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How can I improve my analytical thinking?

Anonymous A

Hi Guys

I am having a hard time to see the big picture/ or adapt to the consultant thinking approach (e.g Analyse a person health by One Two Three and so on)

What can I do to improve my thinking process and get to the consultant thinking approach within the next few days?

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Georgy replied on 12/19/2017

Hello,

I agree that PrepLounge is the great place for significant improvement of the analytical skills: regulary practice with Mental Math tools, brainteasers and case cracking definetely will be very valuable.

In addition, taking different puzzles and logical puzzles (which you can find broadly in Internet) should help.

From my personal experience, I can say practicing GMAT questions and writing codes in programming languages (as VBA) always suuports my mind in a good form, because this procedures make me fully bring into play my logical thinking by preparing and structuring the right algorhitms.

Good luck and best regards,

Georgii

Vlad replied on 12/21/2017
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School

Hi,

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 and work on building analytical thinking in each of these industries.

There are several sources of info to develop analytical thinking:

1) Cases - you simply solve 50-70 cases and get a broad knowledge of different industries, common pitfalls and questions. The key here - find good partners who already had case interviews with MBB companies

2) Company reports, equity reports, IB roadshow docs - usually have a good overview of company and industries. The most useful sources to understand what's going on with the companies

3) HBS cases - quite useful, but not sure if lot's of them available publically. Probably worth buying

4) Books - one good book about airlines with numbers and industry analysis can give you all needed industry knowledge

5) News, Industry blogs

For each industry, you should understand:

  • Revenue streams
  • Cost structure
  • Margins
  • Key performance indicators
  • Key revenue drivers
  • Industry trends

I strongly recommend practice drawing structures for each industry - profitability, value chain, etc

Then I will switch to getting functional knowledge and key concepts in:

  • Marketing (Brand and trade marketing tools, etc)
  • Supply chain (Ops metrics like cycle time and throughput time, distribution and delivery specifics, etc)
  • Finance (Basic Accounting and Valuation)

Good Luck

Francesco replied on 12/21/2017
#1 Expert for coaching sessions (1700+) | Ex BCG | 850+ reviews with 100% recommendation rate

Hi Anonymous,

in order to correctly work on the consultant thinking approach in a case, you should address structuring, communication and brainstorming. You can work separately on the three areas as follows:

#1 Structuring: Optimize your frameworks

In order to optimize your framework, you should personalize it proceeding as follows:

  1. Create some basic structures for your frameworks. Case in point should work well for that, although it presents too many frameworks, many of which not very useful. Still, it’s a good starting point.
  2. Start practicing cases (ideally, you should get to 50+) in person, online, or reading MBA handbooks. Every time you find a new approach to solve the case that is not present in your structure, write it down and add it to your framework keeping a MECE approach.
  3. Eliminate or consolidate the sections in your frameworks that you do not find useful to solve cases.
  4. Find commonalities between frameworks, so that you do not have to remember 7-8 structures completely different, but just few differences between frameworks.
  5. Once received the initial information from the interviewer, present the framework adapting it to the specific goals of the client, mentioning why you would like to explore a particular area and the connection of that area with the goals previously communicated by the interviewer.

Resources: Case In Point, PrepLounge Resources section, MBA Handbooks, Expert sessions

#2 Communication: Present correctly your approach

If you do not communicate correctly your approach, even if it is perfect you will not score high for the interviewer.

The easiest thing you may do to communicate correctly a framework is to proceed as follows:

  1. Repeat the objective (“So you asked me to identify [OBJECTIVE], right?”)
  2. Present level 1 of the structure, numbering the main elements (“I believe we may do 3 things: Number 1 we may work on [FIRST TOPIC], Number 2 on [SECOND TOPIC], Number 3 on [THIRD TOPIC]”)
  3. Present level 2 of the structure, still keeping a structure based on numbers (“Let me go deeper in the first area. Here I believe we may follow 5 different steps. Step 1, I would like to [DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE FIRST STEP], Step 2…etc.”

Moreover, when presenting your approach, you should be able to be data-driven and to prioritize the critical areas based on that (so called 80-20 or Pareto approach).

Resources: PrepLounge P2P interviews, friends preparing for consulting interviews, friends working in consulting, Expert sessions

#3 Brainstorming: Develop creative thinking whenever you are unable to find a proper framework

This is something you can do in case you are unable to find the right structure for a particular question. In order to brainstorm in a structure way, you can proceed in a way similar to what shown in #2, but taking more time in 1) Repeat the Objective and applying brainstorming in 3) Present your full structure. More specifically:

  1. Recap all the information you received until that moment. This will give you time without sounding you don’t know where to go.
  2. Identify 2-3 key elements that would constitute the fundamental areas of your structure (eg external vs internal, long term vs short term, etc.)
  3. After having defined the key areas, then start brainstorming for each of them.

At the following link you can find additional information on structured brainstorming, with a specific example: http://bit.ly/2lof0r5 .

Resources: MBA Handbooks, Expert sessions

Hope this helps,

Francesco

(edited)

Anonymous B replied on 12/18/2017

Within the next few days? Not much.

Within the next few weeks/months = you are on the right website. Practice and read.