Get Active in Our Amazing Community of Over 458,000 Peers!

Schedule mock interviews on the Meeting Board, join the latest community discussions in our Consulting Q&A and find like-minded Case Partners to connect and practice with!

How much answer-first should the conclusion be?

conclusion final recommendation
Recent activity on Feb 26, 2018
4 Answers
6.8 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Feb 03, 2018

Hello, I have a question relating to profitability-issue type cases, e.g. why are client's profits declining and how to increase them?

This type of case has 2 different questions to answer: what's the root cause of the problem and how to solve it. Assuming we find out the issue is coming from a decline in division A and the solution would be to shut down this division, how would you best structure the conclusion:

1) I would recommend shutting down division A for the following reasons: a) it's the major driver of profit decline, b) xx, c) yy


2) the client's profits are declining due to a decline in division A, driven by the contracting market size. Thus, I would recommend to shut down division A and focus on expanding the business in division b/c

Or is there any other preferable way to conclude such a case?

Thank you in advance for sharing your views!


Overview of answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
replied on Feb 03, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


Purely based on my understanding of the root causes you've mentioned (I'm not sure what is the contracting market size and if it is the only root-cause) I would answer in the following way:

1) Our objectives were to understand why the profit is declining by X and how to bring the profit back within one year (Don't forget that your objective should be measurable in terms of money / other metric and time)

2) According to the analysis we've done so far, my recommendation is to shut down the division A and to concentrate on the divisions b/c if we want to increase the profit, and there is a number of reasons for that.. (Remember that your arguments should include numbers)

  • First of all, problems in Devision A are the major driver of the decline in profits - 90% of the decline in profits refer to Division a
  • Secondly, the decline is driven by the contracting market size that is shrinking at xx percent and is not expected to improve in the near future
  • Finally....

3) To be 100% sure in this recommendation, additionally, I would like to check the following... (In the last bullet, you simply provide a list of what else you need to check to be comfortable with the solution)


Was this answer helpful?
Content Creator
replied on Feb 10, 2018
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

in general I agree with Vlad, although, as mentioned by Bruno, you should also explicitly answer why profits went down. Thus I would use something similar to your option 2, that is:

  1. Repeat the question. Our goal was to understand (i) why profits are declining and (ii) how we could increase profits
  2. Answer first solution. After our initial analysis, we found out that:
    1. As for your first question, profits are declining due a decrease in profits in division 1. More specifically…[SPECIFIC FINDINGS]
    2. As for your second question, in order to increase profits. We would recommend shutting down division 1. That’s for the following reasons…[SPECIFIC FINDINGS]
  3. Provide next steps. As additional elements to explore, we would like also to consider the following elements…[RISKS/NEXT STEPS]


Was this answer helpful?
replied on Feb 05, 2018

Hey anonymous,

Overall I believe Vlad’s proposal is very good and helpful for clarifying your question.

That said, I personally believe that in your recommendation you also need to address the client first question (‘why are profits decreasing?’), otherwise you’re not fully answering his query. Thus, I would for instance add explanation to point b



Was this answer helpful?
replied on Feb 26, 2018
Former BCG interviewer

Different opinion here. Given this is the case interview conclusion, I would actually rephrase case objectives, state answer and then explain how you got there. Executives care about the answer first, then all the details behind it.


Was this answer helpful?
Vlad gave the best answer


McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School
Q&A Upvotes
186 Reviews
How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or fellow student?
0 = Not likely
10 = Very likely
You are a true consultant! Thank you for consulting us on how to make PrepLounge even better!