Public sector cases

Public Sector
New answer on Feb 27, 2020
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Anonymous A asked on Jun 21, 2019

I have been thinking about how to structure a public case, but feel a little lost when it comes to a finding for a particular structure.

Thanks in advance

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Content Creator
replied on Jun 21, 2019
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep


You're struggling because a specific structure doesn't exist for a public case, just like it doesn't exist for an oil & gas case or a retail case.

Think of public/NGO cases as industries, not case types! So, figure out what type of case it is from the prompt (Vlad provides some good examples), and then the lens through which you qualify your framework will be NGO (i.e. cost breakdowns, difficulties, etc.).

A public case could be operations, market entry, profitability, etc. etc. Always clarify the organisation's main objective as it adds to the generally "pure profit" lens through which most other industries would be viewed. However, don't forget, efficiency/profitability still matters (in that running the NGO well means it can meet its objectives better)

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Content Creator
replied on Jun 21, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


These types of cases are actually pretty traditional, especially for McKinsey. The reason why people think that they are rare is that the casebooks (that are in general not a good source of cases) do not have enough of them.

Feel free to message me if you need help with these cases. I usually give a homework of 10 cases and then we go through them together.

To provide a bit of structure, there are several types of non-profit cases:

  1. Factors influencing the price (What are the factors influencing the price of oil? Factors influencing the price of real estate?)
  2. Macroeconomic cases (How will you improve life expectancy in a particular city? How will you decrease the unemployment?)
  3. Public sector non-profits (Increasing the revenues of a museum; increasing the revenues from tourism in a city)
  4. Redesigning the processes (How will you develop a new anti-monopoly regulation?)
  5. Non-profit investments (A billionaire is building a new school. What are the factors to look at?)

One particular piece of advice - don't forget to ask the clarifying questions:

  1. Could you please clarify the model / business model? E.g. if a billionaire is building a new school, is it a school for talented kids, rich kids or mass segment? Is it going to generate revenues?
  2. What are the main criteria for success? Is it NPV, ROI, share talented kids entering the top Universities?


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Content Creator
replied on Feb 27, 2020
BCG |NASA |20+ interviews with 100% success rate| 120+ students coached |GMAT expert 780/800 score


The public sector cases are not completely different from standard cases. The critical point is to clearly identify the objective of your client that could be really different from standard cases (often non-monetary). You should stress this part, asking for clear definition and target. For example "To improve the Healthcare system" could be transformed in completely different analyses (do we want to increase the quality of our system?Or do we want to make it more accessible for everyone?Or do we want to reduce the waiting time for a medical test?)

Once that you know your goal, you can start your analyses like in a standard business case. Don't forget that even if you are not in a standard P&L case, you will probably have a budget for your project. This means that you have to consider what are the revenues and the costs in a specific time horizon, otherwise you don't know if your project is feasible or not.

The specific "public case" parts that you should consider to add to your standard framework are:

  • Potential partnerships with private companies
  • Public value of your project
  • Alternative solutions to address the same problem
  • Political landscape and public opinion

Hope it helps,

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Ian gave the best answer


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BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep
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