That can indeed be challenging but no one expects you to be an expert in every industry. Here are some strategies to help you effectively generate industry-specific ideas:
Ask Industry-Relevant Questions: Begin by asking industry-specific questions to gather information and context. These could include questions about industry trends, common challenges, competitive dynamics, regulatory factors, and customer behaviors. This will help you better understand the specifics of the industry you're dealing with.
Leverage General Business Knowledge: Use your general business knowledge and problem-solving skills as a foundation. Many business concepts and principles apply across industries, such as supply chain management, marketing, pricing strategies, and cost reduction.
Analogies and Transferable Insights: Draw analogies from industries you are more familiar with. Compare the industry in the case to others you know well and see if there are transferable insights or strategies. For example, if you've studied retail extensively, you might find similarities in supply chain issues across different sectors.
Hypothesize and Test: Formulate hypotheses or educated guesses based on the information you've gathered. Then, during the case interview, express your hypothesis, explain your reasoning, and ask for feedback from the interviewer. This demonstrates your ability to think critically and adapt your thinking.
Remember that interviewers are often more interested in your problem-solving approach and ability to adapt than in your industry-specific knowledge. Demonstrating a structured approach, analytical thinking, and the ability to quickly learn and apply industry insights can make a positive impression even when you're dealing with unfamiliar sectors.