HR Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview HR Interview
- Question 1: Why Consulting?
- Question 2: You have some experience in finance, why do you wish to switch to consulting’ ?
The PI portion was resume-based. I was asked specific questions on points I had mentioned in my resume, for example: - You've mentioned that you were involved in recruitment during your previous job. What were you actually doing? - You've mentioned that you’re undertaking a study (independent study) in Real Estate. Why are you doing this and what are you doing? He followed up my answer to this question by asking some technical questions on how I would value a real estate project. I answered the question using my knowledge of the industry and finance valuation metrics.
Case Study Interview
- Question 1: Market Estimation:
- Question 2: You are the Chief Minister of XX state in India. What will you do to increase state income (GDP)?
Market estimation :
I decided to proceed by estimating the population of Chennai, subsequently the high income population, and subsequently the population within eligible age (say 10 to 30). Thereafter, I stated that we would have to make some assumption regarding the proportion within the eligible age that would actually play tennis and subsequently some assumption regarding the number of courts that would be required in order to ensure that identified population could play tennis for, say 6 hours every week. The interviewer was satisfied with this. He later mentioned that I had missed out tennis courts in educational institutions and clubs. I said that these would be covered to a certain extent in my overall analysis, and he agreed. Note that I did not arrive at a final number. The interviewer was interested in my approach and logic.
I approached the case using the Cobb Douglas Production function (which states that income is a function of productivity, capital input and labour input). The interviewer was quite satisfied with the approach. I broke down each lever into possible sub-parts. I said that the productivity lever could be thought of as a function of infrastructure, technology, transportation, etc. Labour could be analysed as (1) creating a talent pool (more colleges, schools, etc.) and (2) retaining the talent pool (creating jobs). The capital lever is all about bringing in more money, through greater support from the central government, increased state-levied taxes or increased private investment. The interviewer was quite happy and asked me to focus on productivity and capital. Before delving deeper, I mentioned that it would be tough to think of productivity and capital and two distinct levers, as most productivity improvements would require capital investment. The interviewer smiled and agreed. He asked me to mention 2 or 3 big items that I would look to work on under each lever. Under productivity, I mentioned power, transportation and irrigation. Under capital, I mentioned that the state government must create incentives for investment through laws and regulations (for example, certain real estate laws with respect to restriction on built-up area are governed by the state. These could be altered). The interviewer agreed that all this could be done, but how could a private investor decide to invest into a state? I said that the government would probably have to identify growth sectors, or sectors that desperately required funds, and then pitch to investors to invest in the identified sectors. The interviewer also mentioned to me that it was critical for the government to increase its speed of response and not let matters die under red tape. He mentioned that one of the biggest reasons why private investors shy away from large investments is because of government bureaucracy.
I established a good vibe with the interviewer. I think that this was important, given that it was my first interview.
It is useful to make small talk in between different segments in an interview. It helps the interviewer get a sense of who you are. It might also put the interviewer at ease, by breaking the monotony of doing the same case over and over again with 10 different candidates. It is very important to be honest about all your resume points. In the real estate question above (in the PI portion), right at the start, I caveat by stating that the study was work-in-progress. I stated very clearly that I still had a fair way to go towards completion of the study, and so I could answer any questions on real estate based on my limited knowledge. The interviewer appreciated this.
Case Study Interview
- Question 1: Estimate the first year sales for Tata Nano (TN)
I stated that TN could capture sales from the two-wheeler segment (i.e., people who are buying two-wheelers merely because existing cars are too costly) and the cheap/small car segment (stealing market share). I started off with the population of India, segmented it into low-income, mid and higher income. Mid-income would clearly be the relevant segment for us. Within the mid-income segment, we need to understand the existing size of the bike market. We could do this by estimating the number of households within the mid-income segment and assuming a certain number of bikes per household. The interviewer broke me off and asked me to assume that the annual bike sales in India are 50 lakhs. Thereafter, I tried to arrive at an estimate of the annual sales that TN could capture. I fumbled quite a bit here. I started off with a certain percentage that, to me, seemed to make intuitive sense. The interviewer said that I was just pulling numbers out of a hat. How could I corroborate this through other means? He then told me that the existing small car market size was 7 lakhs. I said that we could use this to find out what our estimated market share would be, after eating into bike sales. The interviewer retaliated by stating that that would be as good as just assuming a certain market share directly, making my earlier analysis of population, income groups, etc. redundant. I said that that would not be the case, as we are using projected market share merely to see how aggressive/passive our bike to TN conversion ratio assumption is....... We went back and forth on the above for a while. We eventually agreed on a certain percentage (I really don’t know how or why). I intended to proceed with estimating sales captured from the existing cheap/small car segment, but the interviewer wished to stop.
Case Study Interview
- Question 1: The client is an integrated copper mining and smelting company, whose end-product is metal bars. The company has been making losses for the last 5 years. Prepare a turnaround plan. Additional information – The client has 2 mines and processing plants. One mine and PC together (same location) and the other mine and PC in different locations. The intention here is to make the company profitable on a sustainable basis.
I laid out a structure whereby I would first understand the market (competition, regulation, our value proposition, market growth – historical and expected) and then understand the company’s income statement in more detail. The interviewer was satisfied with the structure. I was given the following additional information regarding the market, on specific questions: - Our client is the only copper mining company in India. Other copper companies in India are only into smelting. - Our final product is commoditized. Prices are determined by the London Metal Exchange. - Assume no regulatory constraints - Our client has no specific value proposition - Market growth for the last 10-15 years, as well as the expected future growth, is 10% CAGR I later said that I would like to analyse the company’s profitability by understanding revenue and cost in further detail. The interviewer prodded me to look into the industry value chain. Simply put, the value chain involves (a) basic input, i.e., copper ore (b) smelting (c) consumption. Through follow-up questions, we broke each segment into 2 parts each, along with numbers. Under ‘a’, our client (the sole copper mining company in India) supplied 30,000 tonnes. There were imports of 610,000 tonnes. Under ‘b’, our client smelted 40,000 tonnes. There were 2 other major competitors in the market who smelted 300,000 tonnes each. Under ‘c’, 400,000 tonnes was consumed domestically, while the rest was exported. Our client made only domestic sales. (Note: Here, all information was not given to me directly. I was asked to make certain deductions. For example, I was not told directly that there were copper imports. Based on figures for consumption, I had to deduce that there were imports of 610k tones. I was not told directly that there were exports of 240k tones.......)
Based on the above information, the interviewer asked me to list out possible hypotheses that could be causing the client profitability problems. I listed out the following: - Our competitor has higher smelting capacity. Scale economies could be a very significant driver in this industry. - Imported iron ore might be cheaper than our client’s own domestic mining. - Export prices could be higher than domestic prices.
As you move into subsequent rounds, PI becomes increasingly important.
This was the final interview. There were no cases. Completely PI. In fact, we conducted the interview out on the LRC lawns, next to a make-shift snack bar. We started talking as we were walking. The interview was quite long, over coffee and accessories. Kaustav asked me questions on what I felt about the firm, the recruitment process, the interviews, did I have any questions to which I had not received satisfactory answers in the past, etc. Kaustav asked me why I was interested in consulting. How did it tie in with my career plans? What were my career plans? Short-term and long-term goals? In my life, what decisions had I made that were tough and that involved significant trade-offs or choices? What do I feel about the decisions and choices I have made thus far? A little bit about my family, my personal background. Where had I studied? How would I feel about living away from home?
- Case Solving Ability
- Case Analysis
- Ability To Cope Up With Stress
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