How structured is the actual project work at MBB?

McKinsey
Recent activity on Sep 19, 2017
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Anonymous A asked on Sep 18, 2017

Hello all,

I have a background in strategy consulting but from a non-MBB firm. According to all the strategy consulting case interview prep I've done, it seems like MBB is very structured in their approach (e.g. hypothesis-driven, issue tree, drilling down etc.). My question is how structured is it when it comes to really doing the job and the project? Will you really discuss what problem structuring is? Which hypotheses to test first?

Judging from my experience, my firm isn't as structured.

Thank you in advance!

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Francesco
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replied on Sep 19, 2017
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

projects inside MBB are actually pretty structured, but in a different way compared to case interviews. Indeed, in a case interview:

  • you are provided with information that may require days or weeks to be gained in an actual project, and the logical thinking of the case is more related to the general strategic approach than the operations of the case
  • you have to work on the solution by yourself

On the other hand, the activities in a project will involve more operational work and a full team, including clients employees; as a consequence, structuring in a project will be more related to:

  • step by step deliverables for each team member
  • allocation of responsibilities for each team member
  • alignment meetings to check whether responsibilities and deliverables are respected

The actual project involves also a lot of client interactions, which per se do not directly appear in case interviews. These interactions may appear “unstructured” elements, but are actually part as well of the responsibilities and alignment meetings initially allocated in a well-managed project.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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Anonymous replied on Sep 19, 2017

Dear Anonymous,

MBB, and even some companies that compete directly with them such as ATK, are very structured in problem-solving. Indeed, you will face the same structuring in all your engagements, prioritizing hypothesis and approaches which will guide your analysis, gathering of information, interviews, and analysis.

The following is an example of all columns in an excel file, typically done at the beginning of a project, even before the kick-off meeting with the client:

  1. Workstream
  2. Deliverable
  3. Key questions to address
  4. Analysis required (based on hypothesis)
  5. Data required
  6. Data source

I hope this helps.

Regards,

Hugo

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Francesco

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