the (new) keys to prepare for it

Case in Point on all floors. Twenty years after its first edition in 1999, the business case preparation book published by the former director of career counseling at Harvard is still for many students the necessary preparation for recruitment interviews in strategy counseling. At HEC, it is the most borrowed book in the library by wannabe strategists.

Ditto at Polytechnique, where a student explains to us that the graduates do not receive any specific education and therefore throw themselves over the manual, which has sold 150,000 copies worldwide.

There is a kind of status quo. Books like An example of that is known as being the references within the student community, and are the first quoted by our seniors when a student embarks on the preparation for interviews. The HEC website shows them in the consulting resources commented Adrien Bellamy, president of HEC Consulting Club.

In Pléiade du business cases at HEC, of ​​course Case in Point. Who is not alpha and omega: The proof of its typical dissolution patterns is far from known by all students preparing with the book.

In Jouy-en-Josas, teachers also recommend Case interview secretsthe work of Victor Cheng, former consultant at McKinsey become a reference for these business cases, and Break the caseanother anthology of cases written by David Ohrvall, also a former consultant forandersen then Bath & Company.

At ESCP-Europe, Thierry Boudes, Professor of Strategy, sends his students back to Succeed at interviews in consulting firms by Victor Mamou.

In the cave, an unchanging reality remains: The entrance into the consulting companies in strategy bypasses a control of business cases, business cases which the candidates are confronted with at each new interview and which account for just over half of the evaluation overall.

Clearly, no mastery of the solution of business cases, no hiring. The main case types have not changed dramatically over time (see table below). Just, Astrid Rupp, Marketing Director of PrepLounge – the online social network created in 2012, where it is possible to practice in pairs – notes that ” the brainteaser trend is slowly coming to an end. We are seeing fewer and fewer consulting firms seeking to destabilize candidates with a troubling logic problem “.

A typology of cases – almost – unchanged

Picture 2

Sources: Case in Point, Vocaprep and

Lots of exceptions

So hardly anything new under the sun. Except that companies concretely add their own signature to these standard business cases. In the house of HOS Kearney, this could be, for example, a case study of about ten minutes on a major macroeconomic novelty. Candidates are given a tablet and asked to prepare a short, structured answer of no more than ten minutes.

MCQ logic on computer at Oliver Wymanremote questions to LEK… Each practice uses some form of case adaptation.

Bain Paris reviews the case format for its junior and senior candidates

Like Bath, whose Paris office reviewed some of the cases proposed to candidates three years ago. ” For juniors, faced with the amount of applications sent to the office – 5,000 on an annual basis according to the latest figures – the company has decided to develop its recruitment process with an online test that candidates take on the iPad on the premises.explains Catherine Pain Morgado, recruitment director for Bath. And for seniors, we’ve added a business mindset. The idea is to let the candidate talk about a sector he knows, or a mission he has accomplished, and to test his vision. »

Objective: to get out of an overly academic exercise or demonstration of behavioral “tricks” that candidates might be thinking of a priori that they are welcome.

One of the MBBs sends some of the candidates to a preparation site

When candidates spend several minutes reformulating the title of a case while the partner has just spent ten minutes doing it themselves, there can be some irritation », Anonymously slips a partner in a Parisian company that is regularly confronted with applicants.

To avoid poorly prepared or formatted profilesone of three MBB (McKinseyBoston Consulting GroupBath & Company) has, for example, entrusted a company of headhunters to prepare some of its graduates through a dedicated website,

Several European offices of this company, including Paris, use it and send candidates to prepare for it. On this page, they can find dozens of videos about the most frequent response models (frameworks) with which they can solve business cases (profits, topline, costs, new markets, new products).

Five hundred students from the London School of Economics also have admission. And discussions are underway with several French business schools, such as ESCP, EM Lyon or Edhec. A total of 1,500 people are registered on the site.

In this, Casecoach is the latest in a wave of websites – mainly Anglo-Saxon – whose purpose is to help prepare recruitment interviews and especially business cases.

Abundance of sites

And other new features are still under preparation, as evidenced by a former MBB chief who anonymously announced his intention to create a new site on Reddit and because of his recruiting experience in a company.

Contacted by Consultor, he indicates that the launch of this new site will take place in May. His observation is clear: the existing sites are either not very interactive or fed with outdated cases. The site in preparation, he says, will be a really more interactive interface and closer to what is really being done in each practice.

Before him there was Vocaprep, a MOOC specifically dedicated to preparing interviews for strategy consulting, set up in Montreal in 2016. Case interviews, Firmsconsulting, MyConsultingCoach, Rocketblocks, Vault … are so many other references now known.

At Edhec, Maâmar Gomeri, the founder of the school’s consulting club in 2016 and current master’s student in international strategy consulting, uses Vocaprep, for example, in a progressive preparation course for business cases, which he estimates at six months. .

Here again An example of, or similar works, is a starting point, alongside one of the existing online video platforms. Then most of the preparation then has to focus on collective practice.

1001 ways to practice together

Contacting alumni from your school who are recruited to the target company is the most common way to prepare for cases Says Catherine Pain Morgado. ACE, the ESCP Consultant Club, creates Facebook groups to coordinate and connect students. And the club also maintains a database of recently interviewed cases. A base that feeds most of the students recently received. PrepLounge, with its 15,000 registered in France since its inception in 2012, its 157 cases available online and its capabilities for simulation via Skype, is another way to test yourself.

Bootcamps, aperitifs, case exercises arranged by the companies … Here, too, the possibilities are legion. ” For the preparation for the cases as well as for the interviews, I above all advise the students not to get acquainted with an individual logic. This makes it possible to multiply the funds for training and monitoring of existing resources that are more or less well indexed ”Says Thierry Boudes.

A collective aspect that HEC recently insisted on more. The school has opened collective sessions over the weekend, where a student presents a case in front of the rest of his classmates and the career center picks up a former consultant from kl. Roland Berger for intensive sessions in small groups.

An obstacle course that could indicate that working as much as possible individually and collectively is enough to win the sesame of successful business cases in the interview. The recipe is attractive, but not so automatic. Beware of standardization.

For who defends Sylvie Jaulin, director with responsibility for recruitment and training on Kea : ” We also seek to test the candidate’s agility, his ability to utilize stretched rods, the flexibility of his reasoning, and many other things that are not in any book. »

To summarize: current resources for preparing business cases in strategy consulting (non-exhaustive list)

  • On the company’s websites
    • McKinsey : four cases in English, with a handful of questions successively about general approach and solution of special problems as well as three examples of MCQ (Problem Solving Test or PST, which the company can ask you to take online before the interviews)
    • BCG : a library of two interactive cases in the form of MCQs
    • Bath : video examples of interview candidates’ answers
    • Oliver Wyman : an interactive case available
    • HOS Kearney : a loose case in English with few details
  • Books
  • Schools
    • school case books
    • Case databases prepared by schools or consulting clubs
    • Advisory clubs
  • Site (s
  • Videos (French or international platforms, some of which are free)
  • Coaches (in Paris)

By Benjamin Polle for

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