Group Case Study Interview Prep

Question:

Thanks for all the valuable information you share on your site. Its just about the precise, concise prep I’d ever seen. I have been invited to Round 1 of McKinsey interviews later this month.

The interview process has a 60 minute Analytical test (Computer based), followed by 2 case sessions where a McK facilitator will work on a case with 3-4 candidates in a group. McK says the following capabilities are tested in this group session:

Breakouts:
•        Influencing others
–       L/U/R*(learning, understanding, responding)

•        Building relationships
–       Teamwork

•        Presence
–       Language skills
–       Communication style
–       Body language

•        Problem solving
–       Baseline problem solving

Can you share some insights on how these group case interviews are different from the typical 1-to-1 interviews. Have you conducted such APD interviews in the past. Any insights would be useful.

My Response:

I have not personally participated in a group case study interview as either interviewer or interviewee. It's an interview format that started becoming more popular after my time.

That being said, I think it's very good idea and I certainly understand why it is now being used more often. It is a closer simulation of what life would be like as a consultant working with other team members or with the client.

Let me explain why this is the case which will give you some insight as to what they're looking for -- and then I'll talk about how to do well in this environment.

Let me start by explaining why some new consultants do poorly on the job.

1) Poor client management skills - New consultant has the right answer, client disagrees (but is factually wrong), consultant who is eager to prove that he's right tells the client he is dead wrong / really wrong, client gets upset (even though client is wrong).

The reputation of the firm and the client's satisfaction with the team is now damaged... and now an engagement manager or partner has to do damage control.

See in this situation, the new consultant nailed the case from a technical and analytical perspective but pissed off the client. This is bad.

A consultant who is likely to irritate a client like this could pass the more traditional 1:1 case interview format.

2) Not Invented Here - Another problem with some new consultants is they have a hard time accepting new ideas that they didn't come up with. So if a new consultants thinks the right approach is X, and someone else on the team says it's Y -- and also has the hard data to back it up. It's clear the teammate advocating for approach Y is right.

Some consultants will have a very hard time accepting they are wrong and will push hard for a wrong position. Instead, the right move is to say, "You know what... that makes much more sense, lets go with that."

From an engagement manager's point of view, one doesn't want a consultant on the team who is stubborn, inflexible, and argumentative. In consulting, insights (especially counter-intuitive ones) backed by the facts rule. It doesn't matter what you think, it only matters what you can support/prove with the facts.

If you got the facts on your side, you're expected to present your perspective. If you don't, you need to be flexible enough to see that and move on. In other words, don't be adversarial.

This again is a negative trait that is simply not tested in a traditional 1:1 case interview format. But I expect something like this would emerge in a group case interview.

Tips for Group Case Interviews

Overall, you want to approach the group case interview as follows. It's your team versus the case. It is NOT you versus your team mates.

If one of the other candidates says something really stupid, resist the temptation to yell out "Hey you're a moron, that's totally wrong.... you should get dinged!"

The reason you don't want to do this is because sometimes a client will say something "stupid" (e.g., not supported by the facts but supported by opinion, belief, emotions). And having the tact to gently give a client a different (e.g., factually correct) perspective without making them look bad or feel foolish is a key skill.

So how you handle co-interviewees with BAD ideas IS very much being tested.

Equally important is how you handle co-interviewees with GOOD ideas is equally important. So if someone else comes up with a good idea (e.g., they "plus-ed" your idea) it's VERY important that you acknowledge it and work with it. (As opposed to shoot it down because you want them to look bad so they won't get an offer).

In real life, I wouldn't want a consultant on my team that's going to constantly shoot down my ideas. However, I would like someone who spots flaws in my thinking, doesn't shoot my down, but rather incorporates my ideas, and adds some insight or fact and makes it better.

Remember it is NOT you vs. the other interviewees. It is you and your co-interviewees vs. the case!

So long story short, solve the case, work with your co-interviewers to solve the case, and whatever you do.... DO NOT BE AN A**HOLE.

Finally don't worry about making yourself look good/smart by taking down someone else. If you are good, from an evaluator's point of view it is VERY obvious who is sharp/analytical and who is not. It is also equally obvious who is a JERK. So don't be jerk and trust that your case / consulting skills will shine through naturally without you having to worry about the competitive aspects of the situation.

For more on what to expect in a case interview, watch my free video series on Case Interview Secrets .

Additional Resources

If you found this post useful, I suggest becoming a registered member (it's free) to get access to the materials I used to pass 60 out of 61 case interviews, land 7 job offers, and end up working at McKinsey.

Members get access to 6 hours of video tutorials on case interviews, the actual frameworks I used to pass my interviews, and over 500 articles on case interviews.

To get access to these free resources, just fill out the form below:

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Dec 24, 2010

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About

In this PrepPack™ you will find preparation materials for your Deloitte interview. As well as this, there are specific materials for the Deloitte case study, presentation, group exercise and more. 


Deloitte Interviews

Below we will outline the types of interviews you may encounter in your application process, and give you tips on how to prepare for them.


Deloitte First Interview and Case Study

This interview is usually part of the recruitment process for BrightStart, the summer vacation schemes and the graduate programme applicants. This interview is designed as to learn more about you and your suitability for the role you have applied for.

The interview also contains the Deloitte case study for you to discuss with your interviewers. Ahead of your interview you will be given a short period of time to read a case study and think about some answers to a set of guide questions. The information contained in the case study may include numerical information as well as articles. Once in the interview room, the interviewer will ask you questions on the case study for you to discuss with them. You may find it useful to write down your thoughts to take into the interview.

Ahead of this interview you are advised to prepare examples of activities or pieces of work you have been involved with, where you have built up into a project over a large period of time. The interviewers are looking for evidence of your role, and how you worked with others to achieve your goals. Use the the STAR method (situation, task, action, result) to organise your answers and ensure that you don’t leave anything out. You should also read up on Deloitte, as well as any news concerning the company. Be prepared to answer questions about why you have chosen this specialty.

Applicants for consulting positions will have a group exercise at this interview.


Deloitte Competency Based Interviews

Applicants for the Deloitte professional hire positions can expect to be invited to at least one competency based interview. In a competency based interview you are asked questions designed to allow you to demonstrate that you have the skills to do the jobs. These skills are in the job description and person specification for the role you are applying to, as well as Deloitte’s core competencies and values.

Prepare in advance for a competency based interviews by thinking up examples against each competency. Develop examples around the STAR method (situation, task, action, result) to ensure that you have covered all the necessary information about your role in this example and how you contributed to the outcome.


Final Interview with Presentation

The final or Deloitte partner interview is usually the last part of the recruitment process for Deloitte BrightStart and Deloitte graduate programme applicants. This is a one hour interview in which you will give a pre-prepared presentation. This interview will focus on your values and how you can contribute to Deloitte. You should prepare examples demonstrating what matters to you, how you can contribute and so on. As always, prepare these examples using the STAR method (situation, task, action, result). Other questions in the interview may test your commercial awareness, so prepare by reading the news, thinking about the implications for Deloitte; read up on the trade press; read the Deloitte website, and make sure that you know about the company’s departments, work and competitors. You should also prepare questions to ask in the interview. Make sure they are not too obvious or could be found easily by looking at the website.

Deloitte Presentation

Ahead of this interview you are sent a topic and asked to prepare a five minute presentation to give over to your Partner interviewer. Make sure you understand what is in your presentation as you will be asked questions at the end. You are allowed to take a handout for the interviewer, but you will not have access to any IT equipment.

Topics will depend on the area you are applying to, but include:

  • Your take on European audit reforms
  • Have corporations learnt from the recession
  • Regulatory impact on businesses
  • How will audit have to adapt going forward

Read more tips about how to give a presentation on our presentations pages.

Prepare for Your Deloitte Case Study and Interview

If you want to really prepare for the Deloitte case study and interview you have to get the best preparation possible. Here we have highlighted the different sections of the Deloitte assessment centre to help you prepare. Start preparing today so you won’t be left behind.

Deloitte Interview Questions

The variety of interviews and range of interviewers at Deloitte mean that there are many questions you may experience. Questions at interviews may be situational, behavioural, about you or your choices.

Below is a selection of questions that may span any number of interviews:

  • Why Deloitte, and why this job/ department?

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