Cookie and Privacy Settings

This website uses cookies to enable essential functions like the user login and sessions. We also use cookies and third-party tools to improve your surfing experience on preplounge.com. You can choose to activate only essential cookies or all cookies. You can always change your preference in the cookie and privacy settings. This link can also be found in the footer of the site. If you need more information, please visit our privacy policy.

Data processing in the USA: By clicking on "I accept", you also consent, in accordance with article 49 paragraph 1 sentence 1 lit. GDPR, to your data being processed in the USA (by Google LLC, Facebook Inc., LinkedIn Inc., Stripe, Paypal).

Manage settings individually I accept
expert
Expert with best answer

Vlad

97% Recommendation Rate

406 Meetings

11,397 Q&A Upvotes

USD 239 / Coaching

3

Verifying the problem statement

This may be somewhat intuitive but I have been hearing various approaches, so I am looking to gain more perspectives. When I verify the problem statement in the beginning of every case, I either repeat back word-to-word in order to absolutely make sure that I understood the problem or simply paraphrase. Of those times I paraphrased to show my ability to synthesize a set of information, I ended up losing a very important key information via phraphrasing, which the interviewer never pointed that out to me (which is not their job anyways, so it's expected, but it was fatal in recognizing the key step). So, what do you suggest for verifying a problem statement in the beginning of the case? Once I re-state (or vs. paraphrase), I always make sure to state the goal of the case I understood and confirm with the interviewer.

This may be somewhat intuitive but I have been hearing various approaches, so I am looking to gain more perspectives. When I verify the problem statement in the beginning of every case, I either repeat back word-to-word in order to absolutely make sure that I understood the problem or simply paraphrase. Of those times I paraphrased to show my ability to synthesize a set of information, I ended up losing a very important key information via phraphrasing, which the interviewer never pointed that out to me (which is not their job anyways, so it's expected, but it was fatal in recognizing the key step). So, what do you suggest for verifying a problem statement in the beginning of the case? Once I re-state (or vs. paraphrase), I always make sure to state the goal of the case I understood and confirm with the interviewer.

3 answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best Answer
Book a coaching with Vlad

97% Recommendation Rate

406 Meetings

11,397 Q&A Upvotes

USD 239 / Coaching

Hi,

I recommend the following approach:

1) Clarify the business model. Ask how the company actually makes the money. For several reasons:

  1. Even if you think you understand the business model, you need to make sure that you understand it correctly.
  2. Some cases have pitfalls related to a business model (re profitability cases with several revenue streams
  3. You need to understand the revenue streams to make a proper structure. E.g. if the case is about oil&gas company which revenues are declining, ask if it is Up / mid / down-stream problem. In this case, defining a revenue stream is critical to setting up the right structure. (At the end of the day it may be the decline of snack sales at the gas stations:). In case of telecom company it may be the problem of the core business (wireless) or non-core (landlines, internet)

2) Clarify the objective. Here make sure that your goal is:

  • Measurable
  • Has a time-framed
  • Has / has no limitations

e.g. Should I invest 100k in this business for 1 year if I want to get 15% return?

3) Ask the questions that will help you build a relevant structure and remove ambiguity.

E.g. in the market entry case ask whether we are entering the country organically or non-organically

4) Do the recap of the most important things (Objective and the key elements of the business model) AFTER asking the clarifying questions. Although most of the case books suggest to do it immediately at the beginning of the interview, it makes much more sense to clarify the situation first and then to make sure that you understand everything correctly.

Best!

Hi,

I recommend the following approach:

1) Clarify the business model. Ask how the company actually makes the money. For several reasons:

  1. Even if you think you understand the business model, you need to make sure that you understand it correctly.
  2. Some cases have pitfalls related to a business model (re profitability cases with several revenue streams
  3. You need to understand the revenue streams to make a proper structure. E.g. if the case is about oil&gas company which revenues are declining, ask if it is Up / mid / down-stream problem. In this case, defining a revenue stream is critical to setting up the right structure. (At the end of the day it may be the decline of snack sales at the gas stations:). In case of telecom company it may be the problem of the core business (wireless) or non-core (landlines, internet)

2) Clarify the objective. Here make sure that your goal is:

  • Measurable
  • Has a time-framed
  • Has / has no limitations

e.g. Should I invest 100k in this business for 1 year if I want to get 15% return?

3) Ask the questions that will help you build a relevant structure and remove ambiguity.

E.g. in the market entry case ask whether we are entering the country organically or non-organically

4) Do the recap of the most important things (Objective and the key elements of the business model) AFTER asking the clarifying questions. Although most of the case books suggest to do it immediately at the beginning of the interview, it makes much more sense to clarify the situation first and then to make sure that you understand everything correctly.

Best!

Book a coaching with Sidi

99% Recommendation Rate

426 Meetings

4,130 Q&A Upvotes

USD 449 / Coaching

Hi Anonymous!

There is not much more you can do! Paraphrasing should be the way to go - repeating the problem and precise question in your own words. Then you ask: "Does this properly cover the client's problem and question, or did I miss something?". A properly trained interviewer will then either confirm, or point out the gaps. If he doesn't do this, then he is not a properly trained MBB interviewer. Period.

Cheers, Sidi

Hi Anonymous!

There is not much more you can do! Paraphrasing should be the way to go - repeating the problem and precise question in your own words. Then you ask: "Does this properly cover the client's problem and question, or did I miss something?". A properly trained interviewer will then either confirm, or point out the gaps. If he doesn't do this, then he is not a properly trained MBB interviewer. Period.

Cheers, Sidi

(edited)

I normally say something like:

"Just to ensure i have captured the right key question, im going to repeat it back to you:

I'd synthesize the objective/s here

Does that sound right? Have i missed anything?"

I normally say something like:

"Just to ensure i have captured the right key question, im going to repeat it back to you:

I'd synthesize the objective/s here

Does that sound right? Have i missed anything?"

Related case(s)

Bain case: Asian lubricants producer

Solved 158.1k times
Bain case: Asian lubricants producer LubricantsCo, a very successful Asian premium producer of lubricants in their native region, would like to further increase their revenue and profit. The product range ranges from lubricants in the automotive sector (e.g. motor and gear oil) to industrial applications (e.g. fats, heavy-duty oils). According to preliminary examinations, further growth potentials in the Asian core market are rather limited. Thus LubricantsCo would like to investigate options to internationalize in the passenger car business – also outside the premium segment which is given priority. Therefore your consulting firm was instructed to elaborate a market entry strategy for the European market.  
4.6 5 29499
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

LubricantsCo, a very successful Asian premium producer of lubricants in their native region, would like to further increase their revenue and profit. The product range ranges from lubricants in the automotive sector (e.g. motor and gear oil) to industrial applications (e.g. fats, heavy-duty oils). ... Open whole case

Bain Case: Old Winery

Solved 68.4k times
Bain Case: Old Winery You have inherited the “Old Winery” from your grandfather, a winery which has been family owned for five generations and can be dated back to the 16th century. Half of the eleven hectares are used to grow white grapes, the other half to grow red grapes. They are grown in the conventional way, i.e. they are not organically farmed and certified. The vine stocks are in a good condition regarding age and care. Overall, only ¼ of the harvest is made into wine by the winery itself; the rest is sold. Your grandfather never wanted to change the image of the winery and left the managerial and administrative task to a young and energetic wine-maker. Due to the not so well-known brand , the demand for the “Old Winery” wine is currently rather low. You do not intent to run the winery operatively, given your limited knowledge of wine making, but find the idea of owning a winery exciting. Your plan is to give the winery some fresh impetus.
4.4 5 1866
| Rating: (4.4 / 5.0)

You have inherited the “Old Winery” from your grandfather, a winery which has been family owned for five generations and can be dated back to the 16th century. Half of the eleven hectares are used to grow white grapes, the other half to grow red grapes. They are grown in the conventional way, i.e. ... Open whole case

Bain Questions

Solved 24.9k times
Bain Questions Tell me about a difficult situation you had to cope with. Tell me of a task which you didn’t like doing and explain why you performed it nevertheless. Why do you do things? What do you like doing most / What is your favorite hobby? Walk me through a situation where you showed leadership skills.
4.6 5 296
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0) |
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit Interview | Topics: Personal fit

Tell me about a difficult situation you had to cope with. Tell me of a task which you didn’t like doing and explain why you performed it nevertheless. Why do you do things? What do you like doing most / What is your favorite hobby? Walk me through a situation where you showed leadership skills ... Open whole case

MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education

Solved 16.4k times
MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education Our client is SmartBridge, a nonprofit educational institution offering face-to-face tutoring services. The client operates in the US. The mission of SmartBridge is to help as many students as possible to complete studies and prevent that they drop from the school system, in particular in disadvantaged areas. The client is considering starting operations for its services in the Chicago area. They hired us to understand if that makes sense. Due to the nonprofit regulation, SmartBridge should operate on its own in the market, without any partnership. How would you help our client?
4.6 5 569
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

Our client is SmartBridge, a nonprofit educational institution offering face-to-face tutoring services. The client operates in the US. The mission of SmartBridge is to help as many students as possible to complete studies and prevent that they drop from the school system, in particular in disadvant ... Open whole case

Hot Wheels

Solved 5.2k times
Hot Wheels Problem definition: Our client is Korean Car Parts (KCP), a multi-national original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of car parts based in Korea. They've recently seen a decline in profits and have brought us in to understand how to address this falling profitability.
4.6 5 289
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

Problem definition: Our client is Korean Car Parts (KCP), a multi-national original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of car parts based in Korea. They've recently seen a decline in profits and have brought us in to understand how to address this falling profitability. Open whole case