Case communication

brainstorming questions Cases communication Framework
Neue Antwort am 15. Jan. 2022
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Anonym A fragte am 14. Jan. 2022

Hello everyone, 

 

How to deal with the timing and how to communicate effectively during cases? (especially  structuring questions)

Specifically, I was wondering:

- Can we really ask for time to structure our thoughts throughout the case when asked a question? How to know when it is authorized?

- How many ideas to communicate when answering a brainstorming question? Should we say only the most realistic ones or all of them? In what order?

- What time it is best to allocate to communicate the initial structure and the answer to a brainstorming question?

 

I've been said that it may depend on the company (no time for BCG, time allowed for McKinsey).

 

Thank you!

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Ian
Experte
Content Creator
antwortete am 15. Jan. 2022
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Here are my general tips for case communication.

Take a few seconds - gather your thoughts. Perhaps right them down. Take a quick breather to better formulate and then articulate your thoughts

  1. Pause before speaking to gather your thoughts - the time may feel like forever for you, but it's not nearly as long as you think. Leverage filler sentences such as "that's and interesting point" to buy some time if needed.
  2. Frame your answer - Generally, MBBers say "There are 3 parts to this". Then, they highlight in 1 sentence each of the 2-4 points
  3. Iterate through each point - After framing how you're going to answer the question, then answer it by diving into each "part" in the order you summarized each.

Use signposting - Always preface what you will be saying. For example, when brainstorming you can say "I'm thinking about this in three main ways: A, B, and C. Within A we can look at..."

Be objective-driven - Everything you say needs to clearly articulate why you're doing what you're doing (i.e. how does it help you answer the objective)

Practice with a coach - Other PrepLounger are fantastic practice but they are generally too nice! you need a coach who will really hit back and work with you to improve your answers.

====================================

Now, in terms of your questions:

- Can we really ask for time to structure our thoughts throughout the case when asked a question? How to know when it is authorized?

Here's the rule: If you can answer the question in an organized, “good” way without taking time, then don't. If you need time to give a good answer, take it.

- How many ideas to communicate when answering a brainstorming question? Should we say only the most realistic ones or all of them? In what order?

It totally depends on the question! You need to gauge the complexity/size of the question. Importantly, make sure you structure/group them where valid. Order them in the order that makes sense (i.e. if there's a flow/process, or the biggest first, or the most likely first)

- What time it is best to allocate to communicate the initial structure and the answer to a brainstorming question?

Please stop overcomplicating this! You should take the time needed to answer the question well. And not a second longer. Go as fast as you can while still being structured, objective-ness, concise, and precise.

 

 

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Florian
Experte
Content Creator
antwortete am 14. Jan. 2022
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 530+ McK interviews in 2021

Hey there,

There is a difference between a framework or brainstorming derived for McKinsey vs. a framework created for other consulting interviews.

At the core, McKinsey wants to see creative ideas communicated in a structured manner, the more exhaustive the better.

Your goal should be to come up with a tailored and creative answer that fits the question. The framework should - broadly speaking - follow these three characteristics:

  • Broad
  • Deep
  • Insightful

In most firms, you have 1-2 minutes to present the framework. In a McKinsey interview, you can take up to 6-8 minutes to present your structure, your qualification, and hypotheses. This is due to the interviewer-led format that McK employs. The interviewer will only ask 'what else' if you 

  • haven't gone broad or deep enough
  • did not explain your ideas well enough for them to stand out (again, you have time here)

The firm wants to see exhaustive and creative approaches to specific problems, which more often than not do not fit into the classic case interview frameworks that were en vogue 10 years ago...

Again, this only applies if everything you say

  • adds value to the problem analysis
  • is MECE
  • is well qualified
  • includes a detailed discussion of your hypotheses at the end

The difference in format and way of answering a question is the reason why I recommend preparing very differently for McK interviews vs. other consultancies.

If you want to learn more, check out the following articles on McKinsey interviews:

  1. Case: https://www.preplounge.com/en/mckinsey-interview
  2. PEI: https://www.preplounge.com/en/articles/mckinsey-pei

Cheers,

Florian

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Lucie
Experte
bearbeitete eine Antwort am 14. Jan. 2022
10+years of recruiting & top BCG trainer & BCG Project leader & experienced hire & Pricing and Revman expert

Hi there, 


during the recruiting process, we also evaluate your ability to be creative and how do you enjoy the case (otherwise you wont enjoy the work), hence to answer your questions I would say:


- Can we really ask for time to structure our thoughts throughout the case when asked a question? How to know when it is authorized? → ABSOLUTELY and actually I strongly recommend asking your interviewer if it is fine you take a few minutes to organize your thoughts (prepare additional questions, think of early hypothesis, key questions, etc.)


- How many ideas to communicate when answering a brainstorming question? Should we say only the most realistic ones or all of them? In what order? → I would encourage you to evaluate first all your ideas by yourself and only then communicate them to the interviewer. If you have a few in your head, you can present them explaining why not and why yes they would work (BUT YOU should be the one to choose one to go with!). Creativity and the ability to think out of the box is one of the important elements of your evaluation, if you share more of your thoughts (in a structured way!!!) it is a big plus!


- What time it is best to allocate to communicate the initial structure and the answer to a brainstorming question? → usually a few minutes (below 5 min I would say is fine)

 

Wishing you all the best in your recruiting process!

Lucie


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Pedro
Experte
antwortete am 14. Jan. 2022
# Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | FIT | Market Sizing | Former Head Recruiter

1. Can we really ask for time to structure our thoughts throughout the case when asked a question? How to know when it is authorized?

You can ask, of course. They only way to know if it is authorizesd is… by asking.

2. How many ideas to communicate when answering a brainstorming question? Should we say only the most realistic ones or all of them? In what order?

As many as possible as long as they make sense (follow the 80-20% rule, of course). Just like in real life, there is no magic number. As long as it is relevant, you can keep going. Otherwise, stop. As a rule of thumb, 2-3 ideas is likely to be on the low side.  

3. What time it is best to allocate to communicate the initial structure and the answer to a brainstorming question?

Take your time to structure. But if you take a long time, one would expect a detailed well thought structure. If you don't take much time, one would expect a more high level structure, but then you should be able to provide more detailed when prompted to do so.

Regarding a brainstorming question, you shouldn't take long. 30 seconds just to have a high level structure - as in most cases you should already have some “mental maps” to help you identify good ideas.

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Ian

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