You will eventually be required to present your framework to the interviewer. Most interviewers will expect you to talk them through which elements of the case study require deeper analysis and which other information you would want to possess in order to better inform your ideas and recommendations. You will be expected to communicate information in a concise and accessible manner, in a way that is easy to follow. Note that by reversing the piece of paper on which your framework is outlined, your interviewer may find it easier to follow your thought process.
It is advisable to state a hypothesis during the opening stage of your presentation, although there is no exact rule as to when you should do this (and it may not always be appropriate). In this context, a hypothesis would be a theory or preliminary conclusion formed on the basis of the limited information that you were initially provided from the interviewer and it should serve as a starting point for further investigation.
It can sometimes be difficult to come up with a hypothesis that you have confidence in, especially where you have received a very limited amount of information. However, trying to do so could provide you with some sense of direction and guide you through the analysis. Subsequently, while explaining particular elements of your framework and the areas you would like to further research, you should mention how you believe particular results (following further analysis) would impact upon the appropriateness/correctness of your hypothesis.
For example, if Company A is facing a decline in profitability, you would probably want to look more closely at the two key drivers of profitability (revenue and costs). If you choose to hypothesise that the fall may be attributed to an increase in costs, this hypothesis could be confirmed by data illustrating that costs per unit have recently increased. If however it transpires that costs per unit have remained stable, then the issue may instead relate to company revenue (assuming there is no change in the company’s fixed costs). Accordingly, you should aim to refine and rebuild your hypothesis as you progress through the case and learn more information, build up your understanding of the problem(s) at hand and come closer to discovering the source of the problems the company is facing.
Having stated the hypothesis and introduced the framework to the interviewer, you can get stuck into the problem. You do that by analysing the case study in the context of your chosen framework(s), gathering more data and refining your hypothesis until you reach a more informed solution. Note that there is often no objectively correct answer to case study questions. You must however reach a concise conclusion that is supported by your case analysis.
By Jake Schogger - City Career Series