Oliver Wyman Case Interview: Everything You Need to Know

As one of the top consulting firms, Oliver Wyman has a rigorous interview process. Oliver Wyman interviews consist of case interviews, written case interviews, and conversational interviews.


In this article, we’ll cover:

  • The interview process at Oliver Wyman


  • The 6 steps to solving any Oliver Wyman case interview


  • How to ace your Oliver Wyman written case interview


  • The 10 most common conversational interview questions


Oliver Wyman Interview Process


To get an offer from Oliver Wyman, you’ll typically need to go through two rounds of interviews.


First round interviews are either conducted in-person or through phone. You should expect two 30 to 40 minute interviews. One will be a case interview while the other will be a conversational interview. Your interviewers will most likely be associates or engagement managers.


Case interviews simulate the consulting job by placing you in a hypothetical business situation. You’ll have 30 to 40 minutes to work with the interviewer to develop a recommendation to solve a business problem.


Conversational interviews are an opportunity for your interviewers to get to know you better. They may ask questions about your experiences, interests, and career goals. You’ll also be able to ask your interviewer questions to get to know Oliver Wyman better.


Second round interviews are conducted in-person at the Oliver Wyman office that you are interviewing for. You’ll be interviewing with more senior people, such as principals or partners.


For this round of interviews, you will typically have three back-to-back interviews. These are comprised of:

  • A case interview


  • A written case interview


  • A conversational interview


In the following sections, we’ll cover exactly how to ace each of these three different types of interviews.


Oliver Wyman Case Interviews


Oliver Wyman case interviews are all candidate-led. This means that you will be expected to drive the direction of the case. You will suggest what areas to explore, what analyses to do, and what the next step should be.


On their website, Oliver Wyman says they look for the following when assessing candidates during case interviews.

  • How do you approach unstructured challenges?


  • Can you think outside the box?


  • Can you ask the right questions?


  • Can you evaluate data and use it in your analysis?


  • Can you apply common sense to complex business problems?


  • Can you communicate your ideas?


Oliver Wyman services a wide variety of industries, so be prepared to have cases in industries such as:

  • Financial services


  • Automotive


  • Industrial products


  • Retail and consumer products


  • Health and life sciences


  • Communications, media, and technology


The 6 Steps to Solve Any Oliver Wyman Case Interview


Follow these six steps to solve any Oliver Wyman case 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.


Oliver Wyman Case Interview Examples


Oliver Wyman provides two practice cases that you can work on by yourself to get a better idea of what to expect in a case interview. Each of these practice cases should take about 30 minutes to complete.

  • Wumbleworld practice case: This is a profitability case focused on helping a theme park operator in China improve profitability. This case provides great practice for interpreting charts and graphs.


  • Aqualine practice case: This is a revenue case focused on helping a small powerboat manufacturer identify sales growth opportunities. This case provides great practice for case math.


Oliver Wyman Written Case Interview


Written case interviews are very different from traditional case interviews. Oliver Wyman uses them to assess your synthesis and presentation skills.


Here’s what to expect:

  • You’ll receive a packet of information with the case background information and various tables, charts, and articles


  • You’ll have 30 minutes to review the materials and prepare a presentation


  • You’ll spend 30 minutes presenting to your interviewer and answering their follow up questions


To solve your Oliver Wyman written case interview, follow these eight steps.


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


Some written case interviews will provide you with a list of 3 – 4 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.


If the written case interview is more open-ended and does not provide you with a list of key questions, skip this step and move onto the next step.  


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. If you are provided with a list of key questions or pre-filled slide templates, then this will likely be the foundation of your framework.


Otherwise, based on what information exists in the information packet, identify the three to four key questions you need to answer or investigate.


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. You should use the following structure when creating your slides:

  • Slide 1: Present your recommendation and the three reasons that support it


  • Slide 2: Present your first reason and the data that supports it


  • Slide 3: Present your second reason and the data that supports it


  • Slide 4: Present your third reason and the data that supports it


  • Slide 5: Summarize everything that you’ve covered so far


  • Slide 6: Propose potential next steps


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.


Oliver Wyman Conversational Interviews


Oliver Wyman uses conversational interviews to assess and understand your interest in business and your career goals for the future.


You’ll be expected to hold a conversation with the interviewer, who will ask you questions about your accomplishments, experiences, interests, and career objectives. These questions are similar to the traditional behavioral or fit interview questions asked by other consulting firms.


In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to ask the interviewer questions you have about consulting or the firm.


To do well in conversational interviews, you should know the type of people that Oliver Wyman looks for.


Oliver Wyman looks to hire candidates that are driven, collaborative, and innovative. Their employees are known for their passion, work ethic, and teamwork. Oliver Wyman is known to work closely with their clients side-by-side to deliver a greater impact.


When answering behavioral or fit interview questions, keep these values in mind. There are ten questions that are most commonly asked.


1. Why are you interested in working at Oliver Wyman?


How to answer: Have at least three reasons why you’re interested in working at Oliver Wyman. You could mention that you loved the people that you have met from the company so far. You can talk about Oliver Wyman’s expertise in financial services, health and life sciences, and consumer and industrial services. You can speak to the opportunity to work on international projects at Oliver Wyman.


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.


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