5 Failure Factors That You Absolutely Have To Avoid During Your Consulting Case Studies

The reasons for explaining the failures in the consulting case studies are multiple. But we know Pareto, which also works very well in consulting, so let’s concentrate on the most classic and the most impacting reasons.

 

Mauvaise préparation aux entretiens conseil - illustration David Farley

 

Starting Your Consulting Case Study With A Deficit Of Credibility

 

This error results from incorrect preparation in the recruitment process of consulting firms. This underlying reason explains a large part of the failures in these kinds of interviews. If the candidate has not been aware that his evaluation would be throughout the entire interview — and not only limited to the case study — then he will mechanically be in a risk situation. All the interview components – the fit section, case study, final questions — make a whole. The case study is not an exercise disconnected from the rest of the interview, but it is, on the contrary, one of the links that constitutes the entire process. How many candidates, even during the training sessions, really change the expression of their faces when the case study begins! Even before taking note of the case statement, because they consider that the real interview only starts at that moment!

The parade is exactly about acting to introduce the “consulting case study” section in the best manner during your interview, not leaving anything in the air about your speech, your CV and your cover letter. At this point, a non-competitive candidate will have to fight against a bad first impression before the interviewer even starts the case study. This should be urgently avoided.

 

Arriving With A List Of Methods That You Forget Very Quickly

 

When the strategy and management consulting really become the primary career plan of the candidate, it is usual that this one elaborates his own approach to the case studies. It is an excellent practice. The only point you need to verify is that the approach you choose is well-adapted to becoming a consultant today. Because there are a lot of methods and ways to become prepared, which lead the candidate to failure.

Shortly, here is a simple test to check the adaptation of your present approach to the competition. Could your present method be summarized on a little post-it of 5×5 cm? I want to talk about the weft of your method, which will structure your approach and will be with you all through your case studies. If the answer is no, then you can worry. Because when the D-Day arrives, the biggest risk is to forget everything. I have seen candidates who became almost addicted to the case studies during their preparation: they always needed to train on more and more cases to feel ready. These candidates constructed real intellectual gas factories to approach the cases, which somehow collapse like a house of cards at the first real case study…

Shortly: your method will have to have the assets of simplicity and synthesis so you can certainly be ready to use it concretely on your D-Day. This requires a certain upstreaming effort, and this site aims to help you with that!

 

Navigate Visually During The Consulting Case Study

 

If the error described before was about the elaboration of your methodology upstream of the real interviews, this one is about how you reason during the case the study. You will have to follow the cadence imposed by the interviewer. Sometimes he directs you, sometimes he leaves you to take the lead. These gear shifts may disturb you and override your guiding line. This last one is not solid enough to allow you to advance within a changeable and sometimes hostile environment. Worse, you had shared an analysis plan to advance on the case and through the discussion you fumble your way along, the initial plan being a far souvenir. The verdict will unfortunately be without appeal: the feedbackof the consulting firm over such a performance is the same 80% of the time, it’s the well-worn subject “not structured enough.”

Shortly: you have to train yourself to keep your guiding line firm and flexible at the same time.

 

Not Getting The “Weak Signals” Of Your Examiner

 

It is again about a problem that appears during the case study. You appear as a candidate who doesn’t listen to the explicit and implicit remarks of your interviewer. In other terms, you reproduce the cliche of the consultant who applies his own “plug-and-play” and “one size fits all” approach, no matter what the demand of the client is. Some kind of streamroller of the strategic analysis…who adresses his imaginary case study, not the one given by the interviewer. The verdict is then very clear: the failure is patent.

Shortly: you have to learn to identify the slight signals during the case study. For instance, if the interviewer talks about the subject of the costs only with evasive answers, you can make the hypothesis that this subject is without any doubt not prioritary. It is, of course, not an absolute rule, but this may at least guide your intuition.

Missing Simple High School Level Math Calculations

 

It is the challenge in the middle of the challenge. The case study within the case study. By reading this article to the end, there’s a big chance that the selection process within the consulting firm interests you. This means that you have a consequent academic background. You have a Master’s or Bachelor’s and you have analytical competencies. During your high school, you have for instance learned to do an integration by parts, differential calculations, demonstrations by recurrence, shortly all the basics of the high school education. Very well. During your interview, you will find yourself confronted by a problem that is solved by a first degree equation, even lower than high school level. And you know what? If you are not specifically prepared, you have a big chance of “screwing up” this reasoning. Not only won’t you find the expected answer, but moreover you get yourself lost in your calculations. You reasoning is not clear, the interviewer doesn’t understand anything. You try to catch-up by asking for unnecessary data, you ask for numbers that were given to you 5 minutes before... and you start to feel the cynicism of your interviewer. Is this really the image you want to send about your application? Under these conditions, can the interviewer project himself with you onto his team to discuss numbers with the financial director of his current client? No, unfortunately.

Shortly: the quantitative part of the case studies has to be specifically prepared. And this, no matter what your profile is, more or less analytic. If you are an engineer, you will be waited at the coin and the failure would be less excusable than for non-technique profiles.

 

Other Resources On Consulting Case Study

 

Links of interest - PwC
- LEK
- BCG
Videos on this topic - McKinsey
- ASTC
Related concepts- business case interview examples
- consulting business case
- case in point pdf