Checking the feasibility of solution

solution
New answer on Jun 30, 2020
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 07, 2020

Hi, I'm wondering when thinking of "solutions" in a profitability case, do I always need to confirm that the solution is actionable and feasible? What would be a good way to proceed with this part in a case interview?

For instance, if I have 3 different solutions. For each of the options, should I ask for data to verify that the solution will be effective, and also ask the interviewer whether this solution could be implemented?

I'm a bit confused because based on the recent cases I did, the solution part was more of "brainstorming" possible ways to help the client solve its problem, and not much data is provided in order to verify the solution will definitely work out. But if we can't make sure the solution will 100% work out, how could we recommend it to the client?

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Clara
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replied on Mar 09, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

First of all, the order in which normally you solve this is:

  1. Laying out a structure to organize your toughts and tackle every concept individually
  2. Lay out different hypothesis and test them with the info available
  3. If you need some data that is not given, state it as a next step in the approch.

This said, and this also applies to whenver we are giving a number when solving the "math part" of the case, we can not just say the number and pray for to be right. We need to always be proactive and challenge it somehow, let it be with benchmarks or even your personal experience (e.g., if you calculate that the go-to-market price of this new bread is 2€, you can either ask for prices from competitors or even say that the bread you normally buy is arround that price.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Luca
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replied on Mar 08, 2020
BCG |NASA |20+ interviews with 100% success rate| 120+ students coached |GMAT expert 780/800 score

Hello,

You are right, most of the times you won't have enough data to verify the feasibility of each solution. Unless that's not a specific part of the case solution, you can take care of this part in the "Risk & opportunities" part of your framework. Try to think if there is any quick way to check the solution feasibility, otherwise leave you doubts as inputs for the final reommendation part.

Hope it helps,
Luca

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Nathaniel
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replied on Mar 08, 2020
McKinsey | BCG | CERN| University of Cambridge

Hello there,

It would be best to approach this in a structured manner:

  • State the overall solution space
  • Provide a hypothesis regarding the priority list of these solutions based on your knowledge
  • State the required additional data / analysis required to further clarify the feasibility of these solutions (this is usually the risk and next steps part if the solution is stated at the recommendation and wrap-up section)

Hope it helps.

Kind regards,
Nathan

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Robert
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replied on Mar 08, 2020
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Hi Anonymous,

You are perfectly right - it depends on the case and expectation of the interviewer if a kind of brainstorming is enough, or a more detailed "action plan" for implementation is required.

Instead of guessing what the interviewer is looking for, make it explicit and simply ask straight-forward for that. It's always better than implicitly assuming something.

In any case, the first step is thinking of the solutions at all, and I would even recommend doing the feasibility-check (optional, depending on interviewer's requirements) in a second step. So first think broadly, before going deep and evaluate potential solutions.

Generally speaking, delivering feasible solutions is the only thing your client will care about - it's nice to know what would be possible theoretically (depending on the scope of your project that might be a deliverable or not), but at the end of the day it's useless if the client cannot implement it (with or without your help). I believe that's also one of the root causes why (especially McKinsey, but also others) consulting firms tend to focus also more on the practicability/feasibility in recent years case interviews as opposed to 10 years ago.

Hope that helps - if so, please give it a thumbs-up with the upvote button!

Robert

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Francesco
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replied on Mar 08, 2020
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Hi Anonymous,

I would recommend to proceed as follows:

  1. structure an approach for the solution (eg In order to increase volume in this situation we could do A, B or C)
  2. state a hypothesis on which option could be better (eg My hypothesis is that option A could be better given the previous information offered). This will show you are able to prioritize
  3. explain the information you would need to verify the hypothesis and ask the information to the interviewer (eg To verify if that’s correct and feasible, I would need information on XYZ. Do we have any information on that?)

Having said that, most of the time the feasibility analysis is left outside the case (thus part of risks and next steps) and the analysis is done instead on whether the solution can help to achieve the goal of the client.

In point 3, it is critical you don’t merely ask for data, but explain which information you would need first to verify the hypothesis, so that you make your logic clear.

Best,

Francesco

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Emily
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replied on Jun 30, 2020
BCG Project Leader | 3+ years interview experience for BCG SEA recruiting | Kellogg MBA, NTU, Peking University

Hi,
If the solutioning is towards the end of the case, and the interviewer positioned it as "brainstorming", very likely he/she was not expecting you to have a conclusive answer to which option is the right one. He/she could be just testing whether you can have creative ideas. In such event it is totally okay to not have a definite answer. But a good way to wrap up the case would be after you have done the brainstorming and laid out the options, also talk about in the next steps how would you check the feasibilities and compare those options.

Best,

Emily

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Antonello
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replied on Mar 07, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

When you arrive at the recommendation moment, you do not always have the data and the time to verify the feasibility. In this case, I suggest to leave it in the next step statement.

Best,
Antonello

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Clara gave the best answer

Clara

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