How to catch myself from making assumptions

Case Interview
New answer on Jul 01, 2022
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jul 01, 2022

Hi there! I am finding that one of the root causes of the mistakes I am making in my case prep is that I am making assumptions that are costing me mistakes in my math structuring particularly. How can I catch myself making assumptions and prevent this issue? 

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Francesco
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Content Creator
replied on Jul 01, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Q: How can I catch myself making assumptions and prevent this issue?

I would try to clarify first the exact reason why you are making wrong assumptions. It could be due to a variety of things, such as:

  1. You misunderstand the question asked
  2. You don’t ask the right clarifying questions
  3. You don’t align with the interviewer upfront on your math before performing the math

Once identified the exact problem, you can drill down on a solution for it. If useful please feel free to PM me and can check if I can direct you to resources for that.

Best,
Francesco

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Lucia
Expert
replied on Jul 01, 2022
BCG | Previous experience in case interview coaching | 3+ years in consulting

Hello there,

 

It would be great to understand a bit better what sort of assumptions you are making on your cases, but it sounds like they are mainly related to the math and they drive you to mistaken answers.

 

For example, are you automatically assuming concepts such as “the market will continue to grow at the historical 5% yearly” or “demand will not decrease if the client raises prices”? If this is the case, you could do an exercise to proactively question yourself, for each part of the math problem you structure, was this statement explicitly stated by the interviewer / anywhere in the case? Does this statement hold true in every plausible scenario? If the answer is “no”, you may be making assumptions and you should let the interviewer know you plan to assume X or Y so that they can point you in the right direction. You can practice several math problem structuring mocks using this technique until you are able to spot assumptions naturally.

Hope this helps, and best of luck!

 

All the best,

 

Lucia

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Ashwin
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Content Creator
replied on Jul 01, 2022
Ex Manager Bain and company | INSEAD

You could look to voice your assumptions to the interviewer and seek their feedback before doing the math. You could also ask clarifying questions related to the business model and the market, additional information will help you make more logical assumptions 

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Ian
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replied on Jul 01, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

This is a hard one to “just fix”! Ultimately, you need to pro-actively notice when you're doing this and “check” with the interviewer. Learn to recognize your mistakes.

Whenever my candidates are working on a particularly stubborn weakness, I advise them to put a sticky note down. Yours should say “Assume” or “Don't Assume”. This should “trigger” you during casing, until it becomes a habit!

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Ken
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 01, 2022
Ex-McKinsey London final round interviewer

Agree with others that it's hard to comment without knowing what you mean by “assumptions”.  From an interviewers point of view, I would be ok if a candidate was clear on what are the facts vs. assumptions they are stating.  It's the interviewer's role to adjust assumptions that may be wrong.

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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