Indeed, in many cases, you can't provide a definite answer. Consultants may be testing several things:
- Are you comfortable enough with providing preliminary recommendations based on limited data? (Imagine a CEO whom you met in the elevator and who wants to know the preliminary findings)
- Will you make a mistake of providing a recommendation with a high level of certainty without having a proper supporting data?
Imagine a case when you have to make a decision whether a PE fund should acquire a company. You make a proper structure (Market, Competitors, Company, Feasibility of Exit) and in 25 min of a case, you've managed only to go through the Market and Competitors branches of the analysis. What will be your recommendation?
Here is how you should approach this problem:
- You start with an objective ("Our objective was to understand whether we should by this company")
- You provide a preliminary recommendation highlighting the uncertainty ("According to the limited data we have so far, our preliminary recommendation is to buy this company and there are three reasons for that...")
- You provide the reasons ("First of all the market is big at X and growing at Y, Secondly the competition is fragmented with the target company having x% of the market. Thirdly...")
- You Mention what pieces of data you need to provide a full recommendation ("Additionally, to come up with a recommendation I would like to look at the company financials, key capabilities and...")