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How to structure competitive response cases in a non-random way?

Bain BCG competitive resonse Framework MBB McKinsey Structure
New answer on Sep 10, 2020
6 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Sep 02, 2020

Hi all!

What is really strong structure for competitive response case? For example, how to react to a new competitor? I find the standard frameworks like Case in point to be pretty unconvincing. Is there a way to really show sharpness while structuring such questions? Thanks for inspiration. ;-)

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replied on Sep 02, 2020
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers


You are referring to a typical brainstorming question ("How can we achieve XYZ?", "How should we react to ABC?", "What could be reasons for CDE?").

Here, you always need to start from the definition of your focus metric. If the question is "How can we react to the entry of a new competitor?", then you first have to align on what your objective is - what do you worry about? If it is profit, then you start your logic tree with profit and then break it down into its components with a logic tree. Then you think through, whether and how the competitor entry could negatively affect each branch of your tree (hence, how would the new competitor threaten your profits? --> check the branches of your profit tree and drill deeper: would the new competitor affect the price point that you can realize? Would he threaten the quantity that you can sell? If so, how? Will he draw away customers? Will he negatively affect frequency of purchasing of your customers? Will he bring down size of basket per purchase? etc.).

Once you have done this, then you can develop ideas how to prevent the effect of the competitor entry on each of the subdrivers of your profit.

I hope this helps!

Cheers, Sidi

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Anonymous replied on Sep 03, 2020

Dear A,

I would recommend you to avoid standard framework, which you trying to fit to most of the cases. Books like case in point are to give you an overview of the process and approach, but in practice it looks a little bit different.

If you need any specific help on that, feel free to reach out.



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Content Creator
replied on Sep 10, 2020
McKinsey | NASA | top 10 FT MBA professor for consulting interviews | 6+ years of coaching
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replied on Sep 03, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


to come up with a framework you have to start with an objective of the case:

  • Do we want to keep market share?
  • Do we want to maintain certain profits?
  • Etc

Another thing to consider is the context:

  • Is it about the competitor having better technology and we should consider such an investment?
  • Is it about the prices that are much lower?
  • Etc

You should understand that there is no one-fits-it-all framework and your exact structure will depend on the objective and the context of the case


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Content Creator
replied on Sep 02, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


Unfortunately, we need to see this case by case.

Making it specific about the case is indeed the key to success. Any answer given generically "for competitive response case" is never going to be good enaugh to get an offer, this I can guarantee you. Same with the frameworks in the Case in Point.

Sharpness will come precisely from tailoring, and doing it correctly.

Hope it helps!



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Content Creator
replied on Sep 03, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

Great question!

Fundamentally, it depends on what their "move" is! So, take their competitive move, figure out what "type" of case it is, and apply it there.

A competitive response could be related to:

  • Market Entry (new product or new market)
  • Pricing
  • Profitbaility
  • Growth
  • M&A
  • etc.

So, don't you see, a competitive response is all case types :)

In terms of structure within this context:

A) What is their move and how is it hurting us?

B) What possible moves can we make to not be hurt?

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Sidi gave the best answer


McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers
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