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Shall I lay out all the structure at the beginning of a candidate-led case?

Riccardo asked on Jan 07, 2019
Preparing for first round interview with Bain in March 2019

Hello,

What is the best strategy when starting a candidate led -case? Shall I come up with the full structure and subpoints as well as explaining why I want to look for those from the very beginning (like interview-led)? Or is it ok to just look at one initial part and then develop a framework step-by step?
Any reccomandation on the topic in how to start a candidate- led case

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Sidi
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replied on Jan 07, 2019
McKinsey Engagement Manager & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 90+ candidates secure MBB offers
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Hi Riccardo,

it's irrelevant whether interviewee-led or not! A structure to approach a case should always be rooted in the actual question that you need to address. From there, and from the underlying objective of the client (which you clarify BEFORE starting with your structure), you should define the criterion to answer this question, and build a corresponding value driver tree with branches and sub branches. All the elements that you might want to look into (market structure, company operations/capabilities, optimization levers, etc.) should be mapped to the different sub branches of your value driver tree. This is true, regardless of whether you are looking at a PE/M&A scenario, or market entry, or capacity expansion, or new product launch, etc. etc.

The crucial point is that, thereby, you create a rigorous thinking frame which organizes all relevant elements into a structure by which you can link the analysis of every element back to the core question you need to answer by means of logic.

Unfortunately, no case books are revealing this to candidates, creating the illusion to candidates that "learning frameworks" is an acceptable approach towards cases.

Cheers, Sidi

Vlad replied on Jan 07, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School
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Hi,

It absolutely doesn't matter who leads the case - you should have the same approach to stating the case

Several things that are important:

  1. You ask clarifying questions before approaching the structure since you want to make your structure more relevant for the case and have a targeted approach
  2. You present the structure but DON'T explain why you are looking at the certain subpoints - just provide a list of them. Imagine: you have 4 buckets in your structure * 4-6 subpoints each * 10-20 seconds to explain each = you are stealing so much time that you could spend on solving the case. I've seen so many candidates explaining every single bullet of their structure by providing irrelevant examples and waisting their time

Best

Guennael
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replied on Jan 07, 2019
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tl;dr: yes!

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