Going back to a clarifying question

brainstorming questions Clarifying questions
New answer on Aug 13, 2020
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 15, 2019

Hi all,

I was wondering about what you can do if you find out that you have forgotten to ask a relevant clarification question. So for example, we have the Case "How can the company double its revenue over the next five years through geographical expansion". You have asked some clarification questions and the goal is clear, and you lay down your structure e.g. "Possible markets -> Our capabilities -> How to enter". While presenting your structure, you find out that you have not yet asked where the company is currently "playing", which is in my opinion really relevant since it is easier to double your revenue if you are currently the market leader in Switzerland than in the US, because you most certainly have to enter a larger market. Do you "go back" and ask the question right out of nowhere or do you wait until it gets "urgent", since you should not jump around and use a structured approach?


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updated an answer on Mar 28, 2019
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

if you understand you forgot to clarify a point when presenting the structure, I would recommend to ask the question at that stage, ideally connecting with some parts of the structure itself, in order to make less evident you forgot the point before (communication is always key in a case and part of your assessment as well).

Assuming the structure presented is the one you described and you just completed its presentation, the following would be a possible way to formulate the question:

“(…). Now, we can start with the first point related to the possible markets to select. In order to understand that, I think it would be useful to know in which markets the company is currently active. Do we have information on that?”




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B on Mar 19, 2019

Would it also be a good idea to readjust one's beginning structure quickly?

Francesco on Mar 28, 2019

Hi Hrag, if the structure requires some changes after you understood some relevant points then yes, it would make sense to update it. Hope this helps, Francesco

Anonymous replied on Aug 13, 2020

Dear A,

I agree with Francessco here that if you forgot to ask some clarifying questions about business model you can ask it during your presentation, but mking it not so obvious and linking to the next steps.

But, to make it right I would recommend you to learn by heart the main tips that you have to have regarding additional information for the case.

Here are 3 tyoes of clarifying questions. So, before going to the structure make a final chack, whether you know that you need to know?

questions that clarify the objective of the case interview

Here the basic things you have to know about the case objective:

  • What is the measurable metric of success?

  • What is the time frame?

  • What are potential restrictions or limitations?

2. questions about information that strengthens your understanding of the company

In this chapter the main things you have to know are:

  • Business model: How does the company make money? Do they sell directly to customers or do they sell through retailers or partners?

  • Products and services: What products and services does the company sell? What benefits do these products and services provide?

  • Geographic location: Does the company have one location or are they a national chain? Does the company operate in just one country or do they have an international presence?

3. question about definition of a term you are unfamiliar with

Hope it helps,



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