AlixPartners Case Interview: Everything You Need to Know
AlixPartners interviews consist of case interviews and behavioral or fit interview questions. The interview process is quite rigorous and there are typically three rounds of interviews before an offer decision is made.
- First round: A 30- to 40-minute interview with a recruiter. The interview will be mainly focused on resume questions and behavioral or fit interview questions.
- Second round: A 45-minute case interview with a consultant. One or two behavioral or fit interview questions may be asked, but most of the time will be spent on the case interview.
- Third round: Two to three 45-minute case interviews with senior directors. These cases tend to be more qualitative and open-ended in nature. There will also be behavioral or fit interview questions asked.
If you have an upcoming interview with AlixPartners, we have you covered. In this article, we’ll cover in detail:
- The 6 steps to solve any AlixPartners case interview
- AlixPartners case interview examples
- The 10 most common behavioral or fit interview questions
- AlixPartners interview tips
- Recommended case interview prep resources
The 6 Steps to Solve Any AlixPartners Case Interview
You will not receive a consulting job offer from AlixPartners unless you nail every single case interview.
A case interview is a special type of interview that every single consulting firm uses. AlixPartners’ case interviews simulate the consulting job by placing you in a hypothetical business situation where you are asked to solve a business problem.
AlixPartners’ 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, probing for data, and proposing each next step.
AlixPartners’ case interviews can cover any industry or any function. Although you cannot predict the exact case interview question, each case interview follows a similar flow and structure.
Therefore, you can follow these six steps to solve any AlixPartners case interview.
1. Understand the case
Your AlixPartners 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
AlixPartners 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
AlixPartners 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 AlixPartners 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.
AlixPartners Case Interview Examples
Below, we’ve provided a few examples of case interviews that AlixPartners has given candidates in the past. These should give you a good idea of the types of industries and questions you could see in your upcoming interview.
Example #1: Insurance company expansion
Your client is a health insurance company and health plan provider that serves over 5 million health plan members in California. Their provider network currently includes over 80,000 physicians and more than 500 hospitals.
Recently, the CEO of the company wants to expand to Washington. How should they go about this?
Example #2: Fitness club sales productivity
Our client is a 24-hour health and fitness club. Their gym facilities are open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. Your case team just had a meeting with the vice president of sales. She has asked you to help her determine why sales productivity is down over the past year. How would you go about answering this question?
Example #3: Electronics retail model
A major electronics retailer operates a chain of stores across the United States that sells audio and video equipment, digital cameras, cell phones, computers, and software. Recently, they have seen increased competition from brick and mortar stores, such as Walmart and Target, and online retailers, such as Amazon.
You have been hired to help them develop a strategy to deal with competitors. What does a winning retail model look like?
Example #4: Replacing Old Ships with Hybrid Models
A mid-sized international shipping company operates 2 passenger and 3 cargo ships in the Baltic Sea, between Finland and Germany. Their ships are getting old and need to be replaced.
The company is deciding between two different choices. They can either continue with the same configuration of ships (2 passenger and 3 cargo) or they could switch to using 3 hybrid ships that can handle both cargo and passengers. Which is the better choice?
Example #5: Supply chain redesign
A private equity firm specializing in leveraged buyouts of privately held or publicly traded companies has recently bought a metal processing company in Detroit. You have been hired as a consultant to redesign the supply chain system for the finished goods produced by this metal processing company.
How would you go about this?
Example #6: Local firm acquisition
Our client is a construction and building materials company that manufactures and supplies cement, concrete, and construction-related services. Recently, the CEO of the company is considering acquiring a small local construction and building materials company.
What factors would you consider when advising on whether this acquisition should be made?
Example #7: Distribution cost cutting
Your client is a large manufacturing company that makes high quality pots, pans, and other stainless steel cookware. Their products are sold in specialty stores and department stores.
Last year, the company spent over $2 million in distribution costs, which they feel is too high. You have been hired to help them figure out how to save money in product distribution.
Example #8: Strategic outlook
You are consulting for a medium-sized company that makes a variety of packaging materials, systems, and equipment. One of the company’s popular brands include Bubble Wrap. They currently have a 70% share of the packaging market.
The CEO of the company has asked your consulting team to assess the strategic outlook for the company. How would you assess the future for this company and what recommendations would you make?
The 10 Most Common Behavioral or Fit Interview Questions
In addition to case interviews, you will also be asked behavioral or fit interview questions. There are ten questions that AlixPartners most commonly asks that you should definitely prepare for.
1. Why are you interested in working at AlixPartners?
How to answer: Have at least three reasons why you’re interested in working at AlixPartners. You could speak to their expertise in corporate turnarounds and restructuring. You could mention their amazing work culture and great colleagues. Finally, you could talk about the professional development and mentorship opportunities.
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.
AlixPartners Interview Tips
On their careers website, AlixPartners provides a few interview tips. We’ve summarized them below for your convenience.
Tip #1: Become familiar with AlixPartners’ core values
AlixPartners has six core values:
- Common sense
- Personal respect
When answering behavioral or fit interview questions, keep these values in mind and try to highlight experiences in which you have exhibited these values.
Tip #2: Know what traits AlixPartners looks for
AlixPartners states that they specifically look for candidates that have the following traits:
- Entrepreneurial: AlixPartners consultants take ownership. They generate innovative ideas and solutions, both as individuals and as team members.
- Self-starter: AlixPartners consultants work with minimal direction. They have excellent communication skills and work side-by-side with clients.
- Analytical: When faced with challenging and fast-paced situations, AlixPartners consultants overcome obstacles to help their clients solve complex problems.
When answering behavioral or fit interview questions, look for opportunities to demonstrate these traits in the stories that you share with your interviewers.
Tip #3: Express genuine interest in working at AlixPartners
AlixPartners encourages candidates to “ask probing questions so you can gain a real inside view of who we are and how we work.”
Therefore, when given an opportunity to ask your interviewer questions, ask them about their experience working at AlixPartners. What do they like most about their job? What was most surprising to them about the job? What does the day-to-day look like?
The more you can get the interviewer to speak about their own experiences, the more you demonstrate that you actually care about learning about the firm.
Tip #4: Showcase your problem solving and communication skills during the case interview
The case interview will give you a true sense of what it is like to work on a consulting engagement at AlixPartners.
The case interview is your opportunity to show how you would structure and tackle complex problems. It is also an opportunity to demonstrate that you have the client interaction skills needed to succeed on the job.
At the end of the interview, your interviewers will ask themselves whether they can see you as a future consultant. The answer to this needs to be a resounding “yes” in order to receive a AlixPartners consulting job offer.
Recommended Case Interview Prep Resources
We hope that you found this article on AlixPartners 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.