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Taking too long to structure

Case Structure
Recent activity on Oct 05, 2018
3 Answers
2.4 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Oct 05, 2018

I've received feedback from my case partners that I take too long to walk through my structure. He says that "it is good but takes too much time". I tend to say what I'll look at, followed by why I'll look at it. For example, for market entry, I would say "I'd like to look at the market first, and determine the size and growth rates of this market. This would help me determine if it makes sense to enter the market in the first place. Next, ..."

How should I walk the interviewer through my structure? Note that I take less than 20s to come up with a structure (I come up with the main points) and I write the subpoints (size, growth rates, etc) as I walk the interviewer through it.

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replied on Oct 05, 2018
ex-Manager - Natural and challenging teacher - Taylor case solving, no framework


Once you understand how to build the right structure (which seems to be your case), the next step is to make you wording as sharp as possible to deliver your message quickly and clearly.

Reffering to your specific example you can easily save time by explaining from the begining what you're lookin for instead of saying first "I'll look at the market". So in this scenario I would simply say "I would first check if the market is attractive, by looking at its size, growth rates and competition structure"

Hope this helps



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replied on Oct 05, 2018
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews

I'd definitely take a lot longer than 20 seconds to draw my issue tree (up to 90 seconds is generally fine; I might be ok if you take 2 minutes and blow my socks off).

As for how long it take you to walk through the structure... who are your case partners? If candidate like youself, I wouldn't take their feedback as the gospel. Has a current/former consultant said that same thing? Now this is has more value already.

Walking through the structure / issue tree is supposed to help me (the interviewer) visualize how you are planning on addresssing the customer's problem. You start from the question, highlight the 2 or 3 or 4 main branches without going in detail (you go horizontal), then go back to each section and explain a little bit what sub-branches you plan on tacking there (you go vertical). Do you need to justify each of those sub-branches? Not really, at least not at length. It is good practice however to make a transition between each large branch, even if not terribly important in the grand scheme of things. Something like "once I have a good understanding of the industry, I will want to dive into the product side" will suffice.

How long should all of this take? Probably a minute, give or take. In most instances, we know how good the candidate will be after just hearing the issue tree walk through. Rush it, or jumble it, and we know you will struggle.

Hope this helps -


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replied on Oct 05, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


Based on my experience the major time-consuming factor is that candidates start providing the example why they need a particular piece of information or providing too much explanation. Like: "This would help me determine if it makes sense to enter the market in the first place".

Instead simply say: In the market, I would like to look at the size, growth rate, segmentation, regulation. In the company I would like to look at A,B,C,D

The major problem is that if you are providing the examples - you are stealing your own time and you will not be able to finish the case properly.


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Benjamin gave the best answer


ex-Manager - Natural and challenging teacher - Taylor case solving, no framework
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