Building industry knowledge to solve cases

approaching a case case structure Case structure and frameworks Case Structuring industries industry dynamics Structure
New answer on Feb 22, 2021
8 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Dec 30, 2020

Hi,

I've noticed while practing for cases that my frameworks are stronger and more insightful when dealing with an industry which I am more familiar with, while I struggle and revert to standard, boring frameworks when in less familiar industries.

I was wondering whether there were particulary useful ways of building knowledge of unfamiliar industries so that I can improve my frameworks in these case problems? I'm thinking in terms of revenue and cost structures, margins, risks, competition, etc. I've gone through industry overviews from casebooks which have been useful but I'm looking to expand on that.

Thanks!

(edited)

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Ian
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replied on Dec 30, 2020
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

You're 100% right...this knowledge seriously helps with taking your casing to the next level..

I have a template, so feel free to reach out if interested!

Some key tips:

  1. List all the major industries that you'll need to learn
  2. Create a template that you can fill in with research. This would include things like
    1. Industry summary
    2. Total market size
    3. Major players
    4. Cost drivers
    5. Revenue drivers
    6. Major trends
    7. etc.
  3. Fill in the template for each industry one by one. Use google to find the relevant information and piece it together. Over time, you'll get more and more efficient as you see which sites are good for what

Definitely a good idea to partner with someone equal to you! You can each research an industry and present it to each other.

Good luck!

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Antonello
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replied on Dec 30, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi,

I have some (free) resources available for you.

Reach out to me if you'd like to know more.

Best,

Antonello

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Anonymous B on Aug 19, 2021

Hi Antonello, can you share the resources with me ?

(edited)

Adi
CoachingPlus Expert
Content Creator
replied on Dec 30, 2020
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Hey, unless you are going for a specific experienced hire role, generally they dont expect you to have detailed prior knowledge of an industry & function. The idea is to test your structured problem solving in unknown scenarios. So dont worry about it. While reading and getting a generic overview of industries is good, focus on getting comfortable with solving cases. Dont get biased if you come across a familiar industry but really focus on being 100% comfortable with your systematic approach to solve the case.

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Clara
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replied on Dec 31, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

TBH, I don´t fully agree. Once you know how to solve cases, you are able to solve them regardless of the industry. It´s the how, not the what.

Furthermore, cases are supposed to be fair. Hence, it does not make sense that someone with background in a particularl industry has advantage vs. someone without.

Best,

Clara

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Gaurav
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replied on Dec 30, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi there,

it makes sense that it's easier to think within the industry that you're familiar with. Ususally though, no industry knowledge is expected from you during the case part of the interview.

I actually think that practicing case solving and - what's most important - getting some feedback from more experienced people - can help you broaden your perspective and get accustomed to different industries.

I recently uploaded two new cases, maybe you'll find them useful:

Beginner level:
https://www.preplounge.com/en/admin/cases.php?action=preview&id=225

Intermediate level:
https://www.preplounge.com/en/admin/cases.php?action=preview&id=226

Hope it helps, don't hesitate to DM me if you have any questions.

Cheers,

GB

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Udayan
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updated an answer on Dec 30, 2020
Top rated MBB coach with many offers /Ex McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience/Real cases

The point of cases is to be able to apply your structure across industries. However I definitely agree that prior knowledge can be a huge advantage especially as it builds confidence during the case. The quickest thing to do would be to read industry primers (for example I have written one on the pharma industry - https://www.preplounge.com/en/shop/guides-8/the-us-pharmaceutical-industry-an-in-depth-overview-57). Other than the other solutions such as reading business publications etc. can also be helpful.

You can usually find these online and it is helpful if you are struggling with 1 or 2 industries in particular and are concerned they might come up in an interview.

Best,

Udayan

(edited)

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Iman
Expert
replied on Dec 30, 2020
BCG | Strategy& |Roland Berger | Interviewed >100 candidates in formal hiring process

Hi,

It is never expected to have an industry knowledge. However, you do expected to be able to initiate a discussion about a topic you are not familiar and ask the right questions.

Having said that, reading business publications, journals and talk with people in the relevant industry might help.

Best,
iman

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Raj
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 22, 2021
Strategy&| ex-interviewer | 78+ coached |95% success @ MBB, S&, RB, LEK, OW, Big4 [SUCCESS STORIES BELOW]| engineer

Feel free to DM me and I can share some resources with frameworks to use across sectors

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Ian gave the best answer

Ian

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