How to think deeper: what to think about "so what" questions to myself?

logical thinking
New answer on Aug 19, 2020
8 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jun 16, 2020

I am seeking ways to improve my critical thinking and to be able to "think deep". I realized that continuously asking myself "so what" when reading articles or charts might be a possible way, and I would like to hear some advice on implementing this method.

My question is, are there any structured problem sets that I could set as a principle or rule to think of? What would be your thought process of coming up with a set of "so what" questions to yourself, so that you could dig for deeper insights?

I understand that asking myself "so what" means that I need to find (1) Insight (2) Next step or actionable items, but very often I feel that my thought is free-flowing and not "to the core" enough.

Thanks for advice!

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Ian
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replied on Jun 16, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

This is very important in casing!

1) Actively remind yourself of the objective: What is the question? What are you trying to answer? As such, what do you need to solve to get that answer?

2) Read frequently - Read The Economist, The Financial Times, BCG Insights, and McKinsey Insights. Daily. As you read these, think about how they structure their arguments, and the "So what" of the articles.

3) Get a session with a coach - I promise you, 1 hour can do wonders in terms of a mindset shift!

4) https://www.rocketblocks.me/ drills and exercises can help!

For Tables and Charts

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.

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-can-i-improve-my-graph-interpretation-skills-6924

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Anonymous replied on Jun 16, 2020

Hi there,

It sounds like you have the right mindset - what you are missing is to remember that a "so what" is mainly relevant to a"core objective" that is set.

So as you said, when your aim is to find (1) Insight (2) Next steps, the quality of the so what is how close do the insight and next steps relate to core objective.

A simple example: If you have a case where to core objective is to identify growth opportunities and you have a chart showing you that the market size has been stagnant for the past 5 years - the most important "so what" here is that the current market does not provide growth potential that the client is targeting and the next steps are to identify attractive regional and/or product expansion options.

Another tip to challenge the depth of your "so what" is to ask yourself 2-3 why is this "so what" important - the answers force you to test the quality and to increase the depth of your so what

I hope this helps

Khaled

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Luca
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updated an answer on Jun 17, 2020
BCG |NASA | SDA Bocconi & Cattolica partner | GMAT expert 780/800 score | 200+ students coached

Hello,

You are right, the main points in terms of analyses are insight and next step. Practice is always the key to improve these skills, and I would recommend to take a look at GMAT "Integrated reasoning" and "Critical reasoning" sections. These can help you to focus on the right data and to speed up your reasoning.
Feel free to text me if you want some samples.

Best,
Luca

(edited)

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Anonymous replied on Jun 16, 2020

Hi there,

when I analyse data or information in general, I usually tend to use the following structure:

1. Split the content in sub-contents/macro-areas

2. For each macro-area identify the main insights at a high-level and in a simply way

3. Summarize the n "so what" top-down and for each keep note of the details that support the insights, but without getting lost in too many technicalities/details

Hope it helps. :)

Giulia

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Robert
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replied on Jun 17, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

For many of my candidates the following GMAT chapters helped a lot to improve reading comprehension and critical thinking over time:

  • Critical Reasoning,
  • Problem Solving und
  • Data Sufficiency
  • Integrated Reasoning

You can find tons of resources for that for free online for practice

Hope this helps - if so, please be so kind and give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

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Anonymous replied on Aug 19, 2020

Dear A,

I totally agree with other experts. As for critical thinking skills there following ideas you can work on:

1. Don’t Take Anything at Face Value. Always ask what’s the problem? What are the possible solutions? What are the pros and cons of each?

2. Consider the Motive. Just know that where any information comes from should affect how you evaluate it — and whether you decide to act on it.

3. Do Your Research and try to find some alternative views on the problem or situation to make your own point.

4. Ask Questions. If it's possible of course, but helps you clear your doubts and according to the reaction you can understand the situation better.

5. Don’t Assume You’re Right. Because if you don’t take in other perspectives and points of view, and think them over, and compare them to your own, you really aren’t doing much thinking at all — and certainly not the critical kind.

Best,

André

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Anonymous replied on Jun 17, 2020

Hello,

I advise you to look at the MBB Linkedin publications. They publish a lot of PowerPoint presentations in which you can read the titles which are often the "so what" of the analyzes presented in the slides.

Best

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Clara
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replied on Jun 17, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

I would advise you prep with GMAT, it´s difficult but useful!

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Ian gave the best answer

Ian

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