How to confirm the objectives of the case?

objectives
New answer on Jan 31, 2021
4 Answers
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R (Mck Final round)
Skilled
asked on Jan 02, 2020
Been through Bain Final Round

In this case, there are two objectives:

1. Shelf space

2. Economics

The first one is obvious, the second one sounds more general. One could easily propose 3. What is the split between consumption wines and investment wines? 4. How many years does it take to breakeven? as more specific objectives.

Is there a golden principle as to how specific the objective should be? Or the objectives can always be confirmed clearly by the interviewers?

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Clara
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replied on Jan 03, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Indeed, clarifying the objectives of the case is key for success, and it must be done from the very beggining.

In points like 2 that you mention in your post, you should be proactive and clarify it further, agreeing with the interviewer which is the exact KPI that you should be looking into to measure success (e.g., profitability, ROI, etc.)

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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R (Mck Final round) on Jan 03, 2020

Thanks Clara, will try to agree on the exact KPI every time!

Ian
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replied on Jan 31, 2021
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#1 Rule: Ask questions that help YOU understand the world.

If you're confused, figure out why and ask the question that clarifies (normally this is around how the business actually operates, or the real challenge they're facing).

Forget about the classic questions. Think for yourself and actually drive your case. Imagine yourself at the client site, with your team, in front of a whiteboard, figuring out the answer. Too often, candidates have a pocket list of 10 questions that they're seen/heard over and over again, and they repear them without actually understanding why they're asking them in the first palce.

In regards to your questions:

1. This is so generic. Add color to this. I.e. for External vs. Internal "I'm thinking this could be due to something going on inside the company (maybe operational issues, change of management, something like that) or something outside of our control such as price shocks, new competitors coming in, or a generally declining demand. Do we have any information on this?"

2. Your job is to figure out why. Your framework doesn't end after the initial prompt + clarifying questions. You need to continue to use frameworks and strucutred thoughts throughout the case. DRIVE to the answer by using a structured approach. What could be causing this and what information do you need to figure out the why? In short, yes, come up with another structure (external vs internal could work)

3. You just need to have a structure that covers this. If you've taken a MECE approach, this would be covered. For example, if you did external vs. internal, in your external segment it's not unreasonable that you would put: Competing products taking their interest away, emigration, conflict/political issues, etc.

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Luca
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replied on Jan 02, 2020
BCG |NASA |20+ interviews with 100% success rate| 120+ students coached |GMAT expert 780/800 score

Hello Ronnie,

Before starting structuring the case you have always to make the objectives of the case clear. Sometimes the interviewer can give just a general objective on purpose, but you should always agree on the detailed objectives before moving on. As detailed objective I mean something that can be objectively tested at the end of the case without a shadow of doubt (e.g. be profitable, increasing revenues by X%, Break even period ecc.).
In that case be ware that interviewer could ask you to propose a realistic target, just to test your business sense.

Hope it helps,
Luca

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R (Mck Final round) on Jan 03, 2020

Thanks Luca!

Antonello
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replied on Jan 02, 2020
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Ho Ronnie,

of course the more specific is the objective the better. In the case like this you have a generic objective your role should be ask for clarifications to the interviewer. I advice to do that by being proactive, proposing a reasonable objective (e.g. Can I use as leading parameter the break even or should I have to consider another KPI)

Hope it helps,

Antonello

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R (Mck Final round) on Jan 02, 2020

Thanks Antonello. Wondering how specific would the objectives be in real consulting projects?

(edited)

Giacomo on Jan 03, 2020

Super specific. There are often variable fees depending on the results achieved.

R (Mck Final round) on Jan 03, 2020

Understand, thanks!

Clara gave the best answer

Clara

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McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut
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