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McKinsey Interview Questions and Tips

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1

McKinsey Associate interview

14.2k views
S Shankar PrasadExperiencedSelected
Application
I Applied for job through Personal Contacts for Associate role at McKinsey
Interview Process
Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Other Interview
Round 1

Case Study Interview

Interview Experience
We started the interview with a 3-4 minute chat about how painful it can be in the morning to travel and start working right away (He had just arrived).

He then quizzed me about leadership instances at work and in academic career; then I took him into what he believed leadership was. We had a long chat about why leadership was important in consulting. We also spoke about how I was to translate a very explicit form of leadership displayed at work (I was leading operations in a factory) to an implicit environment (like consulting). We talked about what leadership skills are transferable and ones which are not.

The case was about a global heavy vehicle manufacturer. The firm was planning to enter India; my job was to devise a strategy for it. A simple case to begin with I thought, but I knew very well that the challenges are higher in a simple case.
I started off with a simple framework (nothing great, decided the marketing mix and the way to enter – organic was the better route). I also identified the capabilities of the manufacturer that could be transferred to this setting. This went on for about 10 minutes. Here it was important to structure the problem well, following a MECE structure. I also shared some experience of a project with him that we had done in Competitive strategy project that we had done on cars and shared some uniqueness of thenIndian market with him. I am not covering this in detail as it was pretty standard and I just had to do the basics right. Then he told me to size the truck market in India. I told him that I will follow the stock method of analysis, by which I will estimate the number of trucks currently in operation throughout India. Since I was doing a demand side analysis, I divided the trucks into
variable loads (where capacity utilization is less than equal to 100%) or fixed loads (construction equipment carriers, petrol loads, car containers, etc.). He said that they normally don’t do it this way but he wanted me to proceed as he found it interesting.

Then, he told me that he wanted me to do it for the car carriers for paucity of time. I went ahead and assumed a certain number of carriers that are bought every year (the number wasn’t important, I assumed 1000 for ease of analysis). I understood the supply chain from him and he explained the dealer system to me. Then, I told him that I will assume steady state, as in the number of cars sold are the number of cars manufactured and distributed. I then divided it as per the number of manufacturers, number and location of manufacturing locations, distance, speed distribution, capacity of trucks, capacity utilization, number of hours driven in a day, maintenance days and the average number of days that a truck is driven in a year to arrive at the number of trips made and hence, the number of trucks that were plying. It was important to note that the trucks generally came back completely empty. I also told him that the transporters will like to keep some number of trucks on a standby. He asked me to estimate that as well. I gave him a framework to analyze that. I gave him a framework depending on locations, routes, failure time and MTBFs. He was ok with that. The case was extremely quantitative and was very intensive numerically. I also did a sensitivity analysis on one of the
parameters showing him that the whole estimate was sensitive to a few parameters.
Then, I told him that if I link both the cases together, then it gives me an interesting sight into what value proposition the truck
manufacturer can give to the Indian transporters. I told him that let’s look at each of the variables that I had estimated earlier and
see whether we can reduce them. Then, I said that we can try to increase the mileage and increase the size of the truck as well. Then, I told him that both the things might be inversely related. It can also be done that the truck speed can be increased on the back journey. Maintenance days can be decreased. He asked me for a few creative recommendations, which I gave – I don’t really remember them now but the method was as stated above.

Then, he asked me for a feedback about the case and discussion overall. I told him about how different the case would have been
had the case between about variable loads. He was ok with it.

He then told me to ask him a question. I asked him about the project specifically and to what detail McKinsey went. I also asked him how McKinsey keeps a tab on how clients implement suggestions. The overall case lasted about 25 minutes. I then linked it with one of the questions asked in the personal interview. I told him that it is a challenge that line managers like us will face in a
consulting environment, wherein we do not necessarily get to implement. Then, I shared a few jokes that I had played with consultants (mostly technical) and how it might be my turn to be on the receiving end now.
Interview Tips
I think the skill that was being tested here was how comfortable I was with the interviewer in the beginning. It was important to
engage him in a fruitful conversation that is argumentative but not confrontational. I think basic presence and communication skills were being tested here. Overall, the whole experience lasted about 10 minutes, and when he was convinced that I was comfortable enough, we went into the case.
It is important to be your natural self in the interview. Comfort with numbers is absolutely crucial. It is also important that when using creativity, structure should not be lost. Never shoot ideas of the hat, always be structured. It is important to see and address the body language of the interviewer. The basic thing that works is that one should focus on bringing out one’s strengths in the interview. My strengths lay in creativity, structuring and quick calculations (which I specifically tried to bring out in the interview). Your strengths (preparation will yield that) could be very different and you should try to bring them out. It is very important to remain cool after the interview since one might get a feeling that he’s not done well but the results could be just the other way round!
Round 2

Case Study Interview

Interview Experience
We started the interview with a conversation about my career at IIT and my times in Cuttack (Orissa), my hometown. He was hooked onto my JEE rank and asked me why the number was unique. I don’t think he wanted a particularly great answer but he wanted to check my ability to think on my feet. He asked to give him 5 different uniquenesses.

He also asked me why Cuttack wasn’t doing as well as a Bhubaneswar. To this I replied taking geographic, political, cultural and economic reasons into account. We then discussed about my Summer Project with Reckitt Benckiser (this was an automation project with a FMCG major). He asked me to explain the labor implications of implementing automation. He then went ahead to ask me my experiences in dealing with unionized labor at ITC. He was also interested in one of the papers that I had written about
BOP and presented at XLRI. This was about how to bring your best people to the BOP. He asked me to explain the paper and then told me to explain how useful it can be to the corporate world. My observation had told me that he was very practical and won’t like flowery answers that this is the idea of the millennium! I gave him all the strengths and weaknesses of the idea (and real ground level ones) in implementation.

After that he asked me why I was looking forward to a consulting career. I told him that it links well to my long term goal, which is
leading a NGO. I told him that this is one of the reasons that McKinsey stands out for me as a firm, with all the public policy and
pro-bono work. We discussed a bit about India’s policy change from the ‘50s to the ‘70s. I gave him some funda about what I had
seen in the Commanding Heights video, though he was doing most of the talking.

He was visibly happy with the fact that I said public policy (Later I realized that he specializes in public policy at McK) and told me
that he will give me a case on it. The whole experience lasted 15 minutes.

He started off the case asking me what I knew about the Bharat Nirman Project. I told him that my knowledge is limited to what I have read in the papers over the past few weeks and I do not know in detail about it. He told me that this case will enhance my
learning about the challenges facing somebody working in public policy.

The case was about rural electrification. He said the objective of the central government has now shifted to putting an electric bulb in every Indian home by Feb, 2008. He asked me how the Government should go about it.

I started off telling him that the idea looked unrealistic to me. Assuming that 1 billion is the Indian population and 65% lived in
villages, 650 million is the current rural population. Assuming that there are 5 members per rural household, there are 130 million
households. Then assuming that 30% of rural India is electrified, 91 million households remain. We just have two years, which is
approximately 700 days. Even if we work throughout, 1.3 lakh households have to be electrified every day. This is by no means
easy. Add to this fact that there is huge geographic dispersion and the current state of the SEBs, the plan looks nonviable. I told him that I found it impractical. To this he replied saying that most public policy projects are such. They lack thinking about the design phase itself. He asked me to go ahead with the problem assuming it is doable.

I approached the problem saying that I would see the project from three standpoints – economic, organizational and operational. On the operational point, I would divide the project into generation and T&D phases. On the economic standpoint, I would look at the ways and means to fund this project. On the organizational front, I would like to see who would own this project. Here, he told me that the question should not be treated like any other consulting case and he is looking for completely creative solutions.

I asked him whether I should go ahead with the analysis the way I had structured or he wanted me to do something different. He
replied that he is looking for specifically the Generation area. I told him that when it comes to generation, there are four issues
that need to be looked at – Performance of conventional energy generation units, New conventional energy units, isolated units and non-conventional sources of energy. He said that I should discuss the non-conventional energy sources first.

I told him that I was aware of solar, wind and bagas (sugarcane by product). He asked me to describe the economics of Solar. I showed it to him that at the current rate, it’s unprofitable. Then, we went to Wind energy. I told him that the issues to look for
here are technology, fixed costs and practical viability (availability of areas) where they can be installed. We discussed each one of
them in greater detail from then on.

I told him that when it comes to buying technology, it would be very costly and technology transfer has to be on a mutual basis.
Then, we went it to the details of the windmill technology and its advantages in the Indian context. He was doing most of the talking here.

He asked me to do a commercial evaluation of all these technologies. I did the same considering three parameters – speed (because the industry has an external effect), cost and future viability (to incorporate learning curve effects). After shedding
some light on each one of them, he asked me to move on to the funding aspect in generation.

I told him that the money here can be drawn from four areas – government, Indian private, Foreign players and debtors. I told him how each one of them was different (most of the logic was thought on the spot). We then discussed about the amount of privatization that should be allowed. I was of the opinion that wherever private participation is allowed, it should be in both R&D and generation. Having only one of them was not of any use. He didn’t agree to it and he was of the opinion that we weren’t ready yet. We closed the interview on an argumentative note.

He asked me to ask a question at the end. I asked him what kind of persuasive powers consultants enjoy when it comes to public policy projects. He smiled and gave me a lot of insight into public policy consulting. He appreciated the fact at the end of the interview that I could make people talk. The whole experience lasted close to 20 mins.
Interview Tips
Keep your cool. Show a good understanding of the things happening around you (may not be knowledge, but an opinion usually helps). Do not try to throw facts when they amount to nothing!
Round 3

Case Study Interview

Interview Experience
He asked me about the problems that dealing with a union entails. There were a few more specific questions about my resume, in
which I had to describe the work I did. I spoke for some time – maybe 2 minutes.

Then he asked me the kind of preparation that our batch had done for consulting. I gave him some feedback about how the interview workshop process done by McKinsey could have been better and how different it was from other colleges (stressing on poor institutional memory and ways to deal with it). He asked me what my last case was about. When I told him that it was about public policy and I had like it. He said that he also wanted me to do a case in that. The whole conversation lasted close to a little over 10 minutes.

An extremely short case. It lasted less than 10 minutes. He asked me what a government could do to improve the banking
policy of a third-world country. To begin with, I told him that there is no generic answer and the policy has to be case specific. I also told him that I got a feeling that he was speaking from personal experience.

He said that I was right and asked me to take the case of Bahrain. He asked me what I knew about Bahrain and its banking industry. I told him that I knew it was a Muslim country and was staunch in protecting Muslim values (I used to collect stamps; I knew that they did not have a word of English – I told him that).

Then he gave me a good overview about Bahrain (lot of tangential stuff) and told me that the Finance minister was worried that the industry might lose it. He told me it was majorly into fostering corporate banks.

To begin with I told him that it was a case of B2B marketing and banks would stay if they get a good value proposition in Bahrain.
But then, if they get a better value proposition elsewhere, they’ll shift. He said I was right and asked me to think ahead. I asked him who these banks were. He told me that they were the Middle East bases of MNC banks. I asked him why the banks were there in the first case. He told me that it was centrally located and had liberal laws. I analyzed the geography and told him that what struck me was the fact it was close to Dubai. I asked him why not Dubai?

He told me that there was an announcement by the Dubai officials that they would make their policies freer than Bahrain and would make it a free trading zone.

I inferred from this saying that this might be a symptom of the real issue but wasn’t the actual problem. To this, he agreed. I told him that first of all I need to analyze the Dubai threat more closely. I told him first that we need to establish whether Dubai’s threat is credible or not (look at their history and look at the economic impact). He asked me to assume that they can do it. Then, I told him to look at the value proposition (including the switching cost to Dubai – local knowledge, skill base) that Bahrain provides and compare to the value proposition that Dubai gives. I told him that it is important to keep a futuristic view in mind. Then, I told him that what strikes me about the case is the fact that in this industry, it is very important to build your local clientele and not rely on foreigners. He said fine.

Then, I quizzed him about how developed was Bahrain’s retail and corporate banking was. I told him that it would relate very closely to the economic development was in Bahrain.

I told him that I felt that the real issue with Bahrain was the fact that the industry relied too much on MNCs without first satisfying local demand. I told him that I would like to create a policy keeping this in mind.

He asked me to stop the interview then and there.
Interview Tips
Thinking on your feet is extremely important at the beginning of the case. First think commonsensical and then get on to the regular consulting case analysis. One way of dealing with a person you know is to use your previous experience with him (in any which way).
Round 4

Other Interview

Interview Experience
I was told at the beginning that I won’t have a case. He asked me to ask a few questions that I felt were relevant.

I asked him how McKinsey makes the environment conducive for knowledge sharing. He gave me a few inputs.

I told him what I had read about McKinsey’s knowledge management in a HBS case. He heard it attentively. He then gave me an idea about the state of affairs now and particularly in India. I asked him about how sharing gets linked to performance initiatives. I also asked him how other firms (esp. consulting) do it. He then asked me to narrate a few instances about ISB. I told him that any education program is incomplete without pranks. I told him a few pranks that I had played on a few friends in ISB (and vice versa).
Interview Tips
Be your natural self and try to gauge the interviewer’s body language when telling a story.
General Tips
1. One of the key facets is to make the case completely seamless, wherein you have to link both the PI and cases and both the cases together.

2. Structuring is very important.

3. The other thing is to make the interviewer comfortable.

4. Do not speak a little too much.

5. With seniors, I think it is very important to listen.

6. It is also important to observe as you go along the interview process that every interviewer is looking for a particular skill or dimension in your personality.

7. It is also important that whenever you give a radical thought, you should back it up by sound strong logic.

8. Control the interview.

9. A bit of formal attitude would help.

10
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2

McKinsey Engagement manager interview

12.9k views
Asish MohapatraExperiencedSelected
Application
I Applied for job through Personal Contacts for Engagement manager role at McKinsey
Interview Process
Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Other Interview
Round 1

Case Study Interview

Interview Experience
We started the interview with a 3-4 minute chat about how painful it can be in the morning to travel and start working right away (He had just arrived).

He then quizzed me about leadership instances at work and in academic career; then I took him into what he believed leadership was. We had a long chat about why leadership was important in consulting. We also spoke about how I was to translate a very explicit form of leadership displayed at work (I was leading operations in a factory) to an implicit environment (like consulting). We talked about what leadership skills are transferable and ones which are not.

The case was about a global heavy vehicle manufacturer. The firm was planning to enter India; my job was to devise a strategy for it. A simple case to begin with I thought, but I knew very well that the challenges are higher in a simple case.
I started off with a simple framework (nothing great, decided the marketing mix and the way to enter – organic was the better route). I also identified the capabilities of the manufacturer that could be transferred to this setting. This went on for about 10 minutes. Here it was important to structure the problem well, following a MECE structure. I also shared some experience of a project with him that we had done in Competitive strategy project that we had done on cars and shared some uniqueness of thenIndian market with him. I am not covering this in detail as it was pretty standard and I just had to do the basics right. Then he told me to size the truck market in India. I told him that I will follow the stock method of analysis, by which I will estimate the number of trucks currently in operation throughout India. Since I was doing a demand side analysis, I divided the trucks into
variable loads (where capacity utilization is less than equal to 100%) or fixed loads (construction equipment carriers, petrol loads, car containers, etc.). He said that they normally don’t do it this way but he wanted me to proceed as he found it interesting.

Then, he told me that he wanted me to do it for the car carriers for paucity of time. I went ahead and assumed a certain number of carriers that are bought every year (the number wasn’t important, I assumed 1000 for ease of analysis). I understood the supply chain from him and he explained the dealer system to me. Then, I told him that I will assume steady state, as in the number of cars sold are the number of cars manufactured and distributed. I then divided it as per the number of manufacturers, number and location of manufacturing locations, distance, speed distribution, capacity of trucks, capacity utilization, number of hours driven in a day, maintenance days and the average number of days that a truck is driven in a year to arrive at the number of trips made and hence, the number of trucks that were plying. It was important to note that the trucks generally came back completely empty. I also told him that the transporters will like to keep some number of trucks on a standby. He asked me to estimate that as well. I gave him a framework to analyze that. I gave him a framework depending on locations, routes, failure time and MTBFs. He was ok with that. The case was extremely quantitative and was very intensive numerically. I also did a sensitivity analysis on one of the
parameters showing him that the whole estimate was sensitive to a few parameters.
Then, I told him that if I link both the cases together, then it gives me an interesting sight into what value proposition the truck
manufacturer can give to the Indian transporters. I told him that let’s look at each of the variables that I had estimated earlier and
see whether we can reduce them. Then, I said that we can try to increase the mileage and increase the size of the truck as well. Then, I told him that both the things might be inversely related. It can also be done that the truck speed can be increased on the back journey. Maintenance days can be decreased. He asked me for a few creative recommendations, which I gave – I don’t really remember them now but the method was as stated above.

Then, he asked me for a feedback about the case and discussion overall. I told him about how different the case would have been
had the case between about variable loads. He was ok with it.

He then told me to ask him a question. I asked him about the project specifically and to what detail McKinsey went. I also asked him how McKinsey keeps a tab on how clients implement suggestions. The overall case lasted about 25 minutes. I then linked it with one of the questions asked in the personal interview. I told him that it is a challenge that line managers like us will face in a
consulting environment, wherein we do not necessarily get to implement. Then, I shared a few jokes that I had played with consultants (mostly technical) and how it might be my turn to be on the receiving end now.
Interview Tips
I think the skill that was being tested here was how comfortable I was with the interviewer in the beginning. It was important to engage him in a fruitful conversation that is argumentative but not confrontational. I think basic presence and communication skills were being tested here. Overall, the whole experience lasted about 10 minutes, and when he was convinced that I was comfortable enough, we went into the case.
It is important to be your natural self in the interview. Comfort with numbers is absolutely crucial. It is also important that when using creativity, structure should not be lost. Never shoot ideas of the hat, always be structured. It is important to see and address the body language of the interviewer. The basic thing that works is that one should focus on bringing out one’s strengths in the interview. My strengths lay in creativity, structuring and quick calculations (which I specifically tried to bring out in the interview). Your strengths (preparation will yield that) could be very different and you should try to bring them out. It is very important to remain cool after the interview since one might get a feeling that he’s not done well but the results could be just the other way round!
Round 2

Case Study Interview

Interview Experience
We started the interview with a conversation about my career at IIT and my times in Cuttack (Orissa), my hometown. He was hooked onto my JEE rank and asked me why the number was unique. I don’t think he wanted a particularly great answer but he wanted to check my ability to think on my feet. He asked to give him 5 different uniquenesses.

He also asked me why Cuttack wasn’t doing as well as a Bhubaneswar. To this I replied taking geographic, political, cultural and economic reasons into account. We then discussed about my Summer Project with Reckitt Benckiser (this was an automation project with a FMCG major). He asked me to explain the labor implications of implementing automation. He then went ahead to ask me my experiences in dealing with unionized labor at ITC. He was also interested in one of the papers that I had written about
BOP and presented at XLRI. This was about how to bring your best people to the BOP. He asked me to explain the paper and then told me to explain how useful it can be to the corporate world. My observation had told me that he was very practical and won’t like flowery answers that this is the idea of the millennium! I gave him all the strengths and weaknesses of the idea (and real ground level ones) in implementation.

After that he asked me why I was looking forward to a consulting career. I told him that it links well to my long term goal, which is
leading a NGO. I told him that this is one of the reasons that McKinsey stands out for me as a firm, with all the public policy and
pro-bono work. We discussed a bit about India’s policy change from the ‘50s to the ‘70s. I gave him some funda about what I had
seen in the Commanding Heights video, though he was doing most of the talking.

He was visibly happy with the fact that I said public policy (Later I realized that he specializes in public policy at McK) and told me
that he will give me a case on it. The whole experience lasted 15 minutes.

He started off the case asking me what I knew about the Bharat Nirman Project. I told him that my knowledge is limited to what I have read in the papers over the past few weeks and I do not know in detail about it. He told me that this case will enhance my
learning about the challenges facing somebody working in public policy.

The case was about rural electrification. He said the objective of the central government has now shifted to putting an electric bulb in every Indian home by Feb, 2008. He asked me how the Government should go about it.

I started off telling him that the idea looked unrealistic to me. Assuming that 1 billion is the Indian population and 65% lived in
villages, 650 million is the current rural population. Assuming that there are 5 members per rural household, there are 130 million
households. Then assuming that 30% of rural India is electrified, 91 million households remain. We just have two years, which is
approximately 700 days. Even if we work throughout, 1.3 lakh households have to be electrified every day. This is by no means
easy. Add to this fact that there is huge geographic dispersion and the current state of the SEBs, the plan looks nonviable. I told him that I found it impractical. To this he replied saying that most public policy projects are such. They lack thinking about the design phase itself. He asked me to go ahead with the problem assuming it is doable.

I approached the problem saying that I would see the project from three standpoints – economic, organizational and operational. On the operational point, I would divide the project into generation and T&D phases. On the economic standpoint, I would look at the ways and means to fund this project. On the organizational front, I would like to see who would own this project. Here, he told me that the question should not be treated like any other consulting case and he is looking for completely creative solutions.

I asked him whether I should go ahead with the analysis the way I had structured or he wanted me to do something different. He
replied that he is looking for specifically the Generation area. I told him that when it comes to generation, there are four issues
that need to be looked at – Performance of conventional energy generation units, New conventional energy units, isolated units and non-conventional sources of energy. He said that I should discuss the non-conventional energy sources first.

I told him that I was aware of solar, wind and bagas (sugarcane by product). He asked me to describe the economics of Solar. I showed it to him that at the current rate, it’s unprofitable. Then, we went to Wind energy. I told him that the issues to look for
here are technology, fixed costs and practical viability (availability of areas) where they can be installed. We discussed each one of them in greater detail from then on.

I told him that when it comes to buying technology, it would be very costly and technology transfer has to be on a mutual basis.
Then, we went it to the details of the windmill technology and its advantages in the Indian context. He was doing most of the talking here.

He asked me to do a commercial evaluation of all these technologies. I did the same considering three parameters – speed (because the industry has an external effect), cost and future viability (to incorporate learning curve effects). After shedding some light on each one of them, he asked me to move on to the funding aspect in generation.

I told him that the money here can be drawn from four areas – government, Indian private, Foreign players and debtors. I told him how each one of them was different (most of the logic was thought on the spot). We then discussed about the amount of privatization that should be allowed. I was of the opinion that wherever private participation is allowed, it should be in both R&D and generation. Having only one of them was not of any use. He didn’t agree to it and he was of the opinion that we weren’t ready yet. We closed the interview on an argumentative note.

He asked me to ask a question at the end. I asked him what kind of persuasive powers consultants enjoy when it comes to public policy projects. He smiled and gave me a lot of insight into public policy consulting. He appreciated the fact at the end of the interview that I could make people talk. The whole experience lasted close to 20 mins.
Interview Tips
Keep yourself cool. Show a good understanding of the things happening around you (may not be knowledge, but an opinion usually helps). Do not try to throw facts when they amount to nothing!
Round 3

Case Study Interview

Interview Experience
He asked me about the problems that dealing with a union entails. There were a few more specific questions about my resume, in which I had to describe the work I did. I spoke for some time – maybe 2 minutes.

Then he asked me the kind of preparation that our batch had done for consulting. I gave him some feedback about how the interview workshop process done by McKinsey could have been better and how different it was from other colleges (stressing on poor institutional memory and ways to deal with it). He asked me what my last case was about. When I told him that it was about public policy and I had like it. He said that he also wanted me to do a case in that. The whole conversation lasted close to a little over 10 minutes.

An extremely short case. It lasted less than 10 minutes. He asked me what a government could do to improve the banking policy of a third-world country. To begin with, I told him that there is no generic answer and the policy has to be case specific. I also told him that I got a feeling that he was speaking from personal experience.

He said that I was right and asked me to take the case of Bahrain. He asked me what I knew about Bahrain and its banking industry. I told him that I knew it was a Muslim country and was staunch in protecting Muslim values (I used to collect stamps; I knew that they did not have a word of English – I told him that).

Then he gave me a good overview about Bahrain (lot of tangential stuff) and told me that the Finance minister was worried that the industry might lose it. He told me it was majorly into fostering corporate banks.

To begin with I told him that it was a case of B2B marketing and banks would stay if they get a good value proposition in Bahrain.
But then, if they get a better value proposition elsewhere, they’ll shift. He said I was right and asked me to think ahead. I asked him who these banks were. He told me that they were the Middle East bases of MNC banks. I asked him why the banks were there in the first case. He told me that it was centrally located and had liberal laws. I analyzed the geography and told him that what struck me was the fact it was close to Dubai. I asked him why not Dubai?

He told me that there was an announcement by the Dubai officials that they would make their policies freer than Bahrain and would make it a free trading zone.

I inferred from this saying that this might be a symptom of the real issue but wasn’t the actual problem. To this, he agreed. I told him that first of all I need to analyze the Dubai threat more closely. I told him first that we need to establish whether Dubai’s threat is credible or not (look at their history and look at the economic impact). He asked me to assume that they can do it. Then, I told him to look at the value proposition (including the switching cost to Dubai – local knowledge, skill base) that Bahrain provides and compare to the value proposition that Dubai gives. I told him that it is important to keep a futuristic view in mind. Then, I told him that what strikes me about the case is the fact that in this industry, it is very important to build your local clientele and not rely on foreigners. He said fine.

Then, I quizzed him about how developed was Bahrain’s retail and corporate banking was. I told him that it would relate very closely to the economic development was in Bahrain.

I told him that I felt that the real issue with Bahrain was the fact that the industry relied too much on MNCs without first satisfying local demand. I told him that I would like to create a policy keeping this in mind.

He asked me to stop the interview then and there.
Interview Tips
Thinking on your feet is extremely important at the beginning of the case. First think common sensical and then get on to the regular consulting case analysis. One way of dealing with a person you know is to use your previous experience with him (in any which way).
Round 4

Other Interview

Interview Experience
I was told at the beginning that I won’t have a case. He asked me to ask a few questions that I felt were relevant.

I asked him how McKinsey makes the environment conducive for knowledge sharing. He gave me a few inputs.

I told him what I had read about McKinsey’s knowledge management in a HBS case. He heard it attentively. He then gave me an idea about the state of affairs now and particularly in India. I asked him about how sharing gets linked to performance initiatives. I also asked him how other firms (esp. consulting) do it. He then asked me to narrate a few instances about ISB. I told him that any education program is incomplete without pranks. I told him a few pranks that I had played on a few friends in ISB (and vice versa).
Interview Tips
Be your natural self and try to gauge the interviewer’s body language when telling a story.
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3

McKinsey Consultant interview

14.1k views
Ruchi BansalExperiencedSelected
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 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.
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4

McKinsey Senior associate interview

12.7k views
Amandeep BediExperiencedSelected
Application
I Applied for job through Personal Contacts for Senior associate role at McKinsey
Interview Process
Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Other Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview
Round 1

Case Study Interview

Interview Experience
Client is a PSU Bank. Currently the account opening process takes between 60 minutes- starting from the time he comes to clerk counter to the time customer leaves with Passbook, Cheque-book and account number. How will you cut it down to < 10 minutes and still deliver all the 3. Drew a complicated process map.

Basic facts given at start of case:
Current process (60 minutes) : The clerk interacts with customer to provide him the account opening form, does the first round scrutiny, does the KYC, sends form to officer for approval, officer approves, clerk opens account & creates account number & passbook, sends to officer to approval , officer approves, clerk creates the cheque book, sends to officer to approval , officer approves. Clerk hands over the Account Number, Pass book and cheque book to customer.

Facts shared ( shared by Nigel only if you ask)
• Customer is issued form and he submits a filled up form to clerk = 15 minutes
• Scrutiny of form = 10 minutes
• KYC takes 5 minutes
• Each approval loop with officer takes – 10 minutes ( 3 loops=30mins)
• Approval cannot be done by Clerk as per union rules

Key Issues :
Methodologies recommended
a. Break down the process into various smaller steps. Do a time work-motion study to understand the component steps. Then do a Pareto (80/20) and attach the areas which consume the most time.
b. Break down the process into various smaller steps. Classify each step as
1. Adds Value to Customer from a/c opening perspective
2. Non Value Add – can be minimized, not eliminated
3. Non Value Add – can be eliminated.

By experience, 80% of the time is Non Value add ( 2&3). Do a Pareto within that and work out the various ways of reducing time.
Solutions
1. I had recommended an Internet based system where major customer information and checks would happen online and only a mandatory KYC (Know Your Customer) process would take place onsite.
2. McKinsey had (a) Combined the jobs of the clericals and officers (b) Used Pre-printed blank welcome kits with cheque books, pass books & account numbers. (c) Only KYC was done onsite (RBI regulations)..account names were incorporated subject to KYC confirmation.

Ramifications
1. Banking Unions (PSU): How will they react to job rationalisation/ eliminating clerical roles?
2. If you combine the roles (clerk & officer) and make the officer do it…wont your salary bill increase…since the initial clerk to officer ratio (5:1) is now (0:5). What emerged is that in most PSUs, experienced clerks earn similar or more to officers. Hence not much of wage impact.
Interview Tips
1. Stay Confident & Cool.
2. Take control of the Case discussion. If the interviewer presents information in a user-unfriendly or non standard manner, ask him to do it in the way you want to or ask him to help you out in mapping the information in your framework.
Round 2

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: Why ISB?
  • Question 2: Examples of Leadership experience? Your role in it?
  • Question 3: What is your leadership style?
  • Question 4: What is lean manufacturing ?
Interview Experience
Client is a no 1 boiler manufacturer in India. His profit margins are at 11% while industry expectations are at 15%. Help him out in reaching this target.

Tried to evaluate product mix, profitability etc. – Client makes a wide span of products. But interviewer was not interested in specifics. Wanted me to identify the key cost & revenue drivers.

Costs
1. Are we sourcing Raw material effectively & cheaply? Can we go to china etc?
2. Can we re-evaluate Make vs Buy option for all products in the Bill of Material.
3. Are our products over- designed? Do they consume more raw material than competition.
4. Do we have higher fixed costs- new investments, labour<>variable costs?
5. Do we have economies of scale for all products, parts etc?

Was told to identify sources of revenue to increase margins
1. Change product mix
2. Evaluate newer- more profitable markets
3. Brand your own products (the client is a manufacturer for others, not seller) -> refer to brand and market creation
costs.
4. Service Business – Repair, Spares & Consumables ( Missed this out completely- was finally hinted by interviewer)

Conclusion: Services were neglected by client. Potential revenue source. Client has a large installed base of customers. So he can do this business better, build service model and capabilities.

Options
1. Sell Maintenance contracts with boilers
2. target installed base of boilers

I had added that he can widen his base by targeting all brands of boilers (assuming differences were not significant). Service is a high margin business since operations at units are hampered leading to production losses in the event of boiler failure.
Interview Tips
1. Stay Confident & Cool even if you miss the above fact. Move on and build on it. Relate the case or elements of it with work and
discuss it.
2. Show Energy during the interview!
Round 3

Case Study Interview

Interview Experience
Case 1
Client is a music company ( RPG-Saregama). It was not making money.

Revenue side- affected by Music piracy and music channels. They affected price and sales negatively

Cost Side – Producers still sold music rights at higher prices. Since music producers are few- their consolidation hurt the music
industry bad.

Additional facts : All big banners like Yashraj films etc end up making losses for the company due to high music right costs.
Typical successes / margins have been in low (B/C segments with films like Murder etc)

Analysis
Structured case as Customers, Suppliers and Competition.
Option1 – Increase revenues
While analyzing customers- not much information available- no segments -> based on discussion, generated multiple sources of revenues for music industry
a. CD/Cassettes
b. Radio / TV rights – do not provide full song clips to channels. Only teasers. If song is a hit, channels would ask for it and thus can pay for it.
c. Internet- Streaming rights
d. I-pod type devices
e. Ring tones

Told to explore the cost options in details.
Option2 – Decrease costs
Me :Proposed Risk sharing / royalty based mechanisms.
NK : All the big banners do not agree to it
Me : But we can get the smaller producers to agree… (NK agreed that it can be explored)
NK: Why do these companies deal with big producers when they make losses? What is important in the buyer industry structure

After some discussions…arrive at the structure – Big producers (A type) and Small Producers (B&C types)

Possible reasons I could come up with include-
Me: Possible reasons can include
a. Long term relationship in the industry
b. A large number of smaller successes subsidizing the losses from larger ones
c. Association of music companies with big producers offers
them clout in the industry to deal with smaller producers…they can thus negotiate better deals with B&C type producers.
NK : Yes.… the big banners are like loss leaders.... they help music companies in getting better deals from smaller producers. And also, the industry is very relationship driven…some of the deals are purely based on established long working relationships.

Case 2 :
Your client is Tata Motors. The Direct material cost of Tata Indica is ₹150,000. The basic design is same for the 1 lakh car. How can you bring the cost down to ₹75000…outline the basic levers.
Structured it into 4 areas
a. Rationalize the vendor base to get economies of scale and scope.
b. Rationalize parts across platforms of vehicles to get further economies.
c. Rationalize design – Certain parts might be over designed or inefficiently designed leading to increased costs on account of excess materials or additional processing (labour, overhead etc)
d. Evaluate every part from a Make or Buy perspective. This would enable focus on core areas and help gain cost advantage in sourcing items like Tyres, O Rings, Nuts-Bolts etc.

After that he wanted to do a numbers/ quant check on me…so the example was extended to calculate certain % values.
Interview Tips
1. Prioritize issues for discussions with the interviewer.
2. Be prepared for anything!
Round 4

Other Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: Why ISB?
  • Question 2: Examples of Leadership experience? Your role in it?
  • Question 3: What is your leadership style?
  • Question 4: What is lean manufacturing?
  • Question 5: Explain a particular point on the resume? Impact of what I did.
  • Question 6: Grades: Explain them.
  • Question 7: Leadership experience from IIT. Was I proud of my performance at IIT…vis a vis ISB?
Round 5

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: What are your strengths?
  • Question 2: What motivates you?
Interview Experience
Case
Client is a confectionery manufacturer making chocolate bars. In the 1980’s it had a mfg base in UK. However, in early 90s it set up another facility in France. During mid 90’s the business faced decline in revenues and profitability. What could be the reasons / hypothesis and what would you recommend?

Enquired about the basic details
a. Product mix – single chocolate bar
b. Supply- demand check -> Demand has been declining. No problems in supply side.

Discussed the Revenue- Cost equation.

Revenue can go down by the following
a. Competition introducing newer/ better/cheaper products
b. Changing customer behavior- more health conscious people/ availability of substitutes/ imports etc
c. Any changes done to product flavour/ taste etc..which can turn off customers.
Cost :
Discussed the standard Fixed and Variable costs. Was asked to break it down further.
Variable – Raw Materials, Distribution etc
Fixed – Depreciation, Capacity Utilization etc
a. Fixed Costs – New plant – higher depreciation costs. + Degree of capacity utilization ( this was reason 1)
UK – mfg capacity = 15 mn units / year
Actual production = 700,000 units per month approx 55% capacity utilization
France – mfg capacity = 20 mn units / year
Actual production = 650,000 units per month approx 39% capacity utilization.
These numbers were generally thrown around to evaluate my comfort with numbers.
Interviewer himself jumps to part (b)
b.Variable Costs
Fact 1 Raw material costs are 25% of Sale price vs 20% for competition
1/ Asked Oliver on the supplier base (local, import & no of suppliers) and amounts sourced. Decreased revenues could have decreased our sourcing economies. OK with this…wanted more reasons….
2/ Checked if both were importing same quality of material. We could be using better quality products compared to competition.
3/ Checked if we hedged these items while procuring…(Key Point
2) Competition was obviously doing this better and saving costs.
Fact 2 Our Distribution costs are 15% of sale price vs competition 10%

Key differentiators could be…
We have our own trucks ..competition uses 3rd party suppliers
1. More costs on account of people, fixed costs of trucks + empty trucks coming back (Low utilization)
2. We send part loads…competition does not worry since his transporters can optimize on truck load thru other customers.
c. General calculations

Another round of quant check. Thrown some numbers to calculate cost per unit of the 2 factories (UK & France )
Each unit has 200 employees x 40 hrs/week x 50 wks /yr
UK wages = $ 15/ hour
France Wages = $ 20 / hour
After this told to calculate profitability of each unit at both locations given Raw material = 25% of sale price ($ 2/unit).
Total numbers check

Recommendations
1. Rationalize the production quantities at each unit - would depend on the overall inward and outward transportation costs also..apart from capacity utilization. (Excess transport costs in serving new markets would need to be checked for)
2. Use excess capacity for producing 3rd party chocolates. Also evaluate if factory can be re-tooled / flexible to manufacture other products apart from chocolate.
3. Shut down 1 plant. –
a. See how efficient it would be operationally. No backup/excess capacity would then be available as a strategic/contingency resource.
b. Also potential trouble on the political front – example if French unit was shut down, there could be a political fallout as well as French customers might boycott your products. (cited Mittal-Arcelor )
c. Union issues- long term dispute- can dilute brand value of business.
Interview Tips
Be prepared for all sorts of numbers/calculations…take time out in case there are huge calculations…I did that…small calculations
were done verbally.

Interviewer also wanted to check if I could come up with all types of hypothesis on various facts. Be prepared to think creatively and use your common sense to remove non relevant stuff.
Round 6

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: Examples of Leadership.
  • Question 2: What was your contribution? What did you do different?
  • Question 3: Are you happy with your life path? What would you go and change?
  • Question 4: Why ISB? Why ITC? Why not MBA after IIT?
  • Question 5: Biggest achievement! What did you do?
  • Question 6: What other interviews I had and was appearing? Which was the best one till now?
  • Question 7: How was Mckinsey’s interview different from BCG?
Interview Experience
Client manufactures auto forgings @ 200 per day. Increase it to 400 per day… How?

Enquired if market demand was justified to double output…Market would be able to accommodate 200 additional units.

Wanted me to identify key levers. After a lot of round-about and false steps…learnt that current capacity utilization was 33% only!!
Interviewer wanted a list of things to check …this is what I discussed..
a. Maintenance time records– Breakdown & Planned
b. Setup/ Changeover times on a/c of high product variety
c. Non availability of Material
d. Non availability of Labour – absence/ unmanned breaks
e. Shut down due to utility failures (electricity etc)
f. Quality related losses.
Interview Tips
Be prepared to be grilled.
Round 7

Case Study Interview

Interview Experience
This seemed a test of whether I could do hypothesis and do some basic math.
Client is a Financial planning & management software company. 3 product lines + 1 service line.
1. Large enterprises – highly customized, large business customers, direct sales force used, consultants needed, sold at CEO/CIO level.
2. SMEs – industry specific package- sold thru dealers/ distributors etc to anyone who wants to buy
3. Individual customers thru regular retail channels.
4. IT consulting – pre/ post support

Question 1: Revenues are declining. What hypothesis would you generate to identify sources of decline…
g. Along segments mentioned above
h. Geographical segments
i. Industries
j. Existing vs New Customers

Question 2: Assume Enterprise segment is losing revenue. What hypothesis can you generate …(asked to generate 15…came to 11) Just think out aloud and discuss ..some of the hypothesis discussed were
d. Changes in regulations
e. M&A in the industry..customers hesitate to buy.
f. Customers think a better product is in the wings and don’tbuy the existing one.
g. New product is complicated …has greater cost and training needs.
h. Sales force not qualified etc.
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. wWat would you do?
1. Track sales and channels actively
2. Change incentive structure…
What actions would you take and implications of those.
Interview Tips
Think out loud with the interviewer.
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5

McKinsey Manager interview

12.3k views
Varun KhullarExperiencedSelected
Application
I Applied for job through Walk-in for Manager role at McKinsey
Interview Process
Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview
Round 1

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: There is a steel company with 2 plants in India. Now it has done recent acquisitions abroad. What should be the organizational structure that it should put in place in these places, and what are the pros and cons of each?
Interview Experience
I asked him some clarificatory questions on where all in the world have the plants to get an idea of the kind of local areas. He replied in US, Indonesia, Trinidad etc. I then proceeded to succinctly put the problem statement to he and he was ok with it. Then I asked for “some time to structure my thoughts” ☺. The structure I laid out was: 1. What is meant by ‘organizational structure’? Is our end goal to figure out the number of levels in an organization, the number of people at each level and the skill they require? 2. Understand the goal of the organization: a cost focus or a responsiveness focus, whats important in this industry? 3. Map the existing processes that the company is involved in (value chain) and look at how best the goal of the organization can be served with: a. Existing company people redeployed to the new countries b. People from the acquired companies to continue working c. New people to be hired It seemed that he was looking for something else in the structure that I missed as indicated by his body language. However, he answered my queries – For point 1 he said I should look at a broader picture of what an organizational structure means. What I had defined was a very micro view. For point 2 he said I can assume an undifferentiated product market and that cost is the main focus. Here I pointed out that since we are acquiring he plants, the main concern in the short term maybe quick ramp up of the plant. He liked that and said that there are actually 3 measures that we will rate our structure on: - Ramp up time - Cost - Accountability of the plant employees of its performance For point 3 he said it might not be so relevant to our discussion!! Clearly I was in a situation where I didn’t know what hit me since I thought I completely missed what he wanted on 2 of my three points. However I kept calm and asked him what is the way to understand the org structure? He said think about how it was organized in ITC. So I said: 1. Since ITC is a conglomerate, it has a structure of various businesses or divisions which function independently. A ‘Corporate’ division is common to all. 2. Within each division there are functional verticals like the Marketing function, Technical function, HR, Finance functions. Shirish liked the way I described the structures in ITC so he said good. He said that that is a macro ‘Product’ structure of businesses around products like cigarettes, paperboards, clothes. Then he probed me on what could be other structures? I replied that the sub-structure of ‘Functions’ like marketing, HR etc could be the macro structure itself. He said that’s the 2nd, what else? Then we had a discussion on other kind of structures and he led me to two other kinds – ‘Geographical’ and ‘Type of Customer’. Then I started to list of pros and cons of each structure. However he said are you missing the criteria, so I quickly referred my notes and realized that he had given the 3 measures to rate each structure earlier – ramp up time, cost and accountability. I then ranked each on the above and after a discussion with him concluded that we should start with a functional set up to ensure quick ramp up and then move towards a geographical set up to ensure the local accountability, and minimization of costs. He was happy with the way I recovered and synthesized. He then went on to explain that actually they went in with the geographical setup directly, and the functional setup was a pseudo layer on top, as there were ‘functional specialists’ that traveled to a location to ensure quick ramp up. Then He said is there anything else I wanted to know from him. Then I told him that in our previous meeting we had not talked about the challenges of working with the govt sector. So he talked on that for around 5 mins.
Interview Tips
1. Proceed in the interview the way the interviewer wants you to. If he wants a free-flowing discussion, which was the case here once I laid out my structure, be flexible to do so. However, keep a track of open ends on your structure.
2. Don’t hesitate to ask the interviewer for help in case you are stuck. In my case it helped me a lot.
3. Don’t get flustered if stuck. Persevere and be calm.
Round 2

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: The IPL is a 20-20 league of cricket. It consists of city teams, with players from within the city, <21 years old, or players ‘bought’ via an auction process. Celebrities like Shah rukh khan own these teams. Suppose ITC wants to sponsor this tournament, what should be the money it should be willing to pay for the rights?
Interview Experience
Clarificatory questions from my side helped me understand what happens when a company sponsors the tournament. He replied that the tournaments might be branded like “Gold Flake Open”, and the company gets rights like logos on uniforms and on the cricket grounds, title rights etc. I asked about the duration of the tournament etc. Then I took time and laid out the valuation framework. Discounted cash flow analysis and NPV calculation, for which we will discuss the revenues, costs, and the discount rate. I gave details of revenue sources, cost heads. He said lets focus on the revenue sources. Here my proposition was that there could be an increase in the number of people (Users) or the number of times existing users smoke (Usage) due to the advertising in the IPL. He seemed satisfied with this hypothesis and asked me to go on. So I sought to define first the target segments. There was a simple quant test here. I used the urban Indian population (since rural people smoke bidis predominantly) of 30% of 1B, and assuming a life expectancy of 60 years and that smokers start from the age of 20 years got a figure of 200M smokers in India. Out of this assuming 1:1 male-female ratio, we arrived at 100M male smokers (assumed females don’t smoke). He now told me that actually there are only 10M smokers in India. So then I discussed that now we have to delineate the factors why people take up smoking (purchase drivers), and clearly figure out those people who took up smoking by seeing the IPL advertisements or related promotions. Also I mentioned that this would be a challenge to do practically on the ground. So how does the 10M number change (market expansion or increase in users) was part 1, and how much more do the 10M smoke (usage) was the other effect we need to consider. Then heasked me how we can make sure that we convert the advertising into sales. I knew he wanted to get some creative answers, so I said maybe stock up in the shops outside the stadiums, or mobile vendors (and more suggestions I don’t remember now). I did mention that advertising is banned in India for cigarettes and we would have to be careful in the suggestions. He was happy with the discussion on the revenues part. He asked me where would the new smokers come from? Would they be new or would they come from competition brands? Then we discussed a lot on the kind of up-trading that happens in cigarettes, namely, people who smoke bidis move onto cigarettes, and people who smoke small length cigarettes move up and start smoking ‘kings’ type cigarettes. Finally we came onto the valuations part to understand what should be the money ITC should be willing to pay. I explained the free cash flow formula, and how we would use it over the years to calculate the NPV. We had a small summary discussion here. Then he asked me if he had any question for me. I asked him does he feel the urge to do more ‘implementation’ work in McK since he is a doctor, and that I feel that I might get bored of doing only ‘strategy’ kind of work. He resonated the feeling and explained in depth what projects he had done and that a large % is implementation.
Interview Tips
Here he clearly told me that he was not interested in too much structuring, so I reduced my writing but continued to speak all my answers in a structured manner. The interviewer felt nice that I responded to his style. So point is, adapt yourself to the situation, yet maintain the poise in your answers, don’t completely relax. Also please use the opportunity in the end to ask questions that you really want to get answers of. Link them up with the background of the interviewer. This shows commitment and preparation, and builds a last minute connection with the interviewer. Also be clear of the intricacies of the business you came from, it helps a lot if the case dwells on a similar topic.
Round 3

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: There is a consumer finance company that is thinking of starting a unsecured loan at the point of sale in large retailers like Tesco, for consumers who want to buy white goods like TVs, fridges etc. Does such a scheme make sense?
Interview Experience
Clarificatory questions included understanding the types of products sold in the point of sale, the various stakeholders involved in the transaction. The 2nd question hit a chord with , he smiled and said that there are three stakeholders, the Retailer (Tesco or someone else), the Consumer Finance Company, and the Consumer. I knew at this point that I had to concentrate on each one separately. I laid out a simple structure of looking at the costs and benefits (or positives and negatives) for each stakeholder by getting into the scheme. He was ok with this, in fact he said this is exactly how it should be looked at. I started with the Retailer and said that there are only benefits since they get the sales revenues that earlier were not got since the consumers did not have funds. So the Retailer clearly wanted the scheme. For the Consumer Finance company I said that the cost would be the cost of raising the money to fund the loans which would depend on the default rate of these consumers. The benefit would be the interest that the consumer would pay on the loan. Then we had a discussion on how to estimate this default rate. Here I said we could use data from similar loan schemes in other countries since the type of product and the cost of the white goods (20-40K in this case) plays a role, or default rates on loans on other products in the particular region, since location and local demography also plays a role. Another benefit could be that a consumer finance company could occupy mind space with the consumers who might buy other products like home loans, car loans etc from the company in future. Overall, a consumer finance company might be keen to enter into this loan. For the consumers, He asked why would a consumer buy a loan from this company and not go the branch elsewhere and take a loan. I said that the convenience of getting the loan at the point of purchase was the single largest factor for the consumers. Also I added that now they would be able to purchase high value items higher in prestige value that they could not afford earlier, so impulse purchase might increase.On the whole, based on a discussion with he, I concluded that the consumer finance company would need to be cautious in proceeding with the loan since the default rates are not predictable. He inquired a way to solve this problem and I suggested that the loans be launched for selected products and consumer segments to start with as a pilot, and then expanded to other products and consumers.
Interview Tips
Asking relevant questions in the beginning of the cases really helps as the interviewer starts helping you more, or will reveal information that would be critical in the case. Prepare the basic questions on leadership and teamwork well. This means they should be personalized, not the typical definitions. The examples should be crisp and explain the point well. Showing energy and impact during such answers is crucial otherwise they might appear faffy. At times when he was having a stone expression, I tried to smile and break him out of that mould.
Round 4

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: There is a chairman of a conglomerate. He has been on the post for 10 years, and is extremely dominating. He treats the various business heads like children, not letting them take any major decision. While the chairman has negatives, he believes a lot in strict performance management systems and enforced a robust system in all businesses which is working good. If you have 5 questions that you can ask anyone in the conglomerate and then go back to the chairman with the results to change his behavior, what would those 5 questions be, and to whom?
Interview Experience
Since this was not a typical case, I broke out of the case mould and immediately asked for some time to think of the questions. I told him that I would follow a predecessor-based questioning model, simply put, subsequent questions would depend on the answers of the previous questions. He liked this approach. My 5 questions were as follows:
1. Select the business which has a large contribution to the conglomerate’s overall revenues, and ask the business head (who reports to the chairman): How many decisions has he independently taken in the last 12 months vs how many has he just implemented decisions of the chairman?
2. Based on the response of the first question, ask the business head what has been the impact both: a. On the individual business (to the company) performance: Company is not doing well, and the situation needs to be corrected/company is doing average/company is doing good. b. On the business head himself (to the individual) morale: He is thinking of quitting immediately/in some time/not at all. Based on these questions we would come to know the real impact of the chairman’s behavior on the company and the immediate reportees.
3. If the problem is serious, ask the business head which section of the employees are affected the most by the chairman’s decisions, say, mid level and shop floor level
4. and 5. Ask the mid level and shop floor level employees the same two sub-points as in question 2.
The questions should seek to address: - Verify whether there is a problem at all - Verify the extent of the problem - Verify the seriousness of the problem.
He seemed satisfied by the questions and the summary. That’s all he wanted to hear in the case, and I was also relieved☺.
Interview Tips
here will always be cases you have not prepared for. Use common sense, and try to use your work experience to think of substance, and then put it in an easy to understand structure to communicate to the interviewer. Also try to enjoy the process. After multiple rounds of interviews, I had gotten over the fear of cases, and was smiling a lot and enjoying the process. Spend time with the alums from the various firms who would be coordinating the process, they will help calm nerves and give a good perspective on the proceedings.
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6

McKinsey Engagement manager interview

12.1k views
Achint Setia ExperiencedSelected
Application
I Applied for job through Walk-in for Engagement manager role at McKinsey
Interview Process
Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview
Round 1

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: The client is a hospital chain with 12 hospitals across India and plans to grow to 40-50 hospitals. The first hospital was set up in Chandigarh, 8 years back. The client has taken both organic and inorganic routes to growth with the last acquisition some 2 years back. Their profit has been declining over the last one year and we need to diagnose the issue along with suitable recommendations.
Interview Experience
The first thing I did was to clarify the expectations of the client and any associated constraints. Priyanka clarified that we need to focus on EBIT and ROI improvement. The current EBIT and ROI were negative and our goal was to take them to 25% and 30-35% respectively. There were no financial constraints for the particular case. Structure: ROI = After Tax EBIT / Invested Capital Invested Capital = Working Capital + Net Investments I clarified that I would be looking to increase EBIT by increasing revenues or reducing costs or both. Then I would look at decreasing Invested Capital through analyzing components like Receivables, Cash, Inventory, Payables, Fixed Investments and Depreciation. She agreed and asked me to start by picking up one of the drivers. I picked revenues because there were considerable improvements required in both EBIT and ROI and cost cutting might not suffice. She nodded and we proceeded. I listed the various revenue drivers in a hospital: Diagnosis, OPD and Procedures (she helped me a bit here with correct terminology). After some discussion it was clear that the revenues from procedures, which was a major contributor to hospital’s income, were declining. The price of procedures had been constant so it was an issue with the number of procedures. Also, the other hospitals had lower prices for the same services hospital seemed to be charging a premium for their services and I had to find out why. I elaborated the various factors that would drive premium such as patient care, diagnosis authenticity, convenience and future tests required. She asked be to elaborate patient care. I listed 5 factors: doctors & nursing staff, length and time, accommodation, flexibility of meeting close ones, and miscellaneous things such as food etc. I also prioritized these putting doctors and nurses on the top. It was here that she revealed that some key doctors had left an year back and the hospital’s premium was to be attributed to the presence of these doctors when they were in service, This nailed down the key reason of decline of procedural revenues. Next, she asked me to look at reducing costs. I elaborated the entire value chain of the hospital: 1. Supply Side consisting of utilities, drugs and equipments 2. Operations consisting of procedures, labor and R&D. 3. Marketing and promotions After a brief discussion on the factors driving supply side costs, I identified that the procurement of drugs can be optimized through consolidating purchase. On the operations side, we figured out the wage structure was pretty much fixed and I detailed out a few recommendations here to improve labor efficiency. One was to use a performance based incentive structure with the use of balance scorecards and leading indicators to assess performance. She was quite happy on hearing this as this was part of the recommendations they had given to the client. The case ended here.
Interview Tips
My advice to you would be that whenever in doubt about a new business, ask rather than guessing and spending time that could be utilized in more fruitful discussions.
Round 2

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: A very open ended case. Pan-IIT (a group of IIT alums) is looking to build an organization called “Reach for India”. The purpose is to hire top business school graduates and have them work with district collectors across India and help them solve some key national issues and also build a governing secretariat of top talent. The problem was to recommend the Pan-IIT board on how to go about building this organization
Interview Experience
I tried to scope the problem down but Rajiv wanted me to structure my thoughts first and come up with an approach on a broader level. I came up with the following structure Structure: 1. Strategic Goals: a. Short term: Solve some existing problems and build a talent pool b. Long term: Impact on society and economy 2. Organizational: a. Supply of Labor Pool b. Attracting and sustaining employees i. Salary and Incentives j. Personal Development through trainings k. Challenging assignments l. Exit Options c. Execution to meet the expectations of the 4 stakeholders: District collectors, Pan-IIT, Government and Employees i. Management j. Teachers / Training k. Program Structure: Curriculum, Length, intensityl. HR m. Administration 3. Financial: Source of Finances, debt and equity distribution. Rajiv was fairly satisfied with the comprehensive structure and after a brief discussion, clarified that the focus of the present case was to just think about the building blocks of the organization. Since I had listed down quite a few things, he just wanted me to have a discussion on the various aspects of the problem and we chatted for 15 minutes on what should be the issues in each of the elements of the Organizational part and recommendations to tackle them. Detailing out an exhaustive structure and explaining my approach in detail gave the confidence to the interviewer. After that I just had to engage him in discussion on various aspects till he decided to close the case.
Interview Tips
Try to scope down an open ended problem such as this. If interviewer wants to explicitly look at your broad level thinking, such as in my case, it is important to take your time and come up with as exhaustive a structure as possible.
Round 3

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: The client wants to construct a hospital in an upcoming suburb and the objective is to come up with a sustainable business model for the same.
Interview Experience
Since the problem given to me was very open ended, I started asking a lot of questions on the objective of the client and any constraints we need to consider in our analysis. Adheet revealed the following information: The suburb is still under development and there is no infrastructure as of now. The client is actually a large hospital chain in the country and is not looking for immediate profits but eventually within 3-4 years. Financial constraints not an issue. Hospital again! But the good part was that I had got some confidence on the business after having interviewed with Priyanka earlier.
Structure: a. NPV > 0 b. Determine cash flows: Revenues, Costs, Working Capital and Capital Expenditure c. Determine appropriate discount rate for cash flows: an appropriate way would be to use industry comparables of similar hospitals. He agreed and asked me to discuss the revenue aspect. I laid down the following approach: 1. Identify customer disease patterns and demographics. 2. Pick up the attractive opportunities that could ensure long term sustainability. Identify the customer segments to target. 3. Check if the opportunity aligns with business vision and company’s capabilities. 4. Determine the appropriate price for these services based on consumer willingness to pay To simplify things he gave me an additional data point here. The real estate developer of the area had predicted the following growth of population in that area: 100,000 in 3 years 500,000 by 6 years 1 million by 10 years. He then asked me to determine the healthcare requirements of these potential customers. I listed down 3 factors here: Socio Economic Status, Age and Idiosyncratic factors such as family history. He was impressed and asked me how I could determine the Socio Economic Status. I gave a lot of options here but he kept pushing that we had no access to any formal databases and some proxy was needed. After a bit of thinking I told him that the kind of apartments being bought by the families could proxy for their socio-eco status. This was what he was looking for and immediately gave me the following information. Super luxury flat (1 crores): 10% of families, luxury (50 lacs): 40%, 1 bedroom apartment (20 lacs): 50%. I asked about the average number of people per household and he gave me the numbers of 5, 4 and 3 respectively. I told him that even the relatively poorest of families were actually quite well to do as they could afford a 20 lacs flat. He agreed and asked me what kind of service on a broad level would suit our target customer segment. I told that 2 kinds of services should suffice here: Deluxe and Regular. Deluxe would include some premium procedures that could be utilized by either of the segments. Regular Procedures would be more day to day services provided to a wide spectrum of the population. He mentioned that regular procedures would need a breakeven volume to turn profitable and asked me to develop a timeline for introduction of the two kinds of services. Based on the population immigration information he had provided me earlier, I recommended that the client should start with deluxe services when the customer base would be small and eventually move to other regular services and customer base grows big enough to achieve breakeven. He asked me if there were any risks involved here and I mentioned that competitive threat could always be a concern here. I recommended that such a threat could be conquered to an extent by making appropriate arrangements for customers to receive these services at a nearby hospital of the same chain. He liked the idea since the hospital could bear initial losses. We had some more discussion on other issues of such as real estate, supplier contracts, equipments etc. before he closed the case. And as always, he discussed about movie making experience and also my work at Microsoft.
Interview Tips
Be careful when the interviewer is giving a lot of numbers. He might be looking to test your quantitative abilities. Clarify upfront if in doubt.
Round 4

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: He laid out the problem. There’s an airport somewhere in London, which has 4 terminals and 2 runways. The airport authorities are planning to build a 5th terminal. Would it make sense?
Interview Experience
I started by laying down my hypotheses on why a 5th terminal should be built:
1. Reduce congestion on existing terminals by increasing capacity
2. Facilitate Growth of air traffic and passenger traffic
3. Achieve optimization between traffic on runways and terminals He wanted me to test the first hypothesis. I confirmed whether airport capacity can be defined in terms of passenger flow rate. He agreed but wanted me to look at another measure of capacity which is the air traffic flow rate. In simple terms, this was the maximum number of airplanes that can land or take off from the airport in a day.
I asked for specific information and got the following data:
1. Air traffic operates for 17 hours in a day.
2. Each terminal has 50 gates I said to figure out whether there is any real capacity increase we need to find out whether New Capacity = MIN{ Total number of airplanes determined by total gates, Total number of airplanes that can use the runway in a day} > Current Capacity He asked me to make the required assumptions and proceed. I made 2 specific assumptions:
1. Both runways are identical and capable of serving same traffic.
2. All airplanes on an average take the same amount of time while standing on gates and similarly while using the runway (take off or landing)
He then gave me the following data: A plane takes 90 sec on average on the runway while landing or takeoff. This meant that the runways can support a total of 17 * 2 * 3600 / 90 = 1360 planes per day. Next, he told me that every gate can support 5 planes on an average. This meant that with 5 terminals a total of 5*50*5 = 1250 planes can be held on the gates. This gives the new capacity = Min{1250,1360} = 1250 an additional capacity of 250 planes. So one part of the hypothesis was verified that there would be additional capacity added by building 5th terminal. Now we had to establish whether it would reduce congestion. We started discussing the various sub hypotheses that would need to be true for this to happen. Things such as feasibility of movement of passengers and staff from one terminal to another, movement of infrastructure(shops etc) to the new terminal and so on. We chatted for almost 10 minutes on this and he asked me to synthesize the case. The hypothesis had been proven right.
Interview Tips
Practice hypothesis driven case solving as well in case you come across such an interviewer.
Round 5

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: The case was about a web services company which had encountered saturation in its web search and advertisement business and wanted to revive itself within the next 5 years.
Interview Experience
I clarified what all businesses the client was running, the relative share of revenues in each and the competitive landscape in each. Then I laid down my approach:
1. Identify the attractive businesses for the future. This can be done using a 2X2 matrix of competition vs. growth opportunity.
2. Choose the ones that are feasible to focus on in the next 5 years based on company’s capabilities.
3. Chart out an execution strategy for these businesses accounting for challenges and the effect on bottom line.
4. Consider divesting the unattractive businesses considering the risk of impact on the existing ones since there is lot of interdependency in the web space. He was satisfied with the overall structure and drew out a chart with lots of customer and growth data on the existing businesses. It’s difficult for me to explain our discussion over here because first, the chart was fairly comprehensive and second, he asked me to hand over to him everything I had written while solving the case. On a broad level, we discussed the attractive business opportunities and what challenges we would have to consider. He asked me to give 10 specific challenges in one particular business and it was here that my Web 2.0 course learning and software experience helped me.
Interview Tips
Push yourself when the interviewer says..”What else...” - this is an indication that the interviewer wants to check how creative you can get with your thought process.
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7

McKinsey Associate interview

12.4k views
Nitin Kashyap ExperiencedSelected
Application
I Applied for job through Walk-in for Associate role at McKinsey
Interview Process
Case Study Interview Case Study Interview
Round 1

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: Heathrow airport wishes to add a 5th terminal to its existing 4 terminals. Should it go ahead?
Interview Experience
I started off saying that the problem statement looks like it’s a Go/NoGo decision we have to help make, so first we should establish the exact objective against which we would measure our decision. Once the objective is clear, we would need to establish our current performance against the objective, what is the target level we wish to achieve on that particular objective and then evaluate if the new terminal would help us achieve that or not. But before that I would like to clarify about exactly what is meant by a terminal here.
JC: Heathrow is one of the busiest airports and already has 4 different passenger terminals, now they want to add a 5th. A terminal provides the usual services like Bays for Boarding & disembarking, Check-In, Security, Lounges & shopping areas etc.
Me: Great, do we also have to look at the financial and operational viability of the terminal or that is not a concern.
JC: for the purpose of discussion let’s ignore that, those would not be the constraints.
Me: Ok, so maybe we should the start looking at what the administrations core objective is for the new terminal. Why does it want to come up with a 5th terminal?
JC: Why don’t you tell me what those objectives could be?
Me: Well there could be many (started jotting down options in parallel as I spoke): 1) increase the #Passengers served per year, 2) Reduce Flight Congestion if any, 3) Reduce the Time spent by flights on the airport, 4) Increase the airports revenue sources. Am I missing any other?
JC: No I think you have mentioned the major ones, let’s briefly talk about each of these. What do you mean by the revenue sources?
Me: Then we had a brief discussion about revenues from shopping areas etc. Then we came to Flight congestion – primary metric there was time spent in air waiting for permission to land etc. Then we came to #Passengers served per year which is more of a demand metric and effectively dependent on the number of flights we can serve per day. We also discussed Time spent by flights on the airport and split that into further two types – flight landing and takeoff time and turnaround at the gates. At the end of this brief digression it emerged that if Time spent by Flights on airport can go down, #Flights can go up and so can #passengers, at the same time congestion can go down as well. Me: (summarizing) So is it fair to say that the objective of building the 5thterminal is to achieve a higher capacity at the airport and our problem definition is to evaluate that claim?
JC: Yes, if you wish to frame it so - effectively our problem definition is if the 5th terminal adds to the capacity of the System? Me: Good just give me a minute to put my thoughts in place as to how we can go about evaluating this?
JC: Sure..
Me: Ok as I mentioned, what we need to decide what is the exact metric used for measuring Capacity? Then what is the current value of airport for that metric? Then what impact would the new terminal on the level of the metric? That should lead us to an answer.
JC: Ok, so what do you want to know
Me: How do airports measure their capacity?
JC: Two commonly used metrics are ATM – Air Traffic Movements, and MPPA – Million Passengers Per Annum. For our discussion lets focus on ATM.
Me: So just to clarify ATM refers to a single air traffic movement, therefore the turnaround of one flight i.e. landing and take off would count as one or two ATMs?
JC: Two Me: Ok, so do we know what is the current ATM?
JC: How would you find that out?
Me: well the annual ATM would be average Flights per day * 365 * 2 JC: Right lets keep the analysis to per day Me: Ok so what’s the current #daily flights?
JC: Am not sure why that is relevant here for answering our question but lets say 100.
Me: No, this would help us by how much will the Terminal increase the capacity. Ok so how many Bays would there be in the new terminal?
JC: 50
Me: And do we know on average one flight spends how much time at a Bay?
JC: 60 minutes
Me: Is that number in line with international standards or is there scope to impact that by way of terminal design or operations?
JC: No that’s about the best you can get ☺
Me: Fair is the distribution of traffic the same through out the day, or in other words is the demand pattern similar through out the day or is it varying with time? JC: Let’s assume that a bay is utilized effectively only for 12 hours in a day. Me: Ok so that means a given bay has the capacity of 2 ATMs per hour or 50 bays together would add 50 * 2 *12 or 1200 ATMs
JC: So should we add Terminal 5?
Me: Well yes from our analysis so far it does appear that adding the 5 Terminal could add upto 1200 ATMs per day and therefore one should go ahead.
JC: But what was our problem definition?
Me: (a little flustered) will the new terminal add to the capacity of the airport?
JC: yes of the entire system. So will it?
Me: (suddenly a light bulb strikes ☺, smiling) Ok I possibly get the drift of what you are trying to hint at, while the terminal has the potential to add so many ATMs, it is not necessary that the capacity of the entire system will be incremented by that number.
JC: Correct, and why that may be so? Me: Because the bottleneck in the system may be some where else.
JC: Right and so what defined a bottleneck Me: In any system the resource which has the lowest capacity and for which the implied demand is higher than its capacity constitutes a bottleneck, and also limits the throughput of the entire system.
JC: So what else could be a bottleneck in the system? Me: Runway JC: Ok and how can we find that out?
Me: We need to evaluate the utilization of the runway. How long does it typically take for a successive takeoff or landing on a given runway?
JC: How can we find that out?
Me: A mathematical way to do that would be to find the typical distance an aircraft travels while landing/takeoff and at what speed to find the time for which it uses the runway, another could be that there would be some minimum time set by the ATC/guidelines as the minimum inter flight time that would limit the number of planes that can use a runway.
JC: Right, let’s leave the mathematical way, what do you think the other number is?
Me: I don’t know for sure, but from my observation the time in India is something like 5-6 minutes between flight landings/takeoffs
JC: Ok those might be t he numbers in India, but Heathrow is a very busy airport and there the minimum time is 90 seconds.
Me: (quickly doing the numbers) 90 seconds implies 1 ATM every 1.5 minutes or a max of 40 ATMs per hour or a max of 40*24 = 960 ATMs per day per runway.
JC: Correct, so assuming there are 2 runways already what would now be the impact of adding the terminal 5 on the capacity of the system?
Me: Let’s assume that the current capacity of the terminals is X, then the current capacity of the system is min(960*2, X), and after the new terminal comes online the capacity of the system would become min(960*2, X + 1200). (I actually clearly wrote down the mathematical form) So depending on the value of X we will know how much the capacity of the system can improve by, and our decision should be driven by if that new number is enough to achieve our goal or not? For any positive value of X > 720 it seems we will only be able to go up to a max 1920 ATMs per day, without adding a new runway or decreasing inter ATM time for runway usage.
JC: Good I think we are done with the case. Do you have any quick questions for me?
Me: Sure why don’t you tell me a bit about the nature of work you have been doing and the kind of work BTO London does?
Interview Tips
Listen carefully, especially the case question/problem framing Maintain a pleasant disposition, Do Smile Be ready to admit your mistakes and over sights Speak slowly (Especially when dealing with international interviewers) Write down stuff in your pad - write legibly Steps should be Think, Write, Read out & Discuss. Do revise the core concepts – just helps you with the right terminology in he interviews. On the interview day take each interview on by one – Never think about any that you have already given, and nor about any to come.
Round 2

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: Not a formal case, but broad industry level strategic discussions about IT & IT Products and Innovation
Interview Experience
NFK: McKinsey has done some work in innovation in the BPO and outsourced project management space..
<Me>...yes the Process 360 & Project 360 initiatives (brought in the fact that I had gone through the article. This also happens to be Noshir’s research)...
NFK: right.. they are operational excellence frameworks we have come up with to assess the best practices in the BPO and outsourced application domains.. so the question is if you were to develop a similar framework for excellence in the product development or product development outsourcing space what metrics do you think can be used to measure those?
<Me> Sure, may I just have a minute to think this over..
NFK: Ok..
<Me> (wrote down a few bullet points and then started).. We can think of different parameters/indicators at different levels – Individual/Company/Market/Users. The idea is to measure excellence in product development by not just focusing on the inputs, and the processes, but also by outputs both direct market facing and indirect outputs.We had a 1 minute discussion about each and at the end NFK seemed reasonably satisfied with the suggestions. NFK: Great, so we all know India has been known for outsourcing in the services and process space, what do you think ails the Product development? In particular I would say some companies like Adobe, Intel, TI and MS (only to a very limited extent though) have been successful at doing product development out of India, but not many others. What do these companies do differently? What do you think have been the critical success factors for them? <Me> (took a little time to ponder over things and really tried to dig into my experiences at Adobe an TI & what I thought was salient about the senior management there – therefore the lesson – do not ignore the Sr. Management talks & Company vision and strategy meetings that you used to have back in offices ☺) Well I think two overarching factors in the success of companies like Adobe and TI have been Vision of the founder & Execution, and I would want to break down Execution further into 1) Hiring & focus on employee growth, 2) Process & Discipline, 3) Sr. Management Commitment & push back, 4) Clear & continuous communication with the International parent. It might be a coincidence but in the case of both Adobe and TI, their India offices have been led by very strong and committed senior leadership teams who have grown from within the parent companies’ home operations. Therefore, one they knew what were the parent’s best practices, and two they had the ambition to set up something in India and make it succeed. Then once they had the go ahead they focused single mindedly on the execution.... <and then we discussed in detail each of the above 4 sub parts with example from my career experience. We did bring out the differences between product and services companies, importance of push back w.r.t the kind of work you want to do, incremental wins and trust building, continuous improvement on the value chain etc. etc..> NFK: What do you think are the key strategic challenges for a company like Infosys going forward? <Me> (again after a minute of pause and jotting down stuff) I think the three key challenges would be 1) How to remain competitive now that they are in the 4B+ league and starting to compete with the big league of IBMs, Accentures, EDS etc, not just in outsourcing but end to end IT management 2) How to manage such a huge work force and manage their skills 3) How to remain relevant in the face of changing business models specially the move to hosted & cloud computing and software as a service models. NFK: Let’s talk more about the 3rd one! (He immediately latched on to the cloud computing thing.. so this is an example of a hot word for a particular interviewer) <Me> We then had a lively discussion on what cloud computing and Software as a service and software on demand is etc., and what impact can it have for IT companies and their business models. NFK: Good. Any questions that you may have for us <Me> I asked on what the role definition of BTO was and how was it different from the high-tech practice of McKinsey?
Interview Tips
If possible do read a bit about the interviewer’s background. You wouldn’t get to know your exact interviewers till shortly before the interview so you obviously can’t read about all, but try to read up about the senior people as well as people who will be from similar backgrounds as yourself. Excellent way to do that is to get on to company sites and browse for interview panelists profiles. In the case of McKinsey, try to get to McKinsey Quarterly, and then search for the interviewer and articles written by the person Be prepared to get the broad discussion cases even in the first round. Have a perspective on the industry of your choice and or background – again a good way to do that is to browse articles and industry reports. If you are able to go through even one consulting firms site reasonably you should be in good shape. Try to change the plane of your answers depending on the interviewers interests – when to give thr 50,000 Ft view and when to give the 100 ft view. In hind sight I think the corporate strategy course had a lot of articles about outsourcing and different models of comp advantage for multinational organizations and how to leverage offices in different geographies. Though I myself didn’t recall much of that article but then it just shows you never know which reading might come in handy where ☺Have questions that you want to ask ready
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8

McKinsey Consultant interview

13.2k views
Gaurav BalharaExperiencedSelected
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 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 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.
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9

McKinsey Management consultant interview

12.6k views
Gautam P ChhuganiExperiencedSelected
Application
I Applied for job through Personal Contacts for Management consultant role at McKinsey
Interview Process
Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview
Round 1

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: Personal Interview: examples of leadership experience? Your role in it?
Interview Experience
Looked at auto-components industry on my resume and said he would give me an auto-comp case.
Case: Client is a leading auto component manufacturer. It wants to increase profits in the next few years and wants to reach a target of $5 bn in revenues. It is currently at $1 bn.
I suggested there are 2 basic ways to do so:
- Increase volume
- Increase value add and thus margins (elaborated below)
Clarifying questions
Me: Asked what was the core capability of the manufacturer and
the kind of products it manufacturers.
The Interviewer (TI): Forging and forged components
Me: Geographic presence?
TI: India and some acquisitions in Europe.
Me: Is it into auto- comp outsourcing business?
TI: Yes
Me: Increase Volume as follows:
I said can we assume is it meeting demand?
Was asked to make assumptions and proceed. Now I moved into a monologue – coz I gathered that’s what he wants
Increase volume:
- So I said if we know it is lagging in demand, we should explore expansions options – add domestic capacity, acquire capacity externally – (also a increase value add option – refer below)
- Enhance product offering (all types of forged components based on core forging capability)
- Increase share of wallet ( Does a single OEM outsource all types of auto-components) ; Have we exploited any potential to cross sell – if he is buying power train (engine) components, should he also buy axle and chasis components from us
- External acquisitions: Dual shore manufacturing – have a low cost mfg base in India and China, acquire plants in Europe and America which has good customer relationships – thus improve customer intimacy by being geographically close to customer and improve share of wallet.
Increase value add:
- Any change in product mix – make more of critical safety components which provide higher margins
- Provide full end to end support – from design of components to testing – make attempts to support the entire life cycle of car platforms – this will also enhance value add and thus margins ( Explore options to acquire or build R&D centers)
- Compare costs in India and China, add capacity in China, if it reduces costs and enhances margins
Interview Tips
Anything on your CV could be turned into a case. Spend lot of time thinking and reading about companies and industries mentioned on your CV. Whats good/bad about industry? How are companies exploring growth options and so on?
Round 2

Case Study Interview

Interview Experience
Case:Client is an insurance company. They want to know how big is the insurance opportunity in India? Finally, given the size of the opportunity, what would you recommend as the next steps.
Me: Let me ask the usual clarifying questions, is the company into life insurance or non-life? Private company or a public company?
Interviewer: Life insurance, the client is a private company.
Me: To understand how big the opportunity is I would want to estimate the size of the insurance market.
Interviewer: In what denomination you would estimate the market.
Me: $ mm of life insurance premium
Interviewer: Great. So go ahead and do it.
Me: Sir, before I get into the number work, it will be useful to pictorially or graphically understand where does India stand on insurance penetrations relative to the world.
Interviewer: How would you do that? (It seemed he was very open to new ideas
as seen from his body language because he always sounded excited to hear
something new)
Me: You plot all the countries by insurance penetration ratios and see where India is in the stage of evolution in the insurance market
Interviewer: How would you define the penetration ratio?
Me: Insured population by Insurable population
Interviewer: Great. Now lets get to the number work.
Me: I took some time to think at this stage.
Usual method: Indian population, 30% urban, for now lets focus on the urban market, % of people who cannot afford insurance, I suggested if insurance premium exceeds a particular% of your annual income, then its not affordable, such population should be excluded or alternatively people below the poverty line. I suggested we could break down the population by Income class. As we discussed, it stood out that age cannot be a right basis, as people get their children insured and old people can also be insured albeit at a higher premium.
Interviewer: Great, let us assume you have done all that and the total size of
the market comes to $210mm. LIC’s market is 180mm and has 80%
market share. So what would your conclusion be?
Me:(I wasn’t very fluent at this stage …..somehow I got a bit confused at this stage…no particular reason…probably I wasn’t thinking calmly enough…. Later, with some push from him…this is what I concluded…
Me: Ok, so total insured market is then 180mm/ 0.80 which comes to approximately $205mm. Insurable market is $210mm. So penetration ratio is very high close to 95%. This leaves private insurers a market of only $5mm to pursue. So now how many private insurers are there?
Interviewer: 12/13
Me: Fine, then it is evident that private insurers are competing quite hard and each has a very minuscule share of the private market….and the nature of the game is to arrest market share from LIC, which may be very difficult.
Interviewer: We have now run out of time, so what would you suggest to the company?
Me: As of now, the market is very small and competitive for the private insurers. Going forward, the client would have to arrest market share from LIC and would have to do it better than other private players. So the key question client should ask itself?
- Do I have enough distribution capabilities to gain market share from LIC…coz in Insurance distribution pipeline is most critical. (Things like alliances with corporates, third party distributor alliances etc)
- Secondly, Insurance being a capital intensive business, due to solvency ratios, and unexpected insurance claims, do I have the deep pockets to sustain this market till I become profitable? – high shelf life before break even in insurance business
- Finally, Do I have the ability to offer innovative and customized insurance products to attract the customers?
Interview Tips
- Power of good communication skills and engagement….You may not be reaching the answer…but by showing enough enthusiasm and energy about solving the case…..you allow the interviewer to help you a lot.
- Second, I made up for the not so sharp number work in my synthesis and recommendation. I did not restate facts, based on what I concluded and my industry knowledge, I suggested value added insights and recommendations.
- Lastly, knowing a bit about the industry helps you quote the right metrics like insurance penetration ratios, distribution pipeline etc (Doesn’t substitute pure problem solving skills but allows you to sound sensible)
Round 3

Case Study Interview

Interview Experience
In round 2 i was directly given a case to solve. The case was:
Our client is a Chocolate confectionary manufacturer started in 1980. It did quite well till 1990. Post 1990, it has seen a revenue slowdown and a profitability slowdown. Can you help them figure out why?
Me: I drew the usual profitability tree. Revenue and costs.I took him through volumes ( Market size, market share, production) Price changes, if any? Variances in costs ?
Interviewer: Fine, lets look at the costs
Me: Let me list down the various heads of costs Variable costs: Direct material, labor, variable overheads Fixed costs: SG&A including distribution costs, interest costs, I also highlighted the overlap.
Interviewer: Fine, let me provide you some data. Write it down. Raw material costs (% of revenue) For the client is 25%, for competitors 20% Distribution cost (cents per bar): For the client 0.25c and for the competitor 0.15c. Let us explore the distribution cost first.
Me: How does the client distribute its products?
Interviewer: It has its own distribution infrastructure….the trucks, manpower etc.
Me: So can I say the client does distribution in-house. So do our competitors not do it in-house?
Interviewer: Yes, you are right, the competitors are outsourcing distribution. What do you think is happening here?
Me: Is it that distribution agent is operating at a higher scale because he is sourcing the business from various manufacturers. If yes, then this could be the cause of difference in cost.
Interviewer: That’s right. What else? Give me one more reason for difference distribution cost.
Me: Is it that transporters are making more number of trips, since our batches of production are small or not synchronized?
Interviewer: Fine, give me one more.
Me: On what basis do transporters charge us?
Interviewer: Based on hourly rate.
Me: This leads me to the hypothesis, that they may be spending lot of time waiting, at the factory without doing any productive work.
Interviewer: You are thinking right.....go on
Me: Phew! Is it that turnaround time per truck is too high compared to our competitors.
Interviewer: Why do you think that is happening?
Me: Distances are too far from our customers or our suppliers. We are not located at the optimal distance from either customers or suppliers.
Oliver: Great, now lets talk about the raw material cost.
Me: So what kind of chocolate is this? Like a Mars bar or something?
Interviewer: Perfect.
Me: So let me list down the ingredients ……..Milk, cocoa, and sugar would be the main ingredients
Interviewer: So lets talk about each ingredient separately.
Me: Milk is a commodity…..
Interviewer: Is Milk a commodity? Is it traded?
Me: No, its not traded, so its not a commodity (This was my clue….thankfully I picked it up…..you will see below how it was a useful)
Interviewer: Go on…think specifically about each ingredient
Me: Cocoa and sugar are commodities.....because they are traded.
interviewer: So?
Me: After a pause of thinking......... Have the prices gone up of late? If yes, “ They are not hedging the commodity costs”
Interviewer: Excellent...You are right...either they are not hedging it or not hedging it as much as they should.
Me: yah....may be not even things like long term supply contracts.
Case part II:
Interviewerr: Great fresh page………note down these numbers…..gave me a full profitability statement to make for 2 factories….one in UK and one in France…..with capacity utilization to be calculated, units produced, price, RM costs as % of revenue, Labor based on per hour etc.
Me: I did the numbers in a very traditional school boy like fashion, did not try any quick calculation tricks…..was very transparent and vocal about my calculations …..helped a lot in showing my comfort with numbers
Interviewer: So what is your conclusion?
Me:
UK France
Capacity utilization 54% 39%
Profitability % 46.2% 33%
This shows a correlation between profitability and scale utilization.
Interviewer: So what would you suggest?
Me: Why don’t we integrate the facilities…. I did a ball park calculation to see if capacity in UK would be enough to handle production in both UK and France. However, there could be a downside to shutting plant in France…
Interviewer: So what are the downsides?
Me: Transportation cost, labor retrenchment cost, loss of customer intimacy in France resulting in loss of certain customers…he kept saying what else….i kept giving him more and more reasons
Interviewer: Only one thing you missed out real option value, if the French market picks up again…
Me: Ya right….I agree.
Interviewer: Thanks Gautam. Excellent. I liked your idea of integrating capacity. I am very happy with the way case has turned out.
Interview Tips
- Very closely watch the words of the interviewer so that you pick up the clues……write as clearly as you can on paper……it helps you organize your thoughts clearly.
- Again, enjoy the process…treat it like a learning process…..will help you specially with an interviewer like Oliver (the interviewer)…who keeps pushing for more and more reasons and is never satiated.
Its good to be able to talk about common people, it just improves the conversation….again nothing substitutes for being genuine and enthusiastic in personal interviews.
General Tips
1) Use the Challenge-Action-Impact framework to prepare answers for teamwork, leadership etc. Prepare beforehand

2) Keep telling yourself…. So what? When you prepare these kind of answers

3) Don’t sound rehearsed for such questions. Pick up

something, you are genuinely proud of….It will show

through.
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10

McKinsey Manager interview

12.3k views
Pankaj Gupta ExperiencedSelected
Application
I Applied for job through Walk-in for Manager role at McKinsey
Interview Process
Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview
Round 1

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: A client wants to start retailing business. He intends to attract as many people as possible, to his stores. How would you go about advising the client.
Interview Experience
I started by asking clarifying questions : 1) The purpose + Does client have anything specific in mind (wrt retail format, target segment, products to be sold, location etc) 2) What exactly is meant by attracting maximum number of people (footfalls? Purchase conversion?) At this stage itself I got information about the target segment : It is primarily income based and Delhi and Mumbai are two cities which have large % of population as set of people who can be attracted. Then I split the issue in two aspects that could attract/ bring people to store: a) Awareness b) the in-store experience/ value from shopping He said awareness is not an issue. Hence, I looked at experience aspects – (1) Proximity (2) product mix available (3) Value for Money in shopping (low price vs product differentiation) He told me to look at it as a case of Food Retailing. During this conversation the scope boiled down to identifying the parameters to maximize profits. I started considering Revenue and Cost as two aspects of profit. Revenue is driven from Quantity (Footfalls* conversion) and Price. Price dint come out as something to be considered as fixed. Hence quantity was to be maximized. Considering that Mumbai and Delhi were target cities, I asked if I needed to estimate the revenue. He told me to proceed and I estimated revenue using population -. Households (HH) -> HH greater than and less than 2 lpa of income (more than 2 lpa expected to visit stores). I asked about average usage of food by such a HH and Kaustub gave me certain numbers. He then asked me to proceed to other parameters in Food Retail. Having covered Revenue as the first part, I moved to Cost. He directly asked me to focus on location/ proximity. I said food retail (especially in Indian context, considering the mobility issue, vehicle ownership, road infra etc) is something that needs to have close proximity. The areas to be focused on would however be determined by per square foot cost. The high-end areas may not be a feasible option. However, emerging areas present a case to be considered. I asked if there was any data available on property rates. He told the rates were 200/sqft/month in high-end areas vs 100/sqft/month in emerging areas. Hence client should focus on Profit/sqft/month as primary metric for deciding where and how many stores to open. He asked me to end the case here. In the end (time for me to ask questions) I asked him about his views of Reliance’s strategy in retailing (they are entering many formats in retailing) and had a discussion around certain viewpoints.
Interview Tips
Be confident and persistent even though the cases may seem kind of undefined or large in scope.
Round 2

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: ‘How would you commercialize poetry”
Interview Experience
I started by asking clarifying questions : 1) What is exactly meant by commercialization – business/ profits/ practical usage 2) Is it general poetry or my poetry 3) Is there any time frame I need to consider for this. He said the purpose would be to make money from my own poetry and there is no specific time frame. I took a customary minute to think. I used MECE classification to consider two aspects of poetry usage/applications: (1) Academic usage (in text books etc) (2) Non Academic (NA) usage. I further classified NA usage into three areas – NGOs, Corporate(s) and Other commercial applications (namely lyrics for movie songs, advertisements etc. I told him that I had written a poem taking inspiration from a Cadbury’s advertisement) At this stage I said that for any further consideration one important parameter is the FIT of the product (my poetry) to these application areas. I defined FIT in terms of language (I write in Hindi, at time English) and content vs the actual need in respective areas (I gave a coupel of examples – my poems published in magazine by an NGO, couple of Hindi ads etc). I also said I can write for all of the identified application areas. In order to commercialize I assessed each usage area in terms of following parameters (a) Profit Margin (I stated here that the cost = my effort would be nearly same for all kinds of poetry) (b) Capability (FIT) c) Market Size (d) Access (my access to identified market) I made a matrix for assessment along these parameters and rated each on scale of Low, Medium and High. He asked me to focus on How to go about commercializing Other commercial applications. I said our of two areas - namely movie songs and advertisement, I should focus first on Advertisements first (as I have better access to this market). I also looked at another metric - % of advertisements/songs needing my poetry while defining the approach. I further looked at Access to Advertisements in terms of existing and New 148i.e. existing is through my past organizations and through my friends’ network. New means developing contacts through mails and agencies. He asked me to stop at this point and said ‘why don’t you start it right away’. In the end I asked him about his experience at McKinsey and his happiest moment while working there.
Interview Tips
Be prepared to solve such cases based/ customized to your personal interest areas. I got two such cases (one in McKinsey and another one, related to Ball Dancing, in some other interview)
Round 3

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: A steel company wants to increase it’s Market Capitalization. How would you go about it.
Interview Experience
Asked some questions to understand the problem better: 1) Something more about the client- location, which part of value chain does it operate in? 2) Is there any time frame in mind 3) By what magnitude does the client want market capitalization to increase He said time frame would be 4- 5 years. I drew the value chain of steel industry: RM (Iron ore, coal etc) -> Manufacturing of steel -> Distribution. He said client is currently operating in all. He also provided some information on location – the client had made acquisitions for Iron ore (worth 3 million USD) in US. I said that Market Capitalization would be essentially a multiple of Operating income and hence we should see the problem in two aspects – increasing Revenue and decreasing Cost. I asked him if this approach was fine. He told me to proceed. I said revenue was determined as Price* Output. I asked if price could be increased, which he told me to park aside. Then I discussed output: one way to increase would be through M&A. Other ways would be through Greenfield, Brownfield projects of Joint Venture. He asked me what should be done even before M&A and then dropped a hint about current operations. I immediately said ‘that is something to be looked at first’. Any excess capacity may be utilized to raise output. Further more, the aspects to be looked at would be (1) efficiency (2) RM (biggest chunk of cost) He told me to look at RM. I asked the need vs capacity of the acquisitions done by client in US (3 million tones of output). RM need was not satisfied. Hence more RM sourcing should be ensured through either contracts, locating close to RM sources, acquisitions as RM is biggest part of cost and would help increase the margins and hence market cap also. At this point he asked me about other possibilities of increasing the market cap. I said some ways of indicating god future growth (investments, strategic tie ups) would increase the market cap. He asked me what else could be done and indicated spin offs. I said there could be alternative to float a new firm (separate venture for RM) or sell shares as different types – Type A and Type B while keeping the firm as one entity. He was fine with that. He stopped the case here and said I I wanted to ask anything. I asked him if this was a real case and what had they done in this situation. Then I said that I have wondered what has prohibited systems such as Social Security from being implemented in India and how does he see that coming in future? We had a discussion around the same for about 5-7 minutes and the interview ended.
Interview Tips
Does not matter much even if your case is not going exactly how you want it but don’t hesitate to take a step back and to make efforts while solving. Do keep interviewer involved in the case (Think aloud – may be ask the interviewer at times...if the approach is fair/ assumptions are fair) Prepare intelligent questions (which you have to ask to the interviewer). These could be either based on the case, interviewer’s field of work (typically they introduce themselves at the start of the interview) or relevant to PI in respective interviews. ‘and don’t worry, you can practice drafting good questions while the interview is going on’
Round 4

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: The client is a Financial service distributor. It currently sells only Fixed deposits (FD) and is considering selling of two new type of products –Life Insurance (LI) and Mutual Funds (MF). It has sales force of 1000 and operates in southern India. Will this work and what should he do about the sales force (hire more/ allocation)
Interview Experience
I started by asking clarifying questions : 1) Tell some more about the client – are they only a distributor? Answer was Yes. 2) Is profit the criteria to be looked at for feasibility/ Sales Force allocation The structure that I made considered three aspects of the problem.
• Customers – are we targeting the same customers, how much of cannibalization (Share of wallet aspect) can we expect if same products are sold to same set of customers?
• Feasibility – in terms of skills (different selling skills for different products) Need/ demand in the market, training issues (all sales people selling all products?) Amount of investment required.
• Incentive alignment – He gave me information about prices of different products and clients margin (basis points). Target customers were same. As product type and related needs are different, cannibalization was not taken as an issue. Feasibility parameters were also fine. I calculated absolute margin (which is Revenue for our client) on each product. Then I said, for financial feasibility, Cash Flows need to be calculated and hence Revenue and cost need to be found. Hence Profit is a function of product Mix: Profit = Sum (Pi-Ci) And we know the values of Pi. I identified the possible costs as the commission to sales agents + The cost of channel (for each product). He was fine with this. He told me to focus on revenues only. He further gave me the capacity of Sales person (while selling only FDs, each person sells 10 FDs per month and if all products are sold the mix (4,8 and1 FD, MF and LI respectively). I calculated the as is case revenue (selling FD alone). I also found the profit (revenue for our client) in each category of products (as per the new mix) by existing sales force. (There were indeed a lot of calculations) The incremental profit was around 170 % more and I said on the basis of calculations, the model seems feasible but there are other parameters to be taken care – how to align incentives. Some part of incentives needs to be pegged to the number of products sold else higher margin products likely to be sold more (moreover there could be strategic reasons for selling even low margin products to customers – acquisition, customers may prefer to buy a basket of products from a single contact point/ sales person). He asked what would I say on basis of intuition ie, Should the client proceed with this. I thought and said Yes because the incremental impact is very high and even if some contingencies arise, the proposition is highly likely to be profitable. He agreed and seemed to be happy with this.
Interview Tips
Try to present your opinion beyond the direct (numerical, as case may be) solution. It does help.
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