Case Interview Frameworks: Overview

Case interview frameworks are a substantial component of preparing for the case interview. The goal isn’t to memorize frameworks, but to use them as a launching pad to creating your own. Gain a really solid understanding of the main case interview frameworks you need to know as you prepare. Listen to the video above, or read below as Jenny Rae gives expert insights into which frameworks to use, how to go about using them, and ultimately, how to get creative when combining or building your own case frameworks.

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Case Interview Frameworks: Overview- Youtube Transcription

Case interview frameworks. We get this question all the time. How many frameworks do you need to know? How much can you rely on your frameworks? What should you do when thinking about case interview frameworks? Today just want to give you a couple of high level primers, on what makes a great case interview framework. And, some of the frameworks that we use at Management Consulted, and we’re teaching in large group settings in University’s, and one-on-one with our coaching clients.

Framework Context

I’m Jenny Rae La Roux, the Managing Director at Management Consulted. And my engagement with case interview frameworks has changed a lot through the years. I came into my consulting prep process with some business background, I was an economics major and had worked in business. But in reality, case frameworks are integrated strategic structures that are different than what you learn in classrooms. I wasn’t really up on the lingo that needed to understand how to build a case interview framework that was in one part understandable to the interviewer, that they felt like I wasn’t being too wild, or out of the box, and I was messaging that I had prepared. And on the other side, that was creative, and applicable to the problem at hand.

So, I want to walk you through here, just our basic recommendations for how to make a great case interview framework out of some of the generic case frameworks. I’m going to start by laying out the four frameworks that we teach as a baseline. If you have no idea where to start, you need to know the four of these. Because, these will give you a boundary, a playpen of sorts, that you can engage with. And that you won’t look ridiculous with in front of the interviewer. And then I’ll conclude the video with an ending where I talk about how to go beyond those case frameworks.

Case Interview Framework: Market Sizing

First of all, the first framework that we recommend is market sizing. Every single person walking into every single interview needs to understand how to get a market sizing prompt, break down the structure for it, communicate your framework, and then work through the problem. And market sizing frameworks are pretty high level, they’re 4-5 steps. And they’re 2 different types, the top down, and the bottom up approach. We have a video on the market sizing framework that you can watch. And in the links to this video, you can go and check that out. Make sure you look into the market sizing video.

The sum of the market sizing video is a structured math problem, that gives you a revenue per year, that you’re trying to calculate. So the first thing that you need to know, is the market sizing framework and you need to understand how to break it down into 4-5 steps. Market sizing, the level of creativity that you go into is, segmentation. So the main rules or categories are almost always the same, the way that you segment is where you’re creative.

Case Interview Framework: Profitability

The second structure is the Profitability structure. And profitability is the cornerstone structure that consultants use. It’s used by management consultants, strategy consultants, technical consultants, every kind of consultant thinks about the baseline of profitability and how their actions effect it as they’re working through the business problem that they’re solving. So, you need to understand this.

Profitability Formula

And the profitability equation as consultants use it is very straight forward. It’s:

(Price * Volume) – Variable Costs – Fixed Costs = Profitability

And the variable cost is the summed variable cost, which means it’s variable cost times the volume of whatever you produce. So four categories. Price. Volume. Variable Cost. And Fixed Cost. And if you don’t understand what falls into each of those categories, and what influences them, again, we have a video on the profitability framework and you should go watch it, understand it, and begin to apply it in your case interviews.

Case Interview Framework: Market Study

The third structure is a Market Study structure. Sometimes this is known as a marketing structure, 3 C’s of P. Other people talk about it as a business situation structure. We call it market study because it involves mostly a view on the outside of a market. And ours is a 5 part structure, that you usually pick 3-4 categories from.

The 5 categories for the Market Study Framework are:

  1. Overall Market
  2. Customers in the market
  3. Competitors in the market
  4. The Company
  5. Product or Service.

Those first 3 categories of the structure give you a lay of the land. What’s happening not just internally with your company, but more importantly externally. What things are you missing if you only focus on what you do? Then you bring the insights internal. And you look at categories 4 and 5. If you walk through all of these pieces of the structure you have to be careful making sure they are MECE, which we’ll talk about again, in another video that’s linked inside the comments. That MECE structure means that there’s no overlaps between them. But it’s also comprehensive. So you’re covering all the main points. This structure is very popular because a lot of company’s don’t understand what they’re missing out on, until they look at peers, or other players that are in the market. That’s the market study structure.

Case Interview Framework: Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)

The fourth structure is the Mergers and Acquisitions Structure. The M&A structure. And this one I love because it brings together all the first three structures in a very clear way. And for this we recommend you use

  1. Size of the Market and the market dynamics for the target company.
  2. The Company Dynamics of the target company.
  3. Post Acquisition Strategy. What the buyer is going to do to create more profit out of the business.
  4. Risks and Benefits.

And once again, we have other structure videos that walk in more detail on these structures.


So if you understand the basics of those 4 structures: 1. Market Sizing, 2. Profitability, 3. Market Study, & 4. Mergers and Acquisitions. You’re going to have a great start. But you’re not done yet with case interview frameworks. And we’ll go into more detail in this in another video, but most importantly, you have to understand that for especially for MBB firms, walking into the room and giving the straight up, vanilla profitability structure, will not cut it! It will only make you not look embarrassed, but it’s not going to get you the job. What gets you the job is to combine concepts across all 4 of those structures, and even bring in practical concepts on your own, from the outside. If you’re able to do that, if you’re able to walk through those 4 categories and mix and match them, in a way that is MECE, so it’s still clear, but it’s also comprehensive, that’s how you win at the case frameworks game.

If you have questions about how to build a great case framework, or how to utilize off the shelf case frameworks, we would love to help you. Click below for more information on our Black Belt preparation program – live coaching and expert feedback from MBB coaches that makes the difference between candidate and consultant.

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Filed Under: Case Interview