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Case Interview Fundamental Case Interview MECE
A quick glance
- What is MECE
- What are the principles for MECE
- How can it be applied in Case Interview
1. What is MECE?
MECE is a method of segmenting information into elements that are “mutually exclusive” and “collectively exhaustive”. In other words, elements should not overlap each other and exhaust all related aspects.
Mutually exclusive aims at avoiding overlapping. You need to make sure that your divided elements share no common parts.
Collectively exhaustive means all possible options have been considered without leaving any alternatives untouched.
See our video above for a more detailed explanation!
2. What are the principles for MECE?
Before applying MECE framework into your case interview, there are some best principles that make MECE easier for you.
Here is an example of a not-mutually-exclusive approach:
- Walk-in customers
- Male customers
This framework is not mutually exclusive as there is an overlapping part of two elements. You should notice that some male customers can be walking-in.
And this is an example of mutually exclusive approach:
- Walk-in customers
- Online customers
This approach is ME as it corresponds different customers based on how they come to the restaurant, in which no elements are dependent on each other.
However, you should be careful because some common parts are difficult to recognize. Always ask the question: “Are there instances when my breakdown can overlap?”
If we only segment students in undergraduate school into walk-in customers and online customers, we have not included all elements because there may be drive-through and other types of customer.
We divided customers coming to In & Out Restaurants based on where they live:
- Las Vegas area
- Salt Lake city area
Though the division above is mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive, it is still not MECE. California as a state is bigger than Las Vegas area as a metropolitan area, and we cannot make comparison between two categories when in need. So be consistent!
3. How can it be applied in real
A – When drawing new Issue tree.
This helps you stay on track when finding the Root-cause without getting lost in all the details of the case.
B – In structuring and delivering your pitches
Being MECE in your speech shows that you are a structured and organized person – just the one that the consulting firm is looking for!