Does anyone have experience with public sector consulting questions? Experience with Dalberg interviews?

Case structure and frameworks Public Sector
Recent activity on Nov 27, 2018
4 Answers
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Svenja asked on Nov 26, 2018

Hey all,

I am preparing for public sector consulting interview cases. Does anyone have any experience or can recommend some adaptation from the typical frameworks towards public sector. Or any experiences in prepping for Dalberg interviews?
Thanks and good luck to all!

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Anonymous replied on Nov 27, 2018

As with most advice on here, I would recommend that you do not memorise frameworks to simply repeat in an interview. I recently received an offer from McKinsey and also have 10 years experience in government. The general approach I took to government cases was Moore's public value triangle (you can google it). Moore's triangle has three main elements:

  1. Public value - what is the public value being created?
  2. Legitimacy and support - who will support and authorise the creation of the public value?
  3. Operational capabilities - what investments are required to create the public value?

I never used those three elements word-for-word, but instead adapated them to the case. So for example, if I was asked how I might improve traffic conditions for a regional government I might use the following structure:

  1. Objectives of traffic reduction - I would want to understand why we want to reduce traffic, who will benefit, whether there are any specific targets etc.
  2. Options analysis - do we have specific projects in mind, are the options demand or supply driven
  3. Stakeholders interests - I would seek to understand which stakeholders in the community support or oppose the options, what political support exists
  4. Implementation - what options exist, what are our capabilities to implement, do we have sufficient funding

You will see that points 1, 3 and 4 essentially match points 1, 2 and 3 (respectively) of the public value triangle. I added in point 2 for completeness. Essentially the public value triangle helped me create a relatively MECE structure to guide the case.

Another very important point with government cases is that you should always clarify whether profit is an objective. For example, in building a road you want to ask whether the government seeks to make a profit from the road, or whether it sole objective is reducing traffic.

Hope that helps!

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replied on Nov 27, 2018
Ex-McKinsey Engagement Manager / Ex-Diplomat - Perfect choice for non-traditional candidates. Let's get you an offer!

Vlad has already mentioned a number of important points. Additionaly, I would stress that it is important to mention both quantitative and qualitative factors. I see a lot of MBB candidates focusing exclusively on quantitative dimensions while forgetting about softer factors such as regulatory/reputational risk, impact of decisodec on a wider set of stakeholders (e.g. employees, local community).

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replied on Nov 26, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


To provide a bit of structure, there are several types of non-profit cases:

  1. Factors influencing the price (What are the factors influencing the price of oil? Factors influencing the price of real estate?)
  2. Macroeconomic cases (How will you improve life expectancy in a particular city? How will you decrease the unemployment?)
  3. Public sector non-profits (Increasing the revenues of a museum; increasing the revenues from tourism in a city)
  4. Redesigning the processes (How will you develop a new anti-monopoly regulation?)
  5. Non-profit investments (A billionaire is building a new school. What are the factors to look at?)

It is critical to define the objective for these cases to set a proper structure. Two types of questions you should ask:

  1. Could you please clarify the model / business model? E.g. if a billionaire is building a new school, is it a school for talented kids, rich kids or mass segment? Is it going to generate revenues?
  2. What are the main criteria for success? Is it NPV, ROI, share talented kids entering the top Universities?

As you can see there are many types of cases and many frameworks that can be used. I usually give a big homework (10 cases) and then cover them within one session. Feel free to reach me if you need help.


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Anonymous replied on Nov 27, 2018

Not a complete answer at all, but if you want some good samples of pro-bono cases, two of the cases on the McKinsey website are excellent examples.

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