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Questions around profitability issue tree

Eugene asked on Apr 03, 2017 - 2 answers

Hi all + experts,

I have two nagging questions around the Profitability issue tree -

1) When splitting Revenue into Quantity Sold and Price, at which branch do I ask about segmentation (product line / customers / channels etc) since it affects one or both?

2) In general, if a case says overall industry revenue is growing at constant margins, can I cross out the Profitability branch since revenue and cost moving at the same pace? In other words, I should only worry if margins are negative or declining?




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Vlad replied on Apr 03, 2017
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School


1) You proactively ask in the beginning, even before drawing the structure (something like "What kind of products / revenue sources do we have) and then split the structure into price, qty, product mix. Distribution and customers I usually check within qty part

2) Not sure if I understand the question. Your company does not necessarily replicate industry trend, so you have to look at it separately

replied on Sep 10, 2018
Ex-McKinsey EM | Experienced interview coach (100s of sessions) | London Business School MBA

Regarding the first question, I would suggest that it depends if this is Interviewer or Candidate led case:

Interviewer-led: if you got any hint as to the potential segmentation of revenues (e.g., by distribution channel), when presenting your structure, you should first segment the revenues and then discuss the PxQ formula in each of the segments (as drivers might be different). If you have no ideas regarding an appropriate segmentation, after presenting the Revenues = PxQ, just mention that you would like to segment the information by geography, distribution channel, customer type or any other segments which are relevant to the company,

Candidate-led: you can just ask for the segmentation, unless provided up-front of course. Say something along the lines of: “on the revenue side, I’d like to breakdown the revenues by price and quantity sold for each of the relevant revenue segments. Do we have any information about how the company segments its revenues?”

Hope it helps!

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