Two Mindset Shifts Required For Casing Excellence

Properly preparing for strategy consulting interviews doesn’t just mean learning the process, memorizing frameworks, and casing all-out; in order to ensure success it’s also critically important that a mindset shift occurs. Good candidates get to the right answer. Excellent candidates do so in a very particular way – and this is the best way to ensure an offer.

So what are these required mindset shifts? From my experience as a case coach for dozens of candidates over the past 6 months, I’ve come across two major things preventing interviewees from reaching their full potential. Here are the two major mindset shifts needed to unleash your casing excellence:

1. Always Be Framing

By far the most self-reported struggle for candidates is coming up with a strong framework. In order to move past this, candidates need to practice, to build their background knowledge of the world and business (through reading The Economist, The Financial Times, etc.) and to be hypothesis and objective driven.

However, just as important is the following mindset shift: everything you do should be structured like a framework. This means, most of your answers and thought processes should have buckets, or steps, that are clearly articulated and get you to an answer.

For example:

When reading a chart: You should be thinking and saying “I see x information, which gives me the 3 following possibilities. Possibility 1 is the most likely due to y, but to weigh the 3 options I would need to understand a and b”.

When responding to a brainstorming question: You should organise your response categorically. I.e. “There are probably 3 main ways x company could reduce operating expenses. They are a, b, and c. Within “a” they could…”

When responding to a Fit/Behavioral question: Different parts of your story should use the bucketing and signposting concepts. If asked about a time when you turned around a project, you should say “I identified 3 main issues: a, b, and c. To resolve “a”, I did x. To resolve “b” I did y. To resolve “c” I did z.

To summarize, leverage the framing mentality in the majority of your interactions with the interviewer. This means categorizing your response into buckets, staying MECE (mutually exclusive, collectively exhaustive), sign-posting, and directly addressing the objective/question at hand.

2. This is the Real World

Too often, candidates approach a case like a test. Few resources emphasize the fact that a case is real life – it actually happened, albeit in during much more complicated and lengthy period. With few exceptions, interviewers have designed their own cases. They do so based off of a selected project. After writing their case, the case goes through an internal review process before being approved to be used in interviews. All of this means the interviewer lived this case!

As such, it’s extremely powerful to put yourself in the mindset of physically being at the client, hearing their question, and working with a team to brainstorm and find the answer. What framework would you really create if you were at the client site? What would your hypothesis really be? How would you actually go about proving/disproving this hypothesis and what information could you reasonably get? What would your recommendation to the CEO and/or senior executives really look like?

Just as importantly, what does the interviewer want to see from you? In 30 minutes you are trying to demonstrate to him/her what you would be like on an 8 week project. On day 1 you would be in a room, whiteboarding and brainstorming through frameworking. Are you coachable? Do you drive your own module and come up with your own possible solutions? Can you identify key takeaways from sparse or overwhelming amounts of information?

Picture yourself at a real company, with a real problem, as part of a real team, and your casing will become that much more real and effective.


If you want to move from just solving the case and being a good candidate to being an excellent one, two key mindset shifts are required: Always be framing and this is the real world.

Always be organised and MECE in your thoughts and explanations. Keep in mind that bucketing, signposting, and being hypothesis driven are critical not just during the framework but throughout the entire case.

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