Recommendation time and structure

final recommendation
New answer on Jun 27, 2021
5 Answers
Anonymous A asked on Jun 19, 2021

1)How long is it acceptable to take before verbalizing your recommendation? 1 minute to jot down your notes? Do you get penalized if you take Longer?

2)Do you need to give more than 1 recommendation as in "I recommend the client does X for 1) 2) 3) reasons ..I also recommend the client does Z. 3)additionally should you give more than 1 risk or next steps? I hear McKinsey likes 2-3 recommendations, risks and next steps so was just wondering


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Content Creator
replied on Jun 20, 2021
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

  1. I would recommend 30 sec max, but sometimes the interviewer may request less or no time at all. So you should be ready to also provide it on the spot. There are no penalties if you require time
  2. You should provide a recommendation including all the relevant areas. So if the recommendation is structured in 2 points, you should present both. Same for the risks, present all the relevant ones (up to a max of 3)

As a general structure, you can follow the one below:

1) Repeat the objective. This will ensure you are answering to what is relevant for the case. Forgetting to repeat the objective is one of the most common mistakes candidates do in the conclusion and can lead to answer the wrong question. As an example:

  • Our goal was to understand (i) why profits are declining and (ii) how we could increase profits by XYZ”

2) Provide an answer-first solution. You don’t have to present everything you found out in the case at this stage, only the main conclusion and its supporting factor. If the conclusion is not clear 100% as you have not analyzed all the elements of your structure to derive a definite yes or no, you can provide a preliminary answer based on the elements you have identified.

  • After our initial analysis, we found out that profits are declining due to a decrease in revenues in division 1 and that, in order to increase profits, with the information we have so far it seems a good idea to enter Market A. This is based on the following reasons:

3) Provide risks / next steps suggestions. You should always have next steps/ risks in your conclusion. You can refer to the elements present in your structure that you did not have time to cover or to risks that emerged during the case:

  • As additional elements, we would like also to consider the following…[RISKS/NEXT STEPS]”



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Content Creator
replied on Jun 19, 2021
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous!

To answer your questions one by one:

1) Taking time to verbalize your recommendation

For practice purposes, I strongly recommend to train delivering your recommendations on the spot (i.e. taking max 5 seconds, that's always ok). In many interviews, the interviewer is just running out of time at the end and simply won't give you any additional time for structuring your thoughts, introducing the situation like "You are just meeting the CEO in the elevator/team room/..., what do you recommend?". In this situation also in reality you would not have any chance to jot down your notes for answering.

However, there is no penality for asking for time. In case you get it granted during your interviews, let's be happy about that and improve the quality of your answer. If not, you are still prepared based on your on-the-spot preparation described in the paragraph above. Hope that approach makes sense by now.

At the same time, needing extra time to collect your thoughts at the end of the case means that you lost sight of the big picture throughout the case (which is very easy to do indeed, no offense!). For that reason, also get accustomed to conciously summarizing the lessons learned and so-what  during the case after each major bucket/analysis. That will help you significantly to pull out a recommendation any time needed, even on the spot.

2) Additional recommendations

This really depends on the case objective and the analysis done during the case. If the data and analysis points in having multiple recommendations, than also voice those. If there is only one cohesive recommendation supported by data and your analysis, then go for one.

Including risks and next steps is definitely fine - some interviews love that, others don't really mind. So whenever in doubt, include the most important aspects (be it a single one, or even multiple ones).

Hope this helps - if so, please be so kind and give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button!


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Content Creator
replied on Jun 20, 2021
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Most importantly: you need to articulate your key points clearly and concisely. So, length of time is different per case.

That being said, you should "Carry" your Rec with you throughout your case so that you do not need to spend much time thinking of the recommendation. Ultimately, it should only take you 15-30 seconds to prepare the rec.

Remember, you may ask to prepare and the interview responds "sorry, the CEO is calling right now, you don't have time", so be prepared throughout the case with a recommendation!


  • Lead with the rec and be "strong" about it (normally just 1 rec unless the case has clearly identified multiple recommendations)
  • Use key supporting information to defend the recommendation


  • 2-3
  • Should relate to your recommendation and the general situation

Next Steps

  • 2-3
  • Should mitigate your risks
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Content Creator
replied on Jun 21, 2021
#1 rated McKinsey Coach | Top MBB Coach | 5 years @ McKinsey | Author of the 1% | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

1. I would recommend no longer than 30 seconds here for Bain and BCG

2. see Francesco's answer

Since you mention McKinsey at the end. Usually, there is no recommendation in McKinsey case interviews. since every question is almost like a mini case in itself.



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replied on Jun 27, 2021
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate
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Francesco gave the best answer


Content Creator
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching
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