Depth and Creativity

finalround Interview
New answer on Nov 30, 2019
3 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Nov 29, 2019

Hi All,

I've just been rejected from a final round for:

1) Not diving into the case deep enough/Not running with the concept (despite having good structure)

2) Not very creative solutions

Can any experts please advise? What do they mean that they want a 'deep dive' and how does one achieve this? As well as, how do you be more creative (quickly!)

Thank you!

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Content Creator
replied on Nov 29, 2019
McKinsey | top 10 FT MBA professor for consulting interviews | 6+ years of coaching

maybe you stopped too early in going down in the analysis of some branches of your issue tree or you proposed a solution without having well defined the problem

If you give us a bit more context about the cases it would easier help you in the analysis. Feel free to text me to set-up a quick call to think about it


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Content Creator
replied on Nov 30, 2019
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

it is difficult to answer without knowing the context, however in general terms, for what concerns your first point, you may have not been proactive in completing the analysis of a key branch of the structure. Instead, you may have simply presented different parts of a structure, without stating a hypothesis where you should focus and going deeper there.

In terms of your second point, problems with creativity are usually due to a lack of structure for questions the candidate didn’t see before, which leads to partial/incomplete brainstorming. Therefore, to improve your creativity, you have to follow specific steps to be able to derive creative brainstorming in a structured way, even for unusual questions.

I would recommend the following steps to improve your creativity:

  1. Recap the situation until that moment
  2. Ask for one minute of time to structure your thoughts
  3. Identify some key MECE areas. This is something you can do even if you have never seen that question before. Potential divisions include: Number of units - Price per unit (eg to identify the components to reduce costs); Current-New (eg to structure product, customers, distribution channels); Financial - Non financial (eg to compare ways to enter a market). The more you practice cases in the right way, the more you will be able to derive appropriate MECE areas.
  4. Brainstorm inside each of the areas. Your creativity in this area is directly correlated with the number of cases you have done. If you feel weak in one specific industry, the most effective strategy is to go through consulting MBA casebooks (there are many available for free online – although not all are good) and screen the list for the industries interesting for you. MBA casebooks are not good in terms of the structure of the case but can help to develop creativity.

I provided an example below.


Interviewer: So, generally speaking, how would you decrease the cost of raw materials?

Step 1: Recap the situation

Interviewee: So, if I understood correctly, you would like now to move to the elements that could decrease this cost. If it is fine for you, I would like to do a small recap and then move through the key elements that can help to do so. In the beginning, you asked me what brought a decline in profits. We have identified the problem lays in Product A, and in particular in the cost area. We then found out that the main increase in cost was related to raw material.

Interviewer: That’s right.

(Note you may have gained 30 seconds of additional time summing up information to think)

Step 2: Ask for one minute of time to structure your thoughts

Interviewee: Do you mind if I take 1 minute to think about it?

Interviewer: Please take your time.

Step 3: Identify some key MECE areas

Interviewee: Thanks; I believe there are two key areas to decrease the cost of raw material; we may decrease the cost of each unit, or we may decrease the number of units we buy. I would like now to go a bit deeper in these two components.

(Note that even if you are brainstorming, you are first presenting a list of the MECE areas. This is fundamental to brainstorm correctly)

Step 4: Brainstorm inside each of the areas

Interviewee: Well, in order to decrease the cost per unit we may do a couple of things, keeping in mind we want to maintain revenues at the same level:

  1. we may negotiate a lower price;
  2. we may look for other suppliers.

In order to decrease the number of units, we may do the following:

  1. we may start to use a more efficient technology for our raw material, so that we have less waste;
  2. we may use a new kind of raw material for which there is less waste.


Hope this helps,


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replied on Nov 30, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


1) It's a very common mistake. Your structure is not limited to just the initial structure. You should go through the initial structure, looking for insight. Once you find insight, you should dive deeper by building a new structure. You should dive as deep as required by building the new structures until you find a root cause. Again, it should be not the numerical evidence of the issues, but the real root cause behind it

2) Here is how you should approach the questions on creativity:

  1. Ask an interview for a minute to think
  2. Think of several buckets of ideas (e.g. organic growth / non-organic growth / differentiation). Remember to think as big as possible
  3. Narrow down to each bucket and generate as much ideas as possible
  4. Present the structure (buckets) and then your ideas

Creativity is in direct correlation with you business judgment that can be trained by solving more various cases with partner / studying various frameworks / reading industry reports / reading MBA cases


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Antonello gave the best answer


Content Creator
McKinsey | top 10 FT MBA professor for consulting interviews | 6+ years of coaching
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