Today I had 3 cases

1) profits decline cause + strategies in an insurance company

2) factory shutdown or continue in utilities

3) Increase profitability of a private bank

I spend like 5 minutes in the beginning of the case to know a bit more about the background such as Internal issues (company, product), External issues (industry , competition, customers) , then directly moved into the isolation of the main issues and do some deep analysis. Cracked the 3 cases but still got rejected (total time 5 minutes information gathering, 20 min deep delving in to the most important issues, total 25 min per case)

This time they told me, Yes I cracked the REAL cases, not a case.  The calculations were correct, business sense all present.

This time I got rejected because they think its inefficient to spend max. 5 min (I counted them on my watch, so really 5 min max. ) in the beginning to gather the data I described for background understanding, in real life projects you only collect data which is relevant not more. They told me I need focus directly on the main issue and build a hypothesis from there and only ask information you need.

Can you please advice how to proceed? I am really really confused… I don’t know what to do anymore I am totally lost.

My Response:

It’s a little tough to give you guidance since I didn’t hear or see you do the case.

When I did cases as an interviewee, I would typically only ask questions up front to clarify my understanding of the situation– such as get definitions for industry standard terms (e.g., in life insurance, customers aren’t called customer’s, they’re called “lives” as in “we have 100,000 lives insured”).

Here are a few questions I would suggest you ask yourself:

1) “How many minutes into the interview did you implicitly or explicitly state a hypothesis?”

2) When you discovered something interesting, counter intuitive, or contrary to your hypothesis did you “think out loud” and state what you’re thinking (translation: revise your hypothesis given the new data)

If the feedback is you’re not being hypothesis and data driven, then take the feedback and by really explicit about your hypothesis and do it really early in the interview.

From the interviewer’s perspective, it probably came across as if you didn’t have a clear hypothesis and were being hypothesis driven… translated: you’re going to waste hours/days/weeks on a real engagement without delivering anything insightful or you can be trusted to do so reliably and consistently. (The latter is especially important).

So, for a profit’s are down case, just mechanically state that you’re going to hypothesize that profits are down because sales are down.  Test it.  Revise hypothesis. Retest.