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Methods of Training Insight Generation

Anonymous A

Hey guys,

Does anyone have good techniques or training materials to practice interpreting / generating insights for tables / charts / graphs? Noticed that I do seem to be able to pull key messages but find it challenging to comprehensively cover all insights..

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Vlad replied on 02/26/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School

Hi,

You can use the following approach:

  1. Take a minute to look at the graph
  2. Read the graph title
  3. Look at the graph type and define the type (pie chart, line chart, etc)
  4. Look at the legend (ask for clarifying questions if necessary)
  5. Identify whats going on on the graph. Look for: Trends, % structures,
  6. Look for unusual things - correlations, outliers,
  7. Make 3-4 conclusions from the graph. Think of potential hypothesis on what could be the root cause / what are the consequences
  8. Prioritize the most important for your current analysis and move forward with the case

Sources to learn from (prioritized):

  1. Study "Say it with Charts" book by Barbara Minto
  2. Learn basic statistics (Any GMAT or MBA prep guides)
  3. Check all available MBB presentations and publications. Practice to derive conclusions and check yourself with the actual ones from the article / presentation
  4. GMAT IR part (Official guide and Manhattan prep)
  5. "Consulting Bible" and "Vault guide for consulting" - check the chapters on cases with graphs in these books

Good luck!

Andrea
Expert
replied on 02/26/2018
Former BCG decision round interviewer with 300+ real interviews in 8 years

As others suggested, I would suggest to leverage the framework you set at beginning and see to which elements of it the chart relates to and how. Once you have your mental/written list of insights next to your framwork buckets, I would circle the 3-4 key insights and say those first and then mention all others. This will show your ability to prioritize what is key vs. what is nice to have.

Hope it helps,

Andrea

Currently non-active expert
Expert
replied on 02/26/2018

Hey anonymous,

For me the best (and easiest) way to pull insights from tables or graphs is to try to relate with original framework/hypothesis, as well as trying to keep in mind what’s the overall goal of the case, so that when you’re reading them you can try to get insights that help solving the original problem

Best

Bruno

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