• Case Interview: A comprehensive guide
  • Pyramid Principle
  • Hypothesis driven structure
  • Fit Interview
  • Consulting math
  • The key to landing your consulting job
  • What is a case interview?
  • What do I need to learn to solve cases?
  • How do I practice for case interviews?
  • Fit interviews
  • Interview day - what to expect, with tips
  • How we can help

1. The key to landing your consulting job.

Case interviews - where you are asked to solve a business case study under scrutiny - are the core of the selection process right across McKinsey, Bain and BCG (the “MBB” firms). This interview format is also used pretty much universally across other high-end consultancies; including LEK, Kearney, Oliver Wyman and the consulting wings of the “Big Four”.

If you want to land a job at any of these firms, you will have to ace multiple case interviews.

It is increasingly likely that you will also have to solve online cases given by chatbots etc. You might need to pass these before making it to interview or be asked to sit them alongside first round interviews.

Importantly, case studies aren’t something you can just wing . Firms explicitly expect you to have thoroughly prepared and many of your competitors on interview day will have been prepping for months.

Don’t worry though - MCC is here to help!

This article will take you through a full overview of everything you’ll need to know to do well, linking to more detailed articles and resources at each stage to let you really drill down into the details.

As well as traditional case interviews, we’ll also attend to the new formats in which cases are being delivered and otherwise make sure you’re up to speed with recent trends in this overall part of consulting recruitment.

Before we can figure out how to prepare for a case interview, though, we will first have to properly understand in detail what exactly you are up against. What format does a standard consulting case interview take? What is expected of you? How will you be assessed?

Let's dive right in and find out!

Professional help

Before going further, if this sounds like a lot to get your head around on your own, don't worry - help is available!

Our Case Academy course gives you everything you need to know to crack cases like a pro:

Case Academy Course

To put what you learn into practice (and secure some savings in the process) you can add mock interview coaching sessions with expereinced MBB consultants:

Coaching options

And, if you just want an experienced consultant to take charge of the whole selection process for you, you can check out our comprehensive mentoring programmes:

Explore mentoring

Now, back to the article!

2. What is a case interview?

Before we can hope to tackle a case interview, we have to understand what one is.

In short, a case interview simulates real consulting work by having you solve a business case study in conversation with your interviewer.

This case study will be a business problem where you have to advise a client - that is, an imaginary business or similar organisation in need of guidance.

You must help this client solve a problem and/or make a decision. This requires you to analyse the information you are given about that client organisation and figure out a final recommendation for what they should do next.

Business problems in general obviously vary in difficulty. Some are quite straightforward and can be addressed with fairly standard solutions. However, consulting firms exist precisely to solve the tough issues that businesses have failed to deal with internally - and so consultants will typically work on complex, idiosyncratic problems requiring novel solutions.

Some examples of case study questions might be:

  • How much would you pay for a banking licence in Ghana?
  • Estimate the potential value of the electric vehicle market in Germany
  • How much gas storage capacity should a UK domestic energy supplier build?

Consulting firms need the brightest minds they can find to put to work on these important, difficult projects. You can expect the case studies you have to solve in interview, then, to echo the unique, complicated problems consultancies deal with every day. As we’ll explain here, this means that you need to be ready to think outside the box to figure out genuinely novel solutions.

2.1. What skills do case interviews assess?

Reliably impressing your interviewers means knowing what they are looking for. This means understanding the skills you are being assessed against in some detail.

Overall, it’s important always to remember that, with case studies, there are no strict right or wrong answers. What really matters is how you think problems through, how confident you are with your conclusions and how quick you are with the back of the envelope arithmetic.

The objective of this kind of interview isn’t to get to one particular solution, but to assess your skillset. This is even true of modern online cases, where sophisticated AI algorithms score how you work as well as the solutions you generate.

If you visit McKinsey , Bain and BCG web pages on case interviews, you will find that the three firms look for very similar traits, and the same will be true of other top consultancies.

Broadly speaking, your interviewer will be evaluating you across five key areas:

2.1.1.One: Probing mind

Showing intellectual curiosity by asking relevant and insightful questions that demonstrate critical thinking and a proactive nature. For instance, if we are told that revenues for a leading supermarket chain have been declining over the last ten years, a successful candidate would ask:

“ We know revenues have declined. This could be due to price or volume. Do we know how they changed over the same period? ”

This is as opposed to a laundry list of questions like:

  • Did customers change their preferences?
  • Which segment has shown the decline in volume?
  • Is there a price war in the industry?

2.1.2. Two: Structure

Structure in this context means structuring a problem. This, in turn, means creating a framework - that is, a series of clear, sequential steps in order to get to a solution.

As with the case interview in general, the focus with case study structures isn’t on reaching a solution, but on how you get there.

This is the trickiest part of the case interview and the single most common reason candidates fail.

We discuss how to properly structure a case in more detail in section three. In terms of what your interviewer is looking for at high level, though, key pieces of your structure should be:

  • Proper understanding of the objective of the case - Ask yourself: "What is the single crucial piece of advice that the client absolutely needs?"
  • Identification of the drivers - Ask yourself: "What are the key forces that play a role in defining the outcome?"

Our Problem Driven Structure method, discussed in section three, bakes this approach in at a fundamental level. This is as opposed to the framework-based approach you will find in older case-solving

Focus on going through memorised sequences of steps too-often means failing to develop a full understanding of the case and the real key drivers.

At this link, we run through a case to illustrate the difference between a standard framework-based approach and our Problem Driven Structure method.

2.1.3. Three: Problem Solving

You’ll be tested on your ability to identify problems and drivers, isolate causes and effects, demonstrate creativity and prioritise issues. In particular, the interviewer will look for the following skills:

  • Prioritisation - Can you distinguish relevant and irrelevant facts?
  • Connecting the dots - Can you connect new facts and evidence to the big picture?
  • Establishing conclusions - Can you establish correct conclusions without rushing to inferences not supported by evidence?

2.1.4. Four: Numerical Agility

In case interviews, you are expected to be quick and confident with both precise and approximated numbers. This translates to:

  • Performing simple calculations quickly - Essential to solve cases quickly and impress clients with quick estimates and preliminary conclusions.
  • Analysing data - Extract data from graphs and charts, elaborate and draw insightful conclusions.
  • Solving business problems - Translate a real world case to a mathematical problem and solve it.

Our article on consulting math is a great resource here, though the extensive math content in our MCC Academy is the best and most comprehensive material available.

2.1.5. Five: Communication

Real consulting work isn’t just about the raw analysis to come up with a recommendation - this then needs to be sold to the client as the right course of action.

Similarly, in a case interview, you must be able to turn your answer into a compelling recommendation. This is just as essential to impressing your interviewer as your structure and analysis.

Consultants already comment on how difficult it is to find candidates with the right communication skills. Add to this the current direction of travel, where AI will be able to automate more and more of the routine analytic side of consulting, and communication becomes a bigger and bigger part of what consultants are being paid for.

So, how do you make sure that your recommendations are relevant, smart, and engaging? The answer is to master what is known as CEO-level communication .

This art of speaking like a CEO can be quite challenging, as it often involves presenting information in effectively the opposite way to how you might normally.

To get it right, there are three key areas to focus on in your communications:

  • Top down : A CEO wants to hear the key message first. They will only ask for more details if they think that will actually be useful. Always consider what is absolutely critical for the CEO to know, and start with that. You can read more in our article on the Pyramid Principle .
  • Concise : This is not the time for "boiling the ocean" or listing an endless number possible solutions. CEOs, and thus consultants, want a structured, quick and concise recommendation for their business problem, that they can implement immediately.
  • Fact-based : Consultants share CEOs' hatred of opinions based on gut feel rather than facts. They want recommendations based on facts to make sure they are actually in control. Always go on to back up your conclusions with the relevant facts.

For more detail on all this, check out our full article on delivering recommendations .

Prep the right way

2.2. where are case interviews in the consulting selection process.

Not everyone who applies to a consulting firm will have a case interview - far from it!

In fact, case interviews are pretty expensive and inconvenient for firms to host, requiring them to take consultants off active projects and even fly them back to the office from location for in-person interviews. Ideally, firms want to cut costs and save time by narrowing down the candidate pool as much as possible before any live interviews.

As such, there are some hoops to jump through before you make it to interview rounds.

Firms will typically eliminate as much as 80% of the applicant pool before interviews start. For most firms, 50%+ of applicants might be cut based on resumes, before a similar cut is made on those remaining based on aptitude tests. McKinsey currently gives their Solve assessment to most applicants, but will use their resulting test scores alongside resumes to cut 70%+ of the candidate pool before interviews.

You'll need to be on top of your game to get as far as an interview with a top firm. Getting through the resume screen and any aptitude tests is an achievement in itself!

For readers not yet embroiled in the selection process themselves, let’s put case interviews in context and take a quick look at each stage in turn. Importantly, note that you might also be asked to solve case studies outside interviews as well…

2.2.1. Application screen

It’s sometimes easy to forget that such a large cut is made at the application stage. At larger firms, this will mean your resume and cover letter is looked at by some combination of AI tools, recruitment staff and junior consulting staff (often someone from your own university).

Only the best applications will be passed to later stages, so make sure to check out our free resume and cover letter guides, and potentially get help with editing , to give yourself the best chance possible.

2.2.2. Aptitude tests and online cases

This part of the selection process has been changing quickly in recent years and is increasingly beginning to blur into the traditionally separate case interview rounds.

In the past, GMAT or PST style tests were the norm. Firms then used increasingly sophisticated and often gamified aptitude tests, like the Pymetrics test currently used by several firms, including BCG and Bain, and the original version of McKinsey’s Solve assessment (then branded as the Problem Solving Game).

Now, though, there is a move towards delivering relatively sophisticated case studies online. For example, McKinsey has replaced half the old Solve assessment with an online case. BCG’s Casey chatbot case now directly replaces a live first round case interview, and in the new era of AI chatbots, we expect these online cases to quickly become more realistic and increasingly start to relieve firms of some of the costs of live interviews.

Our consultants collectively reckon that, over time, 50% of case interviews are likely to be replaced with these kinds of cases. We give some specific advice for online cases in section four. However, the important thing to note is that these are still just simulations of traditional case interviews - you still need to learn how to solve cases in precisely the same way, and your prep will largely remain the same.

2.2.3. Rounds of Interviews

Now, let’s not go overboard with talk of AI. Even in the long term, the client facing nature of consulting means that firms will have live case interviews for as long as they are hiring anyone. And in the immediate term, case interviews are still absolutely the core of consulting selection.

Before landing an offer at McKinsey, Bain, BCG or any similar firm, you won’t just have one case interview, but will have to complete four to six case interviews, usually divided into two rounds, with each interview lasting approximately 50-60 minutes .

Being invited to first round usually means two or three case interviews. As noted above, you might also be asked to complete an online case or similar alongside your first round interviews.

If you ace first round, you will be invited to second round to face the same again, but more gruelling. Only then - after up to six case interviews in total, can you hope to receive an offer.

2.3. Typical case interview format

Before we dive in to the nuts and bolts of case cracking, we should give you a bit more detail on what exactly you’ll be up against on interview day.

Case interviews come in very similar formats across the various consultancies where they are used.

The standard case interview can be thought of as splitting into two standalone sub-interviews. Thus “case interviews” can be divided into the case study itself and a “fit interview” section, where culture fit questions are asked.

This can lead to a bit of confusion, as the actual case interview component might take up as little as half of your scheduled “case interview”. You need to make sure you are ready for both aspects.

To illustrate, here is the typical case interview timeline:

  • First 15-30 minutes: Fit Interview - with questions assessing your motivation to be a consultant in that specific firm and your traits around leadership and teamwork. Learn more about the fit interview in our in-depth article here .
  • Next 30-40 minutes: Case Interview - solving a case study
  • Last 5 minutes: Fit Interview again - this time focussing on your questions for your interviewer.

Both the Case and Fit interviews play crucial roles in the finial hiring decision. There is no “average” taken between case and fit interviews: if your performance is not up to scratch in either of the two, you will not be able to move on to the next interview round or get an offer.

NB: No case without fit

Note that, even if you have only been told you are having a case interview or otherwise are just doing a case study, always be prepared to answer fit questions. At most firms, it is standard practice to include some fit questions in all case interviews, even if there are also separate explicit fit interviews, and interviewers will almost invariably include some of these questions around your case. This is perfectly natural - imagine how odd and artificial it would be to show up to an interview, simply do a case and leave again, without talking about anything else with the interviewer before or after.

2.4. Differences between first and second round interviews

Despite interviews in the first and second round following the same format, second/final round interviews will be significantly more intense. The seniority of the interviewer, time pressure (with up to three interviews back-to-back), and the sheer value of the job at stake will likely make a second round consulting case interview one of the most challenging moments of your professional life.

There are three key differences between the two rounds:

  • Time Pressure : Final round case interviews test your ability to perform under pressure, with as many as three interviews in a row and often only very small breaks between them.
  • Focus : Since second round interviewers tend to be more senior (usually partners with 12+ years experience) and will be more interested in your personality and ability to handle challenges independently. Some partners will drill down into your experiences and achievements to the extreme. They want to understand how you react to challenges and your ability to identify and learn from past mistakes.
  • Psychological Pressure: While case interviews in the first round are usually more focused on you simply cracking the case, second round interviewers often employ a "bad cop" strategy to test the way you react to challenges and uncertainty.

2.5. Differences between firms

For the most part, a case interview is a case interview. However, firms will have some differences in the particular ways they like to do things in terms of both the case study and the fit component.

As we’ll see, these differences aren’t hugely impactful in terms of how you prepare. That said, it's always good to know as much as possible about what you will be going up against.

2.5.1. Candidate led vs interviewer led case formats

Most consulting case interview questions test your ability to crack a broad problem, with a case prompt often going something like:

" How much would you pay to secure the rights to run a restaurant in the British Museum? "

You, as a candidate, are then expected to identify your path to solve the case (that is, provide a structure), leveraging your interviewer to collect the data and test your assumptions.

This is known as a “candidate-led” case interview and is used by Bain, BCG and other firms.

However, a McKinsey case interview - especially in the first round - is slightly different, with the interviewer controlling the pace and direction of the conversation much more than with other case interviews.

At McKinsey, your interviewer will ask you a set of pre-determined questions, regardless of your initial structure. For each question, you will have to understand the problem, come up with a mini structure, ask for additional data (if necessary) and come to the conclusion that answers the question.

McKinsey’s cases are thus referred to as “interviewer-led”. This more structured format of case also shows up in online cases by other firms - notably including BCG’s Casey chatbot (with the amusing result that practising McKinsey-style cases can be a great addition when prepping for BCG).

Essentially, these interviewer-led case studies are large cases made up of lots of mini-cases. You still use basically the same method as you would for standard (or candidate-led) cases - the main difference is simply that, instead of using that method to solve one big case, you are solving several mini-cases sequentially.

2.5.2. The McKinsey PEI

McKinsey brands its fit aspect of interviews as the Personal Experience Interview or PEI. Despite the different name, this is really much the same interview you will be going up against in Bain, BCG and any similar firms.

McKinsey does have a reputation for pushing candidates a little harder with fit or PEI questions, focusing on one story per interview and drilling down further into the specific details each time. We discuss this tendency more in our fit interview article. However, no top end firm is going to go easy on you and you should absolutely be ready for the same level of grilling at Bain, BCG and others. Thus any difference isn’t hugely salient in terms of prep.

2.6. How are things changing in 2023?

For the foreseeable future, you are going to have to go through multiple live case interviews to secure any decent consulting job. These might increasingly happen via Zoom rather than in person, but they should remain largely the same otherwise.

However, things are changing and the rise of AI in recent months seems pretty much guaranteed to accelerate existing trends.

Even before the explosive development of AI chatbots like ChatGPT we have seen in recent months, automation was already starting to change the recruitment process.

As we mentioned, case interviews are expensive and inconvenient for firms to run. Ideally, then, firms will try to reduce the number of interviews required for recruitment as far as possible. For many years, tests of various kinds served to cut down the applicant pool and thus the number of interviews. However, these tests had a limited capacity to assess candidates against the full consulting skillset in the way that case interviews do so well.

More recently, though, the development of online testing has allowed for more and more advanced assessments. Top consulting firms have been leveraging screening tests that better and better capture the same skillset as case interviews. Eventually this is converging on automated case studies. We see this very clearly with the addition of the Redrock case to McKinsey’s Solve assessment.

As these digital cases become closer to the real thing, the line between test and interview blurs. Online cases don’t just reduce the number of candidates to interview, but start directly replacing interviews.

Case in point here is BCG’s Casey chatbot . Previously, BCG had deployed less advanced online cases and similar tests to weed out some candidates before live case interviews began. Now, though, Casey actually replaces one first round case interview.

Casey, at time of writing, is still a relatively “dumb” chatbot, basically running through a pre-set script. The Whatsapp-like interface does a lot of work to make it feel like one is chatting to a “real person” - the chatbot itself, though, cannot provide feedback or nudges to candidates as would a human interviewer.

We fully expect that, as soon as BCG and other firms can train a truer AI, these online cases will become more widespread and start replacing more live interviews.

We discuss the likely impacts of advanced AI on consulting recruitment and the industry more broadly in our blog.

Here, though, the real message is that you should expect to run into digital cases as well as traditional case interviews.

Luckily, despite any changes in specific format, you will still need to master the same fundamental skills and prepare in much the same way.

We’ll cover a few ways to help prepare for chatbot cases in section four. Ultimately, though, firms are looking for the same problem solving ability and mindset as a real interviewer. Especially as chatbots get better at mimicking a real interviewer, candidates who are well prepared for case cracking in general should have no problem with AI administered cases.

2.6.1. Automated fit interviews

Analogous to online cases, in recent years there has been a trend towards automated, “one way” fit interviews, with these typically being administered for consultancies by specialist contractors like HireVue or SparkHire.

These are kind of like Zoom interviews, but if the interviewer didn’t show up. Instead you will be given fit questions to answer and must record your answer in your computer webcam. Your response will then go on to be assessed by an algorithm, scoring both what you say and how you say it.

Again, with advances in AI, it is easy to imagine these automated interviews going from fully scripted interactions, where all candidates are asked the same list of questions, to a more interactive experience. Thus, we might soon arrive at a point where you are being grilled on the details of your stories - McKinsey PEI style - but by a bot rather than a human.

We include some tips on this kind of “one way” fit interview in section six here.

3. What do I need to learn to solve cases?

If you’re new to case cracking. You might feel a bit hopeless when you see a difficult case question, not having any idea where to start.

In fact though, cracking cases is much like playing chess. The rules you need to know to get started are actually pretty simple. What will make you really proficient is time and practice.

In this section, we’ll run through a high level overview of everything you need to know, linking to more detailed resources at every step.

3.1. Business fundamentals

Obviously, you are going to need to be familiar with basic business concepts in order to understand the case studies you are given in the first instance.

If you are coming from a business undergrad, an MBA or are an experienced hire, you might well have this covered already.

However, many consultants will be entering from engineering or similar backgrounds and the major consulting firms are hiring more and more PhDs and non-MBA master's graduates from all subjects. These individuals will need to get up to speed on business fundamentals.

Luckily, you don’t need a degree-level understanding of business to crack interview cases, and a lot of the information you will pick up by osmosis as you read through articles like this and go through cases.

However, some things you will just need to sit down and learn. We cover everything you need to know in some detail in our Case Academy course. However, some examples here of things you need to learn are:

  • Basic accounting (particularly how to understand all the elements of a balance sheet)
  • Basic economics
  • Basic marketing
  • Basic strategy

Note, though, that learning the very basics of business is the beginning rather than the end of your journey.

Once you are able to “speak business” at a rudimentary level, you should try to “become fluent” and immerse yourself in reading/viewing/listening to as wide a variety of business material as possible, getting a feel for all kinds of companies and industries - and especially the kinds of problems that can come up in each context and how they are solved.

The material put out by the consulting firms themselves is a great place to start, but you should also follow the business news and find out about different companies and sectors as much as possible between now and interviews. Remember, if you’re going to be a consultant, this should be fun rather than a chore!

3.2. How to solve cases like a real consultant

This is the really important bit.

If you look around online for material on how to solve case studies, a lot of what you find will set out framework-based approaches. However, as we have mentioned, these frameworks tend to break down with more complex, unique cases - with these being exactly the kind of tough case studies you can expect to be given in your interviews.

To address this problem, the MyConsultingCoach team has developed a new, proprietary approach to case cracking that replicates how top management consultants approach actual engagements.

MyConsultingCoach’s Problem Driven Structure approach is a universal problem solving method that can be applied to any business problem , irrespective of its nature.

As opposed to just selecting a generic framework for each case, the Problem Driven Structure approach works by generating a bespoke structure for each individual question and is a simplified version of the roadmap McKinsey consultants use when working on engagements.

The canonical seven steps from McKinsey on real projects are simplified to four for case interview questions, as the analysis required for a six-month engagement is somewhat less than that needed for a 45-minute case study. However, the underlying flow is the same.

This video has more information on how frameworks can be unreliable and how we address this problem:

Otherwise, let's zoom in to see how our method actually works in more detail:

3.2.1. Identify the problem

Identifying the problem means properly understanding the prompt/question you are given, so you get to the actual point of the case.

This might sound simple, but cases are often very tricky, and many candidates irretrievably mess things up within the first few minutes of starting. Often, they won’t notice this has happened until they are getting to the end of their analysis. Then, they suddenly realise that they have misunderstood the case prompt - and have effectively been answering the wrong question all along!

With no time to go back and start again, there is nothing to do. Even if there were time, making such a silly mistake early on will make a terrible impression on their interviewer, who might well have written them off already. The interview is scuppered and all the candidate’s preparation has been for nothing.

This error is so galling as it is so readily avoidable.

Our method prevents this problem by placing huge emphasis on a full understanding of the case prompt. This lays the foundations for success as, once we have identified the fundamental, underlying problem our client is facing, we focus our whole analysis around finding solutions to this specific issue.

Now, some case interview prompts are easy to digest. For example, “Our client, a supermarket, has seen a decline in profits. How can we bring them up?”. However, many of the prompts given in interviews for top firms are much more difficult and might refer to unfamiliar business areas or industries. For example, “How much would you pay for a banking license in Ghana?” or “What would be your key areas of concern be when setting up an NGO?”

Don’t worry if you have no idea how you might go about tackling some of these prompts!

In our article on identifying the problem and in our full lesson on the subject in our MCC Academy course, we teach a systematic, four step approach to identifying the problem , as well as running through common errors to ensure you start off on the right foot every time!

This is summarised here:

Four Steps to Identify the Problem

Following this method lets you excel where your competitors mess up and get off to a great start in impressing your interviewer!

3.2.2. Build your problem driven structure

After you have properly understood the problem, the next step is to successfully crack a case is to draw up a bespoke structure that captures all the unique features of the case.

This is what will guide your analysis through the rest of the case study and is precisely the same method used by real consultants working on real engagements.

Of course, it might be easier here to simply roll out one an old-fashioned framework, and a lot of candidates will do so. This is likely to be faster at this stage and requires a lot less thought than our problem-driven structure approach.

However, whilst our problem driven structure approach requires more work from you, our method has the advantage of actually working in the kind of complex case studies where generic frameworks fail - that is exactly the kind of cases you can expect at an MBB interview .

Since we effectively start from first principles every time, we can tackle any case with the same overarching method. Simple or complex, every case is the same to you and you don’t have to gamble a job on whether a framework will actually work

In practice, structuring a problem with our method means drawing up either an issue tree or an hypothesis tree , depending on how you are trying to address the problem.

These trees break down the overall problem into a set of smaller problems that you can then solve individually. Representing this on a diagram also makes it easy for both you and your interviewer to keep track of your analysis.

To see how this is done, let’s look at the issue tree below breaking down the revenues of an airline:

Frame the Airline Case Study

These revenues can be segmented as the number of customers multiplied by the average ticket price. The number of customers can be further broken down into a number of flights multiplied by the number of seats, times average occupancy rate. The node corresponding to the average ticket price can then be segmented further.

It is worth noting that the same problem can be structured in multiple valid ways by choosing different means to segment the key issues.

That said, not all valid structures are equally useful in solving the underlying problem. A good structure fulfils several requirements - including MECE-ness , level consistency, materiality, simplicity, and actionability. It’s important to put in the time to master segmentation, so you can choose a scheme isn’t only valid, but actually useful in addressing the problem.

After taking the effort to identify the problem properly, an advantage of our method is that it will help ensure you stay focused on that same fundamental problem throughout. This might not sound like much, but many candidates end up getting lost in their own analysis, veering off on huge tangents and returning with an answer to a question they weren’t asked.

Another frequent issue - particularly with certain frameworks - is that candidates finish their analysis and, even if they have successfully stuck to the initial question, they have not actually reached a definite solution. Instead, they might simply have generated a laundry list of pros and cons, with no clear single recommendation for action.

Clients employ consultants for actionable answers, and this is what is expected in the case interview. The problem driven structure excels in ensuring that everything you do is clearly related back to the key question in a way that will generate a definitive answer. Thus, the problem driven structure builds in the hypothesis driven approach so characteristic of real consulting practice.

You can learn how to set out your own problem driven structures in our article here and in our full lesson in the MCC Academy course.

Join thousands of other candidates cracking cases like pros

3.2.3. lead the analysis.

A problem driven structure might ensure we reach a proper solution eventually, but how do we actually get there?

We call this step " leading the analysis ", and it is the process whereby you systematically navigate through your structure, identifying the key factors driving the issue you are addressing.

Generally, this will mean continuing to grow your tree diagram, further segmenting what you identify as the most salient end nodes and thus drilling down into the most crucial factors causing the client’s central problem.

Once you have gotten right down into the detail of what is actually causing the company’s issues, solutions can then be generated quite straightforwardly.

To see this process in action, we can return to our airline revenue example:

Lead the analysis for the Airline Case Study

Let’s say we discover the average ticket price to be a key issue in the airline’s problems. Looking closer at the drivers of average ticket price, we find that the problem lies with economy class ticket prices. We can then further segment that price into the base fare and additional items such as food.

Having broken down the issue to such a fine-grained level, solutions occur quite naturally. In this case, we can suggest incentivising the crew to increase onboard sales, improving assortment in the plane, or offering discounts for online purchases.

Our article on leading the analysis is a great primer on the subject, with our video lesson in the MCC Academy providing the most comprehensive guide available.

3.2.4. Provide recommendations

So you have a solution - but you aren’t finished yet!

Now, you need to deliver your solution as a final recommendation.

This should be done as if you are briefing a busy CEO and thus should be a one minute, top-down, concise, structured, clear, and fact-based account of your findings.

The brevity of the final recommendation belies its importance. In real life consulting, the recommendation is what the client has potentially paid millions for - from their point of view, it is the only thing that matters.

In an interview, your performance in this final summing up of your case is going to significantly colour your interviewer’s parting impression of you - and thus your chances of getting hired!

So, how do we do it right?

Barbara Minto's Pyramid Principle elegantly sums up almost everything required for a perfect recommendation. The answer comes first , as this is what is most important. This is then supported by a few key arguments , which are in turn buttressed by supporting facts .

Across the whole recommendation, the goal isn’t to just summarise what you have done. Instead, you are aiming to synthesize your findings to extract the key "so what?" insight that is useful to the client going forward.

All this might seem like common sense, but it is actually the opposite of how we relay results in academia and other fields. There, we typically move from data, through arguments and eventually to conclusions. As such, making good recommendations is a skill that takes practice to master.

We can see the Pyramid Principle illustrated in the diagram below:

The Pyramid principle often used in consulting

To supplement the basic Pyramid Principle scheme, we suggest candidates add a few brief remarks on potential risks and suggested next steps . This helps demonstrate the ability for critical self-reflection and lets your interviewer see you going the extra mile.

The combination of logical rigour and communication skills that is so definitive of consulting is particularly on display in the final recommendation.

Despite it only lasting 60 seconds, you will need to leverage a full set of key consulting skills to deliver a really excellent recommendation and leave your interviewer with a good final impression of your case solving abilities.

Our specific article on final recommendations and the specific video lesson on the same topic within our MCC Academy are great, comprehensive resources. Beyond those, our lesson on consulting thinking and our articles on MECE and the Pyramid Principle are also very useful.

3.3. Common case types and the building blocks to solve them

You should tackle each new case on its own merits. However, that’s not to say there aren’t recurring themes that come up fairly reliably in cases - there absolutely are. Business is business and case studies will often feature issues like profitability, competition etc.

Old fashioned framework approaches would have you simply select a defined framework for each kind of case and, in effect, just run the algorithm and wait for a solution to fall out.

We’ve already explained how frameworks can let you down. In this context, too many candidates will fall into the trap of selecting a framework for that case type that simply won’t work for their specific case.

The counterpoint in favour of frameworks, though, is that they are at least fast and prevent you having to start from the ground up with a common kind of case.

Ideally, you should have the best of both worlds - and this is why, in our articles on this site and in our MCC Academy course, we have developed a set of “building bocks” for common case themes.

As they name suggests, building blocks give you modular components for different kinds of case to help build out your own custom structures faster. These then allow you to leverage the symmetries between cases without inheriting the inflexibility of frameworks.

Let’s take a look at five different case types and get a brief idea of how our building block approach helps you with each. You can find more detail on each in the full length articles linked, as well as in the full-length video lessons in our MCC Academy course.

3.3.1. Estimation

Consultants need to push forward to provide definitive recommendations to clients in a timely manner despite typically not having access to full information on a problem. Estimation of important quantities is therefore at the heart of real life consulting work.

Estimation is thus just as fundamental to case cracking.

A case interview might centre on an estimation question, and this might be quite common for a first round interview. However, estimation is also very likely to be a crucial part of pretty well any other kind of case question you receive is likely to include estimation as a crucial component of your analysis.

The kinds of estimation you might be asked to make in a case interview can be very daunting:

  • How many bank branches are there in Italy?
  • How many cars are sold in Berlin in one year?
  • How many people will buy the latest high-tech smartphone on the market?

You might have no idea where to begin with these examples. However, tempting as it might be, your answer cannot ever be a simple guess .

A decent estimation does have a guessed element - though this should really be an educated guess based on some pre-existing knowledge. However, this guessed element is always then combined with a rigorous quantitative method to arrive at a reasonable estimation.

In context of a case interview, it’s important to realise that your interviewer doesn’t really care about the right answer (they don’t need to ask you to find out, after all). What’s important is showing the rational process by which you get to your answer.

A guess that was somehow exactly correct is no good compared to a “wrong” answer that was reached by a very sensible, intelligent process of estimation. In cases, this method will often be a matter of segmentation.

So, where would we start in working out how many cars are sold in Berlin, for example?

The key to estimation case questions is the ability to logically break down the problem into more manageable pieces. In consulting case studies, this will generally mean segmenting a wider population to find a particular target group. For example, starting from the total population of Berlin and narrowing down to the cohort of individuals who will buy a car that year.

There are usually many ways to segment the same starting population, and several different segmentation schemes might be equally valid. However, it is crucial to choose the specific method best suited to the goal in answering the question and allowing you to best leverage the data you have available.

Segmentation must be allied with assumptions in order to arrive at an estimation. These assumptions are the “guessed” element of estimations we mentioned above. Assumptions cannot just be plucked from thin air, but must always be reasonable .

The example below showcases both the segmentation and assumptions made in an estimation of the size of the wedding planning market in London:

Estimation Example Structure

Our articles on estimation and the MECE concept are great starting points in getting to grips with consulting estimation. However, the best place to learn how to make estimations is with the dedicated building block video lesson in our MCC Academy course.

Those of you from physics or engineering backgrounds will probably see a lot in common with Fermi questions . We have plenty of estimation cases for you to work through in our free case library. However, Fermi questions are a great way of getting a little extra practice and you can find a lifetime’s supply online.

3.3.2. Profitability

The fundamental goal of any normal business is to maximise profits - nobody is getting up and going to work to lose money. Even Silicon Valley tech start-ups are supposed to be profitable some day!

Profitability problems are thus bread and butter issues for management consultants.

Clients often tell consultants broadly the same story. The business was doing in well in recent years, with strong profits. However, some recent turn of events has upset the status quo and led to concerns around profit levels. Consultants are brought in as businesses are often sufficiently complex that it can be difficult to figure out precisely where and why the company is losing money - let alone how to then reverse the situation and restore healthy profits.

Despite steady growth in customer flow, the Walfort supermarket chain has seen falling profits in the past year. What is the reason for this decline?

Understanding profitability ultimately means understanding the various components that determine a company’s profit. You will need to learn to decompose profit first into revenues and costs (profit being the synthesis of these two factors). Crucially, you then need to segment further, distinguishing different specific revenue streams and separating various fixed and variable costs.

To take an example, just examining the revenue side of profit, the incoming revenues for an insurance firm might be broken down as follows:

Insurance Revenues

Improving profitability will inherently mean increasing revenues and/or decreasing costs. To solve profitability problems, we thus have to understand the ways we can minimise different costs, as well as ways to drive sales and/or optimise pricing to increase revenue. Importantly, you must be able to judge which of these options is best suited to address specific scenarios.

The key to tackling the complex kind of profitability questions given by MBB-level consultancies lies in this proper segmentation.

By contrast, old-fashioned case interview frameworks will simply have you look at aggregate cost and revenue data before recommending generic cost-cutting or revenue-driving measures. However, this will often lead to negative outcomes in more involved cases, making matters worse for the client.

For example, it might well be that a company actually makes a loss when it serves a certain cohort of customers. An airline, for instance, might lose money on economy class customers but make a healthy profit on each business class customer. Attempts to boost revenue by increasing sales across the board might actually reduce profit further by increasing the number of economy class customers. What is required is targeted measures to increase focus on business class and/or mitigate economy class losses.

You can start learning to segment these kinds of cases properly in our article on profitability , whilst the best way to really master profitability questions is our full lesson on the subject in the Building Blocks section of our MCC Academy course.

3.3.3. Pricing

For a company to be profitable at all, it is a pre-requisite that it charges the right price for whatever it sells. However, establishing what price to charge for any one product - or indeed a whole suite of related products - can be a highly complex business.

Consultants are often engaged to negotiate the many variables, with all their complex interdependencies, at play in pricing. Correspondingly, then, pricing is a common theme in case interviews.

  • A company launches a new smartphone with a significantly improved camera. How much should they charge?
  • A doughnut chain wants to start selling coffee in their shops. How much should they charge per cup?

Clearly, lot of different factors can influence the answers to these questions, and it can be difficult to know where to start. To get a handle on all this complexity, you will need to take a methodical, structured approach.

To really understand pricing, you must begin from fundamentals like the customer’s willingness to pay, the value captured by the company, and the value created for the customer. These basics are shown in the diagram below:

Pricing Basics

This might seem simple enough, but the exact level at which prices are ultimately set is determined by a whole host of factors, including product availability, market trends, and the need to maintain a competitive position within the market. In particular, if we are changing the price of an existing product, we must consider how the price elasticity of demand might cause sales to fluctuate.

Our four-step method for pricing starts from establishing the customer’s next best alternative, calculating the value added by our own product, and working from there. A summary of this method is given, along with an overview of pricing in general, in our article on the subject . However, the most complete resource is our pricing lesson in the MCC Academy .

3.3.4. Valuation

Valuation is fundamental to any kind of investment. Before allocating capital towards a particular opportunity, an investor must understand precisely what value it holds and how this compares to the other available options.

In short, valuation tells us how much we should be willing to pay to acquire a company or an asset.

There are many ways to value an asset - indeed the finer points are still subject to research in both the academic and private sectors.

Standard ways to assign value include asset-based valuations (notably the Net Asset Value or NAV) and the various multiples so widely used by market traders.

However, in consulting case interviews, you will only usually need to be familiar with Net Present Value (NPV) . This means you need to learn and master the NPV equation:

NPV Equation

CF = Cash Flow r = Discount Rate

Whilst this is a pretty simple equation on the face of it, in order to make proper use of it, you will also need to develop a feel for interest/discount rates appropriate to different cases. This will be essential, as you will often have to estimate rational values for these rates for different investments before plugging those values into the NPV equation. Our Case Academy course has more detail here.

Note, though, that NPV is only really half the story.

NPV provides a kind of “absolute” value for an asset. However, the fact is that the worth of any asset will be different for different buyers , depending largely upon what the buyer already owns. In just the same way a spare clutch for a 1975 Ford will be a lot less valuable to a cyclist than to someone restoring the relevant classic car, so a courier business will be more valuable to an online retailer than to an airline.

As such, what we call the Total Enterprise Value (TEV) of an asset is calculated as a function of that asset’s NPV and of the potential cost and revenue synergies resulting from an acquisition. This is shown in the useful structure below:

TEV

You can learn more about all aspects of valuation in our article here , as well as in our dedicated video lesson in MCC Academy . These include guides to the kind of interest rates typically required to finance different kinds of investment.

3.3.5. Competitive Interactions

Most of what we’ve discussed so far in terms of case themes and our building block approach to them will all depend upon the prevailing competitive landscape our client exists within. Product prices, profit levels and ultimately valuations can all change over time in response to competition.

What is more, the zero sum dynamics of competitive interactions mean that these things can change quickly .

Companies enjoying near monopolies for years or even decades can quickly see their values go to zero, or near enough, in the face of some innovation by a competitor coming onto the market.

Nokia and Kodak thoroughly dominated the mobile phone and photography markets respectively - until new companies with new products pulled the rug out from under them and led to precipitous collapses.

New market entrants or old competitors with new ideas can throw a company’s whole business model up in the air overnight . Complex decisions about profound changes need to be made yesterday. Firms trying to save themselves will often slash prices in attempts to maintain sales - though this can actually make things worse and result in a corporate death-spiral. Consultants are then frequently called in to help companies survive - with this type of engagement carrying over to inform case interview questions.

You are running an airline and a low-cost competitor, like Ryanair, decides to start operating on your routes. You are rapidly losing customers to their lower fares. How do you respond?

Your eventual solutions to competitive interaction problems will likely need to be novel and unique to the situation. However, the process by which we understand competitive interactions and move towards those solutions is usually very methodical, moving through the limited dimensions in which a company can take action.

The following structure neatly encodes the general options open to responding to new sources of competition:

Competitive Interaction Structure

Of course, we would never suggest that you blanket-apply any strict, inflexible methodology to a whole swathe of case questions – this is precisely the approach that causes so much trouble for candidates using old-fashioned frameworks.

This structure is only a starting point - a shortcut to a bespoke framework specific to the case question in hand. You might well have to alter the details of the structure shown and you will almost certainly have to expand it as you lead the analysis . How you build out your structure and the solutions you provide are necessarily going to depend upon the specific details of the case question.

Thus, in order to deal with competitive interactions, you will need to put in the time to understand how the different strategies available function - as well as how competitors might then react to implementing such strategies. With enough practice, though, soon you won’t be fazed by even the most complex cases of competition between firms.

You can learn more in our article here and in our dedicated video lesson on competitive interaction in the MCC Academy case interview course.

3.4. Mental mathematics

Almost every interview case study will feature some mental mathematics and this is an area where many many candidates let themselves down.

As such, it makes sense to out in the time and make sure you are fully proficient.

Nothing beyond high school level is required, but you probably don’t do much mental arithmetic day to day and will likely need to practice quite a lot to get good enough to reliably perform at pace, under pressure.

We give a high-level overview of what you need to know in our consulting math article , but devote a whole section of our MCC Academy course to a deep dive on consulting math, with plenty of practice material to get you up to scratch.

4. How do I practice for case interviews?

As we said above - case interviews are much like chess. The rules are relatively quick to learn, but you need to practice a lot to get good.

If you’re working through our MCC Academy course, we recommend getting through the core Problem Driven Structure section. After that, you should be practising alongside working through the remainder of the course and beyond. However you do things, you need to get up to speed with the fundamentals before practice is going to do much more than confuse you.

Of course, if you’re enrolled in one of our mentoring programmes , your mentor will let you know precisely when and how you should be scheduling practice, as well as tracking your progress throughout.

4.1. Solo Practice

For solitary preparation, one of the best uses of your time is to work on your mental mathematics . This skill is neglected by many applicants - much to their immediate regret in the case interview. Find our mental math tool here or in our course, and practice at least ten minutes per day, from day one until the day before the interview.

Once you've covered our Building Blocks section, you should then start working through the cases in My Consulting Coach's case bank alongside your work on the course. This is a large library of case interview questions and answers in different formats and difficulties.

To build your confidence, start out on easier case questions, work through with the solutions, and don't worry about time. As you get better, you can move on to more difficult cases and try to get through them more quickly. You should practice around eight case studies on your own to build your confidence.

4.2. Peer practice

One you have worked through eight cases solo, you should be ready to simulate the interview more closely and start working with another person.

Here, many candidates turn to peer practice - that is, doing mock case interviews with friends, classmates or others also applying to consulting.

If you’re in university, and especially in business school, there will very likely be a consulting club for you to join and do lots of case practice with. If you don’t have anyone to practice, though, or if you just want to get a bit more volume in with others, our free meeting board lets you find fellow applicants from around the world with whom to practice.

4.3. Professional practice

You can do a lot practising by yourself and with peers. However, nothing will bring up your skills so quickly and profoundly as working with a real consultant.

Perhaps think about it like boxing. You can practice drills and work on punch bags all you want, but at some point you need to get into the ring and do some actual sparring if you ever want to be ready to fight.

Of course, it isn’t possible to secure the time of experienced top-tier consultants for free. However, when considering whether you should invest to boost your chances of success, it is worth considering the difference in your salary over even a just few years between getting into a top-tier firm versus a second-tier one. In the light of thousands in increased annual earnings (easily accumulating into millions over multiple years), it becomes clear that getting expert interview help really is one of the best investments you can make in your own future.

Should you decide to make this step, MyConsultingCoach can help, offering the highest quality case interview coaching service available . Each MCC case coach is selected as an MBB consultant with two or more years of experience and strong coaching expertise.

Case interview coaching is hugely beneficial in itself. However, for those who want to genuinely maximise their chances of securing a job offer - and especially for time-poor, busy professionals or hard-pressed students who want to take the guesswork and wasted time out of their case interview prep - we also offer a much more comprehensive service .

With one of our bespoke mentoring programmes , you are paired with a 5+ year experienced, ex-MBB mentor of your choosing, who will then oversee your whole case interview preparation from start to finish - giving you your best possible chance of landing a job!

4.4. Practice for online cases

Standard preparation for interview case studies will carry directly over to online cases.

However, if you want to do some more specific prep, you can work through cases solo to a timer and using a calculator and/or Excel (online cases generally allow calculators and second computers to help you, whilst these are banned in live case interviews).

Older PST-style questions also make great prep, but a particularly good simulation is the self-assessment tests included in our Case Academy course . These multiple choice business questions conducted with a strict time limit are great preparation for the current crop of online cases.

5. Fit interviews

As we’ve noted, even something billed as a case interview is very likely to contain a fit interview as a subset.

We have an article on fit interviews and also include a full set of lessons on how to answer fit questions properly as a subset of our comprehensive Case Academy course .

Here though, the important thing to convey is that you take preparing for fit questions every bit as seriously as you do case prep.

Since they sound the same as you might encounter when interviewing for other industries, the temptation is to regard these as “just normal interview questions”.

However, consulting firms take your answers to these questions a good deal more seriously than elsewhere.

This isn’t just for fluffy “corporate culture” reasons. The long hours and close teamwork, as well as the client-facing nature of management consulting, mean that your personality and ability to get on with others is going to be a big part of making you a tolerable and effective co-worker.

If you know you’ll have to spend 14+ hour working days with someone you hire and that your annual bonus depends on them not alienating clients, you better believe you’ll pay attention to their character in interview.

There are also hard-nosed financial reasons for the likes of McKinsey, Bain and BCG to drill down so hard on your answers.

In particular, top consultancies have huge issues with staff retention. The average management consultant only stays with these firms for around two years before they have moved on to a new industry.

In some cases, consultants bail out because they can’t keep up with the arduous consulting lifestyle of long hours and endless travel. In many instances, though, departing consultants are lured away by exit opportunities - such as the well trodden paths towards internal strategy roles, private equity or becoming a start-up founder.

Indeed, many individuals will intentionally use a two year stint in consulting as something like an MBA they are getting paid for - giving them accelerated exposure to the business world and letting them pivot into something new.

Consulting firms want to get a decent return on investment for training new recruits. Thus, they want hires who not only intend to stick with consulting longer-term, but also have a temperament that makes this feasible and an overall career trajectory where it just makes sense for them to stay put.

This should hammer home the point that, if you want to get an offer, you need to be fully prepared to answer fit questions - and to do so excellently - any time you have a case interview.

6. Interview day - what to expect, with tips

Of course, all this theory is well and good, but a lot of readers might be concerned about what exactly to expect in real life . It’s perfectly reasonable to want to get as clear a picture as possible here - we all want to know what we are going up against when we face a new challenge!

Indeed, it is important to think about your interview in more holistic terms, rather than just focusing on small aspects of analysis. Getting everything exactly correct is less important than the overall approach you take to reasoning and how you communicate - and candidates often lose sight of this fact.

In this section, then, we’ll run through the case interview experience from start to finish, directing you to resources with more details where appropriate. As a supplement to this, the following video from Bain is excellent. It portrays an abridged version of a case interview, but is very useful as a guide to what to expect - not just from Bain, but from McKinsey, BCG and any other high-level consulting firm.

6.1. Getting started

Though you might be shown through to the office by a staff member, usually your interviewer will come and collect you from a waiting area. Either way, when you first encounter them, you should greet your interviewer with a warm smile and a handshake (unless they do not offer their hand). Be confident without verging into arrogance. You will be asked to take a seat in the interviewer’s office, where the interview can then begin.

6.1.1. First impressions

In reality, your assessment begins before you even sit down at your interviewer’s desk. Whether at a conscious level or not, the impression you make within the first few seconds of meeting your interviewer is likely to significantly inform the final hiring decision (again, whether consciously or not).

Your presentation and how you hold yourself and behave are all important. If this seems strange, consider that, if hired, you will be personally responsible for many clients’ impressions of the firm. These things are part of the job! Much of material on the fit interview is useful here, whilst we also cover first impressions and presentation generally in our article on what to wear to interview .

As we have noted above, your interview might start with a fit segment - that is, with the interviewer asking questions about your experiences, your soft skills, and motivation to want to join consulting generally and that firm in particular. In short, the kinds of things a case study can’t tell them about you. We have a fit interview article and course to get you up to speed here.

6.1.2. Down to business

Following an initial conversation, your interviewer will introduce your case study , providing a prompt for the question you have to answer. You will have a pen and paper in front of you and should (neatly) note down the salient pieces of information (keep this up throughout the interview).

It is crucial here that you don’t delve into analysis or calculations straight away . Case prompts can be tricky and easy to misunderstand, especially when you are under pressure. Rather, ask any questions you need to fully understand the case question and then validate that understanding with the interviewer before you kick off any analysis. Better to eliminate mistakes now than experience that sinking feeling of realising you have gotten the whole thing wrong halfway through your case!

This process is covered in our article on identifying the problem and in greater detail in our Case Academy lesson on that subject.

6.1.3. Analysis

Once you understand the problem, you should take a few seconds to set your thoughts in order and draw up an initial structure for how you want to proceed. You might benefit from utilising one or more of our building blocks here to make a strong start. Present this to your interviewer and get their approval before you get into the nuts and bolts of analysis.

We cover the mechanics of how to structure your problem and lead the analysis in our articles here and here and more thoroughly in the MCC Case Academy . What it is important to convey here, though, is that your case interview is supposed to be a conversation rather than a written exam . Your interviewer takes a role closer to a co-worker than an invigilator and you should be conversing with them throughout.

Indeed, how you communicate with your interviewer and explain your rationale is a crucial element of how you will be assessed. Case questions in general, are not posed to see if you can produce the correct answer, but rather to see how you think . Your interviewer wants to see you approach the case in a structured, rational fashion. The only way they are going to know your thought processes, though, is if you tell them!

To demonstrate this point, here is another excellent video from Bain, where candidates are compared.

Note that multiple different answers to each question are considered acceptable and that Bain is primarily concerned with the thought processes of the candidate’s exhibit .

Another reason why communication is absolutely essential to case interview success is the simple reason that you will not have all the facts you need to complete your analysis at the outset. Rather, you will usually have to ask the interviewer for additional data throughout the case to allow you to proceed .

NB: Don't be let down by your math!

Your ability to quickly and accurately interpret these charts and other figures under pressure is one of the skills that is being assessed. You will also need to make any calculations with the same speed and accuracy (without a calculator!). As such, be sure that you are up to speed on your consulting math .

6.1.4. Recommendation

Finally, you will be asked to present a recommendation. This should be delivered in a brief, top-down "elevator pitch" format , as if you are speaking to a time-pressured CEO. Again here, how you communicate will be just as important as the details of what you say, and you should aim to speak clearly and with confidence.

For more detail on how to give the perfect recommendation, take a look at our articles on the Pyramid Principle and providing recommendations , as well the relevant lesson within MCC Academy .

6.1.5. Wrapping up

After your case is complete, there might be a few more fit questions - including a chance for you to ask some questions of the interviewer . This is your opportunity to make a good parting impression.

We deal with the details in our fit interview resources. However, it is always worth bearing in mind just how many candidates your interviewers are going to see giving similar answers to the same questions in the same office. A pretty obvious pre-requisite to being considered for a job is that your interviewer remembers you in the first place. Whilst you shouldn't do something stupid just to be noticed, asking interesting parting questions is a good way to be remembered.

Now, with the interview wrapped up, it’s time to shake hands, thank the interviewer for their time and leave the room .

You might have other interviews or tests that day or you might be heading home. Either way, if know that you did all you could to prepare, you can leave content in the knowledge that you have the best possible chance of receiving an email with a job offer. This is our mission at MCC - to provide all the resources you need to realise your full potential and land your dream consulting job!

6.2. Remote and one-way interview tips

Zoom case interviews and “one-way” automated fit interviews are becoming more common as selection processes are increasingly remote, with these new formats being accompanied by their own unique challenges.

Obviously you won’t have to worry about lobbies and shaking hands for a video interview. However, a lot remains the same. You still need to do the same prep in terms of getting good at case cracking and expressing your fit answers. The specific considerations around remote interviews are, in effect, around making sure you come across as effectively as you would in person.

6.2.1. Connection

It sounds trivial, but a successful video interview of any kind presupposes a functioning computer with a stable and sufficient internet connection.

Absolutely don’t forget to have your laptop plugged in, as your battery will definitely let you down mid-interview. Similarly, make sure any housemates or family know not to use the microwave, vacuum cleaner or anything else that makes wifi cut out (or makes a lot of noise, obviously)

If you have to connect on a platform you don’t use much (for example, if it’s on Teams and you’re used to Zoom), make sure you have the up to date version of the app in advance, rather than having to wait for an obligatory download and end up late to join. Whilst you’re at it, make sure you’re familiar with the controls etc. At the risk of being made fun of, don’t be afraid to have a practice call with a friend.

6.2.2. Dress

You might get guidance on a slightly more relaxed dress code for a Zoom interview. However, if in doubt, dress as you would for the real thing (see our article here ).

Either way, always remember that presentation is part of what you are being assessed on - the firm needs to know you can be presentable for clients. Taking this stuff seriously also shows respect for your interviewer and their time in interviewing you.

6.2.3. Lighting

An aspect of presentation that you have to devote some thought to for a Zoom interview is your lighting.

Hopefully, you long ago nailed a lighting set-up during the Covid lockdowns. However, make sure to check your lighting in advance with your webcam - bearing in mind what time if day your interview actually is. If your interview is late afternoon, don’t just check in the morning. Make sure you aren’t going to be blinded from light coming in a window behind your screen, or that you end up with the weird shadow stripes from blinds all over your face.

Natural light is always best, but if there won’t be much of that during your interview, you’ll likely want to experiment with moving some lamps around.

6.2.4. Clarity

The actual stories you tell in an automated “one-way” fit interview will be the same as for a live equivalent. If anything, things should be easier, as you can rattle off a practised monologue without an interviewer interrupting you to ask for clarifications.

You can probably also assume that the algorithm assessing your performance is sufficiently capable that it will be observing you at much the same level as a human interviewer. However, it is probably still worth speaking as clearly as possible with these kinds of interviews and paying extra attention to your lighting to ensure that your face is clearly visible.

No doubt the AIs scoring these interviews are improving all the time, but you still want to make their job as easy as possible. Just think about the same things as you would with a live Zoom interview, but more so.

7. How we can help

There are lots of great free resources on this site to get you started with preparation, from all our articles on case solving and consulting skills to our free case library and peer practice meeting board .

To step your preparation up a notch, though, our Case Academy course will give you everything you need to know to solve the most complex of cases - whether those are in live interviews, with chatbots, written tests or any other format.

Whatever kind of case you end up facing, nothing will bring up your skillset faster than the kind of acute, actionable feedback you can get from a mock case interview a real, MBB consultant. Whilst it's possible to get by without this kind of coaching, it does tend to be the biggest single difference maker for successful candidates.

You can find out more on our coaching page:

Explore Coaching

Of course, for those looking for a truly comprehensive programme, with a 5+ year experienced MBB consultant overseeing their entire prep personally, from networking and applications right through to your offer, we have our mentoring programmes.

You can read more here:

Comprehensive Mentoring

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How to Conduct a High-Value Case Study Interview (And 4 Mistakes To Avoid)

How To Conduct A High-Value Case Study Interview (And 4 Mistakes To Avoid)

Let’s talk about case study interviews.

Case studies allow brands to demonstrate exactly how they can help resolve specific pain points, how customers are using their products or tools, and an exact example of what kind of results people can expect. 

This is important because plenty of businesses make big claims, trying to outshine their competition. There isn’t a marketing agency out there that won’t promise to get you more reach or a law firm that doesn’t like to appear confident in their ability to win cases.

Every brand will proclaim that they can best solve their customer’s needs, but those claims on their own rarely mean much. They want to know that you can live up to what you promise, and seeing case studies from existing clients can win them over.

To create high-value case studies that can help you attract and convert customers, it only makes sense that you’ll need to start with a killer interview.

In this post, we’re going to look at how to conduct a case study interview that will help you create high-value case studies to draw attention and quality leads to your business.

Why Interviewing Clients Directly for Case Studies Is So Important 

We’re all busy, so it can be tempting to put off case studies or relegate the case study interviews to a quick Google form that asks specific questions.

While you can create basic case studies off of this information, especially if you only want to showcase quick results, it won’t be nearly as impactful as case studies created off of more in-depth interviews.

These interviews can take place by email, phone, Zoom, or in person, but the idea is that there is plenty of room for open discussion. Actual interviews can help you go beyond basic information so that you can get to the story and the pain points of how your clients have been impacted. 

There’s also a great chance that they’ll share more during an open conversation that can be a crucial component to the case study that they may not have thought to share on a form because you may not have thought to ask. 

Strong case study interviews are an essential part of creating dynamic, engaging content that can actually convince your target audience that you’re the right business to purchase from.

How to Prepare for Case Study Interviews 

Conducting a rocking case study interview all comes down to great preparation, so let’s take a look at how to do exactly this. 

Think About Your Target Audience’s Pain Points 

Before you start formulating your case study interview questions, you want to think about what you want your case studies to convey. 

Case studies allow you to go beyond sharing simple results (which are powerful enough on their own and should still be an important part of the content), allowing you to dive into more nuance to address the pain points of potential leads fully. 

For example, a virtual phone line company may want to consider going beyond stressing their 99% service uptimes and touch on additional features they offer. Emphasizing that offer call scheduling to give business owners more of their time back on an automated basis, for example. 

This case study from AdEspresso is an excellent example of what to look at when considering your audience’s pain points. There’s a client who ran highly seasonal campaigns who didn’t want to leverage discounts to drive sales to keep it fair for pre-order customers. It discusses her specific challenges and pain points and addresses the overall solution instead of simply listing results. 

Case Study Interview: Adespresso

As pain points can be a crucial part of writing compelling case studies , break down your audience’s niches and different needs that they may have. You can ask your interviewee questions that can help you tap into the pain points for the case study. We’ll look at specific questions for how to tackle this in a moment.

Expect Interviewee Objections 

When you first reach out to a potential case study subject and start discussing the idea of featuring their brand, know that you may encounter objections from the subject themselves.

They may be alright with you using some part of their story, strategy, or results while still being concerned about protecting their own or their business’s privacy. 

As a content marketer, for example, I know exactly how many of my posts are performing across some of my client sites, how much they drive in revenue, how much traffic they’re getting, and what’s bringing them there. 

A client may be okay with me talking about working with them or sharing samples but might be less than thrilled about me divulging information about their specific site pattern trends, the custom-for-them strategy we used, or their revenue. For example, the case study from SEMRush below is extremel y specific; not all clients may be comfortable with this.

Case Study Interview: Semrush

Be prepared for this before you reach out, and consider what you can do to accommodate requests. These objections may arise before the case study interview, but they may pop up during as well.

Here are a few examples of common workarounds: 

  • Instead of saying that my post for Bob’s Blog helped the site go from $100 in revenue to $200, I can say that it doubled the revenue or doubled conversion rates (whatever is accurate).
  • Maybe I can share the general strategy I used for Bob’s blog without actually naming them and omitting key identifying details, like the keywords used. 
  • They may be alright with you sharing the detailed strategy and general results (2x conversion rate instead of 5.6% conversion rate) and the brand name , OR they may only be okay with sharing their story and results. 

Each client is different and comfortable with sharing different information. While it is typically most beneficial to be able to name the client’s brand name, if this isn’t an option consider settling for a more specific industry tag like “a client in the women’s sustainable fashion industry” instead.

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Ready Your Case Study Interview Questions 

After you’ve thought about potential objections and any key notes you really want to focus on with your case study, you can put together your case study interview questions.

We’ll discuss specific case study interview questions and templates a bit later on, but prepare these in advance. Ideally, research each individual case study subject in advance and try to ask questions that will be relevant to them. 

This is important- write your questions down, even if you’ll be having a phone call. Organize them with the natural progression you expect the call or conversation to take so you don’t lose your train of thought, and check back before the call is over to make sure you’ve asked everything you need to.

At the end of the interview, ask if there’s anything else they’d like to share. Don’t forget this: some of the best parts of case studies can surprise the interviewer at the time!

Look for a Story 

When you’re putting together your questions and interviewing the case study subject, keep your eyes open for a “story.” 

Stories don’t have to be long and complex; they should center your brand whenever possible. 

If your automation software helps a business owner save time, that’s an appealing benefit. But if they’re happy to share that it meant that they could put more time into expanding their business or that they could be at home more with their newborn child, that takes a simple fact and makes it more emotionally compelling. 

You can build an entire case study around a great story, and you can see exactly how effective this is with the headline of this case study from Freshbooks , reading “How Freshbooks Helped Marc Keep His New Year’s Resolution.

Case Study Interview: Freshbooks

4 Case Study Interview Mistakes to Avoid

When you’re preparing for and conducting case study interviews, there are a few common mistakes that you’ll want to avoid. These can cause you to miss out on potential interviews or lessen the impact of the interviews themselves.

Make sure to avoid the following mistakes:

  • Using a single form that’s emailed to case study subjects. Whenever possible, back-and-forth conversations can typically yield much more dynamic case studies. While some clients may firmly want to stick to email, try to opt for zoom calls or at least several emails if you can. 
  • Not being clear on what information you can use in the case study. Make sure they know that you’ll publish it on your site, and get their permission in writing (email is fine!) to feature them and their results. It’s considered a good practice to let the client review the case study before you publish it if they’re concerned. 
  • Trying to shoehorn a client into a predetermined story. I once worked with another content writer on a case study project, and during the interview, it was so clear they were trying to fit a subject’s experience into this perfect story the writer had concocted. This typically doesn’t work, however, and it can prevent you from finding the great and unique parts of each individual’s story and success. Go in with an open mind if you can. 
  • Skipping small talk. If you go in all-business, the case study subject may be more likely to answer only what’s asked. When you start on the basis of enjoying the conversation, however, they’ll share more, and that can be where the magic happens.

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Case Study Interview Examples: What This May Look Like 

Need a case study interview template with plenty of questions to draw inspiration from? What you ask will vary depending on your industry, your client, and the type of case study you want to create, but there are some set questions you should ask across the board.

It’s good to break these down into different sections while asking open-ended questions so that there’s plenty of room for the subject to share more. 

Start by asking about the brand with questions like the following:

  • “Can you tell me about your brand and what you do?”
  • “Is there anything you’d like us to make sure our readers know about your brand?”

Then move on to asking about how they use the product and their challenges. Some case study interview questions for this may include:

  • “Why did you decide to use our brand/product/service? What feature made you choose us?”
  • “What pain points and challenges did you have before coming to us?”
  • “Have you tried other solutions before? If so, why did you decide to come to us?”

Next, focus on process and results:

  • “Can you tell us how you’ve used our product/service and how it’s helped your business?”
  • “What results did you get? Did it speed up your team/improve efficiency/drive more results/improve health/ insert use case here?”
  • How long were you able to maintain these results, and how did the results help you?

Final Thoughts 

A case study interview can seem like a daunting task, but with a little bit of research ahead of time, it can be a smooth process that can yield exceptional information for outstanding case studies. Remember that case studies can only be as strong as the information you have, so the importance of a great interview can’t be overstated.

For best results, take a look at a few case studies online that you liked as a customer, and think about what you’d need to ask in order to get that information. That can help you cover your bases and ensure that you’re asking everything you need to.

Interested in identifying and converting potential high-value leads? Breadcrumbs can help. Start for free today!

2 thoughts on “How to Conduct a High-Value Case Study Interview (And 4 Mistakes To Avoid)”

Very insightful tips on how to make case study interviews. Case studies can be crucial when it comes to testimonials of your product’s success and it can be tricky to ask the right questions – and avoid mistakes!

I’ve been researching about this topic for a while – thanks for the detailed plan you set out in this article about how to conduct case study interviews. Not only mistakes to avoid but also a communications plan to explain the benefits to clients giving interviews for case studies.

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Home » Case Study – Methods, Examples and Guide

Case Study – Methods, Examples and Guide

Table of Contents

Case Study Research

A case study is a research method that involves an in-depth examination and analysis of a particular phenomenon or case, such as an individual, organization, community, event, or situation.

It is a qualitative research approach that aims to provide a detailed and comprehensive understanding of the case being studied. Case studies typically involve multiple sources of data, including interviews, observations, documents, and artifacts, which are analyzed using various techniques, such as content analysis, thematic analysis, and grounded theory. The findings of a case study are often used to develop theories, inform policy or practice, or generate new research questions.

Types of Case Study

Types and Methods of Case Study are as follows:

Single-Case Study

A single-case study is an in-depth analysis of a single case. This type of case study is useful when the researcher wants to understand a specific phenomenon in detail.

For Example , A researcher might conduct a single-case study on a particular individual to understand their experiences with a particular health condition or a specific organization to explore their management practices. The researcher collects data from multiple sources, such as interviews, observations, and documents, and uses various techniques to analyze the data, such as content analysis or thematic analysis. The findings of a single-case study are often used to generate new research questions, develop theories, or inform policy or practice.

Multiple-Case Study

A multiple-case study involves the analysis of several cases that are similar in nature. This type of case study is useful when the researcher wants to identify similarities and differences between the cases.

For Example, a researcher might conduct a multiple-case study on several companies to explore the factors that contribute to their success or failure. The researcher collects data from each case, compares and contrasts the findings, and uses various techniques to analyze the data, such as comparative analysis or pattern-matching. The findings of a multiple-case study can be used to develop theories, inform policy or practice, or generate new research questions.

Exploratory Case Study

An exploratory case study is used to explore a new or understudied phenomenon. This type of case study is useful when the researcher wants to generate hypotheses or theories about the phenomenon.

For Example, a researcher might conduct an exploratory case study on a new technology to understand its potential impact on society. The researcher collects data from multiple sources, such as interviews, observations, and documents, and uses various techniques to analyze the data, such as grounded theory or content analysis. The findings of an exploratory case study can be used to generate new research questions, develop theories, or inform policy or practice.

Descriptive Case Study

A descriptive case study is used to describe a particular phenomenon in detail. This type of case study is useful when the researcher wants to provide a comprehensive account of the phenomenon.

For Example, a researcher might conduct a descriptive case study on a particular community to understand its social and economic characteristics. The researcher collects data from multiple sources, such as interviews, observations, and documents, and uses various techniques to analyze the data, such as content analysis or thematic analysis. The findings of a descriptive case study can be used to inform policy or practice or generate new research questions.

Instrumental Case Study

An instrumental case study is used to understand a particular phenomenon that is instrumental in achieving a particular goal. This type of case study is useful when the researcher wants to understand the role of the phenomenon in achieving the goal.

For Example, a researcher might conduct an instrumental case study on a particular policy to understand its impact on achieving a particular goal, such as reducing poverty. The researcher collects data from multiple sources, such as interviews, observations, and documents, and uses various techniques to analyze the data, such as content analysis or thematic analysis. The findings of an instrumental case study can be used to inform policy or practice or generate new research questions.

Case Study Data Collection Methods

Here are some common data collection methods for case studies:

Interviews involve asking questions to individuals who have knowledge or experience relevant to the case study. Interviews can be structured (where the same questions are asked to all participants) or unstructured (where the interviewer follows up on the responses with further questions). Interviews can be conducted in person, over the phone, or through video conferencing.

Observations

Observations involve watching and recording the behavior and activities of individuals or groups relevant to the case study. Observations can be participant (where the researcher actively participates in the activities) or non-participant (where the researcher observes from a distance). Observations can be recorded using notes, audio or video recordings, or photographs.

Documents can be used as a source of information for case studies. Documents can include reports, memos, emails, letters, and other written materials related to the case study. Documents can be collected from the case study participants or from public sources.

Surveys involve asking a set of questions to a sample of individuals relevant to the case study. Surveys can be administered in person, over the phone, through mail or email, or online. Surveys can be used to gather information on attitudes, opinions, or behaviors related to the case study.

Artifacts are physical objects relevant to the case study. Artifacts can include tools, equipment, products, or other objects that provide insights into the case study phenomenon.

How to conduct Case Study Research

Conducting a case study research involves several steps that need to be followed to ensure the quality and rigor of the study. Here are the steps to conduct case study research:

  • Define the research questions: The first step in conducting a case study research is to define the research questions. The research questions should be specific, measurable, and relevant to the case study phenomenon under investigation.
  • Select the case: The next step is to select the case or cases to be studied. The case should be relevant to the research questions and should provide rich and diverse data that can be used to answer the research questions.
  • Collect data: Data can be collected using various methods, such as interviews, observations, documents, surveys, and artifacts. The data collection method should be selected based on the research questions and the nature of the case study phenomenon.
  • Analyze the data: The data collected from the case study should be analyzed using various techniques, such as content analysis, thematic analysis, or grounded theory. The analysis should be guided by the research questions and should aim to provide insights and conclusions relevant to the research questions.
  • Draw conclusions: The conclusions drawn from the case study should be based on the data analysis and should be relevant to the research questions. The conclusions should be supported by evidence and should be clearly stated.
  • Validate the findings: The findings of the case study should be validated by reviewing the data and the analysis with participants or other experts in the field. This helps to ensure the validity and reliability of the findings.
  • Write the report: The final step is to write the report of the case study research. The report should provide a clear description of the case study phenomenon, the research questions, the data collection methods, the data analysis, the findings, and the conclusions. The report should be written in a clear and concise manner and should follow the guidelines for academic writing.

Examples of Case Study

Here are some examples of case study research:

  • The Hawthorne Studies : Conducted between 1924 and 1932, the Hawthorne Studies were a series of case studies conducted by Elton Mayo and his colleagues to examine the impact of work environment on employee productivity. The studies were conducted at the Hawthorne Works plant of the Western Electric Company in Chicago and included interviews, observations, and experiments.
  • The Stanford Prison Experiment: Conducted in 1971, the Stanford Prison Experiment was a case study conducted by Philip Zimbardo to examine the psychological effects of power and authority. The study involved simulating a prison environment and assigning participants to the role of guards or prisoners. The study was controversial due to the ethical issues it raised.
  • The Challenger Disaster: The Challenger Disaster was a case study conducted to examine the causes of the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986. The study included interviews, observations, and analysis of data to identify the technical, organizational, and cultural factors that contributed to the disaster.
  • The Enron Scandal: The Enron Scandal was a case study conducted to examine the causes of the Enron Corporation’s bankruptcy in 2001. The study included interviews, analysis of financial data, and review of documents to identify the accounting practices, corporate culture, and ethical issues that led to the company’s downfall.
  • The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster : The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster was a case study conducted to examine the causes of the nuclear accident that occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan in 2011. The study included interviews, analysis of data, and review of documents to identify the technical, organizational, and cultural factors that contributed to the disaster.

Application of Case Study

Case studies have a wide range of applications across various fields and industries. Here are some examples:

Business and Management

Case studies are widely used in business and management to examine real-life situations and develop problem-solving skills. Case studies can help students and professionals to develop a deep understanding of business concepts, theories, and best practices.

Case studies are used in healthcare to examine patient care, treatment options, and outcomes. Case studies can help healthcare professionals to develop critical thinking skills, diagnose complex medical conditions, and develop effective treatment plans.

Case studies are used in education to examine teaching and learning practices. Case studies can help educators to develop effective teaching strategies, evaluate student progress, and identify areas for improvement.

Social Sciences

Case studies are widely used in social sciences to examine human behavior, social phenomena, and cultural practices. Case studies can help researchers to develop theories, test hypotheses, and gain insights into complex social issues.

Law and Ethics

Case studies are used in law and ethics to examine legal and ethical dilemmas. Case studies can help lawyers, policymakers, and ethical professionals to develop critical thinking skills, analyze complex cases, and make informed decisions.

Purpose of Case Study

The purpose of a case study is to provide a detailed analysis of a specific phenomenon, issue, or problem in its real-life context. A case study is a qualitative research method that involves the in-depth exploration and analysis of a particular case, which can be an individual, group, organization, event, or community.

The primary purpose of a case study is to generate a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the case, including its history, context, and dynamics. Case studies can help researchers to identify and examine the underlying factors, processes, and mechanisms that contribute to the case and its outcomes. This can help to develop a more accurate and detailed understanding of the case, which can inform future research, practice, or policy.

Case studies can also serve other purposes, including:

  • Illustrating a theory or concept: Case studies can be used to illustrate and explain theoretical concepts and frameworks, providing concrete examples of how they can be applied in real-life situations.
  • Developing hypotheses: Case studies can help to generate hypotheses about the causal relationships between different factors and outcomes, which can be tested through further research.
  • Providing insight into complex issues: Case studies can provide insights into complex and multifaceted issues, which may be difficult to understand through other research methods.
  • Informing practice or policy: Case studies can be used to inform practice or policy by identifying best practices, lessons learned, or areas for improvement.

Advantages of Case Study Research

There are several advantages of case study research, including:

  • In-depth exploration: Case study research allows for a detailed exploration and analysis of a specific phenomenon, issue, or problem in its real-life context. This can provide a comprehensive understanding of the case and its dynamics, which may not be possible through other research methods.
  • Rich data: Case study research can generate rich and detailed data, including qualitative data such as interviews, observations, and documents. This can provide a nuanced understanding of the case and its complexity.
  • Holistic perspective: Case study research allows for a holistic perspective of the case, taking into account the various factors, processes, and mechanisms that contribute to the case and its outcomes. This can help to develop a more accurate and comprehensive understanding of the case.
  • Theory development: Case study research can help to develop and refine theories and concepts by providing empirical evidence and concrete examples of how they can be applied in real-life situations.
  • Practical application: Case study research can inform practice or policy by identifying best practices, lessons learned, or areas for improvement.
  • Contextualization: Case study research takes into account the specific context in which the case is situated, which can help to understand how the case is influenced by the social, cultural, and historical factors of its environment.

Limitations of Case Study Research

There are several limitations of case study research, including:

  • Limited generalizability : Case studies are typically focused on a single case or a small number of cases, which limits the generalizability of the findings. The unique characteristics of the case may not be applicable to other contexts or populations, which may limit the external validity of the research.
  • Biased sampling: Case studies may rely on purposive or convenience sampling, which can introduce bias into the sample selection process. This may limit the representativeness of the sample and the generalizability of the findings.
  • Subjectivity: Case studies rely on the interpretation of the researcher, which can introduce subjectivity into the analysis. The researcher’s own biases, assumptions, and perspectives may influence the findings, which may limit the objectivity of the research.
  • Limited control: Case studies are typically conducted in naturalistic settings, which limits the control that the researcher has over the environment and the variables being studied. This may limit the ability to establish causal relationships between variables.
  • Time-consuming: Case studies can be time-consuming to conduct, as they typically involve a detailed exploration and analysis of a specific case. This may limit the feasibility of conducting multiple case studies or conducting case studies in a timely manner.
  • Resource-intensive: Case studies may require significant resources, including time, funding, and expertise. This may limit the ability of researchers to conduct case studies in resource-constrained settings.

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Case Study | Definition, Examples & Methods

Published on 5 May 2022 by Shona McCombes . Revised on 30 January 2023.

A case study is a detailed study of a specific subject, such as a person, group, place, event, organisation, or phenomenon. Case studies are commonly used in social, educational, clinical, and business research.

A case study research design usually involves qualitative methods , but quantitative methods are sometimes also used. Case studies are good for describing , comparing, evaluating, and understanding different aspects of a research problem .

Table of contents

When to do a case study, step 1: select a case, step 2: build a theoretical framework, step 3: collect your data, step 4: describe and analyse the case.

A case study is an appropriate research design when you want to gain concrete, contextual, in-depth knowledge about a specific real-world subject. It allows you to explore the key characteristics, meanings, and implications of the case.

Case studies are often a good choice in a thesis or dissertation . They keep your project focused and manageable when you don’t have the time or resources to do large-scale research.

You might use just one complex case study where you explore a single subject in depth, or conduct multiple case studies to compare and illuminate different aspects of your research problem.

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Once you have developed your problem statement and research questions , you should be ready to choose the specific case that you want to focus on. A good case study should have the potential to:

  • Provide new or unexpected insights into the subject
  • Challenge or complicate existing assumptions and theories
  • Propose practical courses of action to resolve a problem
  • Open up new directions for future research

Unlike quantitative or experimental research, a strong case study does not require a random or representative sample. In fact, case studies often deliberately focus on unusual, neglected, or outlying cases which may shed new light on the research problem.

If you find yourself aiming to simultaneously investigate and solve an issue, consider conducting action research . As its name suggests, action research conducts research and takes action at the same time, and is highly iterative and flexible. 

However, you can also choose a more common or representative case to exemplify a particular category, experience, or phenomenon.

While case studies focus more on concrete details than general theories, they should usually have some connection with theory in the field. This way the case study is not just an isolated description, but is integrated into existing knowledge about the topic. It might aim to:

  • Exemplify a theory by showing how it explains the case under investigation
  • Expand on a theory by uncovering new concepts and ideas that need to be incorporated
  • Challenge a theory by exploring an outlier case that doesn’t fit with established assumptions

To ensure that your analysis of the case has a solid academic grounding, you should conduct a literature review of sources related to the topic and develop a theoretical framework . This means identifying key concepts and theories to guide your analysis and interpretation.

There are many different research methods you can use to collect data on your subject. Case studies tend to focus on qualitative data using methods such as interviews, observations, and analysis of primary and secondary sources (e.g., newspaper articles, photographs, official records). Sometimes a case study will also collect quantitative data .

The aim is to gain as thorough an understanding as possible of the case and its context.

In writing up the case study, you need to bring together all the relevant aspects to give as complete a picture as possible of the subject.

How you report your findings depends on the type of research you are doing. Some case studies are structured like a standard scientific paper or thesis, with separate sections or chapters for the methods , results , and discussion .

Others are written in a more narrative style, aiming to explore the case from various angles and analyse its meanings and implications (for example, by using textual analysis or discourse analysis ).

In all cases, though, make sure to give contextual details about the case, connect it back to the literature and theory, and discuss how it fits into wider patterns or debates.

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What Is a Case Study?

Weighing the pros and cons of this method of research

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

case study interview difference

Cara Lustik is a fact-checker and copywriter.

case study interview difference

Verywell / Colleen Tighe

  • Pros and Cons

What Types of Case Studies Are Out There?

Where do you find data for a case study, how do i write a psychology case study.

A case study is an in-depth study of one person, group, or event. In a case study, nearly every aspect of the subject's life and history is analyzed to seek patterns and causes of behavior. Case studies can be used in many different fields, including psychology, medicine, education, anthropology, political science, and social work.

The point of a case study is to learn as much as possible about an individual or group so that the information can be generalized to many others. Unfortunately, case studies tend to be highly subjective, and it is sometimes difficult to generalize results to a larger population.

While case studies focus on a single individual or group, they follow a format similar to other types of psychology writing. If you are writing a case study, we got you—here are some rules of APA format to reference.  

At a Glance

A case study, or an in-depth study of a person, group, or event, can be a useful research tool when used wisely. In many cases, case studies are best used in situations where it would be difficult or impossible for you to conduct an experiment. They are helpful for looking at unique situations and allow researchers to gather a lot of˜ information about a specific individual or group of people. However, it's important to be cautious of any bias we draw from them as they are highly subjective.

What Are the Benefits and Limitations of Case Studies?

A case study can have its strengths and weaknesses. Researchers must consider these pros and cons before deciding if this type of study is appropriate for their needs.

One of the greatest advantages of a case study is that it allows researchers to investigate things that are often difficult or impossible to replicate in a lab. Some other benefits of a case study:

  • Allows researchers to capture information on the 'how,' 'what,' and 'why,' of something that's implemented
  • Gives researchers the chance to collect information on why one strategy might be chosen over another
  • Permits researchers to develop hypotheses that can be explored in experimental research

On the other hand, a case study can have some drawbacks:

  • It cannot necessarily be generalized to the larger population
  • Cannot demonstrate cause and effect
  • It may not be scientifically rigorous
  • It can lead to bias

Researchers may choose to perform a case study if they want to explore a unique or recently discovered phenomenon. Through their insights, researchers develop additional ideas and study questions that might be explored in future studies.

It's important to remember that the insights from case studies cannot be used to determine cause-and-effect relationships between variables. However, case studies may be used to develop hypotheses that can then be addressed in experimental research.

Case Study Examples

There have been a number of notable case studies in the history of psychology. Much of  Freud's work and theories were developed through individual case studies. Some great examples of case studies in psychology include:

  • Anna O : Anna O. was a pseudonym of a woman named Bertha Pappenheim, a patient of a physician named Josef Breuer. While she was never a patient of Freud's, Freud and Breuer discussed her case extensively. The woman was experiencing symptoms of a condition that was then known as hysteria and found that talking about her problems helped relieve her symptoms. Her case played an important part in the development of talk therapy as an approach to mental health treatment.
  • Phineas Gage : Phineas Gage was a railroad employee who experienced a terrible accident in which an explosion sent a metal rod through his skull, damaging important portions of his brain. Gage recovered from his accident but was left with serious changes in both personality and behavior.
  • Genie : Genie was a young girl subjected to horrific abuse and isolation. The case study of Genie allowed researchers to study whether language learning was possible, even after missing critical periods for language development. Her case also served as an example of how scientific research may interfere with treatment and lead to further abuse of vulnerable individuals.

Such cases demonstrate how case research can be used to study things that researchers could not replicate in experimental settings. In Genie's case, her horrific abuse denied her the opportunity to learn a language at critical points in her development.

This is clearly not something researchers could ethically replicate, but conducting a case study on Genie allowed researchers to study phenomena that are otherwise impossible to reproduce.

There are a few different types of case studies that psychologists and other researchers might use:

  • Collective case studies : These involve studying a group of individuals. Researchers might study a group of people in a certain setting or look at an entire community. For example, psychologists might explore how access to resources in a community has affected the collective mental well-being of those who live there.
  • Descriptive case studies : These involve starting with a descriptive theory. The subjects are then observed, and the information gathered is compared to the pre-existing theory.
  • Explanatory case studies : These   are often used to do causal investigations. In other words, researchers are interested in looking at factors that may have caused certain things to occur.
  • Exploratory case studies : These are sometimes used as a prelude to further, more in-depth research. This allows researchers to gather more information before developing their research questions and hypotheses .
  • Instrumental case studies : These occur when the individual or group allows researchers to understand more than what is initially obvious to observers.
  • Intrinsic case studies : This type of case study is when the researcher has a personal interest in the case. Jean Piaget's observations of his own children are good examples of how an intrinsic case study can contribute to the development of a psychological theory.

The three main case study types often used are intrinsic, instrumental, and collective. Intrinsic case studies are useful for learning about unique cases. Instrumental case studies help look at an individual to learn more about a broader issue. A collective case study can be useful for looking at several cases simultaneously.

The type of case study that psychology researchers use depends on the unique characteristics of the situation and the case itself.

There are a number of different sources and methods that researchers can use to gather information about an individual or group. Six major sources that have been identified by researchers are:

  • Archival records : Census records, survey records, and name lists are examples of archival records.
  • Direct observation : This strategy involves observing the subject, often in a natural setting . While an individual observer is sometimes used, it is more common to utilize a group of observers.
  • Documents : Letters, newspaper articles, administrative records, etc., are the types of documents often used as sources.
  • Interviews : Interviews are one of the most important methods for gathering information in case studies. An interview can involve structured survey questions or more open-ended questions.
  • Participant observation : When the researcher serves as a participant in events and observes the actions and outcomes, it is called participant observation.
  • Physical artifacts : Tools, objects, instruments, and other artifacts are often observed during a direct observation of the subject.

If you have been directed to write a case study for a psychology course, be sure to check with your instructor for any specific guidelines you need to follow. If you are writing your case study for a professional publication, check with the publisher for their specific guidelines for submitting a case study.

Here is a general outline of what should be included in a case study.

Section 1: A Case History

This section will have the following structure and content:

Background information : The first section of your paper will present your client's background. Include factors such as age, gender, work, health status, family mental health history, family and social relationships, drug and alcohol history, life difficulties, goals, and coping skills and weaknesses.

Description of the presenting problem : In the next section of your case study, you will describe the problem or symptoms that the client presented with.

Describe any physical, emotional, or sensory symptoms reported by the client. Thoughts, feelings, and perceptions related to the symptoms should also be noted. Any screening or diagnostic assessments that are used should also be described in detail and all scores reported.

Your diagnosis : Provide your diagnosis and give the appropriate Diagnostic and Statistical Manual code. Explain how you reached your diagnosis, how the client's symptoms fit the diagnostic criteria for the disorder(s), or any possible difficulties in reaching a diagnosis.

Section 2: Treatment Plan

This portion of the paper will address the chosen treatment for the condition. This might also include the theoretical basis for the chosen treatment or any other evidence that might exist to support why this approach was chosen.

  • Cognitive behavioral approach : Explain how a cognitive behavioral therapist would approach treatment. Offer background information on cognitive behavioral therapy and describe the treatment sessions, client response, and outcome of this type of treatment. Make note of any difficulties or successes encountered by your client during treatment.
  • Humanistic approach : Describe a humanistic approach that could be used to treat your client, such as client-centered therapy . Provide information on the type of treatment you chose, the client's reaction to the treatment, and the end result of this approach. Explain why the treatment was successful or unsuccessful.
  • Psychoanalytic approach : Describe how a psychoanalytic therapist would view the client's problem. Provide some background on the psychoanalytic approach and cite relevant references. Explain how psychoanalytic therapy would be used to treat the client, how the client would respond to therapy, and the effectiveness of this treatment approach.
  • Pharmacological approach : If treatment primarily involves the use of medications, explain which medications were used and why. Provide background on the effectiveness of these medications and how monotherapy may compare with an approach that combines medications with therapy or other treatments.

This section of a case study should also include information about the treatment goals, process, and outcomes.

When you are writing a case study, you should also include a section where you discuss the case study itself, including the strengths and limitiations of the study. You should note how the findings of your case study might support previous research. 

In your discussion section, you should also describe some of the implications of your case study. What ideas or findings might require further exploration? How might researchers go about exploring some of these questions in additional studies?

Need More Tips?

Here are a few additional pointers to keep in mind when formatting your case study:

  • Never refer to the subject of your case study as "the client." Instead, use their name or a pseudonym.
  • Read examples of case studies to gain an idea about the style and format.
  • Remember to use APA format when citing references .

Crowe S, Cresswell K, Robertson A, Huby G, Avery A, Sheikh A. The case study approach .  BMC Med Res Methodol . 2011;11:100.

Crowe S, Cresswell K, Robertson A, Huby G, Avery A, Sheikh A. The case study approach . BMC Med Res Methodol . 2011 Jun 27;11:100. doi:10.1186/1471-2288-11-100

Gagnon, Yves-Chantal.  The Case Study as Research Method: A Practical Handbook . Canada, Chicago Review Press Incorporated DBA Independent Pub Group, 2010.

Yin, Robert K. Case Study Research and Applications: Design and Methods . United States, SAGE Publications, 2017.

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

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  • v.107(1); 2019 Jan

Distinguishing case study as a research method from case reports as a publication type

The purpose of this editorial is to distinguish between case reports and case studies. In health, case reports are familiar ways of sharing events or efforts of intervening with single patients with previously unreported features. As a qualitative methodology, case study research encompasses a great deal more complexity than a typical case report and often incorporates multiple streams of data combined in creative ways. The depth and richness of case study description helps readers understand the case and whether findings might be applicable beyond that setting.

Single-institution descriptive reports of library activities are often labeled by their authors as “case studies.” By contrast, in health care, single patient retrospective descriptions are published as “case reports.” Both case reports and case studies are valuable to readers and provide a publication opportunity for authors. A previous editorial by Akers and Amos about improving case studies addresses issues that are more common to case reports; for example, not having a review of the literature or being anecdotal, not generalizable, and prone to various types of bias such as positive outcome bias [ 1 ]. However, case study research as a qualitative methodology is pursued for different purposes than generalizability. The authors’ purpose in this editorial is to clearly distinguish between case reports and case studies. We believe that this will assist authors in describing and designating the methodological approach of their publications and help readers appreciate the rigor of well-executed case study research.

Case reports often provide a first exploration of a phenomenon or an opportunity for a first publication by a trainee in the health professions. In health care, case reports are familiar ways of sharing events or efforts of intervening with single patients with previously unreported features. Another type of study categorized as a case report is an “N of 1” study or single-subject clinical trial, which considers an individual patient as the sole unit of observation in a study investigating the efficacy or side effect profiles of different interventions. Entire journals have evolved to publish case reports, which often rely on template structures with limited contextualization or discussion of previous cases. Examples that are indexed in MEDLINE include the American Journal of Case Reports , BMJ Case Reports, Journal of Medical Case Reports, and Journal of Radiology Case Reports . Similar publications appear in veterinary medicine and are indexed in CAB Abstracts, such as Case Reports in Veterinary Medicine and Veterinary Record Case Reports .

As a qualitative methodology, however, case study research encompasses a great deal more complexity than a typical case report and often incorporates multiple streams of data combined in creative ways. Distinctions include the investigator’s definitions and delimitations of the case being studied, the clarity of the role of the investigator, the rigor of gathering and combining evidence about the case, and the contextualization of the findings. Delimitation is a term from qualitative research about setting boundaries to scope the research in a useful way rather than describing the narrow scope as a limitation, as often appears in a discussion section. The depth and richness of description helps readers understand the situation and whether findings from the case are applicable to their settings.

CASE STUDY AS A RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Case study as a qualitative methodology is an exploration of a time- and space-bound phenomenon. As qualitative research, case studies require much more from their authors who are acting as instruments within the inquiry process. In the case study methodology, a variety of methodological approaches may be employed to explain the complexity of the problem being studied [ 2 , 3 ].

Leading authors diverge in their definitions of case study, but a qualitative research text introduces case study as follows:

Case study research is defined as a qualitative approach in which the investigator explores a real-life, contemporary bounded system (a case) or multiple bound systems (cases) over time, through detailed, in-depth data collection involving multiple sources of information, and reports a case description and case themes. The unit of analysis in the case study might be multiple cases (a multisite study) or a single case (a within-site case study). [ 4 ]

Methodologists writing core texts on case study research include Yin [ 5 ], Stake [ 6 ], and Merriam [ 7 ]. The approaches of these three methodologists have been compared by Yazan, who focused on six areas of methodology: epistemology (beliefs about ways of knowing), definition of cases, design of case studies, and gathering, analysis, and validation of data [ 8 ]. For Yin, case study is a method of empirical inquiry appropriate to determining the “how and why” of phenomena and contributes to understanding phenomena in a holistic and real-life context [ 5 ]. Stake defines a case study as a “well-bounded, specific, complex, and functioning thing” [ 6 ], while Merriam views “the case as a thing, a single entity, a unit around which there are boundaries” [ 7 ].

Case studies are ways to explain, describe, or explore phenomena. Comments from a quantitative perspective about case studies lacking rigor and generalizability fail to consider the purpose of the case study and how what is learned from a case study is put into practice. Rigor in case studies comes from the research design and its components, which Yin outlines as (a) the study’s questions, (b) the study’s propositions, (c) the unit of analysis, (d) the logic linking the data to propositions, and (e) the criteria for interpreting the findings [ 5 ]. Case studies should also provide multiple sources of data, a case study database, and a clear chain of evidence among the questions asked, the data collected, and the conclusions drawn [ 5 ].

Sources of evidence for case studies include interviews, documentation, archival records, direct observations, participant-observation, and physical artifacts. One of the most important sources for data in qualitative case study research is the interview [ 2 , 3 ]. In addition to interviews, documents and archival records can be gathered to corroborate and enhance the findings of the study. To understand the phenomenon or the conditions that created it, direct observations can serve as another source of evidence and can be conducted throughout the study. These can include the use of formal and informal protocols as a participant inside the case or an external or passive observer outside of the case [ 5 ]. Lastly, physical artifacts can be observed and collected as a form of evidence. With these multiple potential sources of evidence, the study methodology includes gathering data, sense-making, and triangulating multiple streams of data. Figure 1 shows an example in which data used for the case started with a pilot study to provide additional context to guide more in-depth data collection and analysis with participants.

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Key sources of data for a sample case study

VARIATIONS ON CASE STUDY METHODOLOGY

Case study methodology is evolving and regularly reinterpreted. Comparative or multiple case studies are used as a tool for synthesizing information across time and space to research the impact of policy and practice in various fields of social research [ 9 ]. Because case study research is in-depth and intensive, there have been efforts to simplify the method or select useful components of cases for focused analysis. Micro-case study is a term that is occasionally used to describe research on micro-level cases [ 10 ]. These are cases that occur in a brief time frame, occur in a confined setting, and are simple and straightforward in nature. A micro-level case describes a clear problem of interest. Reporting is very brief and about specific points. The lack of complexity in the case description makes obvious the “lesson” that is inherent in the case; although no definitive “solution” is necessarily forthcoming, making the case useful for discussion. A micro-case write-up can be distinguished from a case report by its focus on briefly reporting specific features of a case or cases to analyze or learn from those features.

DATABASE INDEXING OF CASE REPORTS AND CASE STUDIES

Disciplines such as education, psychology, sociology, political science, and social work regularly publish rich case studies that are relevant to particular areas of health librarianship. Case reports and case studies have been defined as publication types or subject terms by several databases that are relevant to librarian authors: MEDLINE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, and ERIC. Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts (LISTA) does not have a subject term or publication type related to cases, despite many being included in the database. Whereas “Case Reports” are the main term used by MEDLINE’s Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) and PsycINFO’s thesaurus, CINAHL and ERIC use “Case Studies.”

Case reports in MEDLINE and PsycINFO focus on clinical case documentation. In MeSH, “Case Reports” as a publication type is specific to “clinical presentations that may be followed by evaluative studies that eventually lead to a diagnosis” [ 11 ]. “Case Histories,” “Case Studies,” and “Case Study” are all entry terms mapping to “Case Reports”; however, guidance to indexers suggests that “Case Reports” should not be applied to institutional case reports and refers to the heading “Organizational Case Studies,” which is defined as “descriptions and evaluations of specific health care organizations” [ 12 ].

PsycINFO’s subject term “Case Report” is “used in records discussing issues involved in the process of conducting exploratory studies of single or multiple clinical cases.” The Methodology index offers clinical and non-clinical entries. “Clinical Case Study” is defined as “case reports that include disorder, diagnosis, and clinical treatment for individuals with mental or medical illnesses,” whereas “Non-clinical Case Study” is a “document consisting of non-clinical or organizational case examples of the concepts being researched or studied. The setting is always non-clinical and does not include treatment-related environments” [ 13 ].

Both CINAHL and ERIC acknowledge the depth of analysis in case study methodology. The CINAHL scope note for the thesaurus term “Case Studies” distinguishes between the document and the methodology, though both use the same term: “a review of a particular condition, disease, or administrative problem. Also, a research method that involves an in-depth analysis of an individual, group, institution, or other social unit. For material that contains a case study, search for document type: case study.” The ERIC scope note for the thesaurus term “Case Studies” is simple: “detailed analyses, usually focusing on a particular problem of an individual, group, or organization” [ 14 ].

PUBLICATION OF CASE STUDY RESEARCH IN LIBRARIANSHIP

We call your attention to a few examples published as case studies in health sciences librarianship to consider how their characteristics fit with the preceding definitions of case reports or case study research. All present some characteristics of case study research, but their treatment of the research questions, richness of description, and analytic strategies vary in depth and, therefore, diverge at some level from the qualitative case study research approach. This divergence, particularly in richness of description and analysis, may have been constrained by the publication requirements.

As one example, a case study by Janke and Rush documented a time- and context-bound collaboration involving a librarian and a nursing faculty member [ 15 ]. Three objectives were stated: (1) describing their experience of working together on an interprofessional research team, (2) evaluating the value of the librarian role from librarian and faculty member perspectives, and (3) relating findings to existing literature. Elements that signal the qualitative nature of this case study are that the authors were the research participants and their use of the term “evaluation” is reflection on their experience. This reads like a case study that could have been enriched by including other types of data gathered from others engaging with this team to broaden the understanding of the collaboration.

As another example, the description of the academic context is one of the most salient components of the case study written by Clairoux et al., which had the objectives of (1) describing the library instruction offered and learning assessments used at a single health sciences library and (2) discussing the positive outcomes of instruction in that setting [ 16 ]. The authors focus on sharing what the institution has done more than explaining why this institution is an exemplar to explore a focused question or understand the phenomenon of library instruction. However, like a case study, the analysis brings together several streams of data including course attendance, online material page views, and some discussion of results from surveys. This paper reads somewhat in between an institutional case report and a case study.

The final example is a single author reporting on a personal experience of creating and executing the role of research informationist for a National Institutes of Health (NIH)–funded research team [ 17 ]. There is a thoughtful review of the informationist literature and detailed descriptions of the institutional context and the process of gaining access to and participating in the new role. However, the motivating question in the abstract does not seem to be fully addressed through analysis from either the reflective perspective of the author as the research participant or consideration of other streams of data from those involved in the informationist experience. The publication reads more like a case report about this informationist’s experience than a case study that explores the research informationist experience through the selection of this case.

All of these publications are well written and useful for their intended audiences, but in general, they are much shorter and much less rich in depth than case studies published in social sciences research. It may be that the authors have been constrained by word counts or page limits. For example, the submission category for Case Studies in the Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA) limited them to 3,000 words and defined them as “articles describing the process of developing, implementing, and evaluating a new service, program, or initiative, typically in a single institution or through a single collaborative effort” [ 18 ]. This definition’s focus on novelty and description sounds much more like the definition of case report than the in-depth, detailed investigation of a time- and space-bound problem that is often examined through case study research.

Problem-focused or question-driven case study research would benefit from the space provided for Original Investigations that employ any type of quantitative or qualitative method of analysis. One of the best examples in the JMLA of an in-depth multiple case study that was authored by a librarian who published the findings from her doctoral dissertation represented all the elements of a case study. In eight pages, she provided a theoretical basis for the research question, a pilot study, and a multiple case design, including integrated data from interviews and focus groups [ 19 ].

We have distinguished between case reports and case studies primarily to assist librarians who are new to research and critical appraisal of case study methodology to recognize the features that authors use to describe and designate the methodological approaches of their publications. For researchers who are new to case research methodology and are interested in learning more, Hancock and Algozzine provide a guide [ 20 ].

We hope that JMLA readers appreciate the rigor of well-executed case study research. We believe that distinguishing between descriptive case reports and analytic case studies in the journal’s submission categories will allow the depth of case study methodology to increase. We also hope that authors feel encouraged to pursue submitting relevant case studies or case reports for future publication.

Editor’s note: In response to this invited editorial, the Journal of the Medical Library Association will consider manuscripts employing rigorous qualitative case study methodology to be Original Investigations (fewer than 5,000 words), whereas manuscripts describing the process of developing, implementing, and assessing a new service, program, or initiative—typically in a single institution or through a single collaborative effort—will be considered to be Case Reports (formerly known as Case Studies; fewer than 3,000 words).

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Blog Business

How to Present a Case Study like a Pro (With Examples)

By Danesh Ramuthi , Sep 07, 2023

How Present a Case Study like a Pro

Okay, let’s get real: case studies can be kinda snooze-worthy. But guess what? They don’t have to be!

In this article, I will cover every element that transforms a mere report into a compelling case study, from selecting the right metrics to using persuasive narrative techniques.

And if you’re feeling a little lost, don’t worry! There are cool tools like Venngage’s Case Study Creator to help you whip up something awesome, even if you’re short on time. Plus, the pre-designed case study templates are like instant polish because let’s be honest, everyone loves a shortcut.

Click to jump ahead: 

What is a case study presentation?

What is the purpose of presenting a case study, how to structure a case study presentation, how long should a case study presentation be, 5 case study presentation examples with templates, 6 tips for delivering an effective case study presentation, 5 common mistakes to avoid in a case study presentation, how to present a case study faqs.

A case study presentation involves a comprehensive examination of a specific subject, which could range from an individual, group, location, event, organization or phenomenon.

They’re like puzzles you get to solve with the audience, all while making you think outside the box.

Unlike a basic report or whitepaper, the purpose of a case study presentation is to stimulate critical thinking among the viewers. 

The primary objective of a case study is to provide an extensive and profound comprehension of the chosen topic. You don’t just throw numbers at your audience. You use examples and real-life cases to make you think and see things from different angles.

case study interview difference

The primary purpose of presenting a case study is to offer a comprehensive, evidence-based argument that informs, persuades and engages your audience.

Here’s the juicy part: presenting that case study can be your secret weapon. Whether you’re pitching a groundbreaking idea to a room full of suits or trying to impress your professor with your A-game, a well-crafted case study can be the magic dust that sprinkles brilliance over your words.

Think of it like digging into a puzzle you can’t quite crack . A case study lets you explore every piece, turn it over and see how it fits together. This close-up look helps you understand the whole picture, not just a blurry snapshot.

It’s also your chance to showcase how you analyze things, step by step, until you reach a conclusion. It’s all about being open and honest about how you got there.

Besides, presenting a case study gives you an opportunity to connect data and real-world scenarios in a compelling narrative. It helps to make your argument more relatable and accessible, increasing its impact on your audience.

One of the contexts where case studies can be very helpful is during the job interview. In some job interviews, you as candidates may be asked to present a case study as part of the selection process.

Having a case study presentation prepared allows the candidate to demonstrate their ability to understand complex issues, formulate strategies and communicate their ideas effectively.

Case Study Example Psychology

The way you present a case study can make all the difference in how it’s received. A well-structured presentation not only holds the attention of your audience but also ensures that your key points are communicated clearly and effectively.

In this section, let’s go through the key steps that’ll help you structure your case study presentation for maximum impact.

Let’s get into it. 

Open with an introductory overview 

Start by introducing the subject of your case study and its relevance. Explain why this case study is important and who would benefit from the insights gained. This is your opportunity to grab your audience’s attention.

case study interview difference

Explain the problem in question

Dive into the problem or challenge that the case study focuses on. Provide enough background information for the audience to understand the issue. If possible, quantify the problem using data or metrics to show the magnitude or severity.

case study interview difference

Detail the solutions to solve the problem

After outlining the problem, describe the steps taken to find a solution. This could include the methodology, any experiments or tests performed and the options that were considered. Make sure to elaborate on why the final solution was chosen over the others.

case study interview difference

Key stakeholders Involved

Talk about the individuals, groups or organizations that were directly impacted by or involved in the problem and its solution. 

Stakeholders may experience a range of outcomes—some may benefit, while others could face setbacks.

For example, in a business transformation case study, employees could face job relocations or changes in work culture, while shareholders might be looking at potential gains or losses.

Discuss the key results & outcomes

Discuss the results of implementing the solution. Use data and metrics to back up your statements. Did the solution meet its objectives? What impact did it have on the stakeholders? Be honest about any setbacks or areas for improvement as well.

case study interview difference

Include visuals to support your analysis

Visual aids can be incredibly effective in helping your audience grasp complex issues. Utilize charts, graphs, images or video clips to supplement your points. Make sure to explain each visual and how it contributes to your overall argument.

Pie charts illustrate the proportion of different components within a whole, useful for visualizing market share, budget allocation or user demographics.

This is particularly useful especially if you’re displaying survey results in your case study presentation.

case study interview difference

Stacked charts on the other hand are perfect for visualizing composition and trends. This is great for analyzing things like customer demographics, product breakdowns or budget allocation in your case study.

Consider this example of a stacked bar chart template. It provides a straightforward summary of the top-selling cake flavors across various locations, offering a quick and comprehensive view of the data.

case study interview difference

Not the chart you’re looking for? Browse Venngage’s gallery of chart templates to find the perfect one that’ll captivate your audience and level up your data storytelling.

Recommendations and next steps

Wrap up by providing recommendations based on the case study findings. Outline the next steps that stakeholders should take to either expand on the success of the project or address any remaining challenges.

Acknowledgments and references

Thank the people who contributed to the case study and helped in the problem-solving process. Cite any external resources, reports or data sets that contributed to your analysis.

Feedback & Q&A session

Open the floor for questions and feedback from your audience. This allows for further discussion and can provide additional insights that may not have been considered previously.

Closing remarks

Conclude the presentation by summarizing the key points and emphasizing the takeaways. Thank your audience for their time and participation and express your willingness to engage in further discussions or collaborations on the subject.

case study interview difference

Well, the length of a case study presentation can vary depending on the complexity of the topic and the needs of your audience. However, a typical business or academic presentation often lasts between 15 to 30 minutes. 

This time frame usually allows for a thorough explanation of the case while maintaining audience engagement. However, always consider leaving a few minutes at the end for a Q&A session to address any questions or clarify points made during the presentation.

When it comes to presenting a compelling case study, having a well-structured template can be a game-changer. 

It helps you organize your thoughts, data and findings in a coherent and visually pleasing manner. 

Not all case studies are created equal and different scenarios require distinct approaches for maximum impact. 

To save you time and effort, I have curated a list of 5 versatile case study presentation templates, each designed for specific needs and audiences. 

Here are some best case study presentation examples that showcase effective strategies for engaging your audience and conveying complex information clearly.

1 . Lab report case study template

Ever feel like your research gets lost in a world of endless numbers and jargon? Lab case studies are your way out!

Think of it as building a bridge between your cool experiment and everyone else. It’s more than just reporting results – it’s explaining the “why” and “how” in a way that grabs attention and makes sense.

This lap report template acts as a blueprint for your report, guiding you through each essential section (introduction, methods, results, etc.) in a logical order.

College Lab Report Template - Introduction

Want to present your research like a pro? Browse our research presentation template gallery for creative inspiration!

2. Product case study template

It’s time you ditch those boring slideshows and bullet points because I’ve got a better way to win over clients: product case study templates.

Instead of just listing features and benefits, you get to create a clear and concise story that shows potential clients exactly what your product can do for them. It’s like painting a picture they can easily visualize, helping them understand the value your product brings to the table.

Grab the template below, fill in the details, and watch as your product’s impact comes to life!

case study interview difference

3. Content marketing case study template

In digital marketing, showcasing your accomplishments is as vital as achieving them. 

A well-crafted case study not only acts as a testament to your successes but can also serve as an instructional tool for others. 

With this coral content marketing case study template—a perfect blend of vibrant design and structured documentation, you can narrate your marketing triumphs effectively.

case study interview difference

4. Case study psychology template

Understanding how people tick is one of psychology’s biggest quests and case studies are like magnifying glasses for the mind. They offer in-depth looks at real-life behaviors, emotions and thought processes, revealing fascinating insights into what makes us human.

Writing a top-notch case study, though, can be a challenge. It requires careful organization, clear presentation and meticulous attention to detail. That’s where a good case study psychology template comes in handy.

Think of it as a helpful guide, taking care of formatting and structure while you focus on the juicy content. No more wrestling with layouts or margins – just pour your research magic into crafting a compelling narrative.

case study interview difference

5. Lead generation case study template

Lead generation can be a real head-scratcher. But here’s a little help: a lead generation case study.

Think of it like a friendly handshake and a confident resume all rolled into one. It’s your chance to showcase your expertise, share real-world successes and offer valuable insights. Potential clients get to see your track record, understand your approach and decide if you’re the right fit.

No need to start from scratch, though. This lead generation case study template guides you step-by-step through crafting a clear, compelling narrative that highlights your wins and offers actionable tips for others. Fill in the gaps with your specific data and strategies, and voilà! You’ve got a powerful tool to attract new customers.

Modern Lead Generation Business Case Study Presentation Template

Related: 15+ Professional Case Study Examples [Design Tips + Templates]

So, you’ve spent hours crafting the perfect case study and are now tasked with presenting it. Crafting the case study is only half the battle; delivering it effectively is equally important. 

Whether you’re facing a room of executives, academics or potential clients, how you present your findings can make a significant difference in how your work is received. 

Forget boring reports and snooze-inducing presentations! Let’s make your case study sing. Here are some key pointers to turn information into an engaging and persuasive performance:

  • Know your audience : Tailor your presentation to the knowledge level and interests of your audience. Remember to use language and examples that resonate with them.
  • Rehearse : Rehearsing your case study presentation is the key to a smooth delivery and for ensuring that you stay within the allotted time. Practice helps you fine-tune your pacing, hone your speaking skills with good word pronunciations and become comfortable with the material, leading to a more confident, conversational and effective presentation.
  • Start strong : Open with a compelling introduction that grabs your audience’s attention. You might want to use an interesting statistic, a provocative question or a brief story that sets the stage for your case study.
  • Be clear and concise : Avoid jargon and overly complex sentences. Get to the point quickly and stay focused on your objectives.
  • Use visual aids : Incorporate slides with graphics, charts or videos to supplement your verbal presentation. Make sure they are easy to read and understand.
  • Tell a story : Use storytelling techniques to make the case study more engaging. A well-told narrative can help you make complex data more relatable and easier to digest.

case study interview difference

Ditching the dry reports and slide decks? Venngage’s case study templates let you wow customers with your solutions and gain insights to improve your business plan. Pre-built templates, visual magic and customer captivation – all just a click away. Go tell your story and watch them say “wow!”

Nailed your case study, but want to make your presentation even stronger? Avoid these common mistakes to ensure your audience gets the most out of it:

Overloading with information

A case study is not an encyclopedia. Overloading your presentation with excessive data, text or jargon can make it cumbersome and difficult for the audience to digest the key points. Stick to what’s essential and impactful. Need help making your data clear and impactful? Our data presentation templates can help! Find clear and engaging visuals to showcase your findings.

Lack of structure

Jumping haphazardly between points or topics can confuse your audience. A well-structured presentation, with a logical flow from introduction to conclusion, is crucial for effective communication.

Ignoring the audience

Different audiences have different needs and levels of understanding. Failing to adapt your presentation to your audience can result in a disconnect and a less impactful presentation.

Poor visual elements

While content is king, poor design or lack of visual elements can make your case study dull or hard to follow. Make sure you use high-quality images, graphs and other visual aids to support your narrative.

Not focusing on results

A case study aims to showcase a problem and its solution, but what most people care about are the results. Failing to highlight or adequately explain the outcomes can make your presentation fall flat.

How to start a case study presentation?

Starting a case study presentation effectively involves a few key steps:

  • Grab attention : Open with a hook—an intriguing statistic, a provocative question or a compelling visual—to engage your audience from the get-go.
  • Set the stage : Briefly introduce the subject, context and relevance of the case study to give your audience an idea of what to expect.
  • Outline objectives : Clearly state what the case study aims to achieve. Are you solving a problem, proving a point or showcasing a success?
  • Agenda : Give a quick outline of the key sections or topics you’ll cover to help the audience follow along.
  • Set expectations : Let your audience know what you want them to take away from the presentation, whether it’s knowledge, inspiration or a call to action.

How to present a case study on PowerPoint and on Google Slides?

Presenting a case study on PowerPoint and Google Slides involves a structured approach for clarity and impact using presentation slides :

  • Title slide : Start with a title slide that includes the name of the case study, your name and any relevant institutional affiliations.
  • Introduction : Follow with a slide that outlines the problem or situation your case study addresses. Include a hook to engage the audience.
  • Objectives : Clearly state the goals of the case study in a dedicated slide.
  • Findings : Use charts, graphs and bullet points to present your findings succinctly.
  • Analysis : Discuss what the findings mean, drawing on supporting data or secondary research as necessary.
  • Conclusion : Summarize key takeaways and results.
  • Q&A : End with a slide inviting questions from the audience.

What’s the role of analysis in a case study presentation?

The role of analysis in a case study presentation is to interpret the data and findings, providing context and meaning to them. 

It helps your audience understand the implications of the case study, connects the dots between the problem and the solution and may offer recommendations for future action.

Is it important to include real data and results in the presentation?

Yes, including real data and results in a case study presentation is crucial to show experience,  credibility and impact. Authentic data lends weight to your findings and conclusions, enabling the audience to trust your analysis and take your recommendations more seriously

How do I conclude a case study presentation effectively?

To conclude a case study presentation effectively, summarize the key findings, insights and recommendations in a clear and concise manner. 

End with a strong call-to-action or a thought-provoking question to leave a lasting impression on your audience.

What’s the best way to showcase data in a case study presentation ?

The best way to showcase data in a case study presentation is through visual aids like charts, graphs and infographics which make complex information easily digestible, engaging and creative. 

Don’t just report results, visualize them! This template for example lets you transform your social media case study into a captivating infographic that sparks conversation.

case study interview difference

Choose the type of visual that best represents the data you’re showing; for example, use bar charts for comparisons or pie charts for parts of a whole. 

Ensure that the visuals are high-quality and clearly labeled, so the audience can quickly grasp the key points. 

Keep the design consistent and simple, avoiding clutter or overly complex visuals that could distract from the message.

Choose a template that perfectly suits your case study where you can utilize different visual aids for maximum impact. 

Need more inspiration on how to turn numbers into impact with the help of infographics? Our ready-to-use infographic templates take the guesswork out of creating visual impact for your case studies with just a few clicks.

Related: 10+ Case Study Infographic Templates That Convert

Congrats on mastering the art of compelling case study presentations! This guide has equipped you with all the essentials, from structure and nuances to avoiding common pitfalls. You’re ready to impress any audience, whether in the boardroom, the classroom or beyond.

And remember, you’re not alone in this journey. Venngage’s Case Study Creator is your trusty companion, ready to elevate your presentations from ordinary to extraordinary. So, let your confidence shine, leverage your newly acquired skills and prepare to deliver presentations that truly resonate.

Go forth and make a lasting impact!

case study interview difference

8.2 Different Types of Interviews

Learning objectives.

  • Understand the three types of interviews you will experience and learn strategies for succeeding at each of them.
  • Learn the difference between behavioral and case interviews.
  • Learn how informational interviews can lead to real interviews, and, at the very least, strong networking contacts.

You can experience three main types of interviews. Become familiar with each type and you will be more prepared and more successful:

  • Informational

case study interview difference

Behavioral Interview

The vast majority of interview candidates will participate in a behavioral interview The most popular form of interviewing, as it is based on specific past performances versus hypothetical situations. Behavioral questions follow the premise that past behavior is a clear indicator of future behavior. . Behavioral questions focus on past performances versus hypothetical situations, following the premise A logical conclusion. that past behavior is a clear indicator of future behavior.

Later in this chapter, a comprehensive list is presented of the most-asked behavioral questions, along with strategies to answer them. Just about any other question asked is a derivative of these questions, so carefully review that section and practice your answers. Questions will relate to aspects of your past work and educational experiences. Here are four typical behavioral interview questions:

  • What was the toughest project you ever completed? Tell me about it.
  • Who was the most difficult customer you ever helped? Tell me about that situation.
  • What was your most challenging class? Tell me why it was challenging.
  • Were you ever a member of a team? What was your role, what was the goal of the team project, and did it go smoothly or was there an issue? What was the end result of the project?

The following strategies will help you answer behavioral questions successfully:

  • Never mention anything negative about your past managers, past professors, or past clients. Even if a particular individual was difficult, speak instead about the challenge and the subsequent approval you received when you succeeding in satisfying that person.
  • Focus on presenting an image of an enthusiastic Your excitement or interest in a topic. and optimistic You see the positive possibilities in a situation, a person, or an outcome. problem solver. Interviewers aren’t interested in someone who was downtrodden or didn’t get along with the team in general.
  • Answer questions directly, and include a beginning, a middle, and an end in your answer.
  • Quantify your answers whenever possible. For example, if you worked in your school’s library and you are asked about this work, include the number of books you managed per day, whether it was ten, one hundred, or one thousand. It’s fine to estimate.
  • Ensure your answer is tied to the bottom line. Using the library example once more, your answer could include that using the electronic checkout system decreased lost books by 75 percent.
  • Focus on the question asked to help you avoid going off on tangents.
  • Ask the interviewer to repeat the question if you think you have gone off on a tangent That you are digressing, or getting further away from the question. or if you didn’t quite understand the question.

Case Interviews

Case interviews Case interviews are used to understand a candidate’s ability to problem solve and develop a strategy to solve a difficult situation. are predominately used in management consulting, though they are sometimes used in a variety of fields, including financial services, healthcare, consumer products, and education. A case interview is a hypothetical business problem, or case , that the interviewee is expected to solve during the interview. The case tests a variety of the interviewee’s skills and expertise, including analysis, logic, structuring of a problem, math, accounting or economics knowledge, specific industry knowledge, communication, creativity, and ability to deliver under pressure.

Case interviews might include short questions to estimate the size of a market:

  • How many teenage Americans bought hiking boots last year?
  • How many Christmas trees are sold in December in California?
  • How many disposable cameras are purchased in London on a single day?

The interviewer does not expect you to know the specific answer, but that you estimate a final answer based on different facts (e.g., the population of the United States). The interviewer wants you to break down this broad request into smaller steps that can be calculated to see how you structure a problem. The interviewer is also testing your basic math skills and ability to work under pressure. The following information applies to the question on hiking boots:

  • The population of the United States is about 300 million people.
  • It is less obvious how many of those are teenagers, so you have to estimate. If life expectancy is approximately eighty years and equal numbers in each decade (ages zero to ten, eleven to twenty, and so forth) are estimated, then there are eight buckets of ages, including a teenage bucket, so the number of people in the teenage years represents 12 to 15 percent of the total population.
  • Fifteen percent of 300 million is 45 million, but not every teenager wears hiking boots and not every teenager buys boots every year.
  • If you estimate that 25 percent of teenagers wear hiking boots, then teenagers who purchase hiking books number about eleven million.
  • If you estimate that a typical hiker buys a new pair every other year, then about five and a half million teenagers buy hiking boots each year.

Remember that the interviewer does not expect a specific answer, but rather wants to see the process you follow to estimate the answer.

Case interviews might also be as long as thirty to forty-five minutes of broad strategy or operations questions about a detailed problem. You may be asked how to manage a hypothetical teaching situation. You may be given a hospital scenario and asked how to streamline processes. You may be given data about the company or industry involved in the question presented. You may be asked to review charts, accounting statements, or other background material, such as in the following question: The CEO of a leading national toy company is considering acquiring a popular neighborhood toy shop in Austin, Texas. How would you advise the CEO whether or not to purchase the shop?

You might then be given more information about the national toy company, or you might be expected to ask for what you need. The questions you ask are part of what the interviewer is testing because your questions reveal the types of data you think are important to assess to make the purchase decision. You are trying to assess if the neighborhood shop fits into the national company’s strategy, and, if so, whether the cost of buying and integrating the neighborhood shop will be offset by potential future revenues.

Many large consulting firms, such as McKinsey and Bain, put sample cases and solutions on their websites. Books also offer sample cases and solutions. Many schools offer case-preparation workshops via either career services or extracurricular consulting clubs. Case interviews are very different from general job interviews but are rarely used except for management consulting jobs. Therefore, don’t spend any time preparing for case interviews unless you want a management consulting job. If you do want a job in management consulting, case interview practice is absolutely necessary. You will not get hired by a consulting firm without successfully completing several case interviews.

If you are interviewing outside the consulting industry, meet with a friend who is in your chosen profession. Ask them to tell you about when they were interviewed, and ask them to interview you. This can be a tremendous learning experience and can prepare you for success, so your time will be well spent in arranging a mock interview ahead of time.

Informational Interviews

Informational interviews Enable you to gather important research about your desired job. An informational interview is an opportunity for you to ask five to ten questions of someone who is performing the very job you think you want to perform or someone who started out at the same level at which you want to start your career. , by their very name, give you the opportunity to gather information about the career you think you want to pursue. The more prepared you are, the better your session will be because the best informational interviews are two-way exchanges, more like a conversation than an interrogation. Your research will allow you to share vital information with your interviewer, and you both will benefit from the time spent.

Some informational interview questions focus on the interviewer:

  • How did you get involved in this job, organization, or industry?
  • What do you like most about it? What has been most rewarding?
  • What is most challenging? Was there anything that surprised you?
  • What is a typical day, week, or month?
  • What skills are most critical to have, develop, and maintain to be successful?
  • What personality types are most successful?
  • What do you know now that you wished you knew when you started? (This is a great question to ask because it forces people to reflect on the arc of their career. It is unexpected and people appreciate this question.)

These types of questions establish rapport and will help you dig deeper and learn more about the job, the industry, and the career.

Some informational interview questions focus on the job and career:

  • According to my research, the top competitors are [name the competition]. Am I missing anyone you think is significant? Is there a new player I should know about?
  • I’ve read that [name a trend, challenge, or innovation] is a major trend, challenge, or innovation. Does this affect your job or organization? Is this overestimated in the media? Are there are other trends, challenges, or innovations I should be concerned about?
  • Compensation isn’t the biggest factor in accepting a job, but I’d like to have a better sense of this. I’ve read that it is customary for people in this job to make [name salary range] and experience [name lifestyle, travel, work culture]. Is that accurate? Are there any nuances to this that are not publicized in the general media?
  • According to my research, it is customary for people in this job to have [name skills and experiences]. Is my background of [summarize your skills and experience] competitive? If you had an opening in your group, would you consider me? What do I need to do to improve my chances?
  • What department are you in (i.e., the specific name if it’s not revealed in their introduction or on their business card)?
  • Who oversees this department?
  • How does it fit in with the rest of the organization?
  • Is this the typical structure or are your competitors organized differently?
  • I am doing research on [name another organization] and trying to find who runs the [name department you want]. Do you know anyone there whom I could ask?

Perhaps the most important question to ask during an informational interview is this one:

  • I’m currently planning to speak to [name the people]. Should anyone else be on my list? May I use your name when I contact them?

Typical informational interviews lasting about thirty to forty-five minutes can be a vital part of the research you conduct to ensure you are targeting the right types of jobs.

Key Takeaways

  • Knowing the different types of interviews is important to succeeding at each.
  • A behavioral interview is the most expected interview form for the vast majority of positions. Behavioral interviews rely on past performance as an indication of future performance.
  • Case interviews are most widely used for consulting positions. The goal of a case interview is to test your logic and ability to problem solve quickly and effectively.
  • Informational interviews, reviewed in Chapter 6 "Step 3: Conduct In-Depth Research" , the section titled Informational Interviews, are a useful way to learn about an industry and a specific job through someone who has built their career in that area. You ask most of the questions, so you must prepare well in advance to get the most amount of information possible and impress the person with whom you are meeting.
  • Some interviewers may merge aspects of behavioral and case interviewing into one interview session. Knowing how to succeed at each type of interview is a wise strategy.
  • Participate in mock interview workshops given by career services.
  • Practice answering behavioral and case interview questions.
  • Prepare for an informational interview by deciding who you would like to interview and preparing the questions you will ask.
  • Pair up with an interview buddy to practice each type of interview. Critique each other’s performance.

Case Study vs. Survey

What's the difference.

Case studies and surveys are both research methods used in various fields to gather information and insights. However, they differ in their approach and purpose. A case study involves an in-depth analysis of a specific individual, group, or situation, aiming to understand the complexities and unique aspects of the subject. It often involves collecting qualitative data through interviews, observations, and document analysis. On the other hand, a survey is a structured data collection method that involves gathering information from a larger sample size through standardized questionnaires. Surveys are typically used to collect quantitative data and provide a broader perspective on a particular topic or population. While case studies provide rich and detailed information, surveys offer a more generalizable and statistical overview.

Further Detail

Introduction.

When conducting research, there are various methods available to gather data and analyze it. Two commonly used methods are case study and survey. Both approaches have their own unique attributes and can be valuable in different research contexts. In this article, we will explore the characteristics of case study and survey, highlighting their strengths and limitations.

A case study is an in-depth investigation of a particular individual, group, or phenomenon. It involves collecting detailed information about the subject of study through various sources such as interviews, observations, and document analysis. Case studies are often used in social sciences, psychology, and business research to gain a deep understanding of complex issues.

One of the key attributes of a case study is its ability to provide rich and detailed data. Researchers can gather extensive information about the subject, including their background, experiences, and perspectives. This depth of data allows for a comprehensive analysis and interpretation of the case, providing valuable insights into the phenomenon under investigation.

Furthermore, case studies are particularly useful when studying rare or unique cases. Since case studies focus on specific individuals or groups, they can shed light on situations that are not easily replicated or observed in larger populations. This makes case studies valuable in exploring complex and nuanced phenomena that may not be easily captured through other research methods.

However, it is important to note that case studies have certain limitations. Due to their in-depth nature, case studies are often time-consuming and resource-intensive. Researchers need to invest significant effort in data collection, analysis, and interpretation. Additionally, the findings of a case study may not be easily generalized to larger populations, as the focus is on a specific case rather than a representative sample.

Despite these limitations, case studies offer a unique opportunity to explore complex issues in real-life contexts. They provide a detailed understanding of individual experiences and can generate hypotheses for further research.

A survey is a research method that involves collecting data from a sample of individuals through a structured questionnaire or interview. Surveys are widely used in social sciences, market research, and public opinion studies to gather information about a larger population. They aim to provide a snapshot of people's opinions, attitudes, behaviors, or characteristics.

One of the main advantages of surveys is their ability to collect data from a large number of respondents. By reaching out to a representative sample, researchers can generalize the findings to a larger population. Surveys also allow for efficient data collection, as questionnaires can be distributed electronically or in person, making it easier to gather a wide range of responses in a relatively short period.

Moreover, surveys offer a structured approach to data collection, ensuring consistency in the questions asked and the response options provided. This allows for easy comparison and analysis of the data, making surveys suitable for quantitative research. Surveys can also be conducted anonymously, which can encourage respondents to provide honest and unbiased answers, particularly when sensitive topics are being explored.

However, surveys also have their limitations. One of the challenges is the potential for response bias. Respondents may provide inaccurate or socially desirable answers, leading to biased results. Additionally, surveys often rely on self-reported data, which may be subject to memory recall errors or misinterpretation of questions. Researchers need to carefully design the survey instrument and consider potential biases to ensure the validity and reliability of the data collected.

Furthermore, surveys may not capture the complexity and depth of individual experiences. They provide a snapshot of people's opinions or behaviors at a specific point in time, but may not uncover the underlying reasons or motivations behind those responses. Surveys also rely on predetermined response options, limiting the range of possible answers and potentially overlooking important nuances.

Case studies and surveys are both valuable research methods, each with its own strengths and limitations. Case studies offer in-depth insights into specific cases, providing rich and detailed data. They are particularly useful for exploring complex and unique phenomena. On the other hand, surveys allow for efficient data collection from a large number of respondents, enabling generalization to larger populations. They provide structured and quantifiable data, making them suitable for statistical analysis.

Ultimately, the choice between case study and survey depends on the research objectives, the nature of the research question, and the available resources. Researchers need to carefully consider the attributes of each method and select the most appropriate approach to gather and analyze data effectively.

Comparisons may contain inaccurate information about people, places, or facts. Please report any issues.

IMAGES

  1. Case Interview Frameworks: The Ultimate Guide (2022)

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  2. A Guide for Case Study Interview Presentations for Beginners

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  4. Case Interview Tips: Take Your Casing from Good to Great

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  5. A Guide for Case Study Interview Presentations for Beginners

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  6. A Guide for Case Study Interview Presentations for Beginners

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VIDEO

  1. Case Study Interview

  2. Epic Case Study Interview

  3. Epic Charter School Case Study Math Interventionist Interview Lori Newell

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  5. Call with Org Behavior Case Study Interview 20240322 220340 Meeting Recording

  6. Epic Charter School Case Study Interview Lori Newell

COMMENTS

  1. How to Prep for a Case Study Interview

    A case study interview allows the hiring manager to see your skills in action and how you approach business challenges. But it also teaches you a lot about the company (even if you're doing most of the talking). In a sense, you're behaving as an employee during a case study interview. This gives you a peek behind the curtain, allowing you ...

  2. Case Interview: all you need to know (and how to prepare)

    Down to business. Following an initial conversation, your interviewer will introduce your case study, providing a prompt for the question you have to answer. You will have a pen and paper in front of you and should (neatly) note down the salient pieces of information (keep this up throughout the interview).

  3. Case Study Methodology of Qualitative Research: Key Attributes and

    A case study is one of the most commonly used methodologies of social research. This article attempts to look into the various dimensions of a case study research strategy, the different epistemological strands which determine the particular case study type and approach adopted in the field, discusses the factors which can enhance the effectiveness of a case study research, and the debate ...

  4. How to Conduct a High-Value Case Study Interview (And 4 ...

    Make sure to avoid the following mistakes: Using a single form that's emailed to case study subjects. Whenever possible, back-and-forth conversations can typically yield much more dynamic case studies. While some clients may firmly want to stick to email, try to opt for zoom calls or at least several emails if you can.

  5. Case Study

    This type of case study is useful when the researcher wants to identify similarities and differences between the cases. ... Here are some common data collection methods for case studies: Interviews. Interviews involve asking questions to individuals who have knowledge or experience relevant to the case study. Interviews can be structured (where ...

  6. Case Study Method: A Step-by-Step Guide for Business Researchers

    Although case studies have been discussed extensively in the literature, little has been written about the specific steps one may use to conduct case study research effectively (Gagnon, 2010; Hancock & Algozzine, 2016).Baskarada (2014) also emphasized the need to have a succinct guideline that can be practically followed as it is actually tough to execute a case study well in practice.

  7. Case Interview Prep Guide

    There are 3 elements to pay attention to as you prepare for case interview math: your speed, your accuracy, and the business insights you communicate. Focus on accuracy first, and then devote time to getting faster. Finally, make sure you always end your math by contextualizing the number for your interviewer.

  8. What Is a Case Study?

    Case studies are good for describing, comparing, evaluating and understanding different aspects of a research problem. Table of contents. When to do a case study. Step 1: Select a case. Step 2: Build a theoretical framework. Step 3: Collect your data. Step 4: Describe and analyze the case.

  9. What is a case study interview and why are they used?

    Unlike typical interviews, case study interviews test your skill set through live problem solving. In this video, learn about when and how case study interview questions are used and why employers ...

  10. Case Study

    Case studies tend to focus on qualitative data using methods such as interviews, observations, and analysis of primary and secondary sources (e.g., newspaper articles, photographs, official records). Sometimes a case study will also collect quantitative data. Example: Mixed methods case study. For a case study of a wind farm development in a ...

  11. How To Succeed in a Case Study Interview

    Confidence. Logical and actionable thinking process. Intuition. Clear communication. Analytic mind. Related: Job Specification vs. Job Description Explained. 3. Review questions an interviewer may ask. To be successful during a case study interview, be mindful of potential questions an interviewer may ask.

  12. How to Succeed in a Case Interview

    Candidate-Led: In these case interviews, you will be presented with a question by the interviewer and then expected to lead them through to an answer step-by-step. Interviewer-Led: These types of case interviewers involve "1-2 interviewers leading a candidate through a multi-step case problem," says William Wadsworth of Exam Study Expert.

  13. A Guide To Acing Your Next Case Interview

    A Guide To Acing Your Next Case Interview. When applying for technology, consulting or financial roles, an employer may ask you to solve a case study in order to assess your problem-solving skills. The reason employers use case studies during an interview is to determine if you can think of solutions in real-time.

  14. Case Study: Definition, Examples, Types, and How to Write

    A case study is an in-depth study of one person, group, or event. In a case study, nearly every aspect of the subject's life and history is analyzed to seek patterns and causes of behavior. Case studies can be used in many different fields, including psychology, medicine, education, anthropology, political science, and social work.

  15. Is there any difference between a Case Study and Interview?

    See R.K. Yin Case Study Research London: Sage 5th edn. p68. An interview is completely different: it is not a research method but a research technique, i.e., a procedure for gathering data in the ...

  16. Methodology or method? A critical review of qualitative case study

    Case studies are designed to suit the case and research question and published case studies demonstrate wide diversity in study design. There are two popular case study approaches in qualitative research. The first, proposed by Stake ( 1995) and Merriam ( 2009 ), is situated in a social constructivist paradigm, whereas the second, by Yin ( 2012 ...

  17. 6 Types of Case Interviews

    Two case interview styles exist: Interviewer-led (used at McKinsey) interviewee-led (used almost everywhere else) When we coach candidates 1:1, we will focus on the differences in great detail - but that's not the point of this article. Within both case styles, you will encounter a variety of case interview types.

  18. The Difference Between a Case Study and Interview Deck

    A case study is a project breakdown hosted on your portfolio. Where as, an interview deck is a PDF style of one to three projects. Great, now that we got that covered let's get into the differences!

  19. Distinguishing case study as a research method from case reports as a

    Sources of evidence for case studies include interviews, documentation, archival records, direct observations, participant-observation, and physical artifacts. One of the most important sources for data in qualitative case study research is the interview [2, 3]. In addition to interviews, documents and archival records can be gathered to ...

  20. Surveys, Interviews, and Case Studies

    Case studies usually include interviews, but they go much further. ... Definitions and Differences 5:40 Types of Research Design 9:45 True Experimental Design 11:11 Selecting a Problem to Research ...

  21. What is a Case Study Interview and How to Ace One

    Published Aug 26, 2022. + Follow. Companies use case study interviews to determine potential candidates' creative and problem-solving abilities. They involve analyzing business cases, brainteasers ...

  22. How to Present a Case Study like a Pro (With Examples)

    One of the contexts where case studies can be very helpful is during the job interview. In some job interviews, you as candidates may be asked to present a case study as part of the selection process. ... The way you present a case study can make all the difference in how it's received. A well-structured presentation not only holds the ...

  23. Question about Case Study and Interview

    Hi Pete, as Lorena told you, Case study is a method and interview is an instrument for data collection for using as part any method. Please read: Creswell, J.W. (2013, 1998) "Qualitative inquiry ...

  24. Different Types of Interviews

    Case Interviews. Case interviews Case interviews are used to understand a candidate's ability to problem solve and develop a strategy to solve a difficult situation. are predominately used in management consulting, though they are sometimes used in a variety of fields, including financial services, healthcare, consumer products, and education. A case interview is a hypothetical business ...

  25. Case Study vs. Survey

    A case study involves an in-depth analysis of a specific individual, group, or situation, aiming to understand the complexities and unique aspects of the subject. It often involves collecting qualitative data through interviews, observations, and document analysis. On the other hand, a survey is a structured data collection method that involves ...