Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 16

Practice Case

Oceania Wildfires

Case type: Interviewer-led


Problem type: Public policy
Structure difficulty: 7/10
Math difficulty: 5/10
Exhibit difficulty: 6/10
Instructions for the interviewer

The interviewer should read the following information before giving the interview

1) This is a detailed case that should be used as a practice exercise

2) All of the necessary information is contained in the “Additional Information” pages

3) Whenever a candidate asks for information that isn’t contained in this case, ask them why they need it and say that
it is not relevant for this case

4) Boxes like this: are to be read to the interviewee. Boxes like this: contain the possible answers

5) The only page you share with the interviewee is the exhibit (which can be found at the end of this PDF)

6) Use the Case interview grading key to mark the interviewee throughout the case
7) Note that this is an Interviewer-led case type, in that there will be questions asked directly in the following
sections:
• Defining the problem
• Structuring your approach
• Analyzing exhibits
• Performing calculations
• Synthesizing takeaways

All rights reserved © 2017 Vocaprep.com


Summary of the case for the interviewer

This case is about a province struggling with an increasing economic and environmental cost from wildfires

• Oceania is a province in the northwest of North America


Provincial
background • Wildfires are seasonal and naturally-occurring, but economically and environmentally very
costly

The central • Wildfires are causing significant and increasing economic and environmental damage and the
problem Minister of Environment is looking to improve the situation

• Causes of wildfires

Key issues the • Social, economic, and environmental priorities


interviewee • Labor costs have gone up
• Methods of wildfire reduction and suppression
should • Sales have remained flat
discuss • Resources available

• Quantified impact of reduction strategies

All rights reserved © 2017 Vocaprep.com


Beginning of the case
Defining the problem

Over the past couple of years, Oceania, a province on the northwest coast of North America, has been experiencing
some of the worst wildfires on record. In 2016 alone over 280k hectares of forest were destroyed at a total cost of
suppression of nearly $300 million dollars, and 2017 is faring even worse. The problems have been both an
increasing frequency of fires and an increasing cost to contain. To add to these problems, the displacement of
residents has become more impactful. Evacuations and business disruptions have resulted in an estimated total
economic cost of $1 billion. The Minister of Environment is looking to make changes. He is asking for your help in
thinking about how to improve the situation. More specifically, he wants to develop some strategies to reduce the
total economic and environmental impact of forest fires.

Question 1: How would you think about reducing the impact of forest fires in the province of Oceania?

Allow the interviewee to ask a few questions to make the problem statement clearer and then give them at most 90
seconds to create their framework for solving the problem

All rights reserved © 2017 Vocaprep.com


Additional information
Information to share if asked for:
Oceania information Wildfire information

• A large, destructive fire that spreads rapidly


• Oceania has a population of about 5 million Definition
through woodlands or over brush
people
• Occur annually, from June to September in
• They are located primarily in the southwest Oceania
and the southeast of the province
• Wildfires are created in two ways:
Macro • The economic centers span the width of the
province, but are focused at the very south • Naturally: dry lightning strikes
end • Humans: cigarette butts, campfires,
• Province has a resource-centric economy, fireworks, etc. improperly disposed of
natural gas, lumber, gold, etc. • Global climate change is an accepted factor of
Wildfires in wildfires, but not the sole driver
• Environment is defined as a temperate Oceania • Standard suppression tactics are fire fighters
rainforest – the province is two-thirds covered and others hired for wildfire suppression using
by trees water bombing airplanes and hoses to contain
fires
• The climate varies by region:
• Often trees and grasslands are intentionally
• The west coast is generally very rainy, burned around the perimeter of a fire to stop its
especially through fall and winter, and progression
Environme generally has mild temperatures
• Resources are deployed based on the size of
ntal • The central and eastern parts of the the wildfire, but limited
province experience cold winters, with
plenty of snow, and extremely hot and
dry summers • Wildfires cause frequent evacuations, business
disruptions, and operational shutdowns on
• There are numerous mountain ranges that mines and other resource-oriented businesses
cross the province from north to south making
travel slow and difficult Economic • Government typically accounts for damage in
impact terms of cost to suppress, but that only
• The province is among the most captures the expense to fight the fires
environmentally conscious globally • Generally, every hectare of wildfire represents
Social
• The public is willing to suffer economically, a $4,000 total economic cost
somewhat, to protect the environment
All rights reserved © 2017 Vocaprep.com
Structuring your approach
There are many other possible frameworks, but it is important that the framework chosen incorporates these elements in some
form or another
Methods employed and their effectiveness
Suppression Selection and prioritization methods and their
strategies impact/accuracy
Resources (human, technological, and financial)
Decrease the
available
impact per
Wildfire Materials and locations in fire-prone areas
Protection and evacuation standards and
Building and practices
business planning Density of business and homes in fire-prone
areas
How can the Minister of Insurance paid out vs total cost for fire damage
Environment reduce the
environmental and economic
impact of Wildfires in Oceania?
Number of fires and their impact
Naturally caused The initial source of the fire
Location and topographical, climate, or flora and
Decrease the fauna changes over time
number of
Wildfires
Number of fires and their impact
The initial source of the fire – smoking, campfire,
Human caused
etc.
Location, demographic, and other changes

If critical pieces are missing, push the interviewee to try and realize the element that they are missing
If they can’t get it, share it with them
Be sure to probe the interviewee on at least one branch of their framework after they have shared their approach with you
After some discussion around their approach move forward onto the next section of the case
All rights reserved © 2017 Vocaprep.com
Analyzing exhibits

Question 2: What can you conclude from this exhibit?

What does it say – the candidate should provide a very brief but meaningful
1
Exhibit 1: Average Wildfire size and location in overview of what the exhibit is showing
Oceania, • Wildfires are the most frequent and the largest in two regions of Oceania:
2013-20161 • The northeast and the southeast
What does it mean – the candidate should share what insights this exhibit
2
contains related to the central problem
• Environmental impact and suppression cost is likely greatest in the two areas
• Economic impact is not clear from this map, though if populations are nearby
the negative economic burden is likely great
Why is it happening – the candidate should hypothesize drivers of the
3
insights or further opportunities/risks that could impact the central problem
• A few possible reasons:
• Climate or environment prone to more fires regardless of human influence
• Human-related activities have increased and caused more fires in the
regions
• Less suppression resources employed leading to larger fires

What to do about it – the candidate should share next steps to test the above
4
hypotheses or solidify the insights

Analysis:
• Pair this map with the population and economic data to assess which regions
are the most impacted
• Look at the causes, human vs natural, of these fires to identify potential
changes or factors driving the wildfire clusters
Client:
• Analyze the fire suppression efforts employed in these two regions and their
effectiveness

All rights reserved © 2017 Vocaprep.com


Analyzing exhibits

Question 3: What can you conclude from this exhibit?

What does it say – the candidate should provide a very brief but meaningful
1
overview of what the exhibit is showing
• The cost, environmental damage, frequency, and person-caused percentage
are all increasing
Exhibit 2: Oceania wildfire statistics from 2013-
20161 What does it mean – the candidate should share what insights this exhibit
2
contains related to the central problem
Person- Lightning-
Total Suppressio • There seems to be a correlation with hectares damaged and cost, which is
caused caused
Year Hectares n Cost intuitive, but it is almost perfectly $1,000 per hectare
damage damage
Destroyed (millions) • There also seems to be a trend of increasing person-caused fires, increasing
(%) (%)
cost, and increasing damage
2016 280,605 $277.00 54.77% 45.23%
Why is it happening – the candidate should hypothesize drivers of the
3
2015 369,168 $297.90 51.83% 48.17% insights or further opportunities/risks that could impact the central problem
2014 18,298 $122.20 31.88% 68.12% • A few possible reasons:
• Environmental – could be cyclical in nature
2013 100,366 $129.00 32.36% 67.64% • Human – could be human influenced by change of behavior, population
density, etc.
• Suppression strategies – methods and technologies employed have
become more expensive and/or less effective
What to do about it – the candidate should share next steps to test the above
4
hypotheses or solidify the insights
Analysis:
• Assess a longer period of wildfire statistics to see if this is a new phenomenon
or an environmental cycle
• Identify population density, demographic, legal, etc. changes to assess any
human-driven changes causing increased frequency or impact
• Incorporate total economic costs with these figures, regionally, to focus efforts
on most impactful areas
Client:
• Determine the suppression strategies and technologies used over this time
period to see if there has been any meaningful change

All rights reserved © 2017 Vocaprep.com


Performing calculations

Now that you have pushed the analysis past the exhibits, direct the interviewee to calculate something related to the
exhibit or something related to the overarching problem

The Minister of Environment is intrigued by the correlation of hectares damaged and cost. Additionally, the
percentage caused by people is quite shocking. He noted that a few cities in the southeastern quadrant have had
huge population increases, but no education program for the citizens on wildfire prevention. Further, the budget for
environmental patrollers, necessary for enforcing laws and levying fines, has been cut. There is an opportunity to
increase the budget by $20 million dollars in an effort to reduce person-caused fires.
Question 4: If the amount of lightning-caused damage stays the same as 2016, by what percentage would
the person-caused damage have to decrease in the southeastern region to justify the $20 million expense?

All rights reserved © 2017 Vocaprep.com


Possible approach: Performing the calculations
SETUP – here the candidate should be creating a formula to solve the problem and
1
sharing it with you

𝑺𝒖𝒑𝒑𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒄𝒐𝒔𝒕 𝒓𝒆𝒅𝒖𝒄𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 > $𝟐𝟎 𝒎𝒊𝒍𝒍𝒊𝒐𝒏

EXECUTE – this is where the candidate should get to the numeric answer and be
2
walking you through their calculations as they go

𝑅𝑒𝑔𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑎𝑙 𝑠𝑢𝑝𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑐𝑜𝑠𝑡 = 75% 𝑥 $277𝑀 = ~$210𝑀 Information to shared when asked for

𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑜𝑛 − 𝑐𝑎𝑢𝑠𝑒𝑑 𝑠𝑢𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑐𝑜𝑠𝑡 = 55% 𝑥 $210𝑀 = ~$115𝑀


𝐿𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡𝑛𝑖𝑛𝑔 − 𝑐𝑎𝑢𝑠𝑒𝑑 = ~$95𝑀
𝑑𝑒𝑐𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑒 𝑏𝑦 $20 𝑚𝑖𝑙𝑙𝑖𝑜𝑛 = $95𝑀 • The southeastern quadrant accounts
$95𝑀 for three quarters of the suppression
𝑁𝑒𝑤 𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑐𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑎𝑔𝑒 =
= 50%
$95𝑀 + $95𝑀 cost
𝒐𝒍𝒅% − 𝒏𝒆𝒘% 𝟓𝟓% − 𝟓𝟎% • The rate of person-caused fires is
𝑩𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒌𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒏 𝒊𝒎𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒗𝒆𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕 = = = 𝟗% 𝒊𝒎𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒗𝒆𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕
𝒐𝒍𝒅% 𝟓𝟓% about the same throughout the
province

REFLECTION – this is where the candidate should state the answer, link it to the
3
central problem, and proposed next steps to strengthen the analysis or test hypotheses
• To make this investment financially justified, person-caused damage would have to
be reduced by 9% in the southeastern region
• The total economic cost, which was about 4x the suppression cost, and the
environmental damage avoided would reduce the necessary improvement further
• Seems like a justifiable expense
• Next steps:
• Assess how effective education and enforcement strategies can be using
benchmarks and other sources
• Develop a strategy to educate the citizens effectively and enforce the
environmental laws to realize human-caused damage reductions

All rights reserved © 2017 Vocaprep.com


Creativity Question
Now that you have pushed the analysis past the exhibit and calculations, direct the interviewee to brainstorm some
creative approaches to helping solve the problem

The Minister of Environment is really excited about the opportunity to reduce the person-caused damage through
education and enforcement. He is wondering what some potential methods of educating the public could be.
Question 5: What are some ideas for getting the message out?

Possible solution:

Goal is to get the educate the most people in a compelling way:

Mass media:
• TV ads
• Social media campaigns – hashtags, etc.
• News features – articles and TV segments
Targeted approach:
• Event sponsorship – camping, hiking, fishing, outdoor expositions, etc.
• Outdoor stores – flyers, discount coupons, etc.
• Schools – workshops, events, etc.
Direct incentives:
• Rewards for reporting law-breakers or witnessed forest fires
• Discounts on items to suppress fires or better protect homes and businesses
• Insurance incentives

Any other approaches to education are fine as long as the answer is structured and actionable

All rights reserved © 2017 Vocaprep.com


Synthesizing takeaways

This is the final section of the case. It is now time to push the interviewee to come to a conclusion

The Minister of Environment is needing to show progress to the other provincial and federal politicians to continue her
pursuit of wildfire impact reduction.
Question 6: What would be your recommended action for the Minister of Environment to present?

Possible solutions:

• Invest $20M in education and enforcement in the southeastern region to reduce person-caused damage

• Investigate other technologies to improve suppression effectiveness

• Redesign fire suppression selection strategies to focus on the most impactful fires rather than just the
largest

It is important to note that there are many possible solutions

The structure to the solution is more important than the solution itself

All rights reserved © 2017 Vocaprep.com


Conclusion of the case
Exhibits to share

Exhibit 1: Average Wildfire size and location in Oceania,


2013-20161

1adapted from: http://bcfireinfo.for.gov.bc.ca/History/FireAtlas/?year=2015&type=all


All rights reserved © 2017 Vocaprep.com Note: this is not a representation of real data
Exhibits to share

Exhibit 2: Oceania wildfire statistics from 2013-20161

Total Hectares Suppression Cost Person-caused Lightning-caused


Year
Destroyed (millions) damage (%) damage (%)
2016 280,605 $277.00 54.77% 45.23%
2015 369,168 $297.90 51.83% 48.17%
2014 18,298 $122.20 31.88% 68.12%
2013 100,366 $129.00 32.36% 67.64%

1adapted from: http://bcfireinfo.for.gov.bc.ca/History/FireAtlas/?year=2015&type=all


All rights reserved © 2017 Vocaprep.com Note: this is not a representation of real data