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I Just Survived My First Case Interview

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

By Amanda Touse

For those who aren’t quite sure what it is, a case interview is an interview in which you are presented with a business scenario, are asked to evaluate drivers in the business, perform calculations, evaluate implementing a new product/strategy/discount etc., and then give your overall recommendation on what the company should do. These interviews are not to gauge your analytical and problem-solving process and how you work through a given scenario.

Having just had 2 hours of these interviews, one hour on each case, I can safely say I have never experienced an interview like this before, nor would I care to experience it again; although as a business analytics major, I know that’s probably not a reality for me. Standard interviews are stressful and nerve-wrecking enough but to have to solve real-world problems on the spot with someone evaluating your entire process over the course of an hour is hell. Going into this interview I had prepared a bunch; I’d watch all of the company’s tip videos and resources for these kinds of interviews and even did a couple sample business cases and I still didn’t feel prepared. While they aren’t determining your success solely on your mathematical ability and calculations, doing the math is a large part of the case interview so if you start to mess up (just like I did), it’s hard to keep that fact in perspective.

I consider myself competent in my abilities and in my interviewing abilities, but I honestly walked away from that with a fuzzy brain and the feeling like I want to curl into my bed and become one with the covers. Granted the entire case interview isn’t completely computation-based, the analysis part of the interview where you’re able give recommendations and offer unique ideas on how to problem solve and create innovation within a company which is admittedly a very cool and interesting feature to have in an interview. I’m just over here praying that they don’t completely disregard someone if they freak out and get confused during the math section.

My best advice for someone who has to have a case interview for a job or internship is to Google and try as many business cases as you can to really familiarize yourself with the format of a case interview. Also practice speaking through and explaining your solving process and analysis as you work through the problem. It definitely feels weird to talk out your inner thoughts as you are working but the interviewer is mainly trying to see how you analyze scenarios so being as verbal with your process as you can, will help you. Lastly, take time to organize yourself and your thoughts. These interviews are fast paced and if you don’t keep yourself organized you will stress yourself out even more and be more prone to making mistakes or getting confused.

Amanda is a junior business analytics major at Manhattan College. She is a member of Women in Business, Music Ministry, the O'Malley School of Business Honors Program, and Performing Hearts (Manhattan College's Female A capella Group). Amanda is also an intern for the Lasallian Women and Gender Resource Center.
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