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How to develop own framework?

Anonymous A

I have been told not to use a framework in a case interview, but develop own one and show independent thinking...but...how? can somebody tell me their approach for this?

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Chris replied on 02/22/2017
Ex-BCG Consultant / Interviewed 80+ applicants at BCG / Received offers from McK (US) and BCG (DE)

By thinking about it in a structured way ;)

OK, seriously: It is a good start to know Standard-Frameworks and also use them. Just be sure to adapt to the situation as well as possible. 2 particular points that may help:

  • Use wording/nomenclature specific to the industry/client. Pick up the words used by the Interviewer as opposed to standard (e.g. for a Pharma company there's no marketing, but "medical affairs" - basically the same thing)
  • Make sure to NOT include topics previously ruled out (If Interviewer sayd that price can't be changed, it is not a lever) - strangely this is an aspect many interviewees get wrong

Hope that helps!

Francesco replied on 02/23/2017
Ex BCG | MBB Specialist | #1 Expert for meetings done (800+) and recommendation rate (100%)

Hi Anonymous,

first, you should definitely use a framework in a case interview. What you should not do is to use a predefined framework and apply it blindly to the case – interviewers would understand immediately you just learned it by art, and would lose confidence in your structuring skills. One very frequent example on this is people repeating the usual Victor Cheng structure “Product-Customer-Company-Competition” without any reference to the peculiarity of the case.

In order to develop your own framework I would recommend you the following steps:

  1. Create some basic structures for your frameworks. Case in point should work well for that, although it presents too many frameworks, many of which not very useful. Still, it’s a good starting point.
  2. Start to practice cases (ideally, you should get to 50+) in person, online, or reading MBA handbooks. Every time you find a new approach to solve the case that is not present in your structure, write it down and add it to your framework keeping a MECE approach.
  3. Eliminate or consolidate the sections in your frameworks that you do not find useful to solve cases.
  4. Try to find commonalities between frameworks, so that you do not have to remember 7-8 structures completely different, but just few differences between frameworks.
  5. Finally, once received the initial information from the interviewer, present the framework adapting it to the specific goals of the client, mentioning why you would like to explore a particular area and the connection of that area with the goals previously communicated by the interviewer.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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