What Lies Beneath: Case Interview Questions

Blog_Types of Cases

As consulting recruiting season ramps-up, case interview preparation should be top of mind for candidates. But before diving into the water, it’s important to understand what lies beneath the surface. In other words, what are the various types of case interview questions you might face? Which firms use which formats? How should I prepare?

Today’s blog aims to provide some “depth perception” by answering these questions, helping you to prioritize your preparation efforts.

Format of Case Interview Questions

From a high-level, there are two formats of case interview: interviewer-led and candidate-led.

In an interviewer-led case, the interviewer will have a particular set of questions that she is prepared to ask. Within this framework, the candidate navigates the case, responding to both qualitative and quantitative prompts supplemented by variety of charts and graphs. McKinsey & Company and Deloitte Consulting are two major firms which use this case interview format, with Bain & Company using a hybrid.

In a candidate-led case interview, the candidate is expected to develop a framework and drive the conversation independently after being given the initial case prompt. The interviewer does not necessarily have a particular set of questions, but will provide additional information upon request or further guidance if required. Boston Consulting Group and L.E.K. are two major firms which use this case interview format.

In regards to case prep, ensure your practice focuses on the specific interview format utilized by your target firms.

Types of Case Interview Questions

In both formats, you are likely to encounter a variety of business problems. Below is a list of standard cases with which you should familiarize yourself:

  • Profitability
    • Growth Strategy: How to increase the company’s volume sold?
    • Pricing Strategy: What’s the optimal price for the product or service?
    • Cost Management: What’s the right mix between fixed and variable costs?
  • Mergers, Acquisitions, & Divestitures: What are considerations for buying or selling a company?
  • New Market Entry: How should the company enter a new market segment or geography?
  • New Product Launch: How should the company bring a new product to market?
  • Competitive Response: How should the company react to a competitor’s strategic move?

At Consulting Interview Coach, we highly recommend live interview practice for each of these case interview questions. Moreover, try designing your own mini-cases of each type to practice with a partner. The process of engineering your own business challenge can be extremely helpful in building your understanding of the nuances of each situation.

For more interview tips, check-out articles within our blog. For holistic, customized recruiting coaching, sign-up to work with a Consulting Interview Coach today!

Not sure about interview coaching? Try a 30 minute Trial SessionBook Now!