Management Consulting Prep

Case Interview - Question types Case Interview Value Proposition

  A quick glance

  1. Case Interview Value Proposition – What is it?
  2. The logic behind Case Interview Value Proposition
  3. Self Practice

1. Case Interview Value Proposition - What is it?

A case interview value proposition is a statement of the unique values or benefits the customer gained from using your products. In this case Interview type of question, you have to give out characteristics or attributes that certain entities value the most in particular situations.

Let’s look at a simple example.

The client is a hotel in New York City. Their main customers are foreign tourists. What are some factors that those customers look for in a hotel? In other words, what factors affect their decisions on which hotel to stay at?

A perfectly reasonable answer would consider these aspects:

Location Price Service Quality Safety Availability Value added Services
Main purpose of tourists is to visit attractions.
For lower-end customers, lower is better & the opposite for high-end customers.
Important for high-end customer.
NYC has a reputation of being an unsafe city.
Sometimes tourists just book whatever hotel that has rooms available
Tourist guides, interpreters, transportation, etc.

2. The logic behind the questions

A. Define the problem:

Before jumping straight into answering, try to clarify these few things in your mind:

  1. What is your product or service? What line of industry are you in?
  2. Who is the target customer?
  3. What are the key characteristics of your target market / customers?

These questions will help to serve as a groundwork for further analysis into the underlying values the businesses can provide.

B. Breaking down the question:

Think in terms of the customer, what will be their priorities? Does it applied to the current context we are discussing? This will correspond to the characteristics questions asked above. 

Put yourself in their shoes

In this example, imagine you are a foreign tourist, what would you think…?

Here are some reasonable conclusion:

  • They tend to go sightseeing.
  • Pleasure & convenience are important to them.
  • They expect their trip to be safe and enjoyable.
  • etc.

One way to practice this is to put yourself into different perspective. Suppose that you are a businessman from Boston, you will not value the VAS that much, while room quality will be emphasized, and the distance to the downtown districts will be important, etc.

Know the Situation

This will affect how the customer think and rank the values.

In this example, if the location was a peaceful city such as Sydney, Australia instead, would you still worry that much about safety?

Some key characteristics of New York you should be aware about:

  • Busy & crowded city.
  • People are thought to be unfriendly.
  • Very expensive.
  • etc.

 

 

Be aware that sometimes you need to segment. The needs and the values of each segment can be different. 

  • In the example above, you may segment tourists into two groups: high-end customers and low-end customers. 
  • High-end tourists value room quality while low-end tourists value price.

C. Making the Pitch:

When it comes to delivering the answers, there are two qualities that you can highlight to the interviewer: 

  • Always show off the particular values first then present the supporting evidence later. This shows that you are a result-oriented person and willing to get things done.
  • Be prepared to present these values in a structured way. It shows that in addition to being insightful, you are also an organized person and those presented insights are the result of a systematic approach, not just random guessing. One of the easy ways to structure your answer is to list these values in terms of their priorities: high – medium – low.

In this example, if the location was a peaceful city such as Sydney, Australia instead, would you still worry that much about safety?

3. Self-Practice

Remember to try doing it yourself first before looking at the Value Proposition answer keys! Also, please email me if you have extra ideas or solutions to be added!

Situation 1

A McKinsey Partner from the Tokyo Office has to attend a last-minute appointment with a potential client in Seoul, Korea. What are things that he looks for when he chooses which airlines to fly with?

Situation 2

ABC is a newly start-up outsourcing company. It is considering where (what city and what building in that city) to establish its office. What are things ABC will look for in different cities and buildings to make the final decision?

  • Flight Quality: In-flight services, ground services, meals, internet …
  • Punctuality: low delay rate
  • Convenient Flight Time
  • Convenient Airports (reduce commuting time)
  • Availability (this is a last minute flight, it is likely that the assistant will just book whichever flight has a seat available)

City:

  • Cheap and abundant source of labor (remember this is an outsourcing company)
  • Quality of environment – climate, population, culture, entertainment… (Will the employees be happy to work there?)
  • Politically stable (we and our client don’t want to have our business be interrupted)

Office Building:

  • Cheap – This a newly start-up firm
  • Convenient for Employees and other business partners to commute and meet
  • Safe and stable

If you’re ready to go deeper, our website has plenty of resources for you to explore, and you can also subscribe to our YouTube channel or our mailing list!

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