Thanks for the helpful info about the MECE principle and the easy examples! For anyone who wants to test their knowledge about it, here's a. MECE principle stands for “Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive.” It is a technique pioneered by McKinsey to structurally breakdown a. MECE. MECE (pronounced "me see") or Mutually Exclusive Collectively Exhaustive is a principle often used by management consulting firms such as McKinsey to describe a way of organizing information that is "Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive".


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Mece principle you can come up with an example that does not fit into any of your buckets, your approach is not MECE. Let's continue with the pizza topping example.

Suppose after failing the test for mutual exclusivity, we've relabeled our refrigerator drawers mece principle "meat", "vegetables", "dairy".

MECE is a best practice method to lay down a robust structure for your case interview

This system works better for our previous test mece principle, but it could be missing a category Vegetables - sort of. It is possible to make your current system MECE by specifying that "vegetables" includes all things veggie-based, like pesto and tomato sauces.

mece principle

  • MECE - A guide to the MECE principle with applied examples
  • MECE principle
  • Use MECE segmentations to group information in a logical manner

Similarly, a dairy-based sauce like Alfredo can go in the "dairy" drawer. But are you comfortable splitting sauces across drawers? During a case interviewMECE is also mece principle for calculation.

What is the MECE principle? A powerful, problem structuring framework

The example below, from the "Startup vs. Mece principle, an issue tree-like format is used to break down the estimation into its basic components for easier approximation of data. On the flip side, we mece principle imagine things like chicken tacos, fish tacos, steak tacos and all of those fit squarely in the taco category.

Mece principle exhaustive What is completely exhaustive? Simply, completely exhaustive means that the entire set of relevant entities is considered. Put another way, a completely exhaustive structure for investigating the problem will have buckets which cover the entire scope of what needs to be looked at.

Essentially, you are "exhausting" the set of things to look at. An incomplete, or unexhausted, set Let's continue with the example from above and let's do a deep dive on the "Tacos" category. If you wanted to provide an exhaustive look at all types of Tacos, would the following set of entities be exhaustive?

Well, while the example does call out chicken, ground beef and steak tacos, which likely make up most of the Tacos in the world, it doesn't completely exhaust all types. What about shrimp tacos, or fish tacos, or even A completely exhaustive set Now, look at this completely exhaustive set for tacos.

It has some similarities to the set above, namely that includes chicken, ground beef and steak, but it has a hierarchy above it which solves some critical problems.

What is the MECE principle? A deep dive into the problem structuring framework

Specifically, mece principle exhaustive set starts by setting out meat tacos and non-meat tacos. This is a completely exhaustive set because mece principle taco is either a meat taco or a different type of taco.

Basically you get a group of things and slice them into parts under some criteria. Segmenting customers by age will leave you with age groups, for instance.

MECE principle - Wikipedia

Segmenting competitors by location will get you, well, segmented mece principle about your competitors from each location. Segmenting your costs by activity will get you… Your costs by activity. The degree of insight mece principle get from a structure based on segmentations depends on you picking the right criteria to slice the data.


Mece principle segmentations we can get several MECE structures such as these twobut we still run the risk of getting nowhere close to the answer. Segmentations are super useful when breaking down averages because averages lie.

Working With McKinsey: What Does It Mean to be "MECE" at McKinsey?

Opposite words Internal vs. You can use the Yin-Yang logic of mece principle words to break down a problem into, well, opposites. Want to make it even easier?