Cookie and Privacy Settings

This website uses cookies to enable essential functions like the user login and sessions. We also use cookies and third-party tools to improve your surfing experience on preplounge.com. You can choose to activate only essential cookies or all cookies. You can always change your preference in the cookie and privacy settings. This link can also be found in the footer of the site. If you need more information, please visit our privacy policy.

Data processing in the USA: By clicking on "I accept", you also consent, in accordance with article 49 paragraph 1 sentence 1 lit. GDPR, to your data being processed in the USA (by Google LLC, Facebook Inc., LinkedIn Inc., Stripe, Paypal).

Manage settings individually I accept
expert
Expert with best answer

Adi

100% Recommendation Rate

74 Meetings

6,783 Q&A Upvotes

USD 159 / Coaching

8

Hi, I have a question regarding cases on new industry.

How to handle a case from an industry where you have no idea about how they generate revenue, costs, risks, etc?

How to handle a case from an industry where you have no idea about how they generate revenue, costs, risks, etc?

8 answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best Answer
Book a coaching with Adi

100% Recommendation Rate

74 Meetings

6,783 Q&A Upvotes

USD 159 / Coaching

Hey there,

Broadly, industries can be classified as follows:

  1. Raw Materials- e.g. mining, agriculture and fishing

  2. Manufacturing e.g. cars, planes, steel

  3. Support services e.g. hospitality, teaching and nursing.

  4. Digital Service e.g. IT, Software, Cloud

Broadly, read up trends in these industry categories to have an idea. But you are not expected to have deep expertise or knowledge of any particular industry for the case interview. Unless you are going for an specific experienced hire role then the job description will specifiy the industry.

Otherwise, ask the right questions and use your assumptions/hypothesis to guide your solution for the case. Any company that operates in any industry will have following layers:

  • Customers they sell to (B2B or B2C)
  • Channels to sell to those customer (e.g. retail, online etc)
  • Product & Service to sell through those channels to the customer
  • All underlying processes
  • Data to enable the processes
  • Technology/Tools to execute the processes
  • People & Organisation
  • Physical assets (offices, warehouse, stock etc)

Hey there,

Broadly, industries can be classified as follows:

  1. Raw Materials- e.g. mining, agriculture and fishing

  2. Manufacturing e.g. cars, planes, steel

  3. Support services e.g. hospitality, teaching and nursing.

  4. Digital Service e.g. IT, Software, Cloud

Broadly, read up trends in these industry categories to have an idea. But you are not expected to have deep expertise or knowledge of any particular industry for the case interview. Unless you are going for an specific experienced hire role then the job description will specifiy the industry.

Otherwise, ask the right questions and use your assumptions/hypothesis to guide your solution for the case. Any company that operates in any industry will have following layers:

  • Customers they sell to (B2B or B2C)
  • Channels to sell to those customer (e.g. retail, online etc)
  • Product & Service to sell through those channels to the customer
  • All underlying processes
  • Data to enable the processes
  • Technology/Tools to execute the processes
  • People & Organisation
  • Physical assets (offices, warehouse, stock etc)
Book a coaching with Denis

100% Recommendation Rate

94 Meetings

1,956 Q&A Upvotes

USD 169 / Coaching

Hi Nika,

Happy New Year!

Being confronted with new industries / sub-industries / segments is something you cannot avoid entirely, something that you can realistically expect, and something that should not concern you too much.

Short-answer: (1) Expand your knowledge through the infamous daily reads beyond your horizon, (2) leverage your knowledge from related industries or industries that share similarities in their business models, (3) ask the interviewer questions, especially in the beginning after you have been given the case prompt.

(1) BE VERY PRACTICAL about this. Try to explain to yourself how an industry practically works (without being concerned about the names etc of stakeholders). Think in terms of value chain, what information, funds, materials are flowing from where. What are the stakeholders? Who are the (final) clients? Middlemen? What are their purposes?

(2) You would be surprised how similar business models of different industries are. Client-service, Software as a Service, Classic manufacturing, Retailing, Logistics, Insurance, Banking. Part of the case interview is also to show business acumen. If you understand the basics (and intricacies) of a hand ful of high-frequency industries, you will likely be able to extract segments of the business model of industry A (e.g. supply chain, type of clients) and apply it to industry B. By reading WSJ, NYT, Handelsblatt, other materials on a regular basis, you should come across most of the high-frequency industries. You will never be prepared for all industries since there are too many nichy industries out there.

(3) Asking questions is essential throughout the case. This is an art in itself. Some candidates overdo it, some do not ask enough and fail to understand the actual goal of the case and also do not allow the interviewer to perhpas give guidenace based on those questions. The probably best time to ask questions is in the beginning, i.e. after the case prompt has been given by the interviewer. Even in "regular" profitability cases it is worthwhile to ask questions to understand the GOAL of the case. Most candidates assume a goal and keep going. Just because I mention that a company's profits have been decreasing, does not necessarily mean that we want to maximize them going forward. Perhaps market share is more important to the business / the client than minimizing costs too. Perhaps we just want to get to a break-even level to focus resources on other projects since we expect to sell etc. Again, think practical.

Best,

Denis

Hi Nika,

Happy New Year!

Being confronted with new industries / sub-industries / segments is something you cannot avoid entirely, something that you can realistically expect, and something that should not concern you too much.

Short-answer: (1) Expand your knowledge through the infamous daily reads beyond your horizon, (2) leverage your knowledge from related industries or industries that share similarities in their business models, (3) ask the interviewer questions, especially in the beginning after you have been given the case prompt.

(1) BE VERY PRACTICAL about this. Try to explain to yourself how an industry practically works (without being concerned about the names etc of stakeholders). Think in terms of value chain, what information, funds, materials are flowing from where. What are the stakeholders? Who are the (final) clients? Middlemen? What are their purposes?

(2) You would be surprised how similar business models of different industries are. Client-service, Software as a Service, Classic manufacturing, Retailing, Logistics, Insurance, Banking. Part of the case interview is also to show business acumen. If you understand the basics (and intricacies) of a hand ful of high-frequency industries, you will likely be able to extract segments of the business model of industry A (e.g. supply chain, type of clients) and apply it to industry B. By reading WSJ, NYT, Handelsblatt, other materials on a regular basis, you should come across most of the high-frequency industries. You will never be prepared for all industries since there are too many nichy industries out there.

(3) Asking questions is essential throughout the case. This is an art in itself. Some candidates overdo it, some do not ask enough and fail to understand the actual goal of the case and also do not allow the interviewer to perhpas give guidenace based on those questions. The probably best time to ask questions is in the beginning, i.e. after the case prompt has been given by the interviewer. Even in "regular" profitability cases it is worthwhile to ask questions to understand the GOAL of the case. Most candidates assume a goal and keep going. Just because I mention that a company's profits have been decreasing, does not necessarily mean that we want to maximize them going forward. Perhaps market share is more important to the business / the client than minimizing costs too. Perhaps we just want to get to a break-even level to focus resources on other projects since we expect to sell etc. Again, think practical.

Best,

Denis

Book a coaching with Ian

100% Recommendation Rate

267 Meetings

23,151 Q&A Upvotes

USD 289 / Coaching

Hi Nika,

This is always the fear! Now, if it's a "common" industry, you should know this (to build this knowledge, make sure to do daily reading AND start on industry deep-dives).

Now, if you don't know the industry at all, you can do a few things:

  1. Think about what industry is most comparable and leverage that (I'm sure you don't know about a train manufacturer, but if you learned about large-scale manufacturing and or airline/automative manufacturing, this can help)
  2. Think critically about the industry and what makes sense. What would their cost breakdown likely be? Competition? etc...use reasonable assumptions based on your knowledge of the world
  3. Ask intelligently. Ask in a way that "proposes" an idea of how it works. Frame it as a way of identifying your "unknowns" and driving towards understanding. If you do this in the right way, you can absolutey come across just fine.

As a reference, I just gave a candidate a case where she didn't know what wind turbines were. I thought we were in for a rough case. Turns out, by the end of the case I had given her a 4.75 out of 5! She nailed the questions, quickly understood what wind turbines (and the industry) meant, and aced the case.

Hi Nika,

This is always the fear! Now, if it's a "common" industry, you should know this (to build this knowledge, make sure to do daily reading AND start on industry deep-dives).

Now, if you don't know the industry at all, you can do a few things:

  1. Think about what industry is most comparable and leverage that (I'm sure you don't know about a train manufacturer, but if you learned about large-scale manufacturing and or airline/automative manufacturing, this can help)
  2. Think critically about the industry and what makes sense. What would their cost breakdown likely be? Competition? etc...use reasonable assumptions based on your knowledge of the world
  3. Ask intelligently. Ask in a way that "proposes" an idea of how it works. Frame it as a way of identifying your "unknowns" and driving towards understanding. If you do this in the right way, you can absolutey come across just fine.

As a reference, I just gave a candidate a case where she didn't know what wind turbines were. I thought we were in for a rough case. Turns out, by the end of the case I had given her a 4.75 out of 5! She nailed the questions, quickly understood what wind turbines (and the industry) meant, and aced the case.

Book a coaching with Udayan

99% Recommendation Rate

97 Meetings

3,493 Q&A Upvotes

USD 239 / Coaching

There are 2 elements to approaching this

1. Logical thinking

Think about the industry and see what would logically make sense for revenue

  • Who would they sell to? - more challenging cases are where the consumer is also a business (e.g., coal being sold to utility companies)
  • For what end products? - again the challenging end products are typically not the final product - for example silicone being sold to produce microchips)
  • How is it sold? (e.g., auctions, direct to end consumer, wholesalers etc.)
  • See how the above impacts demand and price

2. Questions

It is totally okay to ask questions to fill in any gaps. However you must first try and make sense of it using your own logic and only then use questions. This shows that you are willing to approach any problem with an open mind before asking for help.

Best,

Udayan

There are 2 elements to approaching this

1. Logical thinking

Think about the industry and see what would logically make sense for revenue

  • Who would they sell to? - more challenging cases are where the consumer is also a business (e.g., coal being sold to utility companies)
  • For what end products? - again the challenging end products are typically not the final product - for example silicone being sold to produce microchips)
  • How is it sold? (e.g., auctions, direct to end consumer, wholesalers etc.)
  • See how the above impacts demand and price

2. Questions

It is totally okay to ask questions to fill in any gaps. However you must first try and make sense of it using your own logic and only then use questions. This shows that you are willing to approach any problem with an open mind before asking for help.

Best,

Udayan

Book a coaching with Clara

100% Recommendation Rate

58 Meetings

15,716 Q&A Upvotes

USD 229 / Coaching

Hello!

Knowing about an industry should not give you important advantages in a case, tbh.

Precisely for this you should focus on case types, not industries.

Best regards,

Clara

Hello!

Knowing about an industry should not give you important advantages in a case, tbh.

Precisely for this you should focus on case types, not industries.

Best regards,

Clara

Book a coaching with Antonello

98% Recommendation Rate

161 Meetings

5,811 Q&A Upvotes

USD 249 / Coaching

Hi,

The framework proposed by the classic Cheng can help you a lot to understand better an industry. Tailor the approach to the specific case and prioritize the questions that need to be answered.

Hope this helps.

Best,

Antonello

Hi,

The framework proposed by the classic Cheng can help you a lot to understand better an industry. Tailor the approach to the specific case and prioritize the questions that need to be answered.

Hope this helps.

Best,

Antonello

Book a coaching with Gaurav

100% Recommendation Rate

198 Meetings

6,592 Q&A Upvotes

USD 169 / Coaching

Hi Nika,

no deep knowledge of a specific industry is usually required, but knowing some insider facts can surely help during the interview.

If you feel like it'll give you an advantage, you can do the following:

  • solve a lot of different cases about different industries
  • read business magazines, expand your horizon
  • think about a similar industry and try to find similar traits

But as it's been said, it's not crucial.

Hope it helps,

Cheers,

GB

Hi Nika,

no deep knowledge of a specific industry is usually required, but knowing some insider facts can surely help during the interview.

If you feel like it'll give you an advantage, you can do the following:

  • solve a lot of different cases about different industries
  • read business magazines, expand your horizon
  • think about a similar industry and try to find similar traits

But as it's been said, it's not crucial.

Hope it helps,

Cheers,

GB

Book a coaching with Iman

100% Recommendation Rate

16 Meetings

1,504 Q&A Upvotes

USD 159 / Coaching

Hi Nika,

There is a high probability that you will get a case on an industry that you are not familiar.

Reading about different industries can help but I would not focus on this over practicing different type of cases.

Having said that, you can always ask a set of questions to interviewer to understand the industry better:

  • Revenue stream / how they make money
  • Value chain
  • Customer target
  • Competitiveness
  • Product characteristic

Test these questions in your practice when you encounter unfamiliar industry.

Best,
Iman

Hi Nika,

There is a high probability that you will get a case on an industry that you are not familiar.

Reading about different industries can help but I would not focus on this over practicing different type of cases.

Having said that, you can always ask a set of questions to interviewer to understand the industry better:

  • Revenue stream / how they make money
  • Value chain
  • Customer target
  • Competitiveness
  • Product characteristic

Test these questions in your practice when you encounter unfamiliar industry.

Best,
Iman

Related case(s)

McKinsey Questions

Solved 39.6k times
McKinsey Questions 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 you achieving it? What is your typical way of dealing with conflict?
4.5 5 864
| 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 you ... Open whole case

MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education

Solved 17.7k times
MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education Our client is SmartBridge, a nonprofit educational institution offering face-to-face tutoring services. The client operates in the US. The mission of SmartBridge is to help as many students as possible to complete studies and prevent that they drop from the school system, in particular in disadvantaged areas. The client is considering starting operations for its services in the Chicago area. They hired us to understand if that makes sense. Due to the nonprofit regulation, SmartBridge should operate on its own in the market, without any partnership. How would you help our client?
4.6 5 628
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

Our client is SmartBridge, a nonprofit educational institution offering face-to-face tutoring services. The client operates in the US. The mission of SmartBridge is to help as many students as possible to complete studies and prevent that they drop from the school system, in particular in disadvant ... Open whole case

Motivational questions – FIT interview preparation

Solved 4.2k times
Motivational questions – FIT interview preparation During this exercise, we will deep-dive in 4 of the most common Motivational questions asked in FIT interviews:   Why Consulting? Why this particular company? (McKinsey, Bain, BCG, others) Why this particular location? *Particularly relevant to people re-locating or choosing an office not in their region Why this particular specialized business function *Only relevant when not applying for a general role (e.g., McKinsey Advanced Analytics, BCG Gamma, etc.) *box-open green* *See Graph 1 – Note: "Motivational" are one of the 4 types of questions you can find in FIT interviews. *box-close* ➥ Graphs from the Integrated FIT Guide for MBB
4.5 5 62
| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0)
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit Interview | Topics: Personal fit

During this exercise, we will deep-dive in 4 of the most common Motivational questions asked in FIT interviews: Why Consulting? Why this particular company? (McKinsey, Bain, BCG, others) Why this particular location? *Particularly relevant to people re-locating or choosing an office not ... Open whole case

Introduction and CV questions – FIT interview preparation

Solved 3.7k times
Introduction and CV questions – FIT interview preparation During this exercise, we will deep-dive in 3 of the most common Intro & CV questions asked in FIT interviews:  1. Walk me through your CV 2. Tell me about yourself 3. Tell me about the thing that makes you most proud on your CV   *box-open green* *See Graph 1 – Note: "Intro & CV questions" are one of the 4 types of questions you can find in FIT interviews. *box-close* ➥ Graphs from the Integrated FIT Guide for MBB    
4.6 5 59
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit Interview | Topics: Personal fit

During this exercise, we will deep-dive in 3 of the most common Intro & CV questions asked in FIT interviews: 1. Walk me through your CV 2. Tell me about yourself 3. Tell me about the thing that makes you most proud on your CV *See Graph 1 – Note: "Intro & CV questions" are one of the 4 ty ... Open whole case

Bain 1st Round Case – BlissOttica

Solved 2.1k times
Bain 1st Round Case – BlissOttica Our client is a BlissOttica, an Eyewear Manufacturer that is looking to reach a 10% increase in profits. How would you help our client?
4.3 5 105
| Rating: (4.3 / 5.0)

Our client is a BlissOttica, an Eyewear Manufacturer that is looking to reach a 10% increase in profits. How would you help our client? Open whole case