By, Jessica Knutzon

Interviewing can be a difficult process, so everyone prepares and practices for each interview – sometimes to a point of exhaustion. But is everyone prepared for a curveball? Sometimes interview answers may seem rehearsed, so companies are now trying to see how potential candidates react under pressure. Traditionally, case interviews are conducted at consulting firms, but a growing number of companies, particularly for marketing positions, are starting to use case interviews in the hiring process.

Professor Rick Baer, an adjunct professor of global marketing, held the Marketing Case Interview Insights & Workshop session, which commenced EmPOWERment Day. Students learned about techniques to answer case questions. Students at the session learned the steps to break down the case question and communicate that they can think logically, present with confidence and demonstrate conviction.

Professor Baer shared the top nine things to remember during a marketing case interview:

  1. Do not forget that the case interview is also an interpersonal interview.
  2. Make sure to answer the case question that is asked.
  3. Take time to compose thoughts and then start.
  4. Interviewers are assessing not just the answer but also the thought process.
  5. Think aloud so the interviewer can follow the logic process.
  6. Make clearly stated assumptions and move on.
  7. Most cases have neither right nor wrong answers, but approach or logic may not be right.
  8. To conclude, summarize: the problem, analysis and recommendation.
  9. Be decisive in the recommendation, as if selling to the President.

Professor Baer shared that the best way to practice is with a friend. If two people work together to skim through the Wall Street Journal, they can come up with different marketing scenarios and how best to approach a solution. For more in-depth information on case interviews, Professor Baer recommended reading Case In Point: Complete Case Interview Preparation by Marc P. Cosentino.

EmPOWERment Day is a series of lectures and workshops made possible by the joint efforts of the Thunderbird Marketing Association (TMA), Thunderbird Management Consulting Association (TMCA) and Thunderbird Finance Association (TFA). If you are interested in participating in future marketing case interview workshops, keep an eye out for Professor Baer’s session each trimester.

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