Are Estimations/Market Sizing questions still being used?

BCG McKinsey and Bain estimation Market sizing
Anonymous A asked on Jun 05, 2020

Hello there,

I've heard estimations/market sizing questions where not being tested anymore at McKinsey interviews. I wanted to know if this is true and if you know if they are still being used in BCG and Bain. It would be very helpful to plan better my preparation.


on Jun 29, 2020
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on Jun 29, 2020
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Yes they are - it's not as common and often buried within a case but they are definitely a tool that people use.

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I haven't heard anyone receiving such questions in McKinsey interviews in a very long time. But it's still worth practicing them because they might come up as part of other case types e.g., estimating the demand for a product / service in an opportunity assessment case.



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I can confirm not only that they are still used, but they are also really common (also in McKinsey). It depends on the office and country, but in some of them market sizing, sometimes embedded in more complex cases, are the most common cases.

Feel free to text me for some real examples.


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Hi there,

Market sizing is a core tool for interviewers to test your logical structure and math skills - they are still being tested. (they would be a small element of a larger case - example: growth strategy framework - after you define your structure and decide on a growth option, you would have to estimate that market size for that new market/product)

So make sure you practice the different variations of market sizing cases.

Feel free to reach out for any specific tips.



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Hi Anonymous,

It's a rare exception at McKinsey that you will be asked a pure market sizing question - it won't give me that much of an insight, compared to a full-blown case interview.

However, market-sizing questions might well be incorporated into an overall case, so definitely you need to be prepared for that.

The only known situation I can think of a pure market-sizing question is on top of a case interview, in case I finished a bit earlier than expected and still want to use a few minutes of time for further/better evaluation of a candidate.

To my knowledge same situation for BCG ain Bain.

Hope that helps - if so, please be so kind and give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!


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Hi there,

market sizing questions are still asked at McKinsey. However, while they are relatively common in few geographies such as Italy, they are quite rare in others.

They are also still used at BCG and Bain, also in this case the frequency depends on the geography.


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Yes, market sizing is a very common case form but less commonly as a standalone case. From a Bain perspective, they are commonly included in a wider private equity case. The reason Bain likes this case type is that it tests your ability to break down the drivers of a market which is very similar to the task of building a market model for a PE diligence.

- A

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Short answer - yes it can still be used.

It is rarely the only question you'd get in the interview though. More often it is embedded within a case interview. E.g. the case can be regarding to hotel industry turnaround, and during the case, the interviewer asks you to estimate the total market impact (say COVID made) on the hotel industry, before asking you how you can help the major to revive the industry.



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Hi there,

They definitely are!

Remember, they may not come in the form of "Please estimate the number of taxis in NYC". Rather, they are much more likely to be embedded in a case. For example, you might have a market entry case that requires market sizing to determine the largest market (or the # of units we could sell in the market).

I have a number of cases like this so please feel free to shoot me a message!

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Hi There,

First of all, it is not true that market sizing is not being tested anymore at McKinsey. I know a lot of Partners are still using it quite often in the final round.

While for 1st round (EM and Associate), it appeared as a math question which is part of the case (e.g., here is the fact, how many cars the client need to sell to cover the investment?) rather than a straight forward market sizing estimation (e.g., how many cars are there in Eastern Europe?).

As for BCG and Bain, it is frequently used in some offices even from the first round.

Hope this helps!

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That's not true. They are used pretty frequently both as standalone cases and as part of the bigger case.

Most of the partners give their own favorite cases and I can't imagine anyone coming to them and saying: "We are not using market sizing cases anymore"


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Hi some consulting firms are still using market sizings (e.g. Oliver Wyman or RB). At BCG for example, maket sizings are however included in classical cases.


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Yes, market sizing questions are still widely used! I ran a specific course on market sizing and would be happy to help.

You should first focus on you segmentation skills:

- Demographics (Age, education, income, family size, race, gender, occupation, nationality)
- Behavioral (Purchasing behavior, customer journey stage, occasion & timing,
customer loyalty & interest, risk tolerance, user status)
- Psychographic (Lifestyle, personality traits, values, opinions, interests of consumers)
- Geographic (Geographical boundaries)

- Company characteristics (Industry, company size, number of employees)
- Geography (Geographical boundaries)
- Purchasing Approach (Occasion & timing, customer capabilities, nature of existing relationship)
- Personal Characteristics (Loyalty, risk attitude, user status)

- Demographics (Type of agency, size of budget, the amount of autonomy)
- Geographic (Geographical boundaries)
- Government Tier (Federal , State, Local, Quasi-governmental, International)
- Bid type (Closed, Open)

But sometimes you don’t need to segmentation. Here is an example of case that could be solved with high level top down approach - estimate the size of credit card market in the US:



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Yes, but they are embebbed in cases, not just by themselves.

Hope it helps!



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Udayan gave the best answer


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