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Is there much room for gut feelings in consulting?

Anonymous asked on Jul 31, 2018 - 4 answers

I think once you've done a few cases in one topic, you start to be able to guess the outcome of quantitative analysis before doing it. In this instance, I assume you would perform the analysis regardless, in order to uphold your recommendation with evidence.

However, what about when the analysis sounds reasonable, but you have a gut feeling that the idea will not work anyway? How do you handle this situation/does it happen?

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Benjamin replied on Jul 31, 2018
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Hi Kay,

Excellent topic to disucss !
I personnally think that gut feeling is essential tn consulting. Basically there are so many different things we could analyse that this could be an endless work. The gut feelings is what lead your decision to investigate one specific topic with one specific analysis :

- You first generate an hypothese on what could be the root cause / the main issue based on your gut feeling

- You decide to validate / test this hypothesis with a specific analysis

- based on the outcome you move on

In synthesis, without gut feeling, this is simply not feasabl or at least it takes much longer since you'll have to "boil the ocean" looking for every potential issue to test.

Best
Benjamin

Ankit
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replied on Jul 31, 2018
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Hi,

I totally get this point as I faced the same dilemma after solving a bunch of cases. Every case I did seemed predictable and my instinct said that this would be the answer.

This is a typical fallacy in consulting sometimes referred to as the "answer-minded approach". Always keep in mind that the interviewer is there to test your analytical skills and not your instincts. Thus, even if you have a gut feeling, please take it as a hypothesis and proceed to prove/ disprove it. Even while taking it as a hypothesis, it should not seem that you have caught it out of thin air. Structuring is crucial. Please understand that an experienced interviewer can change the scenario at the drop of the hat if he thinks that you are taking blind shots.

The same principle applies to your second question. If you think that an idea will not work, state it as a hypothesis to the interviewer and lay down reasons for the same. Arrive at the conclusion only after conducting the appropriate tests. This will have a great impact on the interviewer as it will mean a lot of interaction for them.

Francesco
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replied on Jul 31, 2018
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Hi Key,

as for your first point: you should always perform the actual analysis, even in the case you found a case very familiar/equal to one you have already done. As you correctly said, such analysis is necessary to backup you conclusion.

As for your second question: in case you have a feeling the analysis won’t be useful (eg you have a gut feeling the problem is in cost and not in revenues, and are asked to perform a revenues analysis), you should state your hypothesis on what would be one of the possible solution (eg revenue problem) , then say that to verify your hypothesis you want to complete the mentioned analysis (eg verify how revenues and costs changed in the relevant period of time). There is no space for gut feeling without an actual analysis or data driven approach in a consulting case.

Best,

Francesco

Anonymous A replied on Aug 02, 2018

Hi,

Remember in interviews, these cases have been developed to test certain skills.

Therefore, you may have a gut-feel regarding where the case would go, but important to do the analysis to prove or disprove such hypotheses you have.

The case will not have pointless analysis involved - it is always going to give you an answer for the client in some way or another. Thus, state your hypothesis if you have one and do the analysis to prove your answer.

If you believe your findings are not reasonable, you can explain this to the interviewer. They will either agree ( in this case it was probably a test of your business judgement) or they will disagree and offer some expert knowledge as to why you may have overlooked something.

Best,

T