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Hi, what would be the first case you would suggest to start practicing?

First Round firsttime McKinsey
Recent activity on Jan 30, 2018
3 Answers
3.2 k Views
Frederico asked on Jan 25, 2018

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replied on Jan 26, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


I would start with either market sizing or with profitability cases since they are much easier:

1) In market sizing cases I would try to understand the basic approach:

  • How to structure market sizing case
  • Key tools (Assumptions, Households, using personal experience, adjustments, age groups, Income split via 80/20, peak / off-peak calculations, replacement rate, using size of the area to calculate markets, calculating adjacent markets, sanity checks, etc).
  • How to do math in the case interview

2) In Profitability cases, I would learn

  • How to ask clarifying questions
  • How to structure profitability cases
  • How to work with data (Comparing with competitors, segmentation, historical data)
  • How to answer the questions on creativity
  • How to provide recommendations

3) Then I will switch to Market context cases (Market Entry, New product, Acquisition, etc). In addition, I would learn how:

  • Structure market context questions
  • How to analyze graphs and tables

4) After that I would look at other case types: Operational math problem (e.g. Should we increase the speed of an elevator or just buy a second one? How should we reduce the queues? Etc.), Cost Cutting, Valuation, Private equity due diligence, Synergies, etc.

Also, I would try to focus on the most common industries in the following priority (sorted by probability of getting a case): 1-retail and CPG; 2-airlines; 3-Telecom; 4-banking; 5-natural resources; 6-tech


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replied on Jan 26, 2018

Hey Frederico,

Personally I don't think there is a particular case that is better than all the others for you to start practising.

But If you are just starting your case practise, I would reccomend you to do cases that require very different approaches (profitability tree, new market/product strategy, M&A, etc) and skills (more conceptual, more quantitative, etc).

By doing this early on, it's easier to understand both the similiarities (always the same solving method > understand problem statment, strcuture your approach, make analysis, provide a recommendation), as well as the differences across the way to solve each case (different initial structures, etc)



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Content Creator
replied on Jan 26, 2018
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Frederico,

if you want to give a priority (not strictly necessary, as you should know well all the types) I would recommend to start with the type of cases that are more common. Below you can find a general list, bear in mind specific companies may have different frequency (eg ATK does more operation cases, Bain more M&A etc.)

  1. Profitability
  2. Market sizing
  3. M&A/ Market entry/ Grow strategy/ Operations
  4. Pricing/ New product/ Competitor response


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Vlad gave the best answer


McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School
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