Preparing for Your Interview

Overview of a Health Advances interview with some tips for success from an interviewer.

Introductory Discussion

Our interviews start with a Q&A to get to know you, what led you to apply for the role, and your interest in healthcare. We are hoping to understand why you are interested in Health Advances specifically, and what strengths you’ll bring to the role.

  • Explain the path which led you to be interested in healthcare consulting. Tell us about what you studied, past work/extracurricular experiences, and how these shaped your decision to apply.
  • Explain how your past experiences can be leveraged in consulting. Any internship, research project, or other experience teaches valuable, relevant skills, even if it was not directly related to what we do at Health Advances. In addition to explaining the experience, tell us how you would take what you learned and apply it to our work.
  • Talk about why you are interested in Health Advances, specifically. Tell us why Health Advances stands out to you from other healthcare consulting firms, and why you would be excited to work here.

Case Interview

Each interviewer writes their own case based on real projects, so the topics vary widely across all of our sectors. You will be given quantitative market sizing tasks, as well as qualitative strategic questions. We want to see that you can think creatively and communicate your ideas clearly.

  • Listen carefully to the background. Make sure you have a complete understanding of the background before diving into the case. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification or confirm details with the interviewer – it’s a good way to demonstrate your understanding of the important points.
  • Answer the specific question being asked. Each case is unique. While learning frameworks can be helpful to prepare and practice, we want to know that you understand the situation described and can adapt your responses appropriately. Listen carefully to what your interviewer is asking, and answer that question specifically, rather than saying something rehearsed.
  • Taking pauses is encouraged. It is preferable for candidates to take a moment to collect their thoughts and then present their ideas, rather than immediately listing in a disorganized manner. Don’t be afraid to ask for a minute to organize your ideas.
  • Be decisive. At some point in the case, you may be asked to make a conclusion. Should the client pursue this opportunity? Which of the two indications should be prioritized? Pick one answer, rather than simply listing the pros and cons of each but not deciding. We want to see that you can form a supportive argument for whatever you decide – there usually isn’t a wrong answer.

Opportunity to Ask Questions

After the case, your interviewer will leave time for you to ask them questions. Take advantage of this time to learn more about what it means to work at Health Advances.

  • Prepare questions in advance. This is your chance to interview the interviewer. What do you want to know about our day-to-day? Or our culture? Asking about a favorite case is another great way to learn about our work.
  • Fill the entire time that remains with questions. Your interviewer will be excited to discuss their favorite parts about their job and the firm. Don't cut the interview short – ask as many questions as you have time available to demonstrate interest.

Case Example

A medium-sized biotechnology company focused on discovery and development.

Client seeks to understand the market opportunity for a novel drug for the prevention of Otitis Media (ear infections) in advance of engagement in expensive human studies.

As a medium-size biotechnology company, our client has a small portfolio of products in development and limited cash available for expensive clinical trials. They need to be careful to pursue only products that will yield an attractive return on their investment.

Their core technology involves the use of carbohydrate chemistry in the discovery of new drug treatments. In other words, they develop products based on sugar molecules. They have recently received very positive results on one of their candidates, a synthetic version of a sugar found in human breast milk. Studies have shown that in animal models this sugar will prevent the occurrence of Otitis Media or ear infections. Its safety profile is exceptionally strong.

Otitis Media occurs primarily in young children. They often wake up in the middle of the night with pain and keep parents up through the night attempting to provide some comfort. The next day parents bring the child to their pediatrician who looks in the ear and sees a red, swollen ear drum. Typically physicians prescribe 5 -10 days of antibiotics, “pink stuff in a bottle,” and after a couple doses these children are running around like they were never sick. At $5 to $10 for a prescription, antibiotics are cheap.

However, many of these children will have a repeat infection within days to weeks of finishing a course of therapy. Many will go through several cycles of therapy in the course of a season. Some patients may eventually require the surgical implantation of tubes to drain the middle ear and some may suffer from hearing loss. So while antibiotics work in the short term, they have some clear drawbacks.

Our client’s product works as a prophylactic therapy or preventative agent. By spraying the sugar into the nasal passages and throat, bacteria are prevented from forming colonies and migrating up the Eustachian tube and into the middle ear. They realize that this approach will involve a completely different treatment paradigm for physicians and would like our help defining the revenue potential of this product.

  1. What are the key issues a project team must address to answer the client's question?
  2. What information would you like to have in order to answer their question?
  3. How would you go about collecting the information you need?