When doing the conclusion is it a good practice to take some seconds to prepare?

taking time
New answer on Sep 12, 2020
5 Answers
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Camila Uribe
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asked on Feb 07, 2019

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Vlad
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replied on Feb 07, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Yes, unless you have 50+ cases done with good partners I would recommend always taking a minute to prepare your conclusion. And even with 50+ cases it's not the bad idea to take some time.

While taking the minute, spend this time on:

  1. Checking what was the initial objective (you won't believe how many candidates are answering the wrong question
  2. Collecting the numbers throughout the case to support the recommendation
  3. Preparing the recommendation

The typical structure is the following:

  1. What was the objective
  2. Your recommendation
  3. Arguments why the recommendation is valid (2-4 arguments) with the supporting numbers
  4. Additional things you would like to explore. In the order of priority:
  • Things you still need to explore / data you need to get in order to provide a valid recommendation (Very typical for McKinsey cases where the interviewer guides you and interrupts in the middle of the case to provide a conclusion
  • Things you've slightly covered during the case but have not come to a particular measurable solution or were not the part of the original objective (e.g. alternative growth options or some questions on creativity)
  • Risks
  • Next steps

Best

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Francesco
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replied on Feb 09, 2019
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

as mentioned in the other comments, you can always ask for time to structure your approach at the beginning; however, the interviewer may urge you to provide a conclusion on the spot, thus be ready to do so if required.

As a structure for the conclusion, I would recommend the following:

1) Repeat the objective. This will ensure you are indeed answering to what is relevant for the case. Forgetting to repeat the objective is one of the most common mistakes candidates do in the conclusion and can lead to answer to the wrong question. As an example:

  • Our goal was to understand (i) why profits are declining and (ii) how we could increase profits by XYZ”

2) Provide an answer-first solution. You don’t have to present everything you discovered in the case at this stage, only the main conclusion and its supporting factor. If the conclusion is not clear 100% as you have not analyzed all the elements of your structure to derive a definite yes or no, you can provide a preliminary answer based on the elements you have identified.

  • After our initial analysis, we found out that profits are declining due a decrease in revenues in division 1 and that, in order to increase profits, with the information we have so far it seems a good idea to enter Market A. This is based on the following reasons:
    • [SPECIFIC FINDINGS 1]
    • [SPECIFIC FINDINGS 2]
    • [SPECIFIC FINDINGS 3]”

3) Provide risks/ next steps suggestions. You should always have next steps/ risks in your conclusion. For this part, you can refer to the elements present in your structure you did not have time to cover, elements not completely covered during the case or to risks emerged during the analysis.

  • As additional elements, we would like also to consider the following …[RISKS/NEXT STEPS]”

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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Sidi
Expert
replied on Feb 07, 2019
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 300+ candidates secure MBB offers

Short answer: YES! Always take a moment to pull together your answer to the precise client question and the insights which support that answer. A well crafted final recommendation, including next steps, will always be superior to a quick shot.

I really don’t know where this “you need to be quick quick quick” nonsense is coming from - but I see that many candidates fall victim to this myth.

Cheers, Sidi

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Anonymous replied on Sep 12, 2020

Hi,

Yes, asking for some time to prepare your final answer is fine. You have to be structured and give a full response though it is possible that you will be asked to share it straight away, so be ready to do so as well.

Best,

Andre

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Guennael
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replied on Feb 08, 2019
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews

I think you should always ask for a minute to gather your thoughts. Please understand that at BCG however, the answer will likley be "no sorry, your client is in your office right now. Drop your pen, look at me, and go!".

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Vlad gave the best answer

Vlad

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