Bates White Case Interview: Step-By-Step Guide (2024)

Bates White case interview

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


Bates White case interviews are asked in every single round of interviews. Typically, there are two rounds of interviews at Bates White:


  • Bates White first round interview: Consists of traditional interview questions (e.g., tell me about yourself, why are you interested in Bates White) and case interviews


  • Bates White final round interview: Consists of behavioral interviews and case interviews


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


  • What is a Bates White case interview?


  • What does a Bates White case interview assess


  • How to solve a Bates White case interview


  • Bates White case interview examples


  • Bates White case interview tips


  • Recommended Bates White 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 a Bates White Case Interview?


Like most consulting firms, Bates White 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:


  • How can Meta increase its profitability?


  • What can Airbnb do to increase customer retention?


  • How should Toyota price its new electric vehicle?


  • Where should Disney open another theme park?


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


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


Bates White 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 Bates White case interviews cover a wide range of industries and business situations, no technical or specialized knowledge is needed.


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


What Does a Bates White Case Interview Assess?


Bates White case interviews assess five different qualities or characteristics: logical and structured thinking, analytical problem solving, business acumen, communication skills, and personality and cultural fit.


Logical and structured thinking: Consultants need to be organized and methodical in order to work efficiently.


  • 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?


Analytical problem solving: Consultants work with a tremendous amount of data and information in order to develop recommendations to complex problems.


  • 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?


Business acumen: A strong business instinct helps consultants make the right decisions and develop the right recommendations.


  • Do you have a basic understanding of fundamental business concepts?


  • Do your conclusions and recommendations make sense from a business perspective?


Communication skills: Consultants need strong communication skills to collaborate with teammates and clients effectively.


  • Can you communicate in a clear, concise way?


  • Are you articulate in what you are saying?


Personality and cultural fit: Consultants spend a lot of time working closely in small teams. Having a personality and attitude that fits with the team makes the whole team work better together.


  • Are you coachable and easy to work with?


  • Are you pleasant to be around?


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


How to Solve a Bates White Case Interview


There are generally six steps to solving a Bates White 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 Bates White 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.


Bates White case interviews are generally interviewer-led, but you may occasionally be given a candidate-led case.


4. Solve quantitative problems


Your Bates White 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 Bates White 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.


Bates White Case Interview Examples


Bates White does not provide many case interview examples on their website. However, they do provide a practice case on cellphone batteries. We’ve summarized the case below:


Example #1: A major cellphone manufacturer has hired us to investigate potential collusion among cellphone battery suppliers from 2009 to 2010. They claim that suppliers conspired to fix prices, resulting in higher battery costs for downstream customers like itself. This alleged collusion is considered illegal price-fixing and may lead to federal prosecution. Our client is suing the battery manufacturers to recover damages, which would be the difference between the actual and hypothetical prices unaffected by the alleged price-fixing.


  • What are some supply and demand factors that may affect the price of a cellphone?


  • We have received data on prices of cellphone batteries. What trends do you observe? What should prices be in 2009 and 2010? How much did our client potentially overpay for batteries in those years?


  • How are customers ultimately impacted by the elevated price of phone batteries?


To give you more examples, we compiled all the Bates White case interviews we could find on job interview websites and forums.


Example #2: What is the effect on consumers and competitors of bundling two medical products?

Example #3: What is the effect on pricing of a merger between two ice cream chains?


Example #4: What is the overcharge to consumers caused by a cartel producing digital music players?


Example #5: A car manufacturer is considering several different engine manufacturers to source their engines from. What criteria should they consider when deciding who to go with?


Bates White Case Interview Tips


Below are our top ten tips for preparing for Bates White case interviews.


1. Start preparing early


Mastering Bates White 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 Bates White 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 Bates White 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 Bates White 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 Bates White 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 Bates White 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 Bates White 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