many people think being MECE means having the right content for the structure only. That’s actually just part of what you need: to be MECE you need (i) the right points in the structure and (ii) the right communication. That’s because if you have a perfect MECE structure, but you communicate that poorly, the interviewer will not perceive you as MECE. More specifically you would need the following:
For the STRUCTURE you can work on two areas to improve your points:
#1: Optimize the framework
In order to optimize your framework, you should personalize it proceeding as follows:
- Create some basic structures for your frameworks. Case in point should work well for that, although it presents a lot of frameworks, many of which not very useful. Still, it’s a good starting point.
- Start practicing cases (ideally, you should get to 50+) in person, online, or reading MBA handbooks. Each 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.
- Eliminate or consolidate the sections in your frameworks that you do not find useful to solve cases.
- Find commonalities between frameworks, so that you do not have to remember 7-8 structures completely different, but just few differences between frameworks.
- 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.
#2: Brainstorm in a structured way whenever you are unable to find a proper framework
This is something you want to 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 do the following:
- Recap all the information you received. This will provide you time without giving the impression that you don’t know how to approach the question.
- Identify the key elements that would constitute the fundamental areas of your structure. Some potential divisions are: Internal-External (eg reasons for an increase in costs); Current-New (eg product, customers, distribution channels); Financial-Non financial (eg benefits from a way to enter a market compared to another).
- After having defined the key areas, start brainstorming for each of them.
For the COMMUNICATION you can follow two steps as well:
#1: Mention the macro areas of your framework.
An example would be: “In order to help our client, I would like to focus on three main areas. Number 1 I would like to focus on [FIRST TOPIC], Number 2 on [SECOND TOPIC], Number 3 on [THIRD TOPIC]. If this is fine for you, let me go deeper in each of them”
#2: Provide details for each macro point.
An example would be: “In area Number 1, this is what I would analyse. First, I would like to cover [FIRST STEP OF FIRST TOPIC]; second, I would like to focus on [SECOND STEP OF FIRST TOPIC]; next, I would like to work on [THIRD STEP OF FIRST TOPIC]. In area Number 2, this is what I would analyse. First,(…)”
This should ensure you are MECE on both the actual content of the structure and its communication.