How to continuously improve "structuring" on the job?

Structure
New answer on Sep 06, 2022
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Sep 05, 2022

While I was preparing for case interviews, I used to spend a lot of time practicing drills and doing case preps to improve structuring skills. 

Now that I have started my job in consulting, somehow I feel that my ability to structure is deteriorating. During my daily job, I don't really feel that I'm continuously “structuring” things in a MECE way. Also, my ability to conduct structured brainstorming under time pressure also seemed not as strong as I did when I prepped for cases intensively. 

I'm wondering what are some practical ways to improve the ability to structure things “on the job”? I feel that I should continue to do structuring drills just to keep my mind “fresh”, please provide advice if you have other tips / thoughts. Thanks!

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Ian
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replied on Sep 05, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

It's normal to feel like you're not progressing on the job - trust me, you are!

A few tips:

  1. Reflect on your day-to-day (especially slide making). Realize most of that is frameworking
  2. Look at team members' work to see how they framework
  3. Listen + learn when the partners/project leads talk to the team + client
  4. Read through materials for other case projects (through the online portal)
  5. Aim to get on some BD (proposal) and/or DD (due-diligence) work. Both are frameworking crash courses
  6. Read BCG/McK Insights daily
  7. Hire a coach to train you in this

Good luck!

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Cristian
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replied on Sep 05, 2022
#1 rated and most recommended McKinsey Coach | 97% success rate (tracked) | Honest feedback: no sugar-coating

Hi there, 

First of all, I wouldn't worry about it. It's normal for it to seem harder now since structuring the complexity of actual client problems is much harder than structuring a case prompt. If the problem would be easy to figure out, then you as a consultant wouldn't be there. 

In terms of how you could improve, I suggest two things:

1. Take every opportunity that you can to do it on your own and then seek feedback. Let's say you were staffed on a new case and given a workstream. Scope the workstream yourself, do some research on the internal knoweldge base, perhaps even connect with a couple of relevant experts and then come up with a structure that you can present to your manager and ask for feedback on. The manager will appreciate it since you're showing initiative and you'll get to polish this skill that you're working on.

2. Read lots of LoPs (letters of proposals). These are usually a high-level proposal that begin with structuring / breaking down the problem and laying out the structure of the client engagement. It's all about buckets, and areas, so it should be good to see how others do it. 

Best,

Cristian

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Lucie
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replied on Sep 05, 2022
10+yrs recruiting & top BCG trainer & BCG Project leader & experienced hire & ICF coach

HI there, 

I would recommend to leverage all the trainings you have available through the learning platforms as well as find out when your trainings on consulting skills are due, as all this is covered when you enter. 

Good Luck

Lucie

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Sofia
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replied on Sep 06, 2022
McKinsey San Francisco | Harvard graduate | 5+ years of coaching| Free 15 min intro call | Personalized approach

Hello,

This is a very relatable concern: real-world consulting projects are rarely as clear-cut as the cases that you are asked to solve in interviews, so it is perfectly natural to find that your structuring skills may not have translated over as perfectly as you would have hoped.

You've gotten some good advice on this thread already, but my additional two cents would be to take opportunities to learn from more senior colleagues on your team. Watch them brainstorm / read the slides that they make, ask them for feedback or more guided sessions where they observe your brainstorming/structuring and then explain what they would have added. Ask plenty of questions and take advantage of any formal training opportunities.

Ultimately, don't worry about this too much - as long as you are keen to learn and develop, you will improve with practice and experience!

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Antonello
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replied on Sep 06, 2022
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, I have some resources to revolutionize your problem-solving by creating structured issue trees. Feel free to PM

Best,
Antonello

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Ian gave the best answer

Ian

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