13 points approach to solve any case study
Our core group has taken up 100s of case study rounds as well as nailed quite a few case studies. We have come up with a list of 12 points that will make your life a lot easier while you solve any case study.
These points will help you to solve any case study in an analytics interview or an MBA interview. These points will also help you break down a problem when you are working in a firm.
Go through all the points and let us comment below if you have any doubts or an additional point.
Videos on Case Study
If you need a detailed explanation on all the below points, then do watch this video – 13 Points approach to solve any case study
A detailed explanation of 20+ Case studies and guesstimates – Case Study playlist
What is the importance of a case study round in an analytics interview?
It is true that an analytics interview will mostly revolve around your technical abilities, you will be asked questions on SQL, Python, and some new technologies. Then why work on your case study solving abilities? There are two answers to this question:-
1. A good case study round will prove that you have a good ability to think through any problem i.e. you can take up any scenario and can break it up into parts to come up with a good solution
2. Suppose you did not do well in your technical round then this case study round can increase your chances of getting through the interview
Let’s start with our 13 point approach:-
1.Understand the problem
You need to clearly understand the problem. It is necessary because you will definitely be given the case study which you have not done in the past. Suppose, you are working in an e-commerce domain then you could be asked something on the lines of telecommunication industry or pharmaceutical or search engine. Now, your ability to understand the question will form the foundation of the case study round.
Bonus point – Once the question is asked, don’t repeat the question as it is. You can summarise the question but don’t kill time in repeating the question
2. Jot down the important points
When you are taking a telephonic round then you need to take up all the important points. These written points will help you whenever you are stuck in the round. At least try to write down the numbers and data given in the round. Try to comprehend things in your notes
3. Repeat your understanding
Now, once you have written the points and understood the problem then now is the time to summarise the problem. We can not stress more on the fact that you need to make sure that you have understood the problem and that the interviewer is aligned with your understanding. SUMMARISE
4. Clear out the final solution
Be very crisp but do clear out the final solution which you need to provide to the interviewer, if possible write it down in bold in your notes. Keep referring to the final outcome at least twice in your interview
5. Ask Questions
Never will the interviewer provide you a complete case study, they will always keep a room for at least a few questions. Keep asking thoughtful questions and not just for the sake of asking questions
6. Mention assumptions
You will have to ask questions to come up with assumptions, solid assumptions. Make sure that mention your assumptions boldly. For example, in one of the case studies a person was asked a case study to formulate the strategy to expand KFC in a new Japan. Now the first assumption the candidate mentioned was that this is the same multinational KFC brand that is famous for its fried chicken. Why is this assumption important? Because has it not been the same KFC but a local brand then the whole case study will change its flow. This new KFC might have budget concerns and can not burn cash to acquire the market. So, it’s very important to make and validate assumptions
7. Keep a check on time
Every interview is time-bound, be sure that you respect the allotted time and increase or decrease the pace accordingly. A standard case study round in an analytics interview can range from 15 minutes to 30 minutes in a product-based company but in a consulting or investment firm, it can go up to 50 to 60 minutes.
8. Organise your answer
You cannot solve a case study if your thoughts are not organized. Make sure to have clear horizontal and vertical cuts in your answer. If you are solving a problem to design a dashboard for a firm then you need to have main cuts like Supply, Inventory, Revenue, Operations and then go deep into each point.
9. Talk with numbers and data
You need to be quick with your calculation. Make sure to have a simple number for your calculations. Even if you are dead sure that the population of India is 133 crore, please assume and mention that the population is 100 cr.
Always ask for numbers and data associated with the case study, what is the market cap of the company in question, what is the user base, what were the numbers last year, anything and everything under the hood which is relevant to the case study. Avoid asking the capital of South Africa 😛
10. Listen to the interviewer
There is only one person in the room who has a better idea of the solution to the problem and believe me, it’s not you. You need to get the answer out of the interviewer, have you ever played 20 questions? There you think of a word and the person in front of you have to ask you 20 objective questions to boil down to the answer or that word. Play that game but don’t get too excited !!
And don’t straight away start celebrating like Saurav Ganguly in the Natwest series 😛
11. Come up with corner cases
Now you have to always think of the odd cases, cases that might take the interviewer off guard and get you brownie points. Things like ‘is there a new release in your app which is not working for a particular less branded operating system?’
12. Have room for ideas from the interviewer
Now, sometimes you might get into an argument or get too personal with your point, do make sure to listen to the interviewer and accept it if you think he is making a good point, he is your interviewer, not your boyfriend/girlfriend that you need not accept even if you are slightly off the topic
13. Summarise all the important points
When you are done and when you think you are running out of time then do summarise your points, come to a conclusion and make sure to end the case study on a good note with some answer of recommendation
We will solve some case studies in the upcoming blogs and videos to understand these points. All the best.
The Data Monk Interview Books – Don’t Miss
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12 E-books for 12 Machine Learning algorithms with 1000+ interview questions – For those candidates who want to include any Machine Learning Algorithm in their resume and to learn/revise the important concepts. These 12 e-books are a part of the 23 e-book package
Important Resources to crack interviews (Mostly Free)
There are a few things which might be very useful for your preparation
The Data Monk Youtube channel – Here you will get only those videos that are asked in interviews for Data Analysts, Data Scientists, Machine Learning Engineers, Business Intelligence Engineers, Analytics Manager, etc.
Go through the watchlist which makes you uncomfortable:-
All the list of 200 videos
Complete Python Playlist for Data Science
Company-wise Data Science Interview Questions – Must Watch
All important Machine Learning Algorithm with code in Python
Complete Python Numpy Playlist
Complete Python Pandas Playlist
SQL Complete Playlist
Case Study and Guesstimates Complete Playlist
Complete Playlist of Statistics