qvartz case interview handbook

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  • The QVarTzcase inTerView

    handbook

  • how shoULd i Use This handbook?

    The purpose of this handbook is to serve as a source of inspiration during your interview preparation. We recommend browsing through all sections of the handbook to ensure that you are familiar with the various topics covered in it. The content will, how-ever, not be explicitly tested in any way during the recruitment process at QVARTZ.

    is This handbook reLeVanT For Me?

    This handbook is relevant for you if you are prepar-ing for upcoming interviews and are new to case in-terviews. If you are already a seasoned case solver or have read other literature on the topic, this hand-book may be of less relevance for you. See our sec-tion Additional resources for case preparation for other recommended sources of information.

    shoULd i PrePare beFore The inTerView Process?

    While it is possible to make it through manage-ment consulting interviews without preparation, we strongly recommend that you do prepare, as it great-ly improves your chances of securing a job offer. The vast majority of successful applicants across all management consulting companies have prepared by reading up on cases, practicing with friends and brushing up on their arithmetic skills. Preparing is especially relevant for non-business students who may not be very familiar with business terminology and problem solving methods.

    inTrodUcTion

    33

  • QVarTz: a nordic original . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

    QVarTz recruitment process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

    The case interview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

    Types of case questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

    how to open and close a case . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

    Frameworks for business cases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

    Profitability framework . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

    industry analysis framework . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

    Mergers & acquisitions framework . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

    Product strategy framework . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

    additional resources for case preparation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

    Quantitative preparation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

    example cases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

    TabLe oF conTenTs

    5

  • QVARTZ is a management consulting company employing more than 240 professionals across our offices in Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo. Our aspiration is to become one of the top-three con-sulting companies in all Scandinavian markets a seemingly tough goal, yet an inspiring challenge.

    Even though firmly rooted in the traditional, profes-sional values of high-end management consulting, QVARTZ was founded with the clear intention of changing the industry from within. Our ambition is to become the leading consulting company in the Nordic region by presenting an alternative to the standard consulting model. A Nordic model with less dependence on standard methodologies and more emphasis on listening and giving advice based on the clients specific challenges and opportunities as well as our specific insight and experience.

    While strategy development has always been the cornerstone of our offering, QVARTZ today works

    QVarTz: a nordic originaL

    extensively within transactions, commercial and op-erational excellence programmes and organisational transformations. Our client base covers a range of industries, including private equity, energy, pharma & medtech, retail, transportation and many more. Although most of our clients are large Nordic com-panies, approximately 40% of our projects are car-ried out outside the Nordics.

    At QVARTZ, we see consulting as a true career path, not just a stepping stone. We offer our consultants the opportunity to influence their own career pro-gression and work life to the highest possible extent. We strive to provide individualised matchmaking between personal wishes and project opportunities to ensure that our consultants develop and succeed. For the same reason, we attempt to nurture and de-velop our consultants as much as possible through mentoring and internal academies so that we can grow together as a company.

    6

  • QVarTz recrUiTMenT ProcessFULL-TiMe consULTanTs

    QVARTZ recruitment process for full-time consul-tants is centred around a comprehensive two-day recruitment camp.

    Over two days you will get the chance to learn more about what it is like to be a consultant at QVARTZ and show us who you are through a combination of interviews and group exercises on business di-lemmas. You will also meet many of your potential colleagues at QVARTZ, and the different sessions will offer you an opportunity to learn more about yourself and moreover provide you with concrete input to be further applied in your career, whether at QVARTZ or elsewhere. Among other things the programme includes

    AnintroductiontoQVARTZ Atimedquantitativetest Aseriesofcaseinterviews Agroupcasesession Apersonalstyleandpreferencesession

    JUnior consULTanTs

    Our junior consultants work on client projects just like any other consultant. They perform tasks simi-lar to those of newly hired full-time consultants, but typically work 15-20 hours per week while complet-ing their studies.

    The recruitment process for Junior Consultants con-sists of an introduction to QVARTZ, case interviews as well as a quantitative test. As for full-time con-sultants, we make sure that the candidates get to meet quite a few potential new colleagues during the process.

    If you want to know more about your career oppor-tunities with QVARTZ, please visit www.qvartz.com.

  • The case inTerView

    whaT is a case inTerView?

    In a case interview, the interviewer will present you with a situation or a challenge faced by a fictious company might be facing. You are asked to analyse and solve the problem through a discussion with the interviewer. The majority of case interviews are based on real client proj-ects and the interviewer may therefore have additional knowledge or information to draw upon during your discussions than was initially presented.

    whY case inTerViews?

    Consultants solve problems. Case interviews are an ef-fective way of simulating the kind of problems we en-counter on a daily basis. They are a fast and concrete way for us to understand how you frame and solve am-biguous business problems. In addition, they also give you an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the work we do and if a consulting career is what you want to pursue.

    whaT do we Look For in The case inTerView?

    The case interview is designed to test skills that are common to almost all consulting companies, though they may be described and weighted slightly different-ly in different places. During case interviews, the inter-viewer is looking to answer at least two questions:

    1 . would you thrive when solving our clients problems? The interviewer will assess your ability to combine skills such as logical reasoning, creativity, quantita-tive skills and business acumen as well as your ability to put it all together and structure the problem solv-ing process. The interviewer checks whether you can insightfully think through the problem and then tailor your approach to the problem at hand, rather than try-ing to fit something in to a predefined framework. The interviewer also seeks to understand if you base your conclusions on evidence rather than beliefs, and if you sanity check your answers to ensure they make sense in the context of the case.

    2 . would you work well with us and our clients? Management consulting is based on teamwork. Your ability to interact with others and your communication and presentation skills are therefore of great impor-tance. The interviewer wants to understand if you are tactful and approachable, and how you handle con-structive input. Additionally, he or she wants to evaluate if you present your arguments in a clear and concise manner that would be easy for a client to follow. Do not be afraid to show that you are human; a welcoming and attentive attitude goes a long way.

    The groUP case session

    The group case session is designed to give you an op-portunity to show how you work with peers on chal-lenging problems. In addition to the problem solving approach, teamwork along with effective communica-tion and ability to show respect and empathy will be evaluated. Throughout the group case solving process, an interviewer will listen in on the groups communica-tion to observe how its members interact, and continu-ously provide feedback.

    8

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