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Overview of Case Study interviews

28 September 2015 |

Many interviews involve firms providing candidates with case studies, business scenarios or articles. As part of the assessment, you may have to give a short presentation (these typically focus on business issues and/or how the firm can assist its clients), before then being questioned at length on various issues/discussion points. You may be questioned on topics such as: business performance, financing deals, mergers & acquisitions, investment options and the role of the firm/different departments.

You may be provided with information on the background of a business; business accounts from recent years; press clippings about a business; information about a business" internal operations; and information on external developments relating to the industry in which the business operates.

Develop your business, finance and legal knowledge (elements of commercial awareness) so that you can demonstrate and apply strong commercial logic during case studies and commercial awareness interviews. However, do not just regurgitate definitions and concepts. Demonstrate an ability to flexibly apply the concepts to the facts of the case study provided and assess in that particular case which concepts are likely to be the most relevant and effective. For instance:

  • If a client is considering purchasing another company, what are the different financing options and the corresponding advantages and disadvantages of each? (see the Financing A Deal section of the Commercial Law/Investment Banking/Consultancy Handbook)
  • How can such a transaction be structured? (see the Structuring A Transaction section of the Commercial Law/Investment Banking/Consultancy Handbooks)
  • What are the primary risks and how can they be mitigated? (see the Buyer Protection section of the Commercial Law Handbook)
  • How else could the firm help? (explanations are given in the Commercial Law/Investment Banking/Consultancy Handbooks)

Be ready to summarise the key facts, risks/weaknesses and opportunities/strengths (where required) and ensure any presentations you make follow a logical structure. This section of the website details various frameworks that you may find useful when structuring your presentations/answers to questions.

Whilst CityCareerSeries.com focuses on providing more general advice relating to applications, interviews, internships and commercial awareness, the City Career Series Handbooks can provide you with a basic understanding of the technical concepts that you may be required to apply whilst tackling interview case studies and work set during internships. There are editions available that focus on Commercial Law, Investment Banking and Consultancy respectively.

Christopher Stoakes has also written a number of useful books on commercial awareness, most notably "Know The City" and "Commercial Awareness". These provide a really great overview of the workings of the City and its major players and nicely supplement the information in the City Career Series handbooks.