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Someone asked on Nov 13, 2018 - 2 answers

Hi everyone,

during the first question in the case often in Mckinsey they do not ask ask you for the framework but directly for maybe the facts that inflence something. I would ask you if we shoul develop a framework anyway or go directly for the structure of the facts (without making an entire framework.


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Sidi replied on Nov 13, 2018
McKinsey Engagement Manager & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 60+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi Anonymous!

First of all - McKinsey (or any other MBB firm) does NOT ask for a "framework"! Never! This is what a big majority of people don't understand and it is a major reason why they will never get an offer. McKinsey wants to know HOW you want to tackle the problem, what the underlying LOGIC is and, as a result of this logic, what the influencing factors are that play into this logic. So just coming with a set of buckets simply shows that you don't understand how to think about business situations. A structure is ALWAYS about the inherent logic and NEVER about the buckets.

Unfortunately this flawed way of thinking in buckets (e.g., Customer/ Product/ Company/ Market) - without any inherent logic as to why and how these buckets will lead to an answer to the precise question of the client - has spread like a virus since "Case Interview Secrets" and "LOMS" have become popular a couple of years ago. People have been indoctrinated to look into these buckets with the hope of finding something interesting within one of them, which would then allow them to direct the case towards a solution. This is a very "junior" way of working, and, amazingly, it is pretty much exactly the opposite of what you should do a as a consultant at work! The buckets approach is a purely explorative approach (or in other words: it is nothing but GUESSING). It is the opposite of proper hypothesis-driven working, which is always rooted in a rigorous driver logic.

In my experience, it takes a remarkable effort for "infected" candidates to unlearn this flawed way of thinking and becoming able to invariably approach any case from first principles! But it is absolutely necessary if you're not willing to depend on luck.

Let me state it again: "Frameworks" should never be used to approach a case in its entirety! Any case question can and must be approached from first principles such as objectives outline, definition of decision criterion, disaggregation of criterion, driver logic, and influencing factors. Just stating "areas to look into" is completely missing the point of structuring, since it does not convey in any way HOW you are going to answer the precise question asked by the client.

Cheers, Sidi

Guennael replied on Nov 13, 2018
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews

I'll phrase this differently than Sidi (that's right - while the coaches here usually a very much in synch, sometimes we respectfully disagree. This is why case interviewing is also an art, not just science).

It feels like this is a bit of semantics, but I don't want you to miss the big picture: when you present how you want to address the question, you will necessarily have to organize your thoughts... that's exactly what a framework is, and each branch of your framework becomes a bucket. View them as tools though, ways for you to lay our a path towards resolving your case. They are tools, but you need these tools to crack the case.

Now, to address your question: Call it what you want, but yes you will be expected to explain how you plan to address the question even if your McK interviewer drives the case.

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