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McKinsey experts - Language question

McKinsey & Company
Recent activity on May 09, 2018
3 Answers
2.4 k Views
Anonymous A asked on May 09, 2018


what do McKinsey consultants call the issue tree first level? Buckets? Branchses? Drivers? Areas? Other?

Is there any other McKinsey terms or lingo to use that would make the interviewer feel more comfortable?

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Best answer
replied on May 09, 2018
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers


the terminology (Branches, Sub-branches, drivers, levers etc) will not move the needle here (and there is no standardized nomenclature catalogue in McKinsey). What is far more important to put the interviewer at ease is to be crystal clear on the description of your driver tree and how all the elements/branches relate to each other. At the lowest (most granular) level, you will in most cases define a set of measures („levers“) by means of which the outcome can be influenced in one or another direction. Again - clear communication and „MECEness“ of the tree are crucial - not the nomenclature.



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replied on May 09, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


Basically, these are all the names for the same thing. I use the following approach:

  • Branches when I have an issue tree structure
  • Buckets / areas - when I make a broader structure of 3-4 blocks
  • Buckets of ideas in creativity questions
  • Drivers - when it is basically the driver (e.g. real estate drivers - cheap loans, growing economy, etc)



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replied on May 09, 2018
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

buckets, branches and areas would all be fine. What is more relevant is that you distinguish between the terminology in the first and in the second level, as if you use the same terminology for both, it will be more difficult for the interview to follow in your structure. As a general rule, I suggest to candidates to call “Areas” the first level and “Steps” the second, in order to have the two levels clearly defined.


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Sidi gave the best answer


McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers
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