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Two Approaches/ Schools of Thought for Solving Cases

During the last few days, I witnessed discussions about two different approaches in this forum. Some coaches say that they would take the V. Cheng approach (e.g. looking at everything) while others focus on numerical drivers and do the analsis from there. I am super confused and don't know what school of thought makes more sense. Can anyone help me? I know I need to find out myself but my interview is soon and there is no casebook that has convincing, coherent solutions that could guide me.

Thanks!

During the last few days, I witnessed discussions about two different approaches in this forum. Some coaches say that they would take the V. Cheng approach (e.g. looking at everything) while others focus on numerical drivers and do the analsis from there. I am super confused and don't know what school of thought makes more sense. Can anyone help me? I know I need to find out myself but my interview is soon and there is no casebook that has convincing, coherent solutions that could guide me.

Thanks!

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Hi,

I will be probably the third school of thought since I don't like both V. Cheng approach (One person's opinion), and the numerical drivers (Represented by just one person here as well). A couple of points (again, personal opinion=):

  • I believe Viktor Cheng approach is very often irrelevant (since he simply applies the same structure to all cases. The bigger issue is that now we have thousands on consultants, raised on V. Cheng program and many of them will expect a similar approach at the interview
  • Both schools of thoughts will agree that your structure should be based on clarifying questions (Numerical objective, context, and type of the case)
  • Numerical drivers can not be applied everywhere and very often you need other types of structures (e.g. 40% of McKinsey cases are non-conventional). It can be Math, Drivers, Value chain / customer journey, Frameworks, Steps of the real project, etc.

I believe that math is not the only way you can structure problems (however is very often one of the best). For me, the major criterion is always: how is a similar project organized in real life, at MBB companies. For example, at the real Due Diligence project, you'll have to look at the Market, Competition, Company, and Feasibility of Exit. That's not what Victor Cheng came up with, but these are the real workstreams consultants have on the project (probably executed by two people though). I believe that if you lay out a structure that consultants are already using at the real project - it's something impossible to disagree with.

Remember that your structure is not just the structure at the beginnings of the case - you should be constantly structuring. And you can't do it with just the math

In addition - you should always be prioritizing numerical questions (bullet points in your structure / branches of your analysis) since they are simply the ones that have major insights.

Best!

Hi,

I will be probably the third school of thought since I don't like both V. Cheng approach (One person's opinion), and the numerical drivers (Represented by just one person here as well). A couple of points (again, personal opinion=):

  • I believe Viktor Cheng approach is very often irrelevant (since he simply applies the same structure to all cases. The bigger issue is that now we have thousands on consultants, raised on V. Cheng program and many of them will expect a similar approach at the interview
  • Both schools of thoughts will agree that your structure should be based on clarifying questions (Numerical objective, context, and type of the case)
  • Numerical drivers can not be applied everywhere and very often you need other types of structures (e.g. 40% of McKinsey cases are non-conventional). It can be Math, Drivers, Value chain / customer journey, Frameworks, Steps of the real project, etc.

I believe that math is not the only way you can structure problems (however is very often one of the best). For me, the major criterion is always: how is a similar project organized in real life, at MBB companies. For example, at the real Due Diligence project, you'll have to look at the Market, Competition, Company, and Feasibility of Exit. That's not what Victor Cheng came up with, but these are the real workstreams consultants have on the project (probably executed by two people though). I believe that if you lay out a structure that consultants are already using at the real project - it's something impossible to disagree with.

Remember that your structure is not just the structure at the beginnings of the case - you should be constantly structuring. And you can't do it with just the math

In addition - you should always be prioritizing numerical questions (bullet points in your structure / branches of your analysis) since they are simply the ones that have major insights.

Best!

(editiert)

Okay, great! So what is your approach to cases? How can I learn to approach it that way? — Anonym A am 29. Jan 2020

You can check my program in the profile — Vlad am 29. Jan 2020

So that's basically a program for approx. EUR 3k? Am I right? — Anonym A am 29. Jan 2020

Pls check preplounge pricing. They have prep4success program + I have the information about the discounts in my profile as well. Feel free to message me — Vlad am 29. Jan 2020 (editiert)

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Hi Anonymous,

I helped hundreds of candidates in their preparation and know quite well the main prep material out there, these are my thoughts on your question:

  1. Victor Cheng approach is definitely outdated. His structures could work some years ago when many people had no clue of what a case interview was, so even with VC approach you could do ok. Some coaches prepared years ago and used his method, thus are his advocates. Thanks to platforms like PrepLounge however, now things have changed and the average candidate has far better preparation than before. You won’t score many points if you present to an interviewer an approach based on product, customer, company, competition nowadays.
  2. Numerical drivers only don’t work for all cases. That approach is good for some cases (eg profitability) but not for others (eg operations). Moreover, even when they work you need to add some qualitative elements as well. This doesn't mean numerical analyses are not important; however, if you just rely on them you will have to "guess" the qualitative part, which is very risky.
  3. The best way to approach cases is to build your own structures, at least until someone will develop a better mainstream material. You can do this either (i) starting from the mainstream material, doing a lot of cases, improving little by little your structure until you have a method better than the one everyone can read from mainstream books or (ii) booking a program with a coach that has done this already.

Please feel free to PM me if you have more questions.

Best,

Francesco

Hi Anonymous,

I helped hundreds of candidates in their preparation and know quite well the main prep material out there, these are my thoughts on your question:

  1. Victor Cheng approach is definitely outdated. His structures could work some years ago when many people had no clue of what a case interview was, so even with VC approach you could do ok. Some coaches prepared years ago and used his method, thus are his advocates. Thanks to platforms like PrepLounge however, now things have changed and the average candidate has far better preparation than before. You won’t score many points if you present to an interviewer an approach based on product, customer, company, competition nowadays.
  2. Numerical drivers only don’t work for all cases. That approach is good for some cases (eg profitability) but not for others (eg operations). Moreover, even when they work you need to add some qualitative elements as well. This doesn't mean numerical analyses are not important; however, if you just rely on them you will have to "guess" the qualitative part, which is very risky.
  3. The best way to approach cases is to build your own structures, at least until someone will develop a better mainstream material. You can do this either (i) starting from the mainstream material, doing a lot of cases, improving little by little your structure until you have a method better than the one everyone can read from mainstream books or (ii) booking a program with a coach that has done this already.

Please feel free to PM me if you have more questions.

Best,

Francesco

(editiert)