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Lost in middle of case?

Someone asked on Mar 06, 2017 - 2 answers


One of the feedbacks that I keep getting is that I am sometimes silent in the middle of the case. This is when I am thinking about what step I should take next. But I guess it feels uncomfortable for the interviewer, and that I am silent for too long. Sometimes I do get a bit lost with new information and numbers. How do I become quicker at determining what the next steps to take are, or decrease the awkward silences?

Also, sometimes I am analysing a particular branch of my framework. However, I uncover an interesting piece of information that will require me to jump to another branch. Do I finish off my current branch, or jump to the other branch and return to analysing the current branch later? Thanks!


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Francesco updated his answer on Mar 07, 2017
#1 Expert for coaching sessions (2.000+) | Ex BCG | 1.000+ reviews with 100% recommendation rate

Hi Anonymous,

as for your first question, there are two things you can do when you get stuck and want to avoid silence:

  1. Repeat all the information until that moment
  2. Ask for one minute of time to think

You may also do both the steps together in the mentioned order. At the below link, you can find an example of how you can do so when you have to brainstorm, together with some suggestions on how you can structure brainstorming:


As for your second question, there may be two scenarios:

  1. The information is relevant, but not critical to solve the case. In this case you should keep analysing the current branch you are, and then potentially move to the other.
  2. The information is relevant and critical to solve the case (you should understand that as you should get hints from the interviewer that he would like you to concentrate there - eg he repeated a couple of times it could be interesting to analyse something else, or stressed a bit more that particular area). In this case you want to move to the new branch, making clear that you are doing so in order to prioritize the action to meet the client’s goal. In case you don't do so, you may lose points, as the interviewer may assume you are not able to follow hints and prioritize tasks.




Anonymous B replied on Mar 06, 2017


Regarding your first point: Try always to think aloud. Explain what information you have so far, what you want to determine and what information is missing, then ask for ths information. This also helps when you get lost. Do a quick synsthesis and link the new information to the objective - is it sufficient to answer the question or do you need more data.

Never skip branches, this seems as if you are not structured. I would suggest you note the interesting fact for yourself or remark that you will look into it in more detail once you finished the branch which you are analysing at the moment.

Hope this helps.

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