How to Crack the Management Consulting Case Study Interview

Case study interviews test potential management consultants in various ways through giving candidates a small problem to work through in an allotted period. First, they test the strength of a potential consultant’s problem-solving abilities. Second, they test how new consultants deal with unexpected and unfamiliar situations. Third, they evaluate how well the interview subject processes information. Finally, case study interviews were designed to demonstrate how well potential consultants work as a team.

What to do in Advance

Some firms, like Bain & Company, McKinsey & Company, and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) provide practice case studies and offer advice for interview preparations. It is advisable to do background research in advance. Before an interview is scheduled, already known facts should include the consultancy’s preferred methodologies, the names of the key players at the firm, and the types of clients and cases the firm works on. Recent press releases are helpful for researching the company and its current projects.

In addition to case studies found on websites, the business section of your local newspaper (or The Wall Street Journal) is helpful. Many news reports in this section provide case study preparation materials. Practice answering questions about how you would advise the company, what this advice would be based upon, and what would have to be worked out before continuing the process.

How to Prepare

In addition to collecting news articles, sample case study questions, and background information on any of the firms you will interview with, it’s important to practice how you would answer questions during the interview. Here are a few tips.

1. Use online, interactive, practice cases studies. You can find great case studies on company websites. For example, Bain & Company offers three practice case interviews to practice with in their applications area. Use case studies from the companies you will be interviewing for.

2. Look at recent press releases from the company you are interviewing at. What sort of work will be involved? Who will the clients be?

3. Practice creating a case from a newspaper article. If this company were your client, what would you advise them to do? Why? Work through the case as if you were in the interview situation.

4. You may want to purchase a book of case interviews such as How to Get into the Top Consulting Firms: A Surefire Case Interview Method by T. Darling or Case in Point: Complete Case Interview Preparation by Marc. P Cosentino and work through their example cases. These books will also give you additional tools to help you work through the cases.

5. Find a partner to practice with. Perhaps you have a colleague, friend, or family member who is willing to walk you through some of the cases in the books. The Cosentino book features a guide for those helping you to practice, instructing them on how to ask questions and reveal new parts of the problems.

6. For team work cases, organize a group to work through cases together. This is best when you are in an MBA program, or if you have a group of friends who are applying to work as consultants.

7. Speak answers into a digital voice recorder, play back the tape, analyze what could be better, and what worked.

On the Day of the Interview

During the interview, it is vital to come off relaxed and confident. Make sure the question and example are understood. Restating the case can be helpful. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Be ready for anything. Additional information regarding the case may be presented at any time. Speak slowly and clearly. Finally, structure the argument so that it is easier for your interviewer to understand your position.

Example Case Studies

Your client is a large bank is purchasing a large rewards credit-card franchise. They have two competing teams arguing about the new acquisition: either they can turn this franchise global, offering reward incentives to those with exclusive bank accounts, or they can keep the franchise open to any who buy into the program. To help your client, you will need to compare the potential for profit on both options and decide what would make the better outcome for the company. Be sure to list your reasons for your decision.

Your client is a realty company hit hard by the current recession. They hired you to recommend strategies to make the economic downturn profitable for them. You will need to work out ways they can market and position themselves for long-term growth and recovery. Once the problems with their current approaches have been identified, work out a strategy that will have the realty company bounce back.

Your client has been making sports apparel for adults for years and wants to open a new, children’s division. They hired you to find out whether this would be a profitable decision. Assess the potential for income from this business. Explain what areas you would need to explore to determine whether this would be a profitable business venture. What potentials for growth will your client have if they expand? What are the most cost effective ways for your client to expand? Why do you choose these methods?

Why Lawyers Charge For a Consultation

Clients often wonder why an attorney charges for the initial consultation, which may occur before the client has decided to proceed, or chosen the lawyer he or she wants. The reason for this was summed up by Abraham Lincoln, who said that “a lawyer’s time and advice are his stock in trade.” During an initial consultation, I expect to spend some time with the client, and give him or her the benefit of my knowledge and experience. Lawyers don’t want to give away their “stock in trade” for the same reason that any other business expects its customers to pay for what they purchase.

Sometimes, a consultation is all that the client wants or needs. In other cases, at the end of the consultation the lawyer is able to offer the client one or more options on how to proceed, and the client can then make an informed decision about whether to proceed, and also whether this is the lawyer they want to retain.

There are some lawyers who offer free consultations, as a way to bring in additional business. I have come to believe that this doesn’t work well, in the long run, for either the attorney or the client. If the attorney spends the amount of time on free consultations that is needed to analyze the client’s situation, he might spend all day working without getting paid – not a good business model! Other attorneys might offer “free” consultations with a strict time limit: you get 15, or perhaps 30 minutes for free, and then the meter starts running. That seems a little deceptive: the free part is taken up by the introductions, and the client’s description of their circumstances. For the client to receive a real benefit, they will need to pay for the second half of the consultation.

There are some exceptions to this rule. Attorneys almost never charge for the initial consultation in a Personal Injury cases; these are cases where the fee is normally based on a percentage of what the attorney recovers for the client. In Social Security or Workers’ compensation cases, charging for a consultation would actually be illegal: the agencies that administer these benefits must approve any fees that lawyers charge.

Many lawyers also accept a limited number of cases “pro bono”, or without charging any fee. These are often referred to the lawyer by a local legal services organization, who determines the client’s eligibility based on their financial circumstances.

What the BSC Consultant Offers

Every company would like to excel in the field that they are in. This is why many businessmen make intensive researches in order for them to learn how to beat their rivals. When they found out what they have to do, they execute things immediately so that they can take a huge leap leaving their competition behind. One of the most interesting systems that have been discovered is the balanced scorecard. This is a methodology that is used in order for the company owners to monitor and check the health of the entire business. The BSC is not only concentrated on keeping track of the financial assets of the company but also other elements including the employees and their efficiency, the processes that are executed and the contentment of the customers.

If you are new in the business world, you would likely have to acquire all the help you can get. When it comes to the balanced scorecard, it will be hard for you to create one especially since it is your first time to do so. Moreover, this could be the first time that you have heard of the term. There are also other businessmen who need assistance when making the scorecard because they think that the system is not helping them in succeeding. If either is your case, you will need the aid of a BSC consultant. As the name suggest, the BSC consultant is someone who is an expert in giving advice on different matters regarding the balanced scorecard.

In general, the consultant will provide information about the BSC. There is a two way conversation here because you will need to tell the consultant about your problem. For instance, you have difficulty in executing the BSC and thus you think that here is a need for you to improve it. The consultant will give you some pointers, ideas and recommendations that you can use so that the BSC will finally work for you and your company.

There are a lot of companies that offer BSC consulting services. They have professionals who will help you in understating just what the BSC is, how you should create one for your company and how to apply it not only for a single area in your company but to the whole organization. The BSC consultant offers advice on cascading the scorecard as well as in selecting the right components for it. There are also consultants that will name few pieces of software that you can use along with the resources that will enable you to comprehend the execution of the BSC.

One of the most difficult things about the balanced scorecard is that there is a need for you to integrate this one to your strategy. You can make things a whole lot easier by simply contacting the right company that will provide you with the BSC consultant that you necessitate. He or she will coach you on how you will be able to achieve the correct scorecard and develop the implementation plan that you will use to get the desired results.

How Can Outsourced IT Consulting Help Healthcare Professionals?

If there is one area that IT consulting services might want to sink their teeth into, then it has to be the healthcare sector. It is for the simple reason that the healthcare industry is in constant need to upgrade their technology network. Whether it is in patient file database, illness profiling, or a myriad of other tasks that need technology, IT consultancy experts will be needed. This provides a fertile ground for such firms in their IT lead generation campaigns. The only question here is how to get healthcare professionals and companies to work with an IT consulting firm.

In case this is the scenario for your business, you must first realize the various issues that healthcare institutions have to face. Among these is variability. There are a lot of technological advancements being done in patient care and administration, and not all healthcare providers have the technical know-how to use or maintain specialized devices. And given the volume of patients needing immediate care, it is somewhat impossible for, say, a doctor or a nurse to operate a computer while treating a patient at the same time. This makes outsourcing the work to an IT consulting services that specializes in healthcare even more attractive. It may look a bit unprofessional for some, but for the sake of actually producing results, this is a necessary investment.

There are also other areas where IT consultants are needed. Take, for example, in information management. When we talk about hospitals and treatment centers, we are not just talking about doctors and patients. We are also dealing with the massive amount of data and technological equipment that needs professional handling. And really, with the costs being incurred with in-house IT specialists, it does make sense to have the job outsourced to those who can competently handle the job. And this is where you, the IT consulting service provider, who can answer that need.

IT consulting firms will benefit from a good IT appointment setting campaign, provided that they choose the right medium to communicate. And there are plenty to choose from, like social media marketing or telemarketing. What is important here is that you select a lead generation provider that specializes in healthcare. You need people who know a lot about this particular industry, since there are terms and rules that you need to be aware of if you want to be effective in generating qualified IT consulting leads out of the market.

You can promote your firm in terms of benefits. For example, you can start with your specialization in perfecting the IT infrastructure supporting a healthcare institution. Another benefit you can tout is in terms of cost reduction. Since a lot of IT consulting firms work for a reasonable consulting fee, the duration based on contracts, you can say that healthcare facilities can save more with you. If relayed by professional IT appointment setters, this can mean a great deal for you. You can get more IT leads that way.

What Can a Consultant Do For Your Business? Part V

This article is the fifth part of a series of articles that discuss the value a good consultant can bring to your business.

Assisting Decision Making

A good consultant can assist his clients in decision making without taking over the process or making any of the decisions himself. A consultant can never lose sight of the fact that the client’s business is not his own. The client must make all decisions. The consultant’s position is only to advise.

The simplest way to assist a client in decision making is to list the possible decisions and discuss the implications to the business of each possibility. In addition, a consultant can discuss the personal implications of each possibility to his client. A consultant may be able to save the business at the cost of his client having to give up control of the business. It is the client’s decision to determine is this is his desired course of action. By creating a spreadsheet with the expected outcomes for each possible choice, the options are laid out clearly. The client is able to intelligently select the decision that suits him best.

Helping the Client Become more Efficient

As a result of the accurate analysis and discussion of the business practices and techniques in place, the consultant can help his client become more efficient. Businesses tend to maintain their historic practices without constantly testing these practices for their continued efficacy. As an outsider, the consultant tends to spot these anachronisms, helping his client rid his company of inefficient practices.

In addition, a good consultant should have a number of ideas for making companies more efficient. These may include practices such as outsourcing, automation, and investigating open source solutions, among a plethora of ideas. Although it is unlikely that all of these ideas will be applicable to every customer, it is almost certain that for each client there will be some ideas in the consultant’s arsenal that will increase his efficiency.

A consultant should also analyze the client’s workflow and help determine methods of making it more efficient. This may involve analyzing the position of workstations between steps in a process, combining multiple operations in one physical location or in the hands of a single team, or streamlining bureaucracy and the flow of information and or paperwork in the client’s organization.

Finally, a great consultant will be able to improve the efficiency of specific businesses. This requires a thorough knowledge of the client’s business, enabling the consultant to spot inefficiencies in his client’s methods of production, distribution, marketing, etc. In doing so, the consultant demonstrates great proficiency and often leaves his client astounded, to great effect.

Changing Mindset of Consultancy Services

With the growth of the economy, the need for recruitment consultancy services in the country is also growing at a steady pace. Consultants have over the last few years shown positive developments in hiring and meeting the needs for high-end professionals.

Human resource consultants work in close collaboration with an organization’s human resource department to select, interview and hire applicants who are suitable to fill job vacancies.

Matching jobs with candidates

The mindset about the recruitment industry has been changing over the past few years. And with it the role of consultancy services. Over the years the importance of matching jobs with candidates has gained in importance. Confidence in job consultancy services has grown many-fold and have shown positive development. This development has come about because of stability in the economic and political situation in the country.

Human resource is now being considered as one of the main reasons for growth of an organization. It is considered as the key to business growth.

Strategic partners to hiring companies

Consultancy service providers are now considered strategic partners to hiring companies. Use of analytics have replaced decision making based on intuition, with decisions made on the basis of data. More and more consultancy services will in future use analytics to strengthen the hiring process. Consultants realize importance of the role they play in attracting and hiring talented persons into a company. These recruits at some point are bound to play important roles in the growth and development of the companies that hired them.

Hiring excellent candidates

Most companies want to recruit those who are outstanding in their work and are proud to work for their companies. Mid-level companies that produce meagre products have great difficulty in finding excellent employees to hire.

Used more by small and medium sized businesses

In the last many years HR consultancy services have grown considerably. Their services are more and more being utilized by small and medium sized businesses. Owners or heads of these businesses find themselves spending more and more time in recruiting and allied work. Though this is important, it can be very time consuming. To overcome this problem they outsource these jobs to consultants so they can concentrate in their core functions.

There are three main reasons why this job is outsourced. There are skills, knowledge and better support in recruiting amongst consultants. There is considerable saving by doing this. The major saving is in hiring personnel to carry out the hiring functions.

Who needs these services?

It is seen that when a business has less than 50 employees, it is not viable to hire a HR team from outside. In such organizations it is normally the senior people within the organization who handle the HR functions. It is only when an organization is larger, the need for a HR consultant arises.

These consultancy services take up various HR functions depending on the need of the hiring organization. The extent of service will depend on the size of the organization which hires it. Bigger the organization, the greater is its hiring needs and hence greater will be the role of the consultancy service.

Risk Management For Consultants

If you are doing some professional job and you have to deal with people who ask you for insurances, loans and employee benefits then you might bethinking of who are the trainees of such people. Answer is of course the companies who have employed them but the true answer is the risk management consultant team which defines the standards for insurances, loans, and consultancy and employees benefits.

The main mission behinds the consultants is to provide benefits to employers, consultants, dealers and public related to them. We can say that a law consultant who is managing your risk is management by the risk consultant, management team.

The risk management consultants can provide benefits in education, skill learning, Profession, ethical guidance, exchange of information and promotion of professionals. The team members of consultant team is based on highly qualifier, trained, professional experienced members who are ethically strong and can guide the consultants according to their demands.

If you are a consultant and you need to have guidance from any person about your business and future business planning to avoid risks and risk factors that can come in your way of success so you should hire the risk management consultant for your guidance.

The risk management consultants are available on individual as well as the company basis. But the more professional consultants are those who are working with the organizations because they are more experienced and skillful that is the reason companies hired them for the risk management consultancy for other people.

The risk management consultants for consultants are trained in dong several activities. When you hire them they first try to do the exposure analysis regarding your field. They try to think about the organization by keen planning that on the basis of on going business what can be the future problems and what should be done to avoid and solve problems.

Further they make recommendation on what to do to control risk, whether they ask you to get professional indemnity insurance or to change management according to the requirement of your organization. There are some other things that they can say you to avoid risk but it is just an example. They mange the marketing strategies by analyzing the ratio of risk and provides with the best strategy to improve the organizations standard in the markets. They make marketing proposals, evaluate them and then recommend consultants to take further steps.

The risk management consultancies keep in contact with you and provide you the guidance whenever you want for your organization. In other words you can say that they become a part of your organization when you hire them for your work.

If you are looking for the specialized services then some risk management consultants can hire for special purposes. They can provide you guidance according to their specialized filed. The risk management consultants can help you in making audits, claiming audits, finding views and reviews, safety and protection programs, guiding through the professional indemnity insurance policies suitable for your company, serve as expert witnesses for organization, analyzing the related professionals of your business and providing ways to fight against them in market adjusting risk factors related to finance and profit and loss, broker selection and review, disaster planning and setting standards and rules for the employees working in organization etc.

Risk management consultancies are specialized in their specific filed and can be very helpful for your business consultancy.

Caring for Your Quartz Countertops

Quartz countertops are gaining popularity as a rival to marble and granite options. Unlike these two natural stones, Atlanta quartz countertops are engineered in a lab, combining quartz with various resins that result in a gorgeous and durable slab. These countertops are some of the most low-maintenance options out there, and all it takes is a few easy steps to keep them in great shape for many years to come.

Daily Cleaning
Quartz is non-porous, so the countertops don’t absorb spills the way some materials do. This makes them delightfully resistant to stains, and all it usually takes to clean things up is a damp rag and a mild detergent. For waxes, gums, and other materials that harden, they can be gently scraped off with a blunt, plastic scraper. Other messes should be wiped up as soon as possible, and the area should be dried with a white cloth.

Other Maintenance
Quartz countertops are not resistant to heat or strong chemicals, so in order to keep them in great shape, extremely hot items and chemical products should not be placed directly on the countertops. The materials in the countertops make them one of the hardest surfaces available, so your countertops will be resistant to scratches and cuts.

Why Quartz?
Atlanta quartz countertops are increasing in popularity for good reason. Because they are so durable and scratch-resistant, they can stay in beautiful condition for the lifetime of your kitchen. The non-porous quality makes them ideal for both kitchens and bathrooms, and they come in a wide variety of colors and patterns to mimic natural stone. Many different grains and colors can be used to create your ideal look, matching any space that you desire. Different finishes are also available, and honed, sand-blasted, or glossed versions can be created to meet your needs.

Advice To Follow When Building A Home Business

Starting a business can provide you with additional income or take the place of full-time job. Dedicating time to your business will turn it into a solid investment. Read this article to find some advice about running a home business to help you get where you want to go.
Make Money Online Right Now With Advice For Your New Blogging Business

If you are running a home based business that involves sales, be sure you know and are comfortable with your product. You need to be able to answer questions from your clients quickly and correctly. Being knowledgeable and honest about your product will help clients to trust you, and result in repeat business.

Always keep an eye on your operation costs and keep them to a minimum. You have already begun this path by choosing to use a home office, but keep operation costs in mind in all of your choices. This way you can keep your product costs as low as possible, giving you a competitive advantage against other businesses.

You need a post office box for business mail. Avoid using your home address when posting online. Taking this step allows you and your family to remain anonymous.

When running a business from your home location make sure you have a reliable internet service provider. Because most of your business will likely entail interaction with customers online, an unreliable ISP would bring about a fate tantamount to death for your experience. There are several ISP’s out there, so make sure to browse around before settling.

If you are good with crafts, you can start a home business by selling the things that you make. Not only will you make extra money, but you will be having fun in the meantime. Many people like to give unique, handmade items as gifts, which means this can be a good market for you to target.

Don;t forget to get business cards. In addition to your business name, address, and phone number, make sure to add your website address and business email. Vista Print is one business that offers your first order of business cards free-of-charge. Always carry them with you, and hand them out liberally.

Involve your family as a team and play for home business success. Your extroverted spouse might be eager to do cold calls and handle clients. Your daughter may be great for articles and ad copy, while your son could create cool logos, web sites and brochures. Above all, they must have fun.

Provide free products for others in the community to use as prizes. Not only does this increase your reputation for generosity in your area, but it gives your products exposure. The individuals who win may not have heard of you before but having the opportunity to sample your product could turn them into a customer.

To find success with a home business, you need to get comfortable with selling yourself. As a home business operator, you must continue to promote your enterprise at all times. Your customers must feel that the products that you offer are the high-quality products that they want. Understanding how to sell yourself and your company is a primary key to success.

You need to make sure that you get business cards made for your home business right away. It is important to have the business cards so that you can hand them out whenever you meet potential clients. The card should contain the company name, phone number and address at the very least so that the clients are able to easily contact your business.

Operating your own business can give you a degree of flexibility that many people find appealing. Your ability to clearly define both financial and personal goals you want from your home business will help direct your actions so that your business is likely to meet your goals. The information provided here should give you the basics you need to see just how far you can push your own business venture at home.

Tools to Get You More Organized, Efficient, and Less Stressed in Your Business

9 Operational Apps, Systems and Processes We Use at eVision Media
The other day I was having a conversation with a professional organizer I met in a Facebook group. We connected over the phone and talked about our businesses. When she asked me how organized I was, she was quite surprised to hear I felt I was very organized and systemized. I’m not overwhelmed like many busy entrepreneurs and small business owners are and this intrigued her greatly.

In fact, she commended me on how few people reach what I consider pretty normal! Isn’t that typical, right? Where we just assume everyone else knows/does what we do and thus, it’s nothing worth writing about?

So today I thought I would write down a list of the tools and systems I use to keep organized and systemized on a daily basis. Working with a virtual team of 11 people has forced me to be this way!

Here’s 9 ways I keep our eVision Media business smoothly operational:

1. At the top of the list is using Microsoft Office 365. I really couldn’t be functional without this software suite as an integral part of my daily operations.

There are 3 apps I use the most and they are:

a. Outlook. My Outlook program is always open. It’s the hub of my operations for my emails, calendar and tasks.

I use IMAP for email so I can use Outlook on my iPad and iPhone as well, enabling me to keep all 3 devices synched at the same time.

The only thing that doesn’t sync nicely is the calendar (due to my not using MS Exchange) so I use iCloud that syncs my calendar and I can use it for file storage too.

b. Excel. I love lists and keeping things organized. I guess one could say I’m addicted to using Excel to manage many of my day-to-day operations.

Whether at a client level such as tracking our marketing and social media progress or at our own level in tracking our content marketing efforts. I can’t live without Excel!

c. Word. This is self explanatory. All of my business correspondence is done in our branded stationery that’s embedded into Word.

All of my eVision Media and client documents are stored in “libraries” on my PC so I can easily access any file pertaining to anything I need. 2. Evernote. I started using Evernote a couple of years ago and never looked back. What a gem on keeping me organized! There’s a free version and paid version and so far, I’ve only needed the free version. This is where I keep track of many things like:

a. Current Projects. This notebook tracks all of our website development projects, marketing campaigns, webinars/telesummits as well as our “Done For You” social media projects.

I love how I can create checklists in Evernote to ensure I have all my bases covered as we work through each level of completion on each project.

Because we can have as many as a couple of dozen projects running at the same time, this system is invaluable to keeping me on top of things without having to always rely on my memory.

b. Leads. This is where I can easily take notes as I’m speaking with a potential client so I ensure I do proper follow up and not forget any details told to me.

c. Resources. I use this Notebook to save website links, tools and YouTube videos I want to remember and reference at a later date.

d. Notes. I’m always coming up with new ideas and need a place to jot them down so this notebook is ideal where I add things like newsletter ideas, Social Blast topics, tips I’ve learned on webinars and the like. e. Daily Tasks. This is basically my to-do list. I find this one the hardest to keep up – sometimes my tasks are completed so quickly, they didn’t make it in here to begin with! f. Personal Stuff. Life is not all business! So here’s where I store recipes and health tips I like to be able to easily reference.

Evernote also has a handy voice recording feature that I haven’t gotten into the habit of using but really should. The other feature I don’t use much is the ability to share certain Notebooks with my team. Since we use a different Project Management tool, there hasn’t been a need for this yet.

An alternative to Evernote is One Note, which comes with Office 365 but I’m a creature of habit and haven’t taken the time to explore One Note enough to see if it would work better for me. Why try to fix what’s not broken, right?

3. Speaking of Project Management, we use a centralized team system called eGroupware. This is a completely secure, privately accessible system that manages our entire team’s daily activities at an operational level.

4. For time tracking, most of our team uses Toggl. This is a free desktop/online app. that allows us to track how much time we spend on clients’ tasks down to the minute. This is extremely handy since we charge in 10 minute increments!

5. There’s often a need to send large files to clients so we have a Hightail account that I much prefer over using Dropbox.

6. For communicating with my team, I either use email or Skype. Skype is great for quick questions or for face-to-face team meetings.

7. During my monthly Social Blast training sessions, I use TeamViewer for screensharing capabilities. We also use TeamViewer when we want to do a demonstration with a client or get feedback on a design layout with our graphic designers.

8. For a newsletter database service provider, we now use Mailchimp. I usually recommend Mailchimp to our clients who are just starting out with their list building efforts due to it being free.

However, sometimes client’s needs require a different service like aWeber, Constant Contact, Get Response, iContact or even 1Shopping Cart or Infusionsoft if sales integration is needed. 9. To keep organized, and sane, with our social media efforts, we use Hootsuite and PostCron. Each of these services allow me to pre-schedule many of our posts to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

Every entrepreneur who is using social media in their marketing efforts should use some sort of scheduling software (there are lots to choose from) to save tons of time.

And as a bonus tip, call me old fashioned, but I still like to have a notepad and pen in front of me so I can jot down quick notes on the fly and track any quick tasks I need to take care of.

There’s nothing more satisfying than having that red pen and striking through things are they are completed. Ahhh…

So there you have it! These are the tools I use on a daily basis to keep me organized, systemized and operating at an efficient level here at eVision Media.

What about you? I’d love to hear what tools you use that keeps you organized in your business!