What industries are most used in cases?

Bain BCG McKinsey
Recent activity on Oct 30, 2018
4 Answers
3.2 k Views
Anonymous A asked on Oct 29, 2018

I understand Retail, CPG, Telecoms etc., but they are massive.

Is there any more info on the subsections of the industries?


Overview of answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
Content Creator
replied on Oct 29, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


It can be basically any sub-industry. Focus on the most common industries in the following priority (sorted by probability of getting a case): 1-retail and CPG; 2-airlines; 3-Telecom; 4-banking; 5-natural resources; 6-tech

There are several sources of information that will help you develop the business sense:

1) Company reports, equity reports, IB roadshow docs - Probably the most useful source. They usually have a good overview of the company and industries.

2) 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

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

4) Industry 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

I strongly recommend drawing the typical structures for each industry - profitability, value chain, etc

Then I will switch to getting functional knowledge:

  • Marketing (Brand and trade marketing tools, etc)
  • Supply chain (Ops metrics like cycle time and throughput time, distribution and delivery specifics, etc)
  • Operations (Process optimization basics)
  • Finance (Very basic Finance and Valuation)

Good Luck

Was this answer helpful?
Anonymous replied on Oct 30, 2018

It really varies, and is very hard to generalise. Some thoughts below:

- The one "industry" / type of case that comes up a lot at Bain specifically is Private Equity cases.

- McKinsey is more likely than B/B to ask questions from non-profit / pro-bono sector

Other than that, I wouldn't worry too much about going deep into sectors - it's actually more important to practice types of cases (e.g. market entry, growth, profitability) than industries.

Good luck!

Was this answer helpful?
replied on Oct 30, 2018
x-BCG Dubai, x-Recruitment lead for BCG, Case Interview Expert (350+ interviews, 100% recommendation rate), Ops Manager @ Uber

Best tip I'd give ya is that most interviewers use their past experience to formulate cases. In short, if you know who is going to interview you always check what vertical they are working on and prepare accordingly.

Was this answer helpful?
replied on Oct 30, 2018
ex-Manager - Natural and challenging teacher - Taylor case solving, no framework


Most case are derived from interviewer' pas exeprience. So if you want to identify which industry will more likely be submitted to you, you can look for info about what practice is the most developped at the office x firm you are applying for.

But honestly I think this will be difficult to anticipate.


Was this answer helpful?
Vlad gave the best answer


Content Creator
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School
Q&A Upvotes
186 Reviews