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Is it acceptable to use a standard framework in a McKinsey interview? eg 4 Ps, Growth Matrix etc

Anonymous A


Is using a premade framework likely to affect the score of a candidate in an interview? Should you try to rename the drivers or areas to make it less common?

For example: If i used the Four P's, or Ansoffs Growth matrix? should I use different names for the 4ps?


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B replied on 04/06/2018

Hey anonymous,

In any interview (either McKinsey or any other consulting firm), you shouldn't just go there and recite a strandard framework (memorizing such frameworks is something that literally everyone could do, so it's obvious firms are looking for more).

Thus, you have two solutions:

  • you design a really tailored and interesting framework to approach the problem (going completely outside of such very well known theoretical frameworks) - favorite option for the interviewer as he can test much better your problem solving skills;
  • or at least, adjust the namings and descriptions in order to be tailored to the case

Hope this helps clarifying your question



replied on 04/08/2018
I am a former BCG decision round interviewer with 300+ real interviews conducted and 8 years interviewing experience

Knowledge and understanding of the "classic" strategy/marketing/ops frameworks is important since usually they cover or the most important and common drivers and therefore allow not to "reinvent the wheel" everytime you have a problem in front of you (they can also help if there is interview fright that is blocking or slowing thought process)

However it is key to customize them according to the situation by either adding or dropping some of the drivers or emphasizing some more than others depending on the case prompt that was given (e.g. if in prompt interviewer says to ignore pricing because it's fixed, then do not cite price in your driver analysis).

In terms of renaming I would say I wouldn't not go through the effort of doing so unless names used during the case for the driver are different (e.g. instead of place, the interviewer talks about channels, then use the word channel).

One thing I would strongly suggest to not announce "I am going to use so and so framework" but be more natural about it "I would like to explore the following drivers". Both you and interviewer will recognize that a framework is used but it doesn't come across as you are trying to force-fit a solution to a custom problem.

Hope this helps,


Vlad replied on 04/06/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School


Classic frameworks are so good because they are really MESE.

  • It is not OK to use a classic framework at the beginning of the case - you have to make a tailored structure.
  • It is OK to use a classic framework in the middle of the case while you continue structuring, trying to identify the root cause. Although you may still get a feedback that you are using the "structures from a book". So I recommend slightly renaming the structure (eg 4P - Product, Distribution, Marketing, Price)


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