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2011 Tom Rochtus Written by TOM ROCHTUS
Aceyourcase.com
SUCCESS
CASE INTERVIEW
SUCCESS
CASE INTERVIEW
Case Interview Success is a must-read for anyone applying for a consulting position.
The book takes you inside a typical consulting case interview by exploring in detail
the entire case interview process, and will leverage you to crack the most complex
business cases.
The main features of this book are:
A detailed discussion of the entire case interview process
Key business case frameworks with practice cases and solutions
Key strategies to crack presentation cases, guesstimates and brainteasers
An overview of key business concepts and consulting terms
Tom Rochtus works as a strategy consultant at Bain &
Company, one of the worlds most prestigious management
consulting frms.
450182 781456 9

ISBN 978-1456450182
Aceyourcase.com
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Written by TOM ROCHTUS
Printed by
CreateSpace, an Amazon.com Company
Charleston, South Carolina
SuCCeSS
CASe interview
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Copyright 2011 Tom Rochtus
All rights reserved.
The right of Tom Rochtus to be identifed as Author of this work has been asserted by him
in accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. 101-810.
Printed in the United States of America
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted
in any form or by any other means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or
otherwise without either the prior written permission of the author. Requests for permission
should always be directed to contact@aceyourcase.com. This book may not be lent, resold,
hired out or otherwise disposed of by way of trade in any form of binding or cover other
than that in which it is published, without the permission of the author.
Library of Congress CIP Data is available.

ISbN-13: 978-1456450182
The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American
National Standards Institute for Information SciencesPermanence of Paper for Printed
Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992.
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Table of Contents
Introduction vii
About this Book ix
Why this Book xi
Chapter I: Your Next Career Move 1
Consulting Careers 1
Management Consulting 3
Operations Consulting 4
Information Technology Consulting 4
Human Resources Consulting 5
boutique Consulting Firms 5
banking Careers 6
Corporate Careers 7
Chapter II: Real-life Interviews 9
Skills Assessed 9
Analytical Skills 9
Excellence 10
Client Skills 10
Organizational Skills 10
Creativity 11
Personality 11
Interview Progression 11
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Case Interview Success
iv
Thc Chiichai Phasc 12
Aloui ihc Inicivicwci 1
Aloui Youiscll 17
Thc Busincss Casc 21
Qucsiions and Answcis 2S
Chapter III: How to Crack Your Business Case 27
Iniioduciion io Busincss Cascs 27
Whai is a Busincss Casc and Why Is ii Uscd. 27
Dillcicni Tycs ol Busincss Cascs 2S
Whai Youi Inicivicwci Is IooIing Ioi 2S
How io Piaciicc Busincss Cascs 29
How io Aioach Youi Busincss Casc S0
Ocning S1
Analyzing SS
Closing S6
Dillcicni Tycs ol Busincss Casc IiamcwoiIs SS
Thc Inicinal Piohi-Piollcm IiamcwoiI SS
Thc Busincss-Siiuaiion IiamcwoiI 40
Thc Mcigci-and-Acquisiiion IiamcwoiI 44
Thc Valuc Chain IiamcwoiI 49
Busincss Casc Examlcs 4
Piohi-Piollcm IiamcwoiI Examlcs 4
Busincss-Siiuaiion IiamcwoiI Examlc S
Mcigci-and-Acquisiiion IiamcwoiI Examlc 62
Valuc-Chain IiamcwoiI Examlc 6
Whai il Ii Docsn`i Iii. 71
How io MaIc Youi Own Busincss Cascs 71
10 Bcsi Tis loi Busincss Casc Succcss 72
Chapter IV: Presentation Cases 75
Iniioduciion io Picscniaiion Cascs 7
Siiuciuiing Youi Picscniaiion Cascs 77
Tis loi Picscniaiion Cascs S2
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Chapter V: Guesstimates and Brainteasers 85
Whai aic Gucssiimaics. S
Gucssiimaic Examlcs and Suggcsicd Soluiions SS
Whai aic Biainicascis. 97
Biainicasci Examlcs and Suggcsicd Soluiions 9S
Chapter VI: Review of Critical Business Concepts 103
Iniioduciion io Busincss Conccis 10S
Ovcivicw ol ihc Mosi Imoiiani Busincss Conccis and Idcas 104
Addiiional Rcadings on Busincss Conccis 117
Appendix A: Overview of Consulting Buzzwords 119
Appendix B: Basic Overview of the Financial Report 127
Thc Balancc Shcci 12S
Thc Incomc Siaicmcni 129
Thc Siaicmcni ol Rciaincd Eainings 129
Thc Siaicmcni ol Cash Ilow 1S0
Appendix C: Review of Other Sources on Cracking
Consulting Interviews 131
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Introduction
I
l you aic ihinIing aloui a caicci in consuliing, whcihci managcmcni,
ociaiional, oi anoihci aica, ihis looI is loi you. Thioughoui ihc
lollowing chaicis, you will hnd iaciical advicc, iis, and concicic cx-
amlcs ihai will gicaily imiovc youi chanccs ol succcss and will hcl
you ass inicivicws wiih casc and conhdcncc, liinging you closci io ihc
caicci you aic dicaming ol!
Onc ma|oi dillcicncc lciwccn iiadiiional" inicivicws and inicivicws
loi consuliing comanics, invcsimcni lanIs, oi icnowncd muliinaiional
coioiaiions, is ihai loi ihc laiici ihc inicivicw ioccss is gcncially lai
moic comlcx and iaIcs much moic icaiaiion. Thc locus ol ihis looI
will iincially lc on consuliing inicivicws. Onc wcll-Inown cxamlc
hcic is, loi insiancc, ihc lusincss casc", which involvcs a simulaiion ol
a lusincss siiuaiion whcic you nccd io show youi iollcm-solving caa-
bilities.
Givcn ihis, ii is ciucial ihai you iaIc youi iimc icaiing loi ihc cniiic
alicaiion ioccss. Iiisi, maIc suic youi icsumc and covci lciici aic
ai ihcii lcsi lcloic scnding ihcm io ihc comanics you aic inicicsicd
in. Oncc inviicd io inicivicw, you nccd io allow scvcial days ol icaia-
iion loi cach inicivicw, csccially duiing ihc iniiial siagcs ol ihc alica-
iion ioccss. Kcc in mind ihai you havc siudicd cxicnsivcly ovci scvcial
ycais, mainly io gci a chancc io siaii an inicicsiing caicci. Thcicloic,
maIc a good amouni ol iimc licc io icaic, and iaIc ihc inicivicw
process very seriously.
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Chapter II
Real-life Interviews
T
his chaici addicsscs ihc mosi imoiiani sIills asscsscd duiing
a casc inicivicw. Thc cniiic casc inicivicw ioccss is cxlaincd
in gicaici dciail. Each sic ol ihc inicivicw ioccss is analyzcd
individually, and advicc on how io lc succcsslul in cach sic is givcn.
You will noiicc how scvcial small ihings can havc a dillcicncc on ihc
cvcniual ouicomc ol youi casc inicivicw ciloimancc.
SKILLS ASSESSED
In gcncial, mosi inicivicwcis icccivc a siandaid icmlaic liom ihc HR
dcaiimcni, which ihcy will usc io asscss youi ciloimancc duiing ihc
inicivicw. Undcisianding whai youi inicivicwci will lc cvaluaiing you
on will olviously maIc you a lciici inicivicwcc. Ioi ihis icason, hcic is
a lisi ol ihc mosi imoiiani sIills/qualiiics ihai inicivicwcis will lc Icc-
ing an cyc oui loi duiing ihc casc inicivicw.
Analytical Skills
Aigually, ihc mosi imoiiani consuliing sIill is youi analyiical caac-
iiy. This csscniially cncomasscs youi aliliiy io licaI down a iollcm
inio iis smallci aiis, youi undcisianding ol cach aii, and cvcniually us-
ing ihc acquiicd Inowlcdgc io comc u wiih a scnsillc iccommcndaiion
oi conclusion. You can dcmonsiiaic youi analyiical sIills lcsi ihiough
a solid undcisianding ol ihc mosi imoiiani lusincss conccis, logical
dciivaiions, and soi-on qucsiions ncccssaiy io iogicss ihiough youi
casc.
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Excellence
Onc ol ihc liggcsi dillcicnccs lciwccn acadcmic lilc and iolcssional
lilc iolally lics in imcccallc cxccllcncc. Whilc ii is accciallc ai uni-
vcisiiy io sIi a couisc, io oncc havc a lowci giadc, oi cvcn io miss a
dcadlinc, ii is noi accciallc in iolcssional lilc. Duiing youi caicci,
cxccllcncc in youi woiI will ihus always lc Icy. Ioi cxamlc incoiiccily
iccommcnding ihai a him should closc onc ol iis manulaciuiing lanis
would havc sciious conscqucnccs.
Duiing youi inicivicw, you can show youi woiIing cxccllcncc ly dcm-
onsiiaiing siiong quaniiiaiivc sIills and ly using a daia-diivcn aioach
io comc io a conclusion. MaIc suic ihai youi iccommcndaiions aic
lacIcd u ly daia ihai iovc youi oini. Olicn, howcvci, you mighi noi
havc all ihc daia nccdcd io iovc youi oini lully. Whcn you ihcn havc
io maIc a iccommcndaiion, maIc suic ihai youi woiding is coiicci. Two
similai siaicmcnis, such as Thc daia suggcsi ihai." insicad ol Thc
daia clcaily say ihai." havc, loi insiancc, vciy dillcicni imlicaiions.
Client Skills
Consulianis alicady gci in coniaci wiih clicnis ai a vciy caily siagc.
Whcic clicni coniaci is iniiially wiih ihc middlc managcmcni, you mighi
quicIly lc siiiing wiih scnioi managcis. Givcn ihis, a qucsiion mosi in-
icivicwcis will lc asIing ihcmsclvcs is, Can wc go io ihc clicni wiih ihis
guy.` To dcmonsiiaic siiong clicni sIills, you nccd io comc acioss as ma-
iuic and iolcssional. Thcicloic, you should lc allc io icscni youiscll
quicIly, communicaic cllcciivcly and coiiccily, and maIc suic you comc
acioss as honcsi and humllc. Too olicn, liilliani siudcnis comc acioss as
aiiogani, loi which ihcy lailcd ihc inicivicw iound. Iasi lui noi lcasi, io
show good clicni sIills, youi woiding will again lc vciy imoiiani. Kcc
in mind ihai a coiicci answci is an answci ihai is noi only accuiaic, lui
also clicni-liicndly.
Organizational Skills
Consulianis gcncially havc vciy lusy schcdulcs, lui ihcy nccd io lc ai
ihcii lcsi ai all iimcs. Thcicloic, ihcy musi consisicnily lc cxiicmcly oi-
ganizcd and siiuciuicd. In ihc inicivicw ioccss, ihc inicivicwci will lc
looIing ai whcihci you comc acioss as a wcll-oiganizcd cison. To dcm-
onsiiaic ihai you aic wcll-oiganizcd, maIc suic you aic on iimc loi ihc
inicivicw, havc a ad ol aci and a cn ai hand, iaIc lcgillc noics, and
communicaic in a logical and siiuciuicd way. Addiiionally, duiing ihc
|ol consulianis olicn gci involvcd in dclicaic siiuaiions undci icssuic.
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Chapter III
How to Crack Your
Business Case
T
hc locus in ihis chaici is on how io ciacI lusincss cascs. Ii siaiis ly
cxlaining whai a lusincss casc is, why consuliing hims usc ihcm in
ihc inicivicw ioccss, and whai csscniially maIcs a lusincss casc analysis
succcsslul. Thc ncxi aii discusscs in dciail ihc siandaid mcihodology
io aioach lusincss cascs. Thcn ihc mosi imoiiani liamcwoiIs io as-
scss lusincss cascs aic discusscd, wiih scvcial cxamlcs loi cach iyc ol
liamcwoiI. Thc chaici cnds wiih a lisi ol ihc io icn iis io achicvc
lusincss casc succcss.
INTRODUCTION TO BUSINESS CASES
What Is a Business Case and Why Is it used?
A lusincss casc is an iniciaciivc simulaiion ol a lusincss iollcm. Youi
iasI is io siiuciuic and analyzc ihc iollcm ly asIing logical qucsiions
io youi inicivicwci io cvcniually comc u wiih a dciailcd, gcncially daia-
diivcn, iccommcndaiion.
Thc icason lusincss cascs aic ui inio iaciicc is ihai consuliing hims
aic awaic ihai ihc icsumcs ihcy icccivc aic olicn only a simlc icic-
scniaiion ol a comlcx cison. Givcn a consuliani`s iuilulcni woiIing
cnviionmcni, a dchncd cisonaliiy and a sclcci sci ol lcadcishi sIills
aic icquiicd io lc succcsslul. To cnsuic consuliing hims hiic ihc iighi
colc, ihcy iniioduccd ihc lusincss casc, which has cvolvcd as a ic-
cisc mcihod loi cvaluaiing ihcsc sIills. Ii hcls ihc inicivicwci io sciccn
candidaics and io dciciminc who ically has whai ii iaIcs io lccomc a
succcsslul consuliani. As mcniioncd lcloic, youi hnal cvaluaiion will
dccnd on scvcial laciois, lui youi ciloimancc on ihc lusincss casc
will always havc a signihcani wcighi in ihc hnal ouicomc.
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Case Interview Success
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Different Types of Business Cases
Scvcial iycs ol lusincss cascs can lc disiinguishcd, gcncially wiih dil-
lcicni lcvcls ol dilhculiy. Thc mosi common iycs ol lusincss cascs aic
ihc cosi/icvcnuc cascs, lusincss-siiuaiion cascs, mcigci and acquisiiion
cascs, and valuc chain cascs, which iolally accouni loi aloui ninciy-
hvc ciccni ol ihc cascs. Somc inicivicw icaiaiion looIs addiiionally
considci ihc gucssiimaic, which is discusscd in chaici hvc, as a iyc ol
lusincss casc. In ihis looI, howcvci, ihc gucssiimaic is noi considcicd
as such, sincc ii is much casici and moic mcchanical ihan ical lusincss
cascs.
Thc lcvcl ol dilhculiy ol ihc lusincss casc you will icccivc siiongly dc-
cnds on youi lacIgiound, lui ii can also lc somcwhai iandom. Thc cx-
cciaiions loi undcigiaduaics aic loi insiancc lowci ihan ihosc loi MBA
oi advanccd dcgicc candidaics. Undcigiaduaics icnd io icccivc moic
gucssiimaics, cosi/icvcnuc cascs, oi ihc moic siiaighiloiwaid lusincss-
siiuaiion cascs. MBA oi advanccd dcgicc holdcis on ihc oihci hand aic
moic liIcly io icccivc ihc moic dilhculi lusincss cascs. Addiiionally, ihc
cascs givcn io undcigiaduaics icnd io conccin lcss comlcx indusiiics
and hims. Thcicloic, undcigiaduaics aic, loi insiancc, moic liIcly io
gci a casc aloui a small him in ihc lcci indusiiy iaihci ihan a casc on
a iivaic cquiiy him ihai wanis io acquiic a comany in ihc icinsuiancc
indusiiy. In casc you do gci a lusincss casc siicd in a comlcx indusiiy
oi him, you should, as mcniioncd, scnd somc cxiia iimc liom ihc siaii
wiih youi inicivicwci io lciici undcisiand ihc dynamics ol ihc him and
iis indusiiy. You should, howcvci, ncvci anic, oi lclicvc ihai you cannoi
ciacI ihc casc lccausc ol ihc indusiiy conicxi. Oncc you undcisiand ihc
lusincss casc conicxi, all cascs csscniially consisi ol licaIing down ihc
iollcm along an aioiiaic liamcwoiI and synihcsizing ihc insighis
inio good iccommcndaiions.
What Your Interviewer Is Looking For
To Inow whai maIcs a good lusincss casc analysis, ii is imoiiani io
undcisiand ihc mind-sci ol ihc inicivicwci and havc a gcncial undci-
sianding ol which chaiaciciisiics hc will lc looIing loi. Olviously youi
inicivicwci will lc asscssing youi ovciall ciloimancc along muliilc
dimcnsions duiing ihc lusincss casc. Thcic aic, howcvci, cciiain sIills
ihai will wcigh moic in ihc hnal cvaluaiion.
Thc hisi, and ly lai ihc mosi imoiiani, sIill you havc io dcmonsiiaic
is ioccss cxccllcncc. You should maIc youiscll comloiiallc wiih a ic-
caiallc and logical ioccss io ciacI lusincss cascs. You should, how-
cvci, noi comlcicly icly on ihc lusincss liamcwoiIs ihai you siudicd in
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How to Crac k Your Business Case
29
advancc. You will olicn nccd io changc ihc liamcwoiI io somc cxicni
io ad|usi ii io ihc sccihc lusincss iollcm, givcn ihai all lusincss cascs
aic dillcicni. Piaciicc sulhcicnily, using ihc aioachcs io iacIlc lusi-
ncss cascs dcsciilcd laici. Ending u wiih a wiong answci whilc using
a coiicci aioach is lciici ihan having ihc iighi answci whilc using a
wiong aioach. You dchniicly do noi wani youi inicivicwci io havc ihc
imicssion ihai you goi lucIy wiih ihc lusincss casc. In addiiion, Icc
in mind ihai Inowing how io aioach lusincss cascs is noi ihc samc as
lcing allc io consisicnily ciacI ihcm. Thc dillcicncc lciwccn loih lics
in a liiilc ical-lilc iaciicc, lui ihc imaci on youi cvcniual ciloimancc
cvaluaiion is cnoimous.
Sccond, ii is imoiiani io coniinuously lc analyiical and daia- diivcn,
and io lollow a lincai and logical aioach. Duiing youi analysis and
synihcsis, ii is ihus imoiiani ihai you includc and siiuciuic all ol ihc
iclcvani icccs ol inloimaiion iovidcd io you.
Thc lasi Icy sIill is ihc aliliiy io synihcsizc all youi hndings, io ull
iogcihci ihc lig iciuic, and cvcniually io icscni youi hndings cohci-
cnily. Somc colc aic moic ialcnicd wiih ihis, lui ihiough iaciicing
scvcial lusincss cascs, you will gci a good lccling ol how io do ihis.
Along ihcsc ihicc Icy sIills, you will also lc cvaluaicd on oihci sIills,
such as icscniaiion sIills, cnihusiasm, and cicaiiviiy. Noiicc ihai having
sccihc Inowlcdgc ol ihc casc`s indusiiy can lc a lonus, lui ii is ncvci
icquiicd.
Ii is imoiiani io mcniion hcic ihai somc inicivicwcis mighi givc you
ihc imicssion ihai ihcy aic haidly aying aiicniion. Thcy mighi, loi
insiancc, looI uninicicsicd, iccaicdly chccI ihcii waich, oi cvcn siaii
laying wiih ihcii smaii honc. Thcy do ihis io scc whcihci you aic allc
io icmain calm and mainiain locus on ihc lusincss casc. Thcicloic, siay
conhdcni, Icc youi cnihusiasm, and coniinuc solving ihc casc.
How to Practice Business Cases
Whcn you siaii iaciicing lusincss cascs, ihc hisi ihing you should do
is gci accusiomcd io ihc siandaid aioach loi ciacIing lusincss cascs
and ihc dillcicni liamcwoiIs. Oncc you siaii io lccl comloiiallc wiih
ihcsc, ii is iimc io siaii iaciicing aciual lusincss cascs. You can hnd
scvcial cxamlcs ol inicicsiing lusincss cascs on ihc wclsiics ol lcading
consuliing hims. Addiiionally, you could hnd inicicsiing lusincss cascs
cxamlcs in oihci looIs on casc inicivicws. Il you cvcniually iun oui ol
lusincss cascs, you could siill cicaic ihcm youiscll, a mcihodology io do
ihis is dcsciilcd ai ihc cnd ol ihis chaici.
Piaciicing lusincss cascs on youi own is dchniicly a gicai way io siaii.
Unloiiunaicly, you will ncvci havc ihc iniciaciion ihai you would havc
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Case Interview Success
30
in a ical-lilc casc inicivicw. Whilc iaciicing lusincss cascs on youi own
can lc quiic challcnging, doing onc aloud wiih somconc clsc is cvcn
moic challcnging. Thcicloic, ii is adviscd ihai ai somc oini, you aii u
wiih classmaics, collcagucs, oi liicnds io aciivcly iaciicc lusincss cascs.
Thc inicivicwci should undcisiand ihc lusincss casc in advancc and
lc icady io guidc ihc inicivicwcc ihioughoui ihc casc. Thc inicivicwcc
should ncvci icad ihiough ihc casc ahcad ol iimc. Always iaIc ihc lusi-
ncss casc simulaiions sciiously, and siay closc io ihc aciual casc inicivicw
loimai. As a lasi hini, ii is iccommcndcd ihai you iac iccoid ihc lusincss
casc simulaiions io aliciwaids idcniily oicniial aicas loi imiovcmcni.
HOW TO APPROACH YOUR BUSINESS CASE
As mcniioncd lcloic, ihcic aic dillcicni iycs ol lusincss cascs. Each
iyc has a sccihc liamcwoiI io solvc ihc iollcm, and ihcsc aic cx-
laincd in dciail laici on in ihis chaici. Iiiclcvani ol ihc iyc ol lusincss
casc, ihc ovciall aioach you iaIc duiing a casc inicivicw will, howcvci,
always lc ihc samc. Thc only dillcicncc ai somc oini will lc ihc iyc ol
liamcwoiI you usc, and ihc qucsiions you asI io youi inicivicwci. I liIc
io iclci io ihis gcncial aioach as ihc ihicc-sics ioccss."
Thc idca lchind ihc ihicc-sics ioccss is ihai you hisi ocn ihc casc,
ihcn you analyzc ii, and uliimaicly you concludc ihc casc. Wiihin cach
ol ihcsc ihicc sics is a sulsci ol smallci sics. By chionologically going
ihiough cach individual sic ol ihc aioach, you will lc allc io solvc
lusincss cascs casily in a siiuciuicd mannci. Thc ihicc-sics ioccss is
icicscnicd in Exhilii S.
OPENING ANALYZING CLOSING
Collcci all iniiial
inloimaiion.
Verify your under-
sianding ol ihc casc.
Idcniily ihc aioii-
aic liamcwoiI.
Diaw oui and cxlain
ihc liamcwoiI.
Iniiiaic ihc liamc-
woiI.
Asscss ihc liamc-
woiI ihiough sc-
cihc qucsiions.
Idcniily all ma|oi
problem drivers.
Advancc ihc liamc-
woiI.
Synihcsizc ihc Icy
casc insighis.
Picscni ihc lig ic-
iuic," and lacI ii u
wiih youi hndings.
Provide the recom-
mcndaiion oi ncxi
steps.
Exhibit 3 - The three-steps process to approach business cases
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Chapter IV
Presentation Cases
INTRODUCTION TO PRESENTATION CASES
W
hilc iiadiiional casc inicivicws aic ly lai ihc mosi common mcihod
io sciccn oicniial candidaics, ii sccms ihai many consuliing hims
aic now incoioiaiing anoihci inicivicw icchniquc. This inicivicw icch-
niquc is ihc icscniaiion casc, whcic candidaics aic asIcd io icscni
and discuss a sccihc ioic io onc oi moic inicivicwcis. Gcncially, you
will lc givcn a siacI ol documcnis ihai loim a lusincss casc, which you
havc io summaiizc and cvcniually icscni wiihin a icdchncd iimc-
liamc. Somciimcs hims mighi asI candidaics io comlcic an unhnishcd
icscniaiion, and iovidc ihc Icy insighis. Iasi, somc hims will cvcn asI
you io icaic a icscniaiion ai homc, which you ihcn havc io givc dui-
ing ihc inicivicw. Picscniaiion cascs aic usually aii ol a sccond iound
inicivicw, and will iaicly lc an inicgiaiivc aii ol a hisi inicivicw iound.
Thc icason why many consuliing hims aic incoioiaiing icscniaiion
cascs in ihcii inicivicw iounds is lccausc ihc casc inicivicw is in a num-
lci ol ways also an imcilcci cvaluaiion iool. A iiadiiional casc inicivicw
will loi insiancc givc ihc inicivicwci only liiilc insighi inio ihc inicivicw-
cc`s icscniaiion sIills and his oi hci clicni sIills. Thc icscniaiion casc
on ihc oihci hand allows ihc inicivicwci io ioloundly asscss youi ic-
scniaiion sIills, and gci an idca ol how you would iniciaci wiih clicnis. In
gcncial icscniaiion cascs aic dcsigncd io cvaluaic ihc lollowing sIills:
- Aggregating a set of data: Gcncially, you will lc givcn a laigc sci ol
daia and inloimaiion, which you will nccd io ioccss quicIly on youi own
io comc io a conclusion. Iis main dillcicncc wiih a iiadiiional lusincss
casc is ihai loi icscniaiion cascs, you will havc io analyzc and comlinc
ihc lacis and cvcniually wia u youi hndings wiihoui any guidancc.
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Chapter V
Guesstimates

and Brainteasers
WHAT ARE GUESSTIMATES?
T
hc gucssiimaic qucsiion, oi gucssiimaic, is a sccial iyc ol qucsiion
ihai you can cxcci io lc asIcd duiing a consuliing inicivicw. Thc
idca is ihai you aic asIcd io maIc an cducaicd gucss ai somcihing loi
which you noimally do noi Inow ihc answci, and loi which you havc io
logically dciivc a icalisiic csiimaic. An cxamlc ol a gucssiimaic could
lc: How many lamily cais aic loughi cach ycai in ihc Uniicd Siaics ol
Amciica." Gucssiimaics aic sccihcally dcsigncd io asscss youi siicngihs
in ihc lollowing aicas:
- Logic: Aic you allc io comc u wiih a siiuciuicd aioach io
hnd an answci.
- Numerical skills: Aic you comloiiallc wiih maIing lasi calcu-
laiions wiih laigc numlcis.
- Creativity: Can you hnd muliilc ways io dciivc an answci oi a
lacIdooi io a quicIci lui accuiaic answci.
- Professionalism: Aic you allc io icmain calm whcn lcing
conlionicd wiih a comlicaicd gucssiimaic.
Gucssiimaics aic iyically asIcd duiing ihc hisi inicivicw iound, and
only occasionally in laici iounds. MaIc youiscll comloiiallc wiih ihc
siiuciuic io solvc gucssiimaic iollcms ihiough coniinuous iiaining,
and you will noiicc signihcani imiovcmcnis in youi sIills io solvc ihis
type of problem.
Always Icc in mind ihai loi a gucssiimaic qucsiion, ii is lciici io ai-
iivc ai a modciaicly wiong answci using a siiuciuicd mcihodology wiih
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86
good assumiions, ihan io immcdiaicly givc ihc coiicci answci lccausc
you icad ii lasi wccI in ihc ncwsaci. Giving ihc iighi answci wiihoui
maIing a logical analysis will noi imicss youi inicivicwci, as ihis is noi
ihc goal ol a gucssiimaic. On ihc oihci hand, you could imicss youi in-
icivicwci ly indicaiing muliilc siiaicgics io comc io a good csiimaiion.
Olicn, gucssiimaics aic givcn as in-casc gucssiimaics, in which ihc
gucssiimaic is aii ol a laigci lusincss casc. Ioi cxamlc, in a lusincss
casc on a solai ancl manulaciuici in Iiancc, ihc inicivicwci could sio
you lcloic siaiiing ihc lusincss casc, oi cvcn in ihc middlc ol youi analy-
sis, io asI you an csiimaiion ol ihc ioial solai ancl maiIci in Iiancc.
Somciimcs ihc inicivicwci will cxcci you io usc youi csiimaiion in ihc
lusincss casc, somciimcs, ihc inicivicwci will asI you io go lacI io ihc
lusincss casc wiihoui aciually using ihc csiimaiion. Anoihci ossililiiy is
ihai you gci a gucssiimaic and a lusincss casc uniclaicd io cach oihci,
olicn in a hisi inicivicw iound. In somc consuliing hims, you mighi gci
onc oi iwo siand-alonc gucssiimaics in ihc hisi iound and no lusincss
cascs uniil ihc sccond iound.
Evciy gucssiimaic is dillcicni, and mosi gucssiimaics can lc solvcd in
muliilc ways, using dillcicni mcihodologics. Noncihclcss, ihcic aic somc
good siiaicgics ihai will hcl you io solvc mosi gucssiimaics. Thc mosi
common siiaicgy is ihc io-down" aioach, in which you siaii lioadly
and ihcn slowly diill down io hnd ihc answci. Thc siiaicgy is dcmonsiiai-
cd in ihc gucssiimaic cxamlcs scciion. This aioach will hcl you solvc
mosi gucssiimaics, noncihclcss, somc gucssiimaics dcmand a moic cus-
iomizcd aioach in oidci io lc solvcd.
Gcncially, whcn solving gucssiimaics, ii is imoiiani ihai you hisi un-
dcisiand whai is icquiicd. Ioi insiancc whcn you aic suoscd io csii-
maic how many iaxis aic ociaiing in Ncw YoiI, you should olviously
undcisiand ihai you cvcniually nccd io comc u wiih a cciiain numlci
ol cais. Whcn siaiiing youi analysis, ii is also imoiiani io undcisiand
whcihci youi inicivicwci will iovidc you wiih sccihc inloimaiion oi
whcihci you will havc io maIc assumiions. You can dciciminc ihis ly
chccIing youi hisi assumiions wiih ihc inicivicwci. In casc hc oi shc
icluscs io commcni on youi assumiions oi indicaics ihai hc oi shc docs
noi Inow, ihcn you will havc io assumc ihc answci youiscll. Il ihc inici-
vicwci docs iovidc you wiih daia, maIc suic you usc ihis io comc io
youi hnal answci.
Alici you aic givcn a gucssiimaic qucsiion, lccl licc io iaIc a momcni
io ihinI ovci ihc lcsi aioach io solvc ii. You could, loi insiancc, say,
Whai an inicicsiing qucsiion, lcasc allow mc somc iimc io ihinI aloui
how I will aioach ihis." Usc ihis iimc cllcciivcly io considci an a-
ioach, such as loi cxamlc ihc io-down aioach. Il ossillc, iiy io go
loi a mcihodology wiih which you do noi havc io maIc comlicaicd oi
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Chapter VI
Review of Critical

Business Concepts
INTRODUCTION TO BUSINESS CONCEPTS
M
any ol you icading ihis looI havc a lusincss oi managcmcni lacI-
giound, and will alicady lc quiic lamiliai wiih mosi ol ihc lusincss
conccis ihai will lc discusscd in ihc lollowing. Rcgaidlcss ol whcihci
you havc alicady sccn oi siudicd ihcsc liamcwoiIs, ii is iccommcndcd
ihai you icvicw ihcsc conccis again, as ihcy will iovc hcllul duiing
youi inicivicws.
Duiing a lusincss casc, ii is iccommcndcd ihai you siaii wiih
ihc liamcwoiIs cxlaincd cailici on ciacIing lusincss cascs. How-
cvci, ihc moic you iaciicc and lccomc comloiiallc wiih ihcsc
liamcwoiIs, ihc moic you will siaii io noiicc ihai you can addiiion-
ally inicgiaic lusincss conccis, whcn iclcvani, io imiovc and
siicngihcn youi lusincss casc analysis.
Whcn inicgiaiing onc oi moic lusincss conccis inio youi analysis,
you should ncvci liicially namc ihc lusincss concci you will lc using,
lui iaihci cxlain iis idca. You should, loi cxamlc, ncvci say, .and
in oidci io analyzc ihc indusiiy aiiiaciivcncss, I will aly ihc Poiici`s
hvc loiccs modcl." Insicad, you could say: .and in oidci io analyzc
ihc indusiiy aiiiaciivcncss, ii sccms a good idca io iaIc a lciici looI ai
ihc indusiiy comciiiois, ihc sulsiiiuics, ihc oicniial ncw cniianis, ihc
sulicis, and ihc luycis." As you will scc, mosi ol ihcsc liamcwoiIs and
conccis aic olicn laiily simlc io undcisiand, and using ihcm coiiccily
io iacIlc a lusincss casc can gicaily cnhancc youi analysis.
In ihc lollowing, you will hnd an ovcivicw ol ihc mosi imoiiani
lusincss conccis. Ovciall, ihcy aic casy io undcisiand, and you can
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133
About the Author
T
om Rochtus was loin and iaiscd in Bclgium. Hc has a lachcloi`s
dcgicc in managcmcni liom ihc Univcisiiy ol Icuvcn in addiiion
io a masici`s dcgicc in managcmcni ol icchnology liom ihc Iouvain
School ol Managcmcni, whcic hc giaduaicd magna cum laudc. Hc has
luiihcimoic scni scvcial ycais iiavcling and siudying alioad, includ-
ing a masici`s dcgicc in Inicinaiional Busincss ai Egadc in Moniciicy
{Mcxico), and an acadcmic cxchangc ai ihc Univcisiiy ol Edinluigh
{U.K). His iolcssional caicci siaiicd whcn caily ai univcisiiy, hc sci u
his own succcsslul inloimaiion icchnology comany, and aiiiciaicd in
and won awaids ai iomincni comciiiions loi innovaiivc young cniic-
icncuis. As aii ol his masici`s dcgicc, hc comlcicd an inicinshi ai
Piocici 8 Gamllc as a siiaicgy lannci, which cvcniually insiicd him
io uisuc a caicci in managcmcni consuliing. Alici succcsslully aly-
ing loi ihc lcading managcmcni consuliing hims, Tom cvcniually signcd
wiih Bain 8 Comany, onc ol ihc woild`s mosi icsiigious managcmcni
consuliing comanics. Duiing his licc iimc, hc cn|oys iiavcling io oll-
lcai" dcsiinaiions, as wcll as scnding iimc wiih his lamily and liicnds.
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135
Acknowledgments
T
hanIs io cvciyonc who had a hand in maIing ihis looI ossillc.
Dchniiivcly io CicaicSacc Inc. and io Amazon Inc. loi all ihcii hcl
in ihc cdiioiial, ioduciion and disiiiluiion ioccsscs. Iuiihcimoic
a sccial ihanIs io Ana Ilcicnas loi dcsigning all ihc imagcs and ihc
covci ol ihis looI, lui mosily loi hci coniinuous suoii ihioughoui ihc
wholc ioccss. To cnd, I would also liIc io ihanI all my liicnds and lam-
ily, csccially my laihci, loi lcing a consiani souicc ol |oy and suoii in
cvciyihing I do. ThanI you!
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Second Edition
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2011 Tom Rochtus Written by TOM ROCHTUS
Aceyourcase.com
SUCCESS
CASE INTERVIEW
SUCCESS
CASE INTERVIEW
Case Interview Success is a must-read for anyone applying for a consulting position.
The book takes you inside a typical consulting case interview by exploring in detail
the entire case interview process, and will leverage you to crack the most complex
business cases.
The main features of this book are:
A detailed discussion of the entire case interview process
Key business case frameworks with practice cases and solutions
Key strategies to crack presentation cases, guesstimates and brainteasers
An overview of key business concepts and consulting terms
Tom Rochtus works as a strategy consultant at Bain &
Company, one of the worlds most prestigious management
consulting frms.
450182 781456 9

ISBN 978-1456450182
Aceyourcase.com

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