Evening MBA, ‘24
Strategic Planning Director, Edelman
The case interview for a marketing role requires practice to feel comfortable responding to a specific—often real—marketing challenge, while presenting confidently and showing off your personality. Now, accomplish all the above virtually.
My background is in marketing and communications on the agency side. In preparing for a shift to brand management, the case interview was new to me. On top of that, I am a person who has fretted about presenting well, making a connection, and leaving an impression over Zoom. Needless to say, the annual Case Interview Prep event, hosted by the Kilts Center for Marketing, occurred at just the right time for an opportunity to rehearse mock interviews in a low-stakes virtual setting. Chicago Booth alumni in brand management roles at CPG companies, including Tyson, SC Johnson, Whirlpool, and Kraft Heinz, each played roles as interviewers.
To kick off the event, the alumni advised how to apply the go-to 3 C’s (company, customers, and competitors) and 4 P’s (product, price, promotion, and placement) marketing framework for any case question, and how to organize and deliver ideas effectively. Alumni agreed unanimously that the top tip is to always consider the consumer first in your response. Strong responses articulate a consumer insight and use it as the thread to tie together analyses and recommendations.
For the majority of the event, we were divided into small breakout groups. The alumni provided perspectives that were candid but reassuring, and they shared actionable advice to improve marketing case skills. Recognizing that most candidates are answering case questions using the same framework, I wondered how to make a response stand out. An important takeaway from the alumni’s feedback was to have a strong point of view. State your assumptions and make firm decisions as you strategize the case. An alum’s comment stuck with me: “Getting a glimpse of your intuition and hearing bold ideas makes it interesting for the interviewer.”
During the practice rounds, I felt how comfortable I was answering some questions, and how awkward I was answering others. Previous experience, whether in marketing or not, enables you to respond more naturally to certain facets of a business challenge. Another insight that sparked for me is to give yourself more time to answer the part of the case in which you are the most confident, because that is when personality can shine through in an interview.
Many of the alumni were interviewing for their marketing roles not long ago. The small group interaction was also invaluable to learn more specifics about the responsibilities of brand managers. In addition to providing feedback to our responses, the alumni played back how they would tackle each case, which illuminated a lot about their experiences. After three hours interacting on Zoom, I logged off more knowledgeable about marketing case interviews and excited about brand management opportunities. I highly recommend the Case Interview Prep to students both honing their case skills or wanting a glimpse of a ‘day in the life’ of a brand manager.
To learn more about the Kilts Center for Marketing, follow the Center on LinkedIn.