How to better prioritize my analysis?

business sense prioritization
Recent activity on Mar 10, 2018
2 Answers
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Mu asked on Mar 09, 2018


I have practised 20+ cases, and most of the feedback given to me converge on two main problems, and doing poorly in prioritizing which branch to proceed with my analysis is one of them - say, for 4C structure, I'm lacking sense of what are the key 1st and 2nd level bracket I should first look at.

Take 4C as an example, I knew that as a rule of thumb, market attractiveness (1st-layer) is always important; from previous cases that I know for clients in the manufacturing industry, the key company capabilities (1st-layer) to look at is its revenue and cost structure (2nd-layer). But I don't have enough of business knowledge in other industries if I come across them in future cases.

So far I have attempted to accumulate knowledge from cases, but again it's rather fragmented and unstructured. Any advice is highly appreciated.


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Content Creator
replied on Mar 10, 2018
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi Mu,

I believe there may be two reasons why you find challenging to prioritize your layers:

  • You don’t spend time to clarify correctly the goal, thus are unable to understand what is most important objective for the client
  • Your structure is simply not strong enough for certain type of cases

Would be great if you could provide in this or a separate thread a specific example of a case that you found challenging to prioritize and your approach, to receive feedback on how to improve it.



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Content Creator
replied on Mar 09, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


To be honest, the question is quite broad. The short answer is - in the cases with market context (Market entry, M&A, launching a new product, entering the new market) - always start with the market to understand the big picture.

Long answer - practice cases and build the right skills. Here is an algorithm how to develop this skill:

  1. Make sure you understand all the different types of cases that you may face
  2. Identify the most appropriate structure for each type
  3. Solve 30-50 cases and try to understand where do they fit in your categorizations
  4. Based on your experience think of the potential variations in structures within each of the case types

Here is some inspiration for you. Below you can find a list of the most common case types and some high-level recommendations on structuring:

  1. Market sizing - structuring from the supply or demand side. Structuring using a formula or using an issue tree
  2. Profitability - basic profitability framework. Remember about different revenue streams and product mix
  3. Market context cases (Market Entry, New product, Acquisition, etc). Always start with the big picture "market". Finish with something specific to the case (e.g. How to enter?"). Structure it as if you are defining the work streams for the real project.
  4. Operational math problem (e.g. Should we increase the speed of an elevator or just buy a second one? How should we reduce the queues? Etc.) - Structuring as a process / value chain, with inflows, operations, and outflows
  5. Cost cutting - I provided the recommendations on structuring it here:
  6. Valuation - Purely financial structure with cash flows, growth rate, WACC / hurdle rate, etc.
  7. Synergies - revenue synergies (price, qty, mix) and cost synergies (value chain).
  8. Social / economics cases (e.g. How to improve the quality of life in the city? How to increase the revenues of the museum?) - huge variability. Practice 3-5 social cases before the interview

This is just for inspiration. You should ideally make your own system.

Best of luck!

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Francesco gave the best answer


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