Ready to stand out at your assessment day? Here’s my tips for group case studies
May 02, 2022
May 02, 2022
As an Early Careers Recruiter, Lucy Cho regularly attends campus events such as networking nights, career fairs and assessment days. She shares some tips for common traits and behaviours that can help candidates to stand out.
When you’re applying for a graduate role, group case studies are a common assessment task. These are designed for us to look for certain skills and attributes in candidates like teamwork, enthusiasm, and communication skills. This recruitment stage usually comes after the initial phone screening.
Here’s my tips on how to ace group case studies.
Tip one: It’s all about teamwork
Success as a consultant is all about working together with your colleagues and client to deliver projects within a specific timeframe. You can expect to be moving teams regularly based on project needs, so it’s important to show that you can work effectively and collaboratively with other people.
At the assessment day, some ways to show your teamwork skills include:
Remember, if you are successful with getting an offer, some of the people from your assessment day could become your colleagues, so it’s a great chance to start building relationships. Be positive and authentic, because that all helps you to enjoy the experience.
Also, if you’re a bit more introverted, try to play to your strengths. Ask questions to your group to show you’re thinking about the problem and adding value to the discussion.
Tip two: Confident communication is critical
Being able to look at a business situation, analyse it with your team, and then present your findings to the client is a core part of consultancy. That’s why we’re looking for candidates who can present work clearly, effectively summarizing lots of information into a clear presentation format.
A key part of communicating with confidence is understanding the material, so don’t be afraid to ask questions if there’s anything you’re unsure about. Assessors love to get questions because it shows that you are engaged. And be ready to answer questions yourself, to outline the reasoning behind your solution.
When you’re presenting, try to speak clearly and make good eye contact. It’s a good idea to try to practice presenting as much as possible (rope in your family and friends if needed) so that you can calm any nerves that might be raging inside you.
It’s also a good idea to make sure you’re also dressed to impress. Dressing “Smart casual” will help you to look and feel the part too.
Tip three: Practice, practice, practice!
Give yourself the best chance on the day by practicing in advance. A quick online search for ‘Practice group case study assessment’ will provide you with some sample material. Put on a timer for one hour, read through the material and try to process it and find a solution to the case.
If you can, ask some friends or family members to practice with you, so you can also work on the teamwork aspect, and they can give you feedback too. This all helps to boost your confidence so you can feel comfortable in the session.
As we’re expecting our assessment days to be run virtually for the time being, make sure all your tech works. Make sure that your camera, microphone, and headphones all work, and you’ve got a strong internet connection. Find a quiet spot to avoid distraction. And get everything you need ready before the session starts, including a glass of water.
Tip four: Keep an eye on the clock
The group case study assessments are run to a strict time schedule. It’s important to keep track of time to ensure your group completes the exercise.
Time management skills are so critical in consulting. Being a consultant means deadlines, so assessors are looking for candidates who can use their time wisely. Make sure there’s a timekeeper for your group – you can volunteer to take on this responsibility, too!
A pro tip on time management: make sure you allow enough time to prepare the final presentation and, ideally, have a practice run through.
Tip five: Show your problem-solving skills
The assessors really want to see how you approach and solve a problem. This is your chance to show them how you identify a problem, think about it, and make a decision about ways to solve it. This is what our clients come to us for, so showing that you can think critically and creatively about an issue is a great advantage that will help you stand out.
Don’t just present the solution, show the steps you went through on the way to reach your suggested course of action.
What to expect on your assessment day
Generally, the day will start with a 30-minute welcome presentation by the day’s coordinator. Then you’ll be split into breakout groups and given half an hour or so to get to know each other a bit. After a short break, you’ll go back into your breakout groups and then be presented with the case study for around 1.5 hours to discuss and form your ideas.
You’ll be expected to work together to develop a presentation of around 5-10 minutes about your case study and your proposed plan. Your group will present to a group of around 30-50 people, then respond to questions from the assessors.
Within a couple of weeks following the assessment day, you’ll be given feedback. Even if you don’t get an offer, please try to take this feedback onboard and use it to improve if you decide to apply for another graduate program or reapply in the future for Accenture. A commitment to continual self-improvement is so important to cultivate.
Are you preparing for assessment day? Watch this video to know what to expect on the day.