The Arthur D. Little Case Interview: Our Complete Guide

The Arthur D. Little Case Interview Our Complete Guide

If you’re on this page, you likely have an Arthur D. Little interview coming up. Congratulations! It’s a great idea to spend time preparing for your consulting interviews to make the most of this opportunity.

In this article we’ll share:

  • Arthur D. Little’s history and culture.
  • The Arthur D. Little recruiting process.
  • The Arthur D. Little case interview.
  • The Arthur D. Little fit or behavioral interview.
  • MCO’s top 6 tips on acing your Arthur D. Little interview.

Let’s get started!

Arthur D. Little History and Culture

To ace the interview, it’s important to know the company you are interviewing with. In the case of Arthur D. Little, the world’s first management consultancy established in 1886, this is especially true. In its 135 years, the company has fostered a collaborative and forward-thinking culture, with a focus on putting “client first.”

The firm serves  a wide range of industries including:

  • Aerospace and defence
  • Industrial goods & services
  • Automotive
  • Chemicals
  • Consumer good & retail
  • Financial services
  • Healthcare & life sciences
  • Oil & gas
  • Private equity
  • Public services
  • Telecommunications, Information technology, Media, & Electronics
  • Travel & transportation
  • Utilities & alternative energy

Their services range from strategy and organizational transformation to digital transformation and sustainability.

Arthur D. Little interviews screen for candidates who exhibit independent thinking, creativity, and the ability to put ideas into action. Its collaborative culture also stresses identifying candidates who can work effectively in multi-disciplinary teams and have an aptitude for navigating new experiences. Learn more about what Arthur D. Little looks for in candidates here.

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The Arthur D. Little Interview Process

Arthur D. Little interviews assess your analytical and communication skills through case interviews and case study presentations. The recruitment process has 4 stages:

  • Stage 1 – Application screening: Arthur D. Little receives 20,000+ CVs each year, and screens candidates based on their credentials and the firm’s business requirements. This is followed by phone screening where recruiters ask questions about your background and interests.
  • Stage 2 – First round interviews/presentation: Arthur D. Little interviews are typically conducted in 2 rounds, with 1or 2 case interviews in each. The interviews may be traditional cases conducted one-on-one with an interviewer or written cases/presentations. Either way, the interviews also assess your behavior and fit for the role. More on the interviews in the next section. The first round interviews are conducted by more junior-level consultants.
  • Stage 3 – Final round interviews/presentation: These interviews follow the same format as the first round but are conducted by more senior interviewers.
  • Stage 4 – Offer: Once the interviews are concluded, the interviewers discuss candidate performance, and may extend an offer if all interviewers are aligned.

The Arthur D. Little Case Interview

Arthur D. Little case interview

As highlighted above, you’ll have 4 to 5 case interviews during the recruitment process. The Arthur D. Little case interview may either be a traditional case interview or a written case/presentation.

  1. Traditional case interview: The interviewer shares a bit of background information on the client and their business as well as a problem statement. The interviewer then shares additional information and asks questions related to the case. You’ll have to structure the problem and communicate your answers during the case interview, which typically lasts 45 minutes – 1 hour.
  2.  Written/Presentation case interview: You’ll be given the problem statement, detailed written information, and supporting data and will have 1 hour (if data is shared on-site) to 48 hours (if data is shared offline) – to create a presentation with your recommendations. The interviewer(s) will then ask questions during the presentation. 

While it may seem a daunting task, both case interview formats are primarily assessing the same qualities, i.e., your analytical skills and your ability to communicate. The interviewers are trying to understand whether you can:

  • Structure and solve complex problems.
  • Communicate solutions clearly and concisely, using charts where necessary.

Arthur D. Little case interviews are generally interviewee-led, which means you’ll have to structure your approach to solving the problem, then guide the interviewer through your thought process and conclusions. We recommend you navigate through the case interview by following a tried-and-tested 4-step approach:

Step 1: Understand The Question Being Asked

The case interview will start with a hypothetical company facing a business problem. Your interviewer will share crucial information about the problem. Take notes during the interview and repeat the problem you’ve been asked to solve back to the interviewer in your own words. Remember, it’s important you’re solving the correct question!

Avoid the temptation to immediately jump into a laundry list of potential solutions. Instead, keep asking pertinent questions to understand the problem statement better. If you are unclear about any aspects of the client’s business or industry, you should ask about them now.

Step 2: Structure the Problem Covering All Key Aspects

Once you understand the question, structure your approach to solving the problem.

In a case interview, request time to structure the problem – interviewers appreciate it if you take a couple minutes to think through your approach. Similarly, in a written/presentation case interview, take time to structure the problem before sifting through data looking for an answer. Otherwise, you might spend too much time reading the data and not have the time you need to write your presentation.

List what you need to learn about the client’s situation. You may structure the problem based on business frameworks you’re familiar with or, better yet, develop your own structure. Developing your own structure to break down a problem shows you’ll have the skill to solve problems you’ve never seen before.

See our article on Business Frameworks for more on how to structure consulting case interviews. Make sure you communicate the structure with your interviewer (whether in the general interview or the written/presentation case interview).

See our article on Written Case Interviews for more tips on how to approach the Arthur D. Little presentation case interview.

Step 3: Form Your Hypotheses & Drive Analysis

After you structure the key aspects of your approach, walk through these issues step-by-step. Ask for data that helps you drive the analysis. This may be information the interviewer has shared in the initial conversation or on charts. For written cases, data may be buried among other, less relevant information in the pack you received.

Walk your interviewer through the analysis, presenting the supporting data in a clear and concise manner. While analyzing the data, form and revise your hypotheses based on the information shared and continue referring to your structure while analyzing the case. Otherwise, you risk running down a particular branch of the issue tree and ignoring other important aspects of the problem.

Step 4: Provide a Recommendation

Conclude the interview with a logical summary outlining the problem you set out to solve, key conclusions you’ve reached based on the data shared, and a persuasive recommendation on how you’d help the client resolve the challenge. Make sure you communicate the solution in logical steps and that the interviewer (client) follows your logic. A strong conclusion leaves a great impression on the interviewer.

For a detailed example of how to crack a consulting case interview, see our Ultimate Guide to Case Interview Prep.

The Arthur D. Little Behavioral Interview

Behavioral or fit questions will be a part of almost all your Arthur D. Little interviews. The interviewers are looking to understand whether you are a good fit for the company and have independent thinking, creativity, and entrepreneurial qualities. They are also assessing your ability to work in teams, put ideas into action, and learn from new experiences.

It’s great to practice and prepare for the common interview questions in advance by thinking of situations that best portray your skills. Learn more about the common questions and how to answer (and NOT answer!) these by reading our Ultimate Guide to Behavioral Interviews.

MCO’s 6 Tips on Acing the Arthur D. Little Interview

1. Prepare Stories for Common Fit Interview Questions

Take time to develop stories to illustrate your leadership, entrepreneurial, and teamwork skills. Your behavioral fit is as important as (if not more than) your analytical abilities.

Also, develop stories to show that you’re a self-starter and a leader. Practice these stories with interview prep partners until you have your answers polished (but don’t practice so much that they sound memorized or robotic).

2. Practice Casing Before Your Interviews

Case studies are difficult and learning to case takes time, but investing this time is critical if you want  to land a job in consulting. Ensure you’ve mastered each of the 4 steps to solving a case interview. Prepare before your interview by practicing cases with friends and peers, or better yet, work with one of our coaches.

3. Listen to the Interviewer's Instructions

Listening is one of the most important skills in consulting. Listen to your interviewer’s instructions, feedback, and questions, and ask probing questions to understand the case. It is better to ask a question than to misunderstand key data or important aspects of the business problem!

4. Structure Your Thoughts

Structure your thoughts carefully and avoid going deep into a rabbit hole. Involve the interviewer(s) in your thought process to allow them to gauge how well you structure your problems in logical steps.

5. Answer Questions Logically & Concisely

At the end of the case, remember to communicate your recommendations and the data that back them up concisely and in a logical manner.

6. Project Confidence & a Collaborative Work Style

Arthur D. Little case studies not only test your ability to solve problems, but also your resilience, listening skills, ability to work on a team, and reactions to difficult situations. Be prepared for rapid questions, and avoid reacting to situations in an unprofessional manner.

 – – – – –

In this article, we’ve covered:

  • Arthur D. Little’s culture and values.
  • The Arthur D. Little interview process.
  • How to prepare for Arthur D. Little case interview.
  • How to develop stories for the Arthur D. Little behavioral interview.
  • Our 6 tips on passing the Arthur D. Little interview process.

Still have questions?

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

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[EXCLUSIVE FREE TRAINING]

Nail the case & fit interview with strategies from former MBB Interviewers that have helped 85% of our clients pass the case interview.

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