The Oliver Wyman Case Interview: Our Complete Guide to Acing It

The Oliver Wyman Case Interview Complete Guide 2021

Recruiting season for the consulting industry is coming up fast, and it takes time and practice to get ready for consulting interviews. To give you a leg up, we’ll tell you what the Oliver Wyman interview process looks like and provide information on the case interview, the behavioral interview, and their written case.

Consulting interviews are tough, but My Consulting Offer was founded and is staffed by former recruiters and consultants from top consulting firms. We’ll address what’s in the Oliver Wyman interview and help you make the most of this opportunity.

In this article we’ll cover:

  • Oliver Wyman’s history and culture.
  • The Oliver Wyman recruiting process.
  • The Oliver Wyman case interview.
  • The Oliver Wyman fit or behavioral interview.
  • How to prepare for a written case interview.
  • MCO’s top 3 tips on acing your Oliver Wyman interview.

Let’s get started!

Oliver Wyman History

Oliver Wyman is a fast-growing management consulting firm with a strong foothold in the financial services sector and in digital strategy. The company was founded in New York City in 1984 by former Booz Allen Hamilton partners Alexander Oliver and William Wyman. The founders wanted to build a company that would specialize, excelling at advising certain industries at a time when most other firms were becoming generalists. The firm today has more than 60 offices across 29 countries, employing over 5,000 professionals.

Oliver Wyman is notable for its complex history of mergers and acquisitions. The firm is a subsidiary of the Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC), a global professional services network with brands and affiliates specializing in areas of risk and strategy, with people across more than 100 countries. The acquisition of Oliver Wyman came towards the end of a wave of purchases by MMC, which included other consultancies:

  • Temple, Barker & Sloane acquired in 1987
  • Strategic Planning Associates in 1989    
  • Delta Consulting Group which became “Mercer Delta” in 2000.

MMC continued its pattern of growth by acquisition, acquiring more than 20 firms since its establishment. In 2007, MMC formed its consulting arm by merging its consulting subsidiaries under the name Oliver Wyman Group.

Oliver Wyman is considered to be among the world’s most prestigious consulting firms and is ranked #6 in the Vault Consulting 50.

The firm works with clients to optimize their businesses, improve their operations and risk profiles, and accelerate their organizational performance to seize the most attractive opportunities. The firm undertakes a variety of projects in the automotive, defense, education, energy, healthcare, telecommunications, transportation, and travel industries, but is particularly distinguished in the financial services sector. Its capabilities include digital, corporate finance and restructuring, operations, organizational effectiveness, risk management, strategy, and sustainability.

Oliver Wyman Values and Culture

Oliver Wyman’s core belief is that “a dynamic, entrepreneurial culture makes Oliver Wyman teams extraordinarily effective.”    

The firm values exceptional people – people with intelligence, energy, passion, emotional sensitivity, and a commitment to excellence. Oliver Wyman believes that if people share common aspirations, a non-hierarchical environment based on respect, and no artificial barriers to advancement, then exceptional people will realize their potential.

Oliver Wyman has 5 core values regarding its people. They:   

  1. Hire self-starters and free thinkers who work well in teams – Individuals who are self-starting, motivated, energetic, entrepreneurial, and passionate about what they do.
  2. Work as teams with common aspirations, collective endeavors, and shared success – Sharing a common aspiration to have an impact, leave a legacy, and change the world.
  3. Insist on straightforward, open, respectful interaction – An environment where every member of Oliver Wyman is encouraged and expected to voice their opinion.
  4. Provide opportunity without artificial barriers – Value merit and believe that to create a true meritocracy, artificial barriers to recognizing, rewarding, and promoting the best people, like performance reviews based on tenure and internal connections, need to be removed.
  5. Encourage balanced lives and a sense of fun – People with lives that balance work and non-work activities are more interesting colleagues and make better contributions to the firm.

The firm is committed to supporting employees’ work-life quality and offers several programs for colleagues to recharge their batteries or pursue other interests. One example is the Non-Profit Fellowship program, in which employees can choose to work for a non-profit organization for 3-6 months, while the firm pays a stipend of up to 40 percent of their salary.

Oliver Wyman has also established long-term partnerships with select non-profit organizations to provide pro-bono consulting services. The list of organizations that Oliver Wyman has partnered with continues to grow alongside their efforts to make more significant, meaningful, and lasting contributions to society.

In 2019, Oliver Wyman was ranked among FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For® and FORTUNE’s Best Workplaces for Millennials. The lists were based on survey feedback from companies representing more than 4.3 million employees, with respondents rating their workplace culture on 60-plus elements. These include trust in managers, compensation, fairness, camaraderie, and workplace traits linked to innovation. The ranking accounted for the experiences of all employees including women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ individuals, older team members, and disabled employees.

The firm was recognized for some of its programs, such as:

  • Apprenticeship Model – Oliver Wyman supports colleagues’ ability to discover and develop their talents and one way the firm does that is by matching new hires up with a buddy, Career Advisor, and Talent Manager who are all tasked with mentoring and supporting colleagues’ development.
  • Commitment to Work-Life Sustainability – Various programs such as The Way We Work and FlexOW ensure employees have a sustainable work/life balance.
  • BOOST – A program designed to support parents before, during, and after a leave of absence for additions to their families.
  • Volunteering – All employees receive eight hours of paid time off for volunteering, which can be spent with an individual’s preferred charity or group projects arranged by a community leader in each office.

The Oliver Wyman Interview Process

Oliver Wyman Case Interview - Interview Process

There are 4 steps in Oliver Wyman’s interview process:

Step #1 – Resume and Cover Letter Screening

Candidates can apply for the open roles at Oliver Wyman through their Careers Page, where they fill in an online form with their personal details and submit a cover letter as well as their resume.

See our Consulting Resume and Consulting Cover Letter articles for tips on this application step.

Step #2 – Online Assessment Test

Most shortlisted candidates are asked to take a 20- to 30-minute online assessment test. The questions mostly cover numerical reasoning. They’re aimed at testing the candidate’s ability to process information and make quantitative calculations. 

To find out more about preparing for quantitative assessments, see our article on Case Interview Math.   

Step #3 – First round interviews

A 30- to 45-minute interview is split into two sections – a behavioral fit interview and a case study. This interview is typically conducted by a consultant.

 Step #4 – Second round interviews

Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the second-round interviews have been simplified to a 30- to 45-minute interview format similar to the first-round interviews, with a behavioral fit interview and a case study. This round is carried out by another consultant or a principal.

Prior to the pandemic, the second-round interviews were known as a “Super Day” assessment in the United States or as the “Assessment Centre” in Europe. These were usually an on-site office visit, where candidates performed a series of interviews, including:

  1. Business case interview
  2. Behavioral fit interview
  3. Case presentation / Written case (More information is provided in the upcoming section.)
  4. Consultant Q&A – An informal session with current consultants that is not considered as a part of the offer decision. However, it does provide the candidates an opportunity to learn more about the life of an Oliver Wyman consultant.

The Oliver Wyman Super Day or Assessment Centre may return after Covid restrictions are lifted.

These steps are Oliver Wyman’s typical interview process, but may vary based on the role applied and the location. Candidates should confirm details about the process with the recruiter or HR contact once they are shortlisted.

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The Oliver Wyman Case Interview

Oliver Wyman case interviews are candidate-led, a similar style to that used by BCG or Bain. In candidate-led interviews, you are presented with a business scenario and expected to walk your interviewer through your thought process until you reach a recommendation for the “client” (your interviewer).

In this section, the interviewer assesses how you approach and evaluate a problem. The interviewer is looking to answer 6 questions of their own:

  • How do you approach unstructured challenges?
  • Can you evaluate data and use it in your analysis?
  • Can you think outside the box?
  • Can you apply common sense to complex business problems?
  • Can you ask the right questions?
  • Can you communicate your ideas effectively?

We recommend a 4-step approach to answer the case interviews, which includes:

  • The opening – Ensure you understand the client’s problem.
  • The structure – Brainstorm all factors relevant to the problem and organize them to ensure you address them in a complete and logical manner.
  • The analysis – Gather data to identify the factors most relevant to the client’s problem and develop recommendations for your “client” (your interviewer).
  • The conclusion – Present your recommendation to the “client” in a well-structured and persuasive manner.

We share more tips and tricks to ace the case interview in our Ultimate Guide to Case Interviews. In addition, check out these Oliver Wyman case examples for a sense of the challenges you’ll be presented with during this round.

The Oliver Wyman Behavioral Interview

Oliver Wyman typically conducts behavioral interviews as part of their first and second round interviews. The interviewers could start their interview rounds with the behavioral interviews, followed by the case interview or vice-versa. The behavioral interview is often 20-minutes of the 45-minute interview.

On one hand, these interviews provide the interviewer an opportunity to find out more about your background and interests. Their goal is to understand your interest in business and your future aspirations. On the other hand, these interviews are also a good opportunity for you to learn about the firm.

You can expect this interview to cover a mix of questions about your resume, personal experiences, and “fit” with firm culture. Some common questions include:

  • Why did you choose Oliver Wyman?
  • Tell me about your greatest accomplishment.
  • Tell me about a time you overcame a difficult challenge.
  • Management consulting is an intense What would you do if you were to face burnout?
  • How would you manage a situation where the client had no resources to work with you?

You can find more commonly asked behavioral questions and some tips on answering these questions in our Behavioral Interview Guide

The Oliver Wyman Written Case Interview

Oliver Wyman Case Interview - Written Case Interview Presentation

Oliver Wyman carries out written case interviews during their “Super Day” Assessments, but this applies only to candidates in selected locations. The written case interview is the final round of the interview process.

The written case is not as common as the typical case study interview, but firms like BCG and Bain give them to applicants in some geographic regions. The purpose of the written case interviews is to test the candidates’ speaking and writing skills.

In Oliver Wyman’s written case interview:

  • Candidates are provided some case information including a business scenario, a business problem, and data.
  • Candidates are given 30 minutes to analyze the materials and prepare a presentation
  • Another 30 minutes is allocated for the candidate to present their insights and answer questions from the interviewer(s).

Interviewer(s) might pause you in the middle of the presentation and ask clarification questions. This may not mean that you got the “wrong” answer. Most often, the interviewer is trying to test your ability to support your recommendation under pressure.

A key tip to acing the written case interviews is to write effective slides with concise messages. Our guide, Everything You Need to Know About Written Case Interviews, compiles some sample questions and more tips on the best approach for written interviews, such as:

Keep your written recommendations within 1-5 slides.

  • 1st slide: Recap the context and business problem.
  • 2nd slide: State the recommended action to solve the problem along with 3 reasons this is the right action.
  • 3rd slide: State reason #1 for the recommended action. The slide should provide charts or data that support the statement.
  • 4th slide: State reason #2 for the recommended action. The slide should provide charts or data that support the statement.
  • 5th slide (if applicable): State reason #3 for the recommended action. The slide should provide charts or data that support the statement.
  • 6th slide: Recap the recommendation. Emphasize benefits and/or touch on risks and how the consultant can help with next steps.

MCO’s 3 Tips on Acing the Oliver Wyman Interview

1. Practice Your Consulting Math Skills

Oliver Wyman places emphasis on the candidate’s ability to perform quantitative analysis. Basic math skills are tested through the online assessment test as well as the case interviews. Practicing numerical reasoning questions will help sharpen rusty math skills. This is extra important for the written case interviews because there will be no interviewer to coach you if you’ve made a calculation mistake until your slides are being presented.

2. Practice Your Case and Written Interviews Out Loud

Your ability to communicate your ideas is as important as the analyses you run. One of the best ways to gain confidence with presenting in front of others is to practice with friends or other consultants / former consultants. You can also practice by presenting out loud and recording yourself, but we recommend practicing with others as much as possible. This will give you the opportunity to identify areas for improvement.

3. Prepare to Share Some Stories About Yourself

Oliver Wyman values exceptional people. In their corporate values, they highlight the importance of having aspirations and interests outside of work. They also spend significant time during the first and second round interviews to get to know candidates. Prepare a few stories about what you are passionate about and how you dedicate time to achieving your development goals. These stories provide the interviewers an indication of how else you could contribute to the firm. 

– – – – –

In this article, we’ve covered:

  • The history of Oliver Wyman.
  • Oliver Wyman’s key values.
  • The 4-step interview process.
  • What to expect in each interview round.
  • 3 key tips to ace the Oliver Wyman interviews.

Still have questions?

If you have more questions about the Oliver Wyman interview, leave them in the comments below. One of My Consulting Offer’s case coaches will answer them.

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Thanks for turning to My Consulting Offer for advice on consulting interview prep. My Consulting Offer has helped almost 85% of the people we’ve worked with to get a job in management consulting. We want you to be successful in your consulting interviews too. For example, here is how Katherine was able to get her offer from Oliver Wyman.

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