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Astrid

Dear PrepLounge community,

✪ Today we are celebrating 10,000+ upvotes in our Consulting Q&A in 2018!!! ✪

The Q&A with the most upvotes this year was: What's the best way to structure a revenue growth case?

Don’t forget that upvotes give you the chance to reward the best answers and thus, help other users to get quick access to valuable content! So keep up the upvotes and keep being the best case interview community worldwide!

▶ As always when we have something to celebrate on our Q&A, we are giving away a six-weeks premium membership for free!

This time, we thought of a new format. Let’s see how you like it!

PrepLounge CouponAll you have to do is share your favourite case with us in the answers below and consider:

  • we know that PrepLounge cases are the best, but simply copying a case out of our Library will not qualify ;)

  • the better the case, the more likely we will pick your answer as the winner! So feel free to include graphs and pictures as well as the solution of the case :)

Based on the number of upvotes, the winner will be announced on Wednesday, December 12th, at 10:00 a.m. (Central European Time).

Until then, best of luck and keep rocking the rest of your case prep!

Astrid

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Linh replied on 12/10/2018

Hi consultant-to-be,

I would like to share a BCG market entry case, Pharma industry – not like a super difficult one but interestingly tricky, which makes it my fav case. Hope you guys enjoy crack the case as much as I do J

Our client is a pharmaceutical company who has recently developed a drug for apoplexy. The drug has been clinically proven to be safe and effective, and is the only product that is at this stage in our client’s business. Should our client proceed with commercializing the drug?

Some useful info are

Consulting Case Brief


Consulting Case Exhibition

From that we figured out the number of patients with automatic trigger that reach hospital in the 3-hour window: 260,000*20%*100% = 52,000 patient

Now, the tricky part is the timing

It takes 8 minutes for an ambulance to dispatch and 10 minutes to load a patient. It takes 12 minutes one-way for an ambulance to go from the city to a hospital and an extra 8 minutes one-way to go from the suburbs to a hospital. Given that, total time it takes for a patient to go from the city to a hospital:

8 + 10 + 12*2 = 42 minutes (it’s very easy not to double the 12 as 2-way)

All patients from the city should be able to receive treatment in the first hour. Time it takes for a patient to go from the suburbs to a hospital:

8 + 10 + (12+8)*2 = 58 minutes (again round way)

Although patients from the suburbs reach hospitals in 58 minutes, 2 minutes isn’t enough time for them to receive treatment. (Fair enough yet given the pressure in real case, we might not notice this)

Therefore, these patients will most likely go for the competitor’s drug (which is cheaper and has the same success rate after the first hour)

Number of patients who call ambulance that get treated in the first hour: 260,000*80%*60%*80% = 99,840 = ~100,000

Total number of patients who will use our client’s drug = 52,000 + 100,000 = 152,000

Revenue = 152,000 patients*$8,000/patient = $1.2 billion per year

One step further, regarding profitability

If fixed costs are $240 million/year and variable costs are $5,000 per unit, how much profit can be made from the drug per year?

Total costs = $240m + $5,000*152,000 = $1 billion; Profit = $200 million/year

Our client is thinking of lowering the price of their drug to $6,000 per use to capture more of the market. Is this a good idea?

In this case, our client will still capture all of the patients who will receive treatment in the first hour, which is 152,000 patients. In addition, our client will get 50% of the patients from the suburbs (since our client’s drug is now identical to the competitor’s after the first hour)

Number of patients from the suburbs = 260,000*20%*60%*50% = 15,600

Total number of patients who will use client’s drug = 152,000 + 15,600 = 167,600

Total revenue = 167,600*$6,000 = ~$1 billion

Total costs = $240m + $5,000*167,600 = ~$1.1 billion

At this price, our client would not make any profit and would make a slight loss instead. Therefore, they should stay with charging $8,000 per use of the drug

Conclusion:

I recommend that the client proceeds with commercializing the drug at $8,000 per use. This pricing strategy allows them to capture a reasonable portion of the market (given the higher effectiveness of their drug within the first hour), generating a profit of $200 million a year. Some major risks are competitive response and the possibility of new market entries, so moving forward, our client should develop a solid marketing plan, and push for the replacement of the competitor drug with our client’s (using the argument that it will simplify the supply management of hospitals)

(edited)

Felix replied on 12/06/2018

Hi all,

I chose an airline case in which you are helping a low-cost carrier to remain profitable despite a recent fuel price increase.

It’s my favorite case, because…

  1. …it has an unconventional ending.
  2. …it captures quantitative and qualitative aspects of the case in a balanced way.
  3. …it’s just fun to solve :P

Situation: A large low-cost carrier airline in Asia faces a significant cost increase due to the spiking fuel price. The fuel price increased by 50% in the previous week. The company’s profitability is now threatened. The client is, therefore, questioning its business model and looking to develop an immediate response to the situation that will ensure a return to profitability. Your task is also to help develop a strategy to ensure that the company remains profitable for the years to come.

­Strategy to solve:

Analyze factors affecting client’s profitability (starting with the cost side as this is the side affected by the fuel price increase):

  • Costs: Fuel & non-fuel costs à This will show that there are not a lot of possibilities for the client to reduce costs. Fuel costs cannot be reduced in the short-term and non-fuel costs can only be reduced by 5-10%. Therefore we switch to the revenue side.
  • Revenue: Ticket sales & additional sources of revenue à Analyze ticket sales first, as they constitute the larger share of revenue. Due to the price elasticity increasing ticket sales is not possible (Exhibit 1). Due to the high usage of our flights, increasing the number of passengers per flight is also difficult. Switching to additional sources of revenue shows, that the LCC is actually already doing a good job generating revenue from its customers.
  • Neither costs nor revenue offer large opportunities to drive profitability.

Next we want to understand how we and our competition are equipped for squeezing margins due to the fuel price increase. For that we look at revenues and costs across companies.

  • As it turns out, the margins of our client are wider than the ones of the competition (Exhibit 2). Some competitors even have such low margins, that the increase in fuel price will drive them out of the market in the mid- to long-term.

Recommendation:

  • The client should focus on improving its competitive advantage of low costs, by reducing non-fuel costs by 5-10%. Except that, the client should just wait for changes in either the fuel price or potentially attractive acquisition opportunities in the market.Case Study Exhibit 1Case Study Exhibit 2

(edited)

BH replied on 12/11/2018

Hi All,

I like the “Good Game” case from CaseMaster because it feels very real:

“Your client is a South Korean producer of Playbox, a next-gen video game console. Although the product was highly anticipated, the first year after its launch has ended at a loss. The client asks you how to turn it around.”

(The client’s objective in this case is to reach a 10% return on its initial investment of 700 million Korean won over the first 3 years after the launch.)

The client’s revenues after the 1st year are unknown because retail networks are yet to provide the sales data, but these can be estimated from a sales ratio defined by the industry experts: for every 3 game titles available for Playbox, the client is expected to sell 600 consoles and 2200 game copies.

As you estimate the revenues it becomes clear that to sell more consoles and game copies the client must offer more game titles in the first place.

However, it turns out that game developers won’t develop any NEW game titles because they consider Playbox a niche product that won't allow them to recoup their development costs.

Can you figure out the solution from here?

(Solution: migrate a bundle of existing game titles from game developers.

Here is the full case: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/8cea56_c9ea64439db84376a4bd6151edf91315.pdf)

Raul replied on 12/07/2018

This is a BCG case:

The client is a national supermarket chain that is facing a very difficult situation.
Low-price competitors like Wal*Mart, Costco, and Dollar General are stealing
share and eroding margins in the traditional grocery business. Therefore, other
departments within its stores, such as produce and deli, are becoming
increasingly important to our client’s financial health.

In particular, the client is concerned about their deli department, a $700M
business that has been reporting no profit growth over the last few years. The
deli department consists of two main business lines: 1) deli meats and 2)
prepared foods (sandwiches, fried chicken, etc.).

We have been asked to help the client understand why their deli profits are not
growing and what they need to do to turn things around

Case Study Information

Case Interview NumbersCase Interview CalculationCase Interview ApproachThere are three main questions that the interviewee needs to answer
Which part of the business is responsible for the lack of profit growth – deli meats, prepared foods, or both?

• Is the lack of profit growth caused by flat revenues, increasing costs, or both?

• What is causing the flat revenues or increasing costs (and what should the client do)?

Based on Exhibit 1, the interviewee will see that gross margins for both business lines are flat. Furthermore, deli meat sales have been basically flat while prepared foods sales have been growing at 10%.
The interviewee should recognize that the client’s deli meat and prepared food sales have been growing at about the category averages; therefore, revenues are not the main issue here.
Deli meat COGS have been more or less flat, mirroring sales. However, despite robust growth in prepared food sales, prepared food profits have been flat, implying deteriorating margins. At his point, ask the interviewee for some potential reasons for deteriorating margins (e.g., change in product/sales mix, rising material costs, rising labor costs). It is critical that the interviewee asks about changes in product mix, in which case the interviewer should inform him about the BBQ chicken wings and the “made to order” sandwiches. The interviewee should be suspicious at this point and ask to learn more about these products.

By doing a back of the envelope analysis of product profitability (based on data in Exhibit 2), the interviewee will find that BBQ wings have a 50% margin, indicating that they are not a problem. On the other hand, the interviewee will find that the client is losing a lot of money on the “made to order” sandwich concept.
The interviewee should then be asked for recommendations, which could include: 1) eliminating the “made to order” sandwich, 2) restricting the sandwich to busier stores or during busier times of the day (e.g., lunch hours only), 3) raising or lowering prices (to either increase profit per sale or units sold – will depend on demand elasticity), and/or 4) boost demand (through increased advertising, promotions, better merchandising, etc.). A good answer will also consider the second-order effects of eliminating the product or boosting sales (the effect on traffic in the deli and the overall store).

(edited)

Geoffrey replied on 12/06/2018

So the case that I really enjoyed working on was the Oliver Wyman full electrons ahead case. When you first start the case, you get the sense its a straightforward case. Your client has a product, the competition has a better one, how would you solve? Asking the "standard" set of questions will help you answer the case, but doesnt show your creativity.

Case Study information

The second half of the case gets really interesting and opens up to allow the candidate to take the rest of the interview in many different directions given your understanding of the product and the market.

Want to discuss insurance?

Want to discuss battery replacement?

Want to discuss partnerships?

Want to discuss complimentary products?

All of these are possible and just one of these topics can last the rest of the case. When I did this with my partner, we had a really enjoyable time talking through all the different things this one company could do.

Practicing the case:

So an electric car manufacturer is having sales problems, they are falling short of their predictions. why?

Profitability case: Lets identify the problem? Why is our product not selling as well?

Answer: you discuss the reasoning including pricing, model (as in what is offered in the product itself) and compare with competitors. You find that you are not competitive because your effective price point is higher than your competitors.

Part 2: is the deep drive i mentioned earlier, and relies on the candidate's answers to the previous question. The interviewer should probe for potential revenue streams that can be discussed.

Astrid replied on 12/07/2018

Hi everyone!

Thanks for participating! We love the cases so far!

Good news to all the other users who would still like to participate: We decided to extent the Case Competition a little longer! You have until next week Wednesday, December 12th to share your favorite case with us. The winner will be announced at 10:00 (Central European Time).

Good luck!

PrepLounge Community Management

PrepLounge Consulting Q&A Forum

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Serdar replied on 12/05/2018

My favourite case is After School Programming from Kellogg 2016 casebook. It is an interviewer-led case with a focus on non-profits.

Case Question:

- It is 2015, and our client offers after school programming focused on supporting at-risk youth through high school,
enabling them to enter and succeed in college.
- The client is trying to identify the best approach to meet its growth target. The client’s goals for expansion are to most
efficiently serve students at 7 new sites, while raising their national profile. We have been hired to help them vet
potential sites to maximize their social and financial impact.

Clarifying Information:

—‘At-risk’ youth are those who, due to
behavior or grades, are at risk of dropping
out of high school or have already done so
—The client operates local centers
attached to high schools with full time
staff
—The client offers tutoring and test prep
support to the youth with whom it works,
as well as connecting youth to internships
and career opportunities
—All centers are Massachusetts or
southern New Hampshire
—The client operates 8 sites with 2,500
youth served
—School districts and state agencies
reimburse the client for activities
—The client has a high national profile and
has received calls from high school
systems in Florida and California offering
to pay for the client to establish centers in
their districts; the client has declined these
offers to date

Case Questions for Interviewer:

Question 1: what are the client’s options for locating and for opening new sites,
and what are some considerations the client should consider in selecting among
these options?
Question 2: let’s look at the financial considerations, particularly at the effect of
additional sites on central costs. The client allocates central office costs to each
wholly owned site on a uniform basis, i.e. total central office costs / 8 = allocation
per site. The client wants to understand how expanding sites will affect the per
wholly owned site allocation of central costs. For this analysis, assume that
central costs don’t vary depending on the method selected for expansion. (Show
Exhibit 1)
Question 3: from a mission perspective, our client thinks that serving areas with a
high density of at-risk youth will best deliver its mission as well as raise its
national profile. As such, it would like to determine which geographic areas show
the most promise for mission fulfillment. They provided some data from
representative school districts for an initial analysis: (Show Exhibit 2)
Question 4: earlier, you listed some additional factors that might help the client
screen new locations. What do you think are the pros and cons of these
additional factors in each geographic area? How might this influence the client’s
choice of target geographies?
Question 5: let’s wrap up with a summary of your findings and a recommendation
to the client.

Case Conclusion:

- The case is designed to indicate that the client should focus on existing states, and perhaps on neighboring states.
The client should not consider expanding outside its existing geographic foot print in New England.
- The interviewee should note that the client benefits financially from scale, but that a financial analysis does not
indicate a geographic area for expansion. From a mission perspective, existing and neighboring geographies provide
the highest density of at-risk youth. New geographies in existing states are also promising from a mission
perspective. Thinking further about non-financial benefits from scale, as should be done in question 4, should also
indicates that growing within existing states or in neighboring states poses fewer risks for the client.

Phan replied on 12/06/2018

The company A has stagnant their revenue over the last 3 years (10% yoy) which is lower than the expectation of the board of director (15% - 20% yoy). Hence, The CEO decides to enter personal care market in country X in order to increase the revenue growing rate (reach 20% yoy).

However, the board of director still concern about this action whether entering this market can be an great opportunity to increase their revenue without hitting significantly to the bottom line of the company.

If it is an great opportunity, how can they enter successfully and grow their business in this market in the next 5 years ?

Vivian replied on 12/05/2018

Case: Our client is a famous milk powder seller in Germany, they now want to enter the Chinese market. But in China, there are some “Daigou” who live in German and buy a lot of product send back to China. The price is lower than the client's price in China.

1. What's the disadvantage of "Daigou" to our client?

2. What should our client do to set up their own brand in China?

Astrid replied on 12/12/2018

Hi everyone!

Thank you all for participating in our first Case Competition!

It is great to see that you are up to sharing your favourite cases with the community! That’s exactly the spirit we want on PrepLounge! :)

As promised, we are now announcing the winner based on the number of upvotes at 10:00 a.m. (Central European Time):

Congratulations, Linh! Your case got 9 upvotes! You will soon receive a message including your 6-week Premium Membership coupon!

Great job to everyone else for submitting your favorite case! We hope you enjoyed it. Perhaps you also found new case partners to practice your cases with?

If you want to have more Case Competitions on the Q&A, please let us know in the comments below. Feedback is always welcome!

Best of luck for the rest of your case prep and have a great day!

Astrid

PrepLounge Community Management

PrepLounge Consulting Q&A Forum

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