think Proctor & Gamble) whose sales have been declining YoY. In addition, do not forget to employ creative thinking in your problem solving skills.
For the framework, a superstar candidate will want to look at buckets like: market environment; competitive environment; client’s products; client’s capabilities (e.g., talent; e-commerce; marketing). In addition, during the interview the candidate may uncover that trendier brands are gaining market share vis a vis more traditional brands. A superstar candidate will then show the “so what” associated with the takeaway – for example, a potential implication is that the client should consider acquiring smaller, trendier brands or even setting up an incubator that can give the client first access to more innovative brands.
Deloitte typically tests analytical skills through the quantitative questions in a case. These quantitative questions include: interpreting graphs, performing mental math, and more detailed math questions. Market sizing questions are typically great ways to showcase your analytical skills, given you can break down an ambiguous problem into its discrete parts and complete detailed math problems to size the market. Superstar candidates perform the math correctly (and within a reasonable amount of time). They also check to make sure their answers make sense. Put the answer into context – for example, if a candidate sizes a market at $1T, a good candidate will communicate that the market size is likely too large and go back through and check their math.
Strategic and Logical Thinking
Strategic and logical thinking refers to the ability to push the problem forward in a logical way. Specifically, it’s important to understand what the insights are from the case and ask additional questions that build on the learnings (rather than ignore the learnings). For example, going back to the CPG example, imagine that the candidate learned that the client (a legacy CPG company) is losing market share because it is losing share on ecommerce purchases (the client is doing well in stores).
A logical next step would be to ask for more information around the ecommerce market and understand why the client is losing share in that channel. Asking questions about the client’s performance in stores would be viewed as a non-strategic question given performance in stores is not driving the client’s underperformance. In a true consulting engagement, there will be so many areas to dig into to understand the root of the client’s performance. However, given there is a limited amount of time to get to the root of the problem, it is important to use the 80/20 rule and not “boil the ocean.”
Common sense is similar to strategic and logical thinking. Here, Deloitte is looking for candidates to provide answers that are logically plausible. The answers don’t need to be correct, but they need to be reasonable. By testing for common sense, Deloitte is looking whether they can put you in front of a senior client.
Deloitte will be asking the same question to tens to hundreds of different candidates. At times, the answers will start to blur together. Superstar candidates will include responses that the interviewers may not have heard before. For example, going back to the prior prompt, let’s say the CPG client is losing out on Gen Z’s share of wallet and is looking for ways to increase market share. Creative answers to this question include:
- Acquiring trendier, smaller CPG companies
- Creating an incubator to develop CPG companies
- Evaluating the client’s digital marketing capabilities and bringing in new talent, as needed
- Partnering with Gen Z Tik Tok influencers to promote the legacy brands
- Running additional campaigns on Tik Tok / Instagram
Comfort with Ambiguity
As a consultant (especially a consultant at a generalist firm like Deloitte), you will be placed into new cases that may be out of your area of expertise. Although you may not be an expert on XYZ industry/functional area, you need to rely on your business acumen and problem solving skills to first dissect what you are being asked and then leverage your consulting toolkit to break down the problem. Translating this into a case interview context, it is important to show confidence throughout the case study interview and to not get flustered even if the questions are out of your comfort zone. In addition, you should never say “I don’t know” to any of the questions. Instead, press into the ambiguity and utilize your problem solving skills to provide a logical hypothesis
Additional skills to show throughout the interview include:
Communication can take a few different forms, e.g.,
Top-down communication is also known as pyramid principle communication. The pyramid principle refers to starting with the answer to the question and then providing the supporting information afterwards. For example, if you are recommending your client (a CPG company) to acquire a specific target, a top-down answer could be: “I believe our client should acquire the target for 3 reasons. First… and so on. The key point here is that the answer (acquiring the target) was at the beginning of the response. For more on the pyramid principle and top-down communication, see Management Consulted’s overview here.
Structured communication refers to the ability to group your answers into categories. For example, if you are listing off the supporting evidence for your point of view, you can say that you believe “x, y, and z for 3 reasons.” Then, before delving into each supporting point, you can enumerate the point, i.e., “first; second; third.” By grouping your supporting reasons into categories, it is easier for your interviewer to follow your logic and see your problem solving skills.
Oftentimes candidates rush through their answers (especially given interview nerves). It is important to go slow and breathe throughout the entire interview process.
While delving into your arguments, avoid upspeak (raising your voice at the end of the sentence)
Throughout the interview, it is important to show that you can be around / hold your own with senior level clients (e.g., C-suite). Executive presence comes out in many forms including your communication skills, posture, dress code, and word choice. Avoid words like “like” and “umm.”
What to Expect in a Deloitte Case Interview
If you’ve never experienced a case interview, it can be a little unnerving not knowing what to expect. Take a deep breath, that’s completely normal! We’re going to outline below what you should be prepared for. If you do your prep work, especially if you work with an expert case coach, you can walk into your interview in a much more confident demeanor. But just as an overview, here are some things you can expect:
- Your interviewer isn’t trying to trick you. They genuinely want to see your business acumen, problem solving skills, and demeanor.
- Yes, math is important. You should have command of basic math skills in your head. If this is a challenge for you, then you’ll want to check out our math drills or full article on mental math.
Deloitte Case Interview Framework
Deloitte values candidates with the ability to develop tailor-made MECE frameworks that reflect the specific case interview question. There is no cookie cutter framework that can be used. Utilize your business acumen and creativity to build a custom structure for the business problem in the case.
Deloitte Case Interview Questions
Deloitte case interview questions can span a wide variety of industries and topics, reflecting Deloitte’s breadth of work. For specific Deloitte case interview questions, please refer to Deloitte’s case interview prep tool here.
In addition, practice with Deloitte case studies in our comprehensive case library here.
Deloitte Case Interview Behavioral / Fit Questions
While the case interview is important for the Deloitte interview, the behavioral / fit portion of the case is also critical to prepare for. Unlike McKinsey which expects candidates to provide longer-form responses, the Deloitte fit interview mirrors that of BCG and Bain. Types of questions you can be asked include:
- Why Deloitte?
- For details on Deloitte’s culture and what sets it apart, see our firm profile here
- Why Strategy and Analytics / Enterprise Technology & Performance, Human Capital, etc.?
- Tell me about a time you influenced someone
- Tell me about a time you exhibited leadership
- Tell me about a time you failed
- Tell me about a time when you faced adversity
- Tell me about a time when you worked as a team
- What are your biggest strengths?
- What are your biggest weaknesses?
- Walk me through your resume
- Tell me something that is not on your resume
- What questions do you have for the interviewer?
- Why Deloitte?
Deloitte Case Interview Prep
Deloitte case interview prep is similar to MBB firms. The biggest mistake you could make, is not preparing adequately, and missing out on nailing your interview. You’ll want to give yourself enough time to really grasp the frameworks to be able to build your own to fit the case. If you need to brush up on your quant skills, then focus on that as well. The power move is to get an expert coach early, so that you know from the start what you’re weak and strong in. Don’t waist time doing things you don’t need to, and spend most of your energy bolstering those weak areas. Going through example cases is helpful for a lot of people, but you have to actually engage in casing yourself rather than just watching or readying about them.
Deloitte Interview Case Study Examples
Deloitte provides a handful of practice cases that are helpful depending on the consulting division you are interested in. These are actual Deloitte interview case study examples, and are provided through the Deloitte or third party websites.
Deloitte Case Interview Practice
Again, the most helpful way to prepare for Deloitte case interviews is to practice out-loud with a partner (e.g., an ex-consultant or an expert coach). Reading about cases or watching others case will only go so far. To become an effective “caser”, you have to put boots on the ground and get your hands dirty.
Deloitte Case Interview Variations
Deloitte Group Case Interview
The group case interview at Deloitte is the part of the recruiting process that is most challenging to prepare for. This is simply because it’s difficult to simulate a group interview, while of course practicing mock one-on-one case interviews requires just one other person.
During the group case interview, you and 3-5 other candidates will be given a case study to examine. You are given 10 minutes to review the materials and then asked to discuss questions about the case for 20 minutes with the rest of your group. Interviewers from Deloitte will be watching the whole time and will conclude the interview by asking the group questions for another 20 minutes.
This part of the interview is markedly different from other consulting firms. Your goal should not be to outshine or dominate the conversation – instead, do your best to show a collaborative spirit while speaking with a purpose when it’s your turn to talk. Deloitte places a high emphasis on teamwork and culture fit, so it’s important to show that you can be a great colleague.
Deloitte Strategy and Analytics Consulting Case Interview
Deloitte Strategy and Analytics case interviews mimic the cases you will see at other strategy-focused firms (e.g., BCG, Bain). If you are prepped for MBB cases, you will be well prepared for the Deloitte Strategy and Analytics consulting case interview.
Deloitte Human Capital Consulting Case Interview
The Deloitte Human Capital case interview will, not surprisingly, focus on human capital related issues. Topics can include:
- Workforce transformation
- Organization design
- HR transformation
Deloitte Enterprise Technology and Performance Consulting Case Interview
Similar to the Deloitte Human Capital case interview, the Deloitte Enterprise Technology and Performance case interview will be more likely focused on topics in which the group focuses. These topics can include:
- Technology strategy and transformation
- ERP solutions
- Supply chain and network operations
Deloitte Federal Consulting Case Interview
Again, the Deloitte Federal Consulting case interviews will likely be focused on public sector issues. Topics that could be covered include:
- Federal health
- Defense and security
- Civil government
Preparing for these case variations doesn’t differ in most respects. You just need to be aware of the sectors that your role is engaged in. What specific issues does that sector encounter? Immerse yourself in that sector and get a firm grasp on those issues, as there will undoubtedly be questions related to those issues.
The Deloitte case interview is designed to mimic a real-life consulting case. To be a superstar candidate, you should show distinctive problem solving skills, business acumen, analytical skills, and creativity; you should also be able to deliver the case in a top-down way. For 1:1 coaching to prep for a Deloitte interview, book an hour with an expert coach here.