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Non Financial issues to consider

Rinat

Hey guys!

In most of the cases I do financial part of analysys pretty well but I sometimes struggle with non-financial parts to consider in the cases. Are there any suggestions how to deal with non financial branches? Or is there a MECE way to do it? Any ideas? By financial I mean expected (calculated) revenue and costs

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Francesco replied on 04/28/2018
#1 Expert for coaching sessions (1700+) | Ex BCG | 850+ reviews with 100% recommendation rate

Hi Rinat,

from your question it is not clear whether you are referring to a specific type of case (eg you struggle with market entry and M&A for the non-financial/qualitative part) or if it is a general problem for structuring qualitative parts.

As for the first issue, ideally you should have a proper structure ready for each type of case (here you can see an example for a market entry case: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/regarding-market-entry-1046)

As for the second point, you can consider the following steps in order to generally improve your qualitative structure:

#1: Optimize the framework

In order to optimize your framework, you should personalize it proceeding as follows:

  1. Create some basic structures for your frameworks. Case in point should work well for that, although it presents too many frameworks, many of which not very useful. Still, it’s a good starting point.
  2. Start practicing cases (ideally, you should get to 50+) in person, online, or reading MBA handbooks. Every time you find a new approach to solve the case that is not present in your structure, write it down and add it to your framework keeping a MECE approach.
  3. Eliminate or consolidate the sections in your frameworks that you do not find useful to solve cases.
  4. Find commonalities between frameworks, so that you do not have to remember 7-8 structures completely different, but just few differences between frameworks.
  5. Once received the initial information from the interviewer, present the framework adapting it to the specific goals of the client, mentioning why you would like to explore a particular area and the connection of that area with the goals previously communicated by the interviewer.

#2: Communicate correctly the framework

This may potentially be your main issue, as you mentioned you believe your frameworks are already good. If you do not communicate correctly your framework, even if this is perfect you will not score high for the interviewer.

The easiest thing you may do to communicate correctly the framework is to proceed as follows:

  1. Repeat the objective (“So you asked me to identify [OBJECTIVE], right?”)
  2. Present first the main areas, numbering the main elements (“I believe we may do 3 things: Number 1 we may work on [FIRST TOPIC], Number 2 on [SECOND TOPIC], Number 3 on [THIRD TOPIC]”)
  3. Present your full structure for each area, still keeping a structure based on numbers (“Let me go deeper in the first area. Here I believe we may follow 5 different steps. Step 1, I would like to [DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE FIRST STEP], Step 2…etc.”

#3: Brainstorm in a structured way whenever you are unable to find a proper framework

This is something you may want to do in case you are unable to find the right structure for a particular question. In order to brainstorm in a structure way, you may want to proceed in a way similar to what shown in #2, but taking more time in 1) Repeat the Objective and applying brainstorming in 3) Present your full structure. More specifically:

  1. Recap all the information you received until that moment. This will give you time without sounding you don’t know where to go.
  2. Identify 2-3 key elements that would constitute the fundamental areas of your structure.
  3. After having defined the key areas, then start brainstorming for each of them.

At the following link you can find the full article I wrote on structured brainstorming, where I also presented a specific example:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/what-is-the-best-way-to-structure-a-mini-framework-to-answer-a-mckinsey-creativity-questions-1304#a2770

Hope this helps,
Francesco

Vlad replied on 04/28/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School

Hi,

You have separate revenue and cost branches of the analysis just in one type of the cases, although there are many more. I recommend you to practice other types of the cases.

It definitely comes with practice. Here is an algorithm how to develop this skill:

  1. Make sure you understand all the different types of cases that you may face
  2. Identify the most appropriate structure for each type
  3. Solve 30-50 cases and try to understand where do they fit in your categorizations
  4. Based on your experience think of the potential variations in structures within each of the case types

Here is some inspiration for you. Below you can find a list of the most common case types and some high-level recommendations on structuring:

  1. Market sizing - structuring from the supply or demand side. Structuring using a formula or using an issue tree
  2. Profitability - basic profitability framework. Remember about different revenue streams and product mix
  3. Market context cases (Market Entry, New product, Acquisition, etc). Always start with the big picture "market". Finish with something specific to the case (e.g. How to enter?"). Structure it as if you are defining the work streams for the real project.
  4. Operational math problem (e.g. Should we increase the speed of an elevator or just buy a second one? How should we reduce the queues? Etc.) - Structuring as a process / value chain, with inflows, operations, and outflows
  5. Cost cutting - I provided the recommendations on structuring it here: https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/operations-cases-mck-1105#a2134
  6. Valuation - Purely financial structure with cash flows, growth rate, WACC / hurdle rate, etc.
  7. Synergies - revenue synergies (price, qty, mix) and cost synergies (value chain).
  8. Social / economics cases (e.g. How to improve the quality of life in the city? How to increase the revenues of the museum?) - huge variability. Practice 3-5 social cases before the interview

This is just for inspiration. You should ideally make your own system.

Best of luck!

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