How to give a strong conclusion, especially the "risk" part?

conclusion
New answer on Jan 03, 2022
7 Answers
444 Views
Anonymous A asked on Dec 31, 2021

Hi, I would like to seek your advice on the conclusion part. Many experts on Preplounge advocate it is important to include “risk & next step” in the conclusion. 

My question is, is “risk” always required? Also, if “risk" is mentioned, does it mean that “ways of mitigation” should be included? Is this “ways of mitigation” included in the “risk” part, or the “next step” part?

I'm confused about this “risk & next step” approach. In some cases, I feel that stating “risk” of the proposed solution makes the solution sound uncertain and weaker, and I'm acting like poking a hole into the advice given to the client. (I feel that it's not practical if you suggest a solution to client but mention some uncertain risks which there's no clear mitigation plans.) Could you shed some lights please?

(edited)

Overview of answers

Upvotes
  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
Moritz
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Dec 31, 2021
Unearth your spike & get the offer |ex-McKinsey | 120+ coachings & interviews @ McKinsey | ESADE MBA | Transition Expert

Great question that is ultimately about prioritizing what to cover in the little time available during an interview.

There´s generally risk related to any decision. However, is it worth mentioning over other aspects of the case? To assess that you need to ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. What is the risk factor (can be multiple)?
  2. What is the likeliness of that risk materializing (and when)? 
  3. What is the value at stake?

If there´s anything legitimately concerning popping up across those 3, then go ahead an address risk with mitigating factors.

However, it´s not a must if it seems too forced and takes time away from other important aspects in your recommendation.

As a former McKinsey interviewer, I always liked when people mentioned risk in a well thought through fashion, rather than as part of a check-list.

(edited)

Was this answer helpful?
Pedro
Expert
replied on Dec 31, 2021
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | FIT | Market Sizing | Former Head Recruiter

You are correct. Most time candidates force the “risk and next steps” and it actually creates a bad taste in the mouth.

I mean, you were having a great case performance, had an approach tailor made to the specific problem, provided many evidence-based insights, used facts to progress along the case, etc., etc., and then you get to the end and you add risks and next steps out of nowhere because you felt you had to use a pre-made framework and include some content you just made up.

So here's the deal. You have to have a clear recommendation, but it is ok that you recognize the caveats to your own recommendation. These can be risks that you recognized during the case, or / huge “holes” that you have in the analysis that prevent you from being sure on the recommendation you are providing (i.e., you are providing a recommendation based on very preliminary or partial data and are simply recognizing the limitations of your own recommendation).

So this is not mandatory in every case. It makes sense, and shows maturity if, and only if, the recommendation has indeed relevant caveats or is based on shallow analysis. 

If you need to make up risks and next steps just for the sake of stating something then… please don't.

Was this answer helpful?
Florian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 03, 2022
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

Everything you bring up during the case interview should feel natural in the context of the case.

Bringing up risks more often than not feels very forced and you spend valuable time discussing outside of the context of the case / the specific question in the best case or weakening your own position in the worst case.

Hence, it often feels unnatural and forced. That being said, sometimes discussing risks makes sense if it fits the question or context of the case.

Next steps on the other hand (especially in the McKinsey case) always work since you want to show that you can drive the problem forward without being specifically asked to do so, within the context of the case.

Hope this helps!

Cheers,

Florian

Was this answer helpful?
Prashant Prakash updated an answer on Jan 01, 2022
Strategy, Corporate Finance and Analytics

Hi,

I look at risk in terms of probability when I am working on a project that involves competitor analysis. So I benchmark against the competition using organization structure especially when I am advising in a new market and I use standardized phenomenon level parameters. My recommendation then centers around a market share discussion. For instance ‘you have a 90% probability that you will have at least 60% market share'. 

In a case interview you wont be able to run the computer simulation so I talk just to the nature of the probabilities involved and make that evident and not peripheral to the recommendation.


Regards,

Prashant

(edited)

Was this answer helpful?
8
Prashant Prakash on Jan 01, 2022

Things become interesting when you are facing an uncertain environment regardless. Then I set archetypes for the environment and offer risk evaluation for each of the environments modeled. Again in a case interview there is little room to go into the details but I make it a point to make it central to the discussion. So for instance, the discussion may be around if the environment is highly uncertain whether the client needs to take innovative steps or hunker down on his existing resources since there is a possibility that their value may be eroded. Regards, Prashant

Lucie
Expert
updated an answer on Dec 31, 2021
10+yrs recruiting & top BCG trainer and coach & BCG Project leader & experienced hire & ICF coach

Hello there!


From my point of view as a recruiter, I don't necessarily expect risk and next steps, as I do with summary and recommendation. 


Risk should be, however, mentioned when you don't have enough information to assess an important factor on the case (e.g. Opening a new route - airline case - to a country where election will be held and you know there is a risk of civil war).  


Wishing you all the best and happy 2022!
Lucie

was this answer helpful? 

(edited)

Was this answer helpful?
Hagen
Expert
replied on Jan 01, 2022
Current Bain & Company Project Leader and interviewer | 250+ interviews conducted | 6+ years of coaching and mentoring

Hi there,

This is indeed an interesting question which is probably relevant for quite a lot of users, so I am happy to provide my perspective on it:

  • First of all, I feel that you might misunderstand “risks” for “contingencies”. While I would always advise you to indicate contingencies in case there are any during the recommendation, I would equally advise you to discuss potential risks (and mitigations since you would also want to provide a solution to them) as the last part of the analysis.
  • When you reach the end of your analysis, most probably, you have already analyzed the situation from a financial perspective. This would be the perfect situation to put the financial decision into context by having a look at associated risks and mitigations. I would advise you to, for instance, have a look at them from a strategic, operational and financial/ legal perspective.
  • Lastly, I would advise you not to bother indicating contingencies in case there are any during the recommendation since this will enable you to display business judgement and to come off even more like a true consultant. I can assure you that whatever consulting project you might be working on in the future, there will always be contingencies to specific solutions and you will even be required to indicate them.

In case you want a more detailed discussion on how to best approach the different aspects of a case study interview, please feel free to contact me directly.

I hope this helps,

Hagen

Was this answer helpful?
Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 01, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

I'm going against the grain here but I personally do recommend risks & next steps. In my view, it doesn't hurt (as long as you do it correctly and naturally).

“Mitigation” should indeed be included and it's part of the next steps.

Was this answer helpful?
Moritz gave the best answer

Moritz

Content Creator
Unearth your spike & get the offer |ex-McKinsey | 120+ coachings & interviews @ McKinsey | ESADE MBA | Transition Expert
85
Meetings
4,956
Q&A Upvotes
20
Awards
5.0
38 Reviews