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    ManagementConsulting

    Association

    Guidebook

    2002

    Columbia Business School

    How many rollerblades in New York City? How much does the Empire State Building weigh

    manybeerbottlesarecurrentlyincirculationintheUnitedStates?Whyaremanholecoversround?Whydochickenswearredcontactlenses?Whydoconsultingcom

    paniesusecaseinterviews?Ho

    wcanyousellpeasontheInternet?Hownowbrowncow?

    Cases

    Industry Overview

    Frameworks

    Interview Guide

    Classwork

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    Columbia Business SchoolManagement Consulting Association

    Guidebook 2002

    Please do not duplicate, copy, print or photocopy 2

    Table of Contents

    INTRODUCTION ......................................................................................................................... 3

    THE MANAGEMENT CONSULTING ASSOCIATION......................................................... 4

    INDUSTRY SNAPSHOT........................................................................................................... 5-8

    1ST YEAR CORE CLASS CONSULTING INFORMATION............................................9-12

    THE INTERVIEW GUIDE...................................................................................................13-27

    The basics of consulting interviews..................................................................................... 13-14

    Methods for dealing with interview questions..................................................................... 15-18

    The audience who you are talking to ................................................................................ 19-21

    Consulting questions what you may hear or say............................................................... 22-25

    What consultants are looking for how they mark your performance..................................... 26

    Conclusions ............................................................................................................................... 27

    FRAMEWORKS ....................................................................................................................28-32

    COMMON CASE TYPES .....................................................................................................33-34

    THE CASES .......................................................................................................................... 35-117

    Business type cases (full answers) ....................................................................................... 36-88

    Business type cases (abbreviated answers) ........................................................................ 89-104

    Estimation cases ............................................................................................................... 105-111

    Game show cases.............................................................................................................. 112-117

    USEFUL FACTS & CONVERSIONS..............................................................................118-119

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    Columbia Business SchoolManagement Consulting Association

    Guidebook 2002

    Please do not duplicate, copy, print or photocopy 3

    Introduction

    The Management Consulting Association of Columbia Business School is pleased to present the

    Guidebook 2002 to assist CBS students in preparing for consulting job interviews.

    A collection of methods and sample cases has been compiled from consulting firms, students and

    other sources. Case interviews are used primarily to assess two qualities important in consulting:

    logical reasoning and business acumen. In addition, consulting firms monitor communication

    skills and try to gain insight into your personality (are you enjoying yourself? Are you easily

    frustrated?). They are also looking for you to demonstrate creativity by taking advantage of

    opportunities to yes, that dreadfully overused phrase think out of the box.

    This Guidebook begins with a snapshot overview of the management consulting industry. Next

    is a compilation of the most important consulting-related concepts and information taught in the

    first semester core classes at Columbia. Third, our interview guide section, which discusses in

    depth the dos and donts of consulting interviewing and preparation.

    The Guidebook finishes with a discussion of the different case types and kinds of frameworks

    used to answer them. The frameworks and solutions to sample cases used in this book are by no

    means definitive. Time and again recruiters will emphasize that there is no single correct answerto cases. That said, the solutions provided in the sample cases are just one recommended option.

    For the first time ever, we have decided to provide a soft copy of the casebook. Through this, we

    not only hope that the cost of the book is reduced, but also that it is easily available on your

    computers. We would therefore request you to respect the efforts of the many people who

    volunteered their time to put this book together (including our esteemed VPs of Publications) by

    not copying, duplicating or photocopying it. The price of the book will now go towards

    attracting the best cases for inclusion in the casebook.

    A former consulting interviewer, Nicolas Reuttner, contributed the interview guide and we

    further note that the copyright on this section is his own. The book is not to be reproduced

    without the written consent of the Management Consulting Association of Columbia Business

    School.

    Our sincere thanks go to the MCA members who have contributed the new cases for this edition:

    Dieter Fenkart-Froeschl

    Rajiv C Lochan

    Prithvi PrabhuJoshua Hubbert

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    Columbia Business SchoolManagement Consulting Association

    Guidebook 2002

    4 Please do not duplicate, copy, print or photocopy

    The Management Consulting Association

    For information about joining the Management Consulting Association or to learn more aboutour activities this year, please contact one of the following officers:

    President Woody Paik [email protected]

    Vice-President of Corporate Relations Manal Toukan [email protected]

    Vice-President of Corporate Relations (1st

    year) Matt Stover [email protected]

    Vice-President of Finance and Membership Lori Ginsburg [email protected]

    Vice-President of Finance (1st year) Bertrand Lam [email protected]

    Vice-President of Special Events John Crawford [email protected] President of Special Events (1st year) Tim Morningstar [email protected]

    Vice-President of Publications Prateep Sen [email protected]

    Vice-President of Publications (1st

    year) Fabrizio Bigioni [email protected]

    Vice-Presidents of Summer Term Whitman Kwok [email protected]

    Bryant Huber [email protected]

    Vice-President of Education Henry Agusti [email protected]

    Vice-President of Education (1st

    year) Kyle Alexander [email protected]

    Vice-President of Mentoring Prithvi Prabhu [email protected] of Mentoring (1st year) Davin Thigpen [email protected]

    Vice-President of Technology Raphael Ezry [email protected]

    Vice-President of Technology (1st

    year) Lawrence Wong [email protected]

    All club information is also posted on our web site at:

    www.gsb.columbia.edu/students/organizations/mca/mca.html

    mailto:[email protected]:[email protected]:[email protected]:[email protected]:[email protected]:[email protected]:[email protected]:[email protected]:[email protected]:[email protected]:[email protected]:[email protected]:[email protected]:[email protected]:[email protected]:[email protected]:[email protected]:[email protected]:[email protected]:[email protected]
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    Industry Snapshot

    Columbia Business SchoolManagement Consulting Association

    Guidebook 2002

    Please do not duplicate, copy, print or photocopy 5

    Industry Snapshot: Management Consulting

    OVERVIEW:

    Trends

    Following intense growth throughout the middle to late 1990s, many leading managementconsultancies have recently experienced significant downturns. The decline of the dot-com

    bubble, the slowing of the economy, and increased competition in the industry has resulted in

    tightening across all major consulting services-- strategy, operations, implementation, and

    technology consulting. Many prominent players in the industry have delayed start dates for new

    employees and cut back on their existing staff. Several of the smaller, niche firms have scaled

    back operations, been acquired, or exited the industry.

    Lifestyle

    While there is some variation among companies and specific assignments, almost all consulting

    work requires a significant amount of travel. Clients pay for support and, more often than not,

    this translates into presence at the client location. Acknowledging the strain this places on

    employees personal lives, consulting firms are becoming increasingly responsive to demands fora balanced lifestyle. Many firms have implemented programs to minimize travel days and

    maximize nights at home. While their weekdays (Monday through Thursday) can be long,

    consultants are generally assured of spending Fridays at the home office and weekends at home.

    Work Environmen