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Textbook Strategy vs Case Studies Strategy

Case structure and frameworks
Recent activity on Jan 13, 2020
4 Answers
1.3 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Jan 10, 2020

Hello, I have a question about the strategy process.

I have learnt strategy from the text book - where there is a very clear structre for strategy development, from strategic intent => external analysis => internal analysis => summarise in SWOT => then look at strategic choices...

There is also a clear definition of Corporate Strategy vs Business strategy vs Funcitonal Strategy

I get confused because now I am looking at case studies for the first time, and they don't seem to take this approch or mention these topics? Are case studies just a small portion of this whole process?

Thank you very much for any help on this!

(edited)

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 13, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

I agree with you that, in theory, case studies are just a small portion of this whole process that you describe in your post.

However, the practice seems totally different. Hence, I would focus on preparing the 30 mins business cases, that are what you are going to have in the interviews, and be very to-the-point with them.

Good luck,

CLara

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Vlad
Expert
replied on Jan 11, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Forget about the textbooks. In real life, it's completely different. It all starts with an objective (5-year strategy? Acquisition strategy? IT strategy?)

The exact process depends on the objective but usually, it includes:

  1. Diagnostics
  2. Studying competitors, best practices, etc
  3. Developing strategic initiatives
  4. Developing a business case (estimating the impact of each initiative and required investments)
  5. Prioritizing the initiatives and developing a roadmap for implementing them

Strategic cases have a mix of those things and you have a long process of learning how to solve consulting cases. There are many sources of knowledge here (Preplounge website, coaches, books, etc)

Best

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Luca
Expert
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updated an answer on Jan 13, 2020
BCG |NASA | SDA Bocconi & Cattolica partner | GMAT expert 780/800 score | 200+ students coached

Hello,

Yes, you can consider the cases as a small portion of what you have learnt during your studies. Keep in mind that:

  • You have +/- 30 minutes to propose a solution for the case
  • There are a lot of people that haven't studied economics and do the interviews

I would stick to the case studies' books because that is what your interviewer is expecting from you. Anyway you have a big advantage having those concepts in your mind and you can personalize your frameworks and analyses according to them.

Hope it helps,
Luca

(edited)

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Antonello
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 10, 2020
McKinsey | NASA | top 10 FT MBA professor for consulting interviews | 6+ years of coaching

Hi,
what textbook are you talking about? The structure strictly depends on the problem type (profitability vs market entry vs M&A vs ...). To fix the theory regarding consulting business cases I strongly recommend to read Cosentino's Case in point or Cheng's Interview secrets.

Best,
Antonello

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Clara gave the best answer

Clara

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McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut
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