Advice > Consulting

Oliver Wyman Case Interview: Ultimate Guide (2024)

By Max Serrano on April 13, 2023 How we wrote this article
Oliver Wyman case interview

Oliver Wyman interviews are tough. They're also different than what you'd encounter at a typical corporate firm. To evaluate candidates, Oliver Wyman uses a combination of case interviews, "conversational interviews", and case presentations.

This may sound overwhelming, but don't worry. This guide can help you conquer your Oliver Wyman interviews and maximise your chances of getting a job offer. 

Our team has first-hand experience with the Oliver Wyman interview process and has helped thousands of candidates land jobs as consultants at top firms. So, let's review everything you need to know to land an offer from Oliver Wyman.

Here's what we'll cover:

  1. Oliver Wyman overview
  2. Oliver Wyman interview process
  3. Oliver Wyman case interview
  4. Oliver Wyman behavioral interview
  5. Oliver Wyman case presentation
  6. How to prep for your Oliver Wyman interview
Practise case interviews 1-to-1 with Oliver Wyman ex-interviewers

1. Oliver Wyman overview

Oliver Wyman was originally formed in 1984, by Alex Oliver and Bill Wyman, who had both been partners at Booz Allen Hamilton (now Strategy&). In 2003 it was bought by Marsh McLennan, a huge professional services firm specialising in "risk, strategy and people" and which also has a few other consulting subsidiaries

To understand Oliver Wyman consulting, and how it operates today, it helps to know the company's internal structure. Oliver Wyman is organised into 3 business verticals, which are as follows:

  • Financial Services is the firm's largest focus, and their consulting specialty.
  • Consumer, Industrial, and Services is essentially OW's "catch all" for consulting in sectors outside of financial services.
  • Health and Life Sciences is very small compared to the other verticals, and focuses on consulting with clients in pharmaceuticals, healthcare, etc.

It's also worth mentioning OW Labs, which is one of Oliver Wyman's internal practices. OW Labs is the firm's digital technology division, and is one of their fastest growing businesses.

If you're interested in working for Oliver Wyman, then it's important to identify the specific area where you'd like to work. Being able to articulate your interests and future goals will contribute to your success in the application and interviews.

In the remaining sections below, we'll go into greater detail on each stage of the interview process at Oliver Wyman, and the steps you can take to get prepared. 

2. Oliver Wyman interview process overview

Oliver Wyman has 3 steps in their application process.

  1. Resume and cover letter screening
  2. First round interviews
  3. Second round interviews (Super Day or Assessment Centre)

These steps outline the typical process. However, for consulting jobs the steps for interviews can vary based on location and role. It can be really helpful to ask your HR contact if they can provide more details on the specific steps for your interview track.

Note: In the past, Oliver Wyman used online assessment tests, but these are no longer part of the typical consultant interview process.

Let's take a closer look at each stage.

2.1 Resume and cover letter screening

First, recruiters will look at your resume and assess if your experience matches the open position. This is the most competitive step in the process—we’ve found that 90% of candidates don’t make it past this stage.

You can use this free resume guide and this free cover letter guide to help tailor your application to the position you’re targeting. 

And if you’re looking for expert feedback, you can also get input from our team of ex-MBB recruiters, who will cover what achievements to focus on (or ignore), how to fine tune your bullet points, and more.

2.2 First-round interviews

Your interviewers at Oliver Wyman will consist of a mix of associates, senior consultants, engagement managers and partners. First round interviews may be done in person or via video or phone call. They usually consist of:

  • One behavioural interview (30 mins)
  • One case interview (30mins)

You can expect the behavioral questions to consist of fairly typical resume and motivation questions. The case interview question often takes the form of a market sizing question, though not always.

Don't worry, we'll look at how to prepare for both behavioural and case questions in section 3.

2.3 Second-round interviews

If you make it to the second round, you'll usually be called in to an Oliver Wyman office for a day of interviewing (though some locations are still keeping things remote). This round of interviews with an onsite visit is sometimes called a "Super Day" or "Assessment Centre".

In your second-round interviews you can expect:

  1. One or two case interviews (30-45mins)
  2. One behavioural / fit interview (30-45mins)
  3. One case presentation (30-45mins)

As we mentioned, there is some variance in this, depending on the office you're interviewing for. Not all candidates get a case presentation, for example.

In this round the behavioral interview, which Oliver Wyman calls a "conversational interview", usually focuses on your past experience to assess whether you demonstrate key traits. We'll go into more detail on behavioral questions in section 5.

Now you've seen an overview of the Oliver Wyman interview process, let's dive into each type of interview in more detail.

3. Oliver Wyman case interviews

As you've seen, case interviews will be the central focus of your Oliver Wyman interview process. Case interviews at Oliver Wyman are candidate-led, which is the same style used in a BCG or a Bain case interview. This is different to firms like McKinsey or Capital One who use interviewer-led cases.

For a candidate-led case interview, there are 7 types of questions you need to prepare for:

  • Situation
  • Framework development
  • Framework exploration
  • Quant question – Data provided
  • Quant question – No data provided
  • Creativity question
  • Recommendation

You can learn more about case interview questions, by reading our free case interview guide. Another great way to prepare, is by practicing with realistic cases. Oliver Wyman actually provides two samples on their website, that you can use to practice. You can find them at the links below:

3.1 Market sizing questions

As well as these business situation type case problems, Oliver Wyman often asks market sizing questions, especially in the first-round. Let's take a quick look at a few examples that candidates have shared on Glassdoor.

Example Oliver Wyman market sizing questions:

  • Size the market for gym memberships in Europe
  • Size the market for rice in UK
  • How many golf balls are sold in the US each day?
  • Estimate demand for a new route for an airline company
  • How many ATMs are needed for a remote island in Greece?

We recommend you read our market sizing article to make sure you're ready to approach these questions.

4. Behavioural interviews

Oliver Wyman does behavioural interviews a little differently than other top consulting firms like McKinsey. In McKinsey's behavioural interviews, the interviewer chooses a topic, and then they will evaluate you on only that one topic. Oliver Wyman's behavioural interviews are much broader. They call them "conversational interviews", and they cover a mix of resume, fit and PEI questions.

"You can expect to hold a conversation with your interviewer about your accomplishments, experiences, interests and career objectives. This is also a good opportunity to ask questions about Oliver Wyman." (Source: Oliver Wyman)

Oliver Wyman behavioural questions can be divided into two categories:

  1. Resume questions: Generic questions such as "Walk me through your resume" and "Tell me more about your time at X".  Expect these in the first-round.
  2. Fit questions. These are generic questions such as “Why consulting?” or “Why OW?”.
  3. Personal Experience Interview (PEI) questions. These are questions such as “Tell me about a time when you led a team through a difficult situation.” Or “Tell me about a time where you had to manage a team conflict”

Here are the top 5 fit and PEI questions you should prepare for at Oliver Wyman.

Top 5 fit questions:

Top 5 PEI questions. Tell me about a time when ...

  • You led a team through a difficult situation
  • You worked in a team and had to manage a conflict
  • You had a disagreement with a colleague / boss
  • You had to change someone's / a group's mind
  • You overcame a really difficult challenge

Don't fall into the trap of under-preparing for these types of questions. While they may seem easier than the case interviews, they are extremely important to get right.

You’ll need to prepare several ”stories” or “examples” from your personal and professional experience to demonstrate that you have the traits that Oliver Wyman is looking for.

To learn more, check out our guide to consulting fit / PEI questions.

5. Oliver Wyman case presentation

The final type of interview used by Oliver Wyman is a case presentation.

Here's a quick overview of what to expect:

  • Receive the case information (e.g. business scenario, questions, data)
  • You'll have 30 minutes to analyse the materials and prepare a presentation
  • Then you'll spend 30 minutes presenting and answering interviewer questions

A case presentation is MUCH different than a normal case interview, and you'll need to specifically prepare for the presentation format. In order to prepare, we recommend you study our in-depth written case interview guide.

That guide is written with BCG and Bain in mind, and there are some differences for an OW case presentation. For example, written case presentations at BCG and Bain are significantly longer in duration. However, the tips and preparation plan in sections 2 and 3 are a great resource for your OW prep.

As you prepare, it will also be helpful to know that your interviewers may stop you to ask questions during your presentation. It may sound unusual, or even rude, to be interrupted during your presentation. However, as a consultant, you will need to be prepared to answer client questions that arise while you are presenting, and your OW interviewers may want to test how you would respond.

6. How to prepare for Oliver Wyman case interviews

Now that you know what to expect in Oliver Wyman interviews, let's discuss the steps you should take to prepare.

6.1 Learn the case interview essentials

The best starting point for your case interview prep is our case interview prep guide. It'll take you through all the different types of questions you may be asked in your case interview, show you how to draw from different frameworks to structure your answer, and give you example cases to practise with.

6.2 Become really confident at maths

You don't have to have a perfect GPA or GMAT score to succeed at case interview maths. However, during your Oliver Wyman interview, you will be expected to quickly perform accurate mental maths. 

With some time and intentional effort, you can develop impressive maths skills, and learn to confidently solve questions with a structured approach. In our experience, the most successful applicants begin their interview preparation by practicing maths skills.

If you want to learn more about the type of maths problems used in Oliver Wyman case interviews, check out our free guide to case interview maths.

6.3 Research the company

Researching the company's values is a crucial first step in any interview preparation. Oliver Wyman put a lot of emphasis on whether the candidate will contribute to the positive working environment the firm seeks to create. Unusually for top consulting firms, on their careers pages qualities such as "fun" and "humour" are given importance and you should try and present yourself who will thrive in that kind of environment.

You should also make sure you're up to date in the latest developments in the area of the Oliver Wyman that you're applying to join. Here are some useful links to get you started:

In addition, do some networking so that you can show you've made the effort to reach out to current staff.

6.4 Do mock interviews

How you solve each case is important, but your interviewers will also be evaluating how you COMMUNICATE your answers. It's important to speak in a structured way that makes it easy to clearly understand your points.

The best way to hone your communication skills is to practise interviewing out loud, and you can do that in three main ways:

  1. Interview yourself (out loud)
  2. Practise interviewing with friends or family
  3. Practise interviewing with ex-interviewers

To help you with this process, here is a broad list of consulting interview questions you can practice with. Practising by yourself is a great way to get started, and can help you get more comfortable with the flow of a case interview. However, this type of practice won’t prepare you for realistic interview conditions.

After getting some practice on your own, you should find someone who can do a mock interview with you, like a friend or family member.

We’d also recommend that you practise 1-1 with ex-interviewers from Oliver Wyman. This is the best way to replicate the conditions of a real case interview, and to get feedback from someone who understands the process extremely well. Meet our Oliver Wyman ex-interviewers who’d love to work with you.

 

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