Advice and guidance for your future self.
We support CALS students and recent graduates in exploring careers and developing strategies to reach their career goals. We are dedicated to building and maintaining relationships with employers interested in recruiting CALS talent. Whether you are a CALS student, an alum or an employer, connect with us and we’ll assist you with the tools and resources that you need.
Unsure of your summer plans? You’re not alone. If your plans have changed or are uncertain, here are some tips and resources to help you explore ways to gain experience beyond traditional internships. CALS career advisors are available to assist you in developing your summer strategy. Schedule an appointment.
Your resume and cover letter are important marketing tools when conducting a job search. It is important to know what format you want to use, what you want to convey to your audience, and what the guidelines are for writing these documents.
- OptimalResume™, brought to you by Cornell Career Services, offers you comprehensive tools to develop, create, manage, and share your professional credentials and practice interviews.
- A comprehensive career planning tool including sample resumes, cover letters, networking tips, and more. Printed copies are available in 140 Roberts.
- Search for workshops and events available on a variety of career related topics.
There are many resources available to assist you when looking for a full-time job, summer job or internship, research opportunity, winter externship, or volunteer experience.
- Please keep in mind there are particular guidelines to follow when considering leaving campus while the fall 2020 semester is occurring.
- There are also policies in place for student events and inviting people to campus.
- Cornell Handshake is a platform for access to career opportunities and to many of the online services brought to you by Cornell Career Services, including on-campus recruiting, full-time job and internship postings, career fairs, employer info sessions, and workshops. To participate in on-campus recruiting, you’ll need to complete the Handshake Tutorial.
- An overview of the policies all Cornell students must follow to participate in and remain in good standing for on-campus recruiting and access to Handshake.
- This is a listing of specialized websites that post specific jobs and/or internships in specific industries and fields.
- This website provides information on how to find and apply to undergraduate research opportunities in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
- Find research opportunities being offered by Cornell Biological Sciences.
CALS Alumni Association: The CALS Alumni Association Academic Enrichment Program fosters the educational goals CALS undergraduate students by providing financial support for activities that complement and enhance each student’s academic experience.
CALS Undergraduate Student Research Grants: Funding is available to undergraduate students for research expenses, including travel to a professional meeting or conference to present findings. Funding may not be used as a stipend for students conducting the research.
Develop Your Own Internship Program: provides a summer subsidy for students with work-study funding to develop their own paid internships with nonprofit organizations or small for-profit companies. If all aspects of the DYO Program are satisfied, Cornell will reimburse the employer for a portion of your wages: nonprofit employers receive up to 75 percent and for-profit employers 50 percent of your gross earnings.
For additional funding resources, visit experience.cornell.edu, under “Category” find the option for “Fellowships & Funding.”
Interview preparation, including practice time, is essential. Here are key resources to support your preparation:
- Practice your interviewing with a CALS career advisor. Sign-up for one of the practice interview schedules on Handshake. For additional options, use the online scheduler and select a practice interview appointment at a time that fits your schedule and interview prep needs.
- Use this online tool to practice and record practice interviews and then review the recording. Schedule an appointment to review the recorded interview with a career advisor for feedback and suggestions.
- An overview of essential steps to success in interviewing, sample interview questions, and information on behavioral, case, and technical interviews.
Technical Interview Resources
What is a case interview, how to prepare, types of case questions, and great tips for case interview prep.
What is a Case Interview?
A case interview is typical for consulting and analytical positions and tests your analytical and problem solving skills. Questions are usually hypothetical situations and can be ambiguous in nature. It is up to the candidate to retrieve the pertinent information from the question, to probe the interviewer for more details and to make appropriate assumptions. The purpose of the question is to test the applicant’s ability to logically, systematically and persuasively address the issues of the case and develop a solution.
Case interviews are not something you can/should “wing”. They take a lot of time and preparation to master. There are a variety of different books and resources available to help candidates prepare. Many review the different types of questions they may get asked as well as some of the frameworks they may want to be familiar with (e.g., Porter’s 5 Forces, the 5 C’s, the 4 P’s).
Types of Case Questions
Brain Teaser—Tests your creativity and ability to think out of the box. Sample Question: Why do bottle tops unscrew counterclockwise?
Market Sizing—Tests your quantitative skills and ingenuity. Sample Question: What is the market for laptops likely to be in 10 years?
Business Operations—Tests your basic business knowledge and ability to identify main issues. Sample Question: A bank discovers that its customer turnover is 25% higher than its competitors. Why?
Business Strategy—Tests your analytical ability and strategic thinking. Sample Question: A sock manufacturer wants to start exporting to Germany; should it?
How to Prepare
Advising Appointment—Meet with a CALS career services staff member to discuss case interviewing and how to prepare. Use our online scheduling tool to make an appointment.
Insider Guides (Vault)—As a Cornell student you can download a number of Vault Guides for free! You must use our special link to access these free guides. Guides include: Vault Guide to the Case Interview and Vault Career Guide to Consulting.
Books—Both the Career Planning Collection, Mann Library and the Barnes Hall Career Library (103 Barnes Hall) offer a number of hard-copy reference books for you to review in your preparation. Some titles include: Case in Point, Mastering the Case Interview, and Ace Your Case.
Interactive/Informational Websites—There are a number of websites you can use to gain information on how to navigate or practice case interviews. Make sure to check out employer career websites, as many will offer sample cases. Cornell also offers you access to CQ Interactive or use Consulting Case 101, both offer online, interactive drills and cases. You may also want to take a look at caseinterview.com, which is an informational/video style case prep site created by a former McKinsey employee.
The following company websites have interactive sample case questions:
Workshops – Each year career offices across campus will offer workshops presented by staff, employers and/or alumni focused on case interviewing. Be sure to look at our career workshop schedule to see when they are offered.
Student Organizations – Cornell offers a number of student organizations that focus on the consulting field.
Statistics* – There are certain statistics that one should be familiar with to help you solve cases. You can find many of these via U.S. Census Bureau & Bureau of Labor Statistics • Population of the World • Population of the U.S. • Number of Households in the U.S. • Number of Adults in the U.S. • U.S. Population Under 18 • Number of Cars per Household • Minimum Wage • Average Household Size • Average Family Size
Some General Tips
Understand the Question—Demonstrate strong listening skills by actively listening to the question and taking notes. Verbally summarize the question and verify the objective.
Think Logically—Determine what additional information you need and what key issues, or high-impact areas, need to be addressed. Show good business and common sense.
Ask Questions—Ask thoughtful/clarifying questions to probe for additional information needed to analyze the problem, develop assumptions and determine a solution(s). The questions asked should show “Big-picture” thinking. Start with basic questions to gain information about the company, industry, competition, external market, etc. As you progress switch from open-ended questions to close-ended questions. Asking too many open-ended questions may appear as if you are soliciting the answer from the interviewer. When asking questions, imagine the interviewer is your client.
Analyze the Information & Establish a Hypotheses—Demonstrate your business intuition and problem solving skills by showing in-depth analysis of the case when presenting your solution(s). Substantiate your response and provide logical back up for answers. Be sure to explain what case facts led to a conclusion. If your final answer seems flawed, (e.g., number too high) don’t be afraid to go back and reevaluate it.
Organize and Structure Your Response—Organize a response and let the interviewer in on your plan. Use frameworks when necessary and keep in mind that the focus is as much on your approach as your solution. Don’t rush through your answer and use your time wisely.
Have a Conversation—Talk through your answer and explain your thought process. Ask questions and lure the interviewer into a conversation with you. Ask the interviewer if you are on track with your assumptions. The interviewer may offer additional information and/or guide you.
Be Concise—If asked for the top 2 issues, confine your response to 2 items. Stay focused on your response and don’t digress or go off on tangents.
Be Innovative—Brainstorm solutions that are innovative and creative. Don’t be afraid to offer alternatives.
Be Adaptable.—Show your ability to tailor your response to changing situations. Also, try and rebound from mistakes. Don’t let them shut you down.
Be Enthusiastic—If you are excited about the job and industry you should be excited about tackling a case question. Approach the question with gusto and enthusiasm.
Summarize—Make a summary or conclusion at the end.
Deciding to go to graduate or professional school can be an exciting and challenging decision. There are many factors to consider before applying. Use online resources and have conversations with career professionals, advisors, faculty members as well as alumni to help you gain the information and insights you need.
- Cornell Career Services provides extensive resources on searching for graduate and professional schools, including a timeline of what to do when, what entrance tests to consider, financing, and more.
- Each comprehensive guide provides Cornell students with information such as required/recommended courses, advice on how to prepare and strengthen one’s application, and how/when to apply.
- Find helpful pre-health resources (human and animal medicine) such as guides, HCEC, workshops and other important info related to your pre-health path.
- Find helpful law school directories, job profiles, application resources and more, on Cornell's Experience site. Search on “Pre-law”.
- An online credentials service to manage important documents such as letters of recommendation.
- Comprehensive database which allows you to search for undergraduate or graduate school institutions by geographic location and field of study.
- Search for workshops and events available across the university on a variety of career related topics.
Schedule an appointment online »
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Tuesday: 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
Friday: 8:00 am – 3:30 pm
Saturday and Sunday: Closed
140 Roberts Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
Email: calscareer [at] cornell.edu
Additional services of a broader nature can be found at Cornell Career Services.
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