Business case prep

Hints and tips

Our recruitment process is very competitive; to do as well as you can, you need to prepare in advance. The case study interview is a core component and understanding how to tackle these, and practicing how to crack the case is the best way to be fully prepared. Below is some guidance on how to approach the case study as well as some more general tips on how to navigate your way successfully through the interview.

Approach to case studies

There is a simple four-step approach you can follow for all case studies, which will help to keep you on track and ensure you’re addressing the question:

1. Clarify the problem

  • Take notes when your interviewer is setting up the case, then play back the situation and problem statement(s)in your own words
  • Ask clarifying questions, and avoid making any assumptions
  • Listen carefully to your interviewer, and avoid the temptation to rush into problem-solving

2. Structure your thinking

  • Take the time to think through an approach (this could use an existing business framework e.g., Porter’s Five Forces, but only if it fits – don’t force it!)
  • Write down your approach – this will keep you on track as you work through the analysis – and sense-check that it will actually give you the answer to the question
  • Take your interviewer through the approach, and respond to any guidance from them

3. Analyse the problem

  • Identify the issues, develop associated hypotheses, and explain the analysis required to prove/disprove
  • Ask your interviewer for data; this may be supplied, or you may be required to make some assumptions
  • Work through the quantitative analysis: stay calm, write it out and use round numbers where possible to make life easier for yourself

4. Report your findings

  • Summarise your results – this was the problem, this was my approach and analysis, and therefore this is my recommendation/solution
  • If you have time, try and think about next steps
General tips
  • The interview should be a discussion and a joint exercise with your interviewer – so work through your thinking out loud, and respond to the hints/guidance they provide
  • Don’t try and force-fit business frameworks/business concepts into your approach
  • Try and push the thinking beyond the questions your interviewer is posing: if they ask for benefits, try and also think about potential disadvantages; if it’s a yes/no should we enter this market, try and also identify what your next steps in a market entry strategy might be
  • The quantitative analysis component is very important, so don’t try and avoid the numbers; make sure you’ve practiced your basic arithmetic (no calculators allowed)
  • Don’t worry if you don’t know anything about the industry specifics of the case question, though some general knowledge is expected. For example, you’re not expected to know the ins and outs of running a wind farm but you should know there is a push towards renewable energies and why
  • The case is not about getting to the ‘right’ answer. Interviewers are more interested in how you structure your thoughts, the logic behind your answers and some evidence that you can think outside the box / show creativity when the answer is not obvious