How to improve the analysis? or So what?

Analytical Skills Case Interview
New answer on Jul 12, 2021
5 Answers
Floyd asked on Jul 12, 2021

Hello everyone!

I hope you're all okay.

I am writing this thread because I would like to get an advice on how to improve my analytic capacity after each case, for example: After you get a math calculation or graph, you're expected to derive insights or tell the so what? what does this mean to the client? I'm struggling to giving a good insight after it. I would like to know any way I could improve on this.

Thank you very much.

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Best answer
replied on Jul 12, 2021
Ex-McK Experienced hire and EM - I specialize in helping experienced hires perform


The simplest answer to your question is to realize that the exhibit will always impact the objectives of the case.  After you interpret the exhibit, consider the question you are trying to answer and objectives of the client and you should be able to find the connection.

Example: the question is whether the client should enter a new market, the objective is to grow revenues, and the exhibit helps you calculate the size of the market.

So what: Now that you know the size of the market, you can you can determine whether a market of that size would satisfy the objective of growing revenues.or whether it wouldn't really make much of a difference.

Without using this approach, you wouldn't know how to assess the market size, say, of $100MM.  Is that big?  Is that small?  But if you consider the client's situation and objectives, you can evaluate the market size in that context.

Hope this helps!


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updated an answer on Jul 12, 2021
Ex-McKinsey London final round interviewer

This is a difficult one to speak generically but my overarching tip would be always to have the governing question in mind related to the case context and earlier insights derived. This is something that many candidates forget where they try to come up with implications based purely on the immediate question and information. 

Secondly, the so-what is also an iterative process. It's about pushing the "why why why" where you want to try and go beyond the obvious and use a combination of facts, logic and judgement to come up with meaingful hypotheses. I feel this one is a little more linked with intrinsic IQ and experience. It's a habit that I would try to get used to even outside of cases - e.g., when reading a newspaper article, etc.

Lastly, more specific to reading charts, I personally would always recommend sharing and aligning on the various observations first before going to the implications. Often times, the more insightful takeaways comes from triangulating multiple observations together with context/insights from earlier in the case. As a management consultant, you need to be attentive to both ths details as well as the big picture.

Good luck!


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Content Creator
replied on Jul 12, 2021
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi Floyd,

The general steps for graph analysis are the following:

1. Read the graph

  1. Ask for 30 seconds to understand the graph
  2. Summarize what the graph is about. Read in particular the graph title (often forgotten), the axes and the legend

2. Analyze the graph and find the main insights

  1. Repeat the question you have to answer. Many people don’t spend time to clarify the question; consequently, they answer the wrong question. Don’t be one of them and be sure to restate what is the main insight you have to derive
  2. Provide an analysis related to the question. Analyze how the graph can help to answer the question you just repeated and provide an answer

3. Propose the next steps

  1. State your hypothesis or suggestion or what to do next. As a last step, a great candidate will present what should be done next to help further the client
  2. Ask a question/explain the steps to follow related to what you need to move forward. This will show you are a proactive candidate

It seems your question is related to Step 2b onwards:

  • Your analysis should be related to the question asked
  • Once done so, you should state a hypothesis on the next steps
  • Once done so you should ask a question or explain the next steps to follow

For math the process is relatively similar.

Hope this helps,


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Content Creator
replied on Jul 12, 2021
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Hey Floyd,

Think of it like this..once you have done your analysis (qualitative & quantitative), answer the following questions:

1. Whats the insight from my analysis i.e what would the client/interviewer want to know about one or more of the following areas (obvs this depends on the case):

  • The external situation- market, competition etc
  • Customer
  • Channels
  • Product/Service
  • Processes
  • Technology & Data
  • People

2. What action can be taken based on your insights e.g. reduce price, or improve customer experience process 

3. What outcome/vision/strategy will the action support i.e. go back to the initial challenge or questions posed in the case

Hope that helps.

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Content Creator
replied on Jul 12, 2021
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi Floyd!

Best Practice Strategy/Resources

1) Practice in RocketBlocks

2) Practice in casebooks. LabCo and Enerforce are two of my favorite chart-based cases.

3) Read the Economist (especially the graphic detail) 

4) Ask case partners to focus particularly on your chart-reading skills (i.e. by providing you with cases with many charts) - Bain and Deloitte cases tend to be chart heavy

5) Get a coach. For example, I run a number of exhibit/chart interpretation training programs for other academies/learning centers. Feel free to reach out to get the same training!

In terms of being able to interpret charts/graphs effectively

1) Read the title - and understand it

2) Read the legends - and understand them

3) Remind yourself of the objective / hypothesis in the case, to see where this might fit

4) Find the differences - where does the line graph plummet or spike? Which column is a lot smaller or bigger than the others? Where does change occur? The differences are what matter

5) Talk outloud while interpreting - first, it helps you think and process your thoughts, second, it lets the interviewer provide guidance and course correct if needed.

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Allen gave the best answer


Ex-McK Experienced hire and EM - I specialize in helping experienced hires perform
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