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Sidi

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8

Non-profit cases

I'm having a bit of an issue dealing with non-profit cases. Does anyone have access to McK/McK type non-profit cases that they'd be willing to share as there aren't many examples online. Additionally, what would be a good way to approach/think about these type of cases?

I'm having a bit of an issue dealing with non-profit cases. Does anyone have access to McK/McK type non-profit cases that they'd be willing to share as there aren't many examples online. Additionally, what would be a good way to approach/think about these type of cases?

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Book a coaching with Sidi

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Hi! The most important message first:

There is no conceptual difference between profit and non-profit cases!

This perception just comes from the tradition of "case frameworks" that have been spread across the globe in the last 15 years. In my experience, using these frameworks to approach cases is extremely damaging to your ability to think through issues, hence making it far more difficult to be successful in MBB interviews.

If you really understand how to tackle strategic issues, it is completely irrelevant whether your focus metric is profit or something else! It can be quality of an education system, vaccination share in a population, youth unemployment rates, or hundreds of other things. It just makes ZERO difference to the approach if you really think through it in a rigorous way.

It also has absolutely nothing to do with "knowledge" about public sector (this is NOT what McKinsey is testing! Kowledge is irrelevant for the assessment of generalist candidates!).

In essence, what you always have to do in order to set up a robust approach is to, firstly, define the objective (if it is not profit, it usually needs to be clarified into a clear KPI (like, e.g., share of children going to school)).

The rest then depends on the form of the question.

  • If the question is something like "How can we achieve XYZ?", then you disaggregate this metric into its conceptual drivers, usually one or two layers deep. An THEN you develop qualitative ideas how to infliuence these conceptual/numerical drivers.
  • If the question is "Should the client do XYZ in order to achieve ABC", then you need to first define the criterion when ABC is attained. And then you need to assess each element of the criterion to check whether and how you can realistically meet it. This sounds a bit abstract, but it is extremely straight forward and easy to conceptualize once it is properly shown and explained.

Cheers, Sidi

Hi! The most important message first:

There is no conceptual difference between profit and non-profit cases!

This perception just comes from the tradition of "case frameworks" that have been spread across the globe in the last 15 years. In my experience, using these frameworks to approach cases is extremely damaging to your ability to think through issues, hence making it far more difficult to be successful in MBB interviews.

If you really understand how to tackle strategic issues, it is completely irrelevant whether your focus metric is profit or something else! It can be quality of an education system, vaccination share in a population, youth unemployment rates, or hundreds of other things. It just makes ZERO difference to the approach if you really think through it in a rigorous way.

It also has absolutely nothing to do with "knowledge" about public sector (this is NOT what McKinsey is testing! Kowledge is irrelevant for the assessment of generalist candidates!).

In essence, what you always have to do in order to set up a robust approach is to, firstly, define the objective (if it is not profit, it usually needs to be clarified into a clear KPI (like, e.g., share of children going to school)).

The rest then depends on the form of the question.

  • If the question is something like "How can we achieve XYZ?", then you disaggregate this metric into its conceptual drivers, usually one or two layers deep. An THEN you develop qualitative ideas how to infliuence these conceptual/numerical drivers.
  • If the question is "Should the client do XYZ in order to achieve ABC", then you need to first define the criterion when ABC is attained. And then you need to assess each element of the criterion to check whether and how you can realistically meet it. This sounds a bit abstract, but it is extremely straight forward and easy to conceptualize once it is properly shown and explained.

Cheers, Sidi

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Hi there,

It doesn't matter the case if non-profit or for-profit, just like it doesn't matter it is public sector or private sector. How you do problem solving would be the same.

The difference is you need to get clear upfront what are the objectives and some specific constraints there might be for the particular non-profit company. And don't simply apply the assumptions you would apply for a for-profit company, without thinking twice. I.e. the objective likely is not about optimizing profitability.

Best,

Emily

Hi there,

It doesn't matter the case if non-profit or for-profit, just like it doesn't matter it is public sector or private sector. How you do problem solving would be the same.

The difference is you need to get clear upfront what are the objectives and some specific constraints there might be for the particular non-profit company. And don't simply apply the assumptions you would apply for a for-profit company, without thinking twice. I.e. the objective likely is not about optimizing profitability.

Best,

Emily

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Hi there!

My approach

Public sector cases are tricky because they feasibly be any case type (Product Launch - new service for citizens; M&A - merging two departments; even Profitability - cost cutting mandate). For any public sector case, I recommend:

  1. First identifying the type of case it is.
  2. Second, leverage your knowledge of the public sector as constraints/considerations.

Considerations/Constraints

Regarding #2, you know that public perception is particularly important to consider in any public sector move. Additionally, you can count on bureacracy/slowness in implementation. You should identify the goal/mission of the organisation as well and keep this top of mind (if it loses money, but achieves it's goal of helping the poor, no problem). Howvever, just because the government sector doesn't have profit as a target, doesn't mean you should ignore the profit tree altogether - governments are still obliged to take into costs (and sometimes revneues) in decisions (example: setting up a public transport initiative). Don't get tricked into thinking you can't consider the economics of the case!

Other items to consider include, but are not limited to:

  • Politlcal landscape (i.e. upcoming elections, special interest groups)
  • Sustainability
  • Private-public partnerships
  • International vs governmental vs state vs local partnerships/alignment
  • Income = taxes/budgetary landscape
  • Digitialization of government

Framework Resource

In terms of resources, the UPenn Wharton 2011 casebook has a framework for public sector. It's split into:

  1. Strategic rationale (Mission of organisation and stakeholder reactions)
  2. Deal economics (planned investment and returns, if any)
  3. Other (Required capabilities and risks)

Practice Cases

If you want some practice cases:

  • Tepper 2008's "NGO Effectiveness"
  • Colombia 2011's "MadeCasse"

Hope this helps, and please don't hesitate to ask any follow-up/clarifying questions!

Hi there!

My approach

Public sector cases are tricky because they feasibly be any case type (Product Launch - new service for citizens; M&A - merging two departments; even Profitability - cost cutting mandate). For any public sector case, I recommend:

  1. First identifying the type of case it is.
  2. Second, leverage your knowledge of the public sector as constraints/considerations.

Considerations/Constraints

Regarding #2, you know that public perception is particularly important to consider in any public sector move. Additionally, you can count on bureacracy/slowness in implementation. You should identify the goal/mission of the organisation as well and keep this top of mind (if it loses money, but achieves it's goal of helping the poor, no problem). Howvever, just because the government sector doesn't have profit as a target, doesn't mean you should ignore the profit tree altogether - governments are still obliged to take into costs (and sometimes revneues) in decisions (example: setting up a public transport initiative). Don't get tricked into thinking you can't consider the economics of the case!

Other items to consider include, but are not limited to:

  • Politlcal landscape (i.e. upcoming elections, special interest groups)
  • Sustainability
  • Private-public partnerships
  • International vs governmental vs state vs local partnerships/alignment
  • Income = taxes/budgetary landscape
  • Digitialization of government

Framework Resource

In terms of resources, the UPenn Wharton 2011 casebook has a framework for public sector. It's split into:

  1. Strategic rationale (Mission of organisation and stakeholder reactions)
  2. Deal economics (planned investment and returns, if any)
  3. Other (Required capabilities and risks)

Practice Cases

If you want some practice cases:

  • Tepper 2008's "NGO Effectiveness"
  • Colombia 2011's "MadeCasse"

Hope this helps, and please don't hesitate to ask any follow-up/clarifying questions!

(edited)

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Hi,

In principle there type of cases should not matter if you have robust thinking in problem solving. The goal of case interview is not to test your knowledge on specific industry but to test your logical thinking in solving a problem.

I've seen many candidates that only memorize a set of frameworks and having problem when the case does not fit into one of the frameworks.

I would suggest to take a step back (maybe with the help of a coach) to understand why you have issues with non profit cases.

Hi,

In principle there type of cases should not matter if you have robust thinking in problem solving. The goal of case interview is not to test your knowledge on specific industry but to test your logical thinking in solving a problem.

I've seen many candidates that only memorize a set of frameworks and having problem when the case does not fit into one of the frameworks.

I would suggest to take a step back (maybe with the help of a coach) to understand why you have issues with non profit cases.

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Hello, PM me!

Regarding the way to tackle them, that is regardless of the fact of profit/non profit.

Cheers,

Clara

Hello, PM me!

Regarding the way to tackle them, that is regardless of the fact of profit/non profit.

Cheers,

Clara

Dear A,

In general, there is no difference in solving profit/non-profit. And yes, I have some non-profit cases, feel free to approach me.


Best,
André

Dear A,

In general, there is no difference in solving profit/non-profit. And yes, I have some non-profit cases, feel free to approach me.


Best,
André

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Hi,

The challenge here will be of course to find a tailor made framework (and this is very very common trust me).

I have a very interesting case study on responsible investment / ESG (environment, social, governance). This case study is based on a project I've been in charge of at BCG. Happy to further discuss it in PM

Best,

Hi,

The challenge here will be of course to find a tailor made framework (and this is very very common trust me).

I have a very interesting case study on responsible investment / ESG (environment, social, governance). This case study is based on a project I've been in charge of at BCG. Happy to further discuss it in PM

Best,

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