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Robert

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7

Driving a case vs Asking for data

Hello everyone,

How do I find the right balance between driving a case forward through going ahead with making estimations/assumptions as compared to simply asking for the data I would need to verify a hypothesis? My tendency at the moment is to do the latter (habit from Victor Cheng LOMS: "do we have any data on that?") to save time but it might make me seem "lazy" and less willing to drive the case forward myself.

Example (go-to-market strategy):
1st hypothesis I want to confirm is: is this an attractive market in terms of size and growth? I could then proceed to simply ask the interviewer "do we have data regarding the market size and growth forecasts?" or I could proceed with "I would like to proceed with estimating the market size." and draw the estimation structure and make assumptions.

Hello everyone,

How do I find the right balance between driving a case forward through going ahead with making estimations/assumptions as compared to simply asking for the data I would need to verify a hypothesis? My tendency at the moment is to do the latter (habit from Victor Cheng LOMS: "do we have any data on that?") to save time but it might make me seem "lazy" and less willing to drive the case forward myself.

Example (go-to-market strategy):
1st hypothesis I want to confirm is: is this an attractive market in terms of size and growth? I could then proceed to simply ask the interviewer "do we have data regarding the market size and growth forecasts?" or I could proceed with "I would like to proceed with estimating the market size." and draw the estimation structure and make assumptions.

(edited)

7 answers

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Best Answer
Book a coaching with Robert

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Hi Anonymous,

Conceptionally there is a clear answer to your question. Never work with assumptions if you (potentially) can have data! Not grabbing data if there would be is a huge mistake, both in case interviews as in a real-life client interaction.

Always ask for data first, before making any assumptions (unless the interviewer tells you explicitly otherwise, something along the lines like "We don't have any data on that - just use your business judgement/assumptions/...").

However, the point is also how to communicate this. Just asking for data (which can be perceived as random questions easily) is not whatI am looking for in interviews. Always explain your next step(s), ask for data and include your rationale for doing so (basically 'why' you need the data). If no data exists - you anyway need to work based on your assumptions. In any way, you drive the case forward in both ways.

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

Robert

Hi Anonymous,

Conceptionally there is a clear answer to your question. Never work with assumptions if you (potentially) can have data! Not grabbing data if there would be is a huge mistake, both in case interviews as in a real-life client interaction.

Always ask for data first, before making any assumptions (unless the interviewer tells you explicitly otherwise, something along the lines like "We don't have any data on that - just use your business judgement/assumptions/...").

However, the point is also how to communicate this. Just asking for data (which can be perceived as random questions easily) is not whatI am looking for in interviews. Always explain your next step(s), ask for data and include your rationale for doing so (basically 'why' you need the data). If no data exists - you anyway need to work based on your assumptions. In any way, you drive the case forward in both ways.

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

Robert

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Hi A,

Asking for data that might help you verify your hypothesis and suggest the next steps might make you seem prudent and rational but not "lazy". If you have an opportunity to get some data you need over making assumptions choose to clarify the data.

I would recommend you to clarify specifically what kind of data you are looking for.

If the needed data is not available then, of course, nothing left but making assumptions.

Was this helpful?

GB

Hi A,

Asking for data that might help you verify your hypothesis and suggest the next steps might make you seem prudent and rational but not "lazy". If you have an opportunity to get some data you need over making assumptions choose to clarify the data.

I would recommend you to clarify specifically what kind of data you are looking for.

If the needed data is not available then, of course, nothing left but making assumptions.

Was this helpful?

GB

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Hi there,

Always start by asking if the data you need is available, if not, ask if you can make assumptions! Also, when asking for data, be specific and not too vague. For instance, start by exposing your approach and mentioning which data you need, before asking if this data is available, but definitely do not ask at the beginning "what data do we have", instead, ask "if there is any data related to the population".

I hope this helps!

Mehdi

Hi there,

Always start by asking if the data you need is available, if not, ask if you can make assumptions! Also, when asking for data, be specific and not too vague. For instance, start by exposing your approach and mentioning which data you need, before asking if this data is available, but definitely do not ask at the beginning "what data do we have", instead, ask "if there is any data related to the population".

I hope this helps!

Mehdi

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Hi there,

I would not recommend to make estimations or assumptions without first clarifying if there is information available. The interviewer may derive you are not 80-20 and have a tendency to reinvent the wheel.

If you are worried about not being proactive enough when asking for data, you can always frame the question in the following way:

“Do we have any information on the size of the market? Otherwise, we may estimate the size to proceed forward”

I agree with Robert that it is important to clarify the reason for asking for information as well.

Best,

Francesco

Hi there,

I would not recommend to make estimations or assumptions without first clarifying if there is information available. The interviewer may derive you are not 80-20 and have a tendency to reinvent the wheel.

If you are worried about not being proactive enough when asking for data, you can always frame the question in the following way:

“Do we have any information on the size of the market? Otherwise, we may estimate the size to proceed forward”

I agree with Robert that it is important to clarify the reason for asking for information as well.

Best,

Francesco

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The key here is to put your overall work under thre premise to confirm or disprove a hypothesis.

The mistake that many candidates make is they don't know where to look for the solution to the case so they ask for data, hoping to find a hint for where to look next.

Great candidates do it the other way around: They start with a hypothesis and tell the interviewer what data they need to investigate this hypothesis. When you get data points that contradict your hypothesis, re-arrange it and continue asking for the next datapoint that will help you in your next iteration.

This way, you're naturally stepping form one data request to the next, driving the case in the process, rather than just asking blindly for more pieces of the puzzle until you see the full picture.

The key here is to put your overall work under thre premise to confirm or disprove a hypothesis.

The mistake that many candidates make is they don't know where to look for the solution to the case so they ask for data, hoping to find a hint for where to look next.

Great candidates do it the other way around: They start with a hypothesis and tell the interviewer what data they need to investigate this hypothesis. When you get data points that contradict your hypothesis, re-arrange it and continue asking for the next datapoint that will help you in your next iteration.

This way, you're naturally stepping form one data request to the next, driving the case in the process, rather than just asking blindly for more pieces of the puzzle until you see the full picture.

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Hello!

Always do ask for data if available. Worst that would happen is that they would tell you they don´t have it, and you drive forward.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Hello!

Always do ask for data if available. Worst that would happen is that they would tell you they don´t have it, and you drive forward.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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You need to picture yourself at the client site, in front of a whiteboard, with your team, figuring out what you need to do next on this project.

Truly reflect on what you need, what you're missing, or what you don't currently understand about the situation. Then, ask questions to fill this in.

This is super hard to learn, and impossible to teach through some written tips/techniques. I'd be happy to give you a crash course in this - 1 hour is all you need to have a complete mindset shift in this area!

You need to picture yourself at the client site, in front of a whiteboard, with your team, figuring out what you need to do next on this project.

Truly reflect on what you need, what you're missing, or what you don't currently understand about the situation. Then, ask questions to fill this in.

This is super hard to learn, and impossible to teach through some written tips/techniques. I'd be happy to give you a crash course in this - 1 hour is all you need to have a complete mindset shift in this area!

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