5 Key Tips for a Deloitte Federal Case Interview

5 Key Tips for a Deloitte Federal Case Interview | Expert Case Prep Coach (managementconsulted.com)

A Deloitte Federal case interview is given to candidates applying to the firm’s public sector-focused practice area, known as Deloitte Federal Government Services. Like the commercial arm of Deloitte Consulting, Deloitte Federal uses case interviews to assess a candidate’s problem-solving ability, creativity, comfort with ambiguity, analytical prowess, and communication skills. However, Deloitte Federal case interviews have distinct differences when compared to the firm’s traditional consulting interview process.

In a standard case interview, contextual knowledge matters little. The interviewer will assume you know little-to-nothing about the manufacturing or finance or healthcare client that is the focus of the case. However, in a Deloitte Federal consulting case interview, contextual knowledge matters more. The interviewer will want to see evidence that you are well-versed on the particular challenges that the federal government agencies face.

With that said, before diving further into our key tips for Deloitte Federal case interview prep, let’s review what this practice area of Deloitte does.

Deloitte’s Federal Government Services projects cover a wide variety of problems, and there are sub-segments within this broad practice area. These segments include government and public services (GPS), defense, security, justice, federal health, civil government, and more. Some example projects include:

  • Helping a government agency migrate to a shared service model, where one particular function (like IT) is shared across several units of the organization
  • Implementing IT solutions to defend against cyber risks
  • Optimizing how government conducts the process of eligibility determination and benefit entitlement to citizens
  • Helping address the country’s opioid crisis
  • Working with the military on projects related to logistics, personnel, finance, etc.

Now that you have a better sense for what it means to work in the Federal Government Services practice at Deloitte, here are 5 key tips for preparing for Deloitte Federal case interviews.

5 Preparation Tips For Deloitte Federal Case Interviews

  1. Case Interview Best Practices Apply in Deloitte Federal Case Interviews

At its core, a Deloitte Federal case interview is still a case interview and standard case interview best practices apply. Quality case interview practice is critical, which means practicing out-loud with an expert partner. You can work with peers who have been through the process.

  1. Deloitte Federal Case Interviews Still Have Math

One mistake that candidates commonly make is assuming Deloitte Federal case interviews have no math. While projects in this practice area can be less quant-heavy than traditional projects, quant ability is still a requirement. You may be tasked with creating flowcharts for DOD audit readiness efforts, which doesn’t require a lot of quantitative expertise. But you will also be asked to analyze data and extract insights. Comfort with math and numbers is thus highly valued in Deloitte Federal case interviews.

  1. Understand Key Public/Private Sector Differences for Deloitte Federal Case Interviews

Key business concepts like “profit” and “competition” don’t apply directly to the public sector, but they are still relevant. Instead of “profit” or “loss”, government agencies operate with either a “surplus” or “deficit”. The terms are different, but the core idea is the same. Yes, the U.S. government doesn’t usually have direct competition and isn’t a private corporation seeking to maximize profits. Still, government agencies have budgets to balance and KPIs they are managed to.

While evaluating the competition isn’t always possible since the government often provides services no other private company can provide, discussing and referencing business best practices is important. Customer service, efficiency, and long-term planning are important elements of running a successful enterprise – public or private. In Deloitte Federal case interviews, make sure you have a firm grasp on business basics, even if they don’t seem to directly port over to federal government matters.

  1. Contextual Knowledge Matters in Deloitte Federal Case Interviews

In a standard case interview, if the interviewer describes the case as being about a SaaS (software as a service) company or a 3PL company (third party logistics) and you have no clue what those terms mean, you can and should ask. They’ll explain these terms, and you won’t lose any “points.”

But a Deloitte Federal case interview is a little different. Clearly, you are applying for a role that consults with and solves problems for government agencies. If you demonstrate a lack of knowledge about basic government services (healthcare, education, intelligence, justice, immigration, etc.) or agencies (Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency, Homeland Security, etc.), and the most important problems they are facing, you’ll likely get dinged. We recommend staying up to date on current news and events. You can regularly browse through the Wall Street Journal or The Economist to ensure you have a level of knowledge about the federal government and how it operates.

Another element here is comfort with acronyms, of which there are many. Some basic acronyms to know:

  • DOD (Department of Defense)
  • DOJ (Department of Justice)
  • NSA (National Security Agency)
  • CIA (Central Intelligence Agency)
  • FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation)
  • HUD (Housing and Urban Development)

For a more comprehensive list of U.S. gov’t acronyms, click here.

  1. Practice is Key for Deloitte Federal Case Interviews

Folks who do well in case interviews, whether they are focused on for-profit enterprises or federal agencies, practice a lot. You’ll want to expose yourself to the wide variety of potential business problems that are introduced during case interviews. When doing Deloitte Federal practice case interviews, you should focus on public sector cases.

By Yale Office of Career Strategy
Yale Office of Career Strategy Yale Office of Career Strategy