Bain Full Case Interview Example

Listening to Bain full case interview examples can help you prepare for your own case interview. In listening to or watching this case example, you might be like our candidate who listens often and thinks it’s pretty straight forward. But then when they’re the one in the hot seat, it’s not as easy as they think. Follow along and listen to the case prompt. What approach would you take? Watch as the candidate builds out their structure and proceeds through the case. Understand what could have been better, tips that you can apply to your own case experiences. Learn from their successes and challenges, and crush your case interview! We hope you enjoy this Bain full case interview example!

Bain Full Case Interview Example- YouTube Transcription:

Jenny Rae:

Great, well I’m excited to get started, and for everybody who is here, we’re excited to have y’all. What we’re going to do during this session today is I’m going to introduce our guest, then we’re going to dive into the case and we’re going to give the standard 40 minutes to complete the case. We’ll see. We’ll see if we need to go through all of it today. It depends on how much fun we’re having. And then by the end of it, I will have a bunch of notes, and I’ll have some feedback on timing and structuring, and all the things, and then we’ll invite you guys to answer questions. You’re welcome during the case to use the chat bar in case you disconnect, or you need an update on where we are. Everyone’s really good about sharing the information. I don’t read the chat bar as we’re going through it, but there’s usually a very active chat throughout the session.

So if this is your first case with us, we’re excited to have you join us. And all of the case information is going to be posted on both YouTube and on our podcast, Strategy Simplified after the session today. I’m really excited to welcome Jesse Wilkinson today. He is a – well, I’ll let him introduce himself in just a second. But he’s going to give us a different level, a different perspective on the casing process because he – of what he has been through. So Jesse, we’re excited to have you. Welcome, and I’ll let you introduce yourself before I explain what’s going to happen inside the case.

Jesse:

Hey everyone, Jesse Wilkinson here. Yeah, I guess a little bit of a different perspective because I’m actually no longer – no longer recruiting. I’ve already signed a full-time offer to join Bain after graduating from – from my MBA program in May. But let me tell you a little bit about myself. So I went to undergrad at Brigham Young University, and after graduating, I spent four years working in financial services. Two working with high net worth individuals. And then two years working in a very niche industry called clearing and settling.

And, you know, as I was working I actually didn’t know very much about consulting, but I was assigned a firm mentor who had hired – I was running, you know, strategy for the firm and hired a team of consultants. And so I saw the work that they were doing and I was super intrigued. I wanted more impact in the work that I was doing given that I saw the work that they were doing. And so I actually worked backwards and figured out that doing an MBA would be the best way to give myself a chance to work in that kind of role. And so I’m now at the The Darden School, second year, so I’ll graduate again in May. And so I’m just a big MC fan, so I just said what a great opportunity to get a case. I haven’t been able to do one for a while since my second round interview. So glad to be here.

Jenny Rae:

Awesome Jesse. We’re so happy to have you. Thanks for the background, and just one point of really important questions. What’s your late night go to food in Charlottesville?

Jesse:

My late night go to food. That’s a good question. I don’t know. I feel like I should say Cook Out.

Jenny Rae:

I won’t judge you if you say Wendy’s. But I know – okay that’s fine. That’s fine. You can say Cook Out, yeah.

Jesse:

I feel like I should say Cook Out. In Texas they don’t they don’t have Cook Out and so it’s probably not the greatest food for me to eat late at night, but it is always open. So that’ll be my answer.

Case Prompt Overview:

Jenny Rae:

Okay, awesome. Great. I love it. Well, Jesse, we’re excited to have you. The point is definitely to make this a full rich casing experience, so if you have a little bit of the jitters back, just like you did before, that’s probably pretty normal. But at the end of the day, our goal is to really just make it a great educational experience for everybody, so I’m excited to walk through this case with you. I’m going to introduce the case and I’m going to dive in. I’ll start the timer and get it going.

So our case today is for a company called Candy Co. Really, and, you know,, kind of creatively named. And I’ll give you the background. I’m going to walk through the different sections of the case. As we’re going, I’m going to be timing what’s happening inside each of the sections of the case, and at the end I’m going to give you feedback both by section and then in the time. I’m going to run this Bain style. Why not. We have two Bainee’s together. So I’m gonna run it in the way that Bain would run the case, which means that I do have a lot of pre-scripted things that I need to have happen, but kind of the order that we do them in is gonna be a little bit up to you depending on the way you drive it and the questions that you ask. And if you ask me wild questions I might give wild answers, so no promises that I’m going to stick to the script. Anyhow, let’s have fun and dive into the case. You ready to go?

Jesse:

Let’s do it.

Jenny Rae:

So our client is Candy Co. They’re an over 100-year-old US-based candy company that has 25% margins, and have been traditionally focused on high-end chocolate bars and hard candies. They’ve grown both organically through R&D, and by acquisition. A new CEO has just been appointed, and he’s promised Candy Co. shareholders that he will double revenues while maintaining margins over the next four years. The current revenue is $5.4 billion, and the CEO has come to us for help. How would you help Candy Co. double its revenues, and do you have any questions about the background?

Jesse:

No, this sounds like a sweet case.

Jenny Rae:

That’s bad. That’s really bad. LOL

Case Prompt Review Questions

Jesse:

You know, I guess I might have a couple of questions. So I’d love to make sure that I just understand a little bit about the company. So Candy Co., over 100 years old. Basically they’re looking to, it sounds like, double revenues without – without increasing, or I’m sorry, without decreasing their margins. Their margins are currently about 25%. Does that sound about right?

Jenny Rae:

That’s right.

Jesse:

Fantastic. Okay, so a couple of questions that I have. Doubling revenues is ambitious but exciting. I’m curious. Do we have a set time frame that we want to achieve this in?

Jenny Rae:

Yes. Four years.

Jesse:

Four years, okay. Double it in four years. Fantastic., you know,, and this might be something we can dive into later, but I’m curious if this company sells – you said it’s US-based. Do they sell candy globally currently?

Jenny Rae:

They do.

Jesse:

Okay. And then I’d like to just understand a bit about the operations of the company. So, you know, I’m imagining that Candy Co. sources kind of cocoa beans, sugar from farms and things like that, and then has a sort of manufacturing process to create this candy. Do they sell to distributors, or do they have their own sort of storefronts. How does it get to the customers?

Jenny Rae:

They only have a few of their own storefronts. They do have, for example, a local factory where they have, it’s kind of like a,, you know,, an agri-tourism or a factory tourism. I’m not sure exactly what you call that. And then they have a couple of other places in large cities. Like they have a store in Times Square in New York, for example. But that’s not their strategy. Those are really just more advertising storefronts.

Jesse:

Fantastic. Okay. Well, I think that’s about all that I that I need to know for now. If I can take just a couple of minutes to think about how to approach this we can go from there.

Jenny Rae:

Sounds good. Don’t leave me hanging.

Jesse:

Okay, great. So okay, so Jenny Rae, I think I have an idea of how I’d like to approach this.

Case Structure

Jenny Rae:

Sounds good. So, you know, when I think about the, you know, how – how is it that we can double revenues, again it’s a pretty ambitious task in front of us. But there’s – there’s actually four categories that I’d like to look at. And I actually think about this as sort of a two-by-two matrix.

Jenny Rae:

Okay.

Jesse:

So the name of the game here is growth. And so as I see it there are sort of four ways we can grow across two dimensions, which are customers and products. Now what I mean by that is we could look at number one selling, selling new products to new customers.

Jenny Rae:

Okay.

Jesse:

We could look at selling, number two, new products to our existing customers.

Jenny Rae:

Okay.

Jesse:

Number three, we could look at selling existing products to new customers.

Jenny Rae:

Okay.

Jesse:

Or we could look at selling, number four, existing products to existing customers.

Jenny Rae:

Okay.

Jesse:

Now there’s different information I’d like to have in order to know which of these make sense and which ones don’t. So under box number one, new customers to new products, I’d love to understand which countries or which regions that we typically sell in. Are there territories that we’ve not yet penetrated. Secondly, I’d want to think about what new products might make sense that we could develop. It sounds like we do a lot of chocolate bars and hard candies, so are there chewy candies that we could look into – look into building.

Jenny Rae:

I love chewy candies.

Jesse:

Yes, me too. So maybe there’s some capital expenditures that would be necessary to do something like that, but it’s certainly worth looking into.

Jenny Rae:

Okay.

Jesse:

Number two, existing – I’m sorry, new products for existing customers. Again, I’d be interested in understanding a little bit about, you know, what are the new types of products that we could develop. For this I’d be interested in looking into like a survey of our customers to understand,, you know,, what is it that they might be interested in, what types of products that might make sense because as their existing customers, we might have data on some of their preferences. There might be some other things we could develop. Maybe we could move into something like drinks. It’s not likely, but it might be worth – worth exploring.

Number three, we’re talking about looking into,, you know,, our existing products for new – for new customers. Another thing we’d want to understand in addition to the ones that listed before would be what are the distribution channels that we currently use. Maybe thinking about if we sell online, or, you know, how much we actually sell in our – in our – in our stores versus distributing to retailers, and understand maybe what would the distribution channels be that are used in in some of the other countries that we – or regions that we’re thinking about entering.

And fourth, I’d be – if we’re talking about new – or I’m sorry, existing products to existing customers, I think we’d really want to look at a marketing strategy. So we might look at where are we – the ways that we currently market. And we might also benchmark that versus competitors, or, you know, maybe even adjacent industries to understand what are some new ways that we could market. Or maybe it’s even just a fact a matter of hey, should we just pour more money into marketing. So, you know, I think that the most interesting, or the place I’d love to start would actually be thinking about developing new products for our existing customers. Jenny Rae, do you have any data on any new candies that the R&D team has thought about creating?

Additional Case Info

Jenny Rae:

So, you know, what I do have some data on that. Interestingly, right now the R&D team doesn’t feel like they have any capacity to do anything in terms of new verticals, so they’re open to using exactly the same products that we have, but they have basically no new vertical capacity at the moment.

Jesse:

Okay yep. Makes sense. Okay, so we will just sort of cross off here the new product section and we’ll look into the existing products.

Jenny Rae:

Okay.

Jesse:

So if that’s the case, let’s look at first selling our existing products more to our existing – existing customers.

Jenny Rae:

Okay.

Jesse:

Do we have any information on like our current marketing strategies?

Jenny Rae:

Yeah. Well, tell me what kind of changes we could make. Maybe we can talk about that, right? But what would we do differently with our customers in order to drive more revenue from that segment right now.

Jesse:

Yeah, that’s a good question. So the question here is really how could we how can we drive more revenue from our existing – existing customers, right?

Jenny Rae:

That’s right, yep.

Jesse:

Yeah, so there’s a couple things I’m thinking about the first one is we could – we could – we could get our customers to buy more candy every time that they that they go to make a purchase. So it’s more, you know, more units per purchase. Or we could talk about getting our customers to buy more frequently.

Jenny Rae:

Anything else?

Jesse:

So let’s see. I think that those more units per purchase, more frequently. We could certainly think about increasing the price of our – of our candies, which would – would do more to generate more dollars per sale, but without selling more units.

Pros and Cons

Jenny Rae:

Tell me what the pros and cons are of each of those strategies.

Jesse:

Yeah, okay so let’s talk about the pros first. So the pros of more units per purchase. Yeah, I think that that might be the easiest to do. I think that we could offer – you can imagine maybe at a grocery store asking for promotions, or more – more beneficial placement of products within a store would be an easy way to get our customers to buy more units. We could also think about bundling. And so those are things that I think would be very easy- easy to do. For the cons, I get there’s a – there’s potential that our customers shop less frequently if they buy more units per purchase. Maybe you get a tummy ache and don’t want to buy candy again.

Jenny Rae:

So they kind of – they buy in bulk but they – they go on a diet afterwards or something like that.

Jesse:

Exactly. Exactly, yeah. That would be – that would be maybe a potential risk.

Jenny Rae:

Yo-yo dieting.

Jesse:

Exactly, right. So when we think about purchasing more frequently some of the pros there, you know, if our customers are buying the same – the same quantity per purchase, that feels like the – that feels like the best lever to re – to like drastically increase our revenues. And so maybe I’d say a larger – larger impact if we can if we can pull that lever to get our customers to buy more frequently.

Jenny Rae:

Okay.

Jesse:

Some of the cons.

Jenny Rae:

You see more upside there basically, right? If that’s what you’re saying?

Jesse:

Yes, exactly.

Jenny Rae:

Okay.

Jesse:

Yeah, exactly. So

Jenny Rae:

How are we gonna do it? How do we get them to buy more frequently Jesse?

Jesse:

So, you know, I think you could make them more available, so that would be distributing within – within more channels. You know, I’m trying to think about a way to create some sort of loyalty program. I’ve never seen one before with candy, but there’s a there’s a first time for everything. Maybe there’s – maybe we create a some sort of game with prizes based on how much you buy candy, sort of a Willy Wonka approach, if you will.

Jenny Rae:

Yeah. I feel like there used to be something like that when I was a kid where you had to collect like different letters inside candy boxes, and then they spelled stuff and you could redeem them for prizes or something like that.

Jesse:

Okay, there you go. So maybe we bring – maybe we bring that back.

Jenny Rae:

Okay, okay.

Jesse:

So I’m trying to think about some of the cons for getting our customers to purchase more frequently. It’s basically the opposite or the inverse of more units per purchase. Maybe if I’m – if, you know, I used to buy two candy bars every time I go. Maybe if I’m – I’m buying more frequently only by one. So that’s maybe the risk. And then increasing price is very interesting. We of course would have to understand what the likelihood is to continue buying at the same levels. But I do think that this is usually like a small portion of somebody’s, you know, kind of spend on a monthly basis and so this might be another lever that’s pretty easy to pull.

Now the downside, you know, we’re not gonna double our revenues by increasing the price alone. I find – I think it’s very unlikely that we could, you know, change all of our candy bars prices from two dollars to four dollars. And so if I was going to pick, I would be interested in looking at, you know, I see think more – more frequently has more upside. I’d actually like to look at selling more units per purchase first because of how easy it is to do, and then maybe we could look at selling more frequently if that doesn’t get us to where we want to be.

Jenny Rae:

Okay, great. Well, I did mention before that we have these kind of two segments and we’ve done some price analysis on the bars segment, so I have some data to show you here.

Jesse:

Great.

Jenny Rae:

See if I can get this up in a way that is elegant. There we go. Tell me what you see here.

Pricing

Jesse:

Okay. So US chocolate bar prices, it looks like we have the price per bar. Oh, interesting. And this looks like it’s – there are maybe five competitors compared to Candy Co., and it gives us their prices. Is this – that’s what it seems like to me.

Jenny Rae:

Yep.

Jesse:

And the the thing that’s glaring to me right off the bat is that we’re pricing our candy bars at $2.24 compared to, you know, the highest price of$2.30. So it seems like from first glance there’s definitely an opportunity to raise prices. Now that may not get us all the way to doubling our revenues, but it would be a great start. I’d be interested in understanding what this would do to our total revenues. I guess I would need some information on how many candy bars we’re selling, and we could think about where we could increase the price and what that would do to our overall revenues.

Jenny Rae:

Okay that sounds good. Now I’m going to leave this up for a second because I have some more data that I want to share with you, and so I’ll leave that up for just a minute. I’ve got some data on the current breakdown of the market, and that might – that might help us a little bit. So chocolate bars are 75% of revenue, and the hard candies are 25% of revenue. Our chocolate bar segment is growing at 4% per year and hard candies are growing at 12% per year.

Jesse:

Okay, great.

Jenny Rae:

What we’re trying to figure out is between organic growth and this potential price increase, which we estimate, you know, and I’d be interested in your thoughts on this, but we estimate that it’s probably not significant enough of an increase to drive a major volume drop. That between the two of those, we’re curious how far that gets us to our goal posts.

Jesse:

Okay, that’s great. So let’s see that basically what we want to know here is what’s the total, you know, what’s the total increase in probably on a percentage basis because we don’t have total revenues. But what’s the – what’s the increase in our revenues based on potentially raising prices plus the growth of the market.

Jenny Rae:

Yeah, I did give you revenues actually at the beginning, do you remember?

Jesse:

Oh yes, you did. I’m sorry. So $5.4 billion actually, so that’s – that’s great. $5.4 billion. Okay, perfect. So kind of what’s the – what’s the increase in revenue. So I’m imagining that – one question I have. I’m imagining that we would raise our prices now and so we would capture that that that price increase for, you know, all the future years of the of the market growth. Is that sound right?

Jenny Rae:

That’s right. Do you want to do it every year though? I mean do you want to – do you want to make the calculation every year or you’re just assuming that that – that that difference is going to be active.

Jesse:

Yeah, I just wanted to make sure that, for example, we weren’t going to raise the price by $.02 now and $.02 next year, or anything like that.

Jenny Rae:

Let’s just assume that we’re gonna raise it to whatever level on this chart you think is reasonable, and then calculate for me with that what difference that makes.

Jesse:

So I think, first glance it looks like $2.28 makes sense. It seems like it’s a close to the average price increase. And so if we wanted to figure out what the – what the increase in revenue would be, basically what we want to know is, you know, let’s assume that the hard candies don’t – we’re not going to change the price there. So we want to know what the – what the increase in revenues will be for hard candies, plus the increase in revenue from chocolate bars.

Jenny Rae:

Okay.

Jesse:

And really what we want to know is basically how many – how many units will we sell, multiplied by the what this new price would be is, you know, $2.28. We could actually do it by $.04 per, well no, let’s calculate the whole amount. So let’s start –

Case Math

Jenny Rae:

We could calculate the whole amount, but let’s do it by percentage.

Jesse:

Let’s do by percentage? Okay, great. So what we want to do is let’s start with – we’ll start with the hard candies because we’re not going to change the price at all.

Jenny Rae:

Sounds good.

Jesse:

So hard candies we know are, you might want to start with the dollar figure and give you the percentage afterwards. What do you think about that?

Jenny Rae:

Okay.

Jesse:

Okay. So we have 5.4 and 25% of 5.4 billion is, let’s see, 2.7 divided by 2 which is 1.35 billion, which is year one. And what we’re going to do is we’re going to multiply – we’re going to multiply this by 1.12 times 1.12 plus – times 1.12. And we want to know what the revenue would be in year four as opposed to like over the four years, right?

Jenny Rae:

Yeah, we just need to know the end number.

Jesse:

Perfect. Okay, so let’s do this. I’m gonna multiply 1.35. Okay, so in year two we’d sell about 1.512 can I round that to 1.5 or should we be more exact?

Jenny Rae:

No that’s fine. I think 1.5 should be fine.

Jesse:

Okay, so then in year three, that will end will increase an increase of .18 billion. I think 0.15 and then 2 percent, yeah, so 0.18. So 1.68 times 1.12, so it should increase by .336. So we have 1.68 plus 0.34 will take us to about $2 billion in hard candies. That is a – well I guess we’ll do it – we’ll do a percent increase on the total revenue. So we should be –

Jenny Rae:

That gets us to year three. We need year four.

Jesse:

Ah, that was year – okay, that was year three. Okay, so then

Jenny Rae:

Assuming that we’re in year zero basically now.

Jesse:

Oh right, right, yes. So in year four, we would just increase by 12%, which would be 0.24. So two and a quarter billion basically would be our revenue for hard candies in year four. Now for – oh sorry. Okay, so now for chocolate. Let’s see. Let’s figure out – so we’re going to increase by $.04. Well, – we’re going to start at 75% of 5.4 billion which is 5.4 minus 1.35, which is – it’s 4.05 billion is our starting point. That’s year zero, not year – not year four. And we’ll say 4.05 year one, that’s going to be 0.405 plus about 0.08, if it’s all right if I round. So we’re going to be a point – it’s going to go up by about 0.49, so about 4.55 in year one.

Jenny Rae:

Tell me how you got that one again, just to let me just make sure we’re using the right numbers.

Jesse:

Yeah, so ten percent of 4.05 billion is 0.405 billion.

Jenny Rae:

I gotcha. It’s four percent growth. I think that.

Jesse:

That’s right. It was 12% was for the hard candies.

Jenny Rae:

Yes.

Jesse:

Okay, all right. Let’s do four percent here. So 4.05 times 1.04. So we’re going to have one percent of that as .0405 times four is going to be about 0.16 billion. So we’ll go from 4.05 to 4. to about 4.2 billion from 4.2, increase at four percent is going to be 0.042 times four so it’s going to be 0.168 about 0.17 billion would be the increase. So 4. about 4.37 for year two. 4.37 times four percent. 0.175 basically it will be the increase. So 4.37 4.44, about 4.5 billion in year three. And then in year four we’ll see 4.5 time – and one percent of that is .045 and we multiply that by four. So that would be 0.18. So 4.68 billion. Now what we want to do here is we want to add these together and then figure out the percentage change from year 0. So we have 2.25 plus

Jenny Rae:

I don’t actually need that necessarily. I mean you could tell me why you want to do it, but I don’t know that I need that.

Jesse:

Oh, okay. So I guess what we can look at then is what’s the what’s the total increase in revenue right? So 2.25 plus 4.68, that gives – is going to give us 6.8, about 6.9 billion. 6.93 billion will be the will be the new revenue in in year four. Now that’s great, still short of our – of our doubling the revenue goal, but it is an easy lever that, like we said, will not likely cause a decrease in the total – in the total number of units, right? And so if we could do that, we still have the option to look at these other levers of, you know, bundling or looking at other more units per purchase, or getting customers to buy more frequently.

Jenny Rae:

We actually haven’t factored in the price change yet though. How are we going to factor that in?

Jesse:

You’re right. So that actually needs to – that actually needs to increase by – so it’s 4.68 billion, plus, or multiplied by the percentage increase in the price. So we said from 2.24 and then $.04 is – it’s a pretty small percentage. Let’s see here. So $.02 is about one percent, so it’s about a two percent increase in the price. Let me double check that. So $2.24, ten percent is $.24 cents, so it’s, yeah, about two and a quarter cents is one percent. And so that means, yeah, to go to four cents is a little under two percent increase in the price.

Jenny Rae:

And two percent is fine.

Jesse:

So okay, so let’s just do the 4.68 and we’ll increase that by two percent. So it’s .0936. So that takes us to basically $4.77 billion. So what we want here is to look at the 4.77 plus the 2.25 takes us to a right around $7 billion. So look, so seven so seven billion – does that sound right to you, Jenny Rae?

Jenny Rae:

Sounds pretty good.

Jesse:

Okay, great. So $7 billion, again, that’s great. Now it looks like the, you know, the increase in price is a – is a very – it’s like it’s a pretty small lever, right, because really what we’re doing is we’re – getting about two percent on 75% growth from that. And all the rest of it comes from the from the market growth. So look I say no downside, no not real downside in doing it, but doesn’t really get us where we need to go.

Jenny Rae:

Would you push price anymore?

Jesse:

Yeah, you know, I think, yeah, I think there’s an argument that you could increase the price some more. And I’m thinking about that like if I – if I’m walking into the gas station, I don’t really compare the difference between two cents between the candy bar that I like and the one that I don’t. So maybe it would make sense to increase it another two cents. That would change it from – it would basically double from .094 billion to 0.18 million. So it would basically take us to 7 – 7.1, $7.2 billion.

Jenny Rae:

And again, like you said, it doesn’t get us all the way there, but I don’t know that there is downside to doing that like you mentioned. There probably isn’t a lot of elasticity around it. Okay, great. Well, we’ve looked at a couple of different things, and I think we’ve got time to look at one more. What else would you want to look at here?

Jesse:

So let’s look at let’s look at increasing the number of units per purchase for our customers. I think that that makes – I think that makes the most sense again because it’s easier, even if it doesn’t have quite as much upside.

Jenny Rae:

Okay. I like that too. I want to look at doing it internationally in particular because I think there may be some opportunity there. So I’ve got some data about some international markets, especially because the U.S. market is pretty set in their ways in terms of the candies that they like and the things that they – they want. But there are some new emerging markets that are pretty interesting for us. We’re going to look at China, other Asia and Europe. And I’ll give you some data. Just the total size of the Chinese market is 2.2 billion in terms of chocolate and hard candy, the segments that we’re in right now. And then the total size of the other Asian market, so non-China Asian markets, 4.5 billion. And so based on this chart that I’m gonna put up on the screen now, I’m curious what you see as an opportunity potentially in those markets for us.

Jesse:

Absolutely. And just one clarifier. These 2.2 billion and 4.5 billion that’s in dollars, right?

Jenny Rae:

That is, yeah.

Jesse:

Okay perfect. Okay, so let’s take a look. This chart is the worldwide market share. Okay, so it gives us our market share compared to competitors in these other markets. Looks like Candy Co. has an enormous market share in the U.S. And about 45% market share in Europe. So it actually makes me think that there may be opportunities in other markets where we’re not as established. Primarily I like the other the other Asia market. It looks like it’s very fragmented. There are three, four, five, six, seven competitors and all of them have – it looks like the largest of them has about 25% market share. So I think that there’s an opportunity for us to penetrate there, plus the fact that it’s double the size of the China market. So that’d be the first place that I’d – that I’d like to look.

case math chart

Jenny Rae:

What would you do? How did you enter the market, or how do you push growth in that market?

Jesse:

Yeah, that’s a good question. So I think the first thing I’d do is benchmark the way that we are distributing and marketing any other Asian markets compared to these competitors. I’d be especially interested to understand a little bit about competitor four and five because they don’t have a ton of market share in the in these other three markets we’ve mentioned, but they seem to do very well in other Asia. And so I’d be curious if they’re doing something differently than the – than the other competitors would be. So I’d love to look at what they’re doing first.

Jenny Rae:

Sounds good. I don’t have any more data about those companies in particular, but I do have some potential options for companies that we could acquire.

Jesse:

Oh, great.

Potential Acquisition

Jenny Rae:

And so one of the companies, there are two – there are two companies for sale right now. I mean we could obviously acquire potentially other ones, but there are two that are for sale. One is a nut and snack bar company with strong brand equity and a distribution system in China. The second is a small gummy company in Europe. Should we acquire one, should we acquire both, should we acquire neither, and why would either one of those either be a good fit or not a good fit.

Jesse:

So let’s talk about – maybe we could talk about some of the pros and cons of each and then figure out which one things we think makes the most sense.

Jenny Rae:

Okay.

Jesse:

So I think the natural snack bar distribution system company, the benefits there would be mainly that they have this distribution system in place, which means that we don’t have to spend a bunch of money, remember we’re concerned about margins here, so we don’t have to spend a bunch of money to establish these distribution channels. And so that we might be able to continue to operate that as its own business. Now the downsides there is it doesn’t seem to fit with our brand. It doesn’t really fit with kind of our core capabilities, and so we’d have to think about building out maybe future R&D capabilities if we ever wanted to move those snack products over to some of the other markets. So I’m a little bit less interest – interested in the nut and snack bar company. Now the small gummy company.

Jenny Rae:

I love gummies.

Jesse:

Yes and I think you said the small gummy company was in Europe, right?

Jenny Rae:

Mm hmm..

Jesse:

Okay. I love gummy bears, so that that’s one point for the small gummy company. So the benefits. The main one is this fits in really nicely with kind of our brand as far – as far as I can understand it. We have the hard candies, we have the chocolates, and the gummies would be another candy you might think of at Halloween or other occasions where I think we’d sell a lot of our candy. And so I think that for that reason it makes – it make sense.

Some of the downsides, not a ton of – not a ton of brand recognition for the small gummy company. The benefit there that we have brand recognition, at least in some of these markets. And so I think that we, given our ability to brand, looks like we, you know, we’re 100 years old so that this name is going to carry some weight. And so I think that we could potentially offset the – kind of the downsides of that small brand. So my first look would be to look at the small gummy company. Now we – there would certainly be questions about what’s the price and some of those other things, but that would be what I’d first be interested in looking at.

Jenny Rae:

Okay, great. Well, we’ve run out of time and we need an update for the CEO. So based on everything that we’ve talked about so far, what do you think our potential options are. And do you think that we’re going to be able to get him to the $5.4 billion.

Recommendation

Jesse:

Yeah, so if you can give me just a second. So really what we’re looking at here is could we double the revenues within the next four years. Right now it looks like we won’t be able to. Now there’s a couple things that we can do that I think would make sense to get us close or on our way. Number one, we should raise the price from $2.24 to $2.30 of our – of our chocolate candies. Number two, we should look at acquiring the small gummy company in Europe.

And then number three, I guess the third thing that will help us to get there is just going to be the growth of the market over the next over the next four years in both hard candies and in chocolates. Some of the concerns, you know we didn’t – we didn’t actually have a chance to look at the some of the other options, for example, getting our customers to buy more frequently, and there may be opportunities as we mentioned in selling to, creating kind of new products organically that may be more attractive. But I do think that the first step we should take is figuring out what’s the price for this small gummy company and would it really make sense to acquire it.

Jenny Rae:

Okay, great. Thanks, Jesse. You can relax now. All right. What do you think? Is it just like riding a bike?

Jesse:

No, it’s a lot it’s harder than I remember. I when I listen to the podcast, I always think, oh yeah okay. Easy. Exactly. And so, you know, it was it was definitely – it was definitely a lot of fun. You know, I’ve definitely missed casing. The math I needed to – it took me a minute to get caught up. But overall I think it was okay. I’m not sure if I would give me a job offer. Fortunately, fortunately I already have one.

Jenny Rae:

Suckers, yeah totally.

Jesse:

Exactly. What did you think?

Case Interview Feedback

Jenny Rae:

I thought it was really good. Let me just highlight a number of things as we go through it really quickly. First of all, I’ll talk about just the soft stuff, right? You are clearly enjoying yourself and not stressed by the times that I had you go back and do something and reconsider something. You were very go with the flow. But you remained quite structured, so when I said hey, you know, we need to go back and forth in the price increase, not perfect that you forgot it, but at the same time it wasn’t hard for you to loop back in to where you were. It didn’t make you get lost or fluster you.

Also we kind of had, you know, some running joking going on in the side. And that’s – that’s really can’t be underestimated if overall I’m evaluating whether or not I think you can do it, and I think you’d like doing it, and I think I’d like having you do it, right, I think that – I think that overall like your pure delight in going through the case was really good. And you had a couple of common mechanisms, especially in the creative brainstorming, that I thought were really good. And I would be curious just to – I wanted to poke on you and just ask what you were writing down. But you were you really quickly kind of broke down, you know, here are the three things that make sense, here are the core focuses of these areas that you want to highlight. And I just thought you did a really good job of, you know, kind of making sure that you were going methodically through a lot of the questions that I asked instead of shooting from the hip.

And so like overall, I thought that’s – I think that smoothed out some of the bumps that were there in other places inside the case. So let me just run through it. First of all, two minutes and 49 seconds to open the case with your clarifying questions. The two – the guidance that we give is that you should ask two kinds of questions about the business problem and the business model, so you nailed it. You kind of doubly confirmed, right, you know, how many years, right, what, you know, making sure that you had the revenue. I don’t – you didn’t tie that into the rest of the case, but again, that was a that was a bump but not a major diversion.

And then do we sell globally, what are the ops of the company, right. So those kinds of questions are exactly what I’m looking for from a great candidate at the beginning. And I really did feel like you had a pretty strong sense of how we – where we needed to go and how we needed to get there. Your structure took you about two and a half minutes. When you first described it, I felt like whereas normally the overview at the beginning would make so much sense, it took us such a long time. It took about half a minute to go through just like this, this is my matrix and this is my 2×2. And I like – I like how you had thought about, that but I actually thought about afterwards that you could have just gone through that and said like I have four categories, right. And so I started writing down the two by two and then I realized that you were naming your categories. But I didn’t realize it until later. So I think if you had just maybe communicated that a little bit more clearly, that would be good. We lost your audio for a second. I think

Jesse:

There we go, can you hear me now?

Jenny Rae:

Yeah.

Jesse:

Makes sense.

Jenny Rae:

And then, you know, we kind of went into a number of different sections of the case. There wasn’t anything that you took longer than four minutes to do, math or creative wise. And I pushed a number of different things for you. So the first was like how do we get revenues from existing customers, so I really pushed you on that one. And then I was – you probably felt it but I was gonna what else you until you got that price increase option. But you snuck that in there pretty quickly, so you did all right on that.

And then, you know, on the price increase, we got there but I was kind of curious as to why – I would have wanted you really quickly to realize that that extra two cents of gap would have doubled the increment pretty quickly and so, you know, so you hedged that one and I pushed you on it and you were like, oh yeah, like why not. And also it makes a big difference in terms of that particular piece. When you went through the math, the math was not completely flawless. There – like there was one time that you did the 12% that it was that it ended up a little bit off. I decided to let it go because I was thinking about what my judgment was you could do the math. You laid it out really clearly. I didn’t have any issues with you like not being able to multiply like that really weird number by 12%. And so I just was like, yeah, we’re going to be close and it didn’t change the answer either, right. The answer was we’re not going to get there. And there’s really nothing that we looked at where we would get there.

My final point, just so that everybody knows, there one way that I would have pushed you if we were coaching and you were doing cases this weekend or, you know, some other time coming out soon, would have just been I felt like the running commentary versus the goal could have been a little stronger. So we had 5.4 billion that we needed to get to, and kind of keeping a running tally of like okay, that gets us this far. This is the – this is the delta. And then like here’s a little bit more, and here’s the delta for that. Like you were – I didn’t know at the end when you concluded that you were gonna have such a strong response and be so clear about the fact that we weren’t gonna get there because I didn’t hear that as a running commentary throughout the case. And so if you had it, like for example, in the China and other Asian markets, when it gave you those market sizes the total of those markets was 6.7. Like we would have had to have major market share in those markets to close the gap, right.

And so this is, you know, I’m trying to box you into a corner and at the end we were just like yeah, we can’t get there. But I wanted a little bit more digging on a few of those areas to try to figure out like what would it take in this market. Okay, we can’t get all the way there here, so we have to add that to the list but we’re gonna have to go back and find some other options. And that’s really this what – this is Hershey that’s basically like what they’ve had to do is take like a super multi-pronged approach to try to target some of the different changes that they need.

Jesse:

Awesome.

Jenny Rae:

Yeah, I hope that you enjoyed this Bain full case interview example, and again thank you so much for that. So at this point I’ll turn it over to other folks for questions.

Additional Reading:

 

Filed Under: Bain, Bain Case Interview, Case Interview, case studies, Consulting Case Interview, consulting interviews