Book Review for The Case Interview Workbook

The Case Interview Workbook: 60 Case Questions for Management Consulting with Solutions is a casebook by “Robert Mellon” released in 2018. In the Introduction the author rightfully observes the lack of quality preparation cases in the market, which provides the motivation behind this book. Unfortunately, its 60 “cases,” which contain innumerable numerical and logical mistakes, hardly provide any solution.

Mellon’s business insight stops after this observation, and the only value of his unedited collection of business problems is the breadth of questions they raise—and, sadly, leave unanswered. Suffice to say, every fourth case got a rating of 0% from CASE MASTER.

But how is this possible if, as the book description claims, “every case is compiled and edited by a team of ex-consultants?” All too simple! Here is the actual “creative process” behind the title:

  1. consulting companies write original recruitment cases,
  2. business school students exiting their case interviews narrate the fraction of the case that they memorized (out of the fraction that they discussed with their interviewers) back to fellow students,
  3. these fragmented memories are then compiled into yearly casebooks published by college consulting clubs as “official” cases from the top firms,
  4. Mr. Mellon republishes these cases from consulting clubs verbatim as “new cases” created by his fictional team of former consultants.

For instance, Case #28 in The Case Interview Workbook, “Coffee shop,” is a copy of Case #7 from Wharton Business School’s 2006 casebook―same text with the same typos.

In this copy-paste job, the author seems to disregard his own critique of college casebooks: “The most popular way to fill the gaps left by these two books [by M. Cosentino and V. Cheng] is to use casebooks from consulting clubs at universities. Although some of these cases can be good to practice with, the majority suffers from a lack of depth and quality. Moreover, the solutions are all too often incorrect. For a beginner, these books may do more harm than good.” Well said, Mr. Mellon, and there you have a review of your “own” work.

Finally, the exact same cases in the book can be emailed to the subscribers of www.caseivy.com for a fee of $58. It’s hard to tell how this website is related to the book, but neither give credit to each other.

TAKEAWAY: The Case Interview Workbook is an act of plagiarism to the power of two and its author, Mr. Mellon, is certainly a fictional character. As for the cases, they are available for free online, but even for free, it’s best to avoid them altogether.



Categories: featured, Valentin Nugmanov

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