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How to conclude a case study interview

You’ve reached the end of the analysis portion of your case study interview – but it’s not time to relax just yet! Your interviewer is about to ask the crucial question: “What is your recommendation to the client?”

At this stage, you need to structure and communicate your overall findings and outline the next steps you think the client should take. This skill is called ‘synthesis’.

Here are our top tips for crafting and delivering a successful synthesis at the end of a case study interview.

Why concluding the case well is critical

Synthesis is a key skill assessed by interviewers, predominantly at the end of a case interview. To be in with a chance of landing an offer from a top firm, you must meet the success criteria for each evaluated skill. Delivering a strong conclusion to the case question is therefore critical. It’s also an opportunity to end the case on a high note and leave your interviewer with a positive impression.

Looking for the best preparation to ace your case interviews?
CaseCoach’s Interview Prep Course includes all the video lectures, sample interviews, case material and practice tools you need.

Why concluding a case study is more challenging than most candidates assume

Unfortunately, many candidates miss the opportunity to demonstrate their synthesis skills because they simply don’t know what a great conclusion looks like. In addition, it can be all too easy to waffle when delivering a recommendation, and to rush through a conclusion when the end of the interview is in sight.

Remember that your job here is to provide a clear and sound recommendation that answers the case question convincingly. You also need to describe the key supporting points that inform your recommendation, as well as any next steps that you think the client should take.

A framework for concluding a case study successfully

As with most elements of the case interview, there is no single correct way to approach the synthesis stage. However, there is a four-step framework that we’ve found helpful:

  1. Quickly play the case question back to the interviewer.
  2. Answer the question directly and briefly by distilling your response into a single sentence if you can.
  3. List the points that support your conclusion. You’ll typically have between two and four key supporting points that correspond to the findings of each of the analyses you conducted during the case interview. Your delivery here should be concise and the points you make should feel more like bullet points than paragraphs. You can even number each point out loud as you introduce it.
  4. Conclude with next steps. These can be practical points for implementing your recommendation, or further research to either clarify what’s missing or confirm your recommendation. Once you’ve done that, resist the temptation to continue talking!

Here’s an example of a candidate delivering an effective case conclusion:


Learning how to conclude a case study effectively takes practice

Although this framework is relatively 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 fail to deliver the message like a consultant.

Crafting and delivering an effective conclusion takes practice. In fact, most candidates who go on to receive an offer from a top consulting firm like McKinsey, BCG or Bain complete at least 25 live practice sessions before their interview.

At CaseCoach we can connect you with a diverse community of fellow candidates who are all available for case interview practice in our Practice Room. In each session, you’ll play the role of both the interviewer and the interviewee. This will help you to build your confidence and gain a robust understanding of the assessment dimensions, including synthesis.

In our Interview Prep Course we teach you how to tackle each dimension of the case and fit interviews, including techniques for concluding a case study. The course contains all the video lectures, sample interviews, case material, and practice tools you’ll need to ace any case interview.

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