Note: By frameworks we mean memorized ways of addressing specific business scenarios.
Many casebooks will often include a ton of frameworks to memorize for the case interview, whether it’s “Top 12 Business Scenarios,” the 7 Q’s, the 5 D’s, etc. I think that these frameworks might be useful to read (especially if you have no business experience whatsoever), but at the end of the day, trying to do crack the case by memorizing a set of frameworks is wrong for several reasons:
1) It may misguide you
When you memorize a lot of frameworks, it is easy to become myopic and even overconfident. During one of my first BCG interviews junior year, I heard a case and immediately thought of the Private Equity framework that I had memorized (and used correctly in practice). It turned out I was dead wrong – even though the term private equity was used, the case was just really about understanding an overall industry.
2) It sounds canned
Interviewers have read most of the guides out there. Think about it – they were probably in your shoes just a few years ago. Moreover, your peers are reading these same books. If you pull out a memorized framework, the interviewer will likely ding you for a lack of creativity.
3) It’s time consuming
There are literally hundreds of frameworks out there. Each book will try to show you why their case system is the best. In reality, cases are so easy to tweak that no set of framework really will really give you the magical solution.
4) It does not make up for lack of practice
If you are short on time, the worst thing you can do is spend it pounding frameworks into your head. Being able to recall frameworks will not help you much if you have not honed down the skill of being able to form structure around a problem. The only way to develop this skill is good old practice.
Again, we want to emphasize that structure, not frameworks, is the key to cracking the case. When you take the initial minute to plan out your thoughts, just try to think: what is a logical way of breaking this question down? What are some questions that I really need to answer to figure out this business problem? Really, it’s less difficult than it sounds. We will be putting up a post on how to do this soon.