How to Transition in Cases

As we discussed in how a candidate led case should flow, the most important part of a case is the process of elimination portion in which you’re trying to identify the problem. To do this, you’ll usually structure the problem (which usually ends up either looking like an issue tree or a hypothesis tree).

What we haven’t discussed yet is how you’re supposed to transition between various parts of your structure (i.e. from customers to products) so that it’s easy for your interviewer to follow. That’s what today’s article is about.

What Should the Transition Sound Like?

There’s a three step process for transitioning between different parts of your structure:

1. Updating your hypothesis (if necessary).

2. Synthesizing what you know so far.

3. Explaining where you’re transitioning to, and why.

Example

Market Entry

Let’s take a market entry case as an example. You are asked whether an organic foods company should introduce a new organic pizza crust to the Cincinnati, Ohio market.

You start with the market attractiveness portion of your hypothesis, size the market, look at the growth rate, and examine various customer segments and conclude that from a market attractiveness standpoint it looks pretty good. Your transition might sound something like this:

1. Updating Hypothesis. It looks like based on the market attractiveness analysis introducing organic pizza crusts to the Cincinnati market could be a lucrative opportunity.

2. Synthesis. There are approximately 1 million potential customers (around 25% of the urban + metro population), the growth rate in the organic foods market is around 20%, and there’s a fairly well defined customer segment that wants healthy food options.

3. Where to Next? However, to confirm that hypothesis I’d like to move to an analysis of the product. I’m still not convinced that an organic pizza crust is sufficiently differentiated from a normal pizza crust to appeal to the healthy foods segment of this market.

And that’s it! Every time you move from one area to another in your structure you say a similar thing.

By the way, concluding a case is just a special type of transition. That’s why they sound so similar

Conclusion

Transitions help your interviewer follow along as you move between different parts of your structure.

A good transition looks like:

1. Updating your hypothesis (if necessary).

2. Synthesizing what you know so far.

3. Explaining where you’re transitioning to, and why.

Good luck!

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