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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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This Is What You Need to Know to Pass Your Group Case Interview
- Last Updated November, 2023
If you’re on this page, chances are you’ve been told you’re scheduled for a group interview.
After practicing for weeks to get good at cracking a normal case interview, hearing you have a group interview might make you feel like you’ve scaled a huge mountain only to find that there’s an even higher peak beyond it that you need to climb.
Group case interviews present some different challenges than individual cases, but if you know what those challenges are, you can overcome them.
We’ll tell you how.
In this article, we’ll cover what a group case interview is, why consulting firms use them, the key to passing your group interview, and tell you the 6 tips on group interviews you need to know.
If this is your first time to MyConsultingOffer.org, you may want to start with this page on Case Interview Prep . But if you’re ready to learn everything you need to know to pass a group case, you’re in the right place.
Let’s get started!
What is a Group Case Interview?
The group needs to come to a collective point of view on what the client’s problem is, how to structure their analysis, and what the final recommendation should be.
The group should also agree on how the analysis of the case will be conducted at a high level, but the actual number-crunching will need to be divided between group members in order to complete the work in the allotted time.
The group’s analysis and recommendation will be presented to one or more interviewers.
Why Do Consulting Firms Use Group Case Interviews?
It can feel difficult to trust your team members when you know that you’re all competing for the same job, but that’s what the group case is about — it tests teamwork skills in a high-stakes environment.
Management consultants are hired to solve big, thorny business problems, ones that require the work of multiple people to solve.
While there is a hierarchy on consulting teams with a partner leading the work, consulting partners simultaneously manage multiple clients or multiple studies at one large client.
They won’t work with your team every day and in their absence, the team still needs to be able to work together effectively.
Even if a partner is leading a team’s problem-solving discussion, each consultant has a responsibility to make sure the team’s best thinking is being put forward to help the client.
Ideas are both expected from each member of the team and valued.
Even the newest analyst has a contribution to make.
T he analyst may have been the person to analyze the data and therefore be closest to the information that will drive the solution to the problem.
The flat power-structure of the team makes it critical that each consultant works well with others on teams.
In assessing each member of a group case team, interviewers will ask themselves:
Does each of the recruits listen as well as lead?
Are they open to other peoples’ ideas?
Can they perform independent analysis and interpret what impact their work has on the overall problem the team is trying to solve?
Can they persuade team members of their points of view?
The Key to Passing the Group Case: Make Sure Your Group Is Organized
A group case must be solved by going through the same 4 steps as individual cases : the opening, structuring the problem, the analysis, and the recommendation.
Your team should break down the time you have to solve the case into time allotted to each of these steps to ensure you don’t spend too long in one area and not reach a recommendation.
Make sure the team agrees on a single statement of the client’s problem.
Take the time for everyone to read the materials, take notes, and suggest what they think is the key question(s) that need to be solved in this case.
Write it on a whiteboard or somewhere else to ensure there’s agreement. You can’t solve the problem together if you don’t agree on what the problem is.
Usually, someone in the group will take the lead on organizing the group.
If no one does, this is your opportunity to demonstrate your leadership and teamwork skills, but if there are people fighting over the leadership position (unlikely since everyone is on their “best behavior”), then contribute and don’t worry that you aren’t “leading” the discussion just yet.
Create a clear, MECE structure to analyze the problem.
This is even more important to solving a group case than an individual one because you need to make sure that when the group breaks up so each member can perform part of the analysis, all the issues are covered and there’s not duplicated effort between team members.
After your group structures the problem, split up the analysis that needs to be done between members of the group.
If no one suggests breaking up the analysis, then volunteer the idea. Be sure to explain how each person’s piece fits into the team effort.
Each person should do their analysis independently to ensure there is sufficient time to complete all the required tasks, though the team should regroup briefly if someone has a problem they need help with or comes up with an insight that could influence the work other group members are doing.
While you do your own analysis, you’ll need to demonstrate you understand the bigger picture by involving your teammates, sharing how your findings impacts their work, and articulating how all the insights lead to an answer to the client’s problem.
After everyone has completed their analysis, the group should come back together so everyone can report their results and the group can collectively come to a recommendation to present to interviewers.
In addition to the normal 4 parts of the case, group cases usually require you to present your recommendation to the interviewer(s).
Be sure to build time into your schedule for creating slides, deciding who presents what, and practicing your delivery.
Many groups fail because they begin their presentation without deciding who has which role.
In consulting, this is like going into a client meeting without knowing who is presenting which slide to the client and makes your team look unprofessional.
Start with your recommendation and then provide the key pieces of analysis and/or reasoning that support it.
Again, the work will need to be divided between team members to ensure you get slides written in the allotted time.
For more information on writing good slide presentations, see Written Case Interview page.
6 Tips to Pass Your Group Case Interview
Tip 1: organize your team.
A disorganized team will not be able to complete their analysis and develop a strong recommendation in the time allotted.
See the previous section for the steps the group needs to complete to solve the case.
If someone else does take charge, don’t fight for control.
Show leadership by making points that help to move the team’s problem solving forward, not fighting so that it goes backwards.
Tip 2: Move the Problem-Solving Forward
With multiple team members trying to contribute and express their point of view, it’s possible to have a lot of discussion without getting closer to a solution to the client’s business problem. You can overcome this by:
- Summing up what the team has agreed on so far,
- Providing insight into how the team’s discussion impacts the problem you’re tasked with solving, and/or
- Steering the team to discuss the next steps.
If it feels like the team is rehashing the same topics, use these options to move the problem solving forward.
Tip 3: Make Fact-Based Decisions
It’s okay to disagree with team members but always disagree like a consultant. Challenge teammates’ ideas with data, not opinions.
If there is analysis that needs to be done to determine which point of view is correct, table the discussion until the analysis has been completed.
Tip 4: Don't Steamroll Teammates
As mentioned earlier, consulting teams value the ideas and input of every team member.
Because of this, cutting off, interrupting or talking over other team members is more likely to get you turned down for a consulting job than hired.
The quality of your contribution to group discussions is more important than the quantity (or air time) you consume.
Demonstrate your collaboration and interpersonal skills.
Tip 5: Remain Confident When the Team Presents
Keep your poker face on even if your teammates don’t make every point the way you would have made it.
Like steamrolling teammates in discussions, frowning or shaking your head as they present will make it look like you’re not a team player.
Tip 6: Remember, Everyone Can Get Offers
In many jobs, there is only one position open.
At consulting firms, a class of new analysts and associates is hired each year.
There aren’t quotas regarding hiring only one person from a group interview team, so working cooperatively to solve the problem is a better strategy than undermining other members of your group to appear smarter than they are.
We’ve seen group interviews where no one gets a job offer and that can be because teammates undermine each other.
Don’t Over-Invest in Prepping for a Group Case Study Interview
Like the written case interview , group cases come up infrequently.
The 2 most common types of case interviews are individual interviews: the candidate-led interview or the interviewer-led interview.
In the candidate-led interview , the recruit is responsible for moving the problem solving forward. After they ensure they understand the problem and structure how they’d approach solving it, they pick one piece of the problem to start drilling down on first. Candidate-led cases are commonly used by Bain and BCG.
In the interviewer-led interview , the interviewer will suggest the first part of the case a recruit should probe after they have presented their opening and structured the problem. Interviewer-led interviews are commonly used by McKinsey .
Because individual cases are much more common than group cases, don’t spend time preparing for a group case unless you’re sure you’ll have one.
If you’re invited to take part in a group case interview, your preparation on individual cases will ensure you have a good approach cracking the case.
At this point, we hope you feel confident you can pass your group case interview.
In this article, we’ve covered what a group case interview is, why consulting firms use them, the key to passing your group interview, and the 6 tips on group interviews you need to know.
Still have questions?
If you have more questions about group interviews, leave them in the comments below. One of My Consulting Offer’s case coaches will answer them.
People prepping for a group case interview have also found the following other pages helpful:
- Case Interview Math ,
- Written Case Interview , and
- Bain One Way Interview .
Help with Case Study Interview Preparation
Thanks for turning to My Consulting Offer for advice on case study interview prep. My Consulting Offer has helped almost 85% of the people we’ve worked with get a job in management consulting. We want you to be successful in your consulting interviews too.
If you want a step-by-step solution to land more offers from consulting firms, then grab the free video training series below. It’s been created by former Bain, BCG, and McKinsey Consultants, Managers and Recruiters.
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3 Top Strategies to Master the Case Interview in Under a Week
We are sharing our powerful strategies to pass the case interview even if you have no business background, zero casing experience, or only have a week to prepare.
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Group case interviews: what to expect and how to prepare
It's no secret that leading consulting firms use case interviews to evaluate candidates before extending offers. But over the last several years, group case interviews have become more common at top firms like McKinsey, Deloitte, and EY.
Group case interviews demand the same analytical and communication skills as normal case interviews , but they take things a step further. They also evaluate a candidate's ability to work well with others in a high-pressure team environment.
In this guide, we'll examine group case interviews, their different formats, and key tips you can use to maximise your chances of getting a job offer. Here's an overview:
- What is a group case interview?
- Group case interview process
- Group case interview preparation
- Group case interview tips
- Group case interview examples
Click here to practise 1-on-1 with MBB ex-interviewers
1. what is a group case interview ↑.
A group case interview is a case interview performed by a team of 3-6 candidates. The cases themselves are similar to what you'd find in a normal case interview, but the added challenge is solving it collaboratively as a team.
Group case interviews are usually not used in the first round and typically come up in the second or final round of interviews. For example, PWC uses group case interviews for their Super Day (e.g. Assessment Centre), which is usually held during the second round of interviews.
To fully understand group case interviews, it's critical to first understand normal case interviews. If you'd like to learn more about the fundamentals of case interviews, check out our ultimate guide to case interviews .
Like in normal case interviews, the quality of your analysis and communication will be important in group case interviews. But, you will also be evaluated on additional collaboration and interpersonal skills.
You should approach a group case interview like you're solving a real business problem with your team. Don't focus on the fact that you are competing with the other candidates. Instead, concentrate on working together to come up with the best solution possible.
The consulting firm may actually award multiple offers to members of your group, so your first priority should be developing a great solution.
As a general rule, if something would be helpful and positive in a real work environment, it will probably reflect well on you during a group case interview. Similarly, if something would be rude or unhelpful in the real world, don't do it during your interview.
Let's now look at the process you can expect when facing a group case interview.
2. Group case interview process ↑
A. types of group case interviews.
First, it's important to know that there are different types of group case interviews. Each firm, and even different internal groups or geographies, may approach group interviews differently. But in our experience, there are two primary formats:
- Interview format
- Presentation format
The interview format uses a similar style of questions as normal case interviews. But with these, you would be working through the process with a group of 2-5 other candidates.
Presentation format requires you to analyse provided materials, in order to prepare a presentation with your group. After preparing, your team will present to a panel of interviewers, who will typically ask follow-up questions for a few minutes.
To further clarify the process, let's look at each of these two formats in more detail. Before you read the snapshot of each format below, it's worth noting that the details can vary, so check with your recruiter ahead of time if you're already in the application process.
B. Interview format
Here's a snapshot of what you can typically expect with the interview-format, group case interview:
- Candidates get divided into groups of 3 to 6
- Each group is given information about a case (i.e. a client facing a problem)
- You are given 10 minutes to review the materials by yourself or with another person in your group
- You are then asked to discuss a few questions with your group, for about 20 minutes in front of your interviewers
- Finally, the interviewers will ask a few questions to the group for 15 to 20 minutes
Okay, now let's take a look at the presentation format, which has some similarities and also important differences.
C. Presentation format
Here's what you can typically expect with a presentation-format, group case interview:
- You are given 1 hour to review, and prepare a group presentation
- An interviewer will watch during your prep time, but they won't intervene
- Your group delivers a 15-minute presentation to a panel of interviewers
- After you present, the interviewers will ask questions for 15-20 minutes
After reviewing the details on each format above, you should have a pretty good idea of what to expect in your upcoming group case interview. As an additional note, for any type of case interview where you need to analyse written case materials, you may benefit from the tips outlined in our written case interview guide . Now let's turn our attention to preparation.
3. Group case interview preparation ↑
There are a few things you should do to prepare for your group case interview, that can make a huge difference in your performance.
Some of these steps apply to both group case interviews and normal case interviews , while others are specific to group case interviews.
Use the steps below, to help you maximise your chances of success:
A. Become really confident at maths.
Similar to normal case interviews, being able to perform maths calculations quickly and accurately, can mean the difference between an offer and no offer.
Check out our free guide for case interview maths if you'd like to learn more.
B. Develop a consistent method for cracking cases.
If you can't solve a case on your own, you probably won't know where to start in a group case interview. So it's important that you have this foundation.
C. Practice cases out loud.
For a group case interview, the ideal preparation would be to do mock interviews with a group of 3-5 other people. This might be possible if you are in a consulting club, professional organisation, or if you have a great network.
However, if this isn't realistic for you, you can still practice by yourself. Just ask and answer case questions out loud. This may feel odd at first, but it will help you hone your thinking and communication.
D. Learn from every mistake you make
During practice for both group case interviews and normal case interviews, you'll want to go for quality over quantity.
For example, successful candidates find it more valuable to do 20 cases thoughtfully than to rush through 40 cases. A great way to do this is by keeping a notebook, where you write down mistakes and improvement opportunities after each case. Then you can check your progress by re-doing old cases later. This will help you make sure you’re headed in the right direction.
E. Learn how you come across to others
A central focus of group case interviews is to evaluate interpersonal skills. You'll want to put your best foot forward and come across as someone the interviewers would like to work with.
It's very difficult to objectively evaluate your own tone and communication style. As a result, it can be really helpful to ask friends and colleagues for feedback.
Ask them to be honest, and you may be surprised what you learn. Now is the time to identify if you have any tendencies that sound abrasive, dismissive, etc. You'll want to be aware of these, so you can work on them before your interview.
F. Practice the art of debate
I would consider this an optional preparation step, but it could give you a leg-up on your competition.
An important skill for a group case interview is the ability to persuade others with grace and supporting evidence. Great consultants are skilled at communicating with tact and can disagree with a client in a way that creates a positive impression.
A good way to practice this type of communication is through academic style debate. Perhaps you can get involved with a local debate club, or participate in a Toastmasters event. Or, simply initiate a discussion with a friend.
4. Group case interview tips ↑
Now that we've reviewed preparation steps, let's turn our focus to the day of the interview. Here are 8 tips to follow during your group case interview, that can really set you apart from other candidates.
Tip #1: Speak with a purpose
A lot of candidates will want to speak their mind as they know participating is important. But, participation alone is not enough.
The QUALITY of your input is crucial. Sometimes, it's better to let two or three people speak first, and then make a very thoughtful point based on how they started the discussion.
Focus more on the quality of your input, and less on the quantity.
Tip #2: Involve everyone
Keep an eye on who's participating in the conversation and who's not.
If you identify a member of the group who's struggling to make themselves heard, you should not hesitate to help them by saying something like: "We haven't heard everyone's opinion on this yet. John, Rebecca what do you think?".
This is a sign of leadership, and will also help you develop a more thoughtful and balanced solution.
Tip #3: Summarise
Plan to summarise key points. This can be done during team discussion, when answering case questions, or when delivering a presentation.
Summarising will position you as the person bringing everyone together. It will also contribute to better alignment within the group and clearer communication with interviewers.
This is a skill used by partners in real-world conversations with clients. You should aim to do this at least once or twice during your interview.
Tip #4: Anticipate questions
This is most helpful for interviews that include a group presentation. However, it could also help you prepare for follow-ups to a normal case question.
While preparing your analysis, you may notice some weaknesses. It's good to carve out a couple of minutes, to think through potential challenges from the interviewers.
It can also be helpful to ask yourself questions, like "if I was hearing this for the first time, what would I ask about?". The interviewers won't always ask the questions you most expect, but if they do, you'll be prepared with a thoughtful response.
Tip #5: Don't be easy to read
A group interview is a good time to use your poker face.
Everyone is stressed, but you need to come across as confident. A good way to do this is to focus on basic body language: look at people in the eye, sit confidently, don't cross your arms, etc.
Tip #6: Don't Interrupt others
Consultants need to be client-friendly, and interrupting someone in a discussion is not client-friendly at all.
You should listen carefully to what others are saying. Try to have a genuine interest in what they think. Before making your point, summarise their point to show that you understand what they mean.
Tip #7: Don't spend too much time reading
It's important to understand the case materials, but if you're not careful it could consume your full preparation time.
A great way to prepare efficiently is to first scan through the provided materials and form one or two initial hypotheses. Then you can search for specific data points that confirm or disprove it before you finalise your approach.
Tip #8: Don't dominate speaking time
Some candidates are so eager to participate that they end up completely dominating the rest of the group without realising it. Don't be that person!
A practical way of avoiding this is to keep an eye on how much time you talk. If you are in a 5-person group you should aim to speak 20% (1/5th) of the time and really no more than 25%.
Interviewers pay close attention to this, so be intentional about balancing your speaking time. Not too much, not too little.
5. Group case interview examples ↑
At the end of the day, a business case is a business case.
You may solve the case independently or with a team. The content will vary, and the amount of data provided can differ, but the basic premise remains the same.
As a result, you can prepare for a group case interview, by practicing with cases from normal case interviews.
When searching for sample cases, it can be really difficult to know where to start. Especially when the quality of cases is unclear. That's why we put together this list of the best free practice cases available .
It contains links to cases provided directly by leading consulting firms like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, and more. It also contains case books from consulting clubs at leading target schools, like Harvard, London Business School, and MIT. This list is a great place to go for example cases.
6. Mock interviews
The best way to improve at case interviews is to practise interviewing out loud, and you can do that in three main ways:
- Interview yourself (out loud)
- Practise interviewing with friends or family
- Practise interviewing with ex-interviewers
Practising by yourself is a great way to get started, and can help you get more comfortable with the flow of a case interview. However, this type of practice won’t prepare you for realistic interview conditions.
After getting some practice on your own, you should find someone who can do a mock interview with you, like a friend or family member.
We’d also recommend that you practise 1-1 with ex-interviewers from top consulting firms . This is the best way to replicate the conditions of a real case interview, and to get feedback from someone who understands the process extremely well.
Click here to book your mock case interview.
Table of content
Group Case Interview: Formats, Guide & Tips
While most of the inquiries that we have received concern the individual case interview , there are also some questions regarding a less common kind of interview: the group case interview.
This article will show you all fundamentals information including group interview formats, process and show you how to succeed at a consulting group case interview
What is a group case interview?
A group case interview is an interview method where 3-6 candidates collaborate to tackle a business case . Similar to regular case interviews, you (your team) will receive a business problem and be required to develop recommendations.
The twist is that you will work and discuss solutions with other candidates instead of working alone. Throughout these discussions, the interviewer closely observes and takes notes on each participant.
Generally, group case interviews appear in the second or final rounds of the case interview process, rather than the initial stage. These interviews are more commonly encountered by post-MBA or Advanced Degree Applicants.
While their usage is decreasing, certain consulting firms like PwC, Deloitte, or EY still opt for this format. It evaluates teamwork, communication, and interpersonal skills, which will reflect the collaborative aspect of consulting work.
Why do consulting firms use group case interviews?
Consulting group case interviews simulates quite well the everyday work of consultants, who often need to work in group projects . This makes them a valuable tool for consulting firms to identify candidates best suited for the consultant role.
These interviews specifically evaluate teamwork and collaboration skills, areas that traditional case interviews may overlook. Through group setups, interviewers can gauge candidates' interactions and their receptiveness to others' viewpoints.
This process highlights candidates' proficiency in communication and persuasion, as well as their ability to strike a balance between speaking and listening within a team.
Two types of group consulting
Group case interviews are still used by many consulting firms and each firm or even each office has a different approach and format when interviewing. However, it can be divided into two main types: discussion format and presentation format
Candidates get put in groups of 3 to 6 people
Each group will receive a business case
- Each candidate will have 10 - 15 minutes to review the data/material by themself
- The group will then bring back together to discuss for 20 - 25 minutes
- The interviewer will be extensively involved in the discussion, giving questions for the group to answer and directing the discussion.
In the case interview discussion format, the candidates will be divided into teams but will still have time to review the document and evaluate the case problem independently. Following this, the entire team engages in discussions
The interviewer will observe closely and intervene a lot when the group discusses so that the firm can get back what they want to see in the candidate. This format focuses on candidates' contributions to the group's answers and their ability to collaborate effectively.
The whole group will have 1 hour to review and prepare a group presentation. The interviewer will observe during this time, but they will not intervene.
The group will delivers a 15 - 20 minute presentation to a group of interviewers
The interviewers will ask follow-up questions for 10-20 minutes after the presentation
In this format, the candidates will also be divided into groups and receive a shared topic, but the difference is that they will not have individual thinking time and will work with the group from the beginning.
While the discussion period is extended, the interviewer also provides more detailed information about the business case beyond the background and objectives.
Notably in this format, the interviewer will only observe , refraining from intervening in group discussions. The group will have to work on their own and decide among themselves how to divide the work, what problems to raise or how to set up the presentation at the end.
After the allocated time, groups present their collective findings, followed by the interviewers posing follow-up questions.
This format focuses on evaluating individual contributions, teamwork, collaborative abilities, and the overall quality of the final presentation.
How to Succeed at a Group Case Interview?
Treat your group members as allies, not opponents.
In a group case interview, it's not about winners and losers; success is achievable for all when the team performs effectively. Thus, avoid considering your group peers as rivals and striving to outshine them. Instead, regard them as your collaborators.
Imagine the interview scenario as a consulting project before stepping into the room. Keep in mind that the main objective of group case interviews is to evaluate your ability to cooperate within a team, not to engage in a competition against your teammates.
Show your leadership skills wisely
Taking the lead in a group case interview can position you as a positive figure in the eyes of the interviewer.
You can exude leadership just by doing basic things such as:
Propose what topics/problems to discuss
How much time should be allocated to each stage
Proposing frameworks for the case analysis
Asking clarifying questions to refine hypotheses
However, while leading, maintain respect for your teammates; they are collaborators, not subordinates . Avoid interrupting or talking over others, as these actions can have a negative impact and may result in losing points with the interviewer.
One vital thing that will help you make a positive impression on the interviewer in a group case interview is that you need to speak enough and speak with purpose.
Speaking too little might limit your chances to demonstrate your abilities. Interviewers might interpret this as shyness or discomfort in group discussions, which are not the desired traits for a consultant.
On the other hand, excessive talking can portray you as overly dominant or controlling, depriving your teammates of their chances to contribute.
Remember, quality holds more weight than quantity. If your inputs lack substance, it could reflect poorly on your teamwork. Thus, speaking up should be driven by value addition, rather than just trying to meet a speaking quota.
Balancing between sharing your insights and actively listening is key to excelling in group case interviews.
Use the time wisely
During a group case interview, you'll engage in a 30 to 60-minute team discussion. While this might seem sufficient, in reality, it's quite limited for a group of around 5 to 6 participants.
“So many men, so many minds” discussion will be difficult to concentrate and may sometimes be rambling. Common time-consuming issues include: spending too much time reading materials, spending too much time thinking alone and one or two members speaking too much.
To mitigate these concerns, effective time management is essential. Right from the start, the team should establish a well-structured schedule, allocating appropriate time for each stage of the discussion.
Assigning someone to monitor time is pivotal, ensuring the group optimizes the restricted time available and delivers a cohesive and meaningful discussion.
Be a great teammate
A group interview is a good place for interviewers to see how you would work with future colleagues and clients.
You may get into a situation where other people say something “stupid”, don’t get frustrated. Be respectful to your teammates . Instead, say “I have a different approach that…” or “You may want to check these numbers” to gently correct them without making them feel bad.
Similarly, when you hear something “smart”, what should you do? Be the first to spot it and urge the team to work with it. The interviewer will give you bonus points for your quick observance.
So, when you realize that your idea is wrong, should you ignore it? The answer is simply NO.
Acknowledge your flaw and quickly turn back to the right track. This shows that you are a candidate who is flexible, unafraid to accept his flaws and is willing to work with the team to find the right solution.
Don’t forget to dress smart, pay attention to your body language and language skills and you will be fine.
Master case interview fundamentals
Finally and most importantly, group case interviews are still case interviews, so the fundamental principles and the tips and tricks will still apply : MECE , top-down analysis , structured communication, etc.
These are the most important knowledge that you need to prepare and comprehend before participating in any consulting case interview.
For detailed explanations and guidelines on case interviews, check out this “ online guidebook ” below! It’s a comprehensive guide I have crafted from my experience at McKinsey, for both case interview beginners and veterans – a must-read article on this website!
Scoring in the McKinsey PSG/Digital Assessment
The scoring mechanism in the McKinsey Digital Assessment
Case Interview End-to-End Secrets Program
Elevate your case interview skills with a well-rounded preparation package
A case interview is where candidates is asked to solve a business problem. They are used by consulting firms to evaluate problem-solving skill & soft skills
Hacking the Case Interview
Consulting group case interviews are given to candidates to assess teamwork in addition to communication skills, quantitative skills, and business acumen. they are used by consulting firms such as bain, deloitte, pwc, and ey-parthenon..
Have an upcoming consulting group case interview? We have you covered. In this article, we'll go through in detail:
- What is a consulting group case interview?
- Different formats of consulting group case interviews
- Why are consulting group case interviews used?
- What do consulting group case interviews assess?
- How to solve consulting group case interviews
- How to stand out in consulting group case interviews
- Consulting group case interview tips
If you’re looking for a step-by-step shortcut to learn case interviews quickly, enroll in our case interview course . These insider strategies from a former Bain interviewer helped 30,000+ land consulting offers while saving hundreds of hours of prep time.
What is a Consulting Group Case Interview?
Consulting group case interviews are a special variant of the traditional case interview. Before preparing for group case interviews, you should first become familiar with how to solve a traditional case interview .
Like a case interview, you’ll still be placed in a hypothetical business situation and asked to develop a recommendation or answer to a business problem. However, for consulting group case interviews, you’ll be put in a group of 3 to 6 people with other candidates that are also interviewing for the same consulting job.
The group will be given materials which contain the case background, objective, and other information needed to solve the case. You’ll initially have some time to read the information independently, but will spend most of the time discussing the case and working together as a group.
During these discussions, the interviewer will be observing and taking notes on each candidate.
For some group case interviews, you will also create a group presentation. As a group, you’ll present your recommendation to the interviewer who will ask follow-up questions on the work and findings.
Consulting group case interviews are much less commonly used than traditional case interviews, but they are as equally as important. They are typically given in second or final round interviews.
For firms and offices that use group case interviews, you will not receive a consulting job offer unless you can pass them.
Different Formats of Consulting Group Case Interviews
There are two different formats of consulting group case interviews:
Discussion only group case interviews
Presentation group case interviews.
A discussion only group case interview has the following structure:
This format of group case interview has no presentation component. The group will be given materials with the case background information and objective.
You’ll have some time to read the information independently, but then the interviewer will bring the group together and ask the group to discuss different questions related to solving the case.
The interviewer will be heavily involved in the discussion by asking questions for the group to answer and steering the direction of the discussion.
The discussion only group case interview is focused on assessing the answers that candidates contribute to the group and how well candidates communicate with each other.
A presentation group case interview has the following structure:
The group will be given materials that not only contain the case background and objective, but contain other information needed to solve the case. There is typically more material given in this format because you will be given more time to prepare and discuss.
The group will be given about an hour to discuss the case and create a group presentation. During this time, the interviewer will be listening in on the conversations that the group will have, but they will not interfere or answer any questions.
It is up to the group how they want to allocate their time, what topics they want to discuss, and how they want to handle creating and giving the group presentation.
Once time is up, the group will present their work and findings to the interviewer, who will ask follow-up questions.
The presentation group case interview is focused on assessing how well each candidate contributes to the group, how well candidates work with each other, and the quality of the final presentation.
Why are Consulting Group Case Interviews Used?
Consulting group case interviews are used because they are another way for consulting firms to predict which candidates would make the best consultants.
Group case interviews simulate the consulting job by placing you in a hypothetical business situation. You will need to work as a team to analyze and discuss information and then give a presentation on your recommendation. This is what consultants do every day.
These types of case interviews are used in addition to traditional case interviews because they assess a set of skills that traditional case interviews cannot assess.
Group case interviews focus on teamwork and collaboration. By putting candidates into groups, interviewers can assess how candidates work with other people and how open candidates are to other people’s ideas.
They can see how effectively candidates communicate and persuade teammates and how candidates can balance listening and leading.
What do Consulting Group Case Interviews Assess?
There are four major qualities that group case interviews assess.
Logical, structured thinking : Consultants need to be organized and methodical to work efficiently.
- Can you structure complex problems in a clear, simple way?
- Can you use logic and reason to make appropriate conclusions?
Interpersonal skills : Relationships are important in consulting. You’ll be working with teammates and clients every day, so fostering strong relationships is imperative.
- Are you easy to work with?
- Can you handle conflict or disagreement with teammates?
Teamwork skills : Consultants work closely in small teams. To be successful, consultants need to know how to work effectively in groups.
- Can you make meaningful contributions while working in a group?
- Do you bring out the best ideas and qualities in other people?
Presentation skills : Consultants need strong communication skills to present their work in a clear, concise, and persuasive way.
- Can you communicate in a clear and concise way?
- Are you articulate and persuasive in what you are saying?
How to Solve Consulting Group Case Interviews
Solving consulting group case interviews follows the same steps as solving traditional case interviews. There are four main steps:
- Understand the problem
- Create a framework
- Answer quantitative and qualitative questions
- Develop a recommendation
1. Understand the problem
The first step to solving a consulting group case interview is to fully understand the problem or objective. What is the overall business question that the group is trying to answer?
Answering or solving the wrong business problem is the quickest way to fail a group case interview.
2. Create a framework
Next, as a group, you’ll want to create some kind of framework to help you solve the case. A framework is a tool that helps you structure and break down complex problems into simpler, smaller components.
For group case interviews, your framework will help guide the group discussion. The framework collects and organizes all of the topics that the group needs to discuss and all of the questions the group needs to answer.
3. Discuss and answer quantitative and qualitative questions
Once your group has aligned on a framework to use, you can move onto the discussion. During the discussion, you will answer many of the questions that were raised in the framework that was created.
Some of these questions will be qualitative, requiring only business knowledge and judgment to answer. Other questions may be more quantitative, requiring some calculations or estimations from the case information provided.
It is up to the group what order they want to answer and discuss the questions. It is also up to the group whether they want to tackle these questions as an entire group or if they want to split up into smaller groups.
Discussion will continue until the group has reached an answer or conclusion that is accepted by everyone.
4. Develop a recommendation
Once you have finished discussing and answering all of the important questions, you will need to align on an overall recommendation.
To do this, review all of the answers and conclusions that the group has drawn. Identify which recommendation they collectively support.
If the group case interview has a presentation component, you will also need to decide how to split up the presentation across the different members of the group.
How to Stand Out in Consulting Group Case Interviews
The best way to stand out and distinguish yourself in a group case interview is to focus on adding as much value as you can to the group.
There are six different ways you can add value to the group.
Lead or facilitate the discussion
If the interviewer is not leading the discussion and just observing the group, one way to add value is to lead or facilitate the discussion.
You can propose what topics to discuss, the order they should be discussed in, and how much time should be allocated to each topic. When the group gets off track or goes on a tangent, you can bring the group’s focus back together.
Leading or facilitating the discussion establishes you as a group leader, which will leave a positive impression on the interviewer. However, because this role has so much responsibility and visibility, many people will try to take on this role.
Therefore, a group may have multiple leaders or facilitators. When trying to lead the group, make sure you remain respectful and do not interrupt other people when they are speaking.
Expand upon other people’s ideas
Another way to add value is to expand upon other people’s ideas. If a group member suggests a great idea or raises a good point, you can build upon it.
Wait until the group member has finished speaking and then jump in and compliment that person’s idea. Add more details or give more examples to make the idea more concrete.
Another easy way to add value to the group is to synthesize information that other people have said. A synthesis is simply a reconciliation of different viewpoints and ideas together. This requires minimal effort, but adds tremendous value to the group.
What is the best way to synthesize information?
First, concisely summarize the major ideas that group members have made. Then, state what you like about each idea. Finally, propose an idea that consolidates the best points of each idea.
Synthesizing information does not require much thinking because you are simply repurposing the ideas of other people. This makes it an easy way to contribute to the group.
Keep track of time
Time goes by very quickly in a consulting group case interview. Therefore, a simple way to add value is to be a time keeper and make sure that the team is on track.
In the beginning of the discussion, you can propose a schedule or plan to make the most of the limited time that the group has. You can then volunteer to keep track of the time so that the group can finish discussing and deciding on everything that it needs to.
Play devil’s advocate
Another way to add value to the group is by playing devil’s advocate. You can help the team develop strong points and ideas by testing the team’s thinking and considering potential risks or downsides.
When the team has decided on an idea, bring up potential risks or downsides that the team should consider. This helps the team develop a more fully thought out answer or recommendation.
Be careful when playing devil’s advocate. You do not want to be attacking ideas or bringing them down. Instead, you want to be offering constructive feedback to test the idea and make it stronger.
The final way to add value to the group is to take notes for the team. By taking notes and keeping track of what other people are saying, you’ll be able to recall what has been discussed if any group members have questions.
This way of adding value to the group is not as recommended as the other strategies to add value.
Taking notes deprives you of opportunities to speak. Therefore, it is better to focus on understanding what other people are saying to identify opportunities to speak up rather than to focus on taking the best notes.
Consulting Group Case Interview Tips
Below are the seven biggest group case interview tips. Follow these tips to give yourself an edge over other candidates.
1. Treat your group members as teammates, not competition
While you may feel like you are competing against members of your group for a job offer, this is not the case. Multiple people or even all people in your group can receive job offers.
Rather than treating your group members like competition and trying to make yourself look better than them, treat your group members as teammates. You should think about the group case interview as your team versus the case, not you versus your teammates.
If you work well as a group and deliver an outstanding discussion or presentation, that increases the likelihood that members of the group will receive offers. If the group spends all of their time attacking each other’s comments and fighting for speaking time, the group will likely deliver a poor discussion or presentation, which makes everyone in the group look bad.
The key is to focus on delivering an outstanding result and not to focus on competing with other teammates.
2. Don’t speak too much and don’t speak too little
How much should you speak in a group case interview?
The problem with speaking too little during a group case interview is that you won’t have many opportunities to demonstrate your interpersonal, teamwork, and presentation skills. Interviewers may also think that you are shy and afraid of speaking in a group, qualities that are not ideal for a consultant.
The problem with speaking too much during a group case interview is that you may be seen as too aggressive and controlling. Speaking too much reflects poorly on you because you are taking away opportunities from other teammates to speak and contribute. You may come off as rude and disruptive if you interrupt people and talk over them.
If you were to rank order all of the members in your group by how much each person spoke, you would want to fall right in the middle. That is the perfect balance of speaking and listening.
3. Speak only if you are adding value to the group
Just because you speak a lot during a group case interview does not mean that you are doing well. The quality of what you are saying is much more important than the quantity.
If you are speaking a lot, but not adding that much value to the group, you will be seen as a poor teammate. A great teammate knows when to speak and when to listen.
Therefore, you should only speak if you are adding value to the group. Do not speak just to reach your participation quota.
4. Don’t interrupt or talk over people
The most common way to fail a group case interview is to come off as a jerk. Consultants work closely in small teams and no one wants to work with someone that is a jerk.
How do you avoid this?
First, don’t interrupt or talk over people. If someone is speaking, allow them to finish what they are saying before jumping in with your own thoughts. Second, don’t attack other people’s ideas. You may bring up your concerns and disagreements, but you should never blatantly tell someone that their idea is bad.
As long as you are a nice and respectful teammate, you will be miles ahead of anyone that is overly aggressive, pushy, or rude.
5. Involve other people
An easy way to demonstrate that you are a great teammate is to involve other people.
If you notice that someone has not spoken in a long time, ask them what their thoughts are on the discussion. If you notice that someone was cut off when speaking, ask them to finish their thoughts after the person interrupting them finishes what they are saying.
All of these actions require minimal effort, but add tremendous value to the group while making you look like a great teammate.
6. Don’t spend too much time reading independently
In the beginning of the group case interview, your group will be given materials on the case background, objective, and other information needed to solve the case. Your group members will likely spend the beginning of the group case interview reading the materials by themselves.
Do not spend too much time reading the material independently.
The purpose of the group case interview is to have discussions and work together as a group. The more time your group spends reading the material independently, the less time the group has to demonstrate interpersonal and teamwork skills.
7. You don’t need to have your idea or recommendation chosen
Remember that multiple or even all people in your group can receive job offers. Therefore, you do not need to have your own ideas or recommendations chosen in order to receive an offer.
Fighting or pushing too hard for your own ideas and recommendations may actually harm you. It may suggest that you are not open to other people’s ideas and not willing to support your teammates.
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- Comprehensive Case Interview Course (our #1 recommendation): The only resource you need. Whether you have no business background, rusty math skills, or are short on time, this step-by-step course will transform you into a top 1% caser that lands multiple consulting offers.
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- The Ultimate Case Interview Workbook (available on Amazon): Perfect for intermediates struggling with frameworks, case math, or generating business insights. No need to find a case partner – these drills, practice problems, and full-length cases can all be done by yourself.
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Consulting group case interview: what to expect and how to prepare.
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.
What is 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.
Why do consulting firms use group case interviews?
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.
The most important advice: treat candidates like teammates
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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Now, if you would like to fast track your case interview preparation and maximize your chances of getting an offer from McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte etc, we welcome you to train with us. The Consulting Offer program, which is a part of Premium membership , was designed specifically for this purpose.
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You will see the candidate’s progression through each step of the case interview preparation process, including a group case interview example led by Kevin P. Coyne, ex-McKinsey worldwide strategy practice co-leader and director. And you will see candidates receiving real offers from McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte etc.
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