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The most efficient way to prepare for brainstorming of ideas

Anonymous A

Hi, colleagues!

What do you think the most efficient way to prepare for brainstorming of ideas on different industries? I think I could make up the list of all industries, read McKinsey Quarterly on the trends of each industries, write them down and revise every day. Is it a good way to prepare for 'creativity' questions? For example, i failed the last case on banking I was not able to provide the interviewer with the exhaustive list of creative ideas on making credit cards successful since I am not quite familiar with the banking industry.

Thank you!

Vlad replied on 08/07/2017
McKinsey / Accenture / More than 300 real MBB cases / Collected all Big 3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Hi,

Here is how you should answer these questions:

1) Ask an interview for a minute to think

2) Think of several buckets of ideas (e.g. scope / value proposition). Remember to think as big as possible

3) Narrow down to each bucket and generate as much ideas as possible (e.g. scope: vertical growth, horizontal growth, new products. Value proposition: additional services, improved quality, etc.)

4) Present the structure (buckets) and then your ideas

Creativity is in direct correlation with you business judgment. Business judjement is directly related to industry knowledge. Focus on the most common industries in the following priority (sorted by probability of geting a case): 1-retail and CPG; 2-airlines; 3-Telecom; 4-banking; 5-natural resources; 6-tech

There are several sources of info to develop industry knowledge:

1) Cases - you simply solve 50-70 cases and get a broad knowledge of different industries, common pitfalls and questions. The key here - find good partners who already had case interviews with MBB companies

2) Company reports, equity reports, IB roadshow docs - usually have a good overview of company and industries. Annual company reports are probably the bast source of information about the industry

3) HBS cases - quite useful, but not sure if lot's of them available publically. Probably worth buying

4) Books - one good book about airlines with numbers and industry analysis can give you all needed industry knowledge

5) News, Industry blogs

For each industry, you should understand:

  • Revenue streams
  • Cost structure
  • Margins
  • Key performance indicators
  • Key revenue drivers
  • Industry trends

Also some comments about particular industries:

1) Retail - make sure you understand key retail metrics (P&L lines, same store sales, revenue per square meter and per person, etc) and how distribution works as well as its metrics (share on shelf, etc)

2) Airlines - read about profitability issues, different routing models, cost structure, industry metric s like load factor and make sure you know all possible additional revenue streams

3) Telecom - I would read industry reports and try to understanf how telecom is transforming with internet penetration and tech innovations

4) Banking - you should know the key products in corporate and retail banking and how they earn money (Interest, commision, transactional)

5) PE / M&A - go through available case examples and read about different PE strategies

Good luck!

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