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Leveraging clarifying questions time for structuring

Clarifying questions structuring
Neue Antwort am 31. Mai 2024
8 Antworten
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Anonym A fragte am 23. Mai 2024

Hello everyone, 

As the title says, I believe the 2 min structuring rule pushes for robotic, unconsciously memorized frameworks, more or less. That being said, can I use the time in which I am asking clarifying questions and getting the answers for them to note down some intuitive ideas about the framework, or would it be red flagged by the interviewer as not taking the clarifying questions part seriously. Or basically anything else. 

Thanks everyone, appreciate your insights.

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Florian
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Content Creator
antwortete am 23. Mai 2024
1300 5-star reviews across platforms | 500+ offers | Highest-rated case book on Amazon | Uni lecturer in US, Asia, EU

Hi there,

Naturally, you will start thinking about how to approach the problem the second the interview tells you about the details of the prompt.

However, you should use the time to ask your questions at the beginning of the case wisely and with intention. This helps you to

  • define the problem, objective, and timeline
  • understand the context and business model

If you miss certain details here, your initial framework might not even be targeted enough to analyze the situation or work towards the objective presented.

One tip I give all my candidates: Focus on one thing at a time. Otherwise, you are splitting your cognitive load across many things, which negatively impacts your impression and performance. In your case, you don't want to appear absent and miss important details as mentioned earlier.

Rather, learn a problem-solving approach based on first principles that helps you structure problems quickly. With the right approach + thinking techniques, it is definitely possible to structure any case problem within 2 minutes exhaustively.

Reach out for more help!

Cheers,

Florian

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Hagen
Experte
Content Creator
antwortete am 23. Mai 2024
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

First of all, I am sorry to hear about your issues with the initial structure!

I would be happy to share my thoughts on your question:

  • First of all, I would advise you to do one thing at a time. While the clarifying questions at the beginning of the case study should be entirely focused on tailoring the initial structure, I would not advise you to start already at the same time.
  • Moreover, I'm sure you can find a balance between a generic, memorized framework and a lengthy first-principles approach.
  • Lastly, I would advise you to consider working with an experienced coach on this. I developed the “Case Structuring Program” to help exactly such candidates like you who struggle with properly structuring any case study.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on how to best prepare for your upcoming interviews, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best,

Hagen

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Agrim
Experte
Content Creator
antwortete am 27. Mai 2024
BCG Dubai Project Leader | Learn to think like a Consultant | Free personalised prep plan | 6+ years in Consulting

In my opinion, clarifying questions are a very crucial stage of the case. On one hand, asking good questions can create a highly positive impression, it can also give you vital information that will help you create better structures and solve the case easily. So, I suggest that you should not skimp on the clarifying questions bit.

Now, coming to the other part about the 2-minute rule. There isn't such a rule - its just a timeframe that fits well. Anything longer, and you'd be keeping the interviewer waiting too long. And anything shorter, you might run the risk of not having put down enough detail on your framework.

And finally, coming to the remaining part - about memorized frameworks - if you are indeed considering memorizing frameworks - then you should address that problem first and with urgency. Frameworks are supposed to be crafted, not memorized. And frameworks should not follow set-piece rules with that much stringency as you might have been led to believe.

If you would like to understand a more simple and intuitive way to structure & run cases - then let me know - happy to help.

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Cristian
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Content Creator
antwortete am 23. Mai 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

I have to disagree here. 

First of all, there's no 2-minute rule. 

Second, I agree with you that you shouldn't use frameworks. With the right technique, you should be able to create a high-level structure based on first principles within 1-2 minutes. 

Then, based on your experience, you should be able to take the interviewer through that structure and also develop it on the spot. 

If you want to learn more about first principles thinking, you might find this useful:

Masterclass: First Principle Structuring

Best,
Cristian

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Pedro
Experte
antwortete am 24. Mai 2024
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

Not sure how you would run this. Would you make up clarifying questions and not listen to the answer and start taking notes on your approach?

This is not how it works. You ask clarifying questions (and other types of question, by the way) to make sure you know exactly what is the problem you are solving, it's context, and the objectives / goals. The better you do this, the easier it will be to come up with an approach.

Then when you get to the approach… who's counting? I don't care if it takes 15 seconds or 3 minutes. I just want it to make sense.

When people say that someone took too long… what they mean is that someone took to long… to present a generic not-that-well-thought answer.

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Yousef
Experte
antwortete am 23. Mai 2024
I make it easy for you to master case interviews! (ex-McKinsey |Stanford University | Imperial College London | ex-P&G)

Hi there

In general, the space to ask clarifying questions is meant for you to make sure you have understood the problem and the client's organisation thoroughly. 

It is good happen to re-confirm what you heard and ask follow-up questions to ensure you are on the same page even if you have understood the case.

Any time you would like to breakdown your framework should come after asking questions as no one is perfect and you want to confirm you have not missed any crucial details (especially with interview nerves) before starting to breakdown the problem.

Feel free to message me if you have any more questions on how best to do this.

Yousef

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Francesco
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Content Creator
antwortete am 23. Mai 2024
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there, 

Q: Can I use the time in which I am asking clarifying questions and getting the answers for them to note down some intuitive ideas about the framework

In general, I would recommend using the time for clarifying questions to correctly understand the topic you are inquiring about.

You won’t necessarily have a hard stop after 2 minutes, although the interviewer might ask if you are ready to present after that.

Best,

Francesco

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Alberto
Experte
Content Creator
antwortete am 31. Mai 2024
Ex-McKinsey Associate Partner | +15 years in consulting | +200 McKinsey 1st & 2nd round interviews

Clarifying questions are important to understand full case context. Some answers will influence a lot on your structure so pay full attention to the questions part.

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Florian

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