Jason walks us through sample case questions and scenarios to help listeners get a better understanding of how to approach this type of interview.
To download this podcast, click hereJason explains that a case interview is unique and important because it puts a candidate in a real life situation. The interviewer can see how well candidates hold their poise, how well they listen to what they need to deliver in terms of the case, and how structured they are in their thinking. The first part of the case generally has some background of the case company and some financial data. The second part of the case generally provides a deeper element of information around a specific piece of operation. Here, he uses the example of a company’s call center. For example, the interviewer may provide information on how many employees work there, how many supervisors and how many people managed by the supervisor, how many new hires come into the call center, the breakdown of how employees spend their time, and some additional cost data. Next, the interviewer asks questions. The first question is open-ended to get the candidate talking so that the interviewer can evaluate his or her poise and listening skills. For example, “I’m the client and now you have information on the company. How do I reduce my costs in the call center?” A hidden term is “client”; the candidate needs to address the interviewer a certain way based on this subtle piece of information. A bad answer would be something along the lines of “I would reduce training costs and change the way employees spend their time.” This is not adequate as there is no context provided for why the candidate thinks such. The interviewer is looking for a context on how they define the problem, an answer that meets the problem statement, and a good set of facts that supports the answer. Jason continues to provide a very specific answer where he defines the problem for the client and provides specific answers based on specific facts. A great answer would also pull from the candidate’s own experience, whether that is from school, an old job, or an extracurricular activity. Jason also highly recommends that the candidate asks some question to provide a clearer answer for the client. He informs listeners that candidates can prepare for case interviews by having a clear mind and having a good feel for how they would structure a problem, structure the answer, and how to articulate that. Jason’s one recommendation for someone that is going to have a case interview is to read the book about structured thinking and communication, “The Minto Pyramid Principle” by Barbara Minto.
Jason is a Senior Manager in Ernst & Young’s (EY) Advisory Services practice. He has over 7 years of advisory experience at EY and 3 years of experience at Arthur Andersen. Jason focuses on finance and accounting process, system and organizational improvement for companies in the Oil and Gas, Media and Entertainment, Private Equity and Consumer Product industries. Jason resides in Denver, Colorado. firstname.lastname@example.org
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