How to show you prioritize the analysis?

Recent activity on Apr 04, 2018
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Anonymous A asked on Apr 03, 2018

I got a feefback after R1 that I should show I can prioritize more given the limited time (I had 15 min for the case).

I presented the structure with 3 buckets and said why I want to look into each of them and then asked the interviewer if this approach would make sense to him. He then asked me do I think I have time to analyze all given the time so I said where I would want to focus. Following the interview I got the feedback I mentioned above.

How do I show I can prioritize while still providing a MECE structure? Would it be better to present the structure, say where I woudl want to focus given that we only have 15 min to solve the problem and then validate with the interviewer if both the structure and priority make sense?

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Content Creator
replied on Apr 03, 2018
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

so far that you already explained upfront the reasons why you wanted to look in each area, I can think about two reasons why you received such feedback:

  • The interviewer mentioned some initial information that you did not use to prioritize. Eg, he/she mentioned that the client is interested in growing revenues but cannot do it easily organically, and you considered organic strategy without mentioning they are second priorities
  • There was a structure more “efficient” than the one you used in terms of getting faster to the solution of the case. Eg you said you wanted to look at both revenues and costs, without mentioning as a previous step you wanted to know how revenues and costs changed, to identify the priority between them.

To help to identify the issue, it could be useful if you could post some more information on the prompt/initial information and your initial structure as a way to clarify that.


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EL AZZOUZI updated an answer on Apr 03, 2018


Maybe stating why do you want to start by this issue first would be a good plus.

For example, in a profit optimisation, you can say, after stating your revenue minus cost structure: well, I would like to start in the cost branche and specifically variable costs for two reasons:

- The client is the number one in his market with more than 50% share, I think it would be more difficult to drive revenues than to cut costs

- This industrie seems to be a low fixed costs, do we have data that confirms that?

Good luck



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Content Creator
replied on Apr 04, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


There are two ways to prioritize using the hypothesis:

First - presenting a structure using the hypothesis. For example, if you are having a PE (private equity) case, you should do the following:

1) Make classic structure (market, company, competitors, feasibility of exit)

2) Make subpoints (e.g. in market: size, growth rates, profitability, segmentation, etc)

3) Present your 1st level Hypothesis:

  • - "In order to understand whether we should invest in Company A, I would like to check that the Market is Attractive, the Company is Attractive, the competition is favorable and we have good opportunities for of exit"

4) Present the main 2nd level Hypothesis:

  • "In the market, I would like to make sure that the market is big enough and growing;
  • In the company I would like to find additional opportunities for growth;
  • In competition I would like to check that the market is fragmented enough;
  • Finally, I would like to check if we have potential buyers and can achieve desired exit multiples"

5) Prioritize starting with the most important / the area that the interviewer tells you to start with if it is an interviewer-led case

Another way to use hypothesis is using the hypothesis to prioritize your analysis:

1) Make a structure: "Problem in sales may be related to Sales Motivation, Sales Strategy, Sales Coverage, and Sales Process:

2) Prioritize a part of the structure based on your knowledge / common sense / available data: "Taking into account that motivation is the core problem of the sales organization, I would like to prioritize this part of the analysis"

Good luck!

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replied on Apr 03, 2018

Hey anonymous,

Assuming there’s no issue with your framework (by the feedback it seems so!), you’re just missing the last piece: give some critical thinking in prioritizing among your different branches, ie, if you would just have time to analyze one of them which one would you choose to analyze and why.

This would solve your feedback issue (as far as the reasoning provided is solid) - as a consultants, we need to be able to prioritize our analysis to avoid ‘boiling the ocean’ (one of the ten most used sentences at McKinsey :)



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Francesco gave the best answer


Content Creator
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