Arthur D. Little Case Interview: Complete Guide (2024)

Arthur D. Little case interview


Arthur D. Little case interviews are the most difficult part of the interview process. You will need to ace every single Arthur D. Little case interview in order to land a job offer.

 

Arthur D. Little case interviews are asked in every single round of interviews. Typically, there are two rounds of interviews at Arthur D. Little:

 

  • Arthur D. Little first round interview: Consists of 1-2 case interviews

 

  • Arthur D. Little final round interview: Consists of 1-2 case interviews and behavioral interview questions (e.g., tell me about a time when you led a team, give an example of a time you used data to solve a problem)

 

If you have an upcoming interview with Arthur D. Little, we have you covered. In this article, we’ll cover exactly what you need to do to crush your Arthur D. Little case interview and land the job offer. In this article, we’ll cover:

 

  • What is an Arthur D. Little case interview?

 

  • What does an Arthur D. Little case interview assess

 

  • How to solve an Arthur D. Little case interview

 

  • Arthur D. Little case interview examples

 

  • Arthur D. Little case interview tips

 

  • Recommended Arthur D. Little case interview resources

 

If you’re looking for a step-by-step shortcut to learn case interviews quickly, enroll in our case interview course. These insider strategies from a former Bain interviewer helped 30,000+ land consulting offers while saving hundreds of hours of prep time.

 

What is an Arthur D. Little Case Interview?

 

Like most consulting firms, Arthur D. Little uses case interviews to assess candidates.

 

A case interview, also known as a “case” for short, is a 30 to 60-minute exercise in which you and the interviewer work together to develop a recommendation or answer to a business problem.

 

These business problems can be anything that real companies face:

 

  • A client wants to enter a new market segment. What factors would you consider in advising them on whether to enter?

 

  • A company is experiencing declining profits in one of its product lines. How would you diagnose the problem and recommend solutions?

 

  • A company is considering acquiring a competitor. Evaluate the pros and cons of this acquisition.

 

  • A manufacturing company is facing increasing production costs. How would you identify areas for cost reduction?

 

Arthur D. Little case interviews simulate what the consulting job will be like by placing you in a hypothetical business situation. Cases simulate real business problems that Arthur D. Little solves for their clients. Many Arthur D. Little case interviews are based on actual projects that interviewers have worked on.

 

While consulting projects typically last between 3 to 9 months, Arthur D. Little case interviews condense solving the business problem into just 30 to 45 minutes.

 

Arthur D. Little case interviews can cover any industry, including retail, consumer packaged goods, financial services, energy, education, healthcare, government, and technology.

 

They can also cover a wide range of business situations, including entering a new market, launching a new product, acquiring a company, improving profitability, and growing revenues.

 

Although Arthur D. Little case interviews cover a wide range of industries and business situations, no technical or specialized knowledge is needed.

 

Nailing your Arthur D. Little case interviews is critical to getting a job offer. You will need to pass every single one of your Arthur D. Little case interviews.

 

What Does an Arthur D. Little Case Interview Assess?

 

Arthur D. Little case interviews assess four different qualities: how your mind works, your ability to solve problems, how you use data, and the approach you take and how confident you are in your solutions.

 

These qualities are explicitly stated on their interview website.

 

1. How your mind works

 

  • Can you structure complex problems in a clear, simple way?

 

  • Can you take tremendous amounts of information and data and identify the most important points?

 

  • Can you use logic and reason to make appropriate conclusions?

 

2. Your ability to solve problems

 

  • Can you tackle broad, ambiguous problems?

 

  • Can you solve complex issues?

 

  • Can you navigate around roadblocks and issues that come up?

 

3. How you use data and how quick you are with your calculation

 

  • Can you read and interpret data well?

 

  • Can you perform math computations smoothly and accurately?

 

  • Can you conduct the right analyses to draw the right conclusions?

 

4. The approach you take and how confident you are in your solutions

 

  • Do you take a structured approach before tackling a problem?

 

  • Do you have a professional, confident presence?

 

  • Do you remain calm under pressure?

 

All of these four qualities can be assessed in just a 30 to 60-minute case interview. This is what makes Arthur D. Little case interviews so effective in assessing consulting candidates.

 

How to Solve an Arthur D. Little Case Interview

 

There are generally six steps to solving an Arthur D. Little case interview. Step four and step five may happen in a different order depending on the case you receive, but all the other steps will occur in the same order each time.



 

1. Understand the case

 

Your Arthur D. Little 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.

 

For a complete guide on how to create tailored and unique frameworks for each case, check out our article on case interview frameworks.

 

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.

 

Arthur D. Little case interviews are generally interviewer-led, but you may occasionally be given a candidate-led case.

 

4. Solve quantitative problems

 

Your Arthur D. Little case interview 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 case interview 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.

 

5. Answer qualitative questions

 

Your Arthur D. Little 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?

 

6. 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.

 

Arthur D. Little Case Interview Examples

 

Arthur D. Little provides a single case interview example on their website.

 

Example #1: A high-end gym chain has over 50 gyms in various cities across Europe. They are thinking about opening new sites that would be managed by its budget gym brand. What should be analyzed to help our client determine if launching additional budget gyms would be profitable?

 

We’ve also compiled all the Arthur D. Little case interviews we could find on job interview websites and forums below:

 

Example #2: A client is a leading manufacturer of renewable energy technologies and wants to expand into the Asian market. What factors would you consider in developing a market entry strategy for them?

 

Example #3: A telecommunications company is experiencing a decline in profitability due to increasing operational costs. How would you identify areas for improving operational efficiency?

 

Example #4: A global consumer goods company is facing challenges in its supply chain management, leading to delays and increased costs. What steps would you recommend to optimize their supply chain?

 

Example #5: A traditional retail chain is struggling to compete with online competitors. How would you propose a digital transformation strategy to help them stay relevant in the market?

 

Example #6: A healthcare company is considering acquiring a smaller biotech firm. Evaluate the strategic fit and potential risks associated with this acquisition.

 

Example #7: An automotive manufacturer wants to develop a sustainability strategy to reduce its environmental impact. What initiatives would you recommend to achieve this goal while maintaining profitability?

 

Example #8: A pharmaceutical company is looking to enhance its innovation capabilities. How would you advise them on developing an innovation strategy to stay competitive in the market?

 

Arthur D. Little Case Interview Tips

 

Below are our top ten tips for preparing for Arthur D. Little case interviews.

 

1. Start preparing early

 

Mastering Arthur D. Little case interviews takes time. Many of the skills and techniques needed to solve cases can’t be learned in just a day or in a week. Ideally, start preparing for your case interviews at least a month or two in advance to give yourself enough time to learn and practice.

 

2. Be consistent with what strategies you use

 

Whichever strategies you decide on using for Arthur D. Little case interviews, make sure that you are consistent in using them. The more you use the same strategies, the better and more comfortable you will get using them. On interview day, you’ll have confidence that these strategies will help you nail your case interviews.

 

3. Practice with a case partner

 

Practicing Arthur D. Little case interviews with a partner is the best way to simulate a real case interview. There are many aspects of cases that you won’t be able to work on if you are doing mock cases by yourself. Casing with a partner lets you practice your communication, presentation, and collaboration skills.

 

4. Keep a list of feedback from each case

 

You should keep a journal or log of all of the different pieces of feedback you get from your case interview partner during practice. This way, you’ll be able to identify trends and prioritize what improvement areas to focus on. For example, if you consistently receive feedback in each practice case that you need to structure your answers, that should be your top area to focus on.

 

5. Focus on improving one thing at a time

 

After doing some practice Arthur D. Little case interviews, you’ll likely have a long list of feedback and improvement areas. Try to focus on improving one thing at a time. Before each practice case, decide on the one thing that you really want to focus on and nail. This will be much more effective than trying to improve everything at once.

 

6. Make sure you understand the business problem and objective

 

The quickest way to fail a Arthur D. Little case interview is to answer or address the wrong business problem. Therefore, when the interviewer starts the case by reading the case background information, it is imperative that you identify what is the business problem and what is the primary question you are trying to answer. You should always verify the objective of the case with the interviewer.

 

7. Ask clarifying questions if needed

 

Don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions. You will not be penalized for this. If there is a term that you are unfamiliar with, ask for the definition. If you don’t understand the objective of the case, ask questions to clarify this. If there is important information that you were not able to write down, ask the interviewer to repeat specific pieces of information.

 

All of these questions will help strengthen your understanding of the case situation and make it easier for you to solve the case.

 

8. Structure your approach before doing any math calculations

 

Before doing any math calculations, lay out an upfront approach or structure to walk the interviewer through what you are about to do. Developing a structure will help you avoid making unnecessary calculations or reaching a dead-end. If the interviewer approves of your approach, then the rest of the math problem is simple arithmetic.

 

9. Talk through your calculations out loud

 

Talking through your calculations out loud provides two benefits. One, it decreases the likelihood that you’ll make a mistake. Two, it makes it easier for the interviewer to follow what you are doing. If you happen to get stuck or make a mistake, the interviewer can jump in to offer suggestions or guidance. The interviewer cannot do this if you are not communicating exactly what you are doing.

 

10. Answer “so what?” after every question

 

When the interviewer asks you a quantitative or qualitative question during your Arthur D. Little case interview, don’t just answer it and stop there. After answering the question, ask yourself: “so what?” How does your answer help you solve the overall business problem? What implications does your answer have for your potential recommendation? You should be tying each answer that you give back to the case objective.

 

Recommended Arthur D. Little Case Interview Resources

 

Here are the resources we recommend to learn the most robust, effective case interview strategies in the least time-consuming way:

 

  • Comprehensive Case Interview Course (our #1 recommendation): The only resource you need. Whether you have no business background, rusty math skills, or are short on time, this step-by-step course will transform you into a top 1% caser that lands multiple consulting offers.

 

  • Hacking the Case Interview Book (available on Amazon): Perfect for beginners that are short on time. Transform yourself from a stressed-out case interview newbie to a confident intermediate in under a week. Some readers finish this book in a day and can already tackle tough cases.

 

  • The Ultimate Case Interview Workbook (available on Amazon): Perfect for intermediates struggling with frameworks, case math, or generating business insights. No need to find a case partner – these drills, practice problems, and full-length cases can all be done by yourself.

 

 

  • Behavioral & Fit Interview Course: Be prepared for 98% of behavioral and fit questions in just a few hours. We'll teach you exactly how to draft answers that will impress your interviewer