Cracking the Bell Case Interview
Hi there! I’m Sarah, an alum of Bell Canada’s Graduate Leadership Program. I recently completed the Marketing, Operations and Applied Technologies Program. As a Grad, I interview candidates for Bell’s program annually, and constructed a “Crack the Case with Bell Canada” workshop, in which I present to universities all over Montreal!
Recruitment for Bell Canada’s Graduate Leadership Program utilizes a case-based approach. In a case interview, candidates are given a business problem and a set amount of time to come up with a solution that they must then present to a panel of interviewers. The business problem can be from any industry and for any company, real or fictitious. This is a great way for us to test your overall business acumen, as well as your creativity and problem-solving skills!
We understand that case interviews can be intimidating, especially if you have never done one before and are not sure what to expect. We recognize the fact that some candidates who are interviewing may be in their early stages of university with only slight exposure to cases, and that some candidates may not have any exposure to cases at all. Thankfully, we’ve prepared a short guide to help you familiarize yourself with the case interviewing process at Bell, as well as some tips and tricks to ensure you can perform as best as you can when interviewing with us!
The Structure of the interview is as follows:
*Please note that this is a general outline of how the Grad Program interview process runs –connect with your hiring manager if you are contacted for an interview for a specific outline on the interview structure.
- Case Reading: You will be given a business case, with a collection of text and data tables outlining the business problem. Every potential candidate has 2 hours to read the case and construct a PowerPoint presentation outlining your solution.
- Case Presentation: You will present your PowerPoint and solution to a panel of interviewers. There will be a short question and answer period after your presentation where the interviewers will dig deeper into your solution or ask questions on the feasibility of your methods.
- Behavioral Questions: After your case presentation, behavioral questions will be asked. Be sure to prepare for this portion of the interview too, as it’s just as important as the first part!
Tip #1: Build your solution as you read the case, so you don’t run out of time.
As you read through the numerous pages of text in the business case, some sentences and elements will spark creative ideas. Jot down anything that comes to mind, and why those solutions might add value to the business. In my experience, it’s challenging to read an entire case, absorb all the information, and then generate a few solutions – all while under a deadline. Keeping track of your thoughts by writing notes as you read the case will help you compile several recommendations so that when you are done reading, you will have several recommendations to choose from. This allows to process information individually as well as manage your time more efficiently.
Tip #2: Create recommendations that target the underlying problem, and ensure you present them in a concise manner.
It’s important that your recommendations target the source of the issue and provide a practical solution. For example, if a company is experiencing issues with revenue, you could simply recommend raising the price of the product/service they offer. However, if the case has data stating that the customers do not see how the product is useful, raising prices will make the problem worse. Read the case carefully to find out the true source of the issue – and create recommendations that target those issues. In this case, re-branding or modifying the product or pursuing a completely different target market might be a more suitable recommendation.
Practical tips for remaining concise:
- The presentation time is 10-15 min long, so try not to go too in-depth in your explanations or you will risk losing the focus of your audience. Interviewers will ask you for more information if they feel they need it.
- Limit the text on your presentations – make them as visual as possible and focus on speaking directly to the panel without spending too much time reading off your presentation.
Tip #3: Take note of the appendix (data tables) in the case.
I can’t say this enough –integrate some insights from the data tables into your solution (assuming there are data tables in the case)! With the time constraints, many candidates don’t acknowledge the data tables at the end of the case – but they are certainly there for a reason. Important data should not be ignored, and utilizing that data gives you the opportunity to truly put together a comprehensive solution. For example, if costs are climbing, or if a non-value-add expense is taking up most of the budget, I recommend you take note of this in your recommendation. Lastly, the panel may ask you a question about the data – so be prepared.
Tip #4: If you don’t know the answer, explain the logic you would use to figure it out.
You may not always know the answers to the questions that the panel asks during your presentation, or you may have presented them with something they require more information about in order to process it – if this is the case, don’t worry! Simply explain how you would obtain the answer. This is a good opportunity to show how you perform under pressure, and the interviewers will appreciate you for it!
Structuring your Business Case Properly
A typical business case PowerPoint presentation has 4-5 slides. Here are the slides you will be expected to prepare at the bare minimum:
- Indicate the Problem Statement – otherwise known as the main problem the business in question is facing.
- Isolate a few Key Issues – select issues driving the main problem that the business is facing. These are the source of the problem.
- Alternatives and Recommendation
- List at least 3 alternatives – remember to try and be as creative as possible!
- Score each alternative on key performance indicators to help choose which one will be your recommendation.
- Provide a 3-year forecast for your recommendation. If yearly data is not available, a sensitivity analysis will work just fine.
- Separate this slide into a short, medium and long-term implementation plan of your recommendation.
- Risks and Mitigations (Optional)
- Completely optional – but indicating a few risks and how your business will overcome them will “wow” us and show that you can truly go above and beyond in your case presentations.
Interested in joining the program? Visit our Careers website to learn about opportunities available today: http://bit.ly/2HfYtCn
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