I purchased LOMS about ten days ago and have listened to it twice so far. I am trying to go over the seven times mantra, hopefully before the first round. As far as identifying my weak spots, I feel it’s with the “qualitative” cases, something that you mention is a common issue with people from Science and Math backgrounds.

The LOMS program has helped me a lot with the quantitative cases in order to develop a hypothesis and structure my responses, but I don’t know how to use LOMS to improve my qualitative case structure. How does one figure out which questions are the right questions to ask qualitatively?  I.e., how can one develop the intuition for these qualitative questions? When I try to follow just the business situation framework, it seems too robotic and I can sense my case partner getting frustrated. I guess my answer might just be more practice.

Thank you for your emails, your prep material and LOMS. I really appreciate everything you have put up on your website.

My Reply:

You’re being overly framework-oriented, and not hypothesis-driven.

If your hypothesis is that Mercedes is a better car than BMW, what factors would you need to know to be able to prove/disprove that hypothesis?

The goal is not to use a framework or force the use of a framework. The goal is to test the hypothesis.

If the hypothesis is:  you and your friends should go to Hawaii instead of Paris for vacation/holiday, what factors would you need to know in order to definitely prove Hawaii is the better destination for you and your friends?

If you’re in rush hour, and you have the choice of taking local roads or the toll road, what factors would you need to prove the local road is the better decision?

In the examples above, the “factors” are not all numerical, and the relationship between factors is more conceptual (as opposed to defined by a formula).

The “key” to finally getting how this business works is to develop the habit of asking yourself only two key questions.

1) What is my hypothesis?

2) How do I prove it (to a skeptical audience)?  (Note: In many situations, McKinsey in particular, you don’t even have to actually prove the argument; all you have to do to “ace the case” in some cases is to show the structure of how you would prove the argument if you needed to.)

More recently, I’ve been been using the term “issue tree” or “logical argument” in place of the term “framework.” Once you have a hypothesis, what is the logical argument that you will use to prove/disprove the hypothesis? It’s really just the scientific method applied to a business context.