McKinsey case interview advice, part II

Using preset frameworks show you can memorize information and then regurgitate it when something sounds similar in the interview.

Say you get lucky and get a MARKET ENTRY case after practicing MARKET ENTRY frameworks. 7 issues, bam!

Does this mean you'll be good in front of a client? Does this mean I want you on my team? Does this mean you can help client solve problems?

No! This means you're using information you memorized before to try to solve a new problem. Your framework is a crutch that you're tied to, and if I put you in front of a client, and he asks you something that you don't have a framework for, you're going to sound like a moron. Worst of all, it means you sound like a consultant*.

So what should you say? What's a different approach less likely to get you dinged?

Let's look at the case intro:

Our client is a petting zoo that has lost revenue because of repeated animal attacks on children. Our client hired your team to help them turn around this problem. What should they do?

Here is a much better answer even though it's far less "structured".

I'm going to start by saying what the hell, this is a bizarre case. Does McKinsey really serve petting zoos? Anyway, better start with Why is this happening, and How can we stop it.

To look at why, what animals are attacking the kids? Did we import new animals? Are these standard animals to have in a petting zoo? How have we not been shut down?

To look at how we can stop it, can we get rid of the attacking animals? What are other petting zoos doing? Are there security fences we can put up that will keep kids away from dangerous animals?

Top priority is figuring out why this is happening and what animals are attacking the kids, so that's where I want to start. This also sounds dangerous so maybe our client needs to shut down until they get this fixed or hire some attorneys.

Many case interview "coaches" would say that's a bad answer. It's not that structured! You're leaving things out! There's only two issues on the issue tree!

All true.

But this addresses this case. This is how we would talk to a client who really had this problem with the petting zoo. I would have this conversation with a client.

What you want to demonstrate to your interviewer is that you're creative enough to craft an approach that matches the client's problems. Using a preset framework demonstrates the opposite.

*There's more self-loathing in consulting than any industry. Consultants are EXTREMELY self-conscious about sounding like a consultant. Most consultants hate consults. Don't sound like a consultant if you want to get a consulting job.