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
2

Struggling with the suitability of an hypothesis driven approach in some particular cases

Dear follow case enthousiast,

I have difficulties with the hypothesis approach in some perticular cases, I do understand how to have an hypothesis approach on a profitability framework (i.e. my hypothesis is that revenue a driving a decline in profit, that you then try to disprove).

But in some case where the task is more open (e.g. case with "how would you"), I find it difficult to lay out an hypothesis. For example, what would be you approach in the following case: "How would advise a wealthy philanthropist in setting up a NGO"? and assuming the question is more centered about 2 areas 1) where and for what action to invest money (e.g. eduaciton in SE-Asia, Access to basic health in sub-saharan countries) 2) how to get financial and non financial support. For me a natural approach/issue tree would me more to have a list of qualitative factors and somehow weight them to get to a recommendation. However, I'm curioius to hear how you would solve this question using an hypothesis approach.

Thanks,
Ben

Dear follow case enthousiast,

I have difficulties with the hypothesis approach in some perticular cases, I do understand how to have an hypothesis approach on a profitability framework (i.e. my hypothesis is that revenue a driving a decline in profit, that you then try to disprove).

But in some case where the task is more open (e.g. case with "how would you"), I find it difficult to lay out an hypothesis. For example, what would be you approach in the following case: "How would advise a wealthy philanthropist in setting up a NGO"? and assuming the question is more centered about 2 areas 1) where and for what action to invest money (e.g. eduaciton in SE-Asia, Access to basic health in sub-saharan countries) 2) how to get financial and non financial support. For me a natural approach/issue tree would me more to have a list of qualitative factors and somehow weight them to get to a recommendation. However, I'm curioius to hear how you would solve this question using an hypothesis approach.

Thanks,
Ben

(edited)

2 answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best Answer

Dear Ben,

As you mentioned, in some cases you can easily communicate your hypothesis and which ones are you prioritizing in your analysis, after you set your initial structure. However, there are cases (like the NGO example you wrote) in which the hypothesis are indirectly mentioned in the structure.

For instance, following your example, imagine that you already ask the relevant question to understand about the objective, the philanthropist profile, etc. and the first criterium in your structure is "Selection of the country/city". You would probably have branches like investment/budget, impact on the population, impact on the economy, expertise, etc.

So you start by guiding the interviewer "To help the philanthropist I would analyze X criteria 1) Selection of the country/city 2) .. 3) ... 4) ... 5).... In the first one, I would analyze where the NGO can have the biggest impact considering 4 factors: 1) Amount of investment required 2) Impact on the population (e.g. literacy, death rate, nutrition in children, etc.) 3) Impact on the economy (jobs generated, corruption, delinquency, etc.) 4) How much expertise does the philanthropist have to solve this problem. (AND HERE COMES YOUR HYPOTHESIS). I think that a potential location for the highest impact is Poverty in South America, because X,Y,Z. However, I would like to probe this hypothesis with hard data. In the second one ......"

To sum up, in this type of cases the hypothesis are embedded in the structure and throught the case and is not as straightforward as profitability cases, turnaround cases, or any type of cases in which you are pinpointing a problem.

Regards,

Hugo

Dear Ben,

As you mentioned, in some cases you can easily communicate your hypothesis and which ones are you prioritizing in your analysis, after you set your initial structure. However, there are cases (like the NGO example you wrote) in which the hypothesis are indirectly mentioned in the structure.

For instance, following your example, imagine that you already ask the relevant question to understand about the objective, the philanthropist profile, etc. and the first criterium in your structure is "Selection of the country/city". You would probably have branches like investment/budget, impact on the population, impact on the economy, expertise, etc.

So you start by guiding the interviewer "To help the philanthropist I would analyze X criteria 1) Selection of the country/city 2) .. 3) ... 4) ... 5).... In the first one, I would analyze where the NGO can have the biggest impact considering 4 factors: 1) Amount of investment required 2) Impact on the population (e.g. literacy, death rate, nutrition in children, etc.) 3) Impact on the economy (jobs generated, corruption, delinquency, etc.) 4) How much expertise does the philanthropist have to solve this problem. (AND HERE COMES YOUR HYPOTHESIS). I think that a potential location for the highest impact is Poverty in South America, because X,Y,Z. However, I would like to probe this hypothesis with hard data. In the second one ......"

To sum up, in this type of cases the hypothesis are embedded in the structure and throught the case and is not as straightforward as profitability cases, turnaround cases, or any type of cases in which you are pinpointing a problem.

Regards,

Hugo

Book a coaching with Francesco

100% Recommendation Rate

3,044 Meetings

7,689 Q&A Upvotes

USD 429 / Coaching

Hi Ben,

some cases may indeed appear difficult to structure in ways different from a qualitative list. Here are my suggestions to identify a structure that could potentially work for cases of this type where you could formulate a hypothesis, using the NGO example:

  1. Clarify the objective. What is our specific goal in terms of setting the NGO? Do we want to reach a certain average income for a certain number of individuals? Or maybe literacy level?
  2. Identify available options. Do we have a short list of countries/areas to cover and/or of fundraising options? If not, based on the objective, you will need to brainstorm available options.
  3. Identify the variables the objective would depend on and you can have an impact on. In case you are looking for average income, you could look at employment level; in case you look at literacy, number of teachers; etc.
  4. Formulate a hypothesis on the best option.
  5. Analyse the expected outcome of each option in terms of the variables you could have an impact on, in order to verify your hypothesis. Given a certain amount of investment, how much would employment, and therefore average income, grow in South Asia compared to Africa?

As usual, the hypothesis step could be useful, but not strictly necessary to reach the right conclusion, as you would always have to double check the actual data at the end.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

Hi Ben,

some cases may indeed appear difficult to structure in ways different from a qualitative list. Here are my suggestions to identify a structure that could potentially work for cases of this type where you could formulate a hypothesis, using the NGO example:

  1. Clarify the objective. What is our specific goal in terms of setting the NGO? Do we want to reach a certain average income for a certain number of individuals? Or maybe literacy level?
  2. Identify available options. Do we have a short list of countries/areas to cover and/or of fundraising options? If not, based on the objective, you will need to brainstorm available options.
  3. Identify the variables the objective would depend on and you can have an impact on. In case you are looking for average income, you could look at employment level; in case you look at literacy, number of teachers; etc.
  4. Formulate a hypothesis on the best option.
  5. Analyse the expected outcome of each option in terms of the variables you could have an impact on, in order to verify your hypothesis. Given a certain amount of investment, how much would employment, and therefore average income, grow in South Asia compared to Africa?

As usual, the hypothesis step could be useful, but not strictly necessary to reach the right conclusion, as you would always have to double check the actual data at the end.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

Related BootCamp article(s)

Getting Up to Speed

In order to repeatedly demonstrate prerequisite skills under the pressure of a real case interview, you need to learn the basics and practice cases.

1 Q&A

Case Studies

The case study is the most important element of the case interview, which you'll have to nail in order to get into strategic consulting. Here you can learn the specific skills and concepts necessary to solve them.

1 Q&A

Focusing on The Core: Mock Interviews

It is to practice as many cases as possible - both as interviewee and as interviewee. Here are a couple of guidelines to help you get started

Related case(s)

MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education

Solved 9.3k 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 5 375
| 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

Espresso, Whatelse?

Solved 6.7k times
Espresso, Whatelse? Espresso Whatelse is an Italian company that produces coffee and espresso machines since 1908. It is the Italian market leader and has a strong presence overall in Europe. In 2019, Espresso Whatelse has increased its revenues but it has seen declining profit margin. Your client wants to understand the root causes of this 2019 trend and how to increase its profit margin again.  
4.6 5 340
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

Espresso Whatelse is an Italian company that produces coffee and espresso machines since 1908. It is the Italian market leader and has a strong presence overall in Europe. In 2019, Espresso Whatelse has increased its revenues but it has seen declining profit margin. Your client wants to understand ... Open whole case

Coronavirus Times - COVID-19 Brainteaser

Solved 1.9k 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?
4.5 5 34
| Rating: (4.5 / 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

Chinese Chess - Airline Business During COVID-19

Solved 1.8k 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. 
4.4 5 52
| Rating: (4.4 / 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 1.5k 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.
4.6 5 35
| Rating: (4.6 / 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