Parthenon Group

Parthenon Group Interview Questions and Tips

1

Parthenon Group Consultant interview

1.7k views
Viren Pereira ExperiencedSelected
Application
I Applied for job through Walk-in for Consultant role at Parthenon Group
Interview Process
HR Interview Case Study Interview
Round 1

HR Interview

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

Case Study Interview

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

Parthenon Group Consultant interview

1.1k views
Vikas PanjwaniExperiencedSelected
Application
I Applied for job through Personal Contacts for Consultant role at Parthenon Group
Interview Process
HR Interview Case Study Interview
Round 1

HR Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: Why do you want to switch from a finance role to consulting role.
  • Question 2: Don’t you think you are moving away from your core strengths (finance) and becoming a generalist?
  • Question 3: Why don’t you want to go back to KPMG at a senior position?
  • Question 4: What do we do at Parthenon?
Interview Experience
this round was a mix of PI questions as well as one Guesstimate. The interviewer was trying to gauge my motivation of applying to Parthenon and the reason of switching from a core finance profile to consulting role. There were a few counter questions to whatever I had to say about my motivation, essentially to determine whether or not they should be spending their time interviewing me.
Round 2

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: Estimate the number of printers in India (Case Type-Guesstimate)
Interview Experience
As we know, there is no right or wrong approach or answer such questions. I started by breaking down the problem on the basis of use of the product. I divided the printers into corporate uses, residential uses and other uses.
As for corporate uses, I further divided it into Tier I, Tier II and Tier III cities. For each of the cities, I used the following approach:

India’s total population >> Population in Tier I / II / III cities / >> Division of population into age brackets >> Estimation of working population basis the age classification >> Estimate number of working people per printer Summing up the 3 city types, this would give total printers for corporate use.
For residential uses, I used the income approach for households and used the number of households in India as the starting point. Number of households >> Classification on the basis of Rural and Urban households >> Classification on the basis of income of each household >> Assumed a hit % for households only above a certain income level in Urban cities
For other uses, I primarily had Schools and Colleges in mind and went about estimating this using the population as the starting point.
India’s total population >> Population in Rural and urban >> Division of population into age brackets >> Estimate school and college going population >> Estimate average number of students per School / College >> Estimate number of printers per School / College Add everything up. Ask yourself whether the number looks realistic – Give your opinion whether it’s a conservative estimate or an optimistic estimate. Summarize the case.
Interview Tips
Be very confident during PI. That is one thing which is completely in your control. The more you think about it and practice, the better you will get at it. PI is the only way for the recruiter to know you as a person, the rationale about your choices in life and whether you can stand your ground when pushed a bit. A good PI is more than half the job done (for that round).

The case was not a very tough one and since we had already spent considerable time on PI, the interviewer told me to go real quick about the case. There is no right or wrong answer to guesstimates, but there are certain things that you must follow in order to seem structured. A few do’s for guesstimates:
1. Narrow down meaning of the “product” ask clarifying questions
2. Think of various uses of the product and break the problem down.
3. Walk the interviewer through at each step – He wants to know how you are approaching the problem!
4. Give your prima facie opinion whether the answer looks reasonable – it is absolutely ok to arrive at an answer which is way off its mark
5. If possible, tell the interviewer the single most assumption you made in your approach To sum up it, guesstimates are not as arbitrary as they might look. There is a method to the madness
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3

Parthenon Group Consultant interview

1.1k views
Aakansha SethiExperiencedSelected
Application
I Applied for job through Personal Contacts for Consultant role at Parthenon Group
Interview Process
Case Study Interview Case Study Interview Case Study Interview
Round 1

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: Number of roller coaster rides in the US in a year.(Case Type- Guesstimate)
Interview Experience
Case solving as well as PI, 4 rounds of interviews.
Since I had work-ex as a journalist- will you be able to work as a consultant- do you have the requisite skill set- I spoke about my strengths which were unique- was asked to give concrete examples.
Interview Tips
Practice, Practice, Practice and do as many different types of cases as possible. I didn't have a very quantitative background, so did my math with all the steps but ensured it was correct- make sure you don't make calculation errors
Round 2

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: Determine if a PE firm should invest in a timeshare based travel company- they've been making some profits but have now stagnated.
Interview Tips
The case went pretty well. Takeaways- Structure is very important. By the end of case prep you should be drawing up your own frameworks. Victor Cheng's videos are a good place to start. Along with group case prep, doing cases individually is a good way to internalize the concepts. Core term concepts have to be very clear. Consult and get feedback from the interviewer at every stage while solving the case
Round 3

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: Was given a slide deck and asked to identify the problem and present the case.
Interview Experience
The company was a scientific instruments company- sales data and market share data had to be analyzed- the company was present in too many categories and hence wasn't being able to specialize. However they rated extremely high on service- this mean the sales force was very skilled but was spread thin due to the number of categories they were present in. For this round my key reccos: 1. Go through all the slides- each slide will have a key take away 2. A story will start forming in your head- this is where listening carefully in class and practicing cases kicks in. 3. Write the points on the board simultaneously- doing them on paper first and then writing on the white board wastes time. 4. Reference page numbers on the white board so when you're making the presentation you aren't fumbling through the pages to find the relevant numbers. 5. Practice presentation skills.
Round 4 Partner round:
This round was with a partner where they asked me why a journalist wanted to become a consultant and if I'd be able to cope with the long hours. I gave an honest answer for both- this is better than having standard interview answers. I had bullet points for 50 or so PI questions. Other takeaways from the year: 1. Identify what you want to achieve in this year- and make a plan to achieve it before you get here- because during the year there isn't much time. 2. I did not have conventional corporate work ex- and for someone with a similar profile- you will have to work extra hard at mastering the concepts. 3. There's nothing that can replace practice for the case prep- so do as many cases as possible. 4. Speaking to alums about their experiences is very helpful- seek all the help you can get. 5. Begin CV review by August.
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4

Parthenon Group Associate consultant interview

3.5k views
Nimish GoelFresherSelected
Application
I was interviewed on-campus at IIT Kharagpur for Associate consultant role at Parthenon Group
Interview Process
Resume Shortlist Interview
Round 1

Resume Shortlist

Interview Experience
I have a good resume and hence got shortlisted. You need to have a couple of big spikes to get shortlisted in a big consulting firm such as Parthenon.
Interview Tips
Start preparing your resume early in August for Placements so that you can get it review by as many people as possible.
Round 2

Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: Don't Remeber
Interview Experience
Good experience.
Interview Tips
Try to be very very effective in your communication. Be clear and slow in your approach. They key for a case interview is not to run and search for an answer but to get into a sweet conversation with interviewer so that he can understand what you mean. Also try to follow a very structured and clear approach. 

In terms of preparation, start with Victor Cheng lectures move on to Case in Point and try to apply all that you learned with Victor Cheng onto Case in Point cases.

Then do advanced cases with IIM A case book, try to ask some friends from Tier 1 B schools to run mock cases for you.

For a third level, contact people in company and request them to run a mock case. This is very crucial as they will always do a fresh case with you and those cases are most likely to challenge you, These case also act as a mock interview to you. Atleast practice 30 cases before going.
Skills

Skills Tested

Skill Tips
Speak well and slow
Resources

Preparation materials

Books
  • Victor Cheng,
  • Case in Point,
  • IIM A Case book,
  • Case interview Cracked (IIT B case book),
General Tips
'll just say one thing - try to spend a few minutes and convince yourself that you can do it / believe that you can do it  It enhances on the spot performance if you can go into the interview, as they say, on the front foot!



This really helped me!
Motivation for applying
Great exposure to business. International Travel. Salary and obviously a Tier 1 consult
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5

Parthenon Group N/A interview

808 views
Anip SharmaFresherSelected
Application
I was interviewed on-campus at Indian School of Business (ISB) for N/A role at Parthenon Group
Interview Process
Case Study Interview Personal interview Case Study Interview
Round 1

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: Case Questions: There is a company in UK which organizes outdoor trips for field students. A private equity company wants to pick up a stake in the firm and wants to assess the validity of the claims of company with respect to the market share. The revenues of the company are given. How would you go about solving it?
Interview Experience
For a second I thought that the case of around assessing if the revenues of the company were reported correctly. So I wrote the formula:Revenues = No of students going of trips per year * Number of trips per students But after going astray for a min I realized that I have to estimate the total market size. Then the usual line of questioning of what is the population of UK – 60 Mn (given by interviewer) -> Assuming uniform distribution -> trips organized for people in the age group 7yrs – 15yrs (given) - > attenuate
further to estimate total number of people going for such trips - > further I asked if I should attenuate on affordability but it was not required.At this point I had forgot to question on the lines of number of trips per person and interviewer pointed this out. Thankfully, I had written it earlier in front of him and he was ok. We briefly chatted about my restaurant business and then interviewer asked if I had any questions. I asked how did he see Parthenon evolving and he explained that he still expected the office to be small but doing meaningful work.

Writing the formula early on helped not goof up. Didn’t get mired in a lot of detail

Could have remembered the other parameter

Interview Tips
The simplicity of this case is actually what throws people off track. The case was simply about estimating the total market size of the outdoor trips industry and then assessing if the market share claimed = actual market share. So just be grounded in basics.
Round 2

Personal interview

Interview Experience
We just discussed about my restaurant business. What went well and why did it not work. Then moving on to the viability of organized food services business but really no case. Just conversation.

I tried to point out to key business insights in a structured fashion. I disagreed a lot but was polite.
Round 3

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: Case Questions: This round is specific to Parthenon. I was given a 25-30 pager document on a real client situation with a LOT of numbers and I had to come up with a project proposal. I was left alone for 30 minutes with a calculator and was expected to present using a whiteboard. The case was about a laminate manufacturers who was continuously losing market share in a maturing industry as new products were coming up.
Interview Experience
After I was ready all the members of the interview panel came into the room and I started presenting. They agreed with the overall though process but the discussion ultimately hinged on why the production process is not cost effective. I pointed out to the economies of scale issue but was shot down. I pointed out to operational inefficiencies but was shot down. We were going round and round on this and it was really late in the night. But I forced myself to think from a fresh perspective
after taking a break of one min. I realized that there is an issue of learning curve here (Economics of strategy, competitive strategy – competitive advantage of Intel) which I presented. The discussion abruptly ended there as interviewer was specifically looking for this insight and I was made an offer on the spot.

I think I did a fairly good job of extracting key business insights and didn’t get lost in numbers. I used the board effectively and laid out a storyboard for the presentation. What also helped was that when pushed to come up with more ideas, I did not give up, did not lose my cool and was continuously thinking on my feet
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6

Parthenon Group Associate consultant interview

3.2k views
Prateek RajFresherSelected
Application
I was interviewed on-campus at IIT Kharagpur for Associate consultant role at Parthenon Group
Interview Process
Case Study Interview Case Study Interview
Round 1

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: Discussion on economics of Multiplex Chain based in City of Kolkata
  • Question 2: Market Entry case (In India) of a healthcare giant that has built a product that cures Cataract
Interview Experience
Typically for any top tier management consulting firm there is a resume shortlist followed by interviews. Generally, these firms shortlist around 30-40 candidates. After shortlists there was telephonic round where candidates were judged on case interviews.The first interview was more of a guesstimate where I was mostly checked on my numbers. Its always better to be a little slow rather than incorrect. The second case was a long business case which lasted for an hour or so. The interviewers look for objectivity in candidates approach while solving such problems. 
Interview Tips
Try to convert the interview into a conversationNever be wrong in your calculations, it leaves a bad impressionSpeak out loud whatever you are thinkingBe objective in your approachPractice Case Interviews with peers - IIM A,B casebooks, Wharton Casebook, Case in point 
Round 2

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: Investigation of profitability issues of a Coffee Vending Machine Operator
  • Question 2: Investment Attractiveness of K12 (Kindergarten-Class 12) type school chains in India
Interview Experience
These were final round of interviews where candidates were judged solely on the base of case interviews. The first case was more of a numbers case followed by a more business oriented problem.
Interview Tips
Same as I have mentioned for the first roundAlso I would advise you to be extremely confident during the interview Good communication skills is a must for any management consulting firms. 
General Tips
Be confident always even you screw up somewhere in the middle.
Motivation for applying
Big Brand in Management ConsultingCompensation benefitsExponential Learning Curve
Funny Moments
I was the last candidate to be interviewed by the firm. Nearly thought I had lost the company.
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7

Parthenon Group Consultant interview

1k views
Vikas PanjwaniExperiencedSelected
Application
I Applied for job through Personal Contacts for Consultant role at Parthenon Group
Interview Process
Case Study Interview
Round 1

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: Case Type- An exhaustive written case
Interview Experience
Case Narration
I had no break between any of the three interviews. After back to back 2 rounds, I was handed a 25 slides deck with loads of numbers, charts and graphs and interviews of key management personnel of the company. The interviewer gave me exactly 30 minutes to:
- Read the case and make sense of the bigger picture
- Analyze the numbers, charts and graphs and identify the trends
- Identify the potential problems (what the company is doing wrong)
- Try and figure out possible reasons for each of these problems
- Lay out an approach if I were to do this assignment in real life
- Use the white board in order to make a presentation to him (he was acting as the CEO of the Client company)

While it is extremely difficult to reproduce the case facts and approach here, I will cover some Dos and Don’ts below
Interview Tips
Some Do’s:
1. Skim the case in the first 2-3 minutes identifying the flow of the case and how data heavy it is.
2. Spend the next 10-12 minutes quickly going through the slides and jotting down takeaways from each slide. Typically, each slide won’t have more than 1 -2 key takeaways.
3. Spend the next 5 minutes linking everything together and putting a story together and identifying 3-4 top issues.
4. Strictly reserve the last 10 minutes to use the white board and jot down the key issues, supporting numbers and your approach if you were to solve this case in real life. Do not over-write, just keep it as a reference for the Partner.
5. There might be client management interviews in the slide deck – they serve as important guides in order to identify the issues.

Some Don’ts:
1. Do not miss (at least) glancing through any slide. Make sure you cover all slides. It’s embarrassing to not know what’s on a particular slide at all in case the partner refers to it during the discussion.
2. Do not treat it as a normal case interview conversation. This is a business presentation, and hence the softer aspects of presentation get noticed all the more
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8

Parthenon Group Consultant interview

995 views
Abhinav Mital ExperiencedSelected
Application
I Applied for job through Walk-in for Consultant role at Parthenon Group
Interview Process
Case Study Interview
Round 1

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: Client is a dollar store owner and has experienced a drop in revenues over the past year.
Interview Experience
This seemed as a standard revenue based case. however, the interviewer was not very interested in identifying one root problem but a breadth of problems that could influence revenues and more importantly the parameters or “symptoms” one should look for. I started with the understanding of the problem – how much drop in revenues, understand dollar stores, location of client, trend in revenue drop (geography, or store type). After having a good understanding of the situation, I decided to take a 3 Cs approach to diagnose the situation. Some problems uncovered were as follows – 1. slowdown of the economy. Consumer purchase decreasing 2. increase in competition. (possibly because of higher import opportunities) 3. geographical impact of competition 4. changing purchase behaviour at stores 5. decrease in repeat customers I followed up the diagnoses with solutions for each problem. The interviewer wanted to assess my ability to think about a wide variety of issues rather than go into a detailed discussion about one particular topic. On retrospect, I think that for a strategy consulting firm like Parthenon, they are more interested in macro level analysis than micro level.
Interview Tips
Parthenon is strategy consulting. They will ask cases which have similar flavor as you would see in my next case interview.
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9

Parthenon Group Consultant interview

1k views
Vikas PanjwaniExperiencedSelected
Application
I Applied for job through Personal Contacts for Consultant role at Parthenon Group
Interview Process
Case Study Interview
Round 1

Case Study Interview

Interview Questions
  • Question 1: There is a college in Malaysia and it has been witnessing a fall in the number of students enrolled every year.(Case Type-Profitability)
Interview Experience
There were no PI questions. I was only told one thing before he laid out the case facts – ‘Vikas, let me warn you upfront, this is going to be a very complex case and nobody today in the interviews has been able to crack it.” I do not know whether that was indeed the case or it was just a psychological ploy to make the circumstances more challenging.
One important skill that is helpful in such cases is the ability to ‘Zoom in’ and ‘Zoom Out’ frequently. Such cases would require you to keep the bigger picture in mind and not get too bogged down at any time of the case. Remember the interviewer is looking for your skills and ability and not for the solution of the case
Interview Tips
It was extremely important to be calm in this interview as I kept meeting dead ends. I think one of the qualities being tested here was how the candidate reacts in adverse circumstances. These are the cases where being structured helps immensely as there is a high possibility that you might not get to the right answer. My advice would be to keep practicing this skill as much as possible, until it becomes a habit and comes out naturally
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Parthenon Group Parthenon - EY Associate profile interview questions

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  • Question 1: What is the road length of Delhi ? Impact of facebook on businesses. Typical case and math heavy guesstimates questions. - asked on Aug, 2016 in New Delhi
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