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How to approach presentation based on just a dataset

dataset Interview presentation
New answer on Jul 04, 2019
3 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jul 04, 2019

Hello everyone! I have a interview with a company in which I was given a dataset the task of increasing sales. No more information. How should I approach the structure of my presentation? Should I frame it like "small amount of sales" and go from there?

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Content Creator
replied on Jul 04, 2019
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

in general there are three components to consider for a presentation:

A) structure of the order of the slides

Normally the structure for a 5-slide presentation is the following:

  • First slide sums up the question and provides the answer
  • Second, third and fourth slide have the supporting arguments for the first slide
  • Fifth slide has the next steps

B) structure of the content of each slide

There are three basic components for slides:

  1. Title
  2. Chart or data
  3. Label for chart

Many people structure the title as the mere description of what the chart is telling. A great title, instead says the implication of the graph. Eg say the graph is showing a cost structure for a division. A bad title would be: Cost structure from 2005 to 2015. A good title would be: Cost structure of Division XYZ is not sustainable”. A great title would be Cost structure of Division XYZ is not sustainable due to ABC, assuming you have insides on the cause. The rule of thumb for the title is that if you read all the titles of the slides together you should get a clear idea of what is going on.

C) presentation of the slides

When you present, I would suggest the following steps for each slide:

  1. Introduce the slide: “Let’s move to slide 2, which will show us why we have an issue with this division”
  2. Present the main message of the slide: “As you can see, we have a cost structure which makes for us not feasible to be competitive in this market”
  3. Provide details: “The graph, indeed, shows how our fix cost is XYZ, while competitors can benefit from economies of scale. Indeed…”

In your specific case, since the goal is to increase sales, assuming a 5-slide presentation, the first slide should present the task and main ways to increase sales, slide 2,3 and 4 the main arguments supporting the mentioned ways based on the dataset and slide 5 the next steps to cover given your findings.

Hope this helps,


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replied on Jul 04, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


These "Dataset tasks"are extremely popular nowadays, especially among tech companies. I recommend doing several things:

  1. Reach out to HR and ask any clarifying questions you have. Usually, they have a set of information they give additionally on demand. The purpose is to identify the people who are asking questions first instead of rushing into conclusions
  2. Select the right tool to approach the data set. For large datasets, you can use Tableau Public
  3. Try to disaggregate sales into drivers and build a tree for yourself with key metrics. Calculate the metrics that you are missing from the existing columns
  4. Look for trends if you have a historical data set
  5. Check for correlations - that's something many candidates are missing
  6. Identify the levers to grow revenues and make a presentation
  7. A good presentation should have: Executive summary, slides with analysis with supporting charts, next steps or data request. Very often you'll have to build the hypothesis that you would check nest for each of the findings


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replied on Jul 04, 2019
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers


High level description:

Disaggregate the components of sales, outline the numerical drivers, and then translate this into levers (= growth options) to pull. Use this as the main structure of the presentation. Then prioritize these growth options and detail out your priority options (using the dataset provided to you) in the body of the presentation.

Cheers, Sidi

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Francesco gave the best answer


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