McKinsey Engagement Manager & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 60+ candidates secure MBB offers
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Is there a comprehensive method or reliable rule of thumb to differentiate clarifying questions from questions within issue tree?

Kay

I sometimes struggle to decide when I should ask particular questions - is there a good way of deciding what needs to be asked at the beginning, before structuring, and what should be part of the structure?

For example, when would you ask questions about segmentation (product or customer)?

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Sidi antwortete am 20.08.2018
McKinsey Engagement Manager & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 60+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi Kay,

the questions you ask at the beginning have the following objectives:

  1. Completely understanding the context/situation (including, unclear terminology, but also, for example, the business model of the client if unclear!)
  2. Understanding the question(s) of the client
  3. Understanding (and quantifying if applicable) the underlying objective(s) of the client

These questions are aiming at understanding the initial setting, hence forming a precondition to outline your structure towards answering the core question (the issue tree)!

The later questions that you ask while navigating through the case are then aiming to verify the actual relevance of each sub-branch in your tree. So if you have defined and disaggregated the criterion to answer the client's core question in a clean way, all these leater questions follow a this precise "roadmap" as layed out by your tree. These questions then oftentimes also comprise enquiries on current performance metrics (revenues, costs, growth rates etc.), which normally should never be asked in the clarifying questions (before making explicit your structure).

Cheers, Sidi

Benjamin antwortete am 20.08.2018
ex-Manager - Natural and challenging teacher - Taylor case solving, no framework

Hi Kay,

Indeed calrification question should be asked with the objective to fully understand the situation.
In some cases, you might receive on purpose a limited info, and this will be your responsibility to ask theses question to fully understand the scope of the case and clearly identified the issue of the client.
The answer to these question should help you to focus your structure on the main issues in case the case opening is to wide.
Best
Benjamin

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