Cases can broadly be divided into the following types:
- Pricing Strategy
- Market Sizing (Guesstimates)
- Market Entry
- Growth Strategy
- M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions)
- Response to Competition
IMPORTANCE OF CASE SOLVING
- Allows you to become a more structured case solver: Enables you to break down a complex problem into small solvable bits.
- Effective communicator: Helps you lay down your thoughts in a comprehensible manner. You will be able to put your ideas/points creatively.
- Understand business issues: if you solve cases regularly, you will sharpen your business acumen. You will learn about issues/challenges/potential solutions that businesses face and deploy.
CASE SOLVING STEPS
Solving a Case can be divided into three parts:
- Understanding the problem statement & building a framework
- Navigating the flow of the case
- Giving recommendation and summarising
Step 1: Understanding the problem statement & building a framework
Define and redefine the problem statement engaging with various definitions of the problem. A problem statement should address questions of how, who, why, where, and when (5Ws and H). A good problem statement should be devoid of ambiguity but should be exact and concise.
Verify the objectives and ask clarifying questions. For E.g.
How does your client define success? Even if the objective of the problem seems obvious, there is always the possibility of having a difference in perception for common words like ‘success’.
Ask yourself – ‘Is the objective clear?’
If you are not clear about the objective, then it would be okay to ask a few “silly” questions at the beginning such as “what is the exact nature of the business for the small e-commerce store”, “what do you mean by the term obliterated?” etc.
Use a simple tree diagram, with a series of yes and no questions to create your initial structure (this works 70% of the time!).
Key takeaway: If you are unsure about WHAT you are solving, you can’t solve it!
STEP 2: Navigating the flow of the case
When you are starting a case, you can take 1-2 mins to think about the problem statement and your approach.
During this time, you need to break apart a problem at a high level in such a manner that you don’t miss any critical points from your analysis.
Continue asking specific open-ended questions until you have received all the information or have discovered the underlying issues that need solutions. You have to make sure that you and the interviewer are “standing in the same place” before you take him by the hand and lead him through your reasoning.
Key takeaway: Ask the right set of questions and data. Data will give you many insights on the case.
Step 3: Giving recommendation and summarising
Succinctly communicate your ideas and thoughts. This classic pattern of story-telling is Situation, Complication, Question, Answer. So, if you translate this for case solving, it will be:
- Summarize the case
- State your findings
- Mention your recommendations
Key takeaway: Never directly jump into recommendations.