5 Things We Learned From Case Fundamentals: Reimagined
On July 8th, undergraduate students from various universities filed into Room N105 for SCC’s Case Fundamentals: Reimagined summer workshop. The event covered a range of topics related to the consulting recruitment process, with a particular focus on the frameworks needed to succeed during the case interview portion. Through an interactive presentation, various Q&A sessions and their unique sense of humour, Monitor Deloitte consultants and workshop hosts Zain Roohi (iBBA ‘17) and Raajat Gupta (BBA ‘17) were able to provide attendees with a long list of insights related to the consulting industry.
To recap, here are 5 key lessons we learned about going through consulting recruitment at Case Fundamentals: Reimagined:
1) Be able to articulate why you are a good fit for the consulting industry.
Building a strong personal brand is important for any professional career, but it can often be hard communicating exactly why you’d be a good fit for a specific position. To make this process easier for consulting recruitment, Zain and Raajat suggested analyzing your personal experiences through 3 separate lenses: what you liked about the experience, what you were good at, and how that experience relates to a role in consulting. Using this system, you will be able to clearly articulate why your experiences make you a good fit for the consulting industry. As an example, say you participated in SCC’s DELTA Case Competition - you can mention that you enjoyed the challenge of solving complex problems under pressure, you felt you were particularly good at presenting your solutions to the judges, and that the competition gave you a glimpse of what it’s like to work on a real consulting project
2) Target firms that align with your personal brand and values.
When deciding which firms to apply to, Zain and Raajat recommended targeting firms that align with your personal brand and values, rather than tailoring your personal brand to firms that seem to be the most popular. This mindset will get you to target firms where you fit the best, which will ultimately allow you to enjoy your experience the most. For example, Raajat mentioned that one of the factors he valued when selecting a firm was the ability to choose his own career path within consulting.
Another important thing to consider when choosing a firm is the culture and type of people that work there. If you find yourself getting along with representatives from a certain firm, it may be a good idea to apply there. As Raajat put it, once the novelty of consulting work wears off, it is the people you work with that keep you excited for each new project.
3) Be resourceful in practicing for your interviews.
As with anything in life, the only way to get better at case interviews is to practice. Luckily, there are numerous resources that can help you out in this process. In terms of casebooks, Zain and Raajat specifically recommended the Queen’s, Kellogg’s, HBS, Emory, and Michigan publications. Emory is a good place to pick up some general business acumen, whereas the Queen’s and Kellogg’s books feature challenging cases that can be tackled once you’re comfortable with the case interview process.
Your friends who are also considering consulting can be valuable resources to you as well. Zain and Raajat recounted the long hours they spent couped up in their local Tim Hortons practicing cases together, talking about their personal experiences as if they were in an interview, and providing each other with brutally honest feedback.
4) Have a structured approach to the case interview process.
Though every consulting case is different, you can streamline your approach and develop your own personal way of walking through each problem. Zain and Raajat recommended dividing your rough paper during a case into 4 sections: the background information and problem statement, your approach to the case, the analysis conducted and the conclusion. Most of the time, it is completely fine to ask your interviewer questions about the case, and you are encouraged to walk them through your process each step of the way.
There are a few other things to keep in mind during a case interview. Firstly, be calm and confident even if you feel uncertain about where the case is going. Secondly, be aware of the direction that the interviewer seems to be steering you in with regards to the case. It’s also important to maintain your polish with the interviewer and ensure you are treating them as a client. Finally, remember that, while business acumen is important in a case interview, interviewers are more interested in how well you think under pressure and remain structured in doing so.
5) Be confident in yourself!
Putting ourselves out there for any opportunity often brings with it a certain level of anxiety. We all have our insecurities and doubts about ourselves. We all compare ourselves to the next student, the one that’s never lost a case competition, gone on exchange four times and transcended the standard GPA scale. Zain stressed that it’s important to replace these doubts and comparisons with self-confidence. Remember that your unique strengths will shine through much more clearly than your doubts about yourself, and that you’re not doing yourself any favors by going into recruitment with rejection already in mind. In summary, work hard, be confident in yourself and put your best foot forward - the rest will take care of itself.
There were definitely a lot of crucial lessons learnt during SCC’s Case Fundamentals: Reimagined summer workshop. Don’t worry if you missed out this time - our team has a long list of impactful events scheduled for this upcoming year. If you want to get a headstart on this year’s SCC experience and network with our alumni and execs, make sure to apply for our first-ever Summer Mixer by July 29th!