Consulting Case Prep with Johnny Bui (Part II)

Want to learn quick and effective problem solving? Casing is the way to go.

Part II, here we go! If you are looking to go into consulting, case prepping, or just you’re here out of sheer curiosity as to what case prepping is, you’re in the right place! Johnny Bui and I have done our fair share of case prepping before becoming full-time consultants and we are here to give you all of the tips and tricks that we have picked up along our journeys. If you thought our case prep advice was helpful in Part I, get ready for more helpful insights right now!


General advice you would give to others on case prep?

Johnny:

If you don’t enjoy doing cases, this probably isn’t for you! I practiced live 10 cases a week for 3 months and loved every minute of it but I only did it because I enjoyed the challenge and relationship building part of it. Keep that in mind! Practice hard and practice often with as many different people as possible, consistently, so you learn different styles of communication, successful habits, and perspective. Even if you’ve never done a case before, you need to practice live ASAP. You don’t have to be great to start but you need to start to be great!

  • Here are some suggestions of how to do so:
    • Make a post on LinkedIn requesting for case partners and really demonstrate your competence in cases on the post so they would be compelled to work with you
    • If your career services on campus offers case prep, take advantage of that!
    • Join consulting clubs on campus to get even more experience
    • Do one market sizing case a day

So many people on LinkedIn want to give back after going through consulting case interviews: do a LinkedIn search for consulting content and scroll through to see what people have to offer. Usually it’s their consulting case books that they used! Feel free to reach out to me (Johnny Bui) as well. I have a ton. Also, reach out to alumni working in consulting for advice and resources!

Ursula:

When you first start out, it might be helpful to watch someone else who is proficient at “casing” first. From these videos, you can get a very good understanding of the strict methodology that you must follow in order to arrive at your conclusions. It also helps to learn from proficient casers, as you are able to pick up on the nuances they incorporate to execute a case well. 

Our Recommended Key Resources:

  • YouTube
  • Your college’s career services
  • LinkedIn community of people looking for case partners to break into consulting
  • Case and Point by Marc Consantino and Case Interview Secrets by Victor Cheng

What process did you use in order to get better at cases?

Johnny:

I made a post looking for case partners that did very well on Linkedin and proceeded to make a GroupMe with almost everyone that expressed interest. I set up 10 case sessions a week over the course of 3 months and consistently showed up to each session even if I got ripped apart in previous sessions. I also kept a spreadsheet with every case I had done detailing my lessons learned, what worked, what didn’t work, and areas of improvement

Ursula: 

Johnny did such an amazing job gathering together resources and like minded individuals who were interested in pursuing a career in consulting. I was fortunate enough to be apart of this group, which helped me to find partners to case with. Make sure to create a group or join one in order to be apart of a supportive and engaged community, it will make the process all the better! Also, it’s really a numbers game. The more cases you do, the better you will become, so keep at it!

Do you have a favorite case and, if so, could you share the prompt?

Screen Shot 2021-03-05 at 6.16.09 PM

Ursula:

Cases are definitely not hard to come by- tons of cases a google or a page turn in your consulting book away- however, I have found these ones from Deloitte to be particularly helpful to work on, as they are tailored specifically to what you are interested in practicing. 

Personally, what was the most challenging part about case prepping?

Johnny: 

The most challenging part is starting your first live case with someone. You might feel like trash and that you’d rather practice more before you (inevitably) embarrass yourself but it is the first step to greatness. The second most important part is creating accountability for yourself. You need to schedule weekly cases and show up. Finally, once you are in the motion of practicing cases consistently, it’s understanding how companies in different industries generate revenue, how their business models work, asking the right questions, and following the right clues. What’s great about consulting is that every day is different. This translates into cases. 

Ursula:

Couldn’t agree more with Johnny on these! I would also say… the shorthand math. I definitely had to brush up on my multiplication tables. I also did my research on the best methods in doing this. Just make sure to take a deep breath and count your zeros!

Was there ever a point at which you felt like you were comfortable doing cases and, if so, what did that look like for you?

Johnny:

Once I eventually mastered the basics, I knew that so long as I followed them, I would be in a good place if I trusted my business intuition upon understanding the prompt. After identifying the type of case and understanding what they want me to do – I could generally rely on my experiences with this type of case and this type of industry to guide me. But there would always be something different about the case. You have to learn to pay attention to detail and count every hair to see if one is out of place. Details can be tedious to sift through but you’ll learn to think fast and perceive when something is wrong. 

Ursula:

There is a point in time where you have this strange feeling intuitively. There is a very powerful feeling that comes along with knowing that whatever comes your way, you have a process, a procedure, and you can rely on yourself to come to a reasonable conclusion. It’s a really proud moment too. You will know when you have done enough cases. It will just feel right. If you don’t know what I am talking about, then you probably should keep prepping! 

Things that you wish you would have done differently in regards to case prep?

Johnny:

I wish I started sooner and did not allow my fear of underperforming hinder my confidence to take consulting seriously. I was self-conscious about what my performance would say about what I knew about business and delayed taking case prepping seriously.

Ursula:

Agreeing with Johnny- just start. You will be amazed how incrementally better you get with each case. Always ask for feedback at the end and keep a running list of what you did well and what you can improve upon. It’s easy to let your ego get in the way, but one of the biggest lessons that I learned from the whole process is to be comfortable with failing, so fail fast and hard, and to not let a poor math calculation or wrong answer change the way you see yourself in regards to your intelligence. 

 

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