Paragraphs highlighted in green indicate diagrams or tables that shall be shared in the “Case exhibits” section.
Paragraphs highlighted in blue shall be verbally communicated to the interviewee.
Paragraphs highlighted in orange indicate hints for you on how to guide the interviewee through the case.
See below, for a question addressing Personal Impact, hints for the candidate to tailor a good answer.
Tell me about a time you needed to convince a relevant stakeholder (manager, client, etc.) about a different approach
Kindly ask the candidate before starting to provide you with his/her CV. Get familiar with it for a minute, since it can be useful (1) to follow the story better -most of the times it will be reflected in the CV- and (2) to be able to ask clarifying and follow-up questions.
- Be structured, following STAR/PARADE methodology.
- Enrich the story with multiple data points, there are never too many!
- Numerical KPIs: to quantify impacts and better understand the data needed to follow the example.
- Non-numerical: equally important to understand the story and impacts achieved.
Problem and situation:
I was a Business Analyst in McKinsey, in a team of 5 serving a top Real Estate Developer in France.
The client´s business model was based on standardization: they had very limited “prototypes of houses” and they built them in an standardized way, achieving synergies through consolidation and repetition.
Due to their business mode, the Design-to-Value workstream was one of the key ones in McKinsey´s engagement, centered in helping them identify which were the key features that clients valued most (e.g., what is more valuable for clients: to install a better floor made of natural wood, or to have a common swimming pool in the community patio?)
As the leader of the Design-to-Value workstream, it was my responsibility to (1) conduct the market research needed and (2) conduct the analysis for quantifying and interpreting solutions.
Furthermore, it was fundamental for my workstream to be successful to have the clients on board, particularly two key stakeholders: the Director of Product –in charge of product definition-and the Director of Operations –in charge of costs-. They didn´t get along with each other and had a department war
Although the CEO was on board with the initial methodology proposed (a “conventional” survey to gather data on preferences about house features and finishing), when the engagement started we realized that the Product team had already conducted those types of analysis, which led to the initial prototype houses that our engagement was challenging, since they were not well aligned with clients preferences and they were expensive –hence, Product and Operations team were confronted-.
I Realized that, by going with the classical survey approach, we would have very similar results than the ones the client already had, and furthermore would not solve the conflict between the client departments –that we clearly couldn´t convince on the value proposition of our approach, as it was-.
I conducted thorough research (leveraging firm´s resources and expert calls) about other marketing techniques, more refined than simple surveys, by contacting marketing experts specialized in industries where higher level of expertise and sophistication were needed (e.g., CPG or automotive industry).
My conclusion was the suggestion on a new technique: conjoint -much more complex and expensive than a simple survey-. Thanks to a special questionnaire format based on trade-offs, it would reveal the utility of each housing feature (utility is a theorical metric that reveals how much you care for something). Furthermore, if we went one step further and included the utility of money for our clients, we could compare both regressions and obtain the willingness to pay, a quantifiable and highly valuable metric for the Operations team
The team and I –as main presenter- organized a workshop with senior management (C level) and directors of Product and Operations –the difficult stakeholders- to explain the new value proposition, and how it bridged both departments by combining product specifications and costs calculations
Result & impact
At client level, the engagement was a great success:
- Obtained insights at a much more granular level –aspect in which client had been skeptical-.
- Calculated for each element the willingness to pay, which made the exercise highly numerical and objective
- Built a model for decision making comparing willingness to pay vs. cost, achieving a totally data driven approach for features election
Personally, it was a great stakeholder management experience, not only facing a technically challenging methodology but also using it to bring together the two opposing departments. My key learning was how you can convince others of you point of view by leveraging data or expert´s calls, particularly when you are in front of “skeptical audiences”.
*See Graph 3-4 : Suggestion on question delivery and timings for each part of the STAR/PARADE framework
➥ Graphs from the Integrated FIT Guide for MBB
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