Economic consulting case interview questions are likely to be some of the most difficult hurdles to clear in your quest to become an economic consultant. The case interview questions for management consulting—economic consulting’s slightly more popular cousin—are much more well documented. But there is a relative scarcity of resources to help with the economic consulting case interview. The economic case interview has similarities to the management consulting case interview, but also some important differences.
An Overview of the Economic Consulting Case Interview
Both the management and economic consulting interview process involve questions about your personal fit at the company. However, the case interview portion of each process tests different skills. Yes, both case interviews will assess your overall analytical skills. Though, management consulting case interviews will look harder at your communication skills without testing specific technical knowledge.
Economic consulting case interview questions, by contrast, are designed to test your knowledge of many facets of economics. You will be expected to have a great deal of formal knowledge about microeconomics (especially competition policy and game theory). You will also be expected to have a deep knowledge of econometrics, applied statistics, and even statistic-specific software, such as Stata. In short, you’ll really want to brush up on your basic econ and statistics skills. This would include price elasticity, rules of competition, homoscedasticity, R-squared, regression analysis, and so forth.
Economic Consulting Case Interview Examples
Let’s take a look at some economic consulting case interview examples. As with management consulting, economic consulting case interview questions are often drawn from real-world scenarios that consulting firms have faced. This ensures that the questions test the actual skills applicants will use upon being hired.
Example 1: Intellectual Property
ElectriCo has a patent on a particular kind of battery. Without seeking ElectriCo’s permission, CelluCorps used that patented battery design in their new smartphone. ElectriCo sued in federal court, arguing that CelluCorps stole ElectriCo’s intellectual property. In turn, this enabled CelluCorps to steal ElectriCo customers, causing billions of dollars in lost revenue for ElectriCo. ElectriCo has hired your firm to determine the exact extent of these revenue losses as a result of CelluCorps’s intellectual property theft.
Example 2: Securities
Theta Inc. was privately run for over a decade, and experienced several years in a row of double-digit profit growth. Theta Inc. decided to go public, and the price of their shares at the initial public offering was $15 per share. On the strength of expected continued growth, the share price soon skyrocketed to over $50 per share. However, the growth in the wake of the IPO proved unsustainable. Theta Inc’s management was unable to remain competitive with larger rival companies. Theta Inc. soon lost several large customers, and with them almost half of the company’s total sales. After the news of these losses hit the markets, Theta Inc’s stock price fell down below the IPO price, to $12 a share.
Several shareholders filed suit against Theta Inc’s management, seeking losses on the stock price. These shareholders claim that Theta management were aware the customers were dissatisfied long before the news of their departure went public. If this were proven, it would mean Theta had violated their fiduciary responsibility to keep shareholders appraised of significant changes in the business. The damages the shareholders seek are based on a share price of $30 per share. Theta Inc.’s management has hired your consulting firm to help prepare testimony on the topics of securities valuation and what that means for the damages shareholders are entitled to.
Example 3: Energy Markets
Extraction Limited is a regional oil company with hydraulic fracturing and conventional drilling operations in the United States. For years, Extraction Limited has seen profits decline as oil prices have fallen. This was offset to some extent by the Trump administration’s abolition of many federal regulations. Those changes enabled Extraction Limited to lower the costs of production.
They were planning to expand drilling operations and increase production when the market received two simultaneous shocks: the coronavirus, as well as a surge in production from Russia and Saudi Arabia. This caused oil prices to plummet even further. Because of this, some economists predict that the oil market will never recover. The uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus as well as the upcoming US Presidential elections mean that the future for Extraction Limited is unpredictable. They have hired you to help them figure out how they should respond in the months and years ahead. Should they go ahead with their planned drilling expansion? Should they reinvest in other operations, such as renewables, in advance of a further decline in the oil market?
Economic Consulting Case Interview Practice
Those examples illustrate the types of questions you are likely to see in the economic consulting case interview. However, this list is far from comprehensive. If you’re trying to figure out how to structure your economic consulting case interview practice, you’ll need to go far beyond what we’ve laid out above.
So how should you go about practicing? The best prep routine for the economic consulting case interview has some things in common with management consulting, and some differences.
What they both have in common is that you will really benefit from working with an experienced coach. This coach should be devoted to coaching full time, or at the very least consistently. They should also have firsthand experience of the interview process. The ideal coach has seen this process both as an applicant and as an interviewer.
And now for the differences. The prep process for management consulting focuses on broad response strategies, as well as communication skills. The prep process for economic consulting case interview practice, on the other hand, goes beyond basic analytical and communication skills. It includes rigorous review of economic principles. A thorough preparation will look deeply at some concepts found in an Econ 101 class. With economic consulting, there’s less room for learning the technical elements of the job on the fly than there is in management consulting.
Now you should have a much better idea of what the economic consulting case interview is like. You’ve seen some economic consulting case interview examples, and you’ve read our recommendations for how to prepare. The next thing you’ll want to do is get an experienced coach. Luckily, Management Consulted has you covered. Our dedicated coaches offer real-world expertise as well as a track record of proven success with our clients.
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