Columbia Business School Management Consulting Association Guidebook 2002 34 Please do not duplicate, copy, print or photocopy ESTIMATION CASES You are asked to come up with an “educated guess” of some number such as “how many gasoline pumps are there in New York City?” The ability to work with incomplete or unavailable data, and generate reasonable estimates is a crucial skill in consulting. Make plausible assumptions. Don’t just pick a random number. Even if it is wrong, as long as your number is grounded in common sense or backed by a sound rationale, you are fine. For example, common sense tells you that the population of New York City cannot be over fifteen million or under three million (it’s eight million). Lay out your logic before you start making assumptions. Set up your answer in a tree diagram with the branches as various components of data that will help you arrive at a final number. For
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