LEK Case Interview: Everything You Need to Know
LEK interviews consist of case interviews, a written case interview, and behavioral or fit interview questions. LEK typically administers two rounds of interviews before extending offers to candidates:
- First round: Two 30-minute interviews. Each interview consists of a case interview and a few behavioral or fit interview questions. Typically, one case is a quantitative case that is heavy on math while the other is more qualitative in nature.
- Second round: Two 30- to 40-minute interviews and one 60-minute written case interview. The two 30- to 40-minute interviews consist of a case interview and a few behavioral or fit interview questions.
Acing your case interviews is the single most important factor that determines whether or not you will receive a consulting job offer from LEK.
A case interview is a special type of interview that nearly every single consulting firm uses. LEK 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.
According to LEK, they use case-based interviews to “see how you approach specific business problems, marshalling data and your own experiences to reach and defend a conclusion.”
If you have an upcoming LEK interview or are expecting to interview with them, we have you covered. In this article, we’ll cover:
- The 6 steps to solving any LEK case interview
- LEK case interview examples
- LEK case interview tips
- How to nail the LEK written case interview
- The 10 most common behavioral or fit interview questions
The 6 Steps to Solve Any LEK Case Interview
LEK 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.
Follow these six steps to solve any LEK 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.
2. Verify the objective
Understanding the business problem and objective of the case is the most important part of the case interview. Not addressing the right business question is the quickest way to fail a case interview.
Make sure that you ask clarifying questions to better understand the business situation and problem. Then, confirm that you understand the case objective with the interviewer. This ensures that you start the case on the right track.
3. Create a framework
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.
Afterwards, walk the interviewer through your framework. They may ask a few questions or provide some feedback to you.
4. Develop a hypothesis
After creating a framework, you should develop a hypothesis. A hypothesis is an educated guess on the answer based on the data and information that you have so far.
Your hypothesis does not need to be correct. You’ll be continuously testing and refining your hypothesis throughout the case. The purpose of having a hypothesis is to guide your analysis and ensure that you are spending your time answering the right questions.
5. Test your hypothesis
The majority of the case will be spent testing your hypothesis.
After stating your hypothesis, it is up to you to lead the direction of the case. Depending on the context of the case, you may want to ask for data to do some analysis. You may also want to explore qualitative questions that you have. As you uncover more information, your hypothesis will likely have to change.
Sometimes, your hypothesis will be completely wrong and you’ll need to develop a completely new hypothesis to test. Other times, your hypothesis may be on the right track, but you’ll need to refine or narrow it down further.
Throughout the rest of the case, you’ll be answering a mix of quantitative and qualitative questions. Make sure that after each question, you explain how your answer impacts your hypothesis or answer to the case.
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 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 yet or lingering questions that you do not have great answers for.
LEK Case Interview Examples
Example #1: Theater Chain
Our client is a large theater chain. They have hired us to help them with their revenue growth strategy. While we will be looking at the entire chain, we’re going to focus on one particular location for this case.
You can watch a video of this case interview example below:
Example #2: Brewery Profits
We are evaluating two beer-brewing companies, Cheapo Beer and Bourgeois Beer. Cheapo and Bourgeois are competitors and have both reported similar revenues over the past five years and have shown steady growth. Cheapo is known as an “All-American Beer” and is a staple at tailgate parties. Bourgeois markets its beer as freshly brewed from mountain water.
Cheapo has had consistent profits that have been growing steadily while Bourgeois’ profits have fluctuated significantly. What is causing this difference and what steps would you take to minimize these fluctuations?
Example #3: Large Pharma Co.
Our client is a large pharmaceutical company that has developed a cure for baldness. The cure is a pill that will regrow your hair to the thickness that it was when you were 15. It takes just three months. The pill, called IPP2, needs to be taken daily to maintain the hair growth. How would you price this product?
Example #4: Soybean Processing
Assume that you are the owner of a large soybean farm in Argentina. Soybeans are a commodity product. Most soybeans are grown in South America, but demand for soybeans is growing rapidly in Asia.
You are trying to decide whether to process soybeans in South America and ship them to Asia or to ship raw soybeans directly to Asia and process them there. What factors would you look at to make this decision?
Example #5: Starwood Hotels
Your client is Starwood Hotels, an American hotel company that is one of the world’s largest hotel companies. Starwood owns and operates hotels, resorts, spas, and residences under its 11 owned brands.
Recently, Starwood has the opportunity to invest in building a 500-room hotel on an Army base, an investment opportunity given to them by the U.S. government. You have been hired by Starwood to help them determine whether or not they should build the new hotel or not. What would you recommend?
Example #6: Juice Company
You are consulting for a director of Juice Company, a large food and beverage conglomerate. The division you are working with produces three types of juices: chilled juices, juice boxes, and frozen concentrate.
The entire juices division has annual sales of $500 million. While juice boxes and frozen concentrate are profitable, chilled juices are barely breaking even. The director of the juices division is considering selling the entire chilled juices business. Should they do this?
Example #7: Specialty Chemical Manufacturer
Our client is a specialty chemical manufacturer. They produce specialty chemical products to meet the needs of different markets. Our client has one chemical plant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that is losing $25 million per year. You have been hired to determine whether or not the plant can be turned around and determine how to do it if it is possible.
LEK Case Interview Tips
LEK provides the following tips to perform your best during a case interview:
1. Listen carefully and verify the facts
When the interviewer is providing the case background information to you, listen carefully. Make sure to repeat and paraphrase what they say to confirm your understanding of the case.
2. Think before speaking
Don’t rush yourself during the case interview. Take the time to gather your thoughts and structure them. Give yourself time to write down preliminary ideas and formulate intelligent questions.
3. Develop an approach
Outline how you are thinking in a clear and structured way. Develop an approach and follow it methodically in order to address each major issue of the case, one by one.
4. Ask questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Clarify any confusion you may have and make sure to define the scope of the objective. If there is additional information you need, don’t be hesitant to ask for it.
5. Use a hypothesis-driven approach
Develop a hypothesis to help guide the direction of the case. When you uncover new information, share with the interviewer how you are processing the information and what implication the information has on the answer.
6. Commit to an answer
When delivering a recommendation at the end of the case interview, don’t flip back and forth between two different recommendations. Firmly state your recommendation and provide solid reasons to support it. However, you should show flexibility and adaptability in rethinking your recommendation if the interviewer provides you with new data.
7. Be yourself
By the end of the case interview, the interviewer will get a sense of what it would be like to work with you. Therefore, make sure to make your personality shine during the case interview. Have fun with the case and demonstrate to the interviewer that you are easy to work with and highly coachable.
How to Ace the LEK Written Case Interview
Here’s how the LEK written case interview works:
- You’ll be taken to a meeting room and given a packet of 45 slides with a prompt that consists of 6 questions
- You’ll have 60 minutes to read through the slides and select 8 to 10 slides to present later on
- For the selected slides, you’ll be expected to write the headline for each slide. The slides have data and graphs on them, but no headlines
- You may create an executive summary slide if you wish
- At the end of the 60 minutes, you’ll present your slides to the interviewer and then turn the slides in
Follow the steps below to perform well on the written case interview.
1. Understand the business problem and objective
The first step in completing a written case interview is to understand what the objective is. What is the primary business question you are trying to answer with the data and information provided?
2. Read the list of major questions
Your written case interview should provide you with a list of 6 key questions that you will be expected to address or answer. Read through these questions first since these will be the questions that you will want to prioritize.
3. Skim the materials
Next, flip through the information packet that is provided to see what information is available. Identify what data you have and what data you do not have.
The goal in this step is not to read and analyze every slide. That would take too much time. Instead, by seeing what information exists, you will be able to better prioritize what you spend your time reading and analyzing.
4. Create a framework
Before you begin reading and analyzing the information in the slides in more detail, you should create a basic framework to help guide your analysis. The list of key questions and pre-filled slide templates will help set the foundation of your framework.
5. Read and analyze the material
Afterwards, read and analyze the information that is relevant to each area of your framework. As you begin answering questions and drawing insights, make sure to write a one or two sentence summary. This will make it easier to decide on a recommendation later.
6. Decide on a recommendation
Review the list of key takeaways that you have summarized from answering all of the major questions in your framework. Decide on what recommendation these findings collectively support.
Remember that there is typically no right or wrong recommendation. As long as your recommendation is supported by data and evidence, you will be in great shape.
7. Create your slides
Once you have a recommendation, it is time to start filling in your slides. Write your executive summary first and make sure that it tells a clear and logical story that leads to your ultimate recommendation.
Then, write the headlines for your slides. Make sure the headlines summarize the key point of each slide. If the interviewer were to only read the headlines of your slides, they should be able to understand your entire presentation.
8. Prepare for potential questions
If you have any time remaining, brainstorm potential questions the interviewer may ask you during your presentation. They may want to know how you performed your analysis or how you reached your conclusions.
Preparing for these potential questions will help your presentation go much more smoothly. You will also feel much more confident while presenting.
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 LEK?
How to answer: Have at least three reasons why you’re interested in working at LEK. You could mention that you loved the people that you have met from the company so far. You can talk about LEK’s global presence and expertise in nearly any industry or function. You can speak to LEK’s specialty in corporate strategy, mergers and acquisitions, and operations. You could also mention their strong private equity practice.
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 LEK.
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.
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