Student Question:

Recently I came across a book called ‘The Minto Pyramid’, you might know this book, by Barbara Minto, ex-McKinsey. Would you recommend me to use MINTO principle? This way I can show the interviewer I am 100% hypothesis driven and I don’t ask any irrelevant data.

Would you recommend this and what is your view about this as a past interviewer?

I was wondering what your view is on this method to apply to cases, this might help to form a HYPOTHESIS and ASK ONLY data which you 100% need.

Like in these examples

Example 1: Company A faces profitability issues, please come up with strategies.

Minto Method:

Hypothesis 1 – Profitability can be increased

Hypothesis 1.1 – Revenues can be increased

Hypothesis 1.2 – Costs can be decreased

Hypothesis 1.1.1 – Revenue a can increase

Hypothesis 1.1.2 – Revenue b can increase

Hypothesis 1.1.3 – We can introduce a new product

Hypothesis 1.2.1 – Fixed costs can decaise

Hypothesis 1.2.2 – Variable costs decrease

Hypothesis – Price A can be increased


Example 2: Carlsberg wants to enter the Italian market shall they do this?

Hypothesis 1 – Carlsberg should enter the Italian market

Hypothesis 1.1 – The Italian market is attractive

Hypothesis 1.2 – The financial analysis indicates a significant profit per year

Hypothesis 1.3 – Carlsberg has the capability to enter the market

Hypothesis 1.4 – There are no significant risks/impact

Hypothesis 1.1.1 – The industry is attractive 

Hypothesis 1.1.2 – The threat of competition is ignorable  

Hypothesis 1.1.3 – The consumer likes Carlsberg 


My Response:

Yes, Yes, Yes!

This is what we did every day at McKinsey. On day 1 of an engagement, hour 1 of the first day, we’d draw up an outline (we actually used a visual story board version of the outline) of the final presentation–making lots of assumptions (essentially hypotheses).

Of course, the outline was not yet factually supported. Next, we’d ask ourselves, “What data do we need to test each part of the outline to either validate the hypothesis as correct or incorrect?” Then we’d go to the travel department, book our airline tickets, and go get the data (at the client site, visiting our client’s client to interview them, etc…).

So yes, in general, the structured approach that’s very hypothesis driven is a good one to take.