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Case interviews are, in my opinion, they best indication of talent you get in the recruiting process. How else are you going to test critical thinking? Unless you want to rely solely on a resume plus test scores - which provides a big advantage to traditional backgrounds (who tend to be less diverse).

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I think you can learn much more by asking good behavioral questions. I once worked in a research heavy economics role and the questions were all about my senior thesis, how I collected the data, how I cleaned it and verified it, the code I used to analyze it, etc. Not everyone in management consulting has that sort of quantitative experience but I think you can modify the questions to really probe how someone has worked on real problems in the past. I think case studies still have value, but the really seem more about how someone can package a simple analysis rather than solve problems.

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Where are you quoting the “require case interviews…” from?
I read the article and didn’t see it there. The article is great - nuanced, asking the right questions, and suggesting alternatives. I agree that the case method is overused in consulting.
I think your commentary is a bit strange. For instance, the charge of “elitism”. Consulting firms are unabashedly elitist. It’s part of their value prop: “we’ll send a team of people that went to Harvard to your factory in [insert non coastal state]”

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Again, consulting is a joke. Quite frankly could hire fresh high school graduates and really save costs. Nothing that a tech savvy high schooler couldn’t do. Basically white collar factory work.

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I’ve made this argument for almost a decade now - the major consulting firms should just hire kids out of college into a work-study type program. The kids get an education in stuff actually useful for a career in consulting or tech and they get paid vs being saddled with debt. Companies get cheaper labor.

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What? That quote is not in the article and there's nothing in there about white men being favored by the case study interview process. Don't make something racial for no reason.

Consulting recruiting is elitisit in general. That's the entire point and the value prop. Nobody would hire or want to work for MBB if they were not elitist gatekeepers. If anything one can argue that the case is a meritocratic way to find people who are willing to do the prep work to do well on them, given the amount of free content there is out there on case interview prep.

That said I'm skeptical about how much value there really is in using case interviews in consulting recruiting. Anecdotally, I've sometimes done quite well on case type interviews when I didn't prepare at all, and sometimes not well after preparing a lot. I suspect that it's a quite "noisy" signal of ability.

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That’s the point - case interviews don’t prove innate talent or intelligence, nor does doing well prove that you do your homework. Instead, they allow the interviewer to use their own gut instincts to decide who gave the best answer. Sometimes that gut instinct may be racially biased, whether the interviewer knows it or not.

However, as the article pointed out, it’s different when the question has defined good or bad answers determined ahead if time, so it’s harder for those biases to creep in.

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Honest Q: how could the authors have performed the research that leads to this conclusion given that, by definition, they do not have information about the job performances of people who failed the case interview? How could you do this without that data?

I’m not saying case interviews are great, they’re not.

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It said somewhere in there that they had a meeting with a European economist who did have data. Though not a lot of information on how that person acquired it.

Facts

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I’m glad this got some traction. Just want to make folks aware that case study interviews are a high barrier of entry and you’re missing out on diverse talent who can show their problem-solving skills through other ways (behavioral questions, presentation of past work). You’ll probably get more creative thinking and work than someone who can just memorize those case solving frameworks.

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Solving a case is the most similar interview experience I can imagine to what I do as a strategy consultant day to day. So yes, aptitude. It is similar to being asked to role play in a sales interview, code in a software interview, or build a model in a PE interview.

And the whole point is it’s a framework that helps people from a variety of backgrounds show that they can be structured and logical problem solvers.

Case interviews do one thing very well - they help identify people who are not going to be successful consultants. Regardless of how well they can bullshit a resume.

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The article mentions nothing about race. Quit race baiting.

The quote is not from the article — it’s from a friend. It rang true to me — despite having succeeded in strategy jobs in boutique firms and in-house, I’ve never applied to management consulting because of the case interviews (I’m not a white guy). I then tried to research whether case interviews were in fact indicative of anything and found this.

A1 one of which is that people from traditional backgrounds will have resources they can call from help, while a lot of more diverse hires would not!

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