Any framework for Government cases?

Anonymous A asked on Oct 22, 2018 - 2 answers

All current frameworks I found are for a business (incl. non-profit organizations).

While my friend encounter an case interview in McKinsey 1st round about Regional Government want to improve traffic and housing conditions... Thus I would like to ask here, is there any frameworks can be used on Government cases?


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Anonymous replied on Oct 22, 2018

As with most advice on here, I would recommend that you do not memorise frameworks to simply repeat in an interview. I recently received an offer from McKinsey and also have 10 years experience in government. The general approach I took to government cases was Moore's public value triangle (you can google it). Moore's triangle has three main elements:

  1. Public value - what is the public value being created?
  2. Legitimacy and support - who will support and authorise the creation of the public value?
  3. Operational capabilities - what investments are required to create the public value?

I never used those three elements word-for-word, but instead adapated them to the case. So for example, if I was asked how I might improve traffic conditions for a regional government I might use the following structure:

  1. Objectives of traffic reduction - I would want to understand why we want to reduce traffic, who will benefit, whether there are any specific targets etc.
  2. Options analysis - do we have specific projects in mind, are the options demand or supply driven
  3. Stakeholders interests - I would seek to understand which stakeholders in the community support or oppose the options, what political support exists
  4. Implementation - what options exist, what are our capabilities to implement, do we have sufficient funding

You will see that points 1, 3 and 4 essentially match points 1, 2 and 3 (respectively) of the public value triangle. I added in point 2 for completeness. Essentially the public value triangle helped me create a relatively MECE structure to guide the case.

Another very important point with government cases is that you should always clarify whether profit is an objective. For example, in building a road you want to ask whether the government seeks to make a profit from the road, or whether it sole objective is reducing traffic.

Hope that helps!

Super helpful! Thanks very much and congrats on your McKinsey Offer! — Yibing on Oct 22, 2018

Vlad replied on Oct 24, 2018
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Like the approach in the previous answer.

In addition to that, these types of cases are actually pretty traditional, especially for McKinsey. The reason why people think that they are rare is that the casebooks (that are in general not a good source of cases) do not have enough of them.

To provide a bit of structure, there are several types of non-profit cases:

  1. Factors influencing the price (What are the factors influencing the price of oil? Factors influencing the price of real estate?)
  2. Macroeconomic cases (How will you improve life expectancy in a particular city? How will you decrease the unemployment?)
  3. Public sector non-profits (Increasing the revenues of a museum; increasing the revenues from tourism in a city)
  4. Redesigning the processes (How will you develop a new anti-monopoly regulation?)
  5. Non-profit investments (A billionaire is building a new school. What are the factors to look at?)
  6. Ops and cost-cutting (How to reduce the traffic jams on a bridge? A garbage processing facility is out of capacity, what should they do?) - I personally consider them as a separate type of cases that is pretty traditional in the offices performing a lot of ops projects.

It is critical to define the objective for these cases to set a proper structure. Two types of questions you should ask:

  1. Could you please clarify the model / business model? E.g. if a billionaire is building a new school, is it a school for talented kids, rich kids or mass segment? Is it going to generate revenues?
  2. What are the main criteria for success? Is it NPV, ROI, share talented kids entering the top Universities?

Feel free to reach me for a session specifically on these types of cases


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