Ex-Mckinsey, current strategy guy at Google.
Book a coaching

Framework Direct and Business Sense Struggle

Yixu

Hi all,

I interviewed with McKinsey and Bain for summer intern. I am currently a rising senior at NYU Shanghai. Yet my feedback from McKinsey final round was, "My framework is still not very direct and to the point." And another, "Need more business sense". So I failed the last interview.

I am interning at Accentuer and another investment firm this summer. I just started revisitng cases and all those problems. But I have some struggle firguring out an effective way of framework delivery. I have the feeling of many appraoches are right.

Can you help? Thanks.

Best,

Yixu

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Hemant
Expert
replied on 07/30/2016
Ex-Mckinsey, current strategy guy at Google.

Of course many approaches are right! In fact, many "answers" are right as well. This is a huge misconception that there is only one right path to only one right answer in a case. As long as you have a reason to believe in your answer, and it's not a randomly picked answer with no data/analysis backing it, then you will be fine.

I think of cases in terms of "drivers" and how mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive they are. A typical "mental case" I give to new case solvers (and sometimes old timers also do this wrong) is: the population of birds in a city is falling. Why? Many start rambling into a "list of" reasons (what I call "the list mode interviewee"): air pollution, food, noise, urbanization, etc etc. But the truth is that these are factors that affect the actual driver of population, which are three: birth rate, death rate and -- many miss this one -- net migration rate.

So, all you need to really focus on are what the main "drivers" of a particular business problem are. The rest of the "Framework" will just follow from there. In a typical P&L case, the main "drivers" are obviously cost and revenue, but then you can expand out to what are the other things (the analogous to "pollution" " food" etc..) that eventually affect the two drivers? Those usually are, for revenue: price, demand (don't forget they are inter-related -- this is what is called "business sense" because you need to intuitively know that higher price may lead to lower demand especially for a "commodity" product such as rice or potatoes.. unless it's a luxury product, in which case demand may go up. See?). For costs: it could be fixed/var: labor, lease, overhead, etc etc..

Clarity of thought for many different type of cases only comes through practice and a lot of reading over a period of time. There is no shortcut.

Guennael replied on 07/29/2016
Ex-MBB, BCG/Bain/Experienced Hire specialist

Yixu - the problem with this feedback is that it is not very actionable on its own. You have dozens of current / former consultants on the websites (the "experts) who can and will gladly help you if you book a session with them. Yes, you can also book a session with me but that's not my point. Truth is, we just need more info to know how to help you with the structuring.

As for the "business sense", you can develop this by reading the business and economic pages of your newspaper for example (HBR is also a great source obviously, as would be many of the free articles put out by McK, BCG, Strategy& and others), or by doing/reading case after case after case. Your studies should also help you. No quick fix here, sorry.

Congrats on getting interviews with 2 of the big 3 in the first place, this means your profile is appealling. Congrats on going to the final round, this means you can basically do the work. You were close. Keep working at it, and don't be afraid to hire someone to help you - it is a really small investment in the grand scheme of things.

Good luck, let me know if you want me to help

Best,

Guennael

Ex-BCG

Yixu replied on 08/01/2016

Hearty thx Hemant!

Yixu replied on 08/01/2016

Hi Guennael,

Hearty thanks for your detailed and helpful advice. As I am preparing today, I do find HBR, FT and Economists really helpful. I am still keep practicing. Interestingly, different consultants (I mean those who are now working for MBBs give me different,sometimes even oppposite point of view, which can be confusing sometimes.

Would love a schedule, actually I am more interested in the success-based version. But I am not eligible for applying via the success-based? I did secure three invitations (MBB) and I am interning at Accenture this summer. I thought I did meet the criteria? I will email PrepLounge team and figure out why.

Related BootCamp article(s)

Interviewer-Led vs Candidate-Led cases

Case Interviews can be led by the candidate or by the interviewer: In Candidate-led cases the main challenge is the structure. In Interviewer-led cases the main challenge is to adapt quickly

0 Comment(s)

Case Studies

The case study is the most important element of the case interview, which you'll have to nail in order to get into strategic consulting. Here you can learn the specific skills and concepts necessary to solve them.

4 Comment(s)

Getting Up to Speed

In order to repeatedly demonstrate prerequisite skills under the pressure of a real case interview, you need to learn the basics and practice cases.

2 Comment(s)

Focusing on The Core: Mock Interviews

It is to practice as many cases as possible - both as interviewee and as interviewee. Here are a couple of guidelines to help you get started

2 Comment(s)

Related case(s)

Bain case: Asian lubricants producer

Solved 39.6k times
4.7 5 25056
| Rating: (4.7 / 5.0)

LubricantsCo, a very successful Asian premium producer of lubricants in their native region, would like to further increase their revenue and profit. The product range ranges from lubricants in the automotive sector (e.g. motor and gear oil) to industrial applications (e.g. fats, heavy-duty oils). ... Open whole case

McKinsey Questions

Solved 14.1k times
4.5 5 334
| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0)
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit interview | Topics: Personal fit

Tell me of a situation where you had an opinion and no one seemed to agree with you. What was your goal when you decided to join university / work / clubs / a sports team? Did you have a goal that you were not able to reach? What did you do? What do you want to be remembered for and how are ... Open whole case

Bain Questions

Solved 12.3k times
4.6 5 141
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit interview | Topics: Personal fit

Tell me about a difficult situation you had to cope with. Tell me of a task which you didn’t like doing and explain why you performed it nevertheless. Why do you do things? What do you like doing most / What is your favorite hobby? Walk me through a situation where you showed leadership s ... Open whole case

BCG Questions

Solved 10.4k times
4.5 5 130
| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0)
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit interview | Topics: Personal fit

What arouses your interest when you are working / studying / doing another activity (from the CV)? Tell me of a time where you had no idea what you were doing. When did you use an uncommon approach to do something? Have you ever had responsibility for other people? Tell me of a situation ... Open whole case