Case Interview Preparation The logical foundation of Problem Solving & Case Interview

To me, one of the most underrated topics in consulting prep is the logical foundation of problem-solving. All case interviews are based on it and without fully understanding it, cases are unnecessarily much harder.

As an expert in this field, I do a lot of research on audience behavior (yours included). What topic interests you? What keywords do you most often search for? What do you spend more time with?

It’s equally interesting and concerning that the majority of the audience doesn’t pay attention to the most important and value-adding topics. The logical foundation of consulting problem solving and case interview is one example of such topics!

So I hope this article can play some role in turning your attention back in the right direction. I am not saying searching about “frameworks” or “market-sizing” is bad, but before all of that, you should get a basic understanding of the bigger case interview picture. So here we are, let me introduce to you the 2 wonderful Youtube videos we made on this topic.

One of the key drivers for your success in this type of case interview comes from your mastery of the basics: the core logical foundations of how management consultants solve problems. Practice is good, but only when you have mastered the basics (see our Case Interview Concept).

Here are the ten elements in the core logics, from the moment the case started to the very end when the solution are presented.

Rephrase & clarify the case context and key questions.

A Cause is not enough, but you have to find a root cause of the problem.

Break the problem into smaller branches in a MECE fashion. Do this by drawing an “issue tree”.

In order for each branch to exist in the issue tree, there HAS to be a chance that the root-cause is in it.

  1. Test if the root-cause is in there.
  2. Filtering out branches that are not necessary

Two main types of benchmarks used are the historical & competitors’ data.

If you want to find out more about the McKinsey working culture, see also Breaking Into The Unconsciousness of a Case Interviewer. If you are interested in joining management consulting, see our Case Interview and McKinsey PST article today!

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