Interview Feedback: 2nd & 3rd Order Insights

interview feedback
New answer on May 01, 2020
4 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Apr 20, 2020

Hi Everyone,

I've recently gone through campus recruitment for a number of firms, and have been fortunate to receive a couple of offers from Tier 2 & Boutique firms this year. However, due to COVID affecting the length of my degree, I'm also now in a position to potentially go through the recruitment process again in the following year.

One of the interesting pieces of feedback I received from my MBB interviews was that although I did well mechanically in my cases, I could work on pulling 2nd and 3rd order insights consistently in my cases. I've read broadly that this means being more critical in the way that you approach exhibits and exercising better business judgement and insight, however, I'm at a loss for how I can practically learn to get better at this.

Could anyone provide some insight as to what pulling 2nd & 3rd order insights actually looks like in an interview example?

(edited)

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Anonymous updated the answer on Apr 20, 2020

Hi,

Let me try to give you an example using words here (hopefully it can come across clearly).

Assuming I am looking into an online grocery delivery business which provides same day deliver only. I have 2 charts. The 1st chart is a distribution curve of # of orders by the time an order is placed during the day. The 2nd chart is a distribution curve of # of orders by the time an order is delivered, during the day.

1st order insights example:

  • Look at the 1st chart and realise that more orders are placed at 10am and 5pm, so 2 peaks per day.
  • Look at the 2nd chart and realise that more orders are delivered at 12pm and 7pm, so also 2 peaks per day.

2nd & 3rd order insights example:

  • Look into both findings above, and realise that there is typically a 2-hr lagging between ordering and delivery. >> This could mean good or bad depending on what is the customer expectation or what is the SLA promise.
  • Overlay the 2 charts, and realise that the # of delivery is always lower than the # of orders by an average of 20% >> This means there is a 20% cancellation rate. >> Is this good or bad compared to industry standard/benchmark? Could it be one key area that needs to be addressed?

Hope this makes sense to you?

Best,

Emily

(edited)

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Anonymous A on Apr 20, 2020

That clarifies it a lot Emily - thanks for that! What I gather is that this is something that either comes naturally, or through more experience and practice. As an undergrad, I can imagine this would probably come by practicing with being more critical with exhibits, which is what I'll look to do! Thanks again :)

(edited)

Anonymous on Apr 20, 2020

Yes it can be practiced and learned. Keep asking yourself "so what"?

Clara
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replied on Apr 20, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

First of all, congrats on the other offers, now you have a security net!

I think that what they mean with "pulling 2nd & 3rd order insights", also given that they told you that you were a bit mechanic, is that you need to gain a bit of (1) depth and (2) originality/creativity.

Regarding depth, each case always has different degrees of depth. You have the 1st level with the more obvious details -those who get caught by practically all candidates- and then you have more subtle hints/solutions that only get surfaced by some candidates. Whenever you are able to do this, it makes you outstand from the rest -think that each interviewer has one case that repeats always, so some fresh air is always welcomed-.

Regarding creativity, it goes in the same direction. When you are able to go beyond the classical resposes and think out of the box, it´s very much appreciated by the interviewer.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Anonymous A on Apr 20, 2020

Thanks for giving some colour to that feedback Clara, really appreciate it! I only one followup question to that. In a hypothetical case/exhibit, what would an example of a first/second/third order insight look like - if you're able to answer that?

(edited)

Antonello
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Content Creator
replied on May 01, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, if I understand correctly they are talking about do not stop with the standard solution of the question, but try to go deeper with curiosity, creativity and proactivity (e.g. thinking about additional sources of revenue or the risks related to a decision and also their mitigation actions). To outstand from other candidates a standard correct approach is not enough

Best

Antonello

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Francesco
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replied on May 01, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

I think Emily provided an excellent example. In general second and third order insides are elements that help you to find additional insides related to the goal. Usually that’s related to:

  • Connection between two different graphs (as for Emily’s example)
  • Connection with previous findings in the case

At the link below you can find some tips on graph interpretation:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/can-anyone-suggest-me-how-to-learn-reading-and-interpreting-difficult-graphs-3990

Best,

Francesco

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