Toxic Workplaces: How to Stay Positive
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Keeping a positive mindset in a toxic work environment can be an extremely difficult task. I've spent some time in toxic work places and motivating workplaces and there is a vast difference between employee moral …

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Ace the Case: Case Interview Experiences

Submitted by on Tuesday, 22 March 2011No Comment
Ace the Case: Case Interview Experiences

A friend of mine approached me with some serious career advice. She was finally getting the opportunity to become a consultant, something she’s always wanted to do. While we were talking, I stopped her and asked how she felt about it. She asked me what I meant and I clarified by stating how confident was she that she can do the job? Hesitation kicked in and that’s where I jumped in. This post is to encourage others like her so read on.

So you’ve got the opportunity to work in a consulting company or an organization with internal consulting services. Great now the next step is what separates the men from the boys, the ever so popular case interviews. Case interviews can be extremely difficult but in the past I have not only aced every single case study that has come my way, but I was offered senior management roles in some of the largest and well known consulting firms in the world.

In most cases, the consulting cases are broken down into a business problem. For example, company ABC is a foreign retail organization that wants to break into Canadian soil. Their business is based on the value of quality over cost but given the recession, most Canadians are concerns about costs over quality at the present moment. ABC has hired you to help them evaluate the feasibility of their plan. What do you recommend?

The scenarios themselves are very high level and open ended because the firm wants to test your ability to generate creative ideas and better understand your ability to build strategies and rationalize them. At this point you might want to break down the given information and jot down what you feel is required information. You might want to know more about the company, their products, potential competitors, market size, location potential, sales potential, government regulations and of course target audience. That’s the technical part or what I call the easy part. The real challenge is your confidence, attitude and mindset. The truth is the case can shape into what you want it to look like. I recall my first case interview I was terrified and thought i’d ask the wrong questions or not ask the right ones. However, the one thing that kept me on the right path was confidence and having a positive mind. Although fearful of the process, there wasn’t a moment that passed where I didn’t think that I couldn’t do it. Afterall its like building a story book, as you get more information the story get more clear. You really have to have a positive attitude going in because while you might solve the case, the interviews can sense hesitation and lack of confidence which is not something they want to project to their clients and the interview can south. If you keep a positive mind, they feed off your energy and are more willing to work with you because you have the right attitude.

Interviewing can be tough, there is no doubt about it. I’ve fumbled on my interviews in the past because of my lack of confidence and positive mind set. While I had the right skills, I just didn’t portray the image they wanted. However, after a while, I told myself there is nothing to lose with a positive mind and a potential career to gain. That’s when the offers came in month after month. The consulting companies really commented more on my ability to project the right image and less on the technical piece. Never doubt yourself and keep in mind that if you try and put your mind to it, you can succeed. Stay positive and success will greet you along the way.

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