Issue Tree vs. Buckets

Case Structuring
New answer on Nov 03, 2022
2 Answers
Anonymous A asked on Nov 03, 2022

For a question such as: “a chain of gyms has been experiencing falling membership over the past 3 years and wants to know what is causing it and how to resolve it." What do you think is the optimal way to approach the initial structuring?

Option A: Buckets

A more generic way but I feel more MECE with this. I would investigate 3 areas (i) market (is it growing or shrinking? if its shrinking are fewer people working out or just not in gym? are competitors seeing the same trend?) (ii) customers (what are our key customer segments? are the preferences of these segments changing? are there other segments that we are missing? (iii) company (I would focus on product → are gyms in good condition i.e. right equipment, good location, clean? Price → are we pricing in line with the market? Promotion → are we marketing at all, targeting the right people/mediums?)

Option B: Issue Tree

If memberships are dropping, then that means either we are signing up fewer new customers, or churn is up. For the fewer new memberships customers either do not know about us or they do not like our product. For churn they are either switching to a competitor or leaving the market altogether. I feel like with this approach I end up asking the same questions as above relating to market, customer, etc. but this feels more structured and less MECE to me.

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CoachingPlus Expert
replied on Nov 03, 2022
Helping consulting aspirants crack the case interview and achieve thier dream job. Bain I LBS MBA I Uber I Bloomberg

Hey there - 

Maikol is correct, that you will always be driving the problem using the drivers (option B). 

Even if you want to make buckets. you would be tackling it with the drivers for eg. 

  • Market dynamics 
    • Market growth 
    • Entry of new competition 
    • Change in customer preference
  • Company 
    • Membership numbers  
      • New member acquisition 
      • Churn rate 
    • Pricing 

And so on

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Content Creator
replied on Nov 03, 2022
BCG Project Leader | Former Bain, AlixPartner, and PE | INSEAD MBA | GMAT 780

The distinction between "buckets" and the issue tree does not exist. 

Your first structure, the one you call “buckets”, is extremely junior. Any experience consultant will never use it.

Problems should always be tackled by attacking the drivers of the problem (in line with the second structure). The underlying questions you propose in the first structure are absolutely good to explain the trends of some of the drivers you can highlight (e.g., churn).

Remember this: structures should be based on actual problem-solving and should be specific to the problem. 

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Eishan gave the best answer


CoachingPlus Expert
Helping consulting aspirants crack the case interview and achieve thier dream job. Bain I LBS MBA I Uber I Bloomberg
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