TKS Session Reflections

POV: You’re Getting an HBS Education for Free

The Thought Patterns Behind a Harvard Business School Case

Photo by Cloris Ying on Unsplash
Source: unDraw

1. Crunch the Numbers. Then Crunch Them Again. 💯

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably scared silly by the idea of advising a large corporation on its next business move. But, the antidote to fear is preparation. When faced with the sorts of intricate problems proposed in HBS Cases, or even in real-life, it’s important to ground yourself in the facts and the data.

2. Show Your Work. 📝

After reading #1, you probably thought something along the lines of: “Okay…I guess I’ll just take the derivative of the annual revenue in order to find an equation that represents all of my answers???

3. What Assumptions Are the Least Risky to Make? 🤔

When making recommendations based off of past experiences, it can be easy to base your assumptions on the best-case scenario. I’ve done this a million times, and each time, I set myself up for failure because life is not a series of best-case scenarios.

4. Make Apples-to-Apples Comparisons. 👯‍♀️

In order to detail action items for a large corporation, it is always useful to compare its business model to the business model of its competitor. Try to look for comparable data across the same time frame, similar conditions, similar target populations, etc.

5. Back Your Recommendation with Facts. 📊

Instead of delivering solutions with phrases like “It seems to me like…” or “I’m not sure, but…” or “Off the top of my head, I think the solution is…,” I want you to try grounding your solutions in tangible facts. What numbers–percentages, monetary amounts, etc.–support your point of view? Can you clearly trace the logic that led to your current recommendations (see Tip #2)?

Source: DrawKit

Next Steps

Now, you might be wondering: How do these tips help me? It’s not like I’m going to Harvard Business School, anyways…

Main Takeaways:

  1. Crunch the numbers
  2. Show your work.
  3. Make the least risky assumptions
  4. Make apples-to-apples comparisons.
  5. Back your recommendation with facts.

One Last Thing–

I sincerely hope you got value out of this article! For more, check out the other articles my medium page. Have more questions or thoughts? Let’s connect on LinkedIn!

Aminah Aliu is an Innovator at The Knowledge Society and a senior in high school. She enjoys conversation with others, writing poetry, and learning about STEM.