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5 Estimations

Session 5: Estimation Questions

You cannot pass a McKinsey, BCG or Bain case unless you can brainstorm. Although, you may never receive an isolated/explicit brainstorming case, the skill is needed to identify drivers and build out an analyses structure, without the need to memorize frameworks. So why do we start with estimation cases and not brainstorming cases?

Our estimation technique requires Samantha to learn a simple approach to solve any estimation case. It is also a really elegant brainstorming approach, but with so much structure that it is very easy to apply. That is why we teach estimation first. It teaches the basics of brainstorming but also teaches clever ways to make logic and math calculations easier.

Most case books incorrectly teach estimation cases to be always demand driven. The answers as a result of using this technique are often incorrect by orders of magnitude. We use a passport visa case to clearly indicate why demand-side estimation is a bad idea if used for all cases. It is a reminder for Samantha of just how easy cases can be with good case techniques.

We specifically help candidates understand how and when to segment markets for estimation. Using segments for the mere sake of doing so usually creates a complex and rarely useful structure.

Candidates are expected to be meticulous and relatively neat note takers. We find the best candidates take good notes and summaries, which they review often, and keep close by as they practice cases with us. Candidates, as you will observe in the program, must take notes in a format which is effective for their own use. Even if the notes are messy, as long as they client finds them effective, as demonstrated by their performance, we are comfortable with this. These training notes are important at the beginning and we strongly encourage it. As they improve, they will see less and less need for them. It is a natural process of remove the training wheels aka notes, and we do not force candidates to work without notes.

Finally, candidates should not begin practicing with other students until later. Our reason is simple. You can only practice what you already know. If you don’t know how to solve cases, and you try to do them with others, then you are not practicing. You are simply going through the motions and probably learning very bad habits since you cannot know what is right or wrong. Samantha is asked not to practice cases until she learns how to do cases first. She needs to learn to recognize the different techniques, and not be confused by them. Only then will we advise her to practice cases with other students.

That said, we expect Samantha to practice estimation cases and brainstorming cases by herself, and often. She will upload a photo of her work onto her online folder so we can provide feedback on her performance. We encourage the candidate to load podcast/video recordings of their estimation self-practice sessions so we can listen and provide feedback.

Cases questions taught in the session:

Felix’s cases recorded in the session; UK drinking tea market size, Clothing irons market size in Spain, Revenue for Disney world Paris tickets sales & Hot Dog revenue Wrigley Field.

Rafik’s cases recorded in the session; Fortune magazine’s per annum subscription revenue, Market size for portable electronic storage devices & Revenue at a Grand Central Terminal ticketing booth.

Samantha’s cases recorded in the session; Facebook’s advertisement revenue per annum, Coca Cola sales at a Beyonce Madison Square Gardens concert & Sales at Wal-Mart’s largest store in Arizona

Sanjeev’s cases recorded in the session; Australian wine corks, Roses in Spain, Vodka Consumption in New York’s elite nightclub & Bagel consumption in Starbucks.

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