I often get asked about case notes. When it comes time for the case portion of your interview, rip out five pages of paper and number them (you can do this before the interview to save time and look well-organized). Remember to write on just one side of the page. Flipping pages back and forth can be disruptive and makes it hard to find important data at a glance. Using bullet points will make your notes seem better organized and make it easier to go back to find information. Star or highlight important points that you think will make the summary or your recommendation.


Notes are important because most of the firms giving case interviews will collect your notes at the end of the interview, it’s one more data point that they review. The interviewer wants to see if your notes are well organized, how you did your math, and can they read your hand writing. They need to be well organized, clean and linear.


As interviews turn to Zoom, don’t assume that the rules for notes have changed. They could easily ask you to hold up your notes to the screen or take a picture of them and email or text them to the interviewer at the end of the case.


The question I get most often about notes is, “How can I speed up my note taking?” By using symbols and shorthand.  Here are the most common: 

B – Billions

M – Millions

K – Thousands

BE – Breakeven

ROI – Return on investment

TTM – Time to market

Pr – Price

P&L – Profit and loss

PBC – Price-based costing

CBP = Cost-based pricing

CA – Competitive analysis

Mkt – Market

Mkt-size – Market size

P – Profit

Rev – Revenue

V – Volume

C – Costs,

FC – Fixed costs, VC – Variable costs

Prod Mix – Product mix

DC – distribution channels

w/ with

% – Percentage

# – Number

$ – Dollar

€ – Euro

£ – Pound Sterling




About the Author

Marc Cosentino

Marc Cosentino

Marc, the world’s foremost authority on case interviewing has twenty seven years of experience with case questions. He has written well over a hundred cases, while coaching, preparing and training more than a hundred and fifty thousand students and alumni. He has written three books involving cases and consulting. Cosentino has given workshops to students at colleges and MBA programs for the last twenty seven years and has held training sessions for career services professionals on how to give cases and how to analyze a student’s performance.