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McKinsey consultant interview

8.3k views
AnonymousExperiencedSelected
Application
I Applied for job through Personal Contacts for Consultant role at McKinsey
Interview Process
Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview
Round 1

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: Run me through your resume.
  • Question 2: Are you comfortable working in teams? What kind of team size have you led?
  • Question 3: Give me a team work example where you faced a problem and how did you resolve it?
  • Question 4: Why consulting?
Interview Experience
How would you evaluate the first year revenue potential for a new investment in the business of leasing cranes for commercial buildings in Beijing? The interviewer gave a background that commercial building activity was coming up at a frantic pace in Beijing.

Clarification questions:
Are there any investment constraints on capital investment?
What is the investment horizon?

Structure:
- Identification of revenue streams
- Estimation of demand for the identified revenue streams
- Determining competitive landscape for similar services being provided by existing competition and potential competitors
- Based on the above analysis and specific competence area of the Company, determine the market share that the new Company
could achieve in one year’s time.

Revenue streams:
- Income from renting/leasing of cranes
- Regular
- Overtime

Income was basically broken up into - Price X Volume. Since the price could vary significantly across the regular and overtime.

Demand estimation (Volume – Number of buildings)
The interviewer asked me to identify three approaches in which demand estimation could be done. This was further broken down into new infrastructure and replacement infrastructure. Again, here the interviewer asked me to concentrate only on new infrastructure.

- Top down approach – Using Macroeconomic factors
Growth rate expected in the region -> Level of infrastructure investment required to sustain expected growth rate -> Number of new investments in building for given investment -> Supply constraints in terms of area available, number of construction companies, manpower required, capital/credit availability etc. to be accounted for -> Determine number of buildings that are expected to be constructed in the next one year.

- Bottom up approach – Using Supply based factors
Determine the real estate space available for development -> Identify area that could be developed in the next one year based on other supply constraints -> determine the number of buildings that would be developed given average building size (based on historical data and regulatory guideline) in the next one year.

- Using analyst data

We then decided to crack the numbers using the second approach:
The buildings have to be developed in a square real estate space measuring 3 sq. km. (assume end to end coverage)
Regulatory requirement – Only 1/3 can be developed
Average building size - 150 x 150 sq. m
Number of buildings that can be developed:
(1000 X 1000)/(150 X 150) = approximately 49 (7 X 7) streams, I identified these discreetly.
- Ancillary services from the business
Interviewer asked me to concentrate only on regular income from leasing of cranes.
Interview Tips
Since PI + Case appears to be a compensatory model, If you haven’t done well in one, try and do well in the other if you have the
chance to.
Round 2

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: Run me through your resume.
  • Question 2: Why consulting?
  • Question 3: A discussion regarding corporate social responsibility function in organizations.
Interview Experience
A small hospital chain is looking to expand geographically. What would be the decision criteria / metrics that you would look at to prioritize the locations?

Few clarification questions:
- What kind of hospital is this? General or specialist? General
- What kind of reach does it currently have? One metro
- Is the amount of investment a constraint? No

I structured the problem essentially in two parts:
1. As a financial problem, trying to derive the maximum net present value from investment in each geography/location.
- Revenue: Market potential which would require demand estimation, existing penetration by existing players and opportunities to take share from existing players based on this hospital chain’s competencies.
- Costs: Cost involved in entering each geography since these are likely to be different.
2. Strategic decision to preempt competition in terms of resources such as location, doctors as well as customers since capacity utilization is one of the major drivers in this business.
- Analysis of competition, both existing and potential(based on competitive intelligence)

There was discussion regarding demand estimation in each location.
Population -> Income classification -> Disease incidence in relevant income bracket (no numbers, just a discussion).
We discussed alternatives if disease incidence data is not available.
I suggested we could draw benchmarks from similar countries where this data was available or data from developed countries
during their developing stage.

Remaining was an open ended discussion. The interviewer then asked me to make an assessment, based on my general knowledge and reading, about the locations I would consider this hospital should foray into.
Interview Tips
Gauge the interviewer’s intent!!
Round 3

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: Give me a leadership example?
  • Question 2: What are the two qualities you value in a leader?
  • Question 3: Describe a situation of failure in team leadership? What did you learn from it? How would you prevent such a situation from occurring again?
Interview Experience
Life Insurance Company which has been in India for a few years wants to understand whether there is a real opportunity in this business in India and what are the strategic options available to it.

Structured the problem in the following way:
- Determine the market size.
- Identify the degree of regulation in the industry and its impact.
- Identify the current levels of penetration & therefore the existing potential.
- Determine the level of existing and potential competition.
- Based on own strengths identify the strategic options as below:
- Exit market.
- Stay in market – to determine whether to operate on scale or niche.

We proceeded with market sizing:
No of households -> No of households with required income capacity -> Percentage of income saved -> percentage of saving
used on insurance.

The interviewer then focused on whether the market opportunity was only as much as the current sizing or whether there was
potential to improve the same. We explored this line of thought.

Major reason for life insurance policy in India : Savings
Then we analyzed what uses are the total savings of an Indian household put to:
- Deposits
- Mutual funds
- Real estate
- Insurance (12%)
- Others

Deposits & mutual funds represented a clear opportunity for increasing the market size for insurance. I identified that we could use data from other developing markets to understand the savings behavior and potential for insurance. Interviewer clarified that in similar economies about 30% saving were being spent on insurance.

Calculated the real market opportunity with 30% savings and identified that opportunity exists given the current levels of penetration.
Interview Tips
Persistence!!!
Round 4

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: Run me through your resume.
  • Question 2: Why consulting?
Interview Experience
Case 1
The case was relating to the baby food segment (product like cerelac) market in India for which the potential was visibly huge since 80-90% of the children in the 1-2 years old segment who this segment serves lacked the nutrient requirement and 40-50% the calorie requirement. The interviewer wanted the following things to be done:
- Identify the market potential for this segment
- Delineate the marketing plan for a fast moving consumer goods player (like HLL) to enter this industry

Market sizing:
Population (1 billion) -> Children in the 1-2 years old segment (1.5%) -> Identify daily requirement per child (80 gms per day) -> Determine pack size to calculate market for number of packs (400 gms) -> Requirement came to 1.08 million packs of ₹100 each i.e. ₹108 billion.

I also identified that we would need to identify the future potential
going forward as well through the population growth rate and
more importantly growth rate in the Children in the 1-2 years old
segment due to the favorable demographics in India. A proxy for
that could be taken to be the birth rate. (we did not build this into
the calculation)

The interviewer informed me that the market was served only to the extent of ₹1 billion.

I identified that the reason was that monthly expenditure required was ₹600 (80 gms x 30 days x ₹100 per pack/400 gms per pack) whereas the average spending capacity of the parents of these children on this food was ₹200 per month. Therefore, pricing was a critical barrier.

Marketing plan:
Build the following non compensatory structure for the marketing plan i.e. the final reach of the product would be a function of the following three variables:
% of Aware population X % of population that can afford the product X % of population that is reached by the distribution
channel = Market share

I then explored ideas for improvement of each of these:

Increasing awareness: Through the following three initiatives:
- Tying up with Non governmental organizations involved in reaching this segment.
- Information dissemination by tying up with the extensive Public health infrastructure (since the Government is likely to have an incentive in such an initiative).
- FMCG’s own publicity initiatives such as media, radio etc.

Increasing affordability:
Internal measures: Identified major cost components where cost reduction measures could be taken:
- Raw materials: 30% of cost
Using recipes of local product variants with same nutrient and calorie value which utilize lower cost raw materials.
- Manufacturing : 20% of cost
This cost could be reduced through product innovation.
- Taxes & duties: 15% (refer external measures)

External measures: Seeking relief from the government on various tax components in the cost structure. This could shave costs to the extent of 12-15% (since the Government is likely to have an incentive in such an initiative).

Availability: Being a major FMCG player, it was assumed that the Company has a sufficient and capable distribution network.

Case 2
Market sizing for a drug used during surgeries in ICU

Determine the number of hospitals that would have ICU -> Determine the number of ICUs -> Utilization % of the ICUs (60%)->Proportion of surgeries which require the use of this drug (30%)->Average usage per day ( ₹5000 per day)
Interview Tips
You need to put structure for problem diagnosis as well as case solution. Clearly very helpful and puts across a structured thinking
process all throughout!!
Round 5

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: Why consulting?
  • Question 2: Long term goals?
  • Question 3: A general discussion regarding the placement policy at ISB, changes from previous years and its impact on the School going forward.
Interview Experience
The Tatas Rs 100,000 car requires substantial cost reduction measures from the Rs 150,000 Indica materials cost. How will you go about analyzing the cost reduction plan?

Structure:
- Identify the various cost components and proportion of costs they represented.
- Determine cost components which are avoidable due to fewer facilities/accessories that are likely to be provided than in the
Indica. Identify cost reduction from this.
- Explored cost reduction possibilities for all materials components based on 80/20 rule.

We discussed the following options for each component (engine, axle & gear, auto components & plastic body parts) :
- Aggregation benefits due to larger scale at which these cars will be manufactured. The interviewer mentioned these had already
been exhausted to the maximum possible.
- Explored whether each of the components were manufactured internally or externally. Wherever possible, identified cost differentials between internal and external manufacture. The interviewer informed me that there were significant cost differential in in-house and third party manufacture in case of axles & gear, in-house production cost being significantly lower.

I tried to veer the discussion towards possible reasons for cost differential, however, the interviewer asked me to consider corrective action for this problem.

We then discussed following two corrective actions:
- All axle & gear production could be transferred in-house. However, I identified that this was already running to capacity.
Therefore, this was considered as a long term option and identified that significant investment would be required to consider this option.
- Work with the suppliers to transfer best practices from in-house production to the supplier to reduce his cost of production.

Interviewer terminated the case discussion at this point saying that we had figured out the general format in which to proceed which was sufficient.
Interview Tips
Gauge the interviewer’s mood and try to change course/track accordingly.
Round 6

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: Run me through your resume.
  • Question 2: Why consulting?
  • Question 3: What are the key things you would look out for while making a decision to choose your employer?
Interview Experience
Cheque processing facility of a bank had the following operation:
Receive cheques at branches, collect all cheques, send then to a processing centre and processing centre would enter all cheque details in the system forward the cheques to RBI clearing house. RBI now requires scanned images of the cheques instead of physical copies. There are two options available to meet this requirement:
- Option A: Receive cheques at branches, scan at branches, send scanned images to the processing centre as and when they were scanned. Processing centre would enter all details as earlier and forward the images to RBI clearing house by 4 p.m.
- Option B: Receive cheques at branches, forward physical cheques to the processing centre by 10 a.m. PC would scan as
well as enter all cheque details and forward the images to RBI clearing house by 4 p.m. How will you evaluate which option to choose from? First up, I clarified cheques from how many locations were being aggregated at the processing center. The interviewer clarified that there were 150 branches.

I discussed with the interviewer that I would like to analyze the problem along two dimensions:
- Time taken under both options
- Incremental cost to be incurred under the two options

After doing a costing analysis under both the options, I concluded that taking only costs into account, Option B would be more cost efficient.

The interviewer asked me to make an assessment of which of the above two options I would take. Here I brought in some operations perspective on aggregation of scanning process at the PC.
Interview Tips
Genuine inclination to want to solve the problem has to come across. Most of the time, number of questions you ask and how persistently you are at it reflects that. So keep at it!!
Round 7

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
    Interview Experience
    This one really rattled me…especially at that stage of the process.
    Very intense case interview.
    Client is a Financial planning & management software company with the following revenue streams
    Products:
    - Large enterprises – highly customized, large business customers, direct sales force used
    - SMEs – industry specific package- sold through dealers/ distributors
    - Individual customers through regular off the shelf retail channels.
    Services: IT consulting – maintenance & support.

    Question 1: Declining revenue and profitability. What kind of data analysis would you perform in order to identify the source of
    decline?
    a. Products vs. Service
    b. Along large, SME, Individual customer base under products
    c. Geographical segments
    d. Sales force effectiveness analysis
    e. Industry segment wise analysis
    f. Whether we are losing old customers or not getting new customers
    Question 2: Assume Enterprise segment is losing revenue. What hypothesis can you generate …Broke these down into two parts:
    Internal causes:
    Product based + People based (developers,salesmen)
    a. Lack of scalability of the product
    b. Perceived quality of product/service not optimum
    c. Sales force incentives not appropriate
    d. Lack of ability to technical staff to understand customer requirements.
    External causes: Explored these on the following three lines Competition + Customers + Context
    a. Change in requirement of consumers/obsolescence of product
    b. Competitor actions on pricing
    c. Changes in customer industry regulation
    He asked me to come up with atleast 15 reasons, don’t know how many I came up with, but I tried to think along this structured
    fashion.

    Question 3 : Suppose you find out that the sales force has been spending more time selling simpler product to SME than attend larger customers…enterprise product needs greater effort. what would you do…?

    Identified the indifference point for the sales men between the two incentive structures and accordingly change incentive structure… Did the calculation and then he asked me for other ways in which it could be implemented other than through change in incentives.
    Interview Tips
    Think aloud whenever hypothesis driven interviews are posed at you…and persistence pays!!
    General Tips
    1. Keep a strategic perspective.

    2. Be persistent while through the whole interview.
    Read Full post...
    2

    McKinsey consultant interview

    7.4k views
    AnonymousExperiencedSelected
    Application
    I Applied for job through Personal Contacts for Consultant role at McKinsey
    Interview Process
    Case Study Interview Other Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview
    Round 1

    Case Study Interview

    Interview Questions
    • Question 1: Why academic performance was not good at IIT?
    • Question 2: Views on rolling placement process versus one week placement process
    • Question 3: Leadership instance outside work (talked about Vice captain IIT D badminton team).
    • Question 4: Why I joined Evalueserve?
    Interview Experience
    The government of India wants to electrify all the villages. Can this task be achieved?

    Initial clarification
    Asked if there are any resource constraints and in what time we have to achieve this task. He simplified by saying time is not a
    consideration and resources are limited and hence part of problem was to raise resources.

    Case Structure/ Discussion
    I made the following structure:
    1. Resources
    a. Public
    b. Private partnership
    c. Special purpose vehicles
    2. Current level of rural electrification
    a. Segregate states based on low density and high density
    3. Regulatory constraints
    a. Role of government. To be a regulator or also an implementor
    4. Political costs in changing laws
    a. Eg Will Left parties support privatization

    Based on the above I suggested we will evaluate whether a centralized or a decentralized model should be followed.

    He was happy but then said he was more interested in evaluating ground realities i.e. So I said, there are three parts to
    electrification.
    1. Increasing generation through
    o Thermal
    o Hydel
    o Alternate sources
    I said will concentrate on thermal as India as huge coal reserves they can be used more efficiently.
    2. Transmission
    o Who will lay down poles and cables? How will players be compensated?
    3. Collection:
    o Who takes responsibility? Private player or government.
    o Tariff structures. Who will decide private player or government
    I completely missed that collections in India are low due to corruption.

    After the interview, I asked him whether this target is achievable. His take was that it is very difficult and Mckinsey is still evaluating various approaches. Hence this case is not supposed to have one answer.
    Interview Tips
    In middle of my case, he told me to set aside my structure and just have a discussion. This was unexpected but not necessarily a bad thing. So do not get fazed. Also show by discussing policy implications (such as reaction of left parties to privatization), you can bring a wow moment in your case. Apply a layer of commonsense in your discussion.
    Round 2

    Other Interview

    Interview Questions
    • Question 1: Leadership example that you are proud of.
    • Question 2: Why did Marc (CEO) open EVS?
    • Question 3: What are the main challenges for EVS now?
    Interview Experience
    I had a 20 minute PI as interviewer knew CEO of Evalueserve (my last company). So there were a lot of questions around Evalueserve.
    8. Had discussion around development of ISB (Interviewer was involved in writing the business plan of ISB). How it has
    emerged and whether it has measured to his expectations.

    Many of these questions can be asked to people who have worked in startups/ growing organizations (EVS was 70 people strong
    when I joined them and within 2.5 years the employee strength was 600). So the challenges of a small vs. big, fledgling vs. growing organization are very diff. Some points I gave were (I do not know if it helps but you will get a flavor of some answers in this regard):
    1. Challenges facing EVS today:
    a. Increasing face to face communication between top management and new employees (I was fortunate enough to work with Marc but new employees do not get this chance and this has contributed to increase in employee turnover)
    b. Increasing interaction between sales executives and teams (majority of sales executives had not even visited EVS offices and hence did not understand pressures of people working on projects).
    c. Recruitment (EVS recruitment quality had dipped as now team leads/ AVPs who were not competent enough did this task. I admitted that I was conducting interviews and I thought that I needed 2-3 years of mentoring to be really effective).

    Note that none of the above mentioned are really big points but they are original ones. Hence be honest, think hard about your experience and do not be shy to mention even seemingly small things as independent thought is what really matters.

    I also took these questions as small caselets Interviewers sometimes will not mention that they are starting the case. In such situations do the following:
    1. Keep it at the back of your mind a situation like this can arise (could be a discussion around placement process at ISB or any other topic under the sun)
    2. Be structured in your communication. Again one mistake people do is that they apply structure only during cases. It is important to apply structure during PI as it makes the communication lucid, increases impact and makes it easier for the interviewer to understand you.
    Round 3

    Case Study Interview

    Interview Questions
    • Question 1: Tata Motors wants to build the 1 lakh car. Advise them how to do it?
    Interview Experience
    A very small case (10 minutes).

    Initial clarifications:
    1. Current cost structure:
    a. Engine: 20%
    b. Chassis, Gear box etc: 25%
    c. Body: 25%
    d. Tires, glass etc: 30%
    2. Time frame to achieve this task: He said time is not a factor as this is a really difficult thing and Ratan Tata would be happy if this can be achieved.

    Hypothesis:
    I said that there was no one dominant head on which I should concentrate and hence we should do the following:
    1. Explore generic ways to reduce cost
    2. Then arrive at decision criterion to apply a method to a particular cost component.

    1. Generic ways to reduce cost:
    a. Reduce price (Economies of scale and scope)
    b. Reduce Volume of material to be consumed (with price being constant)
    c. Redesign (say the engine as requirement for a low income person are different. For eg. He might just be
    happy with a 600 cc engine vs a 1200 cc engine)
    d. Use substitutes (say plastic/ polymers rather than metal)
    2. Decision criterion to apply a particular method to a particular cost component
    a. Degree of tech involvement (more suitable for engines and hence this really suggests that we should redesign
    the engine and may be use some substitutes).
    b. Degree of commoditization (more suitable for body and can also use substitutes)
    Here I concluded that multiple methods could be applied to a cost component and hence this makes our task that much harder. Here he stopped me and said he was happy with the analysis.
    Interview Tips
    1. Case: I had initially said that based on a criterion, I will apply batches based on this interview experience only ONE method to a particular cost head (no reason why I assumed this). But based on our discussion, we could apply a mixture of 2 methods (he said apply the 80:20 rule). So it is okay to change your initial stand based on the discussion (it’s a blunder to stick to your initial assumptions especially if the discussion proves the assumptions wrong).
    2. PI: Rohit Kapoor had told us, recruiters come here recruit humans and not gods. So it is OK to say simple things but say them with conviction.
    Round 4

    Case Study Interview

    Interview Questions
      Interview Experience
      Client is a meat manufacturer operating in Europe. Their profits are falling for the last two years.

      Initial clarification
      1. Company has two products
      a. Hams
      b. Sausages
      2. Only 3 players in the market. Client has 40% market share and other two players have 30% each. Clients market share has been falling (indicating that it is a revenue problem).
      3. She also said that market size is not growing substantially.

      Case Structure/ Discussion
      1. Revenues
      a. Product mix
      i. The process to manufacture hams and sausages is very similar. Sausages are made from scarps left over from hams.
      b. Price * Quantity (explained in the sections below)
      2. Costs
      a. Fixed
      i. Allocation of overheads such as CEO salary
      ii. Asked how fixed costs can be allocated. I said based on
      1. Revenues
      2. Volume
      3. Number of employees in a division
      b. Variable
      i. Raw materials (she said there was no scope to reduce this)
      3. Customers
      a. Drivers of purchase
      i. Only price.
      ii. Quality of product is not a differentiator. Retailers were not ready to pay more for better quality products
      iii. No Value added service can give any competitive advantage
      iv. I concluded that this was a commodity product in a stable market
      b. Customers are retailers who buy the meat, and sell it as their private label product
      4. Competition
      a. No new product was introduced in the past
      b. No new channels were entered by competition
      c. Competition had reduced the price of sausages by only $0.01. The customers (retail outlets) were so sensitive to price, that they were switching to competitor products (to both hams and sausages. So a wrong pricing decision in sausages had let to not only decrease in sales of sausages, but also affected sales of hams as consumers, in this case retailers, preferred to buy from one supplier to reduce their transaction costs.

      The flaws in this method are
      1. Fixed costs should not be a part of pricing decision (Basic managerial accounting funda)
      2. With this method, their margin on sausages is 0. Hence they can not reduce prices according to this method.

      I said if you exclude the fixed costs, then in % terms, sausages have a much higher margin. So there is a lot of scope in decreasing price.

      Recommendations
      1. Exclude Fixed costs from pricing decisions
      2. Reduce prices in sausages
      3. As process to manufacture both products is same, make one person in charge of both products. This will ensure that pricing
      decisions are made in a rational manner. The whole problem cropped up as fixed costs had to be allocated between 2 products
      and there were 2 line managers for the two products.

      After completing the case, she said there were many other aspects to this problem. These were:
      1. The client was operating in a small European country and had 4 plants. So closing down some of the plants was an option. (had enquired about this but she said that we should neglect it for the time being)
      2. They could also look at entering foreign markets in Europe to boost sales (I had enquired about this)
      3. Also, the sausage process was not efficient. So to improve it they could benchmark it to their ham operation.
      Apparently the ham process was very efficient (she did not give reasons for why it was more efficient, probably because it accounted for 80% of revenues and hence received more attention). This was new insight to me as one always benchmarks a process to competitors, or to processes of similar products etc. But internal bench-marking was new to me.
      4. This was a family owned business and not a listed company. Hence there were a lot of cultural issues which they had to resolve in terms of best management practices, mindset of the employees etc.
      Interview Tips
      Just listen to what the interviewer says. She clearly wanted me to go to accounting and she dropped enough hints during the initial
      stages of the interview.
      Also, even though she was from BTO practice, she gave me a commodity product case. So the background of interviewer/ interviewee really does not matter. What they are looking for is the ability to analyze a problem from the case facts.
      Round 5

      Case Study Interview

      Interview Questions
        Interview Experience
        An Indian conglomerate opened an IT company in Delhi and they have failed miserably. You are hired by the client to diagnose the situation and turn around the company.

        Initial hints: It was clear from his narration that a drastic approach was required and the client had completely got the strategy wrong.

        Initial clarifications:
        1. Who is the Indian conglomerate and why did they enter the IT space?
        a. Family owned business and hence there is lack of best management practices
        b. They entered the IT space as it offered significant growth potential (diversification). They launched this business in 2000.
        2. What are their products/ services?
        a. Products
        i. Healthcare (10-20% revenues)
        ii. Knowledge management (20% revenues)
        b. Services
        i. Application Development and Maintenance (ADM) (60%-70% revenues)
        At this point, I said I was not well versant with economic drivers of IT industry specifically the 2 product segments and ADM.
        He then wanted me to explore how only services business could be expanded. He said services can be sold on
        1. Specialization of a service which can be sold across verticals (e.g. desktop migration)
        2. Verticalization (e.g. some mercury simulation service for auto industry)

        In the feedback he said that my analysis was good but there was one thing I had missed. Instead of completely shutting down healthcare services, it could have been used to set up captive centers for companies and this could be spun off as an advisory service in offshoring practices.
        Interview Tips
        Do not hedge your answers.
        Read Full post...
        3

        BCG consultant interview

        4.1k views
        AnonymousExperiencedSelected
        Application
        I Applied for job through Walk-in for Consultant role at BCG
        Interview Process
        HR Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview
        Round 1

        HR Interview

        Interview Questions
        • Question 1: Girls on the manufacturing floor”
        • Question 2: Manufacturing as a career
        • Question 3: Why MBA?
        • Question 4: Why ISB?
        Round 2

        Case Study Interview

        Interview Questions
        • Question 1: “there is a company in the telecom sector and has a product “X” – this X is a necessity in telecom and the company has been making good profits for the last 4 years – like 40% gross margin.. and now suddenly the revenue and profits are stagnant – the market has has slowed down and that’s why this has happened – what do you think that the CEO should do in the medium and long term”
        Interview Experience
        I asked him about the product X? and how important it is for the telecom service providers? is it a big part of their costs ? – he said some arbit stuff – this was a hint that it was a bigger overall strategy case and not into details – so I defined the case as – the CEO wants to know, what to do to increase the profits both in short and long term – he said yes - I immediately moved to the standard profit loss framework and started looking at revenue first - he said OK – I said profit = Price* Quantity and went to pricing... he had said that the telecom service providers were not very sensitive to pricing in the business.. so I dint come to reducing the pricing... I asked about the competitive landscape – our client is 35% business... it went on and on an on ..... could not reach anywhere.. so we went to costs... discussed everything.. excess capacity.. joint ventures.. MnA,..still nothing..so he said.(the discussion was a very intelligent substance discussion.. not general profit loss cases.). – we had a great discussion on both prices and quantity,, why don’t u see decreasing the price – I said.. “ooooooo I thot of it, but then u said that the players are insensitive to price “ - he said “ they WERE, the whole industry as I told u is seeing some problems” – PICK UP THE HINTS... -- once he said this I went to the cost structure of the firm again – I said that our client can play price war only if a) his variable costs are lower than competitors variable costs and he is playing on high investment low variable cost model (reliance model) – he said YES it is exactly this way – I said OK , then let him price X above his variable cost but below the others variable costs and drive the competition away. – I also said, to speeden this up he should in fact price it lower than his variable costs also (extremely low and he can afford it because he has cash with him as he has been on 40% profits for the last 4 – 5 years.. so there should not be an issue on the working capital side – he sair “great” .. he wanted to stop and asked me to summarize the case.. – I summarized the case, and also gave some more ideas like .. seeing the cost and benefit of doing away with excess capacity rite now and adding again when the market is doing good, buying high fixed cost players in the sector.. etcc etc.. a lot more.. – he patiently listened to everything Then he asked me if I had anything to ask him? I asked similar question as I asked in Mck – “ has India become a net contributor to the knowledge base..- he told me about low cost Indian manufacturing.. I said cool... and he said super cool!
        Interview Tips
        a) work on your resume b) Make the resume in such a way that irrespective of whatever – the you are able to guide the interviewer to THE thing you want to talk about – link all answers to that DO NOT OVERPREPARE – DON’T LOOSE YOUR NATURAL SELF
        Round 3

        Case Study Interview

        Interview Questions
        • Question 1: “”Our client is in telecom, profitability is at 10% and they want 25%.. what should they do? ”
        Interview Experience
        Upfront questions – where in the value chain? – ans.. they make towers and maintain them .. and into providing services too.—so I asked details on the portfolio of services and portfolio of work of tower etc. – he gave me everything including margins.. so margins in tower making etc were low – I asked him if he is sure that its not just an accounting issue.—he appreciated the point and said .. no, they do ABC and might be small accounting issues but not really one—I said ok.. and moved on to profitability framework .. revenue – costs --- so I said we will look at the tower making etc.. (pareto) – he said perfect.. – went to revenue... he hinted therez nothing there , I said great! Jumped to costs (didn’t waste time at all) - asked him costs heads .. he gave the following .. – a) Tower making, b) people c) administration (I don’t remember the terminology correctly but the remember the discussion) Discussion on tower making – I said “ so Navneet, what does it include” – he said making and servicing and maintaining and some back office work – so I said following can be wrong (BE CREATIVE, I started throwing solutions/ideas) (i) are the people skilled? Know how much material are they using (extra material = extra cost) (ii) is the quality of material too high (more than required quality increases the costs) (iii) is there rework happening? – are people good?(iv) What kind of designs are there – he said there are various different types of designs – I asked why? – he said no one knows – I said .. are they required? – he said , no – I said then standardize the design! He looked happy – so I started throwing more ! – he said no, lets move on to other ones Discussion on people – people cost = wage * numbera) are outsourced people expensive – yes they are – are they doing some specialized job? – not really, they can be replaced – then replace them b) can we multiskill people – yeah we can – then do that! c) Can we move our service centers to low cost destinations – yes we can d) Can we reallocate people to reduce number of people – yes we can – but can we fire them? – are they unionized? – yes they are and he appreciated the point that I touched upon the fact that the unions are tough to handle ( learning : know your industry, small things can make you win the case Discussion on administration a) planning happening ok? – no – so scheduling, audits have to be done again and again (I did not come up with this point alone. It was a result of a thorough discussion .
        Round 4

        Case Study Interview

        Interview Questions
        • Question 1: “Tata is coming with nano, what do you think it’s a threat or an opportunity for other players in the market..”
        Interview Experience
        i said – its an opportunity (no structure , we were taking a walk after all) because it opens up a full market – he said ‘ what shud the competitors do” – I kept on saying a lot of things... - they should lobby with government to stop this .. bla bla bla bla – the discussion was round and round and round.. I was tired with my high heels—then suddenly I said – Arvind can you tell me if I am on the right track ? , am little tired – he smiled and said, ok I again ask you “ what can they do to stop the nano or get ready for the market” – this statement gave me clarity and I said “ ok we can stop nano from coming, or do some other stuff” – he said great , so lets discuss both one by one – (remember that once you asked for clarity then you have to crack the rest of the case, else you are dead) –so I picked up stopping nano to hit the market discussion on stopping Nano to hit the market –
        (i) demand side hit – lobby with the activists and say that the infrastructure isn’t ready and hence nano should not be allowed ( he liked it)
        (ii) demand side hit -Increase the advertisements on how “Indians have to be sensitive about infrastructure” ( he liked it)
        (iii) supply side hit – can we buy out the suppliers? – can we promise them some other meat? – like get them under long term agreements etc
        (iv) Supply side hit – can we buy out the low cost suppliers to tatas ( I told them, that my thinking was to stop providing necessary materil that gets into nana
        (v) Supply side – can we buy their engineers
        (vi) And some more discussion, I don’t quite remember .but ya on similar lines What else they can do till they develop their own low cost (i) can they give fire to second hand car market ( as this is the immediate competition to nano) (ii) he kept on probing me on public transport till I said – why cant they collaborate with the government and make the public transport so easy and good and safe that people don’t need nano! BINGO.. ( he loved it- tho he only got that in my head – amazing guide he is) he still looked dissatisfied and asked me there is something else that is missing.. – something that is a real threat to the competitors of tatas. – we kept on discussing, till I suddenly remembered the team that made the engine is of 30 years average age (READ THE CURRENT ISSUES, IT HELPS BUILD PERSPECTIVE) – so I said “ they have the engineering skills, which can be used to enter other segments (like they can make cheaper engines for indigo .. or come up with new car in ford Ikon category etc).. and this resource is just too good! – BINGO
        Interview Tips
        a) Be genuine b) Be grounded c) Be yourself d) Be confident e) Be transparent f) Be blunt (but carry it ) g) Connect with the interviewer – genuinely h) Be aware of the current issues
        Skills

        Skills Tested

        • Case Solving Ability
        • Case Analysis
        Read Full post...
        4

        BCG consultant interview

        4.1k views
        AnonymousExperiencedSelected
        Application
        I Applied for job through Walk-in for Consultant role at BCG
        Interview Process
        HR Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview
        Round 1

        HR Interview

        Interview Questions
          Interview Experience
          The usual PI questions, I’d say be prepared with a list of them. The PI would give you on opportunity to strike the right vibes with the interviewer. So when you get down to doing a case, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable and confident.
          Round 2

          Case Study Interview

          Interview Questions
          • Question 1: A Widgets manufacturer, who’s been in the business for a few years now, had been seeing phenomenal growth over the last couple of years, and has recently added capacity to cater to expected future demand. However, the market has stayed flat, and your client doesn’t know what to do.
          Interview Experience
          I asked a few clarifying questions. The information that I got was as follows – 1. The trend was temporary, and the market was expected to start growing again after a few years. 2. Need not worry about what widgets are; just consider them to be a part of machine equipment. 3. The manufacturer is a global company headquartered in US 4. The market had been growing over the last 2-3 years at 30 – 40 % and has now flattened. I then defined the problem statement. From here on I took a pretty unconventional first principles approach in structuring my though process. I decided to look at 2 aspects – a. Means to enhance Capacity Utilization through an understanding of the business based on b. Market Analysis Under capacity utilization I had intended to focus on Altering the product mix, increase sales geographically, rationalize my asset base, and providing value added services. The first one wasn’t possible and on the geographical front we were already selling globally. Then I switched to market analysis where I looked at # of players, respective market shares, competitive landscape, drivers of purchase and price points. On questioning, it turned out that we were the largest player with a 35% market share, two other major players had a 20% share each, and the rest of the market was fragmented amongst small players. Everyone sold at the same price. In past, the purchase decision had not been based on price, but on being highest in quality, and we were perceived to be amongst the highest in quality. We were also the cost leaders in this business, and this was the catch point. It also turned out that in being more cautious about their purchase of widgets, our potential customers had now become more price conscious, and the market was price elastic. From here on I started shaping recommendations – I put them as short term and long term. In the short term I suggested that we play on price points. Since we are the cost leaders and the market was price elastic, we can bring down our prices till a point where our profits increase with decrease in prices. Also, our competitors won’t be able to cut prices to the extent that we can, and in this way we can squeeze their margins beyond tolerable limits, force them to exit, and thus increase our share of the pie. In the long run, we needed to work around rationalizing our asset base, and building a value added service layer to our business. That’s where the case concluded.
          Interview Tips
          I’d suggest that encase you too reach your solution pretty soon in the interview, spend some time to look at other strategic aspects, at points in your structure that might have been left untouched, but don’t panic if there’s nothing more to add from your end. You can close the case as and when you feel you’ve done what you wanted to, and need not wait to have spent a pre-decided amount of time on it. Yes I made it to the next round.
          Round 3

          Case Study Interview

          Interview Questions
          • Question 1: A Telecom Infrastructure Company - Provider of Telecom Equipment and Related Services, is facing profitability issues inspite of good growth in their business. I was to identify the key levers that could help overcome the problem.
          Interview Experience
          I asked a few clarifying questions. The information I got was a follows – 1. The client was a $10 billion + company with 50000 + employees. 2. It was a Europe based company with operations all over the world, and their business was expected to grow at 10 – 15 % 3. The lines of business were divided into 2: A. Selling Equipment and S/W in 2G and 3G space. B. Providing Services, which was further subdivided into 4 categories.(i) Turnkey i.e. developing new networks (ii) Managed Services i.e. run the network on behalf of the service provider (iii) Maintenance (H/W and S/W) (iv) Consulting Solutions then defined the problem statement. From here on I structured by approach to do a Revenues & Cost analysis after having done a thorough Market Analysis. Under Market Analysis, I looked at 1. No. of Players – there were 6 -7 players, we were no. 2 with a mkt. share of 20%. The mkt. leader had a 30% share. 2. I looked at Growth in each of the businesses, Selling Equipment and S/W in 2G and 3G space each growing at 15 % and 25% respectively and overall this line of business was growing at 20% In Providing Services, the above 4 were expected to grow at 0%, less than 10%, 15% and less than 10% respectively (in the order mentioned above). 3. The drivers of purchase were driven by Cap Ex and Op Ex incurred by the customers, i.e. Price was the key driver of purchase once you were a part of the consideration set. However, to be considered for a contract by a potential customer, high standards of quality were a must. Before starting to look at the revenues and costs in trying to address profitability, I asked for the revenue break up of for our client. It was as follows – 55% from 2G(30%) & 3G(25%). 24% from turnkey. 9% from maintenance. 6% from managed services and the rest from consulting. I then asked for how this picture would look 3-4 years from now. Selling Equipment and S/W in 2G and 3G space would together constitute 40%, with 70% of this 40 from 3G and rest from 2G. Services would constitute 60% of the revenues, and in comparing to their current contributions, Turnkey would stagnate, Maintenance business would grow at 10 – 15%, and Consulting and Managed Services would grow disproportionately. This unfortunately is all that I remember of the case in terms of data, but from here on it was pretty standard. I prioritized my probing of the cost structures for each of the businesses based on their current and future contributions to the revenue pie. I then explored the cost structures for each line of business, identified the cost levers, and further prioritized my recommendations for each cost lever on the basis of where we could achieve most impact. On the revenue side, my recommendations were around building capabilities around consulting and managed services based on how the business was expected to shape up in the future. There was a lot to talk about under each of the above – off shoring, consolidation of suppliers and subcontractors etc., managing over runs, acquisition to build capabilities, and I did touch upon all of these. I'm sure based on your own judgement, you can add more to it. All the best!
          Round 4

          Case Study Interview

          Interview Questions
          • Question 1: An Indian Garments Company, a 3rd party manufacturer for clients in US & Europe wants to enter the Indian Market with their own label. Recommend a go/ no go decision and a suitable branding strategy for your client.
          Interview Experience
          I asked a few clarifying questions. The information I got was a follows – 1. The client manufactured broadly two kinds of products A. Textiles (of different counts, pure yarns, viscose mix etc.) B. Garments (semi formal / informal in cotton, for both men and women) I structured my approach as follows: As part of Market Entry evaluation, I wanted to look at the following: 1. Market Attractiveness – size of the mkt., growth expected, penetration levels and margins. 2. Competition – in each of the segments. Further look at unbranded retailing, branded retailing and pvt. label retailing. 3. Strategic Fit and Capabilities as far as this proposed line of business was concerned. 4. How to enter – Organic v/s Inorganic At this point, I was asked to move onto the branding strategy that I would recommend. One key factor that I considered was a single brand v/s a multi brand strategy. And through discussions with the interviewer, I decided to pursue a multi-brand approach for different segments, different qualities etc. (just as Arvind Mills, Madura Garments etc. do). I then proposed that in developing a brand strategy for each of the brands I chose to pursue, I would look at the following: 1. Position the brand 2. Pricing 3. Distribution 4. Promotion. In positioning the brand (each of the brands that we will roll out), I would look at drivers of purchase and then position myself accordingly through parity and distinction. At this point, we got into a more general conversation around how to position, what other factors to consider, and then wrapped up the case.
          Interview Tips
          As you step in for the interview, make sure that you leave all the excess baggage outside. It’s a big deterrent in one’s performance. I had one more interview that I’m unable to document, after which I was made an offer.
          Skills

          Skills Tested

          • Case Analysis
          Read Full post...
          5

          McKinsey consultant interview

          1.9k views
          AnonymousExperiencedSelected
          Application
          I Applied for job through Walk-in for Consultant role at McKinsey
          Interview Process
          Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview
          Round 1

          Case Study Interview

          Interview Questions
          • Question 1: An incumbent retail bank’s profits had been hit by competition as the competition had started building ATMs. They wanted to develop an ATM strategy.
          Interview Experience
          First thing to ask is why are they being hit if others are building ATMS? He answered that the client does not have ATMs while now competition does. This is making people shift their bank accounts form us to the competition. Then I asked him what ATM strategy mean in this context? He quizzed me back as to what I think it meant. To which, I replied that there could be the following sub questions we could be asking: ( I used the 4W and one H way of dealing with vague questions!) 1. Where we want to establish the ATMs? 2. What technology /interface we want to use? 3. What is the time frame of the ATM roll out? 4. How do we plan to fund this roll out? 5. To whom do we cater to through this ? I told him that we needed to prioritize these questions according to their importance in order to begin building the strategy. He told me that where to establish was the main question to answer. I began by asking him whether we were looking at specific locations or just geographies. He told me that we were looking at both. Hence, I said that I would start with narrowing down to specific geographies and then talk about specific locations in those geographies. He also told me that we wanted to roll out as soon as possible. I asked him where all we are located geographically to which he responded that we had a pan India presence. With this, I said that I would first look at the factors that affect the choice of a geography. Since the best strategy would be to attract the maximum customers per new ATM– I listed the following: 1. Income level of customers ( Assumption: Since ATMs would be used by people who had more money) 2. Density of customers (Assumption: Only customers would use our ATM service) I asked him if these factors covered or was there something that I was missing? He said this was fine but what I meant by geographies. I specified that what would be looking at is City/town wise data. He also asked me what would be the cut off level of income that I would be looking at? He said that lets assume that with this info we located the Mumbai region to be the highest on the priority list. Now he wanted to know how I would decide on a location. I said I would again look at data inside Mumbai to again prioritise areas with the above two factors.He asked me if there was anything else I would like to look at? He asked me to come out of frameworks and think about the original question. I told him that as per my understanding the locations should be one with high footfalls specifically offices, markets and hospitals etc. He asked me how I would find out where all to put ? All hospitals? Remember we need to roll out as soon as possible.. Finally he told me we could look at ATM locations of competitors and atleast put an ATM wherever they are located.
          Interview Tips
          Make sure that the personal interview goes well as it sets the btone for the case as well.
          Round 2

          Case Study Interview

          Interview Questions
          • Question 1: The client is a insurance company that offers life insurance to its customers through a sales force. It wants to know whether it can also offer product insurance in order to improve profitability.
          Interview Experience
          Firstly, I clarified what product insurance meant. It was more to satisfy my curiosity and to better understand the context. He told me that it was the insurance on consumer products like electrical goods etc. I said I would first like to understand the whole value chain to better understand the role of the sales force before laying down my approach. He said there was nothing much to it as basically the company was an intermediary between an bank and the customer. It just sent out the sales force and got customers. I asked him what exactly was the structure of the products. He said although it was not relevant to the discussion, I could assume that the premiums were paid each year and the policy lasted for a fixed time (say 30 years). I now asked him who the customer was and how did the salesperson approach the customer. He said that the customer was anyone on the street (think of LIC). Then I asked him that I would like to analyse the question in two ways, qualitative and quantitative. On the quantitative side, I would like to see whether the sales force had the time to devote for the new product. On the qualitative side I would like to see whether they had the skills and knowledge of these products. To answer the first question, we analysed the total idle time per sales person. Then, we would have to see how selling an additional product would affect the time the sales person spends with the customer. This would then determine if the sales person could cover the same number of customers or would that number drop. In the latter scenario, I told him that we would have to see what the tradeoffs were and then decide whether we would want to target lesser number of customers who would have higher value in terms of buying the two products. On the qualitative side, we looked at what capabilities were required for selling the new products. We classified these as already present and new. We found that most of the capabilities like customer lists, getting time from customers to make a call, general selling expertise was already there. What was needed was product information and knowledge. This we concluded could be built through training. He asked me if I was missing something. After a quick summary, I realized that I had not touched the new “capability” of additional budget for higher salaries. (sinece the sales persons were going to be spending their idle time as well, and earning more for the company, they would have to be compensated additionally. We tried to toy with some pay out (pay versus policies sold per quarter) to see what could work best I concluded (we did some number crunching on idle hours etc) that we could use the same sales force but mentioned the additional capabilities like training and revised pay outs.
          Interview Tips
          On the final day, try and keep your energy levels up as much as possible. One good idea is to carry some energy food (granola bars, chocolate bars or even fruit juice or glucose).
          Round 3

          Case Study Interview

          Interview Questions
          • Question 1: There was a steel making company on the west coast (say Surat) that wanted to determine of it should start a new plant in West Bengal
          Interview Experience
          First, I clarified some background information like if there were any more steel plants that the company owned? He said no there were none. Then I asked him at what capacity was the steel plant running. He said it was nowhere close to 100%. I asked him how was our profs in the last few years? He said that they had declined. Then, I began the revenue and cost route. It turned out that revenues had not declined as quantity and price (steel is a commodity so they cant do anything with price anyway) had stayed the same. In costs however, after going through all the components, I found that the raw material costs had increased. The main raw material is iron ore, and that is where the problem was. Then I asked him if we knew why the costs for iron ore had increased. He told me that the iron ore mines were located in West Bengal and there had been some regulation that made it more expensive to transport steel out of the state. Then it started making sense to put up a plant in WB.! But I though not to jump to conclusions and we deliberated more. I told him that there were four options available to us.—run only one of the two lpants, run both or shut both. (helps to be MECE!) I sad that in order to figure out what we should do , we should look at the NPV of all four options. Then we went on to do some calculations into which I will not get into here. Finally, as per our discussions it turned out that we should keep both the plants running. We could purchase iron ore cheaper due to presence of a plant in WB but at the same time it would become cheaper to produce steal at Surat. Since there was a demand shortage in this industry we could increase production in total.
          Interview Tips
          Do read the profiles of the interviewers before the D day. It helps in making conversation once you are in front of them. And you could also prepare for questions on your previous work experience that is similar to theirs. Also it is important to ask why a certain situation is in the way it is. This sometimes gives important leads into the case. Synthesis should be short ant to the point. Even in the middle of the discussion, if you are asked to give your opinion on something in the case, it should be firm and backed by sound logic.
          Skills

          Skills Tested

          • Case Solving Ability
          • Case Analysis
          Read Full post...
          6

          McKinsey consultant interview

          7.8k views
          AnonymousFresherSelected
          Application
          I was interviewed on-campus at IIT Bombay for CONSULTANT role at McKinsey
          Interview Process
          Resume Shortlist Interview Interview Interview Interview
          Round 1

          Resume Shortlist

          Interview Experience
          a) I put a lot of thought into it. A LOT. I started top-down. In a sense, I always knew I was gonna target only 2 types of companies: Consulting and Banking. So made my 2 resumes accordingly. Basically I conveyed what needed to be conveyed. For this, I talked to a lot of people in Oct/Nov and researched a bit from previous editions of BePrepared. Being a DD helped. And then I spent a lot of time thinking how best to convey it. For example, I knew that my success in strategy competitions was crucial for Consulting Firms, hence I put those above my projects/extracurrics. b) Sent it to many people for feedback. Some of the points were accepted, some not. Its always our call in the end. But more often than not, external views make up the MOST important part of Resume Making. Advice: Make a rough copy first and then start thinking. If you think without it, it will take up a lot of time. DON’T LIE – IT WONT HELP YOU IN THE INTERVIEW. Be very serious in your resume. Avoid any kind of humor. Also don’t try to squeeze in too much.. you wont be coherent. Know what you want to convey and convey exactly that. At the end of it.. Look at your resume page by page. And see what it conveys at a VERY MACRO level. For ex: In my resume, Page 1 conveyed Decent Acads with Success in Strategy Competitions and Page 2 conveyed A lot of positions of responsibility with decent results and excellence in dramatics. I attended some of PPTs. Basically, from the beginning my focus was only on Consulting and Banking companies. In all I attended about 6 PPTs. But they do help. I know some of them are more than 90 minutes long. But its worth it in the end. There are some 5-6 important lines in every PPT and a wasted 90 minutes is worth those lines. Do catch the opportunity to talk to the presenters after the PPT informally. I found it to be quite valuable. Ofcourse, this meant less pizza consumed by me. But that’s okay.
          Round 2

          Interview

          Interview Questions
            Interview Experience
            2+ 2 rounds of interview after resume short-listing. Total 22, After 2 rounds: 6 Final Offer: 3 (out of which 2 accepted). My McK interviews were scheduled immediately after my 2 BCG interviews. So I was not tense going into them. Round 1: It started off with general HR. Which is how all interviews typically are. This is to make the interviewee comfortable. I was asked about my dramatics and my economics project. He was looking for short, precise answers. Then came the case: I was asked my sport of preference. I said Football. He asked me to Guesstimate (Guess + Estimate) the number of footballs in Europe. (For those of you who are not familiar with guesstimates: It basically involves coming to a number logically. You can either approach it from the supply side (involves estimating the total capacity and multiplying with a capacity utilization kind of a thing.) or the demand side (estimating the number of users and then multiplying by the frequency of use). I told him about how I can approach from the demand and the supply side. I said I would like to use the demand side as I thought it was easier. He asked me to instead use the supply side. This came as a shock as I had hardly practiced anything from the supply side (Lesson: Be prepared to think about novel problems – which you have never practiced). I made a hash of this one. I made a lot of mistakes. But the good thing was I was speaking aloud whatever was going inside my mind. So if I said: “costs at all London shops will be the same”, my interviewer would interject and ask “Would they”.. after thinking for a bit I would realize that they wont be since the transportation costs are different for different shops (unless they are competing) . I think he got impressed by my ability to recognize that I have made a mistake and the ability to rectify it. After this he asked me if I had any questions about McK. I had a few and asked him the same. .
            Interview Tips
            Lesson Learnt: Don’t have any conceived notion of an interview. You can be asked anything. Go with an open mind. For Cases, Speak aloud. Don’t be stubborn on your findings. You could be wrong.
            Round 3

            Interview

            Interview Questions
              Interview Experience
              Immediately after round 1, I was whisked away for the round 2. This was a senior partner. He grilled me about how my CPI was low (8.48) . He asked me whether I was against McKinsey taking up govt. studies. I said No and explained him the reason. He was happy. Quite literally. After that came the case: “A and B are the two top Cement manufacturers in India. A foreign cement behemoth C has bought both of them. C is now wondering how to integrate the HR of the two purchasing departments of A and B. What are the possible options? What should it do?” The case was 2-pronged. I had to identify the possible options first and then suggest one. An important learning was that I established the various “parameters” on the basis of which C must decide which one is the best first. I thought I did pretty well with this. The interviewer seemed very happy. After the 2 rounds, I was called by McK people for feedback. I was told that sometime I come across as too Assertive and that should be avoided. I found this feedback very helpful. And later on I realized that a consultant is typically a quiet, analytical, serious character and not a bubbly, flamboyant one.
              Interview Tips
              Lesson Learnt: Don’t be overtly aggressive against some of the firm policies (govt. work in this case)
              Round 4

              Interview

              Interview Questions
                Interview Experience
                It Was with a partner, again. I was told in this interview that my temperament and way of speaking was to b observed. He asked if I wanted some tea since I looked tired. I said yes. He jumped straight to the case. “A boiler co. wants to go global. Advice.” I didn't have much information about the boiler industry and hence clarified a few doubts. Every second I nagged myself to be less assertive and be more open and unbiased to information. He didn't let me solve it completely. Stopped in between and said I did okay. Ambiguous statements, very typical of consultants. :)
                Interview Tips
                Lesson Learnt: Respect the client (in this case the interviewer). He knows much much more than you do.
                Round 5

                Interview

                Interview Questions
                  Interview Experience
                  Was with a German partner. As I entered the room he said how everyone is very keen on me.. but then said he was not sure and had to see for himself. There was no case in this interview. It was mostly fit. We talked about cars and football. I have never had so much fun in an interview. It was awesome. In the end we agreed that Germany played some kick ass football in the world cup and deserved to at-least reach the final. I was told in the interview that I would be made an offer.
                  Interview Tips
                  There are no ready-made formula. However, to get shortlisted he/she must have spikes in his/her resume/CV. The person should be hyper-analytic, open to ambiguity, a person who never gives up and above all should be able to communicate well. You need to also present yourself very professionally in front of this company. It tolerates no informality. Know why you want McKinsey/Consulting etc. Prepare case-studies well. Don’t over-prepare. And you definitely need some luck. Looking back, you realize its only one or two statements that you make which makes you unique.
                  Skills

                  Skills Tested

                    General Tips
                    I think the biggest learning was the fact that each company has a different work culture. You should do some research on this also before. I hadn't done much research on UBS and it showed. You will also need to prepare the “Why XYZ?” type of questions from the bottom of your heart. You cant fool the interviewer. Also, always always respect the interviewer. I was down in energy later on. One should have a proper meal before coming for placements. Always be in touch with your seniors (wherever they may be). They can really throw gems of advice at the important instances. Do not worry about your interviews. Its futile. I think overall, I could have researched a bit more on the company cultures. Carry Red-Bull if you have more than 4 interviews. Also keep a sophie/thirdie always at your disposal. Switch off your cell phones when inside. I would prefer that you wear a suit. It gives a good impression. Don’t wear it for the first time on that day itself though. Do check if its good morning/good afternoon/good evening.
                    Read Full post...
                    7

                    Accenture Strategy consultant internship interview

                    1.1k views
                    AnonymousFresherSelected
                    Application
                    I was interviewed on-campus at IIM Lucknow for Consultant role at Accenture Strategy
                    Interview Process
                    Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview
                    Round 1

                    Case Study Interview

                    Interview Questions
                      Interview Experience
                      i went through four rounds in total. The first questioned asked, in the first round, was the number of shortlist on day 0 and the interviewer jumped straight into a slide in his laptop. Basically the slide had plenty of line diagrams. I had no clue what it was about. As we started interacting, I figured out the line diagrams showed number of units sold in a span of 8-9 months.
                      I was asked to analyse the line diagrams. On further interaction and based on my answers, I came to know the diagrams had the data about the number of units sold by various companies and total number of units sold in each month. The figures didn't show any consistent pattern and I was asked to figure out why was it so. Basically only thing I could figure out was the sales showed cyclical nature and the number showed a positive trend just before Oct-Nov and a dropping trend in Jan-Mar.
                      There was a clear market leader but the sales were decreasing in latest months while there was a fierce competition for the second and the third slot. A detailed discussion took place about who can take the second place and why. Then he asked some FRA question related to the graphs. The discussion boiled down to FIFO/LIFO method and he gave some data for a particular company and I was asked to show the impact of LIFO or FIFO on Profit, COGS, Taxes, and retained earnings.
                      After that he asked a short case on airline industry and it didn't revolved around rising oil prices (Aberration of current Market condition). According to the case, one courier company increased the freight charges though there was a decrease in oil prices. My answers revolved around higher interest rates and depreciation which decreased the operating profit of the courier company. But he was looking for something else and the case was supposed to be analysed from demand-supply side (Microeconomics!!!!). With his input we concluded that the business model of freight industry was changing. Companies who used to transport by rail/road now started using Air Freight which increased the demand suddenly and hence the price. Further because of capacity constraint, the Air Freight company bought few new aircrafts and hence wanted to break even early to make the most of current market.
                      Note: The interview went Ok types. Interviewer expectation was much more and I think I could not handle the Airline case upto his expectation. He wished me good luck for the next round.
                      Round 2

                      Case Study Interview

                      Interview Questions
                      • Question 1: How did the first round go?
                      • Question 2: what went wrong in the first round?
                      Interview Experience
                      I came to know that they have scheduled my first round again as they were expecting more. The interview started with “How did the first round went”? I said “It was decent but I should have done better”. He asked “would have or should have”? I said “Should have”. “What went wrong” was his instant question. I gave my analysis and he looked satisfied by my analysis (He displayed like that). I was told that this round will have 2 parts: (i) Case and (ii) some general questions.

                      Case: It was about decreasing sales of Nano in Kolkata and adjoining areas.
                      Case analysis:
                      Initially we discussed if it was a normal trend in other parts of India or not. If there was any price increased by Nano or any changes with the design which might not have gone well with the consumers. We also spoke about impact of negative publicity like engine failure and instances of fire breaking out in Nano. Marketing strategies of handling negative publicity was also discussed.
                      But the maximum discussion happened around 2 points:
                      1) As Nano was mainly for people with 2 wheeler, I wanted to understand where the real issue was. Whether consumers are moving to 2.5-3 lakhs priced car like Alto and Zen (few others also) or people with 2 wheeler were not able to buy Nano. I asked about any trend whether any data regarding people willingness to buy Nano (Through Test Drives taken, visits to showrooms etc.) but not actually buying was there or not. After few minute of discussion, I was told that the main issue was people with 2 wheeler are not buying Nano. So the main issue was affordability. I recommended zero % interest rate for EMI for first 2 years of purchase and very minimal ROI after that. We also discussed about the bank Nano should partner with and then he filtered the question to 1 bank only. I opted for SBI as it has branches in adjoining remote areas of Kolkata and people there have higher trust in Govt. banks.
                      2) We also spoke about the Demand-Supply constraint. If there was any channel conflict. Brief interaction revealed that Nano had only 7 distributors in that part of region and this was a major problem and it should increase by 3-4.

                      As he was very satisfied with the case analysis, the second part of interview was not much of pain. It was more of a general discussion. As I had work ex in IT industry, I was asked how will I handle management consulting as it‟s very different from IT consulting and required very competent skills. I was also asked about the highest level of client interaction and how I managed them. He specifically asked for one of the CV point which was about interacting with the program director of the US based client and how I managed to convinced him to increase the scope of the development, issues faced and what it took to convince him to approve the increase in man hours effort from 400 to 950.
                      Few questions about my strengths and how I will handle the clients specifically when I am interacting with CXO level people followed. I was also asked why consulting and whether I would be comfortable travelling after marriage. Overall I had a very good interview.
                      Interview Tips
                      -Practice some cases before interviews.
                      -Never think that you are out of race. Don‟t judge yourself in the interview. Interviewer might give you chance to bounce back.
                      Round 3

                      Case Study Interview

                      Interview Questions
                      • Question 1: My greatest failure in life so far and my learning from it.
                      • Question 2: Why Accenture business consulting
                      • Question 3: Strengths of Accenture
                      • Question 4: Compare between Accenture and 1. IBM 2. Deloitte 3. Mckinsey and few other consulting companies.
                      • Question 5: Why Consulting and why I was fit for this position?
                      • Question 6: CGPA related questions and what my relative position was amongst PGPI students.
                      • Question 7: Whether it was difficult for me to study after 45 months of work ex. and how I manage pressure and adjust to it.
                      Interview Experience
                      This round was taken by one of our alums. I was asked if I am nervous or excited. I said both and was asked to explain why so. (Good Ice Breaking 5 minutes). I was again asked the number of process I am running for (Other Shortlists!!!). A casual discussion followed like it must be tough running for different process in different parts of the campus.
                      He was constantly picking up points from my CV and it was more or less work experience related interview. I asked three questions to him and a detailed discussion took place.
                      Round 4

                      Case Study Interview

                      Interview Questions
                      • Question 1: Why ABC?
                      • Question 2: why consulting?
                      • Question 3: what are my strengths?
                      • Question 4: Best and worst feedback received from previous work places.
                      Interview Experience
                      It was HR round which lasted for around 10 minutes. Questions like Why ABC, Consulting, my strengths, best and worst feedback received in my previous work ex were asked. I was asked about my expectation from ABC. Brief discussion about my POR and CGPA followed.
                      Interview Tips
                      1) Stay Cool because it will help you to interact freely and focus on various perspectives which is very important in the case
                      2) Display a lot of enthusiasm and don‟t shy away from talking. Remember Consultant need to do a lot of talking. Just ensure you talk sense on that day.
                      General Tips
                      Keep calm and cool even if you get stuck up.

                      Consider various perspectives while answering for a case.
                      Read Full post...
                      8

                      BCG consultant internship interview

                      4.2k views
                      AnonymousFresherNot Selected
                      Application
                      I was interviewed on-campus at IIM Lucknow for Consultant role at BCG
                      Interview Process
                      Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview
                      Round 1

                      Case Study Interview

                      Interview Questions
                      • Question 1: Are you clear about your decision between IB and Consulting?
                      • Question 2: Why consulting
                      • Question 3: Why BCG?
                      Interview Experience
                      Case: The client is a company that manufactures an interactive educational tool. It is basically something as big as a blackboard fitted in the classroom and has touch screen interactivity. What do you think is the scope of this product and what are the other things that the company can do in the field of education to increase its revenues (to 1000 Cr)?
                      Analysis: I first tried to understand the product properly.
                      Q. Does the company make any other products?
                      Ans. No
                      Q. What is this particular product used for majorly? To teach what?
                      Ans: English language
                      I was trying to build a structure at this point when he interrupted me by asking me if I had understood the question. I felt he was trying to put a bit of stress. He then asked me to explore what all are the options that an educational tech company in India could explore.
                      Q. Are we looking at only classroom services or online as well?
                      Ans: Up to you what you want to look at
                      I built a structure which split into Classroom learning and online learning. Then further split classroom learning into providing education material and products (like the one the client makes). In online I split it into videos and material.
                      He was happy with this basic structure. He then asked me that the client was focusing on language needs of people. So he asked me to estimate the demand of the English language learners. He then asked me to estimate how many such are those who already have a source to learn and how many are wanting to but do not have a source and what should I target?
                      I started with the metro population in India. Roughly 14mX4 = 56m. Then divided it by the age group. I dint plug in any figures. I just made the initial tree. I told him that I would plug in the figures later. Age group of 16 and less who are going to schools.
                      He then asked me why I have not considered adults who want to learn English. Then I considered that as well.
                      He then asked me why I have not taken into consideration those who do not know that they want to learn English. I didn't understand what he meant, so I asked him to explain. He told me that a domestic maid is latent demand because she doesn't know that she want to learn English (got kind of philosophical at this point).
                      So he asked me to factor that in as well. He asked me how we can make them use an online medium when they do not have basic education in the first place.
                      Summary:
                      He helped me a lot with the case. In fact he gave me the 2 most important points of adult demand and latent demand. Overall I found the case to be very tough and ambiguous. He kept on asking me if I understood the question which made me lose confidence many times.
                      Interview Tips
                      Please make sure of what you say in the initial HR questions. I had mentioned that I liked teaching. That was the reason why picked out this case for me. So please make sure you can show the passion for a particular interest that you have mentioned.
                      Be calm during the case.
                      Round 2

                      Case Study Interview

                      Interview Questions
                      • Question 1: Are you convinced about consulting vs. IB?
                      • Question 2: Why do you want to do consulting and not IB?
                      • Question 3: Tell me something different/interesting about yourself.
                      • Question 4: Have you worked on live projects? If so tell me one in which you used a completely different approach.
                      Interview Experience
                      Case: A financial services company (NBFC) that has entered India few years ago wants to know whether it should continue in India or not?
                      Analysis:
                      Q. I asked him the relative position of the business visa-viz its peers.
                      Ans: It is not very high. Somewhere around 6th.
                      Q. What are the different businesses?
                      Ans: Mutual funds – debt and equity, Asset
                      management, etc. Equity fund is not performing as well as its competitors. Debt is on par.
                      Q. What is its target market?
                      Ans: HNIs with income of INR 5Cr +
                      I had made a brief structure earlier in which I had said that I would like to explore 3 things. The historical performance of the fund, Its competition, and the third thing was future growth in India.
                      He gave me some details on the historic performance and all.
                      He also told me about the competition.
                      I was then asked to make a decision of whether to continue in India.
                      I told him based on the future growth story they should remain in India. He wanted me to ask the growth rate of HNIs in India. He then gave me those figures.
                      Q: He then asked me what all problems they could face.
                      Ans: Very volatile equity markets, major source of HNI money is black so we can‟t capture the entire growth in HNI. Competition could outdo us. If interest rates fall, investors would want to invest abroad. I gave a few more options that I can‟t recall right now.
                      Summary:
                      The case was very straight forward. Basic questions needed to be asked. I had expressed an interest in finance so I was given this case.


                      Interview Tips
                      Prepare HR answers really well.
                      Round 3

                      Case Study Interview

                      Interview Questions
                      • Question 1: Tell me about yourself
                      • Question 2: Why does consulting excite you?
                      Interview Experience
                      was given two cases for this round.
                      case 1: A taxi driver (black and yellow taxi) asked me if he should move to a radio cab in Delhi.
                      Analysis: It was a simple case of cost-benefit. Split into revenues and cost. Cost split into fixed (maintenance and insurance) and variable (fuel). I asked him the km each car run in a day, the mileage, the cost per liter of diesel. Charge/km. Made the comparison and gave him the answer. He asked me what else I should consider. I told him that
                      the taxi driver had more freedom owning his own cab. But in the radio cab he won‟t have to worry about depreciation of the vehicle. I also told him that owning his taxi may be a matter of prestige for the driver.
                      Case 2:Should a PE fund buyout Infosys?
                      Analysis:
                      Q. I asked him what the private equity fund was looking at: Stake purchase or complete buyout.
                      Ans. Complete buyout.
                      He asked me how a PE can gain out of buying Infosys. I told him that the PE would have board members and would provide guidance and expertise along with the funding support.
                      Q. How long is the PE looking to invest in Infy?
                      Ans. 5 years
                      Q. what is rate of return that infy will give in 5 years ?
                      Ans: 20%
                      At this point he asked me will the PE be able to increase the profits of infy?
                      I told him that we could better management and expertise from the PE end. He said that the PE would not be able to manage Infosys better that what it already was.
                      Q. Will the PE be able to bring in new outside business?
                      Ans: no
                      Q. Will the PE be able to generate more than the expected 20% revenue for Infy?
                      Ans. No
                      At this point he told me think of it from an IB
                      perspective. He told me that if infy can be bought for say Rs 100 and would be worth Rs 120 after 5 years, it‟s not a big deal. The PE would not be interested in something like this. So why would a PE look to invest?
                      I luckily had some prior knowledge of Infy (0 debt on its balance sheet and a hell lot of cash) So I told him that the entire source of funds was only equity. So the PE could buy the equity and then pay off dividends to it (since INFY was cash rich) or else raise debt for leverage.
                      Q. Will the growth remain 20% even if I raise debt?
                      Ans: yes
                      So I told him that if INFY raises debt of Rs 100, Firm value would be roughly Rs 200 and growth would be 20% -> Rs 240. Therefore the PE would make 40 on its initial Rs 100 -> 40%. He was looking for a solution like: Buy it for Rs 100. Replace Rs 50 of equity by raising debt. And then sell it for Rs120 5 years later. So effective gain would be Rs 20 on Rs 50 which is still 40%
                      Q. What is this mechanism called?
                      Ans. Leveraging

                      He spoke a bit about LBOs then.
                      Interview Tips
                      Be confident and be persistent. Keep on going at the case even if you are stuck.
                      General Tips
                      Be persistent in case analysis.

                      Be cool and focused while answering questions.

                      Prepare well for HR questions.
                      Read Full post...
                      9

                      Parthenon Group consultant interview

                      764 views
                      AnonymousExperiencedSelected
                      Application
                      I Applied for job through Walk-in for Consultant role at Parthenon Group
                      Interview Process
                      HR Interview Case Study Interview
                      Round 1

                      HR Interview

                      Interview Questions
                      • Question 1: Tell me about yourself
                      • Question 2: Why Consulting
                      • Question 3: Why Parthenon
                      • Question 4: Are you interested in strategy consulting
                      • Question 5: Do you have any questions for me
                      Interview Experience
                      1. Prepared answers to the basic questions in particular why firm ABC
                      2. Demonstrated enthusiasm. Spent over 20 minutes after he had asked his basic questions discussing Parthenon’s plans in India. It was more of a conversation and helped build connect.
                      Interview Tips
                      1. Do your reading about the areas of work that the Firm does so that you can engage the interviewer in a conversation [Source: Website, alums etc]
                      2. Prepare your basic questions and do mock PI sessions
                      3. Believe that you will crack the interview when you enter. The mental confidence does wonders.
                      Round 2

                      Case Study Interview

                      Interview Questions
                      • Question 1: A store in a chain of retail department stores was experiencing a drop in profitability. Diagnose the problem
                      Interview Experience
                      Started off by understanding the context to the case. A handy tool I would use to ensure I asked all the relevant questions was:
                      1. Did I understand every word in the problem definition e.g.: Drop in profitability by how much, since when, is it drop in absolute terms or percentage terms, what is the profitability trends for competitors in the industry
                      2. 5 Ws: Who, Why, When, Where, What V: What products does the retail store offer KK: Ordinary department store. Offers everything from electronic goods to vegetables to packaged foods etc
                      Me: Is it experiencing a fall in profitability in all products or certain segments
                      Interviewer: All
                      Me: What is the profitability trend of other competitors
                      Interviewer: Profitability has been stable although our chain is well below the industry average
                      Me: I am not very familiar with this business. Could you explain to me what the value chain would be like?
                      Interviewer: Standard procurement model. There are well-established suppliers for each product category. The goods are procured, markup price is applied by each store manager and goods are sold to retail customers
                      Me: What has the trend of costs been for the company
                      Interviewer: Costs have been stable
                      Me: Okay, so the problem as I see it is that this particular store has been seeing a drop in profits (absolute terms) over the last two years. We need to establish what it is that is causing the fall in profitability and what we can do.
                      Interview:er Sure go ahead
                      Me: I’m going to take a minute to structure how I want to think about this problem
                      Interviewer: Sure, go ahead V: Profitability = (P-VC)*Q – FC
                      Me: Broke down each leg of the equation into variables that would affect them.
                      Interviewer: Great I like the structure. Proceed V: Here’s where I got stumped. For the next 5 mins I made the mistake of not following my structure and asking some general questions about cost. I learnt that cost was RM was 60% of COGS, 20% labor and 10% Fixed Cost allocation. After probing I found out that costs were stable and that was no further potential to reduce the costs further. Then I touched on price and found that they had not touched ‘list price’ for a long time. Based on my questions I also learnt that volumes were actually increasing. That’s when I hit a wall. I was thinking to myself. Costs are stable. Price is stable. Quantity is increasing. How the hell is profitability falling? All the while
                      Interviewer is stone faced.
                      Me: I think I am pushing myself into a corner. Do you think there is something I am missing. KK: I think your structure was fine. Implicitly I sensed he was telling me to get back to my structure and ask him questions.
                      Me: I started with Price and was about to ask the first question when he said
                      Interviewer: Do you know what the revenue trends are like. Just thought you may want to know what revenue is like before you proceed.
                      Me: Sure, Can you tell me what their revenue trends have been.
                      Interviewer: Revenue has been falling
                      Interviewer: Okay. Just before we proceed I want to know whether you understand the relationship between COGS and revenue.
                      Me: Sure. As you sell more your COGS should increase proportionately assuming no significant changes in goods supplied, labour etc Now we are saying revenue is decreasing despite increasing COGS (absolute terms). This could mean one of two things since revenue is: Revenue = P*Q Quantity sold is falling. But we already established that volumes have been increasing evenly across the board or That effective price at which I am selling to the customer (effective being net of discounts, mark downs etc) is actually lower than the list price
                      Interviewer: He smiles (The first in over 20 minutes and I know I am on the right track). Great. I just wanted to establish that you understood the relationship. I think it is the latter. Proceed.
                      Me: Okay. So we know that a substantial part of the problem is that store managers are actually selling the products much below the list price.
                      Interviewer: Exactly. Why do you think this is the case?
                      Me: At this point I clarified whether he wanted me to finish the unasked questions in my structure and he said, “No. I think we have isolated the problem”.
                      Me: Since this was effectively a new problem, I asked for a minute to articulate what the potential causes could be. This is critical whenever a new question emerges in your problem. Do not answer off the cuff or it will seem like you are shooting arrows in the dark.
                      Me: I see three potential reasons: 1. Incentives: Retail store managers incentives are aligned to sales and not profitability and therefore he is cutting prices to increase volume 2. Buyer behavior: Customers have become more price sensitive. [On hindsight that did not make sense as this would have affected all department stores in the area] 3. Competition: Has there been any change in the competitive landscape.
                      Interviewer: Good points. So the store manager’s incentives are aligned to individual store performance. However let us ignore the case of manipulation. As far as your third point is concerned. Yes. Wal-Mart has opened a store recently next to this particular retail store and the store manager is being forced to compete with Wal-Mart’s ....
                      Me: I smile and say “Everyday low prices” [Thank you Prof. Rajiv Banker. We did a case on Wal-Mart twice with Prof. Banker]
                      Interviewer: Smiles right back and says yes. Whenever you are looking at a decision see the influence of your 4 Cs. Customer, Channel, Cost and Competition.
                      Me: Would you like me to explore potential solutions.
                      Interviewer: No. That’s fine. Let’s proceed to the next part of the question.
                      Interviewer: A software product company approaches the store manager with customer relationship management software that will enable the store to run a promotions and loyalty program. The store manager wants to know whether he should make the investment.
                      Me: Clarificatory questions. 1. Over what time frame are we evaluating this decision – 1 year 2. Are we considering only the acquisition cost in the decision or do we have to include operating expenses and training costs etc – Only acquisition cost. Assume it to be a onetime flat fee.
                      Me: We need to do break-even analysis and see whether we are likely to generate additional sales over the next year that will cover the acquisition cost.
                      Me: BEV Sales (units) = Acquisition cost/P-VC
                      Me: We need to compare this number with our expected increase in sales over the next year on account of this investment and see whether there is consistency.
                      Interview Tips
                      Interviewer likes standard frameworks/equations. Don’t water down your structure with variations like the Internal vs. External factors.
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                      10

                      A.T. Kearney consultant interview

                      1.7k views
                      AnonymousExperiencedSelected
                      Application
                      I Applied for job through Walk-in for Consultant role at A.T. Kearney
                      Interview Process
                      Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview
                      Round 1

                      Case Study Interview

                      Interview Questions
                      • Question 1: Vodafone has a huge mobile presence. Now it wants to enter the broadband industry. Should it enter and if yes, how should it enter?
                      Interview Experience
                      I started with a few clarifying questions to know more about the company and why does Vodafone want to enter that sector. She asked me as to what I think might be the reason. I guessed a few reasons like attractive market, other synergies, competitive reaction, fear of being left behind in the market. Then I told her my approach that would include the Porter’s framework for the market attractiveness and then discuss the entry strategy.
                      We started with the market estimation. She asked me how I would go about the market estimation. I told her that I would divide the country into different types of cities – A, B, C, small towns and rural areas and then take the existing PC penetration as the proxy for the potential broadband customers. I also classified the customers into households, corporate and SMEs. She said OK to it. Then she gave me some numbers for the PC penetration in the different cities and segments. We came up to some number which suggested that the market for broadband was attractive and it made sense for Vodafone to enter the market. Next was how should it enter and where should it target first. She asked me to go through the different cities and suggest pros and cons for each. I covered the different cities, based on the size, existing competition, attractiveness, future potential and we came up to cities A, B for the time being and go to rural areas later. Then she asked me the potential areas in the cities where Vodafone could enter. I suggested Industrial Parks, Corporate Parks, Posh colonies, Business districts, Densely populated areas, Retail areas like cyber café, B-schools and other colleges, Airports, Hotels and Resorts and High rise apartments. These areas were chosen based on the costs involved in setting up the broadband infrastructure and getting the revenues faster by covering a lot of customers. Then she asked me to do a cost-benefit analysis for a cyber café in a mall. I mentioned the cost items and revenue items. The revenue per year could be calculated by the considering the surfing cost per hour, the footfall in that mall on the weekdays and weekends and other rentals for any other service if any. The costs would consist of the fixed costs for setting up the infrastructure and the variable costs for maintaining the service. The variable costs would be the monthly rentals for the café, operating costs, maintenance, salaries and service rentals. Based on the above the profit margin and break-even time was calculated. The breakeven time was coming out to be around 2.3 – 3 years and she said did it seem fine. I thought it was fine. Then she asked me if I had any questions for her.
                      Round 2

                      Case Study Interview

                      Interview Questions
                      • Question 1: The client is an automotive company based in India. Due to dollar collapse, its margins are going down and hence the stock price is going down. How do we increase the margins?
                      Interview Experience
                      I started with a few clarifying questions to know more about the company and what is the contribution of exports vis-à-vis domestic sales. He told me exports accounted for only 20% of the sales and domestic sales accounted for the remaining 80%. I asked him about the revenues growth and he told me the revenues were increasing at the rate of 7-8%. Then I asked him about the industry trends and he told me the industry was growing. I took 2 minutes off to collect the data. I made the profitability framework with breakup for revenues and costs. For revenues, I would consider the price, contribution of dollar, quantity, and competition. For costs, I would consider fixed costs, plant costs, imports, raw materials, labour and depreciation. He asked me if I thought there was any problem with revenues. I told him it didn’t look like but I would still like to explore it. I made a statement saying that the market would be an oligopoly and hence I expect the contracts to be fairly longterm since automotive contracts are relationship-based. He asked me a lot of questions on oligopoly and what would happen in an oligopoly and who has the bargaining power in an oligopoly. He told me that the prices were fairly same across the competition and the quantity was also more or less the same. Then I moved to the costs side. He asked me how would I know if the problem was on the costs side? I told him that I would benchmark it with the industry and if the costs were very high as compared to the industry, I would know that the costs are high. I would benchmark the COGS/Sales with the industry average and compare the two. He asked me the components of the COGS. Then he asked me to look at the raw materials. I asked him if the raw materials were imported or domestically obtained. He told me both and did not give any breakup. He asked for ideas as to how could we get the raw materials cheaper. For imports, I suggested importing from different countries so as to diversify exchange risk, get into some forward contracts with the foreign suppliers and obtaining more from the domestic suppliers. Other ideas included Commonality of raw materials, Alternative substitutes for the raw materials, better negotiation with the suppliers and vertical backward integration. He picked up vertical integration and asked me a lot of questions on that. Did vertical integration make sense? I told him that the incentives would be better aligned and hence the manufacturer and supplier could increase the pie. He told me that the supplier market was competitive and he could get a better deal in that market rather than being vertically integrated. The discussion went on for sometime. Then he asked me to look at the labour costs and depreciation. We discussed about how new machines would help the company by increasing efficiency and reduce labour costs as well.
                      Interview Tips
                      Use of a lot of jargon – Oligopoly, Vertical Integration
                      Do not generally throw ideas.
                      Round 3

                      Case Study Interview

                      Interview Questions
                      • Question 1: The question seemed very ambiguous to me. But on further clarification he asked me to figure out the reasons for the losses and hence suggest some ideas for improvement.
                      Interview Experience
                      I started with a few clarifying questions to know more about the company and the value chain in the industry. The value chain was like copper is first mined, processed and then converted to bars. The client did both mining and processing. The client was a 40 years old government entity. The industry trends for the past 40 years had been positive and the projected growth for the industry was also positive. Then we looked at the competition. There was no competition in the mining part, but there were 2 large players and few smaller players in the processing part of the value chain. The competition entered the market 4-5 years back and it was since then that the client was facing losses. The competitors were fairly profitable. We looked at the bar clients. The market for copper bars was free market and the prices were governed by global demand and supply. So the prices were fairly constant across all the companies. The global demand was huge. I asked about the capacity of the client vis-à-vis the competition. It came out that the client had a much lower capacity vis-à-vis
                      the competitor. So capacity was one of the issues. I asked him about the regulatory changes and foreign players. He told me the deregulation happened around 5 years back. This impacted the demand for the client’s bars. It was a major reason for the losses. Then he asked me to close the case.
                      Skills

                      Skills Tested

                      • Case Solving Ability
                      • Case Analysis
                      Read Full post...
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