How Long Does It Take To Prepare For Case Interviews
Case interviews are nothing like your regular job interviews. They are a much more grueling encounter, and they require a lot of skills from you to pull it off. If you haven’t heard of case interviews, just know that it will require a lot of time and attention to just preparing for it.
During the case interview, you will be asked to solve a business problem. However, expect to solve a lot of business problems with different interviewers. To top it off, you will be solving cases while under immense time pressure.
Preparing for case interviews will take a long time. Having studied and experienced the topic myself, I know how hard it is to prepare for case interviews. They are difficult, but for good reasons.
Case interviews are an accurate reflection of the day-to-day consultancy operations. The job of life of a consultant is busy and challenging. After all, it’s no easy feat to solve business problems. So when you manage to master preparing for case interviews, you likewise are preparing yourself being on the job already.
That said, how long does it take to prepare for case interviews?
Optimal Time To Prepare For Case Interviews
To prepare for a case interview, you may want to consider investing sixty to eighty hours for it, minimum. By that, it would take you six to eight weeks. But, there are factors to consider that may increase or decrease the time allotted for it. How you do your part will affect the duration.
If you have strong business acumen, it might take only four weeks for you. Likewise, if you want to further brush up on your communication skills, it might take an average of six to eight weeks. On the other hand, if you lack any of these skills, it might take you twelve weeks. However, if you have the skills to learn quickly and take in information, you can make it shorter.
In the end, how quickly you learn is up to you. There are plenty of applicants that were accepted by well-known consulting firms with just two weeks of preparation. On the other hand, some prepared for hundreds of hours and still did not get the job.
To help you know what skills you need to develop, here is a list that may help you out.
Skills You Need For A Case Interview
Structuring A Problem
I consider structuring a problem as an art. Many, and I mean many, will strongly disagree with my statement. Nevertheless, I call it what it is, and I can’t deny that. But why? It’s simply amazing how some people can efficiently break down a problem in a very logical and methodical order. For me, it’s a beauty how efficient the process is.
Problem structuring is a daily occurrence in a consultancy job. If consultants can manageably break down a problem into smaller pieces, and then they can quickly find a solution to a problem.
For example, you have a company that is currently struggling financially. So you went to a consulting firm to help you fix your financial struggles. When you went to a consultant, a consultant then recommended you some solutions you never thought of before. It gave you a headache trying to solve it, and somehow, they offered some solutions rather quickly.
That’s why I refer to it as an art. There is beauty in solving problems that may seem very hard to do.
Back to the topic, a consultant’s job is to find a solution. To find that solution, you need to have a logical and methodical mind. The skill is not at all unobtainable. So as you prepare, develop your structuring skills.
In a world filled with computers and portable calculators, why on earth do you need mental math?
Case interviews require you to estimate, make forecasts, and determine market-sizings. While, yes, you have access to computers and calculators, that isn’t the point. You are going to explain your calculations to a client to help them understand their situation.
Show your client the calculations, and walk through the calculations. Explain to them why the estimates, forecasts, and market-sizings are the way they are.
Many applicants overlook communication skills. Understandably so since being a consultant requires a lot of logical and methodical thinking. However, you need to communicate your thinking to the client.
You need to be able to convince our client why your solution will work. Being right is never enough, but you also need to convince your client why you are right. After all, your client will invest time and resources to implement your solution. Convince them to be confident in your solution—this takes communication skills!
How To Efficiently Prepare For Case Interviews
Structuring, mental math, and communication skills take a lot of time to develop. But, there are ways to shorten the time. So here are some steps to speed up your preparation for case interviews.
Before you head to battle, you need a plan of attack. Even if it’s a mock battle, you still need a plan to execute it. The same can be said for your preparation for case interviews.
Before you being mock interviews, study different frameworks first. Frameworks are strategies for different case problems. For example, for profitability cases, you need to use profitability frameworks to solve them.
If you learn frameworks right from the start, you will learn to do a mock case interview. As they say, perfect practice makes you perfect.
Practice Case Interviews On Your Own At First
Case interviews are difficult, and they will overwhelm you. To make it simple, familiarize yourself with the format at first. That way, there is no pressure from other people to immediately trying to get it right.
Practice With A Partner Or An Expert
After few practices on your own, practice with a partner. However, try to find high-quality partners. The better your partner is, the more efficient your preparation will be.
If possible, get an expert to help you practice. Experienced consultants are the ones that truly understand what it is like to be on the job. So if you can, get access to their experience, and you will learn a lot from it.
Enjoy your preparation. Don’t get too caught up and get burned out. Take it easy, and work at your own pace. If you burn yourself out, you will have a negative take on case interviews.
Be positive about your preparation. The better your mindset, the better you can perform in a case interview.