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Anton

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10

How to Announce Case Approach in Interviewer-Led Cases?

In prep videos I've encountered, it's recommended that in the opening of your case, you announce the overall high-level structure of how you want to approach the problem.

ex.

  • In order to [Answer Question], we have to locate the root cause of [Client's Problem]. In order to do this, I'd like to split my approach into 3 steps.
  • First, I will break down this problem into smaller pieces and explore some potential issues and hypotheses related to these areas
  • Next, I'll analyze available information and data about these areas until I arrive at the key driver of why [Client's Problem].
  • And finally, I will use what I've learned to form actionable solutions to [Answer Question]
  • "Does this sound like a reasonable approach to you?"

However, in interviewer-led cases, I'm not sure if I should do this since the interviewer will ask me a specific question (often what my first step would be but not always). Should I announce my whole structure and then align with my interviewer, only announce the first step and align, or not announce anything?

Also, I've heard that sometimes firms known for one type of led case will ask the other. How will I know when this occurs?

In prep videos I've encountered, it's recommended that in the opening of your case, you announce the overall high-level structure of how you want to approach the problem.

ex.

  • In order to [Answer Question], we have to locate the root cause of [Client's Problem]. In order to do this, I'd like to split my approach into 3 steps.
  • First, I will break down this problem into smaller pieces and explore some potential issues and hypotheses related to these areas
  • Next, I'll analyze available information and data about these areas until I arrive at the key driver of why [Client's Problem].
  • And finally, I will use what I've learned to form actionable solutions to [Answer Question]
  • "Does this sound like a reasonable approach to you?"

However, in interviewer-led cases, I'm not sure if I should do this since the interviewer will ask me a specific question (often what my first step would be but not always). Should I announce my whole structure and then align with my interviewer, only announce the first step and align, or not announce anything?

Also, I've heard that sometimes firms known for one type of led case will ask the other. How will I know when this occurs?

10 answers

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Hi,

The approach that you suggest is correct from high level view, but lacks clarity and focus.

You would need to pay more attention to the first step describing the areas that you would like to investigate. Basically they won’t care about the following steps. Structuring is about identifying relevant business areas that should be assessed during the case.

Best,

Anton

Hi,

The approach that you suggest is correct from high level view, but lacks clarity and focus.

You would need to pay more attention to the first step describing the areas that you would like to investigate. Basically they won’t care about the following steps. Structuring is about identifying relevant business areas that should be assessed during the case.

Best,

Anton

Hi Anton, My understanding of opening a case is that after announcing this approach I would then take a minute to map out the areas I would explore and then go into more detail. Are you suggesting that I should talk about specific areas I want to investigate before drawing out my framework? — Anonymous A on Jun 16, 2020

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Hello,

In my opinion you approach is a bit too much generic. You are not adding valuable information, you are just explaining by heart what is the best way of approaching a business case.

I would rather take one minute to write down a structure and give your interviewer some content. Interviewer is more interested in knowing how you are gonna to structure and approach the case (e.g. are you gonna consider competitive landscape?Cost structure?), the fact that you are gonna analyze your information and data is a given.

Regarding the second question, the split between interviewer-led or candidate-led among different companies, written in many old casebooks, is something far from nowaday reality. For example it's really common to find a former BCG in McKinsey that is not gonna ask you an interviewer-led case.
The good news is that your approach doesn't have to change according to case typology. You can structure your proposed solution and then align with your interviewer requests.

Feel free to write me if you want to discuss this futher.

Best,
Luca

Hello,

In my opinion you approach is a bit too much generic. You are not adding valuable information, you are just explaining by heart what is the best way of approaching a business case.

I would rather take one minute to write down a structure and give your interviewer some content. Interviewer is more interested in knowing how you are gonna to structure and approach the case (e.g. are you gonna consider competitive landscape?Cost structure?), the fact that you are gonna analyze your information and data is a given.

Regarding the second question, the split between interviewer-led or candidate-led among different companies, written in many old casebooks, is something far from nowaday reality. For example it's really common to find a former BCG in McKinsey that is not gonna ask you an interviewer-led case.
The good news is that your approach doesn't have to change according to case typology. You can structure your proposed solution and then align with your interviewer requests.

Feel free to write me if you want to discuss this futher.

Best,
Luca

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Hi there,

Honestly, this is a good approach and you should follow it regardless of the anticipated case type.

Small note: I'd be less prescriptive in "I will look at" and say rather "I would need to look at, or I'd want to look at"

Regardless of the case type, always assume you will need to drive. There is not cost to this approach (i.e. if it's interviewer-led, they'll just cut you off and tell you what to do).

It might look like:

  • "We actually have x information"
  • "The client has asked us to look at y first"
  • "Actually I think we should consider z"

Hi there,

Honestly, this is a good approach and you should follow it regardless of the anticipated case type.

Small note: I'd be less prescriptive in "I will look at" and say rather "I would need to look at, or I'd want to look at"

Regardless of the case type, always assume you will need to drive. There is not cost to this approach (i.e. if it's interviewer-led, they'll just cut you off and tell you what to do).

It might look like:

  • "We actually have x information"
  • "The client has asked us to look at y first"
  • "Actually I think we should consider z"

(edited)

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Hi, there are no general rules for it, e.g. not always you have the chance to structure the problem at the beginning of the case, it strongly depends on the question. In the case you have the classical 30-60 seconds to set it up, I find your approach good also for interviewer-led cases

Hope it helps,
Antonello

Hi, there are no general rules for it, e.g. not always you have the chance to structure the problem at the beginning of the case, it strongly depends on the question. In the case you have the classical 30-60 seconds to set it up, I find your approach good also for interviewer-led cases

Hope it helps,
Antonello

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Hi there,

in terms of the way to present the structure:

  • In general it is fine if you present your overall approach at the beginning in both types of interviews, unless the interviewer states he/she wants a structure just for a specific point.
  • On the other hand, the way you are presenting the structure is not the ideal one. Ideally when you present the structure you should include specific details of the approach you want to use it and not use generic terminology such as “explore some potential issues“, “analyze available information” or “form actionable solutions”.

In terms of the preparation for interviewee/interviewer led:

  • If you are good at interviewee-led cases, I can’t see issues in interviewer-led ones. Just be aware the interviewer may cut your line of thought and ask to move to a new topic.
  • People familiar with interviewer-led cases instead usually find interviewee-led ones more challenging, as they are not used to drive the case forward. If that's the case for you, you may want to become comfortable as well with interviewee-led cases.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

Hi there,

in terms of the way to present the structure:

  • In general it is fine if you present your overall approach at the beginning in both types of interviews, unless the interviewer states he/she wants a structure just for a specific point.
  • On the other hand, the way you are presenting the structure is not the ideal one. Ideally when you present the structure you should include specific details of the approach you want to use it and not use generic terminology such as “explore some potential issues“, “analyze available information” or “form actionable solutions”.

In terms of the preparation for interviewee/interviewer led:

  • If you are good at interviewee-led cases, I can’t see issues in interviewer-led ones. Just be aware the interviewer may cut your line of thought and ask to move to a new topic.
  • People familiar with interviewer-led cases instead usually find interviewee-led ones more challenging, as they are not used to drive the case forward. If that's the case for you, you may want to become comfortable as well with interviewee-led cases.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

Hi,

Your approch seems good even for intervewer led cases. Of course, you'll have a be very specific for applying it to a real case, but the skeleton is good !

Best

Hi,

Your approch seems good even for intervewer led cases. Of course, you'll have a be very specific for applying it to a real case, but the skeleton is good !

Best

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Hi,

First of all, McKinsey has both interviewer and candidate led cases, so you should be prepared for both

Secondly, even in the interviewer-led case the first question is always to structure the problem. So literally nothing changes.

Best

Hi,

First of all, McKinsey has both interviewer and candidate led cases, so you should be prepared for both

Secondly, even in the interviewer-led case the first question is always to structure the problem. So literally nothing changes.

Best

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Hi!

I think your approach is suitable for both interviewee and interviewer led case types. I think in addition to your approach now you could try to prioritize the issues you want to look at to indicate a nose for value, ability to go after the most important issues first.

-A

Hi!

I think your approach is suitable for both interviewee and interviewer led case types. I think in addition to your approach now you could try to prioritize the issues you want to look at to indicate a nose for value, ability to go after the most important issues first.

-A

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Hello!

High level agree.

However, improtant disclaimer. I´ve seen both in the Q&A and with my coachees that the interviewer-interviewee concept is many times more confusing than helpful.

In most cases, in one single case you have pieces of both.

Furthermore, usually, if you have prepared correctly, once you are ready for one, you are ready for the other.

So plz don´t obsess over this, but focus on giving 100% on each case, regardless.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Hello!

High level agree.

However, improtant disclaimer. I´ve seen both in the Q&A and with my coachees that the interviewer-interviewee concept is many times more confusing than helpful.

In most cases, in one single case you have pieces of both.

Furthermore, usually, if you have prepared correctly, once you are ready for one, you are ready for the other.

So plz don´t obsess over this, but focus on giving 100% on each case, regardless.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Dear A,

Yes, you can use this approach to announce first, it also helps to keep your structure in mind and actually follow it.

Best,

André

Dear A,

Yes, you can use this approach to announce first, it also helps to keep your structure in mind and actually follow it.

Best,

André

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