Here is apractice tip from a student about how to practice cases in everyday life. This is a great tip and one I used myself when I was preparing for the case interview and one, I highly recommend. Below are the details on how this student used this practice tip to receive an offer from McKinsey as well as how I used the same tip in my practice and how you too can practice cases in your everyday life.

Success Story

“I wanted to thank you for your help.  The emails and the videos that you provide have been, without a doubt, the best resource to help prepare me for case interviews.

I recently heard back from McKinsey Dallas with an internship offer.  I wanted to share a tip that really helped me with the process.

I found that one of the best ways to prepare when you don’t have someone to practice a case with is to simply create your own mental case (Pun not intended).

What I mean by this is to observe problems or situations and analyze them.

For example, as I walk to class, I give myself cases such as: Should we put up a stand in this area on campus to increase awareness for an event? should Taco Bell opena location here on campus? etc.

I found that forcing myself to organize my thoughts on a consistent basis, paid dividends when I was asked to do so in a controlled setting.

Thank you again for your help.”

My Follow-up:

I really like this tip of practicing cases in everyday life. It is an easy way to work on case structuring skills in particular.

The key is to take decisions you would normally just make intuitively and attempt to structure them.

For example, for the long weekend, should I go visit the beach or visit the mountains?

If I want to pick a new hobby, how should I decide which hobby to pick?

I noticed the airport has a new electric train shuttle from the parking lot to the terminal, under what circumstances would this make sense (e.g., the hypothesis is: it’s a good idea; what are the factors that would have supported this hypothesis?)

Every decision like this can be structured into a hypothesis and a supporting issue tree.

What should we go out to eat for dinner? Steaks? Seafood? Mexican? Italian?  What is the issue tree that helps you decide?

Should I order the fish or the steak? What is the issue tree that helps you decide?

You go to the parking lot of your local grocery store and you notice the parking spaces are narrower than in other parking lots. Clearly someone thought this was a good idea. What was the issue tree that supported this decision?

Similarly, you can do what I used to and read Bloomberg BusinessWeek and “reverse engineer” every major business decision in the news.

It’s a bit tiresome to go through every decision in life this way, but it is a good way to squeeze in extra practice for a case study interview through everyday life.

Let me warn you though, your friends will probably think you are crazy when you answer the question “Where do you want to go to dinner tonight?” with a hypothesis, issue tree and strong opening statement to your analysis.

Don’t ask how I know this.