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Creative Problem-Solving for CaseInterviews2011-12J-P Martins, Consulting Careers Team19 October 2011
First year MBA consulting skills programmeIntro to                                                    Creative            ...
Today vs. 14 November             Today                    14 November  Basic tools and tips,       Building creativity  f...
I asked Twitter and LinkedIn what tips I shouldcover for case interviews today…“Learn to structure your thinking from the ...
Agenda         Types of case – review data         Structure – frameworks            •   P&L            •   Driver tree   ...
Case varietyA broad spectrum of types of case are used by our recruiters – 4 main typeshave been identifiedSimilarly, a va...
Type of case:                Acquisition strategy, 2%                  Network or portfolio                   optimisation...
Sector:          Public administration, 3.0%                  Arts, entertainment &               Other, 8.0%             ...
Format:          ‘Test - written or typed, 2%   Other, 4%      Presentation or role play, 3%                            ‘L...
Firm:                         Accenture, 2%        AT Kearney, 2%           ZS, 2%                   Monitor,             ...
Geography:                                    Other, 6%                       Africa, 7%              Asia, 10%           ...
Agenda         Types of case – review data         Structure – frameworks            •   P&L            •   Driver tree   ...
How do you improve the profit of a restaurant?                                                 12
P&L – easy isn’t it?                                  Price                       Revenue                                 ...
Driver tree adds value                                               Dish of the day                                    Mi...
Focus on food and drink?                                            First course                                          ...
Maximising number of customers?                                   Passing traffic                                 % lookin...
Denominators – dealing with differentcapacities/loadsAirlines    • Revenue per RPK    • Load factor    • Cost per ASK     ...
Improvement – different lensesWaste                                             Process map  • Raw materials (mass balance...
Tables are great! You can use them to lay outcalculations…              Segment A          Segment B    Segment C   Segmen...
…options, segments, etc                                     Really add value to a                                         ...
Revenues are being eroded by a growing takeawaymarket.Should we open our own takeaway next door?                          ...
3 ‘C’s – a starting point onlyMarket Entry1.   Customer - market attractiveness        •   Size        •   Profitability  ...
Our exec chef has a proposal – fund him toproduce a range of starters for other restaurants –if it works we could grow int...
Value chain  Sourcing       Fabrication      Assembly      Warehousing   Distribution   Sales   Service                   ...
Prioritising things  Fast growing     Stagnant                 Small   Big                               25
Prioritising things     Valuable         Not                Easy   Hard                              26
Insight comes from whatPrioritising things                   the client does                                      differen...
OptimisingEg                   Equation     •   Breakeven   Graphical     •   RoI                     Logic (forced pair) ...
Optimising   Breakeven, or indifference point                                      Commute – by bike        between two op...
Agenda         Types of case – review data         Structure – frameworks            •   P&L            •   Driver tree   ...
Other frameworks are available……but bewareNothing beats a bespoke understanding and prioritisation of the issues (nextpres...
Agenda         Types of case – review data         Structure – frameworks            •   P&L            •   Driver tree   ...
First year MBA consulting skills programmeIntro to                                                    Creative            ...
Practise is key – but only until you’re readyStructuring• 20+ cases?• Fin Times…• 10 minutes each• Structure, plus alterna...
There is no shortage of resources – you will runout of time first – Google is your friend!Bain Tips                       ...
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  1. 1. Creative Problem-Solving for CaseInterviews2011-12J-P Martins, Consulting Careers Team19 October 2011
  2. 2. First year MBA consulting skills programmeIntro to Creative Advanced Masteringconsulting Great problem problem consultingcareers – consulting CVs solving for case solving for case interviewsundecided interviews interviews6 September 12-15 September 14 October 14 November 18 November…for the Presentations by ½ day intro Presentation ½ day workshop*undecided stream 19 October 16 Nov on13 September 3-7 October Tools & techniques Workshops…for the Detailed reviews 5, 26 November 31 Januarycommitted 17-21 October Crack a Case Super Deadline to submit31 October Recalls Saturdays case1:1s commence Summer On Campus Consulting Recruiting Team 2012 14 Jan 2012 Crack a Case Super 3 January 21 February * Incorporating Winning consulting cover letters and Saturday Commences… Launch 1 Personal brand
  3. 3. Today vs. 14 November Today 14 November Basic tools and tips, Building creativity frameworks Differentiating yourself Enough of a grounding to Equations be able to get started on most cases you will Props encounter Psychology, perspectives Preparation The case journey What is the answer/what could it be? Either/or…If/then… 2
  4. 4. I asked Twitter and LinkedIn what tips I shouldcover for case interviews today…“Learn to structure your thinking from the very “Over invest in organization. Most mistakes Ibeginning so you dont get lost in the case and see in practice cases are due to a lousyhave a clear narrow scope from the beginning” structure”- BCG Associate and MiM alumnus - Bain Associate Consultant Tweeter“Never let the big picture out of your sight. “Not only lousy structures but also inflexibleDissect the problem in a structured way but structures prevent candidates from figuring outkeep the pieces integrated” the right path to take”- Consulting Careers Blogger - Consulting Careers Blogger“Here is another one: I recommend candidatesnot to memorize frameworks. Instead of cookie -cutter approaches, customized/flexibleframeworks/structures will give them more roomto maneuver”- Consulting Careers Blogger 3
  5. 5. Agenda Types of case – review data Structure – frameworks • P&L • Driver tree • Denominators • Options • 3 ‘C’s • Value chain • Priority/optimisation Other frameworks • 5 forces • 7 ‘S’s • 4 ‘P’s Preparation – your next steps 4
  6. 6. Case varietyA broad spectrum of types of case are used by our recruiters – 4 main typeshave been identifiedSimilarly, a variety of sectors may be addressedTraditional 35 minute cases predominate but other formats are growingThese data are heavily skewed towards just 6 recruitersEurope and North America are the predominant geographies addressed incases 5
  7. 7. Type of case: Acquisition strategy, 2% Network or portfolio optimisation, 2% Other, 8% Valuation, 3% Market attractiveness, 4% Profit improvement, 19% Cost reduction, 5% Market entry, new Quantitative test, 7% product/business, 17% Growth, 7% Company Value diagnostic, +/- chain or strategy, 10% business Response to industry- model, changing shock, 8% 10% 6
  8. 8. Sector: Public administration, 3.0% Arts, entertainment & Other, 8.0% recreation, 3.0% Telecomms/Media/ Construction, 3.5% Technology, 16.1% Hospitality, travel & tourism, 4.0% Financial services, Healthcare, 15.1% 6.0% Transport & logistics, 8.0% Mining, Manufacturing, energy 12.6% & utilities , 8.0% Retail, 12.6% 7
  9. 9. Format: ‘Test - written or typed, 2% Other, 4% Presentation or role play, 3% ‘Long 1:1 case, 45+ minutes, 11% ‘Traditional 1:1 case, 20-35 mins, 80% 8
  10. 10. Firm: Accenture, 2% AT Kearney, 2% ZS, 2% Monitor, 4% LEK, 5% BCG, 24% Parthenon, 6% Roland Berger, 7% McKinsey, 21% Booz, 8% Bain, 17% 9
  11. 11. Geography: Other, 6% Africa, 7% Asia, 10% Europe, 45% Global, 14% North America, 20% 10
  12. 12. Agenda Types of case – review data Structure – frameworks • P&L • Driver tree • Denominators • Options • 3 ‘C’s • Value chain • Priority/optimisation Other frameworks • 5 forces • 7 ‘S’s • 4 ‘P’s Preparation – your next steps 11
  13. 13. How do you improve the profit of a restaurant? 12
  14. 14. P&L – easy isn’t it? Price Revenue Quantity Profit Variable Cost Fixed 13
  15. 15. Driver tree adds value Dish of the day Mix Upsell on taking order Redesign menus to showcase most Price profitable dishes eg 2nd cheapest Markup ‘Bundle’ eg seafood platter for two Items per Ask about starters, desserts Revenue seat Take drink order first, come back for food later Seats/table ‘Side dishes?’ Charge for bread Quantity # tables Table turnover Profit Breakfast, lunch, dinner Hours open Happy hour, early bird, post-theatre offers Labour Variable Ingredients Cost Fixed etc 14
  16. 16. Focus on food and drink? First course Main Food Dessert Margin Sundries Contribution Margin Alcohol X Profit Quantity % take up Fixed cost Soft Drink Water Hot 15
  17. 17. Maximising number of customers? Passing traffic % looking at menu % going in Walk-ins % finding a table % ordering Customers % finishing meal & paying Web bookings Destination Telephone bookings Third party bookings 16
  18. 18. Denominators – dealing with differentcapacities/loadsAirlines • Revenue per RPK • Load factor • Cost per ASK What is the best denominator for aAbattoirs restaurant chain that • Cost per Stock Equivalent Unit spans business (lunch) and suburban (dinner) locations?Retail • Revenue per sqm • Cost per sqm 17
  19. 19. Improvement – different lensesWaste Process map • Raw materials (mass balance) • Energy (calculate, measure waste streams) Lay out the steps • Time (white space, rework) • Labour (job, activity analysis) Outline key info next to each IterateTime • Building a house Prioritise • TBC opportunitiesSegmenting • Tailor processes to groups Redesign with particular needs 18
  20. 20. Tables are great! You can use them to lay outcalculations… Segment A Segment B Segment C Segment D Segment ESize 500K 300K 50K 20K 2.5KFrequency Monthly Weekly Weekly 2 x weekly 3+ x weeklySpend per £35 £20 £30 £30 £45mealMargin 10% 15% 12% 5% 5%Overall ? ? ? ? ? Really add value to a table – add row “Implications for Client” 19
  21. 21. …options, segments, etc Really add value to a table – add row “Implications for Client” Option A Option B Option C Option D Option EExpected ✔✔ ✔✔✔✔ ✔✔ ✔✔✔ ✔ValueRisk ✔ ✔✔✔ ✔ ✔ ✔✔✔Fit with ✔✔ ✔ ✔✔✔✔ ✔strategyFit with ✔✔ ✔ ✔✔✔ ✔ ✔✔capabilitiesOverall ✔✔ ✔✔✔ ✔✔✔ ✔ ✔ Between these two: Betwen these two: Higher value vs better fit? 20
  22. 22. Revenues are being eroded by a growing takeawaymarket.Should we open our own takeaway next door? 21
  23. 23. 3 ‘C’s – a starting point onlyMarket Entry1. Customer - market attractiveness • Size • Profitability • Growth By segment?2. Corporation (costs) • Can we? (resources, technology, people…) • At what cost? • What would we need to do differently? • How? (eg business model, make vs buy…)3. Competitors • Who? • How competitive? • What advantages/disadvantages? • So what share could we expect? • Where should we need to focus? 22
  24. 24. Our exec chef has a proposal – fund him toproduce a range of starters for other restaurants –if it works we could grow into delivering wholemeal solutions.What do you think? 23
  25. 25. Value chain Sourcing Fabrication Assembly Warehousing Distribution Sales Service Where is money made? Where do we have an advantage? What alternative business models exist? Outsource/insource/partner Make vs buy Think of the industry (ecosystem) – the whole profit pool 24
  26. 26. Prioritising things Fast growing Stagnant Small Big 25
  27. 27. Prioritising things Valuable Not Easy Hard 26
  28. 28. Insight comes from whatPrioritising things the client does differently to each ‘box’Game changing Pursue selected options as part of balanced portfolio, seek partners No brainers – raise to mitigate risk? capital if needed Consider, execute if sufficient resources REJECT! Incremental Dead certs Risky 27
  29. 29. OptimisingEg Equation • Breakeven Graphical • RoI Logic (forced pair) • Margin • A>C • Commute • C>B • => A best 28
  30. 30. Optimising Breakeven, or indifference point Commute – by bike between two options Rev Cost Max profit 29
  31. 31. Agenda Types of case – review data Structure – frameworks • P&L • Driver tree • Denominators • Options • 3 ‘C’s • Value chain • Priority/optimisation Other frameworks • 5 forces • 7 ‘S’s • 4 ‘P’s Preparation – your next steps 30
  32. 32. Other frameworks are available……but bewareNothing beats a bespoke understanding and prioritisation of the issues (nextpresentation)However, here are some tools… • Porter’s 5 forces • McKinsey’s 7 ‘S’s – where you need to think through all aspects of an organisation • The 4 ‘P’s of marketing • PEST (political, economic, socio-cultural, technological) • SWOT • 5 whys • Cause and effect diagrams • Decision trees • Cost/benefit 31
  33. 33. Agenda Types of case – review data Structure – frameworks • P&L • Driver tree • Denominators • Options • 3 ‘C’s • Value chain • Priority/optimisation Other frameworks • 5 forces • 7 ‘S’s • 4 ‘P’s Preparation – your next steps 32
  34. 34. First year MBA consulting skills programmeIntro to Creative Advanced Masteringconsulting Great problem problem consultingcareers – consulting CVs solving for case solving for case interviewsundecided interviews interviews6 September 12-15 September 14 October 14 November 18 November…for the Presentations by ½ day intro Presentation ½ day workshop*undecided stream 19 October 16 Nov on13 September 3-7 October Tools & techniques Workshops…for the Detailed reviews 5, 26 November 31 Januarycommitted 17-21 October Crack a Case Super Deadline to submit31 October Recalls Saturdays case1:1s commence Summer On Campus Consulting Recruiting Team 2012 14 Jan 2012 Crack a Case Super 3 January 21 February * Incorporating Winning consulting cover letters and Saturday Commences… Launch 33 Personal brand
  35. 35. Practise is key – but only until you’re readyStructuring• 20+ cases?• Fin Times…• 10 minutes each• Structure, plus alternativesCracking the whole thing• On your own – 10 cases? Work through a book (eg LBS Case Book?)• In informal groups – 10 cases? Case in Point?• Through Club – 3-6 cases? Crack a Case• Mocks – 3 x ‘Super Saturdays’ 34
  36. 36. There is no shortage of resources – you will runout of time first – Google is your friend!Bain Tips Booz Tipshttp://www.joinbain.com/apply-to-bain/interview-preparation/crack- http://www.booz.com/global/home/join_us/apply/case_prepthe-case.asp McKinsey TipsBain Cases http://www.mckinsey.com/careers/how_do_i_apply/how_to_do_whttp://www.joinbain.com/apply-to-bain/interview- ell_in_the_interview/case_interview.aspxpreparation/practice-videocase.asp http://www.mckinsey.com/careers/how_do_i_apply/how_to_do_whttp://www.joinbain.com/apply-to-bain/interview- ell_in_the_interview/case_interview/Approaching%20the%20caspreparation/practice-case1-quest1.asp e%20interview.aspxhttp://www.joinbain.com/apply-to-bain/interview- http://www.mckinsey.com/careers/how_do_i_apply/how_to_do_wpreparation/practice-case2-quest1.asp ell_in_the_interview/case_interview/techniques_and_tricks.aspxBCG Cases McKinsey Caseshttp://www.bcg.com/join_bcg/interview_prep/practice_cases/competitive_strategy.aspx http://www.mckinsey.com/careers/how_do_i_apply/how_to_do_w ell_in_the_interview/case_interview/practice_cases/Great%20Burhttp://www.bcg.com/join_bcg/interview_prep/practice_cases/distribu ger.aspxtion_strategy.aspx http://www.mckinsey.com/careers/how_do_i_apply/how_to_do_whttp://www.bcg.com/join_bcg/interview_prep/practice_cases/increasi ell_in_the_interview/case_interview/practice_cases/Magna%20Hng_profits.aspx ealth.aspxhttp://www.bcg.com/join_bcg/interview_prep/practice_cases/revenue_growth.aspx http://www.mckinsey.com/careers/how_do_i_apply/how_to_do_w ell_in_the_interview/case_interview/practice_cases/Magna%20H ealth.aspx 35
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