Final recommendation

final recommendation
New answer on Apr 01, 2022
10 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 31, 2022

Is there a suitable format to deliver recommendation at the end of the case? Any examples would be great!

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Francesco
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replied on Mar 31, 2022
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Hi there,

This is how would recommend to structure a conclusion:

1) Repeat the objective. This will ensure you are answering what is relevant to the case. If you don’t repeat the objective, you may answer the wrong question. As an example:

  • Our goal was to understand (i) why profits are declining and (ii) how we could increase profits by XYZ”

2) Provide an answer-first solution. You don’t have to present everything you found in the case, only the answer to the question you just repeated and its supporting factors. You should use points analyzed during the case to justify your recommendation:

  • After our initial analysis, we found out that profits are declining due to a decrease in revenues in division 1 and that, in order to increase profits, with the information we have so far it seems a good idea to enter Market A. This is based on the following reasons:
    • [SPECIFIC FINDINGS 1]
    • [SPECIFIC FINDINGS 2]
    • [SPECIFIC FINDINGS 3]”

3) Provide risks / next steps suggestions. You can always include next steps/ risks in your conclusion. You can refer to the elements that you did not have time to cover present in your initial structure or to risks related to the analysis you have performed during the case:

  • As next steps, we would like also to consider the following…[RISKS/NEXT STEPS]”

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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Paul Matthew
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replied on Mar 31, 2022
Ex-BCG Interviewer | Stanford MBA | 1st Consultant Hired in BCG Philippines | 100+ students coached

Hi, 

My advise is:

  1. Quickly recap biz objective of the client - e.g. key objective of CEO is to address 3-year decline in profitability
  2. Give one-liner recommendation - e.g. recommend to increase prices of product X to increase profitability by 20% 
  3. Bulleted sub-points to support your overarching recommendation based on case facts - e.g. Reason #1 - product X main cause of profit decline due to increasing COGS; Reason #2 - Consumer demand is inelastic, minimal impact in volume for small YY price increase; Reason #3 - Market is concentrated - no immediate competition risk
  4. Bonus: Point out any risks / unexplored hypothesis which you think are important but didn't get to explore during the case 
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Florian
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replied on Mar 31, 2022
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Hey there,

I agree with most answers here. My two cents are that you should forget about repeating the objective.

Both you and the interviewer are aware of the objective as you have worked on it together for the last 20 to 40 minutes and also in a real-world client situation - which the interview is modeling - you would not start by reiterating the objective.

Consulting communication needs to be effective, top-down, and non-redundant. I notice that especially candidates that take too long for a case always reiterate everything throughout the case. 

A proper recommendation is simply really:

  1. Start with your recommendation, which can be usually 1-3 action points 
  2. Provide supporting arguments for each point from the case (quant and qual)
  3. Provide next steps or risk mitigation measures

Structuring your recommendation, stick to the Pyramid Principle with numbering and signposting.

Cheers,

Florian

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Andi
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replied on Mar 31, 2022
BCG interviewer (>175 candidates) |96% coaching success rate, if 3+ sessions | Coached 50+ candidates to MBB offers

Hi there,

Think from the variety of opinions, you can tell there is no ONE answer on the right flow of the recommendation, esp with regards to the recap upfront .

In my view, it does make sense to have it, but keep it concise to 1-2 sentences max. Reason is that after 30-40min, a lot of discussion and pivoting will have happened and it sometimes gets easy to loose sight of the bigger picture. Hence, it's good to bring back the focus on what you were solving for, i.e. the case objective(s). Life is not only about efficiency.

Based on above, suggest structure as follows (quite standard, but very effective)

  1. Recap on prompt + objective (1-2 sentences)
  2. Conclusion / 1-line recommendation
  3. Supporting rationale (2-3 bullets)
  4. Next steps / challenges / key risks (of a reco)

On step 4 - here you should always pick only one of the 3 options - select, based on common sense. Some examples..

  • When you do a valuation case, often no point in talking about key risks, but rather about next steps you would take to make the estimate more robust
  • For market sizing, same thing.
  • For a profitability case with a recommendation on how to turn around / improve, key risks or implementation challenges of recommended initiatives are often the way to go 

Hope this further clarified. Feel free to reach out if you'd like to learn more on how to perfect your recommendations and/or seek detailed feedback. 

Regards, Andi

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Ian
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replied on Apr 01, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Most importantly: you need to articulate your key points clearly and concisely. So, length of time is different per case.

That being said, you should "Carry" your Rec with you throughout your case so that you do not need to spend much time thinking of the recommendation. Ultimately, it should only take you 15-30 seconds to prepare the rec.

Remember, you may ask to prepare and the interview responds "sorry, the CEO is calling right now, you don't have time", so be prepared throughout the case with a recommendation!

Recommendation

  • Lead with the rec and be "strong" about it (normally just 1 rec unless the case has clearly identified multiple recommendations)
  • Use key supporting information to defend the recommendation

Risks

  • 2-3
  • Should relate to your recommendation and the general situation

Next Steps

  • 2-3
  • Should mitigate your risks
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Moritz
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replied on Mar 31, 2022
Unearth your spike & get the offer |ex-McKinsey | 120+ coachings & interviews @ McKinsey | ESADE MBA | Transition Expert

Hi there,

Great input already from the others. What is implicit in all the answers (especially from Francesco) but not spelled out explicitly is being top-down in your communication:

  • Start with the bottom line i.e. client should do x. 
  • Then provide supporting arguments
  • If there's time, share relevant analyses that went into developing the arguments
  • If you want to mention any risk, this would typically be related to the analyses that you rushed through in the case and may want to propose to spend more time on as a next step

The great advantage of being top down is that it shows maturity in dealing with executives and even if you get cut off after 10 seconds, you will have made your point. What comes after those first 10 seconds is just embellishment…

Hope this helps a bit! Best of luck!

 

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Cristian
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replied on Mar 31, 2022
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Hi there, 

There are a few great answers here already. 

I just wanted to add that you should be careful at how the question is phrased. Sometimes interviewers ask for a ‘summary / synthesis of our work until now with some of the next steps’. This is usually the standard if the case does not lead to a clear recommendation so it would be a bit weird to force one without sufficient data. If they ask for a summary, provide a synthesis of the main findings, without offering a clear ‘do this / do that’ sort of recommendation.

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Adi
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replied on Mar 31, 2022
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Break the recommendation into 3 parts:

  1. Recommendation statement
  2. Insights - quant or qual analysis to back up the recommendation
  3. Outcome- what will be achieved and what is the underlying risk(s)
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Maikol
CoachingPlus Expert
replied on Mar 31, 2022
Ex Bain & Company, AlixPartners Manager, and Special Forces | Currently MD at small-cap PE fund | INSEAD MBA | GMAT 780

There is no need to repeat the objective. As I always say, in a real business conversation with a C-level client, you will never repeat the objective. Why should you repeat it in a case interview?

Just state the recommendation(s) and why it makes sense (supporting reasoning). Add also next steps. 

Also risks and mitigations, it is part of the reasoning to support a specific recommendation. 

Be simple and crisp, otherwise, it is not a final recommendation. You should aim for a 30-second speech.

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Clara
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replied on Apr 01, 2022
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

For sure! Key thing is not to do a summary, since it´s the 1 minute conclusion for the CEO. 

Repeat the target, comment how we are going to achieve it, and then mention an immediate and pressing next step where you would focus next. Can be done in less than 1 minute, and in this case, less is more. 

Hope it helps!

Cheers, 

Clara

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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