Bridgespan interviews consist of case interviews and behavioral or fit interview questions. There are typically two rounds of interviews that candidates must go through before being extended an offer.
- First round: 1-2 case interviews with a consultant. There may be one or two behavioral or fit interview questions, but these interviews are heavily case focused. Each interview will last about 45 minutes.
- Second round: 2-3 case interviews and one behavioral or fit interview. These interviews will last for about 3 hours in total.
Given that Bridgespan specializes in consulting for nonprofits, the public sector, and philanthropy, expect the topics of your case interviews to be related to these industries.
If you have an upcoming interview with Bridgespan, we have you covered. In this article, we’ll cover:
- The 6 steps to solving any Bridgespan case interview
- Bridgespan case interview examples
- Bridgespan case interview tips
- The 10 most common behavioral or fit interview questions
- Recommended case interview prep resources
The 6 Steps to Solve Any Bridgespan Case Interview
Acing your case interviews or case study interviews is the single most important factor that determines whether or not you will receive a consulting job offer from Bridgespan.
A case interview is a special type of interview that nearly every single consulting firm uses. Bridgespan case interviews simulate the consulting job by placing you in a hypothetical business situation in which you are asked to solve a business problem.
Bridgespan case interviews are all candidate-led. You will be in the driver’s seat of the case interview and will be expected to ask the right questions, probe for data, and propose each next step to solve the case.
Follow these six steps to solve any Bridgespan case interview or case study interview:
1. Understand the case
Your Bridgespan 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.
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
Bridgespan case interviews may 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.
5. Answer qualitative questions
Bridgespan case interviews may 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.
6. Deliver a recommendation
In the last step of the Bridgespan 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.
See below for a video that shows what a Bridgespan case interview could look and sound like:
Bridgespan Case Interview Examples
Bridgespan provides four practice case interviews on their website. We have compiled the links to these cases below.
We strongly recommend that you work through these cases in advance of your interview to gain a better understanding of what a Bridgespan case interview might look like. Additionally, you’ll be able to practice your case interview skills and identify areas for improvement.
- Practice Case #1: Robinson Philanthropy: This case focuses on helping a philanthropy group develop a strategy for selecting organizations to give multi-year, multi-million dollar grants.
- Practice Case #2: Home Nurses for New Families: This case focuses on helping a nurse home visitation program develop a strategy for growth.
- Practice Case #3: Reach for the Stars: This case focuses on helping a national initiative focused on improving student success in community colleges develop a strategy for growth.
- Practice Case #4: Venture Philanthropy: This case focuses on helping a charity group select opportunities for high-impact philanthropy.
In addition to these practice cases, we have compiled case questions previously given in Bridgespan interviews. These should give you an even better understanding of what types of case interview questions to expect in your interview.
Example #1: Boosting student performance
Your client is a superintendent of a system of public schools in Baltimore, Maryland. He is concerned because the performance of students from these schools in national standardized tests has been consistently subpar over the past few years. You have been hired to help the superintendent determine how to raise student test scores.
Example #2: Brand repair
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States. The board of ACLU has hired Bridgespan to help them with a branding problem that the organization is facing.
The organization has received some bad press because of financial mismanagement a few years ago. As a result, the ACLU brand has been tarnished and they’ve seen a decline in the amount of funds that the organization is able to raise. What can ACLU do to turnaround their brand image?
Example #3: Building a new city for the FIFA World Cup
Our client is a full service real estate development and engineering services company. They have recently been approached by the Qatari government to take part in a city building project in the desert.
The upcoming FIFA World Cup is scheduled to take place in the Middle East. The State of Qatar is spending over $50 billion to build a whole new city from scratch on the desert coast along the Persian Gulf. Should our client take on this project?
Example #4: Global vaccine initiative
The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency that is concerned with international public health. They recently launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and have hired Bridgespan to help them with their fight to eradicate polio.
The WHO needs to decide which country they should choose to start with and what characteristics they should look at to identify the best location to start this initiative.
Example #5: Ferries financial performance
Your client is the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), which controls six modes of transportation: aviation, biking, ferries, rail, public transportation, and walking. After conducting a financial assessment, they have determined that they must improve the financial performance of its ferries.
You have been employed to help the WSDOT assess the current state of their ferries operations and recommend a strategic plan to improve their financial performance. How would you go about this?
Example #6: Attracting more individual donors
The American Red Cross (ARC) is a humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief, and education both in the United States and internationally. They have been involved in many international projects, such as the Measles Initiative, malaria programs in Africa, and relief efforts in response to major tsunamis.
They have asked for your help to identify ways to raise more funds and identify areas where they can cut costs. What would you recommend?
Bridgespan Case Interview Tips
On their website, Bridgespan provides some tips for preparing for case interviews. We have summarized all of the tips that they provide below.
Tip #1: Familiarize yourself with the types of work and projects that Bridgespan does. This will give you a better sense of what types of case interview questions and topics might come up in your actual interview.
We have compiled some useful Bridgespan articles to read below:
Tip #2: Before practicing cases, learn the right case interview strategies and techniques to use. Practicing with the wrong strategies and techniques can lead to a lot of wasted time. Check out the resources we recommend in the last section of this article.
Tip #3: Practice at least 5 case interviews prior to your first interview. Make sure to work through the Bridgespan practice cases listed in the “Bridgespan Case interview Examples” section of this article.
Tip #4: Practice case interviews one-on-one with a friend or partner. This helps best simulate a case interview experience by enabling you to practice talking through a case out loud as though you are in an actual interview.
Tip #5: To get more practice, you can use practice case interviews provided by other consulting firms. You can find a complete compilation in our case interview examples article.
The 10 Most Common Behavioral or Fit Interview Questions
In addition to case interviews, you will likely be asked a few behavioral or fit interview questions. There are ten questions that are most commonly asked.
1. Why are you interested in working at Bridgespan?
How to answer: Have at least three reasons why you’re interested in working at Bridgespan. You could speak to their expertise in education, public health, and global development. You could mention their outstanding training and mentorship opportunities. Finally, you can bring up their amazing work culture of collaboration, impact, and candor.
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 opportunity, the opportunity to develop soft and hard skills, or the level of impact that you can make by working with large companies on their most challenging issues.
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 and unique accomplishments. At the end, tie your experiences to why you are interested in consulting.
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.
5. What is something that you are proud of that is not on your resume?
How to answer: This is a great 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 a hobby that you have won awards or recognition for. Choose something that is impressive and interesting.
6. Tell me about a time when you led a team.
How to answer: If possible, choose a time when you directly managed a person or a team. For this question and the following questions, make sure that you structure your answer. Structure your answer by providing information on the situation, the task, the actions you took, and the results of your work. This is known as the STAR method and is commonly used to answer behavioral or fit interview questions.
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. 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 were able to change 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 know that you are a great communicator and a good people person.
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. Focus on emphasizing what you learned from the experience and how you used that experience to deliver even 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 those experiences 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 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 Bridgespan 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.