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Case Interview Workshop: “How to Succeed in Case Interviews”

Case Interview Workshop: “How to Succeed in Case Interviews”

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Case Interview Workshop: “How to Succeed in Case Interviews”

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  1. Case Interview Workshop: “How to Succeed in Case Interviews” Eli Broad Graduate School of Management September 15, 2006

  2. Today’s objectives At the End of This Workshop, Participants Will Be Able to: • Explain the case-style interviewing process • Frameworks — what they are and why we use them • Develop a picture of what demonstrated structured thinking looks like • Learn how to structure their thinking • Understand the problem • Dissect the problem/identify the key question(s) • Examine/analyze each piece of the problem • Prepare/plan for a case-style interview

  3. The Case Interview Candidates should use a logical process to answer case questions Assimilate & Structure Problem 5-8 minutes Listen To TheCase As Presented • Clarify Major Issues • Restate problems • Ask clarifying questions • Organize issues For Each IssueDevelop One OrMore Hypotheses Framework Issue Reformulate Hypothesis- or -Next Hypothesis Ask Key QuestionsTo Validate OrInvalidate EachHypothesis Key Questions Hypothesis Summarize YourConclusions Conclusion

  4. The Case Interview In case interviews, begin with general issues and hypotheses which will lead to more specific sub-issues and outputs The “General Approach” General “Big Picture” Business Situation/Client Objective Issue Issue Issue Hypothesis Hypothesis Hypothesis Analysis Analysis Analysis Synthesis Detailed Analysis

  5. The Case Interview Facts should be synthesized into findings, conclusions and recommendations Fact Finding Fact Conclusion Recommendation Hypothesis Fact Issue Finding Fact Hypothesis Recommendation Conclusion Fact Finding Fact Synthesize Diagnose Prescribe Listen Develop Collect

  6. The Case Interview Taking notes can help you keep track of both your thought process and information • Take notes will help you and the interviewer trace your logic flow • Using diagrams such as Fishbone, Issue Trees, and Causal loops can help organize your train of thought and give structure to your thinking • If you must retrace your steps due to the flow of the interview, you will have documentation right in front of you to help answer these additional questions • Make sure that you practice taking notes. You will want to be comfortable taking effective notes without ignoring the interviewer or impacting your ability to communicate

  7. Case Interview Frameworks

  8. Frameworks Common frameworks for answering business case questions Case Category Framework • Revenue cost breakdown • The “Three Cs” • The “Four Ps” • Five forces analysis • Company profitability problems • Company’s market positioning • Marketing assessment • Market entry/market analysis

  9. Frameworks Cost/revenue framework Profit Revenue Cost — ( ) ( ) + — Price Quantity Fixed Variable X • Price discrimination • Changes in pricing structure • Viability of pricing over time • Discounts or couponing • Competitor’s pricing • Customer segmentation • New/existing • Loyal/switchers • Channel restrictions or temporary disturbances • Changing consumer demands • Capital equipment • Land • Buildings • Labor • Materials • Energy

  10. Frameworks The “Three Cs” Market Positioning ofXYZ Company Cost Customers Competitors • Break down the company’s cost structure • Fixed • Variable • Estimate the competitor’s cost structure • Understand trends in cost structures • Segment the company’s customer base • New/existing • Loyal/switchers • Examine company profitability by segment • How much do they purchase? • At what price? • Identify major competitors • Traditional • Unexpected substitutes • What are the competitor’s strengths and weaknesses • Profits • Costs • Investigate market share

  11. Frameworks The “Four Ps” Product Place (Distribution) Promotion Price • What are the product’s differentiating attributes? • Why does the consumer purchase this product? • Unique packaging • “Superior cleaning power” • Affinity marketing — “cool people drink XX” • How is the product distributed to consumers? • What new methods of distribution are coming available? • Retail store • Warehouse store, Sam’s Club • Mail order • Internet/electronic distribution • What advertising medium is used to sell the product? • What is the most effective method of “getting the word out”? • Newspaper versus TV versus radio ads • Retail placement — aisle-end displays • New media? • How is this product priced? • How are its competitors priced? • Value pricing/ “Everyday Low Price” • Premium pricing • Price discrimination How effective is this product’s marketing campaign?

  12. Frameworks Five forces market analysis Barriers To Entry • Economies of scale • Capital costs • Cost advantage of existing competitors • Barriers to exit • Patents Supplier Power Market Rivalry Buyer Power • Number and size of suppliers • Switching costs/product differentiation • Availability of substitutes • Possibility of forward integration • Number and size of competitors • Industry growth rate • Product differentiation factors • Industry margins/pricing • Significance of the purchase relative to cost structure • Switching costs • Purchase volume • Threat of backward integration Substitutes • Relative price/value of the substitute compared to industry’s product • Cost of switching to substitute • Buyers’ propensity to switch

  13. Pricing Market Expansion Profit Improvement Industry Analysis Investment / Divestment Types of Cases The Case Interview We have a set of examples for five of the most common interview cases In today’s workshop session you will also practice other types of cases

  14. The Case Interview Industry analysis case studies Types of Cases

  15. The Case Interview Industry analysis case studies (cont’d) Types of Cases

  16. The Case Interview Market expansion case studies Types of Cases

  17. The Case Interview Market expansion case studies (cont’d) Types of Cases

  18. The Case Interview Pricing case studies Types of Cases

  19. The Case Interview Pricing case studies (cont’d) Types of Cases

  20. The Case Interview Profitability case studies Types of Cases

  21. The Case Interview Profitability case studies (cont’d) Types of Cases

  22. The Case Interview Investment cases Types of Cases

  23. The Case Interview Investment cases (cont’d) Types of Cases

  24. The Case Interview Again remember these key points • Framework and processare critical: issues, hypotheses, key questions, conclusions • Think big picture first, then think “top down” • Think of and express all alternatives • Listen to the interviewer’s feedback and its impact on your process • Be “coachable”; integrate feedback quickly • Restate and “gut-check” your final conclusions • Does it make sense what I’m saying? And when things aren’t going as well as you’d like… ... recognize you’re stuck ... ask for more information ... pursue different paths

  25. We will split into groups Practice a case Identify key success factors Regroup to share learnings The breakout will last approximately 45 min Try to take the most out of this experience and have fun! The Case Interview We are going to practice some real cases in our breakout sessions Breakout Sessions And this is just the beginning! Over the next couple of weeks practice, practice, practice!