Types of Cases

case types Cases MBB
New answer on Jan 31, 2021
8 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Oct 09, 2020

Hi all!

I am preparing for interviews at the big three, and I am trying to create a big overview for myself about all different case types (market entry, profitability, M&A, new product launch,...), and how the respective frameworks should look like. To start this, I would like to complete my list of all important case types. Any help is greatly appreciated! :-)

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Sidi
Expert
replied on Oct 09, 2020
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 300+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi!

I am not sure what the purpose of this list is. If you want to come up with a specific approach or "framework" for each of these types (or even more), then I believe you have a big problem, since this would show that you have not yet understood how to think about business issues. I know that this is how,. e.g., Cosentino is approaching cases in his book "Case in Point", but frankly, this book is a prime example of how a strategy consultant would and should NEVER work!

Essentially, instead of trying to map frameworks to case types, you have to understand the internal principles that underlies strategic issues (there are very few of them!), and then apply them to the situation at hand.

For example, it doesn't make any sense to have different "frameworks" for M&A cases, Market Entry Cases, Product Launch Cases, Capacity Expansion cases, etc.. All these situations share the same core issue and the LOGIC according to which they need to be solved is 100% identical! Without understanding this, a candidate will never ever be able to rigorously approach cases and always remain a "framework monkey" who has to rely on luck and gets confused as soon as some unforeseen notions appear in the case which don't fit the framework.

This is the big tragedy with the available case literature (which I have seen) - it teaches a fundamentally flawed way of thinking (or lack thereof).

Cheers, Sidi

P.S.: Unfortunately there are many other examples of how the pertinent books/courses teach things that are straightout nonsense. A very prominent one is the widespread habit to start analyses with qualitative questions - often around "understanding the market". That, again, is a prime example of how to NOT work as a strategy consultant. It is the definition of boiling the ocean! Rigorous analyis has to start with NUMERICALLY narrowing down the area of scrutiny by means of a logic tree, before asking any qualitative questions. The list goes on and on...

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Clara
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replied on Oct 09, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Overall strategy regarding BUSINESS CASE:

You need to get hands on asap:

1. Practice cases with partners asap, as many as you can do.Find experienced partners who can provide a good feedback

2. Practice your math skills, both in your cases and with ad hoc exercisess, such as:

1. ​Multiplying double digit numbers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ndkkPZYJHo

2. Leveraging math tools (Mimir math for iOS), Math tool on Viktor Cheng website to practice

3. Ensure you have a good overview of the ​most common case types:

  • 1. Profitability cases- basic profitability framework.
  • 2. Idea generation cases: for any specif issue
  • 3. Growth cases: market penetration, new product launch, product mix change, etc.
  • 4. Pricing cases
  • 5. M&A cases
  • 6. Valuation cases
  • 7. Value chain cases

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Francesco
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replied on Oct 09, 2020
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi there,

The most common types depend on the office. But in general they are:

  • Profitability, revenues and cost problems
  • Market entry / New product launch
  • M&A / PE
  • Growth strategy
  • Market sizing / Estimations

Additionally, you may have cases on Operations, Pricing, Comp response, Investment decision.

If you need a crash course to crack all the main types of cases, I am doing one exactly on that – you will get all the key insights and structures in few hours only. In case you are interested, please feel free to PM me for more information.

Best,

Francesco

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Ian
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replied on Oct 09, 2020
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Ah! Great idea. That's exactly why I created my world of frameworks :)

Keep in mind 1 thing: Don't just make an overview with each one individually listed. Rather, figure out how they all connect to each other (i.e. in what scenario profitbaility might lead to market entry, or market entry to M&A). Make a visualization for the major frameworks with links between components of each of them!

If you're curious about this or would like to see the world of frameworks, please don't hesitate to reach out!

In terms of the most common case types, you have:

  • Profitability
  • Growth (top-line or bottom-line)
  • Market Entry
  • M&A
  • Pricing
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Pascal
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replied on Oct 09, 2020
Ex-Bain Manager | 10 yrs MBB experience | 250+ people interviewed | Written case expert | Open to give limited discounts

Hi!

This is quite an interesting idea!

I would be very careful with this exercise though. It is definitely good to know which frameworks exist, how they work, and see examples of situations in which they are applied.

But at the same time, I would be very careful not to use this exercise in the wrong way. And with the wrong way, I mean that every time you get confronted to a new business case, you start thinking about what type of business problem you are facing and which frameworks were on your list to solve this type of business problem. If you do that, there is a big risk that you start applying (the wrong) frameworks to business problems that require another solution or which might actually be a lot easier to answer. You should always start a new case with a fresh look, and try to quickly narrow down on the most important elements of the business problem.

So bottom line - it is all a matter of balance: yes it is good to know which frameworks exist and how they work, but no it is not a smart idea to use this overview in a schematic / robotic way.

Cheers,

Pascal

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Robert
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replied on Oct 09, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

While it's definitely a good idea to have a rough game plan for different types of cases, please don't get too mechanical over time. Real interview cases oftenly don't follow standard approaches, so rather use that as a toolbox and don't stick to some frameworks you built.

The most common types of cases are:

  • Profitability Cases
  • Growth Strategy Cases
  • New Market Entry, New Product Launch, New Positioning Cases
  • Mergers & Acquisitions Cases
  • Pricing Cases
  • Change in Company’s External Environment Cases
  • Industry Capacity Cases
  • Human Resources & Structures Cases
  • Process Cases

Hope this helps - if so, please be so kind to give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

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Mehdi
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replied on Oct 16, 2020
BCG | Received offers from all MBB & Tier 1Firms | Supporting you secure your top tier consulting offer

Hi there,

In general, framework helps you understand how to structure your thoughts and ideas to understand an issue but they do not help you crack the case. Frequently, you will have to come up with your own framework (that can be a combination of several known ones) to solve a case. You should adapt your framework to the case and not the opposite.

Having said that, there are some key concepts/frameworks that you should familizare yourself with, some of them are:

  • Profitability
  • Market Entry
  • Porter Five Forces
  • M&A
  • Process Improvement
  • ...

Happy to discuss this further if needed!

All the best,

Mehdi

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Gaurav
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Content Creator
replied on Jan 31, 2021
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi there!

I wouldn't suggest you to be mislead by focusing on frameworks as it's more important to focus on solving the problem.

The qualities you need to demonstrate are critical thinking, ability to concentrate and apply the best approach.

Cheers,
GB

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Sidi gave the best answer

Sidi

McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 300+ candidates secure MBB offers
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