As you probably know, the leading consulting firms use case interviews to evaluate job applicants before extending offers. Some consulting firms use a group case interview as part of the evaluation process. If you have a group case interview coming up you are probably thinking, “How can I set myself up to do well?” In this article, we provide some advice on how to succeed in a group case interview.
A group case interview includes a few candidates being interviewed simultaneously within the same room, with the same interview and with the same case problem. Candidates are usually given copies of the case to read. A group case interview usually takes place after initial 1-on-1 evaluations are completed, like resume screening and the PST. So only the best candidates would generally be attending a group case interview.
For example, if you are going through consulting case interview recruitment process during an MBA, consulting firms will usually do first-round interviews on campus. This will allow firms to select the best few candidates to invite for second-round interviews, which may include a group case interview. Some firms may do the opposite and some regions within firms may do things differently. For example, in the US the group interview usually is the first interview.
The case usually includes a business scenario where a client is facing a problem. Reading of the case may be followed by a group discussion or by group discussion and a solution presentation.
So, why do consulting firms use group case interviews. The same as 1-on-1 case interviews, a group case interview helps consulting firms assess critical thinking, analytic skill, and communication skills. However, in addition, a group case interview also helps firms assess team work and leadership skills.
Firms also tend to be believe some degree paths de-emphasize teamwork and communication. They use the group case interview to test for these skills. The group case interview is testing to see how a case would be solved while managing conflicting opinions and strong personalities.
Now, the most important advice we can give you for a group case interview is to treat the other candidates like your teammates. In other words, interact with other candidates as you would with your colleagues on a real consulting engagement.
One of the key things to understand is that a group case interview is not a zero-sum game. You should not be competing against other candidates. During a group case interview, the interviewer will be evaluating how you will work with your colleagues and clients, so keep this in mind as you interact with other candidates during a group discussion.
This is one of the most common mistakes we see candidates make during a group case interview. Candidates often view it as a competition and, as a result, interviewers view such candidates as a bad fit and someone who can’t be a good team player. Your goal should be to help the team solve the case, help include opinions from all members, build on what has been said and find ways to help the team. If you solve the case and the whole team fails and ends up looking poorly, it is not a good reflection on you.
If someone says something incorrect or something you think is stupid respond in a way you would respond if you already joined the firm and were working on a real project with other consultants at the firm. Be professional, respectful and watch out for the best interests of the firm and the client. On the other hand, if someone says something spot-on, be the first to point group’s attention to it and build on it. If you say something that turns out to be wrong, acknowledge your mistake and move on.
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