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Can you tell me about some good frameworks for brainstorming that can apply to different types of cases?

brainstorming brainstorming questions Interviewer-led mckinsey style
New answer on Oct 31, 2023
3 Answers
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Anonymous asked on Aug 10, 2018

Appreciate it's not one size fits all, but are there any major ones? (Besides internal/external, revenue/cost, direct/indirect)

Any other tips on structuring brainstorms would be very helpful!

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replied on Aug 10, 2018
Ex-Oliver Wyman with 100% interview success rate - specialized in female career coaching

Hi Kay,

hope this finds you well.

There is indeed no one size fits all approach, but certain frameworks may be good as a first starting point:

  1. Internal / external = used for
    • market entry (internal - capabilities and costs; external - customers and competitors)
    • growth strategy (internal - what am I good at, where do I want to go, what ressources do I possess; external - what are competitors doing, what are my key customers, what other factors do I need to consider)
    • M&A (internal - what ressources do I possess, what is my objective; external - how does the target look like, how does the target's industry look like)
    • competitive response (internal - what do I want to do; external - what has changed in terms of customers, competitors, substitutes etc.)
  2. revenue / cost = used for
    • profitability (what are my (expected) revenues and costs)
  3. direct / indirect = often very similar to revenue / cost
  4. Porters Five Forces = used whenever you want to examine the market in more detail, e.g. most often in market entry cases

For other case types I recommend:

  1. market sizing = this can never be a single approach as you will need to tailor your approach to the task at hand individually, but think about whether you would like to determine
    • total revenue (this will come down to volume * price)
    • total number (think about the broadest structure you can think of)
  2. pricing = in most cases try to think about (1) the company - what does the company stand for? low budget, quality, "cool" label; (2) the product at hand - what kind of product is it? Is it unique, does it make a great difference which company I buy it from, what are substitutes; (3) pricing strategy chosen - defer from step (1) and (2)
  3. valuation = use the discounted cash flow method or the industry multiple

Always adapt those frameworks to the question at hand, e.g. leave out certain aspects if not needed or focus on selected aspects only. An interviewer wants to see that you are able to flexibly adjust the frameworks you have prepared, but there is nothing wrong to start with one of the basic frameworks mentioned above.

Good luck!

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Anonymous A on Feb 27, 2020

this is so helpful!

Content Creator
replied on Oct 31, 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Sadly, no. 

But I can give you a guide that lays out the core techniques for brainstorming. Hope you find it helpful:

Trying to find a one-size-fits-all approach won't help you pass the interview.


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replied on Aug 12, 2018
ex-Manager - Natural and challenging teacher - Taylor case solving, no framework
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Dorothea gave the best answer


Ex-Oliver Wyman with 100% interview success rate - specialized in female career coaching
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