Cracking the technology case interview is the final step in landing a coveted tech consulting position. With the shift to digitization and the emergence of artificial intelligence, consulting firms are increasingly adding technology consulting services to their arsenal of services. Tech consulting jobs are typically more specialized than their generalist strategy counterparts, and firms often hire students (or experienced professionals) with data science, IT, or computer science backgrounds to fill these slots. In this article, you will find an introduction to technology case interviews, an explanation of the process, and tips for success in a technology-focused case interview.
What Is A Technology Consulting Case Interview?
As the name suggests, a technology consulting case interview is a case interview. Common at specialized technology and implementation consulting firms, these interviews are designed to evaluate your abilities to succeed in a technology consulting role. They can vary from general case interviews with some technological components to highly specialized, IT-specific problems. If you’re interested in working for a tech consulting firm, learning how to crack the technology case study is a great place to start.
What Is The Overall Application Process?
The case interview and application process for technology consulting jobs is comparable to that of more general management consulting. You can expect to submit a resume, cover letter, and transcript (if necessary) and then wait to be notified about an interview slot. The interview process generally consists of a screening call, one to two rounds of personal fit and technology case interviews, and sometimes a slideshow or presentation on your recommendation to a business problem. You should be aware that at certain larger technology consulting firms, such as Accenture, the application timeline can be more protracted than at strategy firms – the entire process can take several months.
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How To Solve A Technology Case Interview
Solving a technology case interview is very similar to working through any traditional case study. As with most case interviews, you should follow the following steps to succeed:
Recap, Probe, & Understand
Understand the problem, recap your notes, and ask probing questions. As your interviewer explains the case prompt, take detailed notes, and make sure to note anything you don’t understand. Then, in thirty seconds or so, recap your notes, making sure that you and the interviewer are on the same page about the key information. Finally, ask two to three specific questions to fill any gaps in your understanding without asking for new data or moving forward into the case.
Structure your thinking. After recapping the problem and asking a couple of clarifying questions, take two minutes to lay out a detailed framework for attacking the business problem. Break the issue down into three or four buckets that you plan to investigate and fill in each of those buckets with three to four sub-areas to give yourself plenty to talk about. Then, take a step back and walk your interviewer through your approach in around two minutes.
Move through your structure to work through the case. If you are interviewing with a technology consulting firm that uses an interviewer-led format (e.g. McKinsey Digital), the interviewer will ask you several questions to guide you through the case. In candidate-led formats, you will be expected to drive the line of reasoning. Regardless of format, however, you should expect to investigate a quantitative topic, a brainstorming or creative question, and, in many cases, a chart or figure. Worried about your math? Practice your quantitative abilities with our drills for consulting math here.
Nail the recommendation. Almost all case interviews wrap up with a recommendation. To succeed, do the following. Succinctly summarize the case in one to two sentences, focusing only on the highest level parameters, before stating your recommendation. Then, support your recommendation with two to three specific data points pulled from the case. Finally, conclude by mentioning a couple relevant risks and several potential next steps for future analysis.
As you can see, the process for succeeding in a technology case study is the same as that for any consulting case interview! As in general, you are being evaluated on your ability to break a problem down, reason quantitatively, brainstorm creatively, and synthesize and communicate clearly and effectively.
A key (although unsurprising) difference between technology case interviews and standard business strategy case interviews is that technology case interviews can veer substantially more technical. If you are interviewing for a firm that hires mainly from computer science, data science, and IT pipelines, you should expect a more technically complex interview. This means that you are expected to bring more subject matter expertise to the table in a technology case interview. More on that below!
Technology Case Interview Examples
Technology case interviews can address a wide variety of tech-focused problems. Here are a few example prompts for technology cases – note how they can range in scope and technicality.
- Should a luxury car company implement a new machine to do the stitching on their highest end car interiors, or should they continue to do it by hand?
- Should consumer packaged goods company move their customer service team offshore?
- Should a retail giant move its data collection storage to the cloud?
- Which IT transformation vendor should an accounting firm work with to digitize its records?
- Should Meta move to an AGILE environment within its Instagram department?
Technology Case Interview Frameworks
Since many technology case interviews are similar to their strategy case interview counterparts, the majority of the frameworks that you may be used to continue to apply. You can view many technological business problems through the lens of profitability, new product/new market, and merger and acquisition frameworks!
Still, especially for some of the more technical cases, there are a set of specialized technology case interview frameworks which can be useful to apply. We list some of the more common ones below.
- PPT: PPT stands for people, process, and technology – three important considerations for organizational transformation. If you have a case about transformation, workflow organization, or efficiency, people, process, and technology are three big buckets you may want to consider.
- ACT: ACT stands for ability, cost, and time. This framework is appropriate when making a go/no-go decision on implementing or adopting a technology. Does the proposed technology have the ability to fix the problem or deliver the requisite solution? How much does it cost and is that within budget? And how long – how much time – will it take to implement?
- ITIL: ITIL stands for Information Technology Infrastructure Library. It includes five main buckets – service strategy, service design, service transition, service operation, and continual service improvement – and is an industry standard framework for IT management.
- TOGAF: TOGAF, or The Open Group Architecture Framework, is another industry standard framework for enterprise information technology architecture. It includes four big pieces to consider – business architecture, data architecture, applications architecture, and technical architecture.
- CMMI: Capability Maturity Model Integration, or CMMI for short, is an evaluation metric for process improvement with five key levels – initial, managed, defined, quantitatively managed, and optimizing.
Technology Case Interview Prep
Now that you understand a little bit more about what goes into a technology case interview, you’re ready for the process to execute for optimal technology case interview prep! Case prep is straightforward, but it does take some time. Start by making sure you understand the types of questions you’ll be asked and frameworks you’ll need, then drill cases with a friend to get the hang of it. When you’re ready, feedback from a trained expert can be the last piece of the puzzle. Join our Black Belt program to work with an expert interviewer!
And don’t forget networking, your resume, and your cover letter – each is a key piece of getting the interview in the first place. Having a specially tailored resume for tech consulting is key. Work with us to craft your resume and land the interview!
Interested in tech consulting? Passing the technology case interview is often the last step to landing the offer. Technology case interviews can be a bit more technical than their strategy case counterparts, but many of the same approaches and frameworks can be used. With a structured approach, a solid foundation, and a good bit of preparation, anyone can crack the code.
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