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Does Victor Cheng have M&A and Supply/Demand cases in LOMS? Also, I am just starting to prepare for case interviews. What is the starting point?

Anonym A fragte am 29. Sep 2018

Hi All

I have two questions.

First, I am just starting to prepare for my case interviews. But I am not sure what is the right starting point to prepare. I listened to Victor Cheng videos and he uses same structure (3CP) everytime for business situation cases, while it is advised on this website that we should not be using the same framework always. So I am confused now, what shall I study to prepare myself?

Second, does anyone know if Victor Cheng's LOMS contain cases on M&A and Supply/Demand cases, as these are two of his frameworks?

Thanks a lot!

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Vlad antwortete am 29. Sep 2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School
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Hi,

There is no one-fits-it-all framework that you can use. Viktor Cheng approach is good but oversimplified. You should be flexible enough to come up with your own approaches and it comes with practice.

I recommend the following approach:

1) Start with "Case in point" book - you can download this book for free everywhere. It's not the best guide on how you should approach the cases, however, it will give you the basic understanding.

2) Start practicing cases with partners here or find them locally. !!! Find experienced partners or coaches who can provide a good feedback!!!

3) Purchase and read Viktor Cheng Book (Amazon Kindle store) and listen to LOMS (his website). I recommend to reread the book and listen to LOMS every 15 cases. Every time, having more experience, you’ll be finding something new.

4) Practice fast math

  • Learn how to multiply double digit numbers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ndkkPZYJHo)
  • Learn the division table up to 1/11 (i.e. 5/6 = 83.3)
  • Learn how to work with zeros (Hint: 4000000 = 4*10ˆ6)
  • Use math tools (Mimir math for iOS), Math tool on Viktor Cheng website to practice

5) Below you can find a list of the most common case types and some high-level recommendations on structuring:

  • Market sizing - structuring from the supply or demand side. Structuring using a formula or using an issue tree
  • Profitability - basic profitability framework. Remember about different revenue streams and product mix
  • Market context cases (Market Entry, New product, Acquisition, etc). Always start with the big picture "market". Finish with something specific to the case (e.g. How to enter?"). Structure it as if you are defining the work streams for the real project.
  • Operational math problem (e.g. Should we increase the speed of an elevator or just buy a second one? How should we reduce the queues? Etc.) - Structuring as a process / value chain, with inflows, operations, and outflows
  • Cost cutting - I provided the recommendations on structuring it here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/operations-cases-mck-1105#a2134
  • Valuation - Purely financial structure with cash flows, growth rate, WACC / hurdle rate, etc.
  • Synergies - revenue synergies (price, qty, mix) and cost synergies (value chain).
  • Social / economics cases (e.g. How to improve the quality of life in the city? How to increase the revenues of the museum?) - huge variability. Practice 3-5 social cases before the interview

6) Also, I would try to focus on the most common industries in the following priority(sorted by probability of getting a case): 1-retail and CPG; 2-airlines; 3-Telecom; 4-banking; 5-natural resources; 6-tech

7) ! Important: don't forget about the FIT interview part. Crafting you stories and backups stories will require a couple of weeks!

PS

Here is a good list of articles regarding the different parts of the case:

1) Start with clarifying questions:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/clarifying-questions-1786#a3956

2) Communicating while structuring. Here is a long post by me on how to communicate the structure during the case study:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-communicate-its-structure-for-the-case-study-1313#a2806

3) Using hypothesis. I made a post about hypothesis here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-state-a-hypothesis-and-match-to-the-structure-1156#a2268

4) Communicating while making calculations:

  • Always tell the interviewer your approach
  • Check with the interviewer that your approach is correct
  • Come to the interviewer with some preliminary answers
  • Check your assumptions with the interviewer

5) Communicating during the analysis of graphs / tables

  • Take a minute to look at the graph. Read the graph title. Look at the graph type and define the type (pie chart, line chart, etc). Look at the legend (ask for clarifying questions if necessary). Identify whats going on on the graph. Look for: Trends, % structures. Look for unusual things - correlations, outliers,
  • Make 3-4 conclusions from the graph. Think out loud on potential hypothesis on what could be the root cause / what are the consequences
  • Prioritize the most important for your current analysis and move forward with the case

6) Communicating while having questions on creativity

  • Ask an interview for a minute to think
  • Think of several buckets of ideas (e.g. organic growth / non-organic growth / differentiation). Remember to think as big as possible
  • Narrow down to each bucket and generate as many ideas as possible
  • Present the structure (buckets) and then your ideas

7) Communicating your conclusion. You can find a good example I've posted here:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-much-answer-first-should-the-conclusion-be-1231#a2493

8) Communicating your FIT stories

Use the top-down approach while communicating your stories. "The Pyramid Principle" is the must-read by ex McKinsey on this topic.

I recommend using the STAR framework:

  • In Situation, you should briefly provide the context, usually in 1 or 2 sentences
  • Task usually includes 2 or 3 sentences describing the problem and your objective.
  • Then you provide a list of specific actions you took to achieve the goal. It should take 1 or 2 sentences per action (Usually 3-4 actions). Note that the interviewer can stop you any minute and ask for more details.
  • The results part should have 1 or 2 sentences describing the outcomes. This part is finalizing your story - make sure it can impress the interviewer and stay in the memory.

Best!

Francesco antwortete am 30. Sep 2018
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Hi Anonymous,

I agree with Vlad that Victor Cheng approach is oversimplified in terms of structures used. It was probably ok some years ago when the average candidate simply read a couple of books before interviews, but it is not suitable anymore with today's requirements, when you are competing with candidates that have worked extensively on case preparation (new material and sites like PrepLounge helped to increase substantially the preparation but as a consequence also the bar for an offer).

In terms of LOMS cases, the prompts are mainly about profitability and growth strategy. There is a case though which, as part of competitor response, involves some considerations whether to be acquired or not and on supply and demand.

In terms of method, I would recommend the following:

  1. Define a calendar for your preparation. Identify how many hours you have per week to dedicate to consulting prep and how many weeks in total you have before interviews, then allocate a time slot for preparation in your calendar for each day. It’s important you write it down to self-commit or you will start to skip some prep time pretty soon, in particular if you don’t have pressure for an interview scheduled soon – and it is definitely better to start slowly and constantly than rushing towards the end close to the interview. Ideally, you want to have a minimum of 100 hours to dedicate to the preparation before your interviews.
  2. Read Case In Point or Case Interview Secrets for a general understanding of what a consulting interview is. Don’t focus on the structures proposed in the books though, as they are not good enough nowadays.
  3. Start reading good MBA Consulting Handbooks – you can find several for free online (Insead is a good one to start). Read the cases and try to apply your structure. Whenever you see there is something missing, upgrade your structure with the new insides. Try to read at least a new case per day – in this way you will absorb a lot better the information with constant learning. Structure your remaining daily preparation with 5-10 minutes per day for each of the following: market sizing, fit questions and mental math.
  4. After you have read the first 10 cases in books/handbooks and basic theory, start to practice live. There is a relevant part of the interview score that is based on your communication, which you cannot practice at all if you read cases only. Keep track of your mistakes and see if you repeat them. If so, try to identify the source of the mistake (feedback of experienced partners would be particular useful for this). Be sure to focus on both fit and case.
  5. Once you feel you are not improving anymore, if you have a tight time constraint or if you want a realistic assessment of your level, consider using support from experts to strengthen your performance
  6. Before the interview, be sure to prepare your questions for the interviewer – great way to show you prepare in advance and to connect more with the interviewer for a good final impression.
  7. Bonus (if needed): at least two weeks before the interview do a first PST/Potential test to evaluate your current level. Distribute the other tests in the remaining time according to the number you have available.

Best,

Francesco

Your points are quite valid and it appears like a plan. Can you put some light on how to structure the cases, because you say that the structure being used in books might not be applicable these days. — Ish am 1. Okt 2018 (editiert)

Hi Ish, thanks for your comment and apologies for the late reply; the ideal way to work on the structure is (i) create your own based on the experience on several cases or (ii) absorb some well-defined structures from an experienced coach. I currently offer the second option in my coaching sessions and am also looking to write something on the topic in the future. Please let me know via PM if you have additional questions. — Francesco am 23. Okt 2018

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