Entering a New Market

Your client is a low-cost airline headquartered in Philadelphia with frequent service to cities along the East Coast of the United States. The CEO is interested in expanding service into a small town in the Midwest; let’s call it Greenville. What is your recommendation?

THE first step in approaching a question such as this one is simply to summarise the information provided. Considering the brevity of the question above, this process may seem unnecessary; however, by repeating the question in your own words you will be able to differentiate between relevant and irrelevant information. Furthermore, this engages you in a conversation with the interviewer as opposed to enduring an uncomfortable silence.

Once the important information has been identified, it is valuable to verify the client’s objectives. Consultants often begin their working relationship with a client by asking about objectives and determining the feasibility of those goals. In this scenario, it is vital to understand why the client wants to expand service to this area. Is it strictly profit related? Or is there a desire for diversification?

Grasping the objective will enable you to ask the right questions. This part of the interview allows you to understand the case, provide a suitable recommendation, and demonstrate your thought process when dealing with new information. What is the size of the market? What is the current growth rate? Who are the potential customers in Greenville? Who is the competition? This is also a good time to explore details about the product and pricing.

Finally, you determine whether to advise the client to enter the market and, if so, what is the best way to do so?

By organising your thoughts in a simple diagram such as the one below, you can ensure that you are providing a truly comprehensive answer.

Entering a New Market - Diagram 4

Strategy and framework adapted from Case in Point, a case interview preparation book written by Marc P. Cosentino.