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March 10, 2009


In sampling a solid fistful of recent interviewees for consulting firms, we have found a variety of presentation case interview types, including:
  1. Research case: Study a set of client materials for half an hour, then present your findings to a mock client or project team, complete with Q&A.
  2. Complete the presentation: You are given a partially-complete presentation that contains the findings and/or data, and you supply the insights.
  3. Teach me something: Lecture or teach your interviewer about a topic of your choice (or theirs).
By far, the most common type of presentation case is the research case. We'll spend some extra time on this one and go through a full-blown example later.

General Tips and Tricks for All Presentation Cases

Presentation case interviews are therefore at the heart of it all an extension on the traditional case interview different in structure and nature of what you analyze (reading versus listening), but at the end of the day, you still need to solve a business problem. To this end, here are some tips and tricks before we dive into some practice:

  • Make sure you are answering the right question. There are presentation cases where you need to go into a room and think without the interaction of others. These are sometimes dangerous when you aren't sure what question to answer. If it's not clear, ask someone. If not, clearly state your assumed question at the beginning so your interviewers can put your answers into context.
  • Always try to establish ahead of time your presumed role and the presumed role of your audience. If it is not clear based on the materials for some reason, state your assumption very matter-of-factly prior to commencing your presentation.
  • Watch the time! Think about how much time you'll need to pull your talk together. Work backwards: subtract that amount of time from the total amount of time, and give yourself that much time to produce the slides or talk.


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