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How to Conclude a Case Study Interview

You’ve got to the end of the case analysis and your interviewer asks: “So, what is your recommendation to the client?”

It’s not the time to relax just yet!

You still need to communicate your overall findings and your recommendation. Consulting firms call the skill of doing this ‘synthesis’.

Why concluding the case well is critical

Synthesis is a key skill assessed by the case interview, and it’s predominantly assessed at the end of the interview. You must tick the box for each skill being assessed, so delivering a strong conclusion to the case question is important if you want to succeed in the interview.

Beyond that, it’s the final impression you’ll leave your interviewer with at the end of the case, so it’s an opportunity to finish on a high note.

Why concluding is more challenging than most candidates assume

Unfortunately, many candidates miss the opportunity to show their synthesis and communication skills because they don’t know what a great conclusion looks like.

It’s too easy to waffle and lack concision in your recommendation, and it’s also tempting to get the case over with by offering a half-baked conclusion.

Your job here is to provide a clear and sound recommendation that convincingly answers the overall question and to describe the key supporting points that informed said recommendation, as well as any next steps.

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What does an impressive case conclusion look like

As with most parts of the case interview, there isn’t a single right way to carry out a synthesis, but there is a framework that we’ve found helpful. The framework has four steps.

  1. Quickly play back the case question to the interviewer.
  2. Answer the question directly and briefly by distilling your response into a single sentence if you can. This means you’re presenting the answer first, rather than explaining your points and then presenting the answer.
  3. List off supporting points that backup that conclusion. You’ll typically have between two and four key supporting points here, corresponding to the findings of each of the analyses you conducted during the case interview. They should be crisp and concise. They should feel more like bullet points than paragraphs. You can also enumerate them.
  4. Conclude with next steps, which could either be practical next steps to implement your recommendations or further research to clarify what’s missing or to confirm your recommendation.

Here’s an example of a candidate delivering their case conclusion.

Case Interview with former McKinsey interviewer

Don’t be tempted to continue talking. Be as concise and to the point as possible.

Effective conclusions take practice, and we recommend that you do at least 25 live case practices to make sure you give yourself the best chance at doing well on the day.

Applying this framework is easier said than done

Although this framework is simple and easy to learn, most candidates struggle to put it into practice effectively. Why? They lose track of some of the key findings of the case and they don’t deliver the message like a consultant would.

How to deliver a standout recommendation and deliver while avoiding these mistakes is covered in detail in our Interview Prep Course. Make sure to check it out.

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