Cookie and Privacy Settings

This website uses cookies to enable essential functions like the user login and sessions. We also use cookies and third-party tools to improve your surfing experience on preplounge.com. You can choose to activate only essential cookies or all cookies. You can always change your preference in the cookie and privacy settings. This link can also be found in the footer of the site. If you need more information, please visit our privacy policy.

Data processing in the USA: By clicking on "I accept", you also consent, in accordance with article 49 paragraph 1 sentence 1 lit. GDPR, to your data being processed in the USA (by Google LLC, Facebook Inc., LinkedIn Inc., Stripe, Paypal).

Manage settings individually I accept
4

Are there any useful frameworks/checklists for asking Clarifying Questions?

Hey guys - do you know any useful frameworks or checklists I could use to ensure that my clarifying questions are identifying relevant info?

I'm wondering if something like the 5W1H method (who, what, where, when, why, how) might be a good checklist to work through to make sure I ask clarifying questions that will give me a full understanding of the case.

I've looked at previous questions on PrepLounge and seen a lot of recommendations on case-specific clarifying questions. I'm interested to see if there are any general frameworks you'd recommend to make sure my questions are on point!

Thanks

Hey guys - do you know any useful frameworks or checklists I could use to ensure that my clarifying questions are identifying relevant info?

I'm wondering if something like the 5W1H method (who, what, where, when, why, how) might be a good checklist to work through to make sure I ask clarifying questions that will give me a full understanding of the case.

I've looked at previous questions on PrepLounge and seen a lot of recommendations on case-specific clarifying questions. I'm interested to see if there are any general frameworks you'd recommend to make sure my questions are on point!

Thanks

4 answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best Answer

Hi Anonymous,

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

Hi Anonymous,

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

Dear A,

For clarifying question I would say there 3 main types of them which you can easily ask:

1. questions that clarify the objective of the case interview

2. questions about information that strengthens your understanding of the company


3. question about definition of a term you are unfamiliar with

Most consulting interviews do not require you to have specialized knowledge or expertise in an industry. Therefore, if you come across a term that you are unfamiliar with, it is completely acceptable to ask the interviewer for the definition.


So these are three main types of claryfiyng questions. If you asking too many questions, the interviewer will probably reply to you smth like this: we don't know/ we'll see later/ its’ not relevant


Best,

André

Dear A,

For clarifying question I would say there 3 main types of them which you can easily ask:

1. questions that clarify the objective of the case interview

2. questions about information that strengthens your understanding of the company


3. question about definition of a term you are unfamiliar with

Most consulting interviews do not require you to have specialized knowledge or expertise in an industry. Therefore, if you come across a term that you are unfamiliar with, it is completely acceptable to ask the interviewer for the definition.


So these are three main types of claryfiyng questions. If you asking too many questions, the interviewer will probably reply to you smth like this: we don't know/ we'll see later/ its’ not relevant


Best,

André

Book a coaching with Guennael

99% Recommendation Rate

284 Meetings

1,396 Q&A Upvotes

USD 319 / Coaching

5W1H can help, yes - but probably too much in the clarifying questions. In general, I just make sure I understand the terms + question, quantify the objectives and get a timeline. All other questions will be addressed as part of the framework

5W1H can help, yes - but probably too much in the clarifying questions. In general, I just make sure I understand the terms + question, quantify the objectives and get a timeline. All other questions will be addressed as part of the framework

Book a coaching with Ian

100% Recommendation Rate

267 Meetings

23,176 Q&A Upvotes

USD 289 / Coaching

Hi,

There is always more that you can understand. For example, if you understand the goal as improving profits, there's so much more you can ask - do they have a % change target in mind, how long do we have to turn this around, do they prefer this to be done through raising revenue or cutting costs, etc.

I always write BOTMG at the bottom of my framework page to help myself think of things I'm missing in case I'm stuck.

This helps "trigger" you to consider questions around B = Business Model, O = Objective, T = Timing, M = Market, G = Geography.

However, you should never just say "so, what is their business model?" Obviously, ask questions that help you frame your hypothesis, understand the situation, and ultimately drive your case better.

Hi,

There is always more that you can understand. For example, if you understand the goal as improving profits, there's so much more you can ask - do they have a % change target in mind, how long do we have to turn this around, do they prefer this to be done through raising revenue or cutting costs, etc.

I always write BOTMG at the bottom of my framework page to help myself think of things I'm missing in case I'm stuck.

This helps "trigger" you to consider questions around B = Business Model, O = Objective, T = Timing, M = Market, G = Geography.

However, you should never just say "so, what is their business model?" Obviously, ask questions that help you frame your hypothesis, understand the situation, and ultimately drive your case better.

Related case(s)

MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education

Solved 17.7k times
MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education Our client is SmartBridge, a nonprofit educational institution offering face-to-face tutoring services. The client operates in the US. The mission of SmartBridge is to help as many students as possible to complete studies and prevent that they drop from the school system, in particular in disadvantaged areas. The client is considering starting operations for its services in the Chicago area. They hired us to understand if that makes sense. Due to the nonprofit regulation, SmartBridge should operate on its own in the market, without any partnership. How would you help our client?
4.6 5 628
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

Our client is SmartBridge, a nonprofit educational institution offering face-to-face tutoring services. The client operates in the US. The mission of SmartBridge is to help as many students as possible to complete studies and prevent that they drop from the school system, in particular in disadvant ... Open whole case

Bain 1st Round Case – BlissOttica

Solved 2.1k times
Bain 1st Round Case – BlissOttica Our client is a BlissOttica, an Eyewear Manufacturer that is looking to reach a 10% increase in profits. How would you help our client?
4.3 5 105
| Rating: (4.3 / 5.0)

Our client is a BlissOttica, an Eyewear Manufacturer that is looking to reach a 10% increase in profits. How would you help our client? Open whole case