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Market Sizing less common now in MBB?

Market sizing
New answer on Feb 13, 2023
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Feb 12, 2023

Hey PrepLounge, 

Just curious: is it true that MBBs are slowly shifting away from asking market sizing questions in cases? I heard about this from people in MBB. This is just for curiosity sake as I have practiced ~40 market sizing drills anyways. 

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Florian
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replied on Feb 13, 2023
1300 5-star reviews across platforms | 500+ offers | Highest-rated case book on Amazon | Uni lecturer in US, Asia, EU

Hi there,

That is correct. 

There is one website out there that many applicants use that promotes the importance of market sizing and has a very strong approach to it. They also market themselves very well.

For some reason, however, the word of mouth about this one market sizing course skews the perception of applicants and they invest way too much time working on market sizing rather than other cases and other aspects of cases.

In McKinsey, market sizing is not part of the assessment since it does not fit the interviewer guidelines and how interviews are conducted. Yes, there is the odd chance that some partner in an interview might ask for a market sizing question but that would be an outlier.

For BCG, Bain market sizing can be part of the assessment but also in a minority of cases.

What does that mean for?

Work on market sizing:

  • Find a replicable approach that works
  • Practice 5-10 market sizing questions
  • Focus 80-90% of your time on non-market sizing cases

Cheers,

Florian

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Cristian
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replied on Feb 13, 2023
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

Hi there, 

Yes, I would say so. 

A few years ago market sizing questions were very popular. Two of my four interviews actually included one. Now I barely hear MBB candidates getting them in the interviews, and usually when they do it's in the Partner round just so they tick the box of ‘having done a case’. 

What is happening more and more often is getting more unusual, difficult to structure cases. Check out some of the cases that I've written in the PrepLounge library for examples on that. The ones I wrote are based either on recent McKinsey interviews or former engagements I was part of. 

Best,
Cristian

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Hagen
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replied on Feb 13, 2023
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

I think this is an interesting question that may be relevant for many people. I would be happy to share my thoughts on it:

  • Generally speaking, most major strategy consulting companies have not used standalone market size estimations for almost 10 years now. While this does not mean it never happens, this type of case study question is not very meaningful for both the candidate and interviewer as only a few skills are being tested.
  • That being said, easier market size estimations can still be a part of a case study, for instance when estimating the revenues of the client company is required.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on how to address your specific situation, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best,

Hagen

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Benjamin
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replied on Feb 12, 2023
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer & top performer

Hi there,

Yes - it is extremely rare that you will get a stand-alone market sizing question right now. A couple of reasons why I think this is likely the case

  1. Market sizing was very common place in the past and it was useful in the past
    • There's a clip I recall watching of Mitt Romney talking about his Bain days and how they would ask market sizing questions in the interview. For Mitt Romney to reminisce about his era…you are talking ~1980s - early 2000s
    • Back then, the industry of consulting case prep had not existed yet, and market sizing was a novel enough way of truly weeding out people who naturally had the talent and creativity to solve a question like that
  2. The goal of consulting firms is to use a reliable way of assessing candidates as possible. Market sizing by itself does not fully test all the necessary traits and skills firms are looking for
    • On the flipside, you could test for the necessary skills without giving a market sizing question - so that makes is a lot less ‘needed’
  3. Interviewers often give cases based on their actual project/case experience. And in reality not all consulting cases require market sizing

It's great that you are being diligent in your practice, but it's also useful to take a step back and understand why the case interview is the way it is, and to most importantly focus on the core skills that will help you to pass the interview.

All the best!

 

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Francesco
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replied on Feb 13, 2023
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Q: Is it true that MBBs are slowly shifting away from asking market sizing questions in cases? I heard about this from people in MBB.

It depends on the office and firm:

  • McKinsey usually doesn’t have market sizing questions. However, in some offices they still occasionally ask for them.
  • BCG and Bain still ask for market sizing in some offices. In some cases (eg Bain Italy) market sizing questions are quite common and the whole question could be about market sizing.

For more information please feel free to PM me, I have a DB with 1500+ real MBB and Tier 2 questions for 60+ offices not available anywhere else.

Best,

Francesco

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Sidi
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replied on Feb 12, 2023
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi!

This is not a new development - this shift away from pure market sizing has already happened over the last 10 years. Especially at McKinsey this is extremely rare nowadays. 

There is also a difference between very established markets (Europe and North America, where pure market sizing is very rare in MBB) vs. Emerging Markets (where it still happens more frequently). 

Of course there are exceptions! For excample Bain Round 1 in London and also in Zürich usually consist of a market sizing. But this is a difference to most other established market offices.

 

Cheers, Sidi

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Anonymous B on Feb 13, 2023

Bain Zurich comment is a bit outdated. Bain DACH has moved to interviewer led cases and a more McKinsey-style recruiting/interviewing approach overall.

Sidi on Feb 13, 2023

This is true. But I still saw some odd standalone market sizing questions in Zürich here and there over the last few months. But they indeed seem to move away from this.

Ian
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replied on Feb 12, 2023
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

I would agree with this statement in general. However, my candidates are still absolutely getting asked market sizing questions! It does also seem to hit at a higher rate for lower levels (i.e. the Principals/Partners/Project Leads I get coached don't really get asked market sizing, but the undergrads absolutely do)

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Florian gave the best answer

Florian

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