Cookie and Privacy Settings

This website uses cookies to enable essential functions like the user login and sessions. We also use cookies and third-party tools to improve your surfing experience on preplounge.com. You can choose to activate only essential cookies or all cookies. You can always change your preference in the cookie and privacy settings. This link can also be found in the footer of the site. If you need more information, please visit our privacy policy.

Data processing in the USA: By clicking on "I accept", you also consent, in accordance with article 49 paragraph 1 sentence 1 lit. GDPR, to your data being processed in the USA (by Google LLC, Facebook Inc., LinkedIn Inc., Stripe, Paypal).

Manage settings individually I accept
expert
Expert with best answer

Ian

100% Recommendation Rate

233 Meetings

20,227 Q&A Upvotes

USD 289 / Coaching

3

Stating a hypothesis

Stating a hypothesis feels counterintuitive for beginners like myself. It just sounds so unnatural to say "my hypothesis is..."; is there another way to state it? Is there a balance between stating a hypothesis and making it seem more natural and therefore, fitting in a conversation?

Or do I just build my hypothesis-stating muscle and do it over and over again so it sounds more natural? :D

Thanks in advance!

Stating a hypothesis feels counterintuitive for beginners like myself. It just sounds so unnatural to say "my hypothesis is..."; is there another way to state it? Is there a balance between stating a hypothesis and making it seem more natural and therefore, fitting in a conversation?

Or do I just build my hypothesis-stating muscle and do it over and over again so it sounds more natural? :D

Thanks in advance!

3 answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best Answer
Book a coaching with Ian

100% Recommendation Rate

233 Meetings

20,227 Q&A Upvotes

USD 289 / Coaching

Honestly, the hypothesis -led approach is outdated.

Rather, you need to have a hypothesES-driven or, rather, and objective-driven approach. Your entire framework is a set of hypotheses and views as to how to solve a problem.

In my view, the more natural the better. I tend to say things like "My thinking here is x". or "Based on what I know about x and y, I think this'll likely happen" or "My inclination is x".

Please get away from saying any generic, i.e. hypothesis, framework, buckets, clarifying questions, etc.!

This Q&A Describes Better Hypothesis Thinking

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/at-what-point-in-the-case-does-the-interviewee-state-hypothesis-9356

Your instinct to wait until you get further informaiton is correct. However, remember that your framework is essentially a set of hypotheses. That's why I prefer to call this "hypotheses-drive approach" or "objective-driven approach"

You don't need to state it explicitly, but remember that 1) You need to always be thinking about one and 2) You need to be demonstrating your drive towards one.

Also, remember that a hypothesis isn't necessarily "I believe x is the cause". Be better hypothesis is "If we can see what's happening with A, and A is going up, and then we look into B and B is big, then x is likely the case".

A hypothesis is much more about what questions do I need to ask/answer and how, in order to see what's happening.

Another way of viewing it:

Your framework is your structure for approaching the problem. It consits of a few main areas you'd like to look at. Inherent in your framework is a view that "If I answer A, B, and C, then we have an answer"

So, for market entry:

1) If the market is big, and it's growing, then we still want to considering entering

2) If #1 = yes, then let's see if it's attractive...can we win there? Is our product good/better than our competition's? Etc. If yes, let's definitely consider entering.

3) If #1 and #2 = yes, then, when we do enter, are we sure we can win? I.e. do we have the right plans. Will implementation actually pan out? Do we have the expertise, capital, etc.? In other words, if #2 is the thearectical, #3 is the reality.

Then, your summary becomes "I believe we should enter the market, if we can prove it's a good market, the it's attractive to us specifically, and that we will win it".

^Now this is a hypothesis :)

Read these 2 Q&As for some great context + discussion:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/interviewer-led-case-interview-hyposthesis-and-ideas-7390

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/forming-a-hypothesis-case-in-point-vs-victor-cheng-7311

Hope this helps! This is a tricky topic that's difficult to properly answer in writting...if you want a more thorough explanation, and training in the mindset shift required here, don't hesitate

Honestly, the hypothesis -led approach is outdated.

Rather, you need to have a hypothesES-driven or, rather, and objective-driven approach. Your entire framework is a set of hypotheses and views as to how to solve a problem.

In my view, the more natural the better. I tend to say things like "My thinking here is x". or "Based on what I know about x and y, I think this'll likely happen" or "My inclination is x".

Please get away from saying any generic, i.e. hypothesis, framework, buckets, clarifying questions, etc.!

This Q&A Describes Better Hypothesis Thinking

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/at-what-point-in-the-case-does-the-interviewee-state-hypothesis-9356

Your instinct to wait until you get further informaiton is correct. However, remember that your framework is essentially a set of hypotheses. That's why I prefer to call this "hypotheses-drive approach" or "objective-driven approach"

You don't need to state it explicitly, but remember that 1) You need to always be thinking about one and 2) You need to be demonstrating your drive towards one.

Also, remember that a hypothesis isn't necessarily "I believe x is the cause". Be better hypothesis is "If we can see what's happening with A, and A is going up, and then we look into B and B is big, then x is likely the case".

A hypothesis is much more about what questions do I need to ask/answer and how, in order to see what's happening.

Another way of viewing it:

Your framework is your structure for approaching the problem. It consits of a few main areas you'd like to look at. Inherent in your framework is a view that "If I answer A, B, and C, then we have an answer"

So, for market entry:

1) If the market is big, and it's growing, then we still want to considering entering

2) If #1 = yes, then let's see if it's attractive...can we win there? Is our product good/better than our competition's? Etc. If yes, let's definitely consider entering.

3) If #1 and #2 = yes, then, when we do enter, are we sure we can win? I.e. do we have the right plans. Will implementation actually pan out? Do we have the expertise, capital, etc.? In other words, if #2 is the thearectical, #3 is the reality.

Then, your summary becomes "I believe we should enter the market, if we can prove it's a good market, the it's attractive to us specifically, and that we will win it".

^Now this is a hypothesis :)

Read these 2 Q&As for some great context + discussion:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/interviewer-led-case-interview-hyposthesis-and-ideas-7390

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/forming-a-hypothesis-case-in-point-vs-victor-cheng-7311

Hope this helps! This is a tricky topic that's difficult to properly answer in writting...if you want a more thorough explanation, and training in the mindset shift required here, don't hesitate

(edited)

Book a coaching with Clara

100% Recommendation Rate

55 Meetings

14,408 Q&A Upvotes

USD 229 / Coaching

Hello!

I think it´s a great point to bring up, not only for begginers.

Hypothesis can be dangerous, since some people interpret this as:

"I need to start the case stating my hypothesis for this and then build the tree to prove it"

However, many cases are precisely a constant open quesiton, and your role as a consultant is not to make the hypothesis but to make the right questions, whose answers would lead to the solution.

For instance, don´t start a break-even case with a hypothesis! Pose it as "these are the things that I would look into, and then, if revenues in timeline X were higher than costs, we would have the outcome, or viceversa"

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Hello!

I think it´s a great point to bring up, not only for begginers.

Hypothesis can be dangerous, since some people interpret this as:

"I need to start the case stating my hypothesis for this and then build the tree to prove it"

However, many cases are precisely a constant open quesiton, and your role as a consultant is not to make the hypothesis but to make the right questions, whose answers would lead to the solution.

For instance, don´t start a break-even case with a hypothesis! Pose it as "these are the things that I would look into, and then, if revenues in timeline X were higher than costs, we would have the outcome, or viceversa"

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Book a coaching with Raj

100% Recommendation Rate

52 Meetings

866 Q&A Upvotes

USD 169 / Coaching

Part of this is practice makes perfect. As you complete more cases, you'll be more comfortable trying to crack the case in a hypothesis-first manner. This is a crucial skill when working on a real engagement as a consultant, else one can keep digging and digging and end up digesting information without really answering the core question.

What I'd recommend is at the start of the case think of 3/4 hypotheses of what could be happening. It's perfectly fine to tell the interviewer that "I have a few hypotheses of what could be happening and would like to explore each individually". You don't necessarily have to be some mechanistic as to repeat "my hypothesis is..." each time

Part of this is practice makes perfect. As you complete more cases, you'll be more comfortable trying to crack the case in a hypothesis-first manner. This is a crucial skill when working on a real engagement as a consultant, else one can keep digging and digging and end up digesting information without really answering the core question.

What I'd recommend is at the start of the case think of 3/4 hypotheses of what could be happening. It's perfectly fine to tell the interviewer that "I have a few hypotheses of what could be happening and would like to explore each individually". You don't necessarily have to be some mechanistic as to repeat "my hypothesis is..." each time

Related case(s)

MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education

Solved 16.4k times
MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education Our client is SmartBridge, a nonprofit educational institution offering face-to-face tutoring services. The client operates in the US. The mission of SmartBridge is to help as many students as possible to complete studies and prevent that they drop from the school system, in particular in disadvantaged areas. The client is considering starting operations for its services in the Chicago area. They hired us to understand if that makes sense. Due to the nonprofit regulation, SmartBridge should operate on its own in the market, without any partnership. How would you help our client?
4.6 5 569
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

Our client is SmartBridge, a nonprofit educational institution offering face-to-face tutoring services. The client operates in the US. The mission of SmartBridge is to help as many students as possible to complete studies and prevent that they drop from the school system, in particular in disadvant ... Open whole case

Hot Wheels

Solved 5.2k times
Hot Wheels Problem definition: Our client is Korean Car Parts (KCP), a multi-national original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of car parts based in Korea. They've recently seen a decline in profits and have brought us in to understand how to address this falling profitability.
4.6 5 289
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

Problem definition: Our client is Korean Car Parts (KCP), a multi-national original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of car parts based in Korea. They've recently seen a decline in profits and have brought us in to understand how to address this falling profitability. Open whole case

Chinese Chess - Airline Business During COVID-19

Solved 3.7k times
Chinese Chess - Airline Business During COVID-19 Sky China, a government-backed Chinese airline, has recently seen profits plummet due to COVID-19. Profits are down 80% in the months of February and March, but are showing early signs of a rebound in April.  They've brought you in to first investigate what can be done immediatedly to prevent hemorrhaging cash and surive in the short-term. They are also looking to see how the current situation can be viewed as an opportunity, and what can be done to prepare for the future. 
4.3 5 108
| Rating: (4.3 / 5.0)

Sky China, a government-backed Chinese airline, has recently seen profits plummet due to COVID-19. Profits are down 80% in the months of February and March, but are showing early signs of a rebound in April. They've brought you in to first investigate what can be done immediatedly to prevent hemor ... Open whole case

McKinsey Digital / BCG Platinion: Oil & Gas Upstream Technology

Solved 3.4k times
McKinsey Digital / BCG Platinion: Oil & Gas Upstream Technology [PLEASE NOTE: This is a technically difficult case and should only be completed by those coming in as a Technology specialist, i.e. recruiting for McKinsey Digital, BCG Platinion, etc.] Our client is a multinational oil and gas company. While they are vertically integrated and have upstream, midstream, and downstream divisions, they have recently been experiencing competitivity issues in the upstream gas division, which brings in $1B in profits annually. Our client’s upstream division has offices in Australia and Indonesia. Their work is highly dependent on their IT systems, as they have to constantly monitor wells and pipes (pressure, hydrocarbon count, fluid makeup, etc.) The upstream division has two large legacy IT systems that are primarily used for downstream operations but have been modified for upstream purposes. These systems are managed by a central team in the US which is responsible for all IT issues across the business. They triage issues/enhancements and then manage development teams in India and Finland who complete the work.
4.5 5 66
| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0)

[PLEASE NOTE: This is a technically difficult case and should only be completed by those coming in as a Technology specialist, i.e. recruiting for McKinsey Digital, BCG Platinion, etc.] Our client is a multinational oil and gas company. While they are vertically integrated and have upstream, midstr ... Open whole case

Coronavirus Times - COVID-19 Brainteaser

Solved 3.2k times
Coronavirus Times - COVID-19 Brainteaser You and your family are faced with a challenging set of decisions. Due to coronavirus, your partner has taken a 20% paycut and you are worried you may lose your job. In addition, while daycare is still open, you are worried that sending your two children there will increase the risk of them bringing the virus back to your house, where your elderly grandparents are also staying. How would you go about thinking about this problem, and what would you recommend?
4.6 5 36
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)
Difficulty: Beginner | Style: Brain Teaser | Topics: Brain teaser

You and your family are faced with a challenging set of decisions. Due to coronavirus, your partner has taken a 20% paycut and you are worried you may lose your job. In addition, while daycare is still open, you are worried that sending your two children there will increase the risk of them bringing ... Open whole case