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Difference between a structure and a framework

approaching a case beginner Case Interview prep Structure
New answer on Aug 30, 2022
2 Answers
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Laura asked on Jan 20, 2017


I am still not completely sure about the difference between a structure and a framework. So, if I understood it correctly, a structure is a customised approach or "guideline" which you set up by yourself in the beginning in order to solve your case systematically whereas a framework is an already existing concept which can assist you in solving the case. Is that correct?

Thank you for your efforts in advance!


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replied on Jan 21, 2017
Ex-Bain & Company Case Team Leader * Placed 40+ MBB candidates as Partner in Europe's leading top-tier Consulting recruiting firm

They're often used interchangeably in the real world, but they tend to have more specific meanings when it comes to case studies:

  • A structure is the logic and approach by which you crack your problem. As every problem is different in its own way, you'll want a structure which fits. For example, imagine the question is whether Company A should acquire Company B. You might want to look at 4 things (company A strategy, company B market, company B market position and strengths and price). What you don't want to do is just start talking without thinking or knowing where you're going: "Well, company B seems good I guess but it would take time and it's products seem good but..."
  • As you mentioned, a framework is generally understood to be a series of steps or topics which you address in order to solve a problem, generally created in academia or business. You never want to use one of these in a case. Recruiters are looking for critical thought and using a "one size fits all" way of breaking down a problem that you read in a book does not help demonstrate it.
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Laura on Jan 22, 2017

Thank you for this helpful answer!

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replied on Aug 30, 2022
50+ successful coachings / Ex-Mckinsey JEM & Interviewer / Industry + Engineering background

Dear Laura,

in general a good structure can be evaluated by a certain depth and breadth. The “depth” should be at least 3-4 levels while the “breadth” should cover the entire solution space. You can cross-check this with the MECE principles (For details see respective article on Preplounge), but the CE (collectively exhaustive) part is basically defining your breadth.

Finally, make sure to check for inter-linkages in your structure and point them out.


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Ex-Bain & Company Case Team Leader * Placed 40+ MBB candidates as Partner in Europe's leading top-tier Consulting recrui
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