Tips to help you ace the interview if asked to evaluate a business situation

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Students in a business meeting

What is a business case interview? 

Employers may ask candidates to evaluate a business situation during the interview process; this is called a business case interview.

How long is the case? What is it like? 

Cases can be short (a few sentences) or long (10+ pages). Often candidates are asked to analyze and present the case during the interview, and are allotted a specific amount of time. Sometimes cases are assigned in advance of the interview and you are asked to come prepared to present during the interview. Cases may involve using a calculator or not.

What types of employers ask business case questions? 

Consulting firms and those with analyst positions may use cases. But any type of organization or company may throw a case question at a candidate.

Why do employers use case interviews? 

This is a great way to test your logic, problem-solving, and intellect. It’s also a way to see how well you understand the company’s business and industry.

What are typical questions given for a case interview? 

Just like basic interview questions, case questions can vary as well.  Here are some potential case interview topics:

·      How can the firm grow revenue and/or increase profit?

·      How should the firm set up distribution?

·      Should the firm make the acquisition?

·      What should the firm develop for its product/service pipeline?

·      How should the department reorganize?

·      How can the firm react to the competitive threat?

·      Which market should the firm enter?

·      What should be the firm’s integrated marketing plan?

·      How should the firm incentivize its sales force to meet its revenue goals?


Basic Steps to Approach the Case:

·      Read the case carefully – note important information

·      Understand the question(s) being asked

·      Watch your time

·      Plan for your presentation and be ready to answer questions


Steps to Analyze the Case:*

1.    Establish Your Understanding

2.    Set Up the Framework

3.    Evaluate Case Using the Framework

4.    Summarize and Make Recommendations

*Adapted from BCG web site:


Additional Tips:

·      Acknowledge missing information

·      Use the data presented in the case when evaluating a firm’s situation – financial statements, charts, graphs, etc.

·      Recognize there is not always a RIGHT answer – cases are to see how you work through problems

·      Try practicing case interviewing to be prepared.


Resources for Case Interviews:

Case in Point10 by Marc P. Cosentino (the book is available on Amazon  (use for accounting firms)

Megan Turnbull is a career counselor at the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics Career and Professional Success team. See more resources from the Paul College CaPS team.