Consulting & Case Interviews Explained

Like most employment opportunities, consulting positions will require an interview as part of their hiring process. The interview process for consulting positions includes a wide range of interviewing questions – you are likely to encounter behavioral questions, resume based questions.  In addition, consulting positions often include case interviews, especially at the larger management consulting firms. Below is information about case interviews as well as the behavioral and resume based interview for consulting positions. 

Case Interview Fundamentals

What is a Case Interview? 

An active problem-solving session, designed to discover how you think through problems and come to a conclusion. A case study attempts to assess:

  • How you go about structuring a tough, ambiguous business problem
  • How you think about which issues are important in the problem
  • How you deal with and process data (numerical & otherwise)
  • How you make conclusions and recommend actions required to solve the problem
  • How you articulate your thoughts during an interactive problem solving discussion  

Consulting skills set:

  • PROBLEM SOLVING: help clients solve tough problems and implement solutions; practical sense of what works and doesn’t in complex organizations <NOTE: problem solving skills are assessed through the case interview; the remaining skills are assessed through the behavioral, or experience interview>
  • ACHIEVING: ability to multi-task; work with tight deadlines; show energy, determination and good judgment; demonstrate a passion for setting challenging goals and achieving them in a practical way
  • PERSONAL IMPACT: interpersonal skills, sometimes exhibited in difficult situations; ability to influence people over whom you have no authority
  • LEADERSHIP: fostering teamwork and driving positive change, abilities that are demonstrated through challenging team situations

How to prepare:

  • Practice sample cases and review case materials online (Career Services has a subscription to Firsthand / Vault)
  • Discuss current business issues with friends, review articles in the financial press, think about what might be wrong and what you’d do to fix it
  • Practice numerical agility by performing basic calculations in your head  


  • Write the initial question at the top of your page and begin by restating the problem
  • Write down the statements you give the interviewer so you can refer to them when making your conclusion, e.g. “We learned A, B, and C; as a result, D”
  • Show creativity – show knowledge from disciplines the average business major wouldn’t know
  • Describe your overall approach – what are the questions you need to know the answers to in order to answer the bigger question?
  • Spend 80% of your time analyzing the case:
    • Gather and analyze facts; Agree on priority issues with the interviewer
    • Make estimations, e.g. “If prices go up __% and volume goes down __%, what is the impact on revenue (revenue = price x volume)
  • Conclude with recommendations and relate back to original question