What's Your Question?
What Is a Case Study?
When you’re performing research as part of your job or for a school assignment, you’ll probably come across case studies that help you to learn more about the topic at hand. But what is a case study and why are they helpful? Read on to learn all about case studies.
Deep Dive into a Topic
At face value, a case study is a deep dive into a topic. Case studies can be found in many fields, particularly across the social sciences and medicine. When you conduct a case study, you create a body of research based on an inquiry and related data from analysis of a group, individual or controlled research environment.
As a researcher, you can benefit from the analysis of case studies similar to inquiries you’re currently studying. Researchers often rely on case studies to answer questions that basic information and standard diagnostics cannot address.
Study a Pattern
One of the main objectives of a case study is to find a pattern that answers whatever the initial inquiry seeks to find. This might be a question about why college students are prone to certain eating habits or what mental health problems afflict house fire survivors. The researcher then collects data, either through observation or data research, and starts connecting the dots to find underlying behaviors or impacts of the sample group’s behavior.
During the study period, the researcher gathers evidence to back the observed patterns and future claims that’ll be derived from the data. Since case studies are usually presented in the professional environment, it’s not enough to simply have a theory and observational notes to back up a claim. Instead, the researcher must provide evidence to support the body of study and the resulting conclusions.
As the study progresses, the researcher develops a solid case to present to peers or a governing body. Case study presentation is important because it legitimizes the body of research and opens the findings to a broader analysis that may end up drawing a conclusion that’s more true to the data than what one or two researchers might establish. The presentation might be formal or casual, depending on the case study itself.
Once the body of research is established, it’s time to draw conclusions from the case study. As with all social sciences studies, conclusions from one researcher shouldn’t necessarily be taken as gospel, but they’re helpful for advancing the body of knowledge in a given field. For that purpose, they’re an invaluable way of gathering new material and presenting ideas that others in the field can learn from and expand upon.
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Case Interview Examples: The 9 Best in 2022 (McKinsey, Bain, BCG, etc.)
February 26, 2021 By Julio Tarraf
Today I’m gonna show you a curated list of the 9 VERY BEST Case Interview Example videos from all around the web.
So you don’t have to go through the same pains I did back when I was preparing:
- I watched TONS of videos on YouTube, but most of my time was WASTED because many weren’t helpful at all.
- I couldn’t tell which cases were realistic and which were unrealistic, or which were hard and which were easy.
- I couldn’t even tell whether each answer by the candidates was good enough to pass the interview or not (my best proxy was their confidence, which I later found was NOT a good proxy).
So that brings us to this article.
What's in for you:
Every hour you spend on the examples in this article is the equivalent of spending 3-5 hours browsing YouTube on your own, reading Case in Point, or going through piles of casebooks.
This article is the result of...
24 of those videos didn’t make it to the list: they were a mix of poorly recorded, unrealistic and even misleading .
I curated just the best so you wouldn’t have to waste your own 20+ hours to find them.
Table of contents:
- #1. Playworks market entry [Best for beginners]
- #2. Agricultural chemicals product launch [Advanced candidates only]
- #3. A+ Airlines’ reaction to competitor’s change
- #4. Auto manufacturer profitability decrease [Best profitability case]
#5. Swift fox population decrease
- #6. Bed and Bath e-commerce acquisition [Best for solo practice]
#7. FlashFash acquires LaMode
#8. medical supplies manufacturer demand decrease.
- #9. Pepsi’s LA bottling plant
- #10. 1930’s gangster growth strategy
#1. Playworks market entry
- Easy case, with one Estimation, one Quantitative Analysis, and one Chart Interpretation questions within. Overall, good to practice and to get a feel for case interview dynamics
- You can’t see the Exhibit the candidate is shown, but you can find it in this link provided by Yale SOM Consulting Club (go to page 9)
- Stellar framework, touching on all relevant issues and showing a plan to solve the problem from beginning to end
- Great job performing a spontaneous reality check to his estimation
- I would expect more reasoning behind some of the key assumptions (# of high schools and colleges in the US). He was, however, close to the real values – his background as a teacher could have played a role, but as an interviewer I would still have needed to see his reasoning behind those numbers
- Big mistake inadvertently converting square yards to square feet (~10x difference in final answer) combined with math confusion within the Estimation and inefficiencies in Analysis: his analytical skills would have to be tested more thoroughly in a third interview or in a next round
The next case is mostly useful for its framework question.
It’s a high-quality, nuanced case question, similar to the ones you’ll get in McKinsey, Bain and BCG interviews.
The problem with this case is…
It requires either a well-structured answer or a ton of business sense, and the candidate solving it had neither.
As a result, he missed so many great insights, which made the video poor where it could have been rich for those who are practicing: business insight.
To spice up your practice, I’ll list those insights after the video under a spoiler alert, so you can add them to your own business sense library.
Given all of this, I would recommend this video for advanced candidates only .
(To understand what elements a perfect answer would need and how to create one for any case, check out our free course, Case Interview Fundamentals.)
#2. Agricultural chemicals product launch
- Tough case. Full of nuance, and suitable for an MBB first-round (perhaps even for a final-round).
- The analysis at 26:15 is a tough one, great practice for advanced students looking to improve their quantitative skills. Don’t forget that you need to provide an insight after getting to the numerical answer.
- Right from the start, you can see that you’d need to (1) size the financial benefits orchards would get from using your product and (2) run viability and pricing analyses. The candidate fails to see this until the interviewer suggests it.
- The candidate missed several other important insights which would have been impressive. Can you spot any? Read them below, under the spoiler alert.
As I said, I’ll quickly go over the insights this candidate missed, as I think they could greatly add to your business sense library.
1) The one and most important is the pricing and viability analysis.
- One of the first questions that need to be answered when solving this case is, “what’s the size of the financial benefits of this product to the buyer, how much can we capture of it, and does it covers the manufacturing and distribution costs?”.
- The reason is simple: this analysis can be run entirely on data we most likely have (from research while developing the product), and it will quickly tell us if the product isn’t viable or if we need a strategy pivot.
- When guided, the candidate eventually runs this analysis, but the fact that this isn’t even explicit in his initial structure is still a red flag.
- Here’s what I would expect from a top-2% candidate. This analysis should have been outlined in the initial structure, along with a quick brainstorming of how this product might bring increased profits for the buyer.
2) There are several other potential sources of increased ROI that the launch of this product could yield that he didn’t even consider:
- Cross-selling opportunities to these same clients, once we’re selling Mango Maker to them.
- The possibility of selling this product in several other countries (thus potentially decreasing the costs of production with scale gains.)
- The possibility of selling this product to producers of other tropical fruits (to his credit, he did mention this when pressed, by the end of the video).
- The possibility of acting towards increasing the patent duration.
- The possibility of having some cash flow from the product after the patent expires.
The key to getting to those insights would have been to build a more robust initial framework. More business sense would help for sure, but structuring techniques are more feasible to practice and develop.
Lastly: the interviewer says, by the end of the video, that the interviewer would pass his first-round MBB interview with this performance. I do not agree with her.
While it is possible that his interviewers would pass him and let partners decide whether or not he’s suitable for the firm, the risk is just too high.
Some interviewers might pass him, but many others definitely would not.
Before we move on…
Did you know there are ONLY 6 types of questions an interviewer will ask you in a case?
Join our FREE 7-day case interview course to…
- Learn what these six types of questions are…
- Get step-by-step approaches to answering them…
- And get several in-depth examples taylored for solo practice.
Now to the next video…
Yale SOM Consulting Club and Elaine Dang deserve congratulations on the two videos they made.
It’s super high quality work.
Both of their video examples are similar to real case interviews in format and content, and they’re even superior to some made by case interview prep websites.
#3. A+ Airlines' reaction to competitor's change
- Questions and difficulty realistic for McKinsey, Bain, or BCG
- A real case might have more Brainstorming questions within the case
- Negative: you can’t se the exhibits the candidate is shown
- Great: all of her answers were backed by at least one layer of structure
- Insights provided after calculating every new number, which is super important (learn more)
- She did a good job keeping the interviewer on board by doing her math out loud at all times
- One thing she could’ve done better was to not constantly come back to the “cash tied up in the cash box” idea – she should’ve tested it once and definitively as to whether that is relevant or not (it isn’t) – a partner would have certainly challenged her on that
Featuring next: me reviewing my own video from a neutral point of view.
Yes, I know that can’t possibly be unbiased.
But here’s why I think this video will get you ahead of other candidates and why you should ABSOLUTELY NOT miss out on this :
- The case comes nearly straight from my own Bain final round.
- My question in the end is difficult (even for McKinsey, Bain or BCG’s standards), and Bruno’s answer is impressive.
- Bruno’s solution is not perfect, and this gives us both an opportunity to openly discuss how it could’ve been better by the end.
#4. Auto manufacturer profitability decrease
- Average-difficulty profitability case in the first half, and a difficult question at 15:44
- Full realistic drill-down to find the real root cause of the problem, which is a common thing in case interviews that you’ll only find in this video
- Bruno should have presented his answer as a plan before diving into the profit tree , which is an advanced skill that makes you sound more like a consultant and less like a candidate
- Efficient and organized drill-down in the profit tree, a must-master habit for all candidates
- Super insightful answer to the second question because it shows second-order level thinking
If you’re mainly looking to improve your performance in profitability cases, there are two pieces of content worth checking out:
- This video: 5 Tactics To Stand Out In Your Profitability Case Interviews
- And this article, the state-of-the-art in profitability trees: Profitability Trees: The Complete Guide
What I love about the next case is that the first question is on diagnosing a client’s issue, but it’s not a profitability case.
It’s actually a public sector case!
Most beginners think you only use issue trees and drill-down analysis when solving a profit problem, but as you’ll see in this case, this is not true at all.
The candidate’s answer is good, so you can compare your own answer to his.
- This is a difficult, realistic diagnostics case, great for advanced candidates to step up their practice with hard cases
- You are not shown a critical exhibit the candidate gets in the middle of the case, making it unsuitable for practice from then on
- The candidate’s initial structure is insightful because it breaks down the population problem into its key drivers
- The insights the candidate provided on the exhibits are spot-on, but I would expect next-steps after the conclusions (e.g. after 10:33 , he could have said “And to figure out whether this really is the cause of the population decrease, the next thing I would do is…” )
- But he doesn’t make the same mistake twice – at 23:20 , he gets to a number the interviewer asked and, this time, he leads the case perfectly: he comes up with a conclusion (the insight), and then proactively leads the case with next steps
The next video is THE SINGLE BEST in this list for solo practice.
You will see Bruno’s reaction to challenges most people only face in their actual interviews. Mock interviews hardly prepare you for this at all:
- How should you react when an interviewer asks you for more ideas after you’ve given everything you have?
- What do you do when your interviewer asks for a recommendation having given you nearly no data?
Go ahead and see for yourself.
(And how would a real candidate do in this case? I interviewed a candidate with this very same case and recorded it so you could see for yourself. )
#6. Bed and Bath e-commerce acquisition
- Pay special attention to how I made spontaneous challenges to Bruno after his answers. Most mock interviews, even with consultants, don’t have that. So candidates end up getting surprised by them in their actual interviews. You might even want to show this to your peers so they’ll do more realistic mock interviews with you
- In 9:00 I challenge Bruno to see if he’s sure whether customer loyalty was good (higher customer lifetime value) or bad (harder to increase market share) for the acquisition
- In 16:22 I challenge Bruno to find even more ideas other than the ones he had already given
- Due to being interviewer-led AND having great benchmark answers, this is the best video in this list for solo practice
- Super structured brainstorming, which showed me he would not leave any important area behind and helped him give me a ton of creative, insightful ideas
- Insightful framework answer (e.g., 99% of candidates would not talk about whether running this business would be attractive to the friend, much less in depth like he did)
The next case is one of the unmissable videos in this list for two main reasons.
Number one, the candidate’s answers are great, good enough to be benchmarks to your own.
Number two, it’s a difficult M&A case (which is not as exciting as watching the last Avengers movie, I get, but still…).
- Realistic, challenging interviewer-led case for McKinsey, Bain and even BCG (as some interviewers there have been doing this type of case recently)
- Quality answers make it great for solo practice
- Insightful, well-built framework, definitely a benchmark
- Notice how the candidate shows his structure for the quantitative analysis before diving into the math – that’s a great habit you definitely want to copy
I chose this next video mostly due to the quality of the initial case question. Here’s why.
Most profitability cases in casebooks are simple: “industry Y, profits fell. Why?”
But the truth is, in real MBB interviews, the case question almost always has more nuance than that.
That’s what this next video’s initial case question shows.
Just a quick heads up: I would not pass this candidate, as I wasn’t a fan of his initial structure nor of his business sense in general. Your initial structure should be more robust than his.
- The nuances of the case question make it a realistic one for MBB first-round interviews.
- This case could be way more interesting and insightful if the candidate had followed a different path, like finding different sources of revenue, different segments they could cater to at a higher price point, or new markets they could enter with the resources they have.
- Your answers to the initial case question and to all the other brainstormings in the case could (and should, if you’re aiming for the moon) be 5X more robust than this candidate’s. Don’t base your answers off his. (Learn how to create robust brainstorming structures here.)
- The analysis he performs is good, structure and communication-wise.
- Great insight that buyers’ price sensitivity would be driven by the switching costs if there were any ( 19:30 )
The next video shows an operations case example.
It’s a wonderful use of process structures to diagnose an issue on production line.
I don’t really like its style for practicing for two main reasons.
First, it just doesn’t have the right tempo for you to pause and practice and then compare answers.
Second, the comments in the middle break the flow.
Nothing wrong with those comments. They’re actually helpful.
The problem is they make this video good for learning a few new concepts, watching a good structure put to use, but not really to practice by yourself.
If you’re an advanced candidate and your practice is up to date and you’re just looking to learn something new, jump right in.
#9. Pepsi's LA bottling plant
- Only one person playing the interviewer’s and the candidate’s roles, which doesn’t give you an idea of how the case would flow
- Difficult case, great case for advanced candidates to increase their experience/library
- Not really tailored for you to pause and solve at each moment, doesn’t have a good tempo for that
- “Candidate’s” structure at 5:34 is a great example of a process structure put to use in diagnostics cases
- Super insightful brainstorming at 14:50 , with at least one idea you most likely wouldn’t think of
Want to learn to solve cases like the best interviewees in these videos?
Here’s the deal: you can watch as many of these great videos as you want, but they will only help you up to a point.
They’ll help you understand what a case interview is like…
And if you try to answer the questions as you watch them, these videos will even help you get some practice…
But examples of case interviews will never teach you HOW to do cases well.
And if you want to be outstanding at solving cases so that firms like McKinsey, Bain, or BCG are begging you to accept their offers, we have something for you!
We’ve created a free course that will teach you EXACTLY HOW to answer the 6 (and only six!) types of questions you will find in ANY case interview.
(You can even go back to ALL the questions asked within the 9 examples of this article… You’ll see that each of them can be answered using one of the six techniques.)
Just click the button below to get exclusive access:
Join the FREE course now!
Now, you might be asking yourself: is this even worth my time?
I get that! There’s so much content out there, and so little time to practice.
Well, here’s the kind of e-mail we get from candidates all the time… It speaks for itself:
In the beginning of this article, I told you there’d be a video by the end that didn’t make it to the list.
It’s not that good to make it to a “best of” list.
Still, I want to add it as a bonus, as it will add value to you in its own way.
#10. 1930's gangster growth strategy
But first, a word of warning... .
This video has a comment that could be misleading. Do NOT watch it without reading the comments.
Sometimes the greatest lessons come from mistakes. This is one of those times.
There’s a comment in the video in which the interviewer suggests that a necessary step in every case is “getting to” a chart.
This gives candidates two false impressions:
False Impression #1) There is a chart in every case, and your goal as a candidate it to “get to it”.
False Impression #2) If your interviewer has given you all the charts they had, you’ve done a good job!
Your goal as a consultant is to find the relevant hypotheses to solve the problem in a structured way and to test them with data.
If you do that, you will have done a great job, and your interviewer may or may not have given you a chart along the way.
This is true for interviews and the consulting job alike!
- Interesting case, as it’s a growth strategy in an unusual “industry”
- It is one of the few cases available online that let you practice Chart Interpretation questions, a common type at McKinsey, Bain and BCG
- Unfortunately, it gives the impression that “getting to all the charts” is the overarching goal of solving a case
- In the first Chart Interpretation question, the candidate missed a critical insight: that they already have 100% market share in all markets. While the interviewer downplays it , it was a big foul that would be hard to recover from in a real interview
- The candidate provided insight after reading each exhibit – good job. However, he’d never proactively give clear next steps, which is what a well-prepared candidate would do
- If you’re practicing by yourself, remember not to use this candidate’s answers as a quality benchmark
I hope this article was helpful to you 🙂
If it was, I think you’ll also enjoy our free course. Check it out for yourself by clicking here .
Here's the announcement about a special offer - learn more here
47 case interview examples (from McKinsey, BCG, Bain, etc.)
One of the best ways to prepare for case interviews at firms like McKinsey, BCG, or Bain, is by studying case interview examples.
There are a lot of free sample cases out there, but it's really hard to know where to start. So in this article, we have listed all the best free case examples available, in one place.
The below list of resources includes interactive case interview samples provided by consulting firms, video case interview demonstrations, case books, and materials developed by the team here at IGotAnOffer. Let's continue to the list.
- McKinsey examples
- BCG examples
- Bain examples
- Deloitte examples
- Other firms' examples
- Case books from consulting clubs
- Case interview preparation
1. McKinsey case interview examples
- Beautify case interview (McKinsey website)
- Diconsa case interview (McKinsey website)
- Electro-light case interview (McKinsey website)
- GlobaPharm case interview (McKinsey website)
- National Education case interview (McKinsey website)
- Talbot Trucks case interview (McKinsey website)
- Shops Corporation case interview (McKinsey website)
- Conservation Forever case interview (McKinsey website)
- McKinsey case interview guide (by IGotAnOffer)
- McKinsey live case interview extract (by IGotAnOffer) - See below
2. BCG case interview examples
- Foods Inc and GenCo case samples (BCG website)
- Chateau Boomerang written case interview (BCG website)
- BCG case interview guide (by IGotAnOffer)
- Written cases guide (by IGotAnOffer)
- BCG live case interview extract (by IGotAnOffer) - See below
3. Bain case interview examples
- CoffeeCo practice case (Bain website)
- FashionCo practice case (Bain website)
- Associate Consultant mock interview video (Bain website)
- Consultant mock interview video (Bain website)
- Written case interview tips (Bain website)
- Bain case interview guide (by IGotAnOffer)
- Bain live case interview extract (by IGotAnOffer) - See above
4. Deloitte case interview examples
- Engagement Strategy practice case (Deloitte website)
- Recreation Unlimited practice case (Deloitte website)
- Strategic Vision practice case (Deloitte website)
- Retail Strategy practice case (Deloitte website)
- Finance Strategy practice case (Deloitte website)
- Talent Management practice case (Deloitte website)
- Enterprise Resource Management practice case (Deloitte website)
- Footloose written case (by Deloitte)
- Deloitte case interview guide (by IGotAnOffer)
5. Accenture case interview examples
- Case interview workbook (by Accenture)
- Accenture case interview guide (by IGotAnOffer)
6. OC&C case interview examples
- Leisure Club case example (by OC&C)
- Imported Spirits case example (by OC&C)
7. Oliver Wyman case interview examples
- Wumbleworld case sample (Oliver Wyman website)
- Aqualine case sample (Oliver Wyman website)
- Oliver Wyman case interview guide (by IGotAnOffer)
8. A.T. Kearney case interview examples
- Promotion planning case question (A.T. Kearney website)
- Consulting case book and examples (by A.T. Kearney)
- AT Kearney case interview guide (by IGotAnOffer)
9. Strategy& / PWC case interview examples
- Presentation overview with sample questions (by Strategy& / PWC)
- Strategy& / PWC case interview guide (by IGotAnOffer)
10. L.E.K. Consulting case interview examples
- Case interview example video walkthrough (L.E.K. website)
- Market sizing case example video walkthrough (L.E.K. website)
11. Roland Berger case interview examples
- Transit oriented development case webinar part 1 (Roland Berger website)
- Transit oriented development case webinar part 2 (Roland Berger website)
- 3D printed hip implants case webinar part 1 (Roland Berger website)
- 3D printed hip implants case webinar part 2 (Roland Berger website)
- Roland Berger case interview guide (by IGotAnOffer)
12. Capital One case interview examples
- Case interview example video walkthrough (Capital One website)
- Capital One case interview guide (by IGotAnOffer)
13. Consulting clubs case interview examples
- Berkeley case book (2006)
- Columbia case book (2006)
- Darden case book (2012)
- Darden case book (2018)
- Duke case book (2010)
- Duke case book (2014)
- ESADE case book (2011)
- Goizueta case book (2006)
- Illinois case book (2015)
- LBS case book (2006)
- MIT case book (2001)
- Notre Dame case book (2017)
- Ross case book (2010)
- Wharton case book (2010)
Practice with experts
Using case interview examples is a key part of your interview preparation, but it isn’t enough.
At some point you’ll want to practise with friends or family who can give some useful feedback. However, if you really want the best possible preparation for your case interview, you'll also want to work with ex-consultants who have experience running interviews at McKinsey, Bain, BCG, etc.
If you know anyone who fits that description, fantastic! But for most of us, it's tough to find the right connections to make this happen. And it might also be difficult to practice multiple hours with that person unless you know them really well.
Here's the good news. We've already made the connections for you. We’ve created a coaching service where you can do mock case interviews 1-on-1 with ex-interviewers from MBB firms . Start scheduling sessions today!
Any additional resources?
Have we missed any additional case interview resources available for free? Please post them in the comments section below so we can add them to our list.
The IGotAnOffer team
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