Most Common Case Interview Frameworks

If you’ve ever heard about case interviews, the thought itself will make you sweat. If you haven’t heard of case interviews, you might think it’s just another type of job interview. Well, yes, that’s technically true, but it’s much more than that. 

Case interviews will ask you to solve multiple cases. These cases are not ordinary situations either, but you will solve business problems. Do you think it doesn’t sound intimidating enough? Well, you won’t be solving cases in a leisure environment either. You will be evaluated under time pressure. 

For any of your upcoming case interviews, you will need to prepare for them – and not as regular job interviews. Part of your preparation should be studying case frameworks. Frameworks are a major part of the interview, and you can’t really get far without them. New or experienced consultants always use frameworks as part of their everyday job. So once you are familiar with frameworks, they will come in handy once you get the job. 

Memorizing different frameworks is useful, but it has to be more than that. You need to understand the purposes of different frameworks to use them effectively. It’s never a ‘one shoe fits all’ case when it comes to frameworks.

If you are new to the world of consultancy, you might wonder, what exactly are case interview frameworks?

 

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Case Interviews Frameworks 

Frameworks are a core part of any case interview, and without them, it will take too much time to solve cases. And worse, you might not even find the right answer at all. Frameworks are so important that it’s even more important than getting the right answers in an interview. 

In a case interview, the interviewers are more concerned about how your thought process works. After all, in a business problem, there can be many right answers. They want to know how you will handle the given information, how you can build a logical structure, process it, and get a solution. Of course, your answer should still be logically sound.

If you have a good framework with you, you can efficiently break down cases into manageable components. As the adage goes, Divide and Conquer. You don’t need to solve cases in one go. There are too many details to handle for that to be possible. But it can be possible if you have some kind of special gift that can help you solve cases.

If you are not one of those, I suggest further reading the article. So, here are some of the most common case frameworks you can use. 

Most Common Case Interview Frameworks

Profitability Framework

A company’s goal is to increase profits, and so it’s no surprise why this framework comes in number one. Knowing how to use the profitability framework is imperative for anyone who wants to be a consultant. 

Don’t get too caught up with it, though, since profitability frameworks are one of the easiest to learn. You can break down the profitability framework into two components; revenue and costs. For this framework, strive to understand the big picture first before you get down to the specifics. 

Typically, profitability frameworks are used for either increasing revenue or decreasing costs. However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, when we look at profitability cases, we may be too concerned looking at revenues and costs. However, there are many times when the case is built only around revenue and costs. 

Be very cautious once the interview talks about revenue and cost. It may not necessarily be about that. Instead, pay close attention to what the client needs. 

3Cs Framework

The 3Cs Framework focuses on three categories; company, customer, and competition. Unlike the other frameworks, these three categories frequently overlap. 

  1. Customer: Try to identify who is really the person who decides to purchase. Yes, it’s the customer, of course. At the end of the bargain, perhaps the customer you thought would be is different. For example, doctors prescribe to the patient medicine, paid for by the insurance company, and used by the patient. 
  2. Competition: In any market, inevitably, there will always be a competitor. Competition can come from within or without the market. From without, it can be industries that produce a substitute against the client’s products. 

Likewise, from within, suppliers and customers within the market can exert power to get more shares from the company’s profits.

  1. Company: Here, you will need to identify the current status of the company. What are its current performance and its strategy to stay competitive?

Pricing Framework

Companies regularly change prices due to several factors. That’s why this framework will also come up frequently. Typically, prices will vary a lot because of volume, which ultimately leads to profits. 

How a company prices its products and services will make a lot of difference. We all were customers at some point, and don’t price tags frequently affect our decision-making? For experienced consulting firms, pricing cases are not new. They frequently take a look at their previous solved pricing cases as reference points. 

Porter’s Five Forces

If you are asked to solve a market case study during the interview, then Porter’s Five Forces is the preferable approach. 

Porter’s Five Forces is a proven framework to study a specific market. The market is defined by its specific sector and by its competitors. Through Porter’s approach, you can use it to study the market feasibility both for new and experienced companies alike. If the five forces are strongly present in a particular sector, it is unlikely for a company to successfully thrive in that market. 

The five forces are Competition, Supplier Power, New Entries, and The Threat of Alternative Products. It’s very similar to the 3Cs framework. However, in this framework, you will be identifying the market. You won’t be trying to solve a company’s problems. 

That said, here are the most common frameworks that are frequently used in case interviews. Take note, however, that frameworks are just a guide to solving cases. I do not recommend you try to fit a framework for every case. Treat each case as a unique problem, and make a specific framework for it.

Finally, practice, practice, and practice. It’s the only way to fully familiarize yourself with frameworks.