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When should I make a synthesis?

When should I make a synthesis in a case?

When should I make a synthesis in a case?

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Hello,

You are always required to do a synthesis at the beginning of the case, restating the problem. Sometimes it could seem not useful because the problem statement is really short but still some interviewers want to hear that. In order not to take any risk, do it in a quick and smart way.

Another moment of the case that could be suitable for a little recap is when you change the section of your framework. To involve the interviewer and make the resolution clear, it's nice to do a recap of your findings, hypothesis and of the aim of the next analysis.

Finally, a good moment to do a synthesis is when you need some time to think about the next step. It's a smart method to take some time to think without giving the impression that you don't know what to do.

Hope it helps,
Luca

Hello,

You are always required to do a synthesis at the beginning of the case, restating the problem. Sometimes it could seem not useful because the problem statement is really short but still some interviewers want to hear that. In order not to take any risk, do it in a quick and smart way.

Another moment of the case that could be suitable for a little recap is when you change the section of your framework. To involve the interviewer and make the resolution clear, it's nice to do a recap of your findings, hypothesis and of the aim of the next analysis.

Finally, a good moment to do a synthesis is when you need some time to think about the next step. It's a smart method to take some time to think without giving the impression that you don't know what to do.

Hope it helps,
Luca

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Hi,

First of all, here are the general ways to provide the recommendation:

  1. Always take 30 seconds to structure your recommendation. Never give a recommendation without taking time for preparation
  2. After taking the time - check the objective. The worst thing you can do is answering the wrong question
  3. Spend 30 seconds on structuring the recommendation and collecting the numbers supporting your arguments from your case notes

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

For example:

  1. Our objectives were to understand why the profit is declining by X and how to bring the profit back within one year (Don't forget that your objective should be measurable in terms of money / other metric and time)
  2. According to the analysis we've done so far, my recommendation is to shut down the division A and to concentrate on the divisions b/c if we want to increase the profit, and there is a number of reasons for that.. (Remember that your arguments should include numbers).
  3. You provide the arguments a) First of all, problems in Division A are the major driver of the decline in profits - 90% of the decline in profits refer to Division A. b) Secondly, the decline is driven by the contracting market size that is shrinking at xx percent and is not expected to improve in the near future. c) Finally....
  4. Additionally, I would like to check the following... (In the last bullet, you simply provide a list of other things you have discussed, but they were not the part of the original objective / the things you slightly discussed but haven't come to any conclusion, like the questions on creativity)

The problem is that In many cases, you can't provide a definite answer since you don't have enough information

Consultants may be testing several things:

  • Are you comfortable enough with providing preliminary recommendations based on limited data? (Imagine a CEO whom you met in the elevator and who wants to know the preliminary findings)
  • Will you make a mistake of providing a recommendation with a high level of certainty without having a proper supporting data?

Imagine a case when you have to make a decision whether a PE fund should acquire a company. You make a proper structure (Market, Competitors, Company, Feasibility of Exit) and in 25 min of a case, you've managed only to go through the Market and Competitors branches of the analysis. What will be your recommendation

In this case, you have to provide a Soft Recommendation:

  1. You start with an objective ("Our objective was to understand whether we should buy this company")
  2. You provide a preliminary recommendation highlighting the uncertainty("According to the limited data we have so far, our preliminary recommendation is to buy this company and there are three reasons for that..." or "Purely based on the data we have about the market it looks like it's a good idea for a number of reasons..")
  3. You provide the reasons ("First of all the market is big at X and growing at Y, Secondly the competition is fragmented with the target company having x% of the market. Thirdly...")
  4. You Mention the pieces of data that you need to provide a full recommendation ("But to come up with a final recommendation I would like to look at the company financials, key capabilities and..." or "But to be 100% sure in our recommendation we need to check...)

Best,

Vlad

Hi,

First of all, here are the general ways to provide the recommendation:

  1. Always take 30 seconds to structure your recommendation. Never give a recommendation without taking time for preparation
  2. After taking the time - check the objective. The worst thing you can do is answering the wrong question
  3. Spend 30 seconds on structuring the recommendation and collecting the numbers supporting your arguments from your case notes

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

For example:

  1. Our objectives were to understand why the profit is declining by X and how to bring the profit back within one year (Don't forget that your objective should be measurable in terms of money / other metric and time)
  2. According to the analysis we've done so far, my recommendation is to shut down the division A and to concentrate on the divisions b/c if we want to increase the profit, and there is a number of reasons for that.. (Remember that your arguments should include numbers).
  3. You provide the arguments a) First of all, problems in Division A are the major driver of the decline in profits - 90% of the decline in profits refer to Division A. b) Secondly, the decline is driven by the contracting market size that is shrinking at xx percent and is not expected to improve in the near future. c) Finally....
  4. Additionally, I would like to check the following... (In the last bullet, you simply provide a list of other things you have discussed, but they were not the part of the original objective / the things you slightly discussed but haven't come to any conclusion, like the questions on creativity)

The problem is that In many cases, you can't provide a definite answer since you don't have enough information

Consultants may be testing several things:

  • Are you comfortable enough with providing preliminary recommendations based on limited data? (Imagine a CEO whom you met in the elevator and who wants to know the preliminary findings)
  • Will you make a mistake of providing a recommendation with a high level of certainty without having a proper supporting data?

Imagine a case when you have to make a decision whether a PE fund should acquire a company. You make a proper structure (Market, Competitors, Company, Feasibility of Exit) and in 25 min of a case, you've managed only to go through the Market and Competitors branches of the analysis. What will be your recommendation

In this case, you have to provide a Soft Recommendation:

  1. You start with an objective ("Our objective was to understand whether we should buy this company")
  2. You provide a preliminary recommendation highlighting the uncertainty("According to the limited data we have so far, our preliminary recommendation is to buy this company and there are three reasons for that..." or "Purely based on the data we have about the market it looks like it's a good idea for a number of reasons..")
  3. You provide the reasons ("First of all the market is big at X and growing at Y, Secondly the competition is fragmented with the target company having x% of the market. Thirdly...")
  4. You Mention the pieces of data that you need to provide a full recommendation ("But to come up with a final recommendation I would like to look at the company financials, key capabilities and..." or "But to be 100% sure in our recommendation we need to check...)

Best,

Vlad

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Hi,

You should use synthesis wisely.

It could be used when you get lost in case and want to win some time or when you just got an insight that you want to highlight.

Best,

Anton

Hi,

You should use synthesis wisely.

It could be used when you get lost in case and want to win some time or when you just got an insight that you want to highlight.

Best,

Anton

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Hi there,

There are 4 types of synthesis you should do during a case:
(1) Recap of the problem to be solve and objective, at the beginning of case
(2) Whenever you have finished exploring one branch of your issue tree and are ready to move on to the next branch
(3) Whenever you feel stuck in the case, synthesis what you've already found out; this could help you re-collect your thoughts and also buy you some time to get back on track, or ask for help --> many people forget about this tactic; it is useful
(4) When you finish your case and give final conclusion/suggestion

Best,

Hi there,

There are 4 types of synthesis you should do during a case:
(1) Recap of the problem to be solve and objective, at the beginning of case
(2) Whenever you have finished exploring one branch of your issue tree and are ready to move on to the next branch
(3) Whenever you feel stuck in the case, synthesis what you've already found out; this could help you re-collect your thoughts and also buy you some time to get back on track, or ask for help --> many people forget about this tactic; it is useful
(4) When you finish your case and give final conclusion/suggestion

Best,

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Hello there,

It is advisable to synthesize at every turning point of the case, such as:

  • Summarizing the case prompt
  • After structuring the case
  • After drilling down a branch and before moving to another branch
  • Before switching to different structure / framework
  • After core issues pinpointed
  • When recommendations are formulated
  • At conclusion

Hope it helps.

Kind regards,
Nathan

Hello there,

It is advisable to synthesize at every turning point of the case, such as:

  • Summarizing the case prompt
  • After structuring the case
  • After drilling down a branch and before moving to another branch
  • Before switching to different structure / framework
  • After core issues pinpointed
  • When recommendations are formulated
  • At conclusion

Hope it helps.

Kind regards,
Nathan

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When you show your issue tree, after an exhibit or when you have all the data to make a decision

Best,
Antonello

When you show your issue tree, after an exhibit or when you have all the data to make a decision

Best,
Antonello

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Hello!

I would, in this order:

  1. At the beggining, to ensure full understanding of the prompt
  2. At the end, when you are asked to give the recommendation

On top, if you get stuck, is a wonderful way to pick up your toughts and make some extra time to think.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

Hello!

I would, in this order:

  1. At the beggining, to ensure full understanding of the prompt
  2. At the end, when you are asked to give the recommendation

On top, if you get stuck, is a wonderful way to pick up your toughts and make some extra time to think.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Hey A,

you do that in the following situations:

  1. To paraphraze the initial case question - feel free to apply the SPO framework (Situation-Problem-Objectives)
  2. In your structure you have defined several bucket. So summerize quickly the outcomes of each bucket and outline that you will now proceed with the next one
  3. If you got stuck in the case, syntesizing previous outcomes of the case and make a step back might help you to find again the way forward
  4. Before/during the management summary & recommendation

I hope it helps.

Good luck,

André

Hey A,

you do that in the following situations:

  1. To paraphraze the initial case question - feel free to apply the SPO framework (Situation-Problem-Objectives)
  2. In your structure you have defined several bucket. So summerize quickly the outcomes of each bucket and outline that you will now proceed with the next one
  3. If you got stuck in the case, syntesizing previous outcomes of the case and make a step back might help you to find again the way forward
  4. Before/during the management summary & recommendation

I hope it helps.

Good luck,

André

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Hi Anonymous,

you can do synthesis in the following parts of the case:

  1. After the initial prompt
  2. During the case whenever you want to be sure you understood correctly the information (eg before graphs and maths)
  3. Before your final conclusion

Best,

Francesco

Hi Anonymous,

you can do synthesis in the following parts of the case:

  1. After the initial prompt
  2. During the case whenever you want to be sure you understood correctly the information (eg before graphs and maths)
  3. Before your final conclusion

Best,

Francesco

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More simply, whenever you need to structure your thoughts. Are you feeling lost/confused about where you are? Synthesize! Is there a possibility your interviewer isn't sure where you are or where you're going? Synthesize!

More simply, whenever you need to structure your thoughts. Are you feeling lost/confused about where you are? Synthesize! Is there a possibility your interviewer isn't sure where you are or where you're going? Synthesize!