This pack contains two full-length case study analysis practice exercises. You will also receive a complete set of preparation materials, including case study answers and presentation tips. As well as this, you will gain access to a general guide teaching you how to construct a case study assignment. This guide also provides you with explanations regarding solving methods and tips. The accompanying scoring forms can be used to evaluate your own performance according to what real assessors look for.
What Types of Case Studies Are There?
- The first type of assessment centre case study exercise are those for various positions in finance, banking, audit, marketing, IT, sales, and more. These case studies are based on a file of documents you must quickly read and analyse. They may be completed as part of an assessment day, or given at the employer's office as part of the interview. You can find more information about these exercises here or by scrolling below.
- Another type of case study exercise are those for consultancy and business management companies. These tests are usually administered without the use of endless documents. The entire scenario is described by the interviewer or is limited to a few pages. Generally, the task revolves around mathematical problems, estimation questions, and strategic thinking. The candidate is expected to question the assessor for more details in order to understand the problems at hand. Learn more about these tests here.
Assessment Centre Case Study Exercises
Typically, a case study or analysis exercise introduces a series of fictional documents, such as reports and results from recent market research. These documents may relate to hypothetical or real-life situations. You are asked to analyse the case at hand, make business decisions, and/or give a brief verbal or written report of your recommendations. You may also be given additional information to assess and respond to throughout the allocated time. In some instances, these exercises include content that is relevant to the company's affairs, giving candidates a taste of a real day-to-day task.
You may be asked to complete the case study as an individual exercise or as part of a group, which allows assessors to evaluate your ability to work as part of a team. Some employers designate case study exercises as a discrete element of the selection process, while others may combine them with an interview.
What Are the Main Types of Case Studies?
In general, case studies belong to one of two main groups:
Subject-Related Case Studies
Specific and professional knowledge of subject topics is required. In cases of candidates applying to a position in which industry knowledge is essential, the content of the case study is directly relevant to that role. In these cases, candidates are required to use their existing knowledge and experience to identify key information from the brief. For instance, project managers may be asked to plan for the release of a new product, which incorporates scheduling, budgeting, and resourcing.
General Case Studies
These case studies are designed for a broad audience of candidates who are tested for different positions. Answering the case study questions does not require any specific knowledge, and most questions can be answered with common sense. Any information that is required for answering the case study questions is provided by the assessor, whether by word or through additional documentation. These case studies are much more popular as they are completed by a vast number of candidates who are applying for a wide array of positions.
Popular Case Study Topics
- Strategic decisions in global or local contexts
- Expansion of departments, acquisition of new companies or products
- Entrance into new fields of development and product lines
- Exploring new markets
- Reconstructing organisational trees
- Creating advertising campaigns
What Skills Are Measured?
A case study exercise is one of several tools used to evaluate a wide array of skills and abilities:
|Aptitude Skills||Employment Skills|
|Problem solving||Working under pressure|
Prepare for Case Studies
JobTestPrep offers a unique preparation package designed specifically to help you prepare for your upcoming case study or analysis exercise. This pack contains two complete written case study exercises that can be solved under test-like conditions. Using the detailed solution guide, scoring form, and presentation example, you are able to assess your own performance and draw valuable conclusions.
The guides included in this pack present you with all the information you need to know about the case study assessment. They cover a variety of topics, including different types of case study tests, numerous solving methods, and case study presentation tips and examples.
- Two full-length case study exercises
- Comprehensive solution guides with detailed explanations
- Self-evaluation forms
- Presentation tips
- A complete online guide to case studies
- Similar to the process seen during real assessment centres
- Immediate online access, practice 24/7
- Target audience: graduate and managerial applicants
Example Case Study
There follows a simple example of the type of case study that might be given to you at a selection centre either individually or to solve as a group. This exercise tests your decision making, analytical reasoning skills and your ability to put forward a persuasive case - all important management skills.
In a real life selection centre you would be given about 40 minutes to study the problem which follows and to produce recommendations for action and the reasons behind your decision. This would probably be a group exercise with other candidates, but could also be given as an individual exercise in which you had to produce a report. Real exercises may be more complex than this example.
Hitech PLC are a Korean company who produce high technology goods such as CD players. Recently they opened a factory in the town of Marstairs in Thanet, Kent, an economic development area. The factory is doing well with 69% of its sales coming from the British market. However relations with the local population are poor.
The anticipated benefits to the town from the building of the factory haven't materialised, as most of the workforce needed to be highly skilled and were brought in from other areas, thus providing little local employment. These non-locals were highly paid and have pushed up prices in the local shops and also house prices leading to resentment.
The Chief Executive is aware of this resentment and wants to improve the situation. The directors have agreed that up to £300,000 may be spent on a scheme to benefit the community and lift the company's image in the community.
Three possible schemes have been put forward:
The views of the Chief Executive and Directors are as follows:
The Finance Director
The Finance Director's Calculations:
The Marketing Director feels:
The Chief Executive
The Chief Executive has said that she would like to see other benefits to the company as well as the public relations boost.
The Chief Executive has asked you, as a promising young manager, to study the three proposals and make a recommendation on which of the schemes the company should support and why for consideration by the Board of Directors at its next meeting. Only one of the schemes can be supported. After examining all the information say which scheme the company should support and give your reasons.
As in real life there is no single correct answer to this exercise and most others like it. Any of the 3 schemes could be persuasively argued for, and the final solution you choose is not important. You would be assessed on how logically and eloquently you made your case for whichever scheme you decided to support.
Instead of writing your findings you might be asked to give a short presentation of your case in front of the selectors. This would test your public speaking skills, ability to present an argument etc.
This type of exercise might also be given in the form of a group exercise. Here, as part of a group of 5 to 7 candidates you would be given about 25 minutes to come to a consensus on which option to choose. Here your skills of verbal communication, teamworking, persuasiveness and time management would be looked for. A good starting point might be to decide on the criteria (cost, value to the community, publicity) you will use to decide and to rank these in order of importance. Keep an eye on the time as you would be marked down if you didn't finish.
Running this as a group exercise with students
I normally use 25 minutes for the game and then about another 15 to 20 minutes for feedback.
I have about two thirds of the each group doing the exercise (say 6 to 8 people maximum) and then one third of the group (about three people) sitting round the edge taking notes using the observers' form at www.kent.ac.uk/careers/sk/teamwork.htm#Observer
It can be great fun running two, three or four groups in the same room and writing the solutions proposed by the various groups on a board, so they can compare their conclusions.
At the end of the exercise I ask the participants to feed back first, then the observers and then myself: usually, by the time the participants and observers have aired their views, there isn't that much you need to say yourself!
I emphasise that feedback should be positive and constructive! Not "Debbie was hopeless!", but "Debbie made some very useful contributions but her voice was a bit quiet. I couldn't hear her very well, so she needs to raise her voice a bit in future."
This case study is copyright of the University of Kent Careers and Employability Service. We are happy for you to link to this page but not to copy it without our permission. Contact Bruce Woodcock for details.
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"In the written exercises and interviews, they were looking for the ability to look at all sides of an argument objectively."
Graduate attending a selection centre for the Civil Service.