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What is Analytical Problem Solving?

There are some very common misconceptions and myths about analytical problem solving. Most candidates simply skim over this phrase on consulting profiles without thinking about the meaning. This post will tell you what management consulting firms like McKinsey, Bain and BCG mean by analytical problem solving. You would be surprised at how many people believe that analytical thinking is something that comes instinctively, letting you do data analysis and pinpoint relevant information to get the key takeaways from complex problems. The truth is, these analytical skills are, more often than not, hard skills that you acquire through years of problem solving and critical thinking. They’re problem-solving skills that help you go from coming up with easy solutions to coming up with creative solutions that go the extra mile. This is important advice so it is worth reading carefully - we’ll also go over some analytical and problem solving skills examples to help you understand better.   What is analytical problem solving To be an analytical thinker does not mean you must have a degree in science, engineering, finance, economics or any other quantitative subject. While some subjects, like those listed, imply you could be analytical in your thinking, not having quantitative background…

There are some very common misconceptions and myths about analytical problem solving. Most candidates simply skim over this phrase on consulting profiles without thinking about the meaning. This post will tell you what management consulting firms like McKinsey, Bain and BCG mean by analytical problem solving. You would be surprised at how many people believe that analytical thinking is something that comes instinctively, letting you do data analysis and pinpoint relevant information to get the key takeaways from complex problems. The truth is, these analytical skills are, more often than not, hard skills that you acquire through years of problem solving…

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Chapter Two: Learning MECE and 80/20 at Bain

Bain & Company is an interesting company. “Bainies”, as they refer to themselves, take enormous pride in their culture and the “true north” value system which lies at the core of their cultural values. On my first day at the office, sitting through an induction led by a team of partners, the following three points were driven home: • Bain believes in developing solutions which work. The Monday-morning-principle was the belief that any Bain recommendation must lead to an action that could be implemented by the client on Monday morning. • Bain also believes in 80/20 rule. But the rule is different from the famous Pareto principle. Bain's 80/20 rule refers to the fact that it is better to have 80% of the best answer, provided this could be implemented by the client to get success. Chasing the best theoretical answer with limited room for operational success was not an option. • Clients come first. Period. Bain ties this to their “true north” value system of only doing what lies true to their value system, and by default, the client. We went through a long induction period lasting one complete week. A whole host of topics were covered in this…

Bain & Company is an interesting company. “Bainies”, as they refer to themselves, take enormous pride in their culture and the “true north” value system which lies at the core of their cultural values. On my first day at the office, sitting through an induction led by a team of partners, the following three points were driven home: • Bain believes in developing solutions which work. The Monday-morning-principle was the belief that any Bain recommendation must lead to an action that could be implemented by the client on Monday morning. • Bain also believes in 80/20 rule. But the rule…

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Chapter Four: Redemption on a Bain Business Case

Through a Bain business case, Terance discusses how to distinguish between analyzing a problem and assembling the answers to arrive at a strategy. I felt lucky and relieved to have survived the scare of my last Bain business case. The relief did not last very long. I had to very quickly show that I deserved to be at Bain. With the engagement manager having left, I felt there was greater attention on my performance. Would I be able to rise to the occasion and prove that this was a personal issue or was there something really wrong with my performance? I also felt a personal obligation to not disappoint the partners who had stood up for me. I did not have long to wait for the opportunity to prove myself. Leading the business case Just one week after my performance review, I was assigned to another aviation project. As you will see over time, the aviation sector and strategy became my area of specialization. Bain had been appointed to develop an IT strategy for one of the largest air carriers in the continental USA. I was assigned to lead an important piece of work. The firm wanted to test me and asked…

Through a Bain business case, Terance discusses how to distinguish between analyzing a problem and assembling the answers to arrive at a strategy. I felt lucky and relieved to have survived the scare of my last Bain business case. The relief did not last very long. I had to very quickly show that I deserved to be at Bain. With the engagement manager having left, I felt there was greater attention on my performance. Would I be able to rise to the occasion and prove that this was a personal issue or was there something really wrong with my performance?…

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Consulting Storyboard for Strategy Engagements

Storyboard matters in consulting studies because useful insights mean very little unless they can be woven into a compelling story. Critical insights which are not presented as a story, generally fail to get any traction at a client. In fact, that is one reason strategy studies collect dust on a client’s desk: they did not present a clear message. When one of FIRMSconsulting partners, Michael, was a corporate strategy partner, he pretty much drove teams a little crazy to constantly refine the story. He still does that. If you are following the US Retail Banking Study (one of step by step consulting studies we released to help train our clients) you would have seen us push for a crisp and compelling story. We do the same on the current power sector study (another step by step consulting study we released for our clients to help them develop strategy, problem solving, leadership, and communication skills). We just push and push for the best story out of the data. A great storyboard will get the client to act. That’s exactly why you should be looking into a consulting storyboard - to create a compelling story that will convey the key message to…

Storyboard matters in consulting studies because useful insights mean very little unless they can be woven into a compelling story. Critical insights which are not presented as a story, generally fail to get any traction at a client. In fact, that is one reason strategy studies collect dust on a client’s desk: they did not present a clear message. When one of FIRMSconsulting partners, Michael, was a corporate strategy partner, he pretty much drove teams a little crazy to constantly refine the story. He still does that. If you are following the US Retail Banking Study (one of step by…

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