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McKinsey Case Study Prompt

Our client is a public university that is considering adding an inter-collegiate football team to its athletic program. Their only financial requirement is to break even. They are interested in intangible benefits.

Longer term, they hope to pay for a new stadium and use football to subsidize other sports programs on campus.

  • Enrollment is 10,000 students
  • The school is near a city of 1 million residents
  • The school is located in the Southern US where football is very popular
  • The school feels that adding a football program has many benefits including increased exposure and brand awareness, school pride, enhanced “college” experience for students, improved connections with alumni, and additional revenue
  • The school currently participates in 16 men’s and women’s sports including basketball, track & field, and baseball

They have asked us to help them determine if this is a good idea.


This is a fun McKinsey case study. In this case, the client is a public university. The uni is looking to add a new sport (football) to its athletic program, with a requirement to break-even. Your job is to dig into the profitability of the new program, and give the university a recommendation on whether or not to add football to its sports roster.

While you can definitely use the Profitability Framework to solve this McKinsey case study, the most successful candidates pick and choose from the basic frameworks to create a custom structure for the problem.

The case contains no charts or graphs to be interpreted. Set yourself up for a final round McKinsey interview with this case. The case has a qualitative difficulty of 3 out of 4.

Interview Tips: McKinsey

McKinsey is consistently impressed by candidates with clear communication skills. As you go through the case study, focus on how you verbalize your process and recommendations.

For this McKinsey case study, focus on your overall “polish.” Can you picture acing a final round interview?

Need to set yourself apart in an upcoming McKinsey interview? We have a team of amazing ex-MBB interview coaches that exist for that purpose – book an hour today.

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