The interviewer will typically start the case by giving a brief overview of the context, ending with a question that is the problem definition. At the end of the description you will have an opportunity to ask any questions you might have to clarify the information that has been provided to you.
Our client is OldPharma, a major pharmaceutical company (pharmaco) with USD 10 billion a year in revenues. Its corporate headquarters and primary research and development (R&D) centers are in Germany, with regional sales offices worldwide.
Description of OldPharma
Let’s assume our client is OldPharma, a major pharmaceutical company (pharmaco) with USD 10 billion a year in revenues. Its corporate headquarters and primary research and development (R&D) centers are in Germany, with regional sales offices worldwide.
OldPharma has a long, successful tradition in researching, developing, and selling “small molecule” drugs. This class of drugs represents the vast majority of drugs today, including aspirin and most blood-pressure or cholesterol medications. OldPharma is interested in entering a new, rapidly growing segment of drugs called “biologicals.” These are often proteins or other large, complex molecules that can treat conditions not addressable by traditional drugs.
Biological R&D is vastly different from small molecule R&D. To gain these capabilities, pharmacos can build them from scratch, partner with existing startups, or acquire them. Since its competitors are already several years ahead of OldPharma, OldPharma wants to jumpstart its biologicals program by acquiring BioFuture, a leading biologicals start-up based in the San Francisco area. BioFuture was founded 12 years ago by several prominent scientists and now employs 200 people. It is publicly traded and at its current share price the company is worth about USD 1 billion in total.
OldPharma has engaged McKinsey to evaluate the BioFuture acquisition and advise on its strategic fit with OldPharma's biologicals strategy.
Should OldPharma acquire BioFuture?
- Write down important information
- Feel free to ask interviewer for explanation of any point that is not clear to you
McKinsey case interview questions
In McKinsey & Company case interviews, the interviewer will guide you through the case with a series of questions that will allow you to display a full range of problem solving skills. Below is a link to a series of questions and potential answers that will give you an idea of what a typical case discussion might be like.