Simon-Kucher Case Interview: Everything You Need to Know

Simon-Kucher interviews consist of case interviews and behavioral or fit interview questions. You will typically need to go through two rounds of interviews before receiving a consulting job offer from Simon-Kucher.

  • First round: Two 30-minute interviews. Typically, both interviews will consist of a case interview and few behavioral or fit interview questions. First round interviews are conducted by consultants or senior consultants.

 

  • Second round: Three 30- to 40-minute interviews. Similar to the first round, you should expect each interview to consist of a case interview and a few behavioral or fit interview questions. Second round interviews are conducted by more senior people, such as managers or partners.

 

If you have an upcoming Simon-Kucher interview or are expecting to interview with them, we have you covered. In this article, we’ll cover:

  • The 4 steps to solve any Simon-Kucher case interview

 

  • Simon-Kucher case interview examples

 

  • Simon-Kucher case interview tips

 

  • The 10 most common behavioral or fit interview questions

 

The 4 Steps to Solve Any Simon-Kucher Case Interview

 

A case interview is a special type of interview that nearly every single consulting firm uses. Simon-Kucher case interviews simulate what the consulting job will be like by placing you in a hypothetical business situation in which you are asked to solve a business problem.

 

You will need to ace every single case interview in order to land a Simon-Kucher job offer.

 

Simon Kucher case interviews, also known as case study 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.

 

According to Simon-Kucher, their cases take about 20 to 30 minutes to complete. There are five major qualities that Simon-Kucher looks for when conducting case interviews:

  • Problem-solving skills: Do you make an effort to understand the key issues? Do you have a structured approach? Are you asking relevant questions?

 

  • Business sense: Are you familiar with basic business concepts such as supply and demand? Do you understand that there are a variety of business goals? Are you aware of how some current companies do their business?

 

  • Analytical capabilities: Can you do basic arithmetic? Can you read charts and tables? How good are you at piecing together information from different sources?

 

  • Communication: Are you articulate? Can you tell a compelling story? Can you organize information in a clear manner?

 

  • Poise and fit: Do you carry yourself professionally? Are you engaged and confident?

 

Follow these four steps to solve any Simon-Kucher case interview or case study interview:

 

1. Understand the case

 

The case will begin with the interviewer giving you the case 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, the company, and the objective of the case.

 

Don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions if you do not catch something. If you are not familiar with the industry, it is completely acceptable to ask how it works. Sometimes, repeating the information back to the interviewer is helpful to confirm your understanding of the case.

 

Finally, make sure to verify the objective of the case. Not addressing the right business question is the quickest way to fail a case interview.

 

2. Structure the problem

 

Develop a framework to help you tackle the business problem. A framework is a tool that helps you structure and break down complex problems into smaller, more manageable components. With a framework, you’ll be brainstorming different ideas and organizing them into different categories.

 

It is completely acceptable to ask the interviewer for a moment of silence 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 to you.

 

3. Solve the problem

 

Once you have developed a framework, you can begin to solve the problem. To solve the case, you’ll likely need to answer a mix of quantitative and qualitative questions.

 

When solving quantitative problems, make sure to walk the interviewer through your approach before doing any math. Check if the interviewer has any further information for you before making your own assumptions. Finally, neatly label your calculations and write out all numbers so that the interviewer knows exactly what you are doing. 

 

When answering qualitative questions, try to structure your answer in a logical way to make it easier to brainstorm or communicate your point of view.

 

For both quantitative and qualitative questions, make sure to go beyond just answering the question. Think about how your answer impacts the answer to the case. Always try to tie the implications of your answers to the case objective. This will help you develop a hypothesis for what a potential recommendation could be.

 

4. Make 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 summarizing only 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.

 

Simon-Kucher Case Interview Examples

 

Example #1: Smart Phone Introduction

 

The year is 2016 and a major consumer electronics manufacturer is preparing to launch a new, innovative smart phone. The phone contains many features that other smart phones do not have and there is a considerable level of hype surrounding the expected product launch. Given this situation, how would you determine the optimal price for this smart phone?

 

You can work through the full case in Simon-Kucher’s case interview preparation document.

 

Example #2: Kitchen Knives Manufacturer

 

Our client is an international manufacturer of medium and high quality kitchen knives. They sell knives in more than 25 countries, with a focus in the United States and Canada. They sell five types of knives: steak knives, butcher knives, carving knives, paring knives, and chef knives.

 

Our client has had slow sales growth over the past few years. You have been hired to develop a growth strategy to increase revenue growth over the next five to ten years.

 

Example #3: Satellite Truck

 

A satellite truck is a mobile communications satellite earth station that is mounted on a truck chassis as a platform. These trucks are used for remote television broadcasting to transmit the video signal back to the studio or production facility for editing and broadcasting.

 

Our client operates over 40 satellite television broadcast trucks in the United States. These trucks are rented by companies such as ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and ESPN. Our client has $100M in debt coming due in just 3 years. They are worried that they will not be able to make this debt payment on time. What should they do?

 

Example #4: National Pizza Chain

 

Your client is the second largest pizza chain in the United States. They operate more than 10,000 corporate and franchised stores. Your client is looking to identify locations where they can open new stores. How would you determine where to open new stores?

 

Example #5: Global Hospitality Company

 

Your client is a global hospitality company that operates more than 500 hotel properties under several different brand names. You have been approached by the CEO to advise the company on whether they should raise their average daily room rate from $180 to $200. How would you go about making this decision?

 

Example #6: Casino Corporation

 

Your client is a private gaming corporation that owns and operates over 50 casinos, hotels, and golf courses. How can the client increase the profitability of their casinos?

 

Example #7: Winter Olympics

 

Your client is an American commercial broadcast television network headquartered in New York City. They are looking to purchase the rights to broadcast the upcoming Winter Olympics. The deadline to place a bid is approaching and your client is trying to determine how much to bid. How would you go about determining this?

 

Simon-Kucher Case Interview Tips

 

Simon-Kucher provides the following tips to perform your best during a case interview:

 

1. Ask clarifying questions

 

It is very important to fully understand the case objective and business situation before you begin solving the case. Addressing the wrong business objective or not having important pieces of case background information written down will severely hinder your ability to solve the case.

 

If you have any confusion or uncertainties, make sure to ask your questions early.

 

2. State your assumptions

 

Remember that the interviewer cannot read your mind. Therefore, make sure to explicitly state all of the assumptions that you are making. Sometimes, the interviewer will have further information to provide you so that you do not need to make your own assumptions. Other times, interviewers may challenge your assumptions to steer the case in a different direction.

 

When in doubt, always try to communicate exactly what you are thinking.

 

3. Organize your thoughts and notes

 

You’ll likely need to refer back to previous key pieces of information throughout the case. Information given in one part of the case interview may be needed to answer a question later on in the interview. You’ll also need to review everything you’ve done in the case interview in order to develop a final recommendation.

 

Therefore, make sure that you are taking notes and keeping track of important information in a neat and clear way.

 

4. Be concise and articulate

 

In a case interview, it can be tempting to answer the interviewer’s question and then continue talking about related topics or ideas. However, you have a limited amount of time to solve a case, so it is best to keep your answers concise and to the point.

 

Answer the interviewer’s question, summarize how it impacts the case objective, and then move onto the next important issue or question.

 

5. Don’t force-fit frameworks

 

Many candidates use memorized frameworks in their case interviews. While this may work for some cases, memorized frameworks usually have elements in them that make them irrelevant to the specific case that you are solving for.

 

Additionally, interviewers know when you are regurgitating memorized information, so it is important that you have the ability to think for yourself and develop a custom and unique framework for each case that you get.

 

You can read our comprehensive guide to frameworks to learn exactly how to do this.

 

6. Don’t get bogged down in the details

 

Some candidates make the mistake of spending too much time discussing the minor details of the case. To prevent yourself from doing the same, remind yourself of the overall case objective. If you are focusing on a question or issue that does not have a significant impact on the case objective, you are probably getting bogged down into the details.

 

7. Don’t freak out if you make an error

 

Ideally, you will not make any mistakes during the case interview when solving quantitative problems. However, math mistakes will occasionally happen. In these situations, try to remain calm and confident. Recognize the mistake that you made, correct it, and then move on.

 

Thinking about a mistake that you previously made will distract you from focusing on solving the remainder of the case. There is nothing you can do about a past mistake that you made, so it is best to stay positive and forget about it.

 

8. There is no one right answer

 

Case interviews are intentionally open-ended. There is typically no single correct answer that interviewers are looking for. Instead, interviewers are assessing you on the process that you take to solve the case.

 

They want to know whether you can solve business problems in a structured, methodical way. They want to know that you have the analytical capabilities and the business acumen needed to become a successful consultant. Therefore, walk the interviewer through your entire thought process.

 

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 Simon-Kucher?

 

How to answer: Have at least three reasons why you’re interested in working at Simon-Kucher. You could mention that you loved the people that you have met from the company so far. You can talk about Simon-Kucher’s strong presence in Europe and the United States or their expertise in pricing. You can speak to Simon-Kucher’s entrepreneurial spirit, collegial work environment, or diverse opportunities that Simon-Kucher offers its employees.

 

2. Why 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 and why you would be a great fit for Simon-Kucher.

 

4. What accomplishment are you most proud of? 

 

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. Explain why the accomplishment is so meaningful to you and what qualities that reveals about you as a person.

 

5. Tell me about something 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. Select an accomplishment that is impressive and interesting.

 

6. Tell me about a time when you had to lead 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 similar questions, make sure that you structure your answer. Provide 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 the most common way of answering behavioral or fit interview questions. 

 

7. Describe a time when you faced conflict or disagreement.

 

How to answer: When answering this question, focus on emphasizing the steps you took to resolve the conflict or disagreement. Speak about the interpersonal skills you had to use in order to mediate the situation. Interviewers want to know that you can handle conflict in a constructive way.

 

8. Give an example of a time when you successfully persuaded someone.

 

How to answer: Choose a time when you were able to change someone’s mind who originally disagreed with you. Focus on emphasizing the steps that you took to persuade that person and what impact this had on the organization. Interviewers want to know that you are a great communicator and have strong people skills.

 

9. Tell me about a time when you failed.

 

How to answer: Choose a time when you failed to meet a deadline or did not meet expectations. You do not want to pick a failure that is too big or embarrassing. 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 strive to learn from your past failures and are always working to get better.

 

10. Are there any questions that you have for me?

 

How to answer: This is a fantastic opportunity to get to know the interviewer on a more personal level. Ask them questions about their experience in consulting. Ask what their favorite case was or what they are looking to do next in their career. The more you can get the interviewer talking about themself, the more likely they will be to have a positive impression of you.

 

Land your Dream Consulting Job

 

If you found this article helpful, you’ll love our comprehensive case interview course. The material in the course has helped 6,000+ students across 13+ countries land offers at top-tier consulting firms such as McKinsey, BCG, Bain, and Simon-Kucher.

 

Try the course for free today.