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Should I answer an case interview question in two directions?

Case Interview
New answer on Jul 26, 2020
6 Answers
1.1 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Jul 23, 2020

Should I answer an case interview question in two directions? For example, I saw this at a casebook.

"Do you think that grocery retailers would be interested in pre-seasoned
chickens from XXX company?"

Sample answer:

Sample “YES” response:
 Labor Cost Reduction: Meat
department workers; don’t need to
spend time seasoning the chickens.
 Economies of Scale: Seasoning
centralization; lower cost.
 Product Consistency: Centrally
managed; able to spend more on R&D.
 Sample “No” response:
 Loss of Differentiation: Grocery chains
differentiate by value-added .
 Attune to Local Needs: Likely to be
better at gauging consumer tastes.
 Increases Inventory & SKUs.

Should I answer both direction at a case interview or I should ONLY go for one direction?

Overview of answers

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Best answer
Sidi
Expert
replied on Jul 23, 2020
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi!

Please choose ONE direction. The purpose of the question is whether you are able to form a clear view/opinion based on a reasonable argument. Please do NOT give an answer like "One the one hand yes, because blablabla, but on the other hand you could also say no because of blablabla..."

cheers, Sidi

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Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Jul 24, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

I assume you are talking about questions in the case and not the final recommendation (which would always have one direction anyway).

If you don’t have any data, the best way to proceed on a question like the one you mentioned is to state a hypothesis on one direction only and ask for data. Specifically:

  1. State a hypothesis on one of the options (eg “My hypothesis here is that they would be interested”)
  2. State what you would need to verify the hypothesis (eg “To verify this, I would need to control X, Y and Z – this will tell me if this hypothesis is correct”)
  3. Ask for the information needed (“I would like to start investigating X, do we have any information on that?”)

If you have data, you should instead use them to derive the best answer (still choosing one direction).

Best,

Francesco

(edited)

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 26, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

You absolutely can only go in one direction!

To choose, pick the one that you think is the most defendable and has the best arguments supporting.

Oftentimes, there is no right answer - you just have to have sound logic, structured thinking, and clear communication!

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Anonymous replied on Jul 23, 2020

Dear A,

To keep you thoughts, hypothesis and arguments clear, I would strongly recommend you to follow one direction.

Best,
André

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7
Axel
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jul 24, 2020
Bain Consultant | Interviewer for 3 years at Bain |Passionate about coaching |I will make you a case interview Rockstar

If you are a client and you pay lots of money for a consultant you will want a clear, actionable recommendation. Not somebody that comes in and gives an unclear answer depending on the circumstances.

From this perspective, please provide a clear recommendation and one direction forward.

-A

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Anonymous replied on Jul 23, 2020

Hi Anonymous

No. It will take too long and shows some indecision on your part even though there is never a single right way to answer a case question

Best

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