Alvarez & Marsal Case Interview: Your Comprehensive Guide

Alvarez & Marsal interviews consist of case interviews and behavioral or fit interview questions. There are typically two to three rounds of interviews that you will need to go through in order to receive a consulting job offer from them.

  • First round interview: 30-minute phone screen with an Alvarez & Marsal recruiter. Questions will be focused on your resume and previous work experiences. If you are a student and you are recruiting on-campus, your interview process may skip this step.

 

  • Second round interview: Two to three 1-hour interviews with consultants, managers, or partners. These interviews will each have one or two behavioral or fit questions and a case interview.

 

  • Third round interview: Two to three 1-hour interviews with managers and partners. Similar to the previous round, these interviews will have a few behavioral or fit questions and a case interview.

 

If you have an upcoming interview with Alvarez & Marsal, don’t stress out. We’ll cover exactly what you need to do to crush your interviews and land the job offer. In this article, we’ll cover in detail:

  • The 5 steps to solve any Alvarez & Marsal case interview

 

  • Alvarez & Marsal case interview examples

 

  • The 10 most common behavioral or fit interview questions

 

  • Recommended case interview prep resources

 

The 5 Steps to Solve Any Alvarez & Marsal Case Interview

 

A case interview is a special type of interview that nearly every consulting firm uses. Alvarez & Marsal places a heavy emphasis on case interviews during their interview process.

 

Alvarez & Marsal case interviews simulate the consulting job by placing you in a hypothetical business situation in which you are asked to solve a business problem. You’ll spend 30 to 40 minutes collaborating with the interviewer to reach an ultimate answer or recommendation.

 

Alvarez & Marsal case interviews are generally candidate-led. This means that you will be expected to lead the direction of the case. You’ll be responsible for asking the right questions, analyzing data, driving discussion, and proposing each next step.

 

Case interviews can cover any industry or any type of business problem. Although you cannot predict the exact case interview question that you’ll get, each case interview follows a similar flow and structure:

  • Understand the case

 

  • Structure the problem

 

  • Kick off the case

 

  • Solve quantitative problems and answer qualitative questions

 

  • Deliver a recommendation

 

1. Understand the case

 

Your case interview will begin with the interviewer giving you the case background information. While the interviewer is speaking, make sure that you are taking meticulous notes on the most important pieces of information. Focus on understanding the context of the situation and the objective of the case.

 

Don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions if you do not understand something. You may want to summarize the case background information back to the interviewer to confirm your understanding of the case.

 

The most important part of this step is to verify the objective of the case. Not answering the right business question is the quickest way to fail a case interview.

 

2. Structure the problem

 

The next step is to develop a framework to help you solve the case. A framework is a tool that helps you structure and break down complex problems into smaller, more manageable components. Another way to think about frameworks is brainstorming different ideas and organizing them into different categories.

 

Before you start developing your framework, it is completely acceptable to ask the interviewer for a few minutes so that you can collect your thoughts and think about the problem.

 

Ideally, you want your framework to be as MECE as possible. MECE stands for mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. You want each element of your framework to have zero overlap with the other elements. Additionally, you want the sum of the elements of your framework to cover all of the important issues or areas of the case.

 

Once you have identified the major issues or areas that you need to explore, walk the interviewer through your framework. They may ask a few questions or provide some feedback.

 

3. Kick off the case

 

Once you have finished presenting your framework, you’ll start diving into different areas of your framework to begin solving the case. How this process will start depends on whether the case interview is candidate-led or interviewer-led.

 

If the case interview is a candidate-led case, you’ll be expected to propose what area of your framework to start investigating. So, propose an area and provide a reason for why you want to start with that area. There is generally no right or wrong area of your framework to pick first.

 

If the case interview is interviewer-led, the interviewer will tell you what area of the framework to start in or directly give you a question to answer.

 

4. Solve quantitative problems and answer qualitative questions

 

Your case interviews will most likely have some quantitative aspect to them. For example, you may be asked to calculate a certain profitability or financial metric. You could also be asked to estimate the size of a particular market or to estimate a particular figure.

 

The key to solving quantitative problems is to lay out a structure or approach upfront with the interviewer before doing any math calculations. If you lay out and present your structure to solve the quantitative problem and the interviewer approves of it, the rest of the problem is just simple execution of math.

 

When doing the math, make sure to talk through your thinking and calculations out loud. The interviewer should be able to easily follow what you are doing in each step of your calculations. Once you have calculated the answer, explain how your answer impacts the recommendation that you are beginning to form.

 

Your case interviews will likely also have qualitative aspects to them. You may be asked to brainstorm a list of potential ideas. You could also be asked to provide your opinion on a business issue or situation.

 

The key to answering qualitative questions is to structure your answer. When brainstorming a list of ideas, develop a structure to help you neatly categorize all of your ideas. When giving your opinion on a business issue or situation, provide a summary of your stance or position and then enumerate the reasons that support it.

 

When you finish answering a qualitative question, connect your answer back to the case objective. How does your answer impact the recommendation that you are beginning to form?

 

5. Deliver a recommendation

 

In the last step of the case interview, you’ll present your recommendation and provide the major reasons that support it. You do not need to recap everything that you have done in the case, so focus on only summarizing the facts that are most important.

 

It is also good practice to include potential next steps that you would take if you had more time or data. These can be areas of your framework that you did not have time to explore or lingering questions that you do not have great answers for.

 

Alvarez & Marsal Case Interview Examples

 

Below, we’ve compiled a list of case interview questions that Alvarez & Marsal has given to previous candidates. These case interview examples should give you a good sense of the types of industries and business situations that you could see in your upcoming interview.

 

Case Example #1: Truck manufacturing emerging markets growth

 

Our client is the CEO of an American truck manufacturing company. The company is successful and has strong positions in mature markets in North America and Europe. However, it has struggled to grow in China since entering five years ago. China is the world’s single largest market for trucks and now accounts for 70% of global demand by volume.

 

Our consulting firm has been tasked to help the CEO profitably increase its market share in China. What would you recommend the CEO do?

 

Case Example #2: New bar in Chicago

 

Your client is an MBA graduate with a passion for entrepreneurship. Recently, your client is looking to open up a new bar in Chicago. To do this, he needs to determine how profitable the bar will be and convince his primary investor, his father, that it will be a viable business.

 

What are the areas that you would consider and investigate? Is opening a new bar in Chicago a good idea?

 

Case Example #3: Canadian diamond market entry

 

An international corporation headquartered in London specializes in diamond exploration, diamond mining, diamond retail, diamond trading, and industrial diamond manufacturing. The company has business operations in over 30 countries.

 

To date, all of their mining initiatives have been in Central and Southern Africa. They are now entering the Canadian diamond market, both in the diamond mining and diamond retail sector. You have been hired to determine how this can be accomplished.

 

Case Example #4: Preventing loss in revenues in healthcare delivery

 

A non-profit healthcare delivery system in the state of New York is currently in a strong financial situation, but anticipates a 40% decline in revenue over the next few years. What can be done to protect their profit margins in the future?

 

Case Example #5: Dairy, ham, and sausage profitability

 

Our client is a leading producer of dairy, ham, and sausages in the United States. Currently, they produce more than 1,000 different products. Our client and two other competitors dominate the market.

 

Our client wants to increase profits and have hired our consulting firm to help them on this. How would you approach the problem?

 

Case Example #6: Vitamin acquisition

 

Your client is a private equity firm specializing in equity and debt recapitalizations, management buyouts, and debt and equity portfolio purchases. They target companies with revenues between $20 and $500 million.

 

Your client is interested in purchasing Vitamin Co., a retail chain of health stores with over 1,000 stores in shopping malls. Vitamin Co. sells health and nutrition related products, including vitamin, mineral, herb, sports nutrition, and energy products.

 

Should your client purchase Vitamin Co.?

 

Case Example #7: Telco cost reduction

 

An American multinational telecommunications corporation is one of the largest providers of mobile and fixed telephony and broadband subscription television services in the United States.

 

You are in a meeting with the CFO, who has asked you to develop a program that will reduce costs by $1 billion a year. The CFO would like you to suggest areas of focus, using a structured approach, and to identify risks and performance indicators for your cost reduction strategy.

 

Case Example #8: Sportswear manufacturer doubling sales

 

Our client is a UK clothing apparel company that produces dressy-casual clothing and sportswear for men. For the past 5 years, the company has managed respectable sales growth. However, the CEO would like to double their sales within the next year.

 

You have been asked to help the CEO answer two questions. Is doubling of sales possible in one year? If so, what should the company do to achieve this?

 

The 10 Most Common Behavioral or Fit Interview Questions

 

In addition to case interviews, you will also be asked behavioral or fit interview questions. These types of questions are much more predictable than case interviews, making them easier to prepare for.

 

Below are the ten behavioral or fit questions that Alvarez & Marsal most commonly asks candidates.

 

1. Why are you interested in working at Alvarez & Marsal?

 

How to answer: Have at least three reasons why you’re interested in working at Alvarez & Marsal. You could mention their unique mix of expertise in advisory, banking, and consulting. You could speak to their expertise in company turnarounds and transformations, especially in the financial sector. Finally, you could talk about how you’ve loved the people that you have met from the firm so far.

 

2. Why do you want to work in consulting?

 

How to answer: Again, have three reasons why you’re interested in consulting. You could mention the fast career growth opportunities, the opportunity to develop versatile soft and hard skills, the opportunities to make large impacts on large organizations, or the highly collaborative nature of work.

 

3. Walk me through your resume

 

How to answer: Provide a concise summary of your work experience, starting with the most recent. Focus on emphasizing your most impressive, unique, and memorable accomplishments. At the end of your answer, briefly tie your experiences to why you are interested in consulting and why you would be a great fit.

 

4. What is your proudest achievement?

 

How to answer: Choose your most impressive, unique, or memorable accomplishment. Structure your answer by providing information on the situation, the task, the actions you took, and the results of your work. Highlight what aspects or qualities of your achievement made you feel proud.

 

5. What is something that you are proud of that is not on your resume?

 

How to answer: This is an opportunity to highlight an accomplishment that is not related to your professional work experience. Perhaps there is a non-profit that you volunteer at, a side project or business that you work on, or an interesting hobby that you have won awards or recognition for. Choose something that showcases your qualities outside of a traditional work setting.

 

6. Tell me about a time when you led a team.

 

How to answer: Ideally, choose a time or experience when you directly managed a person or a team. Explain the challenge that the team faced, how you handled leading the team, and then quantify the impact and results of your leadership. Highlight the leadership skills that you exhibited and how you worked effectively with others.

 

7. Give an example of a time when you faced conflict or a disagreement.

 

How to answer: When answering this question, focus on emphasizing the steps you took to resolve the conflict or disagreement. Speak to the interpersonal skills you had to use in order to mediate the situation. Then, explain the impact that these interpersonal skills made on the situation. Interviewers want to know that you are a great mediator and that you can handle conflict in a constructive way.

 

8. Tell me about a time when you had to persuade someone.

 

How to answer: Choose a time when you convincingly changed someone’s mind. Focus on emphasizing the steps that you took to persuade that person and what impact and results this had. Interviewers want to see that you are a great communicator and have great people skills.

 

9. Describe a time when you failed.

 

How to answer: Choose a time when you failed to meet a deadline or did not meet expectations. Make sure to choose an actual failure instead of an experience that was a success in disguise. Focus on emphasizing what you learned from the experience and how you used that experience to deliver better results in the next opportunity that you got. Interviewers want to see that you don’t get discouraged from failure and that you treat failures as learning opportunities.

 

10. What questions do you have for me?

 

How to answer: This is a great opportunity to get to know the interviewer on a more personal level. Ask them questions about their experience in consulting or their career. Express genuine interest and curiosity in what they have to share and ask follow-up questions. The more you can get the interviewer talking about themself, the more likely they will have a positive impression of you.

 

Recommended Case Interview Prep Resources

 

We hope that you found this article on Alvarez & Marsal case interviews helpful. If you are considering which resources to use in your case interview prep, we recommend the following:

  • One Week Case Interview Course: A comprehensive case interview course that condenses all of the case interview strategies, techniques, and practice you need into a 15 – 25 hour course. Learn through 50+ concise video lessons and 20 full-length practice cases with detailed solutions.

 

  • Hacking the Case Interview: In this book, learn exactly what to do and what to say in every step of the case interview. This is the perfect book for beginners that are looking to learn the basics of case interviews quickly.

 

  • The Ultimate Case Interview Workbook: In this book, hone your case interview skills through 65+ problems tailored towards each type of question asked in case interviews and 15 full-length cases based on real case interviews. This book is great for intermediates looking to get quality practice.