Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Where is the Value add in a Case interview?

The following post is courtsey Manu and group. A useful set of takeaways from their mock interview.
" We had our mock case analysis session with our ISB alumni, Mr. Ganesh Srinivasan from McKinsey & Co.

After going through our case, Ganesh gave us a few important pointers.

Key Take-Away:

1) Most people will get the problem definition and structure in place before the placement season. But, that is not where the value is.

2) It is true that everyone who has come to campus to advice us on case preparations has stressed on the structure and logical thinking. However, it is very important to keep in mind what the real purpose of the exercise is. If you take a step back and look at what one has achieved after putting a structure in place, and extracting all the information from the client/interviewer logically and exhaustively, there has been no value-add as such from the interviewer’s/client’s point of view. You have merely asked him to divulge all the information he already knows.

3) The most value-add is actually in the solution itself. Show your creativity here. It is very important to pace your analysis such that you give enough time to get to this stage. A major portion of the points allocated in assessing a candidate is based on creativity of solutions.

4) By around 20-25 minutes into the case interview, one should have already extracted all the information from the client/interviewer and identified the problem. This should’ve been accomplished keeping in mind the structure and logical flow of questions. The next 10 minutes should be spent in coming up with a number of creative solutions (as exhaustively as possible), and going over the pros and cons of each of those solutions. This further exhibits to the client/interviewer your structured thinking even in coming up with solutions.

5) Spend the last 5 minutes of the interview, synthesizing these solutions and eliminating the most risky/improbable ones. Then summarize the problem and restating the short-listed solutions.


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