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Do you think it is necessary to say "my hypothesis is..." out loud?

Do you think it is necessary to say "my hypothesis is..." out loud?

When should we say our hypothesis clear to interviewer?

e.g. I look at a problem prompt and I may have an idea in mind that this could be because of the reason X. Should I say this out?

I am a bit confused on this.

Do you think it is necessary to say "my hypothesis is..." out loud?

When should we say our hypothesis clear to interviewer?

e.g. I look at a problem prompt and I may have an idea in mind that this could be because of the reason X. Should I say this out?

I am a bit confused on this.

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Hi!

Apparently this myth never dies... *sigh* ;)

I have written this earlier, but let me repeat it:

Claiming that the statement of a hypothesis is a requirement at the start of a case is fundamentally wrong. In fact, stating a hypothesis for the overall problem only makes sense if you really have something to ground your hypothesis on! This is very rarely the case, since case prompts tend to be quite vague at the beginning. Just stating a hypothesis for the sake of it serves no purpose! It would just be a shot from the hip - and this is something you should avoid at all cost during an MBB interview!

If the question is about finding the reasons for an observed phenomenen (e.g., fallen profits), then you can rather say “I would like to first identify the numerical driver of the problem, which can sit either on the revenue or on the cost side (or both). Based on this initial assessment, I would build a hypothesis on the underlying reasons for the detrimental development, then verify the hypothesis, and subsequently derive measures to address these reasons in order to reverse the trend.”

If the question is eseentially a go- or no-go-decision (e.g., "Should we enter the Brazilian market?"), then a MUCH better approach than a blank "Yes/No"-Hypothesis (which feels stupid anyway, right?) is to define the criterion according to which the question can be answered. This implicitly comprises hypothesis-thinking, but in a much cleaner way. All you have to do is to

(1) narrow down the question,

(2) define the criterion according to which the question can be answered with "yes",

(3) outline how you can test whether the criterion is met.

That's it! This is how you address strategic questions without shooting out non-substantiated hypotheses (or rather wild guesses!), while still being super top-down and super efficient.

Hypotheses then are used all along the way of performing the actual analyses! But it is not hypotheses on the overall question, but hypotheses on the various sub-aspects which you need to test in order to eventually answer the overall question.

I hope this helps.

Cheers, Sidi

Hi!

Apparently this myth never dies... *sigh* ;)

I have written this earlier, but let me repeat it:

Claiming that the statement of a hypothesis is a requirement at the start of a case is fundamentally wrong. In fact, stating a hypothesis for the overall problem only makes sense if you really have something to ground your hypothesis on! This is very rarely the case, since case prompts tend to be quite vague at the beginning. Just stating a hypothesis for the sake of it serves no purpose! It would just be a shot from the hip - and this is something you should avoid at all cost during an MBB interview!

If the question is about finding the reasons for an observed phenomenen (e.g., fallen profits), then you can rather say “I would like to first identify the numerical driver of the problem, which can sit either on the revenue or on the cost side (or both). Based on this initial assessment, I would build a hypothesis on the underlying reasons for the detrimental development, then verify the hypothesis, and subsequently derive measures to address these reasons in order to reverse the trend.”

If the question is eseentially a go- or no-go-decision (e.g., "Should we enter the Brazilian market?"), then a MUCH better approach than a blank "Yes/No"-Hypothesis (which feels stupid anyway, right?) is to define the criterion according to which the question can be answered. This implicitly comprises hypothesis-thinking, but in a much cleaner way. All you have to do is to

(1) narrow down the question,

(2) define the criterion according to which the question can be answered with "yes",

(3) outline how you can test whether the criterion is met.

That's it! This is how you address strategic questions without shooting out non-substantiated hypotheses (or rather wild guesses!), while still being super top-down and super efficient.

Hypotheses then are used all along the way of performing the actual analyses! But it is not hypotheses on the overall question, but hypotheses on the various sub-aspects which you need to test in order to eventually answer the overall question.

I hope this helps.

Cheers, Sidi

This is super helpful, thanks Sidi! Reading through your answers on this Q&A is like switching on a light bulp in a dark room. Thanks a lot! — Anonymous B on Jul 31, 2020

I think this depends on what firm youre applying to.

I generally agree that (in a real project) it will be difficult state a hypothesis up front. This is because you will need to know a breadth of the subject to make an informed "guess" of what you think is going to pan out.

That being said, I believe that having a hypothesis really helps you to focus your analysis to what truly matters (i.e. whether your analysis will be answer changing).

However note that firms have their preferred approaches. The hypothesis-driven approach is preferred for Bain - you have to state your hypothesis upfront. Be elaborate when you state this hypothesis: you have to make sure its testable.

I cant say for other firms; I think that McK prefers the decision tree approach (which is breaking down the problem first and understand a breadth of context prior). In this case, your approach to solve problems may be different and stating your hypothesis may not be required

I think this depends on what firm youre applying to.

I generally agree that (in a real project) it will be difficult state a hypothesis up front. This is because you will need to know a breadth of the subject to make an informed "guess" of what you think is going to pan out.

That being said, I believe that having a hypothesis really helps you to focus your analysis to what truly matters (i.e. whether your analysis will be answer changing).

However note that firms have their preferred approaches. The hypothesis-driven approach is preferred for Bain - you have to state your hypothesis upfront. Be elaborate when you state this hypothesis: you have to make sure its testable.

I cant say for other firms; I think that McK prefers the decision tree approach (which is breaking down the problem first and understand a breadth of context prior). In this case, your approach to solve problems may be different and stating your hypothesis may not be required

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Hi Anonymous,

No, if you do that you are missing the point.

Even though Victor Cheng offers a lot of excellent advice, including a strong focus on the hypothesis-driven approach (which really helps many candidates sharpening and focusing their thinking along the case!), stating a hypothesis at the very beginning of the case usually turns out to be more counterproductive than helpful.

Unless you are an experienced hire with a strong focus on exactly that one case question to discuss, stating a hypothesis right at the beginning of the case interview is essentially nothing else than poaching with a stick in the dark and guessing around. And here you are: you are perfectly set for a highly unstructured and confusing start into your case! (Please note that even as experienced hire, you might be completely wrong with your hypothesis, especially in the slightly artificial case interview world - so I would not even strongly recommend the early hypothesis there)

However, at the same time it's also a matter of defining 'hypothesis'. If you look at your structure at the beginning of the case interview, it is basically the connection between the current client situation and a specific goal you want to achieve. In other words, this initial structure is also a kind of hypothesis which elements you need to consider and analyze in order to clearly understand the root cause and develop a solution for that. So essentially you can also consider your structure as some kind of hypothesis.

Apart from that technicality, the correct time to explicitly state a hypothesis during your analysis phase is when you have collected some initial data and you start 'connecting the dots'. Once some distinct pieces of your analysis guide you into one specific direction, then it's the correct time to explicitly state your hypothesis and focus in on 'verifying' (in the non-scientific way) your hypothesis!

Hope that helps - if so, please be so kind to give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

Hi Anonymous,

No, if you do that you are missing the point.

Even though Victor Cheng offers a lot of excellent advice, including a strong focus on the hypothesis-driven approach (which really helps many candidates sharpening and focusing their thinking along the case!), stating a hypothesis at the very beginning of the case usually turns out to be more counterproductive than helpful.

Unless you are an experienced hire with a strong focus on exactly that one case question to discuss, stating a hypothesis right at the beginning of the case interview is essentially nothing else than poaching with a stick in the dark and guessing around. And here you are: you are perfectly set for a highly unstructured and confusing start into your case! (Please note that even as experienced hire, you might be completely wrong with your hypothesis, especially in the slightly artificial case interview world - so I would not even strongly recommend the early hypothesis there)

However, at the same time it's also a matter of defining 'hypothesis'. If you look at your structure at the beginning of the case interview, it is basically the connection between the current client situation and a specific goal you want to achieve. In other words, this initial structure is also a kind of hypothesis which elements you need to consider and analyze in order to clearly understand the root cause and develop a solution for that. So essentially you can also consider your structure as some kind of hypothesis.

Apart from that technicality, the correct time to explicitly state a hypothesis during your analysis phase is when you have collected some initial data and you start 'connecting the dots'. Once some distinct pieces of your analysis guide you into one specific direction, then it's the correct time to explicitly state your hypothesis and focus in on 'verifying' (in the non-scientific way) your hypothesis!

Hope that helps - if so, please be so kind to give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

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Dear A,

It's always good to have a hypothesis, not mandatory to say explicitely loud, but if you can match in it, if you are really clear about it - then simply say it.

I think, the situation, example of which you've right is very appropriate to do, to say it explicitely.

Hope it helps,

If you need further specific advices on how to formulate and test your hypothesis during the case interviews, drop me a line and let's have a conversation on that.

Best,

André

Dear A,

It's always good to have a hypothesis, not mandatory to say explicitely loud, but if you can match in it, if you are really clear about it - then simply say it.

I think, the situation, example of which you've right is very appropriate to do, to say it explicitely.

Hope it helps,

If you need further specific advices on how to formulate and test your hypothesis during the case interviews, drop me a line and let's have a conversation on that.

Best,

André

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Hi, I confirm it is not mandatory to explicitly say it.

Best,
Antonello

Hi, I confirm it is not mandatory to explicitly say it.

Best,
Antonello

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