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Indian School of Business

Consulting Case Book - Co2014

Table of Contents
From the Presidents Desk .. ......................................................................................................................... 3
Some Gyaan about major Consulting Firms!! ............................................................................................ 6
Consulting Club Calendar: 2013-14............................................................................................................. 10
CASE FRAMEWORKS ................................................................................................................................... 12
Profitability Framework .......................................................................................................................... 13
Market Entry Framework ........................................................................................................................ 24
PE Investment Framework ...................................................................................................................... 27
Sourcing/procurement cost reduction framework................................................................................. 28
Value Chain Analysis framework............................................................................................................. 29
Pricing Framework .................................................................................................................................. 31
M&A Framework..................................................................................................................................... 32
General Frameworks ............................................................................................................................... 33
CASE INTERVIEW EXPERIENCES .................................................................................................................. 36
ACCENTURE MANAGEMENT CONSULTING............................................................................................. 37
AT KEARNEY ............................................................................................................................................ 46
AMAZON ................................................................................................................................................. 51
APPLE ...................................................................................................................................................... 52
DELOITTE ................................................................................................................................................. 52
HUL INTERNAL CONSULTING ............................................................................................................... 64
MCKINSEY & COMPANY .......................................................................................................................... 66
PWC ....................................................................................................................................................... 112
SIEMENS MANAGEMENT CONSULTING ................................................................................................ 119
THE BOSTON CONSULTING GROUP ...................................................................................................... 123
THE PARTHENON GROUP...................................................................................................................... 166

From the Presidents Desk ..


Dear Consulting Club Members,
We are pleased to present to you all, the ISB - Class of 2014 Consulting Case Book. This case
book has been compiled to provide you with the experience of students of Co2014 who had
placement interviews with the consulting firms. The ISB Case Book will give you a flavor of what
to expect in the interviews and come October, this book will be the most important preparation
material to crack the case interviews.
Consulting has been a premier career choice amongst the ISB students. The range of career
interests spans a wide spectrum of consulting areas including management consulting, domain/
vertical focused consulting and internal consulting roles within organizations.
The ISB Consulting Club is a student association, which seeks to equip the student body with
resources to make informed decisions on consulting careers, tools necessary to build successful
career in consulting and opportunities to promote extra-curricular excellence. The club anchors
these efforts by creating forums for aspirants to learn and imbibe skills and best practices from
industry experts and harnessing initiatives that enable students to assimilate the learning into
practical application. The club has over 500 members, who come from diverse backgrounds and
bring in valuable work experience.
Before we move onto the case frameworks and the case interview experiences, we would like
to give you all a brief about how the Consulting Club at ISB works. Soon after the President is
elected, the club will organize various on-campus events (alumni sessions, expert speaker
series), conduct multiple resume review sessions and coordinate case competitions to enable
you make the right career choice. Alums from different consulting firms will visit campus
frequently and you should feel free to ask any question relevant for your career choice or
preparation. This year the club took some new initiatives for its members formulated a
Mentor-Mentee model where each club member was assigned to an alumnus (from the
consulting industry) so that the club member can reach out to the alumnus for any help

needed. Also, the club designed a Functional Champion Model where club members were
told about the roles and firms available in functional consulting (e.g. Risk, HR, IT, Operations
consulting etc.).
The final interview process consists of two parts Personal interview and Case interview. It is
the latter part where you would find this casebook extremely useful. Cracking a case requires a
thorough understanding of core term courses and decent level of familiarity with different case
types. Ideally, you should revisit your core term courses before you start with your case
preparation. The casebook captures majority of the cases asked during campus recruitments
and hence should sufficiently cover all types of cases you can expect in your campus interview.
Case preparation is best done in groups. Try forming group with people who are dedicated
towards case preparation and have similar class schedule to provide good preparatory time
overlap. This preparation would require different effort from different people so dont
benchmark it with number of cases or number of hours you practice cases. The aim of your
case preparation should be to feel comfortable solving cases in general and you should stop
once you attain that level of comfort (dont kill yourself with case preparation). Personal
interview (PI) is an equally important, if not more important, part of the final recruitment
process. Make sure you spend enough time preparing for your PI and are comfortable
answering general PI questions. Refer to the PI guide from the consulting club for common PI
questions.
Finally be prepared for the roller coaster ride and the hectic scenario of Day One. Students with
multiple shortlists need to get their priority ranking of the firms right and ensure that they
prepare in the best possible way for these firms. Please do sleep well before Day One and relax
because you can do only so much!!
We would like to wish you all the very best for the coming year and we sincerely hope you have
a great time here at ISB and from a career point of view move in your area of interest.

Acknowledgements
We both would like to thank the Consulting Club Core Teams from Hyderabad and Mohali:
Nikhil Abraham, Anand, Ashok, Mark, Shisher, Sidharth, Saurabh, Ajay, Rohit Singh, Aarushi,
Anant, Aditya, Shrestha, Soumyopriyo, Nidhi, Rohit Lohani, Pranav and Shiva; for the work
they have put in not only to compile this case book but also for their fantastic efforts to
organize various activities for the members of the consulting club.
Also, congratulations and special thanks to our fellow batch-mates who got through the most
sought after consulting firms and then helped us in compiling the case book.
Best Wishes,
Nikhil Vij and Nitin Golani
Presidents Consulting Club 2014

Some Gyaan about major Consulting Firms!!

McKinsey
Founded in 1926 by James O. McKinsey, McKinsey has grown into a global partnership with
over 6,000 consultants in more than 80 offices in more than 40 countries around the world.
McKinsey serves more than 70% of Fortune magazines most admired companies. It serves
governments in more than 35 countries and conducts 150 pro bono engagements each year.
Clients come to McKinsey for advice on their most critical issues when they have major
strategic, operational or organizational challenges. The firm is comprised of a global network of
offices and practices led by a partnership group. Therefore, it is not tied to earnings pressures
or to increasing returns to shareholders. A strict professional code of ethics includes putting
clients interests ahead of McKinseys, upholding absolute integrity, keeping client information
confidential, telling the truth as they see it, and delivering the best to the client in a costeffective manner.
McKinsey is very effective in concentrating the global knowledge and expertise on the topics of
interest to their clients. It has also a loyal and important alumni community. As an example, 150
McKinsey alumni have become CEOs of companies with more than one billion dollars in annual
revenues. McKinsey is a non-hierarchical organization, where knowledge, insight and the
quality of ideas trump seniority. It is a merit-based organization, where advancement and
recognition is based on the merit of the individuals contribution. There is various training
programs available and an ongoing, frequent review process tied to a strict "up or out" policy.
McKinsey typically recruits for generalist Associate positions, but also Associates for specific
functional practices namely Business Technology, Marketing & Sales, Operations and Corporate
Finance. In most offices, consultants are required to speak the local language. While the
majority of Associates do work as "generalists", with growing seniority after consultants have
been given the chance to explore multiple industries and functions specialization is a natural
progression. Overall, the firm has a culture of enabling consultants to determine their own

career path, and maintains that with its broad reach across industries, functions and
geographies.
When hiring, McKinsey seek individuals with leadership potential, integrity, a sharp analytical
mind, creativity and the ability to work with people at all levels in an organization.
Please Visit: www.mckinsey.com

The Boston Consulting Group


BCG was founded in 1963 by Bruce D. Henderson. Since its inception, BCG has grown from
Boston to a total of 61 offices in 36 countries (with 13 offices opened since 1999) and
approximately 2,900 consulting staff. The core of BCGs work has been summarized as the
virtuous circle of insight, impact, and trust. It focuses on helping clients achieve sustainable
competitive advantage.
In BCGs view, best practices, benchmarks and off-the-shelf tools are rarely sufficient to create
lasting value. Instead, each assignment consists in working with the client towards a tailored
solution, accounting for the unique set of opportunities and constraints of the specific
situation/background. For a newly hired MBA holder, this in practice means having the
satisfaction and excitement of helping a client break new ground: "I use BCG to see the unseen
as says one of its clients' CEO. The low consultants-to-partners ratio and continuous training
programs stimulate the out-of the-box thinking. Working closely with the client is a key factor
to bring impact into projects, learn how to lead, and not just analyze.
As a result of its direct casework done with clients and intensive analyses within competence
practices, BCG has been pivotal in establishing that the sources of competitive advantage can
be systematically explored and applied. Beyond classics such as the Experience Curve, GrowthShare Matrix or the Time-based Competition theories, 24 books published since 2000 by BCG
further contribute to changing how business is done.

BCG generally encourages young MBA graduates to start as generalists. Many of them start
their consulting life if they wish so - with projects in the industry of their pre-MBA job and
have therefore the satisfaction to leverage their previous experience, while learning a brand
new job. Typically 20% of BCG consultants serve on social projects across community, urban
development, health/social services, nature and arts. Consultants have opportunities to gain
further international exposure, either by choosing to work on projects outside the home office,
or by asking for a temporary 1-year, or definitive, transfer to another office. Generally,
knowledge of the local language of the chosen BCG office is required.
Please Visit: www.bcg.com

AT Kearney
A.T. Kearney is a global management consulting firm that uses strategic insight, tailored
solutions and a collaborative working style to help clients achieve sustainable results. Since
1926, AT Kearney has been trusted advisors on CEO-agenda issues to the worlds leading
corporations across all major industries. While A.T. Kearney has been serving Indian clients for
over 30 years, they opened offices in New Delhi in 1997 and subsequently, Mumbai in 2004.
Both offices have grown rapidly and are outstanding examples of the firms growth story in
India.
Please Visit: www.atkearney.com

The Parthenon Group


The Parthenon group is a boutique consulting firm focused in the education sector. The groups
main theme is its belief that there is no silver bullet when it comes to solving clients' business
challenges. Customized solutions are the key to solving complex business issues, especially in
today's fast-paced, global environment. The firm preaches the right combination of analysis
from its myriad of analytical tools, generating actionable insights that deliver impactful results.
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Please Visit: www.parthenon.com

Accenture Consulting
Accenture became public in April 2001, listed on the New York Stock Exchange. It has more
than 146,000 employees in 49 countries, including approximately 4,500 senior executives.
Initially called Andersen Consulting, Accenture was formally established in 1989 when a group
of partners from the Consulting division of the various Arthur Andersen firms around the world
formed a new organization focused on consulting and technology services related to managing
large-scale systems integration and enhancing business processes.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company,
identifying new business and technology trends and developing solutions to help clients around
the world enter new markets, increase revenues in existing markets, improve operational
performance, and deliver products and services more effectively and efficiently.
Please Visit: www.accenture.com

Other Major Consulting Firms

Deloitte Strategy & Operations, Technology Strategy & Architecture

Ernst & Young - Performance Advisory

KPMG - Shared Services & Outsourcing Advisory

PwC - Strategy

Oliver Wyman

PwCs Diamond & Technology Consulting

Vector Consulting Group

Consulting Club Calendar: 2013-14

June

Elections and Formation of the Core Team

July September

Alumni Interaction Sessions; assigning of mentors to each club member (BCG, McKinsey,
Deloitte, Parthenon)

Expert Speaker Sessions (Diamond Consulting, Vector Consulting, AT Kearney,


Cognizant, Accenture)

Coordination of Case Competitions and other B-School Competitions

September October

Resume Preparation

Resume Review Session conducted by McKinsey, BCG and Deloitte

Functional Champion Model and Handbook

October December

Case Study Preparation; through formation of peer groups

Mock Case and Personal Interviews conducted by alums

November

Consulting Club Conclave @ ILS 2013; Topic Is implementation the real deal in
Consulting?

Consilium 2013 (a business strategy case competition) Consulting Clubs flagship event

December
Day I (Please look at the updated academic calendar for this)

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January
Day II and III (Please look at the updated academic calendar for this)
March
Post Placement Activities: workshop on excel and PowerPoint training

Please visit the below link to have a detailed insight about the consulting clubs activities
\\isbhdata\ISB_Common\Consulting Club 2014
Also, all consulting enthusiasts please join the ISB Consulting Club Facebook group. Here you
will find all the alumni from ISB
https://www.facebook.com/groups/194867853901398/

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CASE FRAMEWORKS

Note: The following section has been compiled by Nishant Kedia, Vijayalakshmi Vaithianathan,
Pranav Mathur and Sarvesh Rathi. This is a concise version of important frameworks that were
used by them. However we would recommend you to go through the earlier case books as well
to cover all possible case approaches used over the years.

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I - Profitability Framework

Profitability cases are the most common type of cases that you will see. The importance of the
case stems from the fact that profit-making is the final goal of every business problem. It is
always recommended to think on first principles when you approach a case-problem. Here we
will try to run through the anatomy of a profitability case.
Breaking profitability down to its simplest components is the key in consulting cases. Dividing
profitability into components such as revenue and cost can be helpful in discovering the causes
of a less than favorable bottom line. It is to be noted that many a time, the interviewer will not
specifically mention the type of the case. The candidate is expected to follow a sequence of
logical steps by gathering information (by asking relevant questions). The structure shown
above will be useful in exploring how to go about exploring the case.
Deconstructing the case-problem
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The profitability problem is very vast and generally comes in varied dimensions. Thus, scoping
of the problem becomes very important in order to make a structured headway in the case.
This could be done by asking a sequence of logical questions. The idea behind these questions is
two-folds a) to scope the problem, b) to gather relevant information available with the
interviewer.
Defining the problem
1. What is the magnitude of loss/profit? Since when has the trend occurred?
Also, it is noteworthy to inquire if profits are declining or profitability has been affected. (These
are two different things. Profits are merely a difference of Revenues and Cost, while
Profitability is a measure of profit margin.

Q2) Ask if gross margin/operating margin or net margin which is facing the decline?
Now, going ahead with the framework, we first define profits as Revenues Cost. Thus, it is a
function of two drivers. We deep dive into one driver and hold on to the second one for the
time being.
Q3) What is the target of profit / profitability? Any other constraints or secondary objectives
(e.g. market share)?
Q4) Is there a timeline that the company wants to solve the problem in?
Q5) Just to get a background of the company, I would want to know the product mix and
revenue streams for the company.
Q6) Ask for data on trends of each product and ascertain the product(s) which is leading to the
problem.
Q7) Is the profitability problem across the industry and trends for the product? If problem is
across the industry ask for context
Demand

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Macroeconomic factors
Changing priority of customers change in demographics
Regular market disruptions

Supply
-

Regulatory change in policies


Increase in fragmentation (high supply, low demand) leading to commoditizing the
product

Q8) Competitive landscape No of competitors, market share and its trend


Define and reiterate the statement: Improve Profits in X product from A% to B% by n years.
A brief structure as below would help to landscape the problem

The problem may lie in two areas - revenue and costs. What are the trends of
revenues (up or down) and costs (up or down)?
Depending on the response, choose which one to go in first and take buy-in of
interviewer

REVENUES
Revenues are dependent on two factors
1. Average Price - Thus, if revenue side has been affected then either Average Price across the
product mix has decreased (majorly due to competition or company policy). Quantitatively, we
can see that
Average Price = Price of all the products/Total number of products =
Here, the advice is to stick to first principles and be aware of the fact that price of the products
in the product mix and total number of products could also affect the revenues.

Internal factors
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o Company tried to reduce price to increase revenues but it backfired


o Increased price because costs increased
o Transfer pricing (may be relevant if problem is limited to a division of a company)

External Factors
o Price war
o Other stakeholders demanding more in value chain e.g. increased distributor margin
o Government regulation (price cap)
o Customer preference changed. Had to reduce price

Resolution:
- Product Differentiation
1. Better features
2. Better brand
3. Better packaging
- Innovative Pricing Methods
1. Loss Leader Pricing/ Captive Pricing (Razor Blade),
2. Bundle Pricing
- Different methods of pricing:
1. Value based pricing (Premium Pricing & Price Skimming)

Aspirational value of a similar product


Opportunity cost of not getting the product/service
It is also a function of the size of the target customer segment. As larger size
would allow us to charge lesser than the maximum aspirational value in
order to penetrate into the new market

2. Cost plus Pricing

R&D Costs
Manufacturing/servicing/construction costs Fixed and Variable Costs
Break-even costs, WACC

3. Comparable (Parity) Pricing

Existing products with similar features => Marked Price + Mark-up


Existing products with superior features => Marked Price of the existing
product + Value of additional feature to the customer
If no similar product exists, then consider => NPV of substitute product
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- Bundling & Cross selling


- Consolidation: Acquire other markets players Charge premium price, Have more units sold.
If Product/Service mix volume has changed, Identify which products relative volume increase
has led to overall revenue decrease. For that product, following parameters could be assessed
Product Related Problem
Poor product quality
Problematic product mix
Inadequate breadth of product line
Depth of product line
Network effects with other products/complementary products
Service Related Problem
Poor service quality
High cost of service
Training adequacy
-Curriculum
-Frequency of training
Depth and Breadth

2. Volume
Ascertain changes in number of units sold. The two potential reasons for a volume decline are
a) Market share decline
b) Market size decline
a) If Market share declines
Market Share = %Aware X %Preference Buyers X %Available X % Time for adoption X %Repeat
Purchase
Price
o Have these increased? What is the elasticity?
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Product
o Share of Mind (Likeability)
Poor quality
network effect with other products
substitutes
product mix
better product in market
quality of service
o Perception of poor quality but good product
Check perception and preference map
If problem in perceptual map, check for accuracy in positioning
Training adequacy (curriculum or frequency of training)
Remember The final consumer might not always be the purchase decision
maker. There might me other stakeholders involved, for whom we might
need to make the product attractive.
Promotion

Share of Voice (Awareness) how to increase awareness. Check for failures in


each of the following stages.

Segmentation

Target

Build Ad
Message

Positioning

Try to think in terms of the customer purchase funnel

Awareness
Knowledge/Perception

Consideration
Preference
Loyalty
Advocacy
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Decide
Medium

Decide
Frequency

Place

Share of Distribution (Accessibility) Penetration, trade mix, lead time, distributor


margin (agency problem), sales force (less or not trained), Skill and will of sales force

b) If market size declines

Market Size
Decline

Due to Demand

Demand (mature stage in PLC)


o Check product life cycle
o Demographics change
o Product obsolescence
o Usage rate gone down
Solution Ansoff Matrix

Supply (still in growth stage of PLC)


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Due to Supply

Are you the only supplier and constrained by supply?


Are the SKUs being offered being liked by consumer? Change in consumer
preference for another SKU

Solution:

Short term
Increase distributor margins
Target new segments
Long Term
Launch new SKUs

COSTS
Following approaches can be used for cost analysis:
a) Fixed costs and variable costs
a. In a high fixed cost business there is very high temptation of price wars (Remember
MADM fundas). For Fixed Costs, following considerations need be made

Capacity Utilization
Increasing the scale of business/manufacturing What causes it?
Complex Product: High Costs - What causes it?

Complexity arises from additions to the number of products or activities managed

Often without increase in overall volume


That cannot be added at low marginal cost or minor adjustments in production/staffing

Complexity can arise in numerous parts of cost structure

Manufacturing: machine change-over and setup; increased inventory


o Starter runs: Machine changeover and setup
o Higher inventories: especially if little interchangeability
o Additional/longer product lines: often at lower volumes
Sales/distribution
o Sales force requires in-depth knowledge of full product line
o Increased storage facilities, distribution logistics
Administration
o Tracking and coordination issues
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Remember it can be a product specific problem or a product mix problem something such as
that we are selling more of higher cost product
b) Value chain analysis
Albeit simpler, FC and VC approach is considered limited in considering the entire set of costs
related problem. Here Value Chain analysis helps us to consider all the costs in detailed.

Raw Material

Inbound
logistics

warehousing

Manufacturing

Outbound
logistics

Distribution

Customers

The value chain depicted above represents a manufacturing setup. However, thinking on first
principles one can easily construct a value chain for any business mentioned in the case. For
starters, think of Suppliers, Distributors (inbound/outbound), storage/warehouses, end
customers (VERY IMPORTANT)
c) Costs income statement wise (COGS, SG&A, Interest, Depreciation, Tax)
What is the percentage split of costs across these different processes?

In case one particular head has highest % say 50% or more then you can ask the
interviewer that you would want to look at this head to start with.
Many a time there might not be one major head and there could be two heads with
30%-30%split. In these cases youll need to explore both heads and also see that the
profitability decline could be partly because of one and partly because of another.

Exploring each head one by one


In case of manufacturing Industry,
Raw Material Cost:
o Start by asking type of good (Perishable/durable)?
o Where does Competitor source from does it get better prices?
o If says same price, ask about efficiency of utilization conversion ratio/wastage/efficiency for
us. If efficiency is improved => less RM lead to reduced costs
o If the problem is higher price or higher overall procurement cost then:
Resolutions

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Specification
o Substitution (Different Raw Material)
o Cheaper material - indigenization/rationalization?
Quantity
o Value engineering (Use lesser Raw Material)
Per unit price
o Same Supplier
Better Negotiation/Bulk Order Can you provide something in return for
a better price?
Time of Sourcing (Opportunistic) Buying when prices are low
o Alternate supplier
Currency Hedging Use forwards/futures if prices are expected to rise.
Also use call or put options for the variable part of future
Standardization of Parts ordering more of same type of good
Backward Integration
Cheaper supplier - china etc?
Inbound Logistics:
o Do you and your competitor use the same Mode of Transportation?
o Do you incur the same rates and same overall cost?
o Explore Distance Travelled could be that the rates are same but your factory is
further away from the supplier base.
o Are you ordering at the Economic Order Quantity (EOQ) Trade of between Set
up cost, holding cost and expected demand
Production/Operations
o Explore Labour cost and efficiency vis-a-vis competitor.
o Inventory Cost (EOQ)
o Overheads such as Electricity/Rent same or higher?
o Machine Utilization: % Downtime - High?
Machine broken? Maintenance/spare cost
Power outage?
Labour unavailability?
Total availability will be a function of (% of time labour, % time machine
available, % Idle time)
o Resolution additional dimensions:
Outsource
Economies of Scale/Learning curve
Labour cost arbitrage
Distribution/Outbound Logistics:
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Explore same as (Inbound)


Post Sales Cost:
o Installation
o Service or Warranty cost?
Gross margin is same but Operating margin has reduced:
o Marketing & Administration SG&A
o R&D cost
o Restructuring cost
o Licensing and regulatory costs
If NOPAT is down
o Depreciation & Amortization
o Interest Expense
o Tax rates which geographies (VAT) does our company operate in?
o Inventory Write off
o Gains/losses or external investments
o Loss due to some catastrophic event.

SUMMARY
Define the problem by asking the following questions
1. What is the magnitude of the profit/loss?
2. Since when is the issue happening?
3. Is it in any particular geography or is it nationwide?
4. What is the profit/loss of the product mix?
5. What is the target profitability?
6. What is the target time frame?
You may ask other questions as well depending on the problem type. Once you get a grip of the
problem start structuring your analysis as indicated below
1. Market

How is the market growing?


Industry wide or company specific issue

2. Customer

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Segment customers

3. Competitors

Segment competitors

Now proceed with the framework outlined above to identify the root cause of the problem

II - Market Entry Framework


Market entry cases can be quite tricky if the basic factors such as basis of entry, companys As-Is
position etc. are not understood properly.
This framework broadly outlines the major considerations in a market entry case. Different
portions of the framework may be important for different problems depending on case in
point.
A comprehensive analysis includes the following:
1.
2.
3.
4.

Situation Analysis
Value chain Analysis
Industry Attractiveness
Entry Strategy

1. Situation Analysis
Situation
Analysis

Motive
- Profit, Market Share,
geographic expansion?

Current business/
products

Expectation
Current Customers

- Target profit,
market share,
geogrpahy etc.
- Which part of
value chain?
- Timeline?

If the situation analysis culminates into finding which part of value chain is appropriate for
entry, value chain analysis needs to be done.
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2. Value Chain analysis

Parameters

Sourcing

Manufacturing

Distribution

After sales
services

Market Size
Sales Growth
Profitability
Competition
Customers
Technology/skills
Investment required
Value of Synergy
That part of value chain must be chosen which maximizes profits of the firm. It must be
in-line with the firms primary objective
3. Industry Attractiveness
Once the firms objective and its role in the market entry is understood it is essential to
evaluate the industry attractiveness. It has two major components:
Fundamental Attractiveness Is the industry attractive irrespective of the firms current
business, products, customers, performance etc.?
Competitive positioning How is the firm positioned to perform in the industry by
virtue of its present status?

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Industry Attractiveness
Fundamental Attractivenss

Competitive Positioning
Revenue Synergies

Market

- Cross selling existing products to


new segment

- Size, Growth,
Profitability
Industry

- Cross selling new producs to


existing customer segment

- Competitors

- Effect of increased product


quality (if any) on pricing and
volume
Cost Synergies

- Customers

- Value Chain
Entry Barriers

- Economies of scale

- Regulation

- Sourcing/ Distribution benefits

- Distribution

Technological benefits

- Investment

- Savings in SG&A

- Technology

- Consolidation benefits

- Brand Loyalty

- Value chain integration benefits


(upstream/downstream)

Fundamental Attractiveness

Increase in either of the parameters compensates for the decrease in the other for a threshold
level of attractiveness. A curve can be plotted as shown below:

Enter

Do not
enter

Competitive Positioning

26

4. Entry Strategy

Entry Strategy

Mode of Entry

Resources Required

- Greenfield

- Financing

- Franchise

- Technology

-M&A

- Manpower

- Joint Venture

Mode of entry can be evaluated using the following parameters:


Parameters
Financial

Greenfield

Franchise

M&A

JV

Profits
Investment
Operational
Management Control
Expertize
Cultural fit
Strategic Vision
Risks
Lock-in
Coordination
Cross effects
Threat of competition

III - PE Investment Framework


This section discusses investment into a business for financial gain.
Whenever asked to evaluate an investment it is essential to understand the objective first.

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Why? Objective of investment: direct return from investment, incentives in the


current business, synergies, etc.
What? What is the target rate of return from investment
When? Timeline of investment
Once the expectation setting is done, rationale to make an investment can be evaluated as
follows:

Industry
Attractiveness

Target's
Potential

Sources of
Return

Market Size and growth


Profitability
Competition
Customers & Suppliers
Substitutes
Entry barriers
Financial
Revenues, revenue growth
Profits, profit growth
Debt/Equity
Price per share/ Earnings per share (P/E)
Operational
Products & Services
Capabilities - Sourcing, manufacturing technology, distribution, IP etc.
Management
Vision
Skill

Value of control - Operational Efficiency (Value chain analysis)


Synergy (Revenue & Costs) with existing investments
Other benefits - Tax breaks, regulatory reliefs etc.

Only if the industry is attractive, target has high potential and expected return from the
investment (from all sources) exceed target ROI, investment is justified.

IV - Sourcing/procurement cost reduction framework


The following framework can be used to analyze increasing sourcing costs and make
recommendations for reducing the same:
28

Sourcing costs
RM Costs

Transportation costs

Supply

Demand

- Reduce Wastage

- Price (Negotiation, LTC/


futures etc.)

- Operational

Network optimization

- Price
- Negotiation
- Long term/ future

improvement (value

contracts

- Mode of transport

chain analysis)

- Volume discounts

- Supplier rationalization

- Suppliers

- Substitutes

- Supplier rationalization
(alternate suppliers,
consolidation etc.)

- Change specification

- Efficiency of transport
(TAT, load factor, quantity
transported per trip etc.)

- raw material specs

- finished product specs

- Backward integration

V - Value Chain Analysis framework


Value chain analysis is an extremely useful tool to solve many business problems. The basic idea
here is to understand different parts of the value chain and look for abnormalities/inefficiencies
at each leg of the value chain.
A general value chain structure is as follows (some parts may not be relevant for certain
industries):

Demand
Forecasting

Sourcing

Warehous
ing

Logistics
(inbound)

Manufact
uring

Logistics
(outbound)

Distributi
on

After
Sales
service

A few important questions to ask under each part of the value chain will result in insights for
problem solving:
29

Demand Forecasting
How volatile is demand?
What is the method used for high demand and high volatility raw materials?
Recommendations Careful estimation of raw material quantities for high profit margin
and high variability products
Sourcing
Refer sourcing framework
Warehousing

Are warehousing costs significantly higher than the industry average?


Warehouse capacity sufficient?
Is warehouse optimally utilized?
Visibility of SKUs?
Automated vs Manual operations
Recommendations apply EOQ to reduce inventory costs, manpower rationalization,
layout modifications etc.

Manufacturing
Benchmark all costs with industry average
o Direct Labour
o Direct Material
o Overheads
Reason for higher costs?
o Process (process parameters, sequence of operations, utilization etc.)
o People (Incentives, skill, motivation etc.)
o Technology (obsolete, inefficient etc.)
Recommendations Make vs buy (outsource?), Consolidate manufacturing capacity
(Economies of Scale and Scope), upgrade technology, people management and training,
process redesign etc.
Logistics

Benchmark with industry average


Price (Negotiation, LTC/ futures etc.)
Network optimization
Supplier rationalization (consolidation, alternate suppliers etc.)
Mode of transport
30

Efficiency of transport (TAT, load factor, quantity transported per trip etc.)
Distribution
Penetration (no of distributors)
Shelf space (% of own items vs % of others items)
Recommendation look at distributor commission structure (push), discount schemes
(pull), expand distributor network etc.
After Sales Service

Service time, quality and cost


Variety of services
Accessibility/Availability
Benchmark with industry average
Recommendations improve the metric (time, cost and quality) which is most
important to the customer, open more service centers, relocate centers, acquire other
service centers, outsource etc.

VI - Pricing Framework

Product
Pricing
Cost Plus

Value Based

Competitive

Defining the problem


Start with the basic questions on the product, company, customers. Ask specific questions on
the product like
1. Differentiated or Commodity product
2. Who is the consumer and who is the customers (customer and consumer can be different)
3. Is it a luxury product or a necessity?

31

Once you understand the nature of the product, then try to assess what kind of pricing
methodology would work best (in any case you should price the product based on all the
methods and give your final recommendation based on a price range based on the three
methods)
Product type:

Standard/Commoditized
product
Pricing Methodology:
Cost Plus

Competitive

Differentiated
product
Value Based

Tips:
1. Many pricing problems are masked market size estimation problems. When the
conversation goes in that direction, ensure you specify that youd calculate the market size
before pricing the product
2. Theres no single price Always offer a price range. Mentioning the sensitivity metrics in
calculations would fetch additional brownie points.
3. Think about competitive reaction in the market
4. Topics like bundling and other innovative prices (discount scheme etc.) will fetch brownie
points
5. Price the product based on consumer psychology (for example - use $5.99 as the price to
indicate that consumers are more willing to buy at $5.99 instead of $6)

VII - M&A Framework


The following are the main steps to evaluate a case which for an acquisition:

What is the need for acquisition


o Type 1: If there are operational needs revenue increase/ cost decrease explore
other than M&A options also
o Type 2: The other reason could be deployment of capital if it is the case,
explore alternatives for investment in the decision making process
What are the list of businesses which are available for acquisition In case of Type 2, it
can be further classified as related businesses and non related businesses
Acquisitions are like make or buy always question what would it cost to build the
business in-house v/s acquiring it

32

List down some criteria to select the businesses to acquire and rank them. This
approach can be used either when there are multiple businesses to select from or same
business but different companies to select from. Some criteria could be as follows:
o Synergies from costs
o Synergies from customers in terms of revenue you can add a wow factor that
you would generally be cautious here since revenue synergies are hard to
materialize
o Level of competition
o Extension of existing strengths into the new business
o Use of existing competitive advantage
o Risks in the business
Compute the net benefit of such acquisition based on the costs incurred to acquire
them v/s the potential synergies that could be realized. Remember to mention that
estimating synergies is a tricky business (this is the wow factor here)
Once you have identified the synergies you would like to focus on the valuation
o Discounted cash flows method
o Market multiple method (has the issues associated being a historical number and
also the possibility of being inflated)
The next thing that you would want to focus on is how you plan to finance the
acquisition
o Finance acquisition through stock to be used when the acquiring company
stock is overvalued
o Finance acquisition through cash (a combination of equity and debt) - to be used
when the acquiring company stock is undervalued
o Finance acquisition through both stock and cash
The next step would be to perform the due diligence and then consummate the
transaction.

VIII - General Frameworks


Prioritization Matrix (2 by 2s): Can be used to evaluate any project/R&D activity. There are
number of ways to do the same a few are outlined below

33

Guess Estimates: Do not neglect this section and be thoroughly prepared with the same. A
guess estimate can be asked in multiple ways, even while solving a normal profitability case.
Once you have completed the guess-estimate then try to include the following to make your
analysis much richer
a. Verification of data Identify a few sources from where you can get the right numbers to
further refine your estimate.
b. Sensitivity Analysis Conduct a basic sensitivity analysis and identify the most critical
assumptions you made.
Such an extended analysis shows that you have thought through all the assumptions made and
are not arbitrarily using any number to estimate. Although the numbers do not matter here but
having a basic sense of the numbers used and identifying the potential areas of over/under
estimating helps a lot.

Sales Force Effectiveness: You may use this to identify the reason for low sales force output.

34

Sales Force
Effectiveness

Motivational

Monetary

Efforts/Skills

Non-Monetary

Training

Salary

Perks

Recruitment

Incentives

Career/Growth

Organization
Structure

Recognition/Awards

Sourcing Strategy: Such types of cases are relatively rare however can be solved using a
standard approach outlined below
Sourcing
Strategy

What to source

How much to
source

Whom to source
from

How to Source

Mode of
transport

Others

Same Raw
Material
sourced

Wastages

Backward
Integrate

Centralized

Govt

Alternate Raw
Material

Process redesign

Current
Suppliers

De-Centralized

Macro trends

Quantity
Bundling

New Suppliers

35

CASE INTERVIEW
EXPERIENCES

36

ACCENTURE MANAGEMENT CONSULTING


Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Aditya Shrivastava
Accenture Management Consulting
Partner from Operations Practice

First
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)

Introduction
Why Consulting & Why AMC
Learning from ISB
Past Work Experience
Biggest Strength
What went Right
Was very thorough with my resume and hence
was able to handle questions on projects that
had undertaken.
- What Went Wrong
I was asked to defend my GPA, specifically why I
was not in the top 10 % considering I wanted to
be in consulting. Wasnt prepared for the
question and mumbled a very unconvincing
answer
Case question (as narrated by the It was a short case, probably to check my comfort level with
interviewer)
numbers and understanding of operations.
Questions- A packaged water manufacturer wants to reduce the
cost at which plastic bottles are reduced. How would you
approach the problem
How did you define the scope of the
Clarified the focus of the case Only cost reduction in
case
plastic bottle or I needed to look at other aspects as well.
Clarified what was the clients expectation for the
reduction. Ball park figure mentioned was 5-7 %
Case Analysis presented by you

Framework for analysis


1. Reduce costs by rationalizing suppliers
2. Cost reduction from modified design
3. Cost reduction by predicting demand betterreducing inventory costs for client & supplier

Final recommendation / summary

On cross questioning I realized that the client was


procuring 1000 bottles from 10 different suppliers at the
same rate. Suggested reducing the number of suppliers
to 2-3. Economies of scale would help in reduction of
cost for the supplier, a percentage of which can be
transferred to the client.
1. Interviewer mentioned that for the entire
supplier the entire capacity was occupied, to
37

increase volume of client procured bottles the


suppliers would have to let go of other clients.
How will our client gain the reduction
Mentioned 3-4 improvements that will
lead to reduction in cost 1- Reduction in
number of set up times, 2- an injection/
blow molding toll with a larger number
of slots can be used to reduce cycle
times per bottle , 3- Reduction in overall
time spent in booking orders, 4- Delivery
to reduced number of customers will
lead to a reduction in transportation
cost
2. Interviewer then asked how I will select 2-3
suppliers from the existing 10 and why 2-3
instead of 1.
Drew a matrix on which each supplier
can be rated. Had used 3-4 performance
criteria ( do not exactly remember)
Mentioned the risks associated with
keeping a single supplier and also the
fact that keeping 2-3 supplier allows us
to play one supplier against the other
3. For Cost reduction by Design I mentioned that
the design of the bottle can be changed to
reduce the material required per bottle and also
to improve the cycle times. Suggested changing
the raw material or using a blend of recycled and
fresh polymers
4. Suggested improving the efficiency of demand
prediction and a closer collaboration between
client and its supplier. Implementation of
Dynamic demand tracking system so that the
supplier knows when to expect order and can
accordingly plan his inventory
At every stage the interviewer was asking me to estimate what
percentage reduction would I be able to achieve with each of the
steps and at the end he gave me fictional numbers asking me to
calculate overall reduction
What do you think went right while I was able to keep the interviewer engaged throughout the
solving the case?
analysis.
What do you think could have been While calculating the overall reduction I missed the reduction
done better while solving the case?
which can be obtained by the reduction in set up times as I had
not written it down in my framework
Outcome of the interview (optional) Moved to Round 2

38

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Comments on the PI rounds (please


elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)

Aditya Shrivastava
Accenture Management Consulting
Amit Engagement Manager Operations Practice
Second
1. Introduction
2. About my past work experience
3. Why I move from R&D to a B-School and why do I want
to join consulting
4. Details of all my Patents expected business ,
commercialized or not etc
-

What went Right


Had prepared a story about how my career has
transitioned till date
- What Went Wrong
Nothing that I can point out
Case question (as narrated by the Turnaround strategy for Nokias Mobile devices division (Pre
interviewer)
Microsoft Acquisition). The interviewer wanted a birds eye view
of the strategy, didnt wasnt me to go into the details
How did you define the scope of the
I mentioned upfront that Nokia should look at itself as a
case
company with expertise in consumer electronics and not
just as a mobile manufacturer
Case Analysis presented by you
Framework for analysis
1. Identification of Consumer Preference
2. Product Development
3. Operations Strategy
4. Marketing Strategy
5. Organization Structure
Final recommendation / summary
1. Mentioned the steps the company can take to identify
how consumers interact with personal electronic devices
and then identify what would be required in the market
in the next 2-3 years. Suggested methods such as
Conjoint, Focus group discussions etc for the same
2. Suggest formation of product specific PD teams with
broad based expertise to accelerate product
development. Also mentioned that the teams should
keep a close watch on patent filings by Samsung and
Apple to identify the direction the two major players
next gen products.
3. Identification of outsourced manufacturers who have
excess capacity to ensure the company gets competitive
prices. Also excess capacity would ensure that
production can be scaled up on short notice
4. Marketing Strategy- Suggested target marketing via
internet and test marketing of products in limited
geographies to ensure that a lemon is not marketed
39

heavily. Also test marketing will help in identifying the


best way to push the product into the different markets
5. Organization Structure- Mentioned that the organization
should be centered on PD groups to ensure they get
complete support and have to face least resistance. This
would also be a method of signaling to other employees
about what is critical for Nokia
What do you think went right while Was able to leverage my previous experience in product
solving the case?
development and launch to create a frame work after the
framework it was pretty easy to continue as it was mostly faff
and no cross questioning
What do you think could have been Should have touched on Android V/S Windows mobile and the
done better while solving the case?
pros and cons of going with one or the other.
Outcome of the interview (optional) Moved to Round 3

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Comments on the PI rounds (please


elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)

Case question (as narrated by the


interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the
case
Case Analysis presented by you
Final recommendation / summary
What do you think went right while
solving the case?
What do you think could have been

Aditya Shrivastava
Accenture Management Consulting
Jasjit Parmar HR Manager
Operations Partner ( Not the one who interviewed my in the first
round)
Third Round
1. Introduction
2. Defend your GPA
3. Why Accenture
4. What was my contribution to Consilium
5. Why was I under pressure / why do you look under
pressure
- What went Right
Defended my GPA pretty well,
Knew multiple alums in Accenture and hence
when they were trying to push me I could use
one of them as an example for why I wanted to
join Accenture
- What Went Wrong
It was a classic good cop-bad cop interview to
create a stressful situation and at one point in
time I became very serious.
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
40

done better while solving the case?


Outcome of the interview (optional)

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)

Was made an offer

Maan Bodawala
Accenture Management Consulting
Not a partner
First

Personal interview questions (please Apart from general questions like walk me through your resume,
write the questions only)
strengths, Why consulting, etc was asked Example of conflict
resolution, Team support and Team Leadership experience.
Comments on the PI rounds (please Was confident, which was the most important thing. On why
elaborate on what went right and consulting, I provided a really rosy picture as to the greatness of
what could have been done better)
the role, like learning, ambition, networking etc. The interview
through agreed informed me a lot of downsides, like work life
balance, commitment and I was required to defend why I was a
suitable candidate to handle them.
Case question (as narrated by the Relevant to my experience, Possible reason why an Oil & Gas /
interviewer)
Power plant is delayed.
How did you define the scope of the Project Management
case
Case Analysis presented by you
Value chain Basis: Actual Bidding phase, Planning, Engineering,
Procurement:
Technical/Commercial,
Manufacturing
&
monitoring, Quality Checks, Logistics, Construction, Pre
commissioning, Commissioning and Final Testing before actual
startup. Took the interviewer through all reasons of delay and
multiple reasons for checks and corrections if any
Final recommendation / summary
The interviewer was very pleased, No cross questions asked.
What do you think went right while Elaborate and thorough knowledge of your previous industry/
solving the case?
function a must.
What do you think could have been done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional) Selected for Round 2

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)

Maan Bodawala
Accenture Management Consulting
Partner
Second
General Questions. Experience and resume related. Also inquired
about vertical/horizontal preferences at Accenture and why.
By the 3rd question told me that there was little energy level
visible. I apologized and responded that I am generally calm and
soft spoken, which may be why the interviewer may feel that I
am showing lesser energy. Also told him that there were some
41

conflict placement scheduling concerns which I have been


managing for the past 2 hrs, which may have an impact
Case question (as narrated by the Relevant to my experience, The client is a Water treatment EPC
interviewer)
company, and has grown exponentially in the last 3 years. But
the organization is now facing profitability concerns, they seek
your help.
How did you define the scope of the Profitability framework : Project Management
case
Case Analysis presented by you
Me: Reiterated to the interviewer that though the revenues are
growing, the profitability lowering means that the costs are
rising at a much faster rate.
Interviewer : Obviously,
Me: I would like to analysis the costing increase now and I can do
the same in 2 methods:
1) The traditions Income statement method
2) The Value chain method
Also I would like to add that I would prefer analyzing the value
chain as it would provide a more thorough analysis.
Interviewer: Asked what matrix I would use to evaluate which
component is impacting the costing most.
Me: I would firstly use industry Benchmarks, followed by the
traditional costing when the company was showing acceptable
profitability.
Interviewer: Anything else.
Me: Thought about some time, could not come up with an
answer.
Interviewer: Ok I would really prefer the conventional financial
statement analysis but lets proceed with the value chain one.
Me: I can work even with a financial statement analysis, if u
want.
Interviewer: No proceed with Value chain.
Me: Value chain Basis: Actual Bidding phase, Planning,
Engineering,
Procurement:
Technical/Commercial,
Manufacturing & monitoring, Quality Checks, Logistics,
Construction, Pre commissioning, Commissioning and Final
Testing before handing over to client.
Went about describing potential costing reasons in each
Interviewer: Please stop focus on the question statement please.
Me: I apologize, will constraint my analysis of what possible
increments possible due to work increments and would start by
focusing on various constraints and process de optimization due
to increasing requirements.
Interviewer: Let me tell u that the main reason for cost increase
was Procurement and construction costs, why is that so.
Me: Started by mentioning manpower and process constraints.
Interview: Dont use generic terms, please tell me what is cost
basically
Me: Was taken aback. Responded Unit cost * Volume Quantity.
42

Interviewer: Tell me why there is an increase in both in this case.


Me: Quality concerns, wastage, theft and inventory
mismanagement at plant level.
Interviewer: Anything else.
Me: Management issues, coordination between different
departments might not be proper increasing costing and
quantity.
Interviewer: Anything else that may impact both. Unit cost &
Quantity
Me: Blank.. Could not come up with anything new. Told maybe
the contractual obligations may change in process, or initial
mistakes while bidding.
Interviewer: the actual reason was that the engineering
department had become constraint: the process was that the
HOD would review each document before application, hence a
huge delay was there and also some incorrect drawings were
approved.
Me: I already stated quality, and had engineering as a
component of my value chain, but I understand that the costing
in procurement and construction may go up due to engineering
issues without an impact on engineering costs directly.
Should I summaries
Interviewer: Not required
Final recommendation / summary
The interviewer was very specific in what he wanted. Be as
thorough as possible.
What do you think went right while Pointed out the major issues.
solving the case?
What do you think could have been I felt nervous when after many days of case prep wasnt able to
done better while solving the case?
get the solution the interviewer wanted.
Outcome of the interview (optional) Selected for Round 3

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)

Maan Bodawala
Accenture
Manoj - Senior partner
3rd

Personal interview questions (please Tell us about form extracurricular achievements


write the questions only)
Why is Microsoft looking to hire a CEO from outside Microsoft,
Why is there inflation in India, What makes a company truly
innovative, Which is the most innovative company according to
you and Why.
Comments on the PI rounds (please Was confident, Answered everything to the point, was able to
elaborate on what went right and defend cross questions like why does Microsoft truly require
what could have been done better)
people from none IT backgrounds, and if FIIs & FDIs are the main
reason for inflation why inflation is lesser in china.
Case question (as narrated by the None
43

interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the None
case
Case Analysis presented by you
None
Final recommendation / summary
The interviewer was very pleased; by the middle of the interview
only I could sense an FIF but still remained calm and composed.
What do you think went right while Smiled when was asked the inflation question, the interviewers
solving the case?
were intrigued, asked me why I smiled and I calmly responded
that I did not expect this question. The fact I was able to nail the
same showed I was able to manage some sort of ambiguity.
What do you think could have been done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional) Made an offer

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Comments on the PI rounds (please


elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)

Case question (as narrated by the


interviewer)

How did you define the scope of the


case

Kushagra Gupta
Accenture Management Consulting
Kaustubh Verma, Manager
Round 1
Kaustubh started out with the usual PI questions:
1. Walk me through your resume.
2. Why consulting?
3. You must have shortlists from other consulting firms. Why
Accenture?
4. How many consultants currently work at Accenture? Who is
our CEO?
This was my first interview of the day and it was already running
a bit late so my responses were not quite up to the mark. I felt I
answered questions 1-3 quite well (tip: personalize your why
consulting/ why this firm responses). I had not read up on
Accenture so did not know answers to question 4. I told
Kaustubh so that I did not know. It is better to honestly admit if
you dont know something.
Our client is family-owned Indian conglomerate. Suppose that
they have insider knowledge that a scientist has developed a
technology that provides an eternal source of energy to any
device that it is plugged to. You are called in to advise the client
on how he can benefit from this opportunity.
I started out by asking the standard questions of what our client
was currently into (food and electronics) and what was the
nature of this new invention (it provided a portable unlimited
power source to any device it was connected to). I hypothised
that our client could partner with the scientist to take this new
technology to market and build power devices that encapsulate
44

this technology. However, Kaustubh said that the scientist plans


to make this technology open source so that anyone in the world
would be able to make devices based on this technology. I now
deduced that the scope of the problem was once this technology
becomes freely available, how could our client take advantage of
the new conditions.
Case Analysis presented by you
I split the impact into two groups:
1. Supply of energy: There would be a need to manufacture
devices to harness this new technology. Particularly, I analyzed
larger power supplier like power generation plants, etc. Our
client could make products to deliver this new technology for
mass power generation. Kaustubh mentioned here that this new
technology could be plugged into anything such as cars, etc. So I
suggested our client could look at broad spectrum of energy
products (from mass-production to mobile).
2. Demand for energy: With energy becoming essentially free,
demand for electrical and electronics would go through the roof,
especially in developing economies such as India and China. In
parallel, demand for oil would go down and hence Gulf
economies would be affected. I suggested that our client could
become a trader for goods between both country blocs. They
could also ramp up their capacity for electronics to sell to this
growing demand from India and China.
Final recommendation / summary
Ramp up capacity to produce electronics for sales in India and
China in the wake of exponential growth in demand created by
this new invention.
What do you think went right while This case was not a typical consulting case and required intuitive
solving the case?
thinking and not frameworks. I think I asked the correct
questions to narrow down the scope and then outlined various
impacts and how our client could benefit from them. The case
was more like a discussion with Kaustubh guiding me on which
options he wanted me to analyze in depth.
What do you think could have been I feel that I could have been more structured in exploring options
done better while solving the case?
for the impact and Kaustubh had to guide me a bit to come to
the demand side impact and related recommendations.
Outcome of the interview (optional) Advanced to Round 2, backed out of the process after receiving
an offer from another firm.

45

AT KEARNEY
Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Pratheek Hegde
A T Kearney
Ayushman, Partner

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Pratheek Hegde
A T Kearney
Shiv Shivaraman, Partner

First
He focused mostly on my extracurricular activities. I had
mentioned my NCC experience, flying and shooting there in
detail. He found it interesting and we had a long chat about it.
Comments on the PI rounds (please Build a connect with the interviewer during PI. It really helps to
elaborate on what went right and break the ice and build a rapport.
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the A chemicals manufacturer has hired you to audit the companys
interviewer)
performance and provide a long term strategy
How did you define the scope of the This was one of the cases which required quick on the spot
case
thinking and altering the framework. After few scoping questions
I realized he was looking for me to evaluate its entire value
chain.
Case Analysis presented by you
I laid out a detailed value chain and asked questions about each
activity. I zeroed in on manufacturing and used the profitability
framework. Through the analysis it turned out that the company
had an old plant and was fully depreciated. It did not have any
debt on the books. Thus it was recording profits quarter on
quarter for the last 2 years. Volume of its sales had stagnated
since capacity was fully used.
Final recommendation / summary
Invest in a new plant. The profit is a symptom rather than a
result. The actual profit by including interest payments and dep.
Was lower.
What do you think went right while He liked my value chain and the way I used the profitability
solving the case?
framework. He was impressed by the way I related operations to
the financial statements
What do you think could have been Nothing really
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional) Moved to next round

2nd
He started the interview with a formal chat and we spoke about
Bangalore and the university. (he was from the same university
as I was in BE) I had built a very good rapport with him during
the dinner that ATK held for shortlisted candidates. He was a
46

mech. Engineer and was very passionate about cars. We spoke


for nearly 30 mins on various mechanisms and how TATA nano
had lost its way.
Comments on the PI rounds (please Build a connect.
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the A simple guestimate question on number of 4 wheelers in India
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the
case
Case Analysis presented by you
It was simple to layout a structure and plug in numbers. I think
he was checking my speed with complicated numbers. I kept my
cool and calculated till the last step.
Final recommendation / summary
What do you think went right while My knowledge about the sector helped here.
solving the case?
What do you think could have been Nothing really
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional) Moved to next round

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the
case

Pratheek Hegde
AT Kearney
Nithin, Principal
3rd
No PI

Entry strategy for a global auto client to India

I laid out the standard entry framework. He quickly advised me


to be creative and asked for a different approach. He said make
it more like a conversation.
Case Analysis presented by you
I started by analyzing the strengths of the client and studied
their products. He asked me to concentrate on the
implementation part of the strategy. This was a long interview
and at times I was not sure what he was looking for. Finally when
I came to dealer development and establishment of service
centers he asked me to stop.
Final recommendation / summary
He was testing my domain knowledge and wanted to gauge how
much I know about my sector.
What do you think went right while Nothing
solving the case?
What do you think could have been I think this was the worst interview of the lot. He was looking for
47

done better while solving the case?


Outcome of the interview (optional)

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Comments on the PI rounds (please


elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the
case

Case Analysis presented by you

a crisp and quick analysis. I dragged it too much into details


which he was not interested in.
Offer made

Kushal Patwardhan
AT Kearney
Nitin Chandra (Principal)
First

Tell me about yourself


Tell me something that's not on the resume
Tell me 2 of your biggest accomplishments one from
personal life and one from professional
I had prepared answers for all PI questions so it went very
smoothly. Also had met Nitin during informal session so was able
to connect well.
A small car manufacturer is currently importing 100% of their
cars from Korea. They're thinking about moving manufacturing
to India. How should they decide?
Started with asking timeline, budget constraints, etc.
I asked about Motivations and expectations. He confirmed the
motivations as purely profits and strategically it did not matter
where manufacturing happened. Expectation was 20% ROI
It was a very simple MADM problem.
Costs of importing from Korea
Production cost : $6500
Import logistic: $500
Import duties: $500
Cost of making in India
Production cost: $5500
Any other costs savings ? (inventory etc) .. was asked to ignore
all other costs.
Savings per car = $7500-$5500= $2000
Initial investment required = $3 million
Breakeven period = 3mill/ 2000 = 150,000 units
Projected sales per year 50,000
Break even period = 150000/50000 = 3 years
ROI = (Using rule of 72) 72/3 = 24%
Since ROI required is greater than 20% . Exceeds expectations.
He then asked me to talk about risks. I used SCOR framework
from MRGO elective course to list
48

Supply risks- Raw material, Component supplier availability in


India . Costs of production in India rising which would reduce
$2000 savings.
Production risks- Labor , infrastructure, political disruptions ,etc
( faced by Tata motors, Maruti n all). Costs rising over next few
years.
Demand risk - recession, possibility of projected demand not
being realized, delaying the payback and reducing ROI
Final recommendation / summary

Client's expectations of ROI are satisfied by this investment.


Recommendation is to go ahead with these investments after
doing Sensitivity analysis for each cost component and other
risks mentioned.
What do you think went right while Math was easy, I asked motivation and expectations upfront
solving the case?
which helped. Classes taken in Ops helped build a risk
assessment framework which was liked by interviewer.
What do you think could have been Made the mistake of asking price of car (which was irrelevant to
done better while solving the case?
the calculation)
I forgot how to calculate ROI!! Interviewer had to hint me that
payback period means that investment is doubled. Then I
realized that rule of 72 should be used.
It was my first interview of the day so was nervous and fumbled
on an otherwise simple case.
Outcome of the interview (optional) I was told to wait and immediately meet a partner

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Kushal Patwardhan
AT Kearney
Shiv Shivaraman (Partner)

Second
Tell me about yourself
Why did you come back to India?
Why ATK?
Comments on the PI rounds (please PI questions I had prepared well so had no trouble there. I had a
elaborate on what went right and really nice discussion with Shiv. He had also worked in HVAC
what could have been done better)
consulting so we talked a bit about that.
Case question (as narrated by the Estimate the market size for small car in India in 2020
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the Just had to establish what a small car is. he said priced between
case
3lakh - 5 lakh
Case Analysis presented by you
This is a standard guesstimate. I don't remember all numbers but
this is how i went about it
1. No .of Households in india in 2020 ~ 300mill
2. Income distribution (told me to assume more or less same as
today)
160 million - <1.5lakh per annum
49

80 million - 1.5 - 3.5 lakh per annum


50 million - 3.5 -17.5 lakh
5 million - 17.5 lakh +
Then I calculated cost of buying a car per year
EMI for a 3lakh car for 5 year loan @12% interest rate =
approximately 3lakh*1.5 / 5 years ~ 1 lakh
Considering that car is not a primary need, it cannot be more
than 1/5th of annual spending.
So only families with more than 5 lakh income can afford it.
This eliminated 240 million families, leaving us with 55 million.
Then with help of Shiv I calculated the penetration, Preference
for small cars (based on substitute effect of bikes and luxury
cars) etc and arrived at some number. He was happy with that.
Final recommendation / summary

Arrived at car market by multiplying volume by avg. price


provided by interviewer
What do you think went right while I had done similar guess estimates so this wasn't too difficult.
solving the case?
What do you think could have been I forgot substitution effect (higher income people will prefer
done better while solving the case?
luxury cars). Shiv had to nudge me to make me remember that
Outcome of the interview (optional) After the interviews I was called back in and asked point blank
about other shortlists and my pecking order of companies. I
truthfully told them that ATK was 3rd on my priority (probably a
bad idea)
Not shortlisted for other rounds although I think the interviews
had gone well.

50

AMAZON
Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Daniel Fernandez
Amazon BDM Amazon Associates Program

5 rounds in total
Your biggest achievement professionally? One time when your
POV was different from your manager and you were
right/wrong. Most challenging situation at work.
Comments on the PI rounds (please Know the Amazon core values, each interview is designed to test
elaborate on what went right and your outlook and the fitment. Last round can be a stress
what could have been done better)
interview, important to stay calm as the interviewer is likely from
a non-related background and may not be able to relate to your
work or achievements.
Case question (as narrated by the Suppose Dance India Dance would like to sign up as an affiliate
interviewer)
for the Amazon Associates program. How would you value the
deal and how would you structure it?
A large upstream provider which accounts for 30% of your
overall traffic in the Associates Program has started sending you
fraudulent traffic. What do you do? Do you suspend his account
immediately and lose 30% of your traffic or find a way to keep
him on.
Youre starting the Amazon Associates Program in India. How do
you decide which partner to prioritize and try and sign up first?
How did you define the scope of the
case
Case Analysis presented by you
Final recommendation / summary
What do you think went right while Cases in all rounds had an ethical contention to it it really
solving the case?
helped knowing the Amazon core values and doing the right
thing. Ask yourself, what would Jeff Bezos do?
What do you think could have been
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional)

51

APPLE
Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Vijay Bansal
Apple SDM Team
Senior Execs from SDM Team Singapore
First & Second
Why do you want to shift to Supply Chain?(I had no prior
experience in Supply Chain Industry)
Why do you think you are a write fit for this profile?

Comments on the PI rounds (please


elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the 1.There are 3 products A,B,C in a store. The store sells 10,000
interviewer)
units each week combined and A,B and C constitute 50,25 & 25%
of the sales respectively whereas variation of sales is 20%, 200%
& 200%. Each time you replenish you lose a margin of X%.
Considering the current margin of 40% in each of A,B and C what
do you think will be the appropriate replenishment strategy?
2. Estimate the annual number of pedestal fans sold in India?
How did you define the scope of the
case
Case Analysis presented by you
For the Guesstimate question, I divided the problem into two
areas- rural and urban. Then I took some assumptions about
people per household and which are the areas where fans can be
used (households, shops, pandals etc,). Interesting thing over
here was that a fan wont be bought every year. So after I came
up with a number I divided it with the assumed life time of the
fan to come up with a final no.
Final recommendation / summary
What do you think went right while The interviewer was happy with my assumptions and was
solving the case?
challenging me if something seemed inappropriate to him.
What do you think could have been I dig into lot of details while solving the guesstimate. So after
done better while solving the case?
some time he asked me to come to a quick estimate in 2
minutes. Moreover I think, I should have performed better if I
would have written in a more structured fashion in the sheet
given to me.
Outcome of the interview (optional)

DELOITTE
Name
Bhavana Jayanth
Name of company interviewing with Deloitte S&O
Name and designation of the Dont remember (Senior partner)
52

interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third) First
Personal interview questions (please Something unique about you?
write the questions only)
Any other hobbies?
Why consulting?
Comments on the PI rounds (please I had practiced the answers to all these questions and that
elaborate on what went right and helped.
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the Guesstimate: Number of books (non-academic) that people in
interviewer)
Mohali campus would read in a month (Question linked to my
hobby)
How did you define the scope of the
case
Case Analysis presented by you
Identified students, spouses, faculty, admin etc and gave
approximate number for each. Went ahead to estimate
percentage of people who would read books in each category
and then estimated average number of books per month
Final recommendation / summary
Came up with a number (which I felt was slightly on the higher
side) and told the interviewer that it was an optimistic estimate.
He agreed.
What do you think went right while It was an easy straightforward guesstimate and I structured the
solving the case?
whole thing as a tree.
What do you think could have been He asked me for any alternative ways of arriving at the number. I
done better while solving the case?
came up with one but it was not what he was expecting:
Calculating the number of free hours that each student/ spouse
would have in a month and then estimating how much time in
that time people would devote to reading, then calculate
number of pages read per hour and number of pages per book to
arrive at a number. I couldnt have thought of that one on my
own but when he explained it to me, I agreed that it was a good
approach.
Outcome of the interview (optional) Went through to the next round

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)

Bhavana Jayanth
Deloitte S&O
2 interviewers
Second
Tell me something about yourself?
Where would you fit in in Deloitte?
Again, prepared answers

Client: Insurance company in the US who wants to expand


geographically. How would you approach the problem? Once I
gave my approach, I was given statistics and charts to analyze
53

different markets.
How did you define the scope of the Repeated the question. Ensured that I understood the expansion
case
meant geographic expansion. Clarified the kind of clients the
company had (firms or individuals). Deloitte has quant heavy
cases so I knew from the beginning that I would be given data as
I went along.
Case Analysis presented by you
I initially considered internal and external factors while choosing
the geographic market and listed quite a few (about 12). They
agreed and gave me details about the population, growth rate,
profitability, competition etc. I ruled out some companies and
shortlisted 2. They told me to proceed with Australia. They then
provided me more detailed statistics about Australian
customers, competitors and segments they were in. I had to
decide between starting from scratch, acquisition and alliance.
We chose an alliance with a company of suitable size. (I say we
because it was more like a discussion and I took them through
my thought process and they agreed with my logic). They then
told me to switch hats, assume that our client has decided to
start from scratch and that they have already made an
investment. They gave me a future investment to be made and
profitability of customers, discount rate etc. Had to do an NPV
calculation to see if the investment was justified (ignoring the
sunk costs). It was. That was the end of the case
Final recommendation / summary
They did not want a summary. It was a pretty long case with
quite a few numbers and percentages. 35 mins or so. They
simply said thank you.
What do you think went right while The interviewers were quite happy with some details and points
solving the case?
which I captured (mainly from solving other cases). For example,
I considered the average age of the population in the country
that we sought to enter as it was an insurance firm. I was also
very quick to neglect sunk costs (a core economic concept) which
they were happy to see. These small things are the things which
set you apart.
What do you think could have been One number that I calculated: I said roughly 33 million and the
done better while solving the case?
interviewer said why roughly? because that was the exact
number. I could have shown more confidence in saying 33
million
Outcome of the interview (optional) Went through to the next round

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Bhavana Jayanth
Deloitte S&O
Santosh and another partner
Third and Last
None

54

Comments on the PI rounds (please


elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the
case
Case Analysis presented by you

Elevator pitch: present the case that you solved in the second
round in 5 mins (because they had to go golfing! )
Checked if I could use flipcharts I did
Quick summary of problem, some numbers and final
recommendations

Final recommendation / summary


What do you think went right while Although unexpected, I didnt lose my cool. I couldnt remember
solving the case?
some details because I had another interview in between the
two rounds but I filled in the gaps as best as I could
What do you think could have been I did not practice presenting summaries as much as I had
done better while solving the case?
practiced solving cases. I could have done a better job if I had
been better prepared
Outcome of the interview (optional) Got an offer!

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Kushagra Gupta
Deloitte S&O
Santosh, Practice Lead & Principal, Deloitte S&O US India

Round 1
Santosh remembered me from an interaction session that
Deloitte had organized on campus after the short-listing process.
He went through my CV and nevertheless asked me the
following PI questions:
1. Why consulting (since I worked with an investment bank
before).
2. Why Deloitte?
3. Work experience-related questions.
4. How was it like working with Deloitte consultants (in my
previous role, I had worked on the client side with consultants
from Deloitte UK)
5. Questions on my hobbies and interests (Formula 1).
6. Questions on a consulting panel discussion that we had invited
Santosh to as a part of the course curriculum.
Comments on the PI rounds (please Since I had met Santosh before, the PI was more like a chat and I
elaborate on what went right and was very relaxed during the whole process. A tip is to know your
what could have been done better)
CV in and out and have one or two spikes that really
differentiate you from the rest. In most of my PI-based
interviews, I could weave an interesting story around these
spikes that impressed the interviewers.
Case question (as narrated by the None
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the None
55

case
Case Analysis presented by you
Final recommendation / summary
What do you think went right while
solving the case?
What do you think could have been
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional)

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)

None
None
None
None
Advanced to Round 2.

Kushagra Gupta
Deloitte S&O
2 S&O consultants from IIM (dont remember their names)
Round 2
Both the interviewers had gone through my CV and asked only
the basic tell me something about yourself question.
By now I had narrated this answer so many times that I could do
it in my sleep!!

Our client is US financial services major who is looking to enter


the Brazilian market. You are called in to advise the client on
their entry plans.
How did you define the scope of the I first tried to understand the type of products our client dealt
case
with (insurance and mutual funds), what was their motivation to
enter the Brazilian market (saturation in home market) and did
they have any targets in mind to assess the success of this entry
(10% market share in first 2 years). The case pretty much fits into
the New Market Entry framework.
Case Analysis presented by you
I started out by conducting an industry analysis. I asked
questions regarding the attractiveness of the insurance products
market in Brazil, growth rates, competitors and their market
shares, etc. At this time, the interviewers handed me a sheet
with 9 graphs. These graphs describes the population levels, age
brackets buying insurance, income levels, education levels,
populations spending on financial products, gender-wise split on
buying financial products, growth rates for population and
penetration of financial products in Brazil in 2013 and 2020. They
asked me to analyse the graphs and describe trends in the data.
A few important trends I could glean was that more of the
middle class with annual income between 20K and 50K USD and
that the size of this segment was growing. Hence I
recommended that our client target this segment. Then the
interviewers asked me to analyse the growth in the educationbased policies market in Brazil (based on data in the graphs).
56

Finally, they asked me to estimate the market size and market


share for our client based on the segments that I recommended
in 2020.
Final recommendation / summary
The client should enter the Brazilian market and focus on
insurance products for the middle class segment within a certain
age bracket (I deduced from graphs) and income levels of 20K to
50K USD. I outlined certain modes of entry like greenfield
operations, JV, acquisition of a local player and franchise models
and mentioned their merits and demerits.
What do you think went right while I was able to deduce major trends from the graphs shown and
solving the case?
recommend the correct segments that the client should focus
on.
What do you think could have been While calculating the market size for the client, I overestimated
done better while solving the case?
the penetration of financial products in the Brazilian market,
which led to larger than expected size. I should have been more
realistic in justifying my assumptions
Outcome of the interview (optional) Advanced to Round 3, backed out of the process after receiving
an offer from another firm.
Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)

KSHITIJ MOHAN LAL


DELOITTE LLP
MANAGER, TECH STRATEGY AND ARCHITECTURE

FIRST
Read my resume for 2 minutes. And then asked me to connect
the dots.
The interviewer was silent for the first 2 minutes. This was my
first and only PI question. My answer was for about 2 minutes
and I based it on the standard Walk me through your resume
answer I had prepared. This was immediately followed by the
guesstimate question. The interviewer maintained a poker face
throughout our conversation.
Case question (as narrated by the Calculate the number of 3G sites that Vodafone has in India
interviewer)
(Note that I came from Telecom Services background. The
manager also had experience in TMT Consulting- hence this
question)
How did you define the scope of the Quick Guesstimate
case
Case Analysis presented by you
I started by taking few assumptions, such as the distance
covered by one site (1 sq. km), Vodafone having its presence in
15 telecom circles. I took 5 circles with the size of 1000 sq. km
and rest as 10000 sq kms. Also made certain assumptions on the
density of the towers within the circles. I came up with an
answer of 1,50,000 sites. I had this number in mind as I knew
Vodafone had ~ 25% market share and there are total of
~6,00,000 sites in India. I believed that the no. of towers should
be in similar ratio. I used my assumptions to arrive at the above
57

number.
Final recommendation / summary
This was a stress interview. The total interview was less than 10
minutes! Was not allowed any time to think and my questions
(on case) were mostly dismissed.
What do you think went right while My initial assumptions and the fact that I divided the circles into
solving the case?
two broad sizes struck a cord.
What do you think could have been I wasnt given any time. Only 2 minutes to come up with a
done better while solving the case?
number. I took around 3. Note that I completely forgot that I had
to calculate 3G sites and not 2G! This was a mistake I realized
when I was done with the interview. The time pressure caused
me to slip the 3G part.
Outcome of the interview (optional) Invited for Round 2

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)

KSHITIJ MOHAN LAL


DELOITTE LLP
MANAGER, TECH STRATEGY AND ARCHITECTURE
SECOND
Was a partner round. Was asked to introduce myself.

Since I had prepared an answer, it went quite well. I made sure I


kept my answer friendly and light hearted so it eased up the
following conversation.
I was handed a print out of the case question. The question was
about a telecom service provider which had grown very rapidly
in the past few years. They had launched a music download
service on black Friday which saw 20000 customers signing up.
However, in the following week, number of customers had
dropped to 10000. The company blamed the internal IT
infrastructure and hired a new CIO. The new CIO invited Deloitte
to analyze the case and provide recommendations on Deloittes
behalf.
How did you define the scope of the The case was about identifying the problem and then presenting
case
a better GOTO market strategy.
Case Analysis presented by you
I first laid down possible reasons for the problem apart from IT
to ensure that the firm has narrowed down the problem
properly. Once I did that, I focused on the problems within IT
(Internal/external) and narrowed down to the server capacity as
the main source. I was later asked to present a GOTO market
strategy for such a service. I mentioned that social media
advertising/traditional media advertising/freemium models, etc
can be used. I gave real world examples to support my case.
Final recommendation / summary
The partner was very accommodating and chilled out. He helped
me out whenever I seemed to be stuck in the case. However, he
did not allow me too much time to think.
What do you think went right while My recommendations and the fact that I began with many
58

solving the case?


possible reasons and narrowed it down thereafter.
What do you think could have been I was asked to apply a framework to come up with the solution. I
done better while solving the case?
was stuck here as I couldnt think of a framework which would
work for this tech. case. However, the partner helped me
identify few variables such as time and then I chipped in with
the rest, such as cost.
Outcome of the interview (optional) Invited for Round 3.

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Harsh Parikh
Deloitte S&O
Sanchit Agarwal Manager
First
The interviewer enquired about my experience at the previous
firm.
Post this, Sanchit asked me to take him through the CV
He asked - what was one word that I would like to associate to
myself which was another way of asking what your strengths
are?
Next question Why Deloitte? (He mentioned that he knew I
had an answer prepared but still wanted me to answer that)

Smilingly, he asked that if I was given an offer letter from


McKinsey and Deloitte, which one would I pick
Comments on the PI rounds (please A few notes here:
elaborate on what went right and 1) The CAS sends you a mail of 100 questions for PI. Consider
what could have been done better)
those as the basic questions that you have to know the answers
for. Best is to write them down and rehearse them well enough
in advance (and not the day before the interview)
2) The interviewer can put you in a tough spot and tell you that
you may have prepared for the question. In such a scenario,
dont panic and still answer what you prepared
3) Do not copy someone elses answers for these interviewers.
Be genuine and come up with your own factual instances as
examples.
4) Smile enough.
Case question (as narrated by the No case
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the No case
case
Case Analysis presented by you
No case
Final recommendation / summary
No case
What do you think went right while No case
59

solving the case?


What do you think could have been No case
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional) Moved to Round 2

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)

Harsh Parikh
Deloitte S&O
Cant recollect 2 Sr. Managers
Second
They asked me to quickly take me through the CV
Replied the shorter version of take me through your CV (Prepare
for a 5 minute and a 2 minute version separately)
It was a two member panel for case discussion where they
explained that one of the interviewers would help me crack the
case while the other would give the case details.

How did you define the scope of the


case
Post this, they asked me if I was familiar with sourcing and I
explained that I had done the P2P (Procure to Pay) reviews at a
Case Analysis presented by you
few clients and knew the process. They initiated the case by
explaining the case A large company is reviewing its expenses
Final recommendation / summary
in a bid to rationalize them. The expenses are largely SG&A in
nature. Help them analyze the expenses
They initiated the discussion by asking me models by which
services can be managed by the company. I started explaining
how services can be evaluated based on service level
agreements and that there are matrices that can be created to
rate a service (I had misread the question and thought they were
discussing service evaluation). 2-3 minutes into the discussion,
they explained the case scope again and asked me models in
which services can be managed. I explained that services can be
managed either in-house, outsourcing, co-sourcing, loan staffing,
shared service centre and explained each of these in detail giving
pro and cons for each option.
I was given a sheet with details of expenses (named as Exp 1, Exp
2 etc.), FTE count at locations
where the work had been outsourced (Full Time Equivalent), cost
attributable to each location and some other details.
I asked them if I could consider the services as HR, IT, Marketing
etc. to which they consented. Then I asked if FTE meant nos. of
employees at each location and here they explained me what
60

FTE meant and how it slightly differed from employee count.


Next, I wrote down the FTE count next to the nation wise cost
and did a quick calculation of cost per FTE. The cost per FTE was
very high for some nations and I advised that we can rationalize
cost by moving these services to nations with lesser FTE. I also
explained qualitative factors such as quality of service, time gap,
back up options that need to be considered before the service
can be moved.
They gave me another sheet giving details of 2 services, their
cost, vendors that provided that service and 3 parameters (Cost,
Quality and Promptness) on which the vendors had been
evaluated and asked my inference on those sheet.
I understood the grading mechanism first as there were no
details on the page regarding the grading mechanism. Post that I
explained them my approach wherein I created a Service
Parameter matrix (2 x 3). Using the table from the sheet, I rated
each vendor as L1, L2 etc. defining the order of the vendor to be
selected for that particular parameter. Then filled the matrix that
I had created and identified the best vendor across the three
parameters for each of the service.
We discussed on what parameter is more important for different
service categories. We also discussed at length on multi-sourcing
v/s. single sourcing.
They asked me if I had questions for them and I asked what firm
initiatives include.
What do you think went right while There was no case solving methodology that I could have used
solving the case?
for the case. Do not panic and narrow down to the solution
directly.
In such a scenario, I used the standard approach of gather,
analyze, observe and recommend which means 1) try to gather
as much information for the case. Do not reach to any conclusion
at this stage 2) Analyze the facts of the case and ask for their
agreement regularly so that you know that you are not
completely off 3) Make observations based on the facts and
analysis of the facts. Here you can try to fit in concepts that you
may have learnt either at ISB or from your work experience 4)
Recommend but make sure you do not say anything definitive.
Keep scope to include
further improvisations to your
recommendations
What do you think could have been
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional) Moved to round 3

61

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)

Harsh Parikh
Deloitte S&O
Santosh and another partner (Both were partners)
Third
No PI question
No PI question

They explained that one of them was the CEO of the company
where you conducted the review and asked you to present the
finding in 5 minutes.
How did you define the scope of the I used the Issue Analysis Root cause Recommendation
case
approach to explain the problem at hand and used the white
board to explain each. While doing the presentation, I
Case Analysis presented by you
mentioned that I had a lengthy discussion with my colleagues
Final recommendation / summary
(named my round 2 interviewerssome schmoozing helps) and
then suggested recommendations. Santosh then asked me if it
was safe to outsource work to India. I had read a report on
outsourcing work to India and quoted the policies being set up to
take care of these problems.
What do you think went right while The partner chuckled when I referred to the previous
solving the case?
interviewers as my colleagues. Stick to case methodology as
much as you can.
What do you think could have been
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional) Offer extended

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer

Manasi Narang
Deloitte USI
Round 1 Senior Manager Supply chain vertical
Round 2 2 Managers from the Finance vertical
Round 3 Santosh Anu (Partner S&O)
Interview round (first/second/third) First/ Second/ Third
Personal interview questions (please First round write the questions only)
Take me through your resume.
Why did you switch from audit to M&A diligence?
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?
Second round
Tell me something I wouldnt know from your resume
Comments on the PI rounds (please The PI went well. I wasnt nervous at all. It helps to look calm and
elaborate on what went right and greet the interviewer with a smile. Interview processes can last
what could have been done better)
for over 12 hours especially if you have multiple shortlists, its
important to be as stress free as possible, else you will burnout
by the end of the day.
62

I worked with Deloitte India for 7 years and was able to relate to
the Deloitte processes and practices, hence the conversation
was very relaxed in each round.
Case question (as narrated by the Round 1 - It was a short guesstimate case
interviewer)
How many lamp posts are there between Marriot Chandigarh
and ISB Mohali
Round 2 A US based telco, which was the market leader for
almost a decade is now seeing deckling revenue trends for the
last 2-3 years WHY?
How did you define the scope of the Round 1 I assumed that the distance between the Hotel and
case
campus is 10 km and that there is a lamp post at every 100
metres. Did the math and multiplied by two since there is a lamp
post on both sides of the road.
Round 2 Broke it down into industry trends, market share,
competitor performance, revenue components and asked
questions around these parameters.
Case Analysis presented by you
After much probing and questioning I understood that the
Company was heavily dependent on call and message revenue
whereas the customer was moving towards applications like
viber, whatsapp and skype. Also it was targeting only 60-70% of
the smart phone customers.
In the end I was also asked to calculate the expected revenue
based on my recommendations and additional information
shared during the discussion.
Final recommendation / summary
Round 3 Presentation on case analysis to partner and director
Recommended that the company should focus on acquiring
more smart phone consumers, offer better value added services,
can possibly bind consumers with attractive contracts and
postpaid offers ( better than those offered by competitors)
What do you think went right while The case prep really helped. It is advisable to sit with a bunch of
solving the case?
friends and try to solve cases. Discussions with others help you
gather various view points. You are also more structured in your
approach and are able to break down the problem statement
into logical steps.
What do you think could have been When I started asking questions around the case, I realized I was
done better while solving the case?
scribbling all over that piece of paper. The interviewers do peep
into that paper every now and then to see what your thought
process is. It would have been better if I were more organized in
jotting down information and creating buckets of information
shared.
Outcome of the interview (optional) Received an offer.

63

HUL INTERNAL CONSULTING


Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)

Shirish Damani
HUL Internal Consulting Role
Dont Remember

First and Second


There was no PI as such. They just asked one question i.e., where
do you see yourself 5 years from now?
They did not ask any PI question. However, many interviewees
gave this as a feedback that the firm can actually gauge student
interest by asking some PI questions. So you can expect some PI
questions in the years to come. So prepare accordingly.
Case question (as narrated by the This was not the regular case interview. It was more of a rapid
interviewer)
fire round. The interviewer told me that irrespective of your
answer right/wrong I will move to the next question. Hence I will
just mention the questions here.
Round 1: In the first round we had to make a 5 minute
presentation on The biggest challenge you have overcome in
the last 2 years. This was followed by one question.
1. Your CAPEX requirement to build a new plant is $1/unit v/s
$2/unit of your competition. How does this help you
strategically?
Round 2: This had multiple short cases. Ill mention them below.
1. There is a straight road from Zurich to Paris on which you are
sending an air tight truck. The truck is standing at the factory
door at Zurich and is packed completely (i.e., no more packing
efficiency possible). Your manager comes and asks you to reduce
the transportation costs by 50%. Give atleast 2 ways
2. You are an analyst at Goldman. Your manager asks for one
financial metric to judge Unilevers performance. What will this
one metric be?
3. You have 3 products. All your costs are variable. How can you
improve your gross margins? Remember no fixed costs and
variable costs cannot be decreased.
4. Give 4 ways how you can reduce production cost of Kissan
Jam.
5. Unilever needs to setup a new detergent plant in Africa.
Which country should it set it up in?
There were a few more questions which I cant recollect now.
How did you define the scope of the NA
case
Case Analysis presented by you
NA
64

Final recommendation / summary


NA
`What do you think went right while Keep your cool. This was a stress interview with not the standard
solving the case?
case questions. There is no time to use any framework. Just go
with an open mind and treat the questions like brain teasers.
What do you think could have been I had no idea this would be the interview pattern. I would have
done better while solving the case?
been a little more relaxed. At times I got nervous and got a
feeling that I messed up the interview. But that was not the case.
Just go with an open mind and expect some tough questions.
Moreover, the interviewers were not appreciating too many
cross questions on the mini cases. So avoid that if possible.
Outcome of the interview (optional) Offer made.

65

MCKINSEY & COMPANY


Name

Nishant Kedia

Company

McKinsey & Company

Interviewer

Jaidit Brar, Partner

Round

Round 1 Interview 1

Personal Interview Questions

Tell me about yourself (in an indirect way)


How was the ISB experience?
Which is your most significant achievement in ISB?
Tell me about The Parthenon Case competition (including
specifics)
Questions about my division and work at ITC.
Discussion about ITC in general, which eventually became a case
It was my first interview of the day (8:00 am). Jaidit is one of the
nicest people to interview to with as he puts one at a lot of ease.
We started with a normal conversation about my interview line-up
for the day, how am I feeling etc. After a little nervous start I
quickly gained confidence. I strongly believe that being structured
in your answers puts a great impression on the interviewer. About
20 mins were spent on PI, which, I think, went very well as the
interviewer seemed happy with all my answers
ITC has diversified into multiple businesses. Which business should
ITC enter to continue or accelerate its growth?

Comments on PI Interview

Case Question
Scope of the case

It was a market entry case, wherein the objective was to only


select the market to enter and not formulate the strategy to enter

Case Analysis

The question was asked by Jaidit during our conversation on my


work experience at ITC. Initially I mentioned the attributes of the
desirable business but Jaidit hinted me to be elaborate.
I began by clarifying the objective in order to come up with the
parameters for evaluation. This was a special case wherein I knew
a lot about the company (profitability, businesses, products,
customers etc.). Stating that upfront to the interviewer, I
mentioned a frame work to guide the discussion:
1. Industry Selection
a. Fundamental attractiveness
b. Competitive positioning
2. Entry Strategy
a. Resources required
b. Mode of entry
Jaidit asked me to focus only on industry selection.
When I asked Jaidit on which industries should I consider he asked
me to suggest myself. I told Jaidit that I will consider the big
66

baskets, where ITC is currently not present and suggested the


following:
Iron & Steel
Automobiles
Pharmaceutical
Cement
Financial Services
He nodded and asked me to proceed.
Since, the case was solely on industry selection, I quickly realized
that I will have to come up with a comprehensive list of
parameters to give an objective view.
I came up with the following evaluation matrix (pardon my
memory for not being exact):
Parameters

Ind. 1

A. Fundamental
Attractiveness
Financial
Revenue
Revenue growth
Profitability
Industry Structure
Competition
Customers
Sourcing
Distribution
Entry Barriers
Regulation
Manufacturing technology
Investment
Brand
loyalty/
stickiness

customer

B. Competitive Positioning
Revenue synergies
Cross selling advantages
Effect on product quality of the
67

Ind. 2

current and entry business


(Pricing and volume effects)
Cost Synergies
Economies of scale
Sourcing/distribution benefits
Technological benefits
SG&A savings
It was a very interactive discussion wherein I was seeking
continuous inputs as well as approval from the interviewer. I came
up with a few more parameters which I am unable to recall.
It is very important to observe the interviewer as he is ready to
support with inputs as well as hints you towards the relevant part
of analysis.
As I quickly understood that the objective of this case is just
thought experiment I didnt become data centric. I told the
interviewer that I have a broad understanding of relative financial
figures of different industries and I would like to proceed using a
and X method, with the former depicting unfavourable and the
latter one depicting favourable aspect.
We had a good 30 mins chat on the case.
Final Recommendation/ Summary

What went right?

What could have been done better?


Outcome of the interview

Based on the analysis I recommended pharmaceutical and


automotive. But, referring to the limitations of the analysis I
mentioned that it might not be the most optimum solution as we
have considered only limited parameters and have not evaluated
certain other businesses such as EPC, consulting, etc. Also, I told
him that the management might not always choose the profit
maximizing ventures because of certain other factors.
On this Jaidit asked me why did ITC enter Foods and Personal
Care. I was already prepared with the answer and shared my
thoughts. He seemed satisfied with my answer.
I involved the interviewer very well in the case and sought inputs
from him on all my assumptions. Jaidit liked comprehensiveness
of my thought process and was smiling profusely in the latter half
of the discussion. In the hindsight I feel that this was my best and
the longest interview of the day!
I feel that I was slightly verbose initially. I could have been a little
crisper in making my arguments.
Not disclosed. Attended the pre-scheduled second interview.

68

Name

Nishant Kedia

Company

McKinsey & Company

Interviewer

Renny Thomas, Sr. Partner (Director)

Round

Round 1 Interview 2

Personal Interview Questions

How was your first interview?


Walk me through your resume
Why McKinsey?

Comments on PI Interview

Renny had a very brief discussion on PI questions. I think this was


because of the PI overdose in the first round
A cement manufacturer in Gujarat has only one plant. A byproduct of the plant is a certain type of chemical, which is also
sold in market. The market for that chemical is growing very well.
What should the company do?

Case Question

Scope of the case


Case Analysis

It was a multi-faceted case, which had aspects of market entry,


investment analysis and pricing
I started by asking questions about the manufacturer, cement
market and the chemical market. Based on his reply it became
evident that the manufacturer would not like to replace the
current cement-producing capacity with the chemical-producing
capacity.
Hence, I shifted focus on understanding the chemical market
better competition, customers, entry barriers etc. The industry
had excess demand over capacity. I proposed three methods:
- Expand cement capacity and continue chemical extraction
as a byproduct
- Source chemical from some cement manufacturers at
intermediate prices
- Build capacity to manufacture the chemical
o In-house (Own, JV, acquisition etc.)
o Outsource
Renny told me that cement market is saturated and we dont see
much growth in our share and the market alike. This ruled out the
first option. Also, no other cement manufacturer would sell at a
price less than the market price.
Renny also told me that since the chemical was a by-product from
the cement plant, the cost of production was very low, which
helped the client to price it very competitively. I enquired further
about the current cost, the cost to manufacture it standalone and
the competition prices. The standalone cost was more than the
current price. Hence, if the client manufactures the chemical self
69

or even outsource, he will have to increase the prices. It means


increasing prices across the board, including his current customers
also.
Now Renny asked me whether increasing price was the only way?
Or should he forget about the prospect of manufacturing more
chemical?

Final Recommendation/ Summary

What went right?

I told him that price increase for the current customers is not an
advisable option as it will bring a lot of bad publicity in the market.
My recommendation was to segment the market by using certain
additives and changing chemical compositions to increase the
price for newer customers. For this the client should build a
demand curve by:
- Studying the manufacturing costs for all the
manufacturers in Gujarat. The bigger suppliers will be able
to manufacture at a lower price as compared to the
smaller ones. Plotting the total capacity with the
manufacturing costs gives the supply curve
- Plotting customers willingness to pay gives the demand
curve
Since the industry had excess demand at current prices, I advised
to look at the excess demand with increasing prices. Based on the
size of demand and ease of differentiation, we can decide
whether manufacturing should be undertaken or not. Assuming
certain market share for the excess demand at a price, profitability
as a function of price can be found and maximized.
No specific recommendations as the numbers were not available.
Recommendation was to look at ways of differentiating and
choosing a price to maximize the profits.

Outcome of the interview

I was able to use the information given by the interviewer well


and make specific inferences. The interviewed looked happy with
my structure as I covered all the relevant aspects.
I missed a few facts which were stated by interviewer in the
beginning. The interviewer looked slightly displeased when I asked
for the facts again. But, my overall performance in the interview
covered for it.
It is very important to be alert and note down all facts during the
case discussion.
Shortlisted for Round 2

Name

Nishant Kedia

Company

McKinsey & Company

Interviewer

Shirish Sankhe, Sr. Partner (Director)

What could have been done better?

70

Round

Round 2 Interview 1

Personal Interview Questions

Case Question

It was a complete PI round. Shirish also discussed a project he was


pursuing with the government and we had a short discussion on
certain aspects of it.
Shirish covered a range of PI questions:
Tell me about yourself
Questions on the entire Extracurricular section
Most significant achievement in ITC
Why Consulting? Why McKinsey?
Shirish gave me a feedback that my both interviews went well.
Knowing that gave me a lot of confidence.
After giving about 8 interviews in the day I was answering what I
truly believed (might have been somewhat different from what I
prepared ). I felt that I had a great connect with the interviewer
and my confidence grew exponentially. It was a 10-min chat and
by the end of 5 mins I realized that a happy news is round the
corner.
NA

Scope of the case

NA

Case Analysis

NA

Final Recommendation/ Summary


What went right?
What could have been done better?

NA
My performance in the first two rounds strengthened my chances
NA

Outcome of the interview

Made an offer

Comments on PI Interview

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer

Anshul Malik
McKinsey & Co.
Sujit Chakrabarty (Partner)
Leads McKinseys Outsourcing and Offshoring Practice in Asia
and our Business Technology Office in India.
Interview round (first/second/third) First Round First Interview
Personal interview questions (please The interviews were running a tad late, hence, Sujit asked me to
write the questions only)
get going with the case and if there is some time left we can take
up interview questions later on. This was my first interview of
the day. He said since your background is IT lets do an IT
services case. I said that I know how IT services firms work,
however, I am from a software product background which is an
entire different world. Sujit said it is fine as he understood my
background.
Comments on the PI rounds (please No PI
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
71

Case question (as narrated by the There is an IT services company with $3Bn in revenues and a
interviewer)
growth rate of 20%. It is among the top 6 players in its area. The
current margins are 17%. CEO thinks that he can increase the
margin. What do you think CEO should do, should he increase
the margins?
How did you define the scope of the I asked initial questions regarding how other firms in the top 6
case
bracket are doing, what is their revenue, growth %, margins. One
objective is to see whether we can increase margins is there any
other objective? No. of employees. He told me that we are
growing well on the revenue side, however, the top player has a
margin of 25% and average margin is 20% and margin is the only
objective. He gave me some figure for total number of
employees. On this I said that we are on the lower side and
probably, we do have a scope of increasing our margins. I further
asked him: Where does our client operate? What is the business
model? He told me that it is an India based IT company with
clients in the US. Sujit then asked me to come up with the
business model.
I drew the following:
Acquiring Clients -> Negotiating the contract and finalizing the
requirements -> Developing and Testing -> Deploying the
solution -> Maintenance
He was satisfied with the model.
Case Analysis presented by you

I then asked for sometime to think (the usual 2 min.


brainstorming time that every consulting candidate thinks as
his/her birthright by the end of case preparation). This seemed
more of a profitability case (I realized how deep a profitability
case can run) hence I thought of the usual revenue/cost. Since,
Sujit mentioned in the case stem and also while scoping that on
revenue side we are doing well, I did not go into the revenue
side. I asked him about how costs are distributed in various
activities in the value chain (business model) that I just drew and
what are competitors costs in the same activity. He gave me a
few numbers: 25% for Acquiring clients and negotiating (at par
with competition), 63% of the costs are in Development &
testing + Deploying + maintenance and 12% are in SG&A. He did
not tell about competitor breakup in the latter two components.
I said that since 63% of the costs are in Development & testing +
Deploying + maintenance, and hence is the major chunk of cost, I
would like to proceed with it, to which Sujit nodded.
I again took some time and broke up these three into people
cost and Project cost (going with MECE). On this Sujit asked me
what do I mean by project cost. I told him that these are the
costs associated with project delays (contractual obligations). He
said suppose there are no penalties if we delay the project, do
you think there could be other costs if we delay the project. I
told him that there could be costs in terms of lost revenue
72

because if one project is delayed then there would be a


cascading effect on other projects. He said so do you think this is
a problem. I could sense some catch here and asked him for a
moment. I referred back to the initial problem and saw that
revenue growth is good. I told Sujit that since revenue is growing
and our objective is only to see if we can increase the margin,
this is not a problem. He was happy. I then took his permission
to delve deep into the employee cost. I broke the employee cost
into Salary, Infrastructure (i.e. machine per person, office rent
etc.), Hiring cost, Training Cost, attrition. I asked him one by one
about each and for every expense he said that we are paying as
per the industry standard (he never said whether our total cost
for a particular employee cost head is more or less). At this time,
I read what I had written earlier while scoping the case. I realized
that clients are in the US and hence there must be some
employees in the US as well. I asked Sujit that I think there would
certain employees in the US and their salaries and other expense
would be more than Indian counterparts, so I would like to know
what percentage of our employee are in the US and the same
figure for the competitor. He told me that we have 30%
employee in the US and our competitor has 25% employees in
the US.
This was my Aha moment, when I thought I had nailed the
problem. I asked him for average employee cost in the US vs
India. He gave me some numbers for per hour revenue and cost
per employee in US and India and their Utilization (US 100%
utilization, India 75% utilization). I actually took a very long route
to do the math (took total employees and did the calculation).
Did some minor error midway which I corrected myself. He then
asked me cant you calculate per employee, to which I said Yes
that is what I should have done. I did some calculation (with
minor glitches, which Sujit helped to correct).
Final recommendation / summary
Overall, after saying that we should reduce our number of
employees in the US I calculated that our margins would be
around 22%. Sujit asked what could be potential problems with
this, to which I replied that we must look at what kind and
number of clients we handle vis--vis what kind and number of
clients does our competitor handles. Also, our employees skill
level might be lower hence if we need to reduce the number of
employees we need to put more money in training. By this time,
the time was almost over (and there was some random person
who was calling in the landline of the office in which interview
was being conducted, that bugged me twice in the middle of
solving the case), Sujit said we do not have time left for PI, shook
hands and I left.
What do you think went right while Asking the right questions. Maintaining calm even when I
solving the case?
committed a few errors while doing the Math and going back to
whatever data/information interviewer gave me. Followed MECE
73

at every point.
What do you think could have been The calculation part.
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional) Next interview of the same round

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer

Interview round (first/second/third)


Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Comments on the PI rounds (please


elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)

Anshul Malik
McKinsey & Co.
Rajat Dhawan, Director
Leads McKinseys Operations Practice in Asia and has deep
experience in helping clients in the automotive and industrial
sectors achieve global success. Plays an active part in catalysing
the growth of Indias manufacturing sector.
First Round Second Interview
Before going into the interview room I asked the alums about a
brief one liner about the interviewers area of work. Alums told
me that Rajat has worked mostly in the manufacturing sector
and not in IT. (this helped to shape my PI answers according to
the interviewer which in turn helped both of us to talk on the
same page).
Rajat seemed a very serious guy initially. He had my resume and
started asking me about the process improvement initiatives
that I had taken. I told him whatever I did without using
Software jargons. He continued asking me what else I kept on
telling him the projects that I did. After a point he was silent and
I was silent (trust me a silence of 2 seconds seems like 20
minutes). I then changed the tone by saying let me tell you
something I do apart from academics and professional
experience. I told him that I mimic bollywood actors. Listening to
this Rajat kept the resume on the table and said why dont you
mimic right now. :O . I started in full flow and he didnt
stop me till I finished the act. After this point there was an
instant rapport that was build between us. He asked me how did
I mimic? I narrated him the incident after which I started
performing on stage etc.
It was the most amazing PI round. And once I mimicked I was
99% sure of getting in (mimicry has helped me in all the
interviews till date)
While talking there was some instance when he asked me to
guess his age. I said, Sir you are a director, however you look
quite young, somewhere around 35-36. He said you are close,
what do you think would be my years of experience in McKinsey.
I said around 14 years. On which he said how did you guess it. I
said well since you are a director, I assumed your years of
experience must be above 10 years for sure.
Rajat then said let us do a quick case on finding my years of
experience in McKinsey.
74

How did you define the scope of the N/A


case
Case Analysis presented by you
I realized that this was not a structured case, rather Rajat
wanted to see my approach to a problem from multiple
dimensions. He kept me asking for more ways. In the end, I gave
him 6 ways to find his years of experience in Mckinsey.
1) Simple way: Public Information, ask your colleagues
2) Number of projects you have done * average time per
project.
3) Since you are a Director and you must have started from
Junior Associate, hence, would see number of levels
between them * average time taken for promotion from
one level to the other
4) Find out McKinseys employee strength when you
joined, average growth rate in employee strength and
current employee strength. Would find out your number
of years in McKinsey from that.
5) Some other way I forgot.
6) Final nail -> Find out your salary and see how much
experience is required to get that paycheck. :P
Final recommendation / summary
Rajat was impressed by 6 ways to find out his years of
experience at McKinsey.
Please do not underestimate your extra-curricular and PI. PI is
extremely important and you must prepare well for it and
personalize your PI answers. Cases are standard, but your PI is
you.
What do you think went right while I think PI in itself went so well that Case was a smooth ride.
solving the case?
What do you think could have been None
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional) Shortlisted for round 2

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer

Interview round (first/second/third)

Anshul Malik
McKinsey & Co.
Renny Thomas, Director
Supports the rapid growth of Asias financial services sector,
helping build new institutions from scratch, boost small and
medium enterprises (SME) access to finance, and grow regional
and international champions in banking, insurance, and private
equity.
Second round First Interview

Personal interview questions (please None. It was a dream come true. As soon as I sat, Renny spoke
write the questions only)
the exact words which I wanted to hear : Welcome to the firm

Comments on the PI rounds (please None


75

elaborate on what went right and


what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the
case
Case Analysis presented by you
Final recommendation / summary
What do you think went right while
solving the case?
What do you think could have been
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional)

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the
case
Case Analysis presented by you

None
NA
NA
NA
NA
NA
Got the offer.

Kushal Patwardhan
Mckinsey & Co.
Jaidit Brar (Senior Partner)
First round- first interview
Tell me about yourself
Why did you return to India
Jaidit is a really nice interviewer. He put me at ease and when he
casually asked to tell me about myself, I almost forgot it's an
interview :-P.
India wants to become energy independent by 2030. How should
they go about it?
I asked clarifying questions about what is meant by energy (both
power & transport) , independence (zero import of inputs) , who
is the client (Govt. of India) .
I asked about primary motivation . I was told that CAD was the
main reason and also instability of countries from which we
import the inputs puts India at risk.
Environmental
considerations were not that important & any recommendation
should be economically viable.
I laid out my approach that I will look at today's energy demand
and supply and find the demand and supply in 2030 and find the
most important issue to attack. He told me go ahead.
Today's energy demand 100 MTOE (million tonne oil equivalent)
Power : 50 MTOE
Transport : 50 MTOE
50% of it is imported. I asked import percentage in transport . it
was 80%
76

So,
Power : 40MTOE inhouse 10MTOE import
Transport: 10MTOE inhouse 40MTOE import
I asked growth in demand, it was 10% YOY for both power and
transport. 2030 was 16 years away, so using rule of 72 I
calculated that demand will quadruple to 400 and a bit more
(72/10 = 7.2 years to double)
I asked about growth in supply , for power we have unlimited
coal so we can ramp up faster and meet all the demand. For
transport our supply can grow at 3% YOY . Which I calculated to
go approx from 10 to 15 over 16 years (again rule of 72)
So in 2030
Power Demand 200 inhouse supply 200
Transport Demand 200 inhouse supply 15 import 185!!!
So this is a huge amount. We can tackle it either from supply
side or demand side
Supply side : We can increase production by existing fields
(insignificant) or hope to find a jackpot field (unlikely)
Eliminated supply side since 10 to 200 jump is impossible with
either solution.
Demand side : We can think about reducing consumption by a.
reducing demand by promoting public transport etc b. increasing
efficiency of engines etc to consume less fuel per km
But these are very small & incremental changes and are not
going to bring 200 demand down to 15. So I eliminated these
options.
So only alternative to reduce demand is to find a substitute
He said ok, so what substitutes can you propose.
I said I'll look at what resource India has in abundance &
inexpensive and utilize it
1. Coal - we already established that we have unlimited coal , so
perhaps we can have coal-based fuel.
2. Renewables - We can explore solar powered cars etc.
He said apart from coal-based fuel, what else do you think we
can do with coal. I was so into the case it took me 1 whole
minute to find the obvious answer ! Of course! Unlimited coal =
Unlimited power, we can use electric vehicles!
That ended the case :-)

Final recommendation / summary

Wasn't asked to summarize. But answer to case was two words 77

- Electric cars
What do you think went right while Almost everything. I never went on tangents or jumped to
solving the case?
solutions. Clarifying questions helped separate out power &
transport.
I established the size of shortage first hence was able to
confidently reject solutions pertaining to reducing demand and
increasing supply because of the impact was too small.
What do you think could have been Not much. I think even the time taken by me to say 'electric
done better while solving the case?
cars' was actually appreciated by Jaidit because I hadn't
approached the case with a solution in mind and had reached
there in a very logical manner.
Outcome of the interview (optional) Everyone had to do 2 interviews in Round 1

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)

Kushal Patwardhan
Mckinsey & Co.
Renny Thomas
First round- Second interview
Tell me about yourself
Why consulting
Renny looked very tired. PI was very formal. I didn't really get a
chance to establish any connect with him.

A large chemical company in India has a chemical plant and a


cement plant in Gujarat where they use waste material from
chemical plant as an input to cement plant. They use common
distributors for both cement and chemicals. Now the distributors
are demanding more cement from the chemical company. What
should chemical company do?
How did you define the scope of the Everything was given by interviewer already
case
Case Analysis presented by you
After some clarifying questions ( are plants working at capacity,
are they setting up new chemical plants ,etc
I laid a structure based on all the alternatives chemical company
has to respond to distributor request
1. Do Nothing ( refuse to give more cement)
2. Supply the extra cement
Within option 2 there are 2 alternatives
1. Produce it yourselves
2. Buy it from elsewhere
I then went about evaluating each option. I asked him do you
want me to get into numbers, he said no just describe general
approach.
78

1. Do nothing - Distributors will be disappointed but they will


not leave us as we have good relations with them for chemical
distribution.
2a. Produce ourselves - Current cement plant is at capacity so
we will have to Increase production capacity and Since we have
no plans for expanding chemical plants, we will need to buy
inputs from market or competitors
2b. Buy it from elsewhere - Company can simply buy more
cement and give to distributors
Since there's no growth in chemicals market, company should
look at cement as a growth opportunity. Another lever the
company had was they were selling cement below market price,
which they could increase.
I said we'll need to do a cost benefit analysis of options to
choose the right option.
I did some analysis with his help (which I don't remember, as
there were no numbers, only variables) .and came up with some
recommendation.
Final recommendation / summary
Don't remember :(
What do you think went right while Didn't try to force-fit a framework. Clarifying questions about
solving the case?
both industries and also capacity utilization during 'Define' stage
itself , helped me approach the problem better.
What do you think could have been A lot. At times I felt lost without more data but the Renny only
done better while solving the case?
wanted approaches.
Outcome of the interview (optional) Made an offer :-)

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Amit Gupta
Mckinsey & Company
Somnath Chatterjee (Associate Principal)

First Round 1st Interview


Interviewer was alum from my Undergrad college. So initial
conversation was about the Undergrad college. Then he directly
went into the case
Comments on the PI rounds (please I think having alum from my Undergrad college helped me in
elaborate on what went right and connecting with him.
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the One case and one small guess estimate.
interviewer)
Case: How would you plan the bench strength of IT company?
GuessEstimate: Estimate the potential size of DTH market in
79

India
How did you define the scope of the Case: Interviewer was looking for more of an approach to solve
case
the problem of bench strength. So I didnt spend too much time
in scoping. I just enquired about current operations and if there
are some issues we are seeing for which answers were either
irrelevant for the case or Assume anything
Case Analysis presented by you
Case: After the scoping I thought about the problem for some
time and then told interviewer that I would like to apply the
concepts of supply chain in it. Somnath smiled and asked me to
explain the approach.
I assumed that one single pool of bench is there and used to
satisfy all the demand. Then I drew following diagram:
Recruitment (Procurement) -> Training (Processing/Packaging) ->
Bench (Inventory Management) -> Project Deployment
(Demand)
Then I listed down the factors affecting the bench strength
(safety stock + cycle inventory) are:
1. Recruitment lead time and its variability
2. Training Lead time and its variability
3. Employee cost (salary + overhead)
4. Different skill levels required
Then he asked me ways to reduce the bench strength:
1. I first suggested the usual suspects, reduce variability
and lead time
2. Then I talked about cross training. (To get the benefits of
aggregations)
GuessEstimate: Pretty standard approach. Divided the potential
customer into urban and rural and then high income and middle
income families (Used facts learnt in GSBC to calculate the
number of potential homes). From there calculated the market
size of DTH.
Final recommendation / summary
Summarized the Inventory Management approach to plan for
bench strength
What do you think went right while Case: Using supply chain approach for solving the case.
solving the case?
Guess Estimate: Didnt fumble with numbers and showed clear
step by step calculations.
What do you think could have been Case was fine but in case of guess estimate initially I made one
done better while solving the case?
assumption (DTH penetration) which was practically not true.
Outcome of the interview (optional) Outcome after 2nd interview of first round

80

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Amit Gupta
Mckinsey & Company
Sasi Sunkara (Partner)

First Round 2nd Interview


Only couple of questions:
1) Tell me about yourself?
2) How do you used to adapt to different work cultures?
(Related to my travel during Job)
3) Did you like travelling?
4) What was your fathers job?! (Since I told him that as I
child I never stayed at one place for more than 3-4 years)
spent most of the PI time on this
Comments on the PI rounds (please Very brief PI and I think main objective was to connect with the
elaborate on what went right and interviewer which I did I guess.
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the The client is an agricultural input retail chain and they are facing
interviewer)
stock outs and overstocking.
How did you define the scope of the Did the scoping in usual suspects (Product, time and Geography).
case
Summary of scoping: Problem was with all the products and all
the stores. Recommendations were expected for short as well as
long term.
Case Analysis presented by you
Then drew the value chain and asked specific questions to
identify the value chain component which had issue.
Value chain:
Procurement -> Inbound Logistics -> Warehousing -> Stores
Some representative questions:
Procurement:
- Are the supplier lead times reliable?
- Does he give some kind of bulk discounts?
Inbound logistics:
- Are inbound lead times reliable?
- What is shrinkage percentage?
Warehousing:
- What kind of network model? (Asked because
interviewer mentioned that replenishment lead time to
stores are high)
Stores:
- What is the process for replenishment orders? Is
forecasting done etc.
Final summary of analysis:
- Replenishment was done at adhoc and intuitive basis.
No processes were followed.
- All products were given same importance.
- Only one warehouse in North India was directly used to
satisfy pan-India demand
Final recommendation / summary
Short term:
81

1) Implement planning processes


2) Define KPIs and benchmark against the industry
3) Do product segmentation to identify the highest value
products and put special care in replenishments
4) Cost-benefit analysis for every bulk discounts availed?
(Supply Chain Costs vs Discount)
Long Term:
1) Implement IT systems to do replenishments in stores
and monitoring
2) Move to Hub and spoke model
Few more but doesnt remember all!
What do you think went right while I was able to draw the value chain accurately and identify the
solving the case?
value chain component which was an issue.
I think my prior experience in supply chain and agricultural
products helped in giving some realistic recommendations. Sasi
did mention that he is going to apply few of the
recommendations in his current case.
One tip: Prepare well for the cases from your background. Also,
try and apply some of the insights in the case.
What do you think could have been I guess maybe I went to too much in detail of the problem and
done better while solving the case?
therefore took more than 20 minutes for the case.
Outcome of the interview (optional) Moved to the next round

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Amit Gupta
Mckinsey & Company
Jaidit Singh Brar (Partner)

Second Round 1st Interview


When I reached the room Jaidit asked me to walk with him to
the cafeteria. On the way he told me that he is not going to
interview because they are giving me offer! So no questions! He
welcomed me to the firm and asked if I have any questions.
Comments on the PI rounds (please NA
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the NA
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the NA
case
Case Analysis presented by you
NA
Final recommendation / summary
NA
What do you think went right while NA
82

solving the case?


What do you think could have been NA
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional) Got the offer!

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)

Mayank Bishnoi
McKinsey & Company
Renny Thomas, Director
First
Tell me about yourself

Renny asked me just one question before jumping onto the case.
This is one question you need to prepare really well as it is going
to come in almost every interview. I usually approach PI
questions in a story format rather than bullet points but you can
do it in whichever way you feel comfortable. The interviewer
should catch at least one point out of the whole story on which
you can have further discussion.
Case question (as narrated by the A consumer finance company wants to double its profits. Help
interviewer)
them out!
How did you define the scope of the I asked some company specific questions first - current product
case
line, geographical presence, current profits, customers, channels
& timelines. Turned out that the company had a pan India
presence and offered 2-wheeler and 3-wheeler loans. It wanted
to grow its profits from 1000 cr. To 2000 cr. in 5 years.
Then, I looked at the industry performance for the last couple of
years and since the industry was growing at 10% p.a, it became
quite clear that the company needed to expand to other
segments if it wanted to double its profits.
Case Analysis presented by you
I told Renny that the company can grow in two ways - organic &
inorganic and since the industry is not growing that fast, we
need to venture into different business. I gave him certain
suggestions like venturing into 4-wheeler loan segment or may
be mortgage business.
He then asked me to list certain factors I would need to look
before entering a new business. From then on, it was a standard
market entry problem and I followed the standard framework
including industry attractiveness, companys strengths and
weakness and mode of entry.
I mentioned one additional point in the whole discussion about
liquidity needs for the company before entering into a different
business, which I think Renny liked a bit.
Final recommendation / summary
Final recommendation included venturing into a new loan
83

segment or any other category in the consumer finance


business. Renny told me that the company entered the
insurance business, something which I missed, but my idea of
new business and the logic behind it was correct.
What do you think went right while I understood the nature of the business pretty well at the
solving the case?
starting of the case and was able to form a hypothesis which I
treaded upon during the case discussion.
What do you think could have been I missed the insurance point and also I did not have any
done better while solving the case?
questions to ask Renny at the end of the interview. I just threw
one random question to him at the end of the interview. So my
advice would be to prepare at least one question for each
interviewer.
Outcome of the interview (optional)

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Mayank Bishnoi
McKinsey & Company
Shirish Sankhe, Director

First Round, 2nd Interview


I had a very good interaction with Shirish over McKinsey dinner
and he remembered me from that day. So when I walked in, he
welcomed me really well and we had a very good conversation
regarding travel to Mohali, nervousness amongst students, cold
weather etc. Then he asked me couple of questions related to
my resume How has your experience been at ISB
Why did you go to IIT Roorkee
What did you do at DB & BofA and which was a better
experience
How you started playing billiards
Rate ISB experience vis a vis IIT experience
One key learning at ISB
How do you manage a team in sports
Comments on the PI rounds (please Since I had interacted extensively with Shirish over dinner, I
elaborate on what went right and never felt that I was in an interview and we had a very frank
what could have been done better)
conversation. Sometimes, it really helps to know the interviewer
beforehand and my advice would be to take advantage of
whatever interactions you have with senior people before
interview date. Know them well, their work interests and
anything else which you can talk about during an interview and
which makes sense.
Case question (as narrated by the A cement manufacturer has just started its operations in South
interviewer)
India and its cost of capital is $120/ton with debt to equity ratio
of 70:30. Now, it wants to sell its cement bag in Mumbai but
doesnt know the price at which it should sell so as to earn an
adequate return.
84

How did you define the scope of the I asked Shirish to define the adequate return the company wants
case
to earn but he instead asked me to define the adequate return
for a cement manufacturer. At that moment, I was stunned and
thought that this interview was a goner. I then asked him for
some time to think about the problem and I then realized that it
was a simple NPV analysis where I first needed to calculate the
IRR company should earn and then calculate the price for that
IRR.
Case Analysis presented by you
I told Shirish that I would first calculate the cost of capital and
then would add some margin over it for calculating the IRR. He
then told me that the cost of capital would be the adequate
return and there is no need to add any margin.
M: I will calculate the cost of equity first and then cost of debt to
calculate WACC
S: lets calculate cost of equity first
M: I need risk free rate, so in India it would be around 8-9%
looking at the government securities. Is that fine?
S: ya, take it as 8%
M: I need to estimate the beta now. For cyclical industries it will
be greater than 1 and for stable industries, it will be less than 1.
S: What do you think of the cement industry? Volatile of stable
M: I think its a volatile industry. So beta should be more than 1
S: Correct, it is very volatile. Can you give an example of a stable
industry?
M: Healthcare industry is very stable
S: Right. So now estimate the beta of cement industry
M: I think it will be around 2.
S: Smiled and told me that its not that volatile either
M: I corrected it and said that it would be around 1.3
S: Ya, take it as 1.3
M: Now, knowing the risk free rate and the beta, I need to know
the historical market return.
S: So, what do you think will be the market rate of return
M: In US, its around 10% for the last 30yrs, in India it should be
around 15%
S: Ya, take it as 15%
M: I calculated the cost of equity and then moved to estimate
the cost of debt. I said since the risk free rate is around 8%, the
cost of debt should be around 10-11%.
S: Take it as 10%
M: I then calculated the WACC. Now I needed to use the NPV
equation to calculate price. So, I asked him about the variable
costs and other fixed costs.
S: He asked me to assume the gross margin to be 30% and fixed
costs to be INR 100/yr and lets do it for one year.
M: I thought that he is just looking for logic and I oversimplified
things, ignoring taxes and depreciation in the calculation and
came out with an answer.
85

S: Your answer is incorrect because you have ignored two


important things. Can you tell me what are they?
M: I said I ignored taxes.
S: Right, there is one more thing.
M: Got confused and thought maybe there is a mistake in the
logic and I tried to gauge it by talking to him.
S: You are still missing one thing.
M: I ignored working capex
S: You ignored depreciation.
M: Right, I was oversimplifying things. So what depreciation
should I take?
S: Assume the life of project to be 20 years. Now calculate the
price of a cement bag
M: I calculated something but he told me that the answer was
incorrect. I checked my calculations and it seemed to be alright
but I decided to not contest further.
S: I think we have reached the end of the case. Any questions for
me.
M: Ended the interview without asking any questions.
Final recommendation / summary
Recommended the price of a cement bag but more than the
answer, the discussion I had with him was important. I could
figure out during the interview that he was enjoying discussing
the case with me.
What do you think went right while My interaction with Shirish and the way I approached the case
solving the case?
involving him at every point worked for me.
What do you think could have been I oversimplified things in between which I should not have done.
done better while solving the case?
Always state your assumptions to the interviewer.
Outcome of the interview (optional) Was told at the end of the interview that both the interviews
went well and I should wait for the 2ndround call.

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Mayank Bishnoi
McKinsey
Rajat Dhawan, Director

Second Round, 1st Interview


Tell me about yourself
Why dont you play golf
How many interviews have you given already
How was your experience at DB & BofA
Which companys interview process has impressed you the
most
Why do you want to shift from finance to consulting
What will you do if Deutsche Bank makes you an offer
How keen are you on joining McKinsey
Comments on the PI rounds (please It was just a PI round with Rajat. Having interviewed with two
elaborate on what went right and directors in the 1st round and being called for the 2nd round made
86

what could have been done better)

it clear that at least one of the directors had given his nod. Rajat,
while asking all the above questions was checking out his Ipad
and he seemed to be a little distracted which somehow made
me lose my enthusiasm and my voice dropped a bit. But I was
lucky enough to realize well within time that I needed to speak
loud and clear and still carry the same enthusiasm whatever be
the outcome.
Case question (as narrated by the No Case
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the
case
Case Analysis presented by you
Final recommendation / summary
What do you think went right while
solving the case?
What do you think could have been
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional) Rajat extended his hand and the offer was made.

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Nidhi Arora
Mckinsey & Company
Ruchi Kalra, Associate Partner

First
Tell me something about yourself?
What was XYZ project at Essex (pre ISB firm) all about?
What was your biggest achievement at Essex?
Of the many things mentioned in your resume, what are you
most passionate about?
Why do you want to do consulting?
Comments on the PI rounds (please Ruchi is a very warm and friendly person who makes you feel at
elaborate on what went right and ease right from the word go. Hence, was able to build a good
what could have been done better)
rapport with her right from the first question.
Described the project very crisply. It is very important to prepare
short and effective answers to all possible questions from your
resume.
Case question (as narrated by the The interview involved 2 short cases:
interviewer)
Case 1: How will you go about opening an NGO for abandoned
elderly people? Particularly focus on how you will make it
financially sustainable.
Was asked this case question because of a stint with an NGO.
Solution: Since this was one of those unconventional open ended
cases, I avoided using any framework.
87

I asked a few of opening questions:


1. Where do we intend to open the NGO?
2. Have we already reached out to the elderly people we would
have at the NGO?
3. For making the NGO financially sustainable can we also
consider applying for different licenses domestic and foreign to
raise funds?
After gathering this info I proceeded to structuring my analysis
into the below:
1. For whom how will we reach out to these elderly people and
convince them to be a part of our NGO
2. Where where exactly will we open the NGO in Delhi? This
will be governed by availability of resources (shelter, help etc.)
and concentration of abandoned elderly people in the area
3. What what activities will happen at the NGO i.e. how do we
intend to help the elderly people in their normal routine
4. How depending on the what, how do we plan to
fund/finance these activities and hence the NGO
Ruchi liked this structure and asked me to just focus on finding
out on a monthly basis how much money would we need. I again
broke this down into the below (as the list of things we would
need money for):
1. Food
2. Shelter rent, utilities, maintenance, housekeeping etc
3. Clothing
4. Monthly activities city trips, self help/spiritual sessions etc.
Again Ruchi was fairly satisfied on how I broke the analysis and
concluded this discussion and moved onto the second case
Case 2: An Indian retail bank wants to expand its deposit base.
How will you help them?
Solution: I asked the below questions to define the problem
1. What products are we looking at savings, current or Fixed
deposits? Ruchi asked to focus only on savings.
2. What does the current savings deposit base stand at? By how
much do we want to increase it?
Ruchi gave me same numbers which I dont remember now
3. Given the target increase, is it safe to assume that the industry
is growing well to be able to achieve it? Yes
After gathering this information I structured the case analysis
into 2 components
1. Penetration how to get more deposits from existing
customers i.e. increase share-of-wallet
2. Acquisition how to acquire new customers to increase our
deposits
Again here Ruchi gave me more numbers that how much more
can we expect to get from existing customers. From the
calculations it appeared that a major portion (around 90%) of
the target increase in deposits had to come from new customers.
88

Ruchi then asked me on a couple of final recommendations on


how can we achieve this
How did you define the scope of the
case
Case Analysis presented by you
Final recommendation / summary
To achieve the 90% target increase from new customers, we
could do two things:
1. Aggressive cross-selling efforts get leads from credit cards
and loan divisions of the bank. Also, look at the current
solicitation process and see how it can be made more effective
2. Sales & marketing campaigns at universities/colleges and
corporate as they help to open new accounts in bulk. Also, more
focus on corporate as will be able to get in more deposit
balances from corporate customers.
What do you think went right while Did not try to force fit any frameworks. Kept communicating my
solving the case?
approach/thoughts at regular intervals to the interviewer this
helped as a sort of validation and also Ruchi felt engaged in the
case analysis
It is important to know your resume very well as the interviewer
may form a case then and there from your resume itself.
What do you think could have been Everything seemed to have gone very well. This was infact my
done better while solving the case?
best interview of the day despite being the first one
Outcome of the interview (optional) Moved to round 2.

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Comments on the PI rounds (please


elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)

How did you define the scope of the


case

Nidhi Arora
Mckinsey & Company
Shirish Sankhe, Director
Second
Walk me through your resume.
What was your biggest achievement at Essex?
Why did you quit Credit Suisse in 8 months?
Tell me about your leadership skills.
Again it is important to be prepared for all sorts of questions on
your resume.
I was prepared for the quitting Credit Suisse question as well and
Shirish was fairly happy with the response
A cement company wants to price cement/bag for its new facility
setup somewhere in South India. Shirish gave additional
information that the company had a capex of some XX crs. in the
plant and life of the plant is 25 years.
I asked the total capacity of the plant and the quantity per bag.
This helped me get the number of bags produced annually. Next
I asked Shirish how should we depreciate the capex on the plant
he asked to use straight line depreciation.
Additionally I also asked whether we need to consider any
89

Case Analysis presented by you

particular city for pricing as the distribution costs (a major


portion of the cost structure) would be different.
Shirish said to consider lets say Mumbai and that there is
sufficient demand.
I laid down the typical structure of a pricing problem 1) Cost
based 2) Value based 3) Comparables. Shirish asked to consider
only cost based pricing.
I then listed the various components of cost structure:
1) Manufacturing costs
2) Distribution/Transportation costs
3) Sales & Marketing
Shirish gave me all these numbers per bag. After calculating the
total per bag, Shirish asked me that how I would decide the cost
plus mark up on a per bag basis. Here I got stuck a little bit as I
could not think that the mark up would be governed by the
WACC of the capex.
Shirish then asked me a couple of questions on WACC that
whether it will be of the plant or the firm and that how will you
calculate it etc.
Then Shirish gave me the WACC number as 9%.
After that the calculations were simple:
Cost per bag = Variable Cost per bag + (1+WACC)*capex per bag

Final recommendation / summary


What do you think went right while Asked the right upfront questions. Did not assume that only cost
solving the case?
plus pricing method would be used.
One should never assume anything even if it seems to be the
right method, should always verify with the interviewer
What do you think could have been Should have thought of the WACC angle.
done better while solving the case?
I kept telling Shirish that the mark up would depend on the rate
of return the client expects on the plant. Shirish asked me to
think what it should at the minimum.
Outcome of the interview (optional) Moved to round 3

90

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Nidhi Arora
Mckinsey & Company
Jaidit Brar, Partner

Third
Jaidit is one of the nicest persons to talk to at Mckinsey. He is
extremely friendly and it helps a lot to calm down your nerves!
How many interviews have you given today so far?
What was your experience of the first 2 interviews at Mckinsey?
Why do you want to do consulting?
What is your biggest achievement at ISB?
Comments on the PI rounds (please The PI part went very well and I could strike a connect with
elaborate on what went right and Jaidit. He was smiling all through after this during the case
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the Before giving the case, Jaidit said that we will do a simple case
interviewer)
and we will try to do it jointly and that I can take as much time as
I needed. This made me feel all the more comfortable.
The case question was that we need to reduce the waiting times
at the Delhi-Gurgaon toll. How should we go about it?
How did you define the scope of the I asked Jaidit a few opening questions:
case
1) What are the current wait times?
2) By how much do we want to reduce it?
3) What are the times of the day when the problem is most
acute?
Case Analysis presented by you
I then listed down the various reasons due to which long waits
occur:
1) Lower capacity
2) Variability in demand/arrival rates
3) Variability in servicing rate
I told Jaidit that we can see what measures can be taken to
address each of these issues and reduce waiting times. He was
very pleased with this approach and asked me to consider the
last point.
I asked him what causes the variability in service rate. He asked
me to come up with a few and I listed the below two:
1) Variability in processing time of the server
2) The price charged per trip as sometimes giving back the
change in coins becomes time consuming
Jaidit was happy with what I came up with and added one more the different times taken by car drivers to position the car
correctly besides the booth.
After this Jaidit just closed the discussion saying that the way you
are analyzing the problem you will be able to solve it.
Final recommendation / summary
What do you think went right while Jaidit was not really looking for a solution but the approach and
solving the case?
how I was communicating it to him.
One thing that really helped me here was OPMG as I
91

remembered the basics from the queuing theory. It is important


to revise some of the core term courses and remember the
application!
What do you think could have been
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional) Was made an offer!

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Comments on the PI rounds (please


elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)

Case question (as narrated by the


interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the
case

Shirish Damani
McKinsey & Company
Sasi Sunkara, Partner
Round 1, Interview 1
I went into the interview a little nervous as I knew Sasi was in the
Financial Services vertical and knew the case would be from that
sector and coming from a manufacturing background myself this
was not my most comfortable area. However, I quickly took that
off my mind and the interview started off with a general
discussion on the cold in Mohali and I told him that I was used to
it since I was working in Chandigarh for close to 3 years. Further
we discussed how the entire placement process with ~450
students from Hyd going to Mohali seemed like a grand wedding
and not placements. And how the expenses associated with it
resulted in the Merit List scholarship getting cancelled. After
8-10 mins of chit chat we finally started with the regular PI
questions.
1. About yourself. (have a common theme flowing across your
answer)
2. Detail about your work. (esp prepare anything which stands
out in your CV)
3. Why consulting? (Try and personalize the answer apart from
the regular stuff)
This was my 3rd interview of the day and hence I was already in
flow. I was well prepared with all 3 answers and at the same
time made it a point to not come across as if I had mugged the
answers. Prepare well for PIs with buddies and in case groups
and make sure you take feedback from multiple people. V
important is to have structured, complete yet concise answers so
that the interviewer does not get bored.
Client is CEO of a NBFC and is concerned that the loan collection
process of the firm is not ok.
Asked basic questions,
SD: To whom does the client lend?
SS: mostly to transport companies to buy trucks and other
transport vehicles.
92

SD: Where does the firm operate?


SS: Pan India
SD: Since when has there been a problem.
SS: CEO is not sure if there is a problem as such.
SD: In that case we should first try and see if there is really a
problem.
SS: Exactly. What are some measures you will look at to detect if
there is a problem or not?
SS: I will take 2 mins to come with a list of metrics.
Case Analysis presented by you

I came up with the following metrics,


1. Comparison of % Bad debt across different regions in which
the firm operates in to understand if there is a problem with a
specific region.
2. Comparison of % Bad debt with competition
3. Comparison of % Bad debt over time
4. Comparison of % Bad debt with target
Sasi was convinced with these metrics and we had some
discussion over each of them. Post this he asked me to briefly
talk about what could be done in case a problem was identified.
I asked about the current process which he asked me to ignore
and asked me to mention just a few points at a very broad level.
I took a minute and mentioned some basic things like,
1. Better credit analysis before lending.
2. Sales team incentives to have % bad debt as a measure and
not just amount loans given as this would create an incentive to
lend to credible people.
3. Establish clear cut and objective guidelines/checklist to check
the credibility of the borrower so that there is minimal scope for
discretion.
Sasi was very convinced with the discussion and seem satisfied.
End of case.
Finally I was given a chance to ask a question. As I knew Sasi had
worked outside India I asked him how is the consulting
experience in India different from that outside. We had a brief 35 minute discussion on this.

Final recommendation / summary


No such final recommendation or summary as such.
What do you think went right while Not force fitting a framework where not applicable helped.
solving the case?
Think from basics and try to scope the problem. This is the most
important thing in any case discussion.
I had read in the previous case books that connecting with the
interviewer always helps. However, did not really understand
what it really meant. But after this interview I realized what
93

people were referring to. The initial general discussion which I


had really eased me out and then the interview was more of a
discussion than an interview which really helped especially
because of the finance phobia that I had. As one of my buddies
had told me that the more you speak in an interview the chances
of you making a mistake increases. So let the interviewer also
speak and turn the interview into a discussion. That is exactly
what happened and both the interviewer and myself were very
satisfied.
What do you think could have been Frankly speaking I think all my McK interviews were like a dream
done better while solving the case?
come true. I think everything was just fine. But in this case if I
still have to point out something it will be the final question
which I had asked. I think I asked a question which almost
everyone would have asked Sasi and probably could have
something better.
Outcome of the interview (optional) Moved to next round.

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Shirish Damani
McKinsey & Company
Jaidit Singh Brar, Partner

First Round, Second Interview


1. About yourself. (have a common theme flowing across your
answer)
2. Detail about your work. (esp prepare anything which stands
out in your CV)
3. What would you like to change about P&G (past
organization)?
4. Why consulting? (Try and personalize the answer apart from
the regular stuff)
Comments on the PI rounds (please He asked all standard questions. But what helped was that I was
elaborate on what went right and well prepared with all the answers and all the answers had a
what could have been done better)
personal touch. And the answers should not be the standard
answers which everyone is giving. This is the easiest as well as
quite impactful part of the interview. If prepared well then you
can guide the interview as you want and to your strength.
Moreover, since this is the first part of the interview it really
helps create a big positive impact if the questions are answered
well.
Case question (as narrated by the This was the more unusual cases.
interviewer)
JB: What will be your recommendation to Arvind Kejriwal for the
2014 LS elections? (Remember this was before the Delhi
elections results had come out and hence before AAP came to
power)
How did you define the scope of the I was a little surprised by the case. I took a couple of minutes off
94

case

before I started and was quick to start thinking.

Case Analysis presented by you

I started by saying that considering the size of the country and


the current strength of the AAP it is not possible for them to
fight elections impactfully across the country. So we need to look
at 2 main points i.e., resources and possible impact. In the mean
time I thought of a 2X2 to represent this. I felt I was having a
good day coz never in any case practice session I had ever made
a 2X2. This kind of boosted my confidence. However, I was a
little skeptical to use this especially since many buddies had
asked not to use standard terms. Moreover since this was a McK
interview I was not sure if I should use a BCG 2X2. I was clearly
over thinking. Please avoid this.
SD: I have thought of a 2X2 should I use it.
JB: sure go ahead.
SD: We can represent it using a 2X2 with resources required
both people and money .. on one axis and probability of winning
on the other.
I then drew the 2X2 on the paper and started discussion on that.
SD: We can then classify all the states into each of the 4 quarters
and definitely target the ones where resources required are low
and probability of winning is high and avoid the opposite
quadrant. The other two quadrants will need to be decided on a
case by case basis.
JB: How will you determine the resources required and
probability of winning?
SD: Resources required would depend on the size of the state
and current presence of AAP in these states and probability of
winning would depend on the current nature of politics and
general voting pattern in the states i.e., whether people vote
based on caste (eg. UP). Probability of winning would also
depend upon current available options for the states like in West
Bengal people are not happy with the available alternatives and
hence AAP might have a better chance.
At this point I was a little out of ideas and asked for a minute.
SD: Should I take an eg. of a state in each quadrant and explain.
JB: Sure, go ahead.
SD: UP is an eg. where resources required will be high because of
the size of the state and probability of winning is low as people
vote based on caste. Since AAP doesnt stand for caste based
politics it will be difficult to make inroads at this stage and hence
95

AAP should avoid UP and other such states. Next, we can look at
a state where resources required will be relatively less and
probability of winning is higher. West Bengal/Kerala could be an
eg. of this as people are more educated and hence AAPs anti
corruption image might strike a chord with the voters.
Moreover, caste based politics being minimal in these states
might work in AAPs favor. In addition frustration with the
existing political parties and lack of a good alternative could be
perfect for AAP.
JB: Ok good. (He seemed convinced with the discussion). Would
you like to add anything else to this?
SD: Yes. There are some watch-outs (there always is). Things AAP
needs to be careful about while scaling up. For eg.
1. While recruiting people for the party they need to ensure
people do not have any controversial background as their entire
campaign is based on anti-corruption.
2. Similarly while tying up with other organizations it needs to
ensure similar anti corrupt background.
3. When fighting at the national level it will need to make it
stand clear on other issues of national interest and not just talk
about corruption.
Jaidit seemed to be satisfied with the discussion and asked me to
ask any questions which I had. I thought of a good question
there. I had mentioned in my Why Consulting answer that I
want to become an entrepreneur in 3-5 years time and hence
consulting will help me with industry knowledge, problem
solving and contacts. Taking this forward I asked.
SD: With your experience in consulting what are some of the
things you fell you have learnt which will help you as an
entrepreneur?
Jaidit was very impressed with the question as it was not one of
the regular ones and talked in detail about what he felt. He went
ahead and even spoke about things one learns in consulting
which will hamper someone as an entrepreneur. We had a good
5-7 minute discussion on this.
Final recommendation / summary

SD: As discussed, AAP should not go about fighting the LS polls


across the county due to time and resource constraint. It should
classify the states on the 2X2 matrix and have a state wise
strategy and form alliances with a political regional organizations
but not before doing a thorough check on their background.
What do you think went right while Not force fitting a framework where not applicable helped.
solving the case?
I had read in the previous case books that connecting with the
interviewer always helps. However, did not really understand
96

what it really meant. But after this interview I realized what


people were referring to. The initial PI questions really eased me
out and then the interview was more of a discussion than an
interview. In this case even the last question which I asked Jaidit
impressed him and helped me leave a mark as the interview
ended.
Finally watching Arnab Goswami on news hour every night
helped me with some facts.
What do you think could have been Frankly speaking I think all my McK interviews were like a dream
done better while solving the case?
come true. In this case I think everything was just fine could not
have asked for a better interview.
Outcome of the interview (optional) Moved to next round.

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Shirish Damani
McKinsey & Company
Rajat Dhawan, Partner

Second Round
This was my 7thcase interview of the day and was hoping that
this would be a simple case interview. To my delight this turned
out to be just a PI and no case and also my last interview.
Rajat asked some standard questions,
1. Which firms are you interviewing with?
2. How many interviews have you given till now?
3. Tell me about your work in P&G.
Comments on the PI rounds (please As I was talking about my P&G experience Rajat was working on
elaborate on what went right and his iPad and at that time I got really nervous coz I thought that I
what could have been done better)
am boring him to death with my answers. As I was answering he
suddenly looks up and tells me,
RD: Ok thats good. Now tell me what is the process of extending
an offer to you.
I was a little surprised and spoke about the FIF process which I
myself was not 100% clear about and confused him.
RD: Anyways, my team will take care of this, I am pleased to
welcome you to the firm.
That was it. I shook hands and left the room.
Case question (as narrated by the NA
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the NA
case
97

Case Analysis presented by you


Final recommendation / summary
What do you think went right while
solving the case?
What do you think could have been
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional)

NA
NA
NA

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Venugopal Balasubramanian
McKinsey & Co.
Rajat Dhawan, Director

Comments on the PI rounds (please


elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)

NA
Made an offer

First Round First Interview


Went through resume fairly systematically. He asked me a little
about my work experience at Citibank, but possibly because that
was fairly short, moved on to my extra-curriculars.
It was a very easy-going discussion regarding my experiences and
what I had learned in the process.
Its useful to build a rapport with the interviewer quickly, both to
keep it interesting and to avoid getting stressed out.
Two bits of advice:
Think of the interview as a conversation, and not a test
Keep up your energy levels
I also think that the fact that I took the initiative to open the
interview with some small talk helped show some initiative and
keep the conversation on a friendly level.
What do you think the market would be for luxury homes in
Chandigarh?
Definition of luxury homes: 4 cr ticket size

Case question (as narrated by the


interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the
case
Case Analysis presented by you
Initial approach : Population >> No of households >> Demand due
to new families + Demand from families changing houses
Tried to estimate demand from new families by estimating 30 yrs
between generations (I chose to ignore net immigration). Similarly,
assumed a family would stay in a house on average for about 15
years (random number). Got a figure for total number of houses
sold a year. ). I assumed that there would be two categories of
people buying in this segment well-paid professionals, and
wealthy individuals. For well-paid professionals I estimated the
average EMI (came out to be something like INR 5 lakhs), but
without any data on the number of people in that salary bracket I
could not proceed. As the number of corporations in Chandigarh is
llimited, I said this group would probably not account for the
majority of customers in this segment. So I said I would focus on
98

the other segment namely, affluent and HNI individuals and


estimated that a high value property would typically account for
upto 25% of their net worth and based on that I would need to look
at people worth more than INR 16 cr or so. But again I was finding
it difficult to proceed.
Rajat suggested taking a different approach from the supply side.
So I tried to assume number of houses in premium neighbourhoods
and then get a notion of supply in this market, but that didnt get
too far either.
Final recommendation / summary
Did not reach any conclusion.
What do you think went right while I kept trying, and did not give up even when the interviewer started
solving the case?
ignoring me during the interview (the case part was a bit of a stress
interview, in that sense).
What do you think could have been I could have had some more enthusiasm, and made some more
done better while solving the case?
aggressive assumptions. In the event, I stopped at the point when I
was no longer comfortable with the validity of the assumptions I
was making.
Outcome of the interview (optional) N. A. (first round interview)

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Comments on the PI rounds (please


elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)

Case question (as narrated by the


interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the
case

Case Analysis presented by you

Venugopal Balasubramanian
McKinsey & Co.
Shirish Sankhe, Director
First Round Second Interview
PI focused almost entirely on academics/achievements in
college.
Greatest academic achievement
Was my CGPA good?
What had I enjoyed learning at ISB?
Why did I choose to become President of the Fin Club
instead of the Consulting club
Again entering the interview with some calm and confidence
makes a lot of difference. I think keeping my answers frank also
helped a lot, as it makes you seem more genuine.
Having met Shirish at the networking dinner also helped in
making conversation, and more generally, helped me feel on
familiar ground.
You have an acre of slum land in Mumbai, and it needs to be
redeveloped. Find the breakeven FSI that you have to apply for.
Basically the slum dwellers would be given
compensatory flats on a 1:1 basis
No land cost to be included
Ignored costs due to corruption etc
My basic approach would be to look at the costs and revenue.

99

Sources of revenue:
Sale of apartment primary source of revenue (ignored
the rest)
Sale of parking space, etc
Fees for club facilities, security, etc
I said about Rs. 40k/sq ft would be reasonable in Bandra (kept
the context to a neighbourhood I was familiar with).
Cost heads:
Construction cost
o Material
o Labor
o Utilities charges
o Overhead
Land cost to be ignored
Registration and other regulatory charges also to be
ignored.
So the main job was to estimate construction cost. I tried to
estimate using a profit margin and then back-calculate. The
figure was wildly overestimated, so Shirish corrected me and
said that about Rs. 1200 2000/sq ft would be reasonable,
depending on quality of construction. He also pointed out that
the quality of apartments would be low for the slum dwellers
rehabilitation and high for the apartments to be sold ( a point
that I had overlooked).
The breakeven FSI came out to be some fraction just over 1. It
was so low, that I went back and rechecked the numbers.
Final recommendation / summary
An FSI of just over 1 would be more than enough to breakeven.
What do you think went right while Kept the business perspective in mind when discussing issues.
solving the case?
Moved the discussion at the end beyond case assumptions and
showed interest in what the real-world dynamics of this problem
would be.
Remained very systematic in my approach.
What do you think could have been My arithmetic I repeatedly had to go back and check because I
done better while solving the case?
was afraid that I was messing up the zeros.
Outcome of the interview (optional) The interviewer seemed happy.
After the second shortlist was put up, I had a short discussion
with a third partner, Sujit, after which they made an offer.

100

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Pranav Mathur
McKinsey & Company
Rajat Dhawan (Sr. Partner)
First
The discussion started with standard questions about me, why
consulting etc etc. Rajat was interested in knowing in detail about
my work experience. He asked me a few questions on the same
which I answered easily. Rajat seemed a little distracted and was
working on his ipad throughout; I kept my cool and answered all his
questions.

Comments on the PI rounds (please I explained my work well. Since I had worked on the shop floor, he
elaborate on what went right and asked me specific questions on issues faced in
what could have been done better)
operations/manufacturing. I was able to defend these questions
well. This was the first interview of the day for me and I was a bit
nervous (something which Rajat could notice easily). It took me
some time to warm up after which the discussion went smoothly.
My Advice - prepare your resume inside out and know your work
well. The first few minutes of the interview can really help you gain
confidence for tackling what comes next.
Case question (as narrated by the Estimate the number of luxury households in Chandigarh-Mohali
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the This was a standard guess estimate which I had practiced many.
case
Me: What is a luxury house-hold ?
RD: Houses with more than INR 4 Crore value.
<Asked some basic questions that I cannot remember now and
then took some time to think about the structure>
Case Analysis presented by you
Me: There are two ways to approach this problem, from the
demand side and the supply side.
RD: Proceed with the demand side approach
< I explained my logic of starting with the population in Chandigarh
Mohali and dividing the same based on income distribution of
households. He nodded and asked me to proceed.
I assumed the population as 5 Million, taking average 4 people per
household = 1.25 Million Households. Since financing a house is
done by taking loans, I assumed that the loan is paid over 10 years
with equal monthly installments. This gives us = INR 4 Crore/10
yearly payments = INR 40 Lakhs/year. Now since this money comes
from the disposable income of the individual/household. I assumed
that 40 Lakh would constitute 1/3rd of the disposable income of the
household. => Minimum household disposable income to afford a
luxury home = INR 120 Lakh.
Rajat all this while was doing something else on his ipad and gave
me a nod and an occasional ok to validate my approach.
Next, I divided the 1.25 Million households based on annual
disposable income with 60% below 120 Lakhs, 30% between 120
250 Lakhs and 10% above 250 Lakhs.
101

At this point, I said that people in the mid/high segment can afford
this but might not necessarily buy a house and hence we need to
factor that in. I drew a structure stating the kind of people who
would be interested Who currently are in rental accommodation,
who are looking for only an investment opportunity plus some
more which I cant remember now.
Rajat asked me to tell him the final number as he wanted to finish
the interview fast. I took some percentages and arrived at 10% *
1.25 Million = 125,000 households. This number seemed very large
to me and hence I told him that the number looks too big and that
might be because of the percentages we have assumed and we can
validate the same from publically available information on income
groups in Chandigarh/Mohali.
Rajat ended the case and asked me if I had any questions for him.
Final recommendation / summary
Final answer 125,000 houses
What do you think went right while I did not get nervous when Rajat started working. Took a lot of time
solving the case?
to think and neatly drew down my structure. Struck a good rapport
with Rajat in the beginning which really helped.
Rajat liked the disposable income approach that I used. Since my
final number seemed too large I qualified it by admitting that the
number is large and the assumptions should be ratified once again
something which he liked in the analysis.
What do you think could have been Rajat kept asking me to hurry up and give him an answer fast. It
done better while solving the case?
took me some time to narrow down on a number in the end (made
the calculations a bit complicated) something which I should have
thought through before starting the case itself.
Outcome of the interview (optional) Called for next round

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Pranav Mathur
McKinsey & Company
Renny Thomas (Sr Partner)

Comments on the PI rounds (please


elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)

I was told before walking in that my first round had gone well
hence I was fairly confident right from the beginning of this
interview. Struck a good rapport and answered all questions.
A chemical company also makes cement and uses the same
distribution channels to reach end customers. Their main business
in Chemicals, but they manufacture cement as one of the waste
products from the chemical manufacturing is used as input RM for
Cement. Lately the firm has seen an increase in cement demand

Second
Standard questions about myself, why consulting etc etc. He
asked me how I found the ISB experience different than my IIT
experience to which I gave him a couple of points. He asked me
what aspect of ISB I liked the most.

102

and has asked you to evaluate what they should do about it.
How did you define the scope of the I started by asking basic questions on the company and its relative
case
standing in the market. I was told that they are the leaders in
Chemicals and Cement is not their main focus. The distribution
channels are the same and they operate in only one geography. I
enquired regarding profitability and was told that chemical is more
profitable than cement. I also confirmed that the key ingredient in
manufacturing cement is the waste produced in chemicals
manufacturing.
At this point I took some time to think how to approach this.
Case Analysis presented by you
I started with analyzing the industry, company, competition and
customer. It turned out that the demand for cement was expected
to go up in future and the client had a very strong name in the
market. Customers were price conscious when buying cement and
our cement was at a premium price as compared to competitive
products.
I told Renny that we have the following options 1. Open new
plant for cement 2. Expand Capacity in current plant.
In either case, the major challenge was the chemicals waste used as
RM as we would need more of this to manufacture more cement.
This was the crux of the problem. Renny told me that the Chemicals
demand is also increasing however the current plant does not have
space to expand and is running optimally.
I told him that in case we do put up a new plant for Cement, we
would need to establish a chemical plant as well or procure the
waste from outside which would raise costs.
He asked me how will you evaluate this situation to which I
responded saying that I would conduct a financial feasibility study
to check this and compare that with any other opportunities for
investment that I might have. Renny asked me to tell him some
more to which I mentioned about capabilities/resources required
etc.
Renny told me that assume that the project is financially attractive
even if we procure the waste from the market.
Since procuring waste would increase costs, we had three options
1. Reduce price 2. Retain Price 3. Increase Price. I talked briefly
about each option and finally suggested that we should conduct a
market research to understand consumer buying behavior better
and then decide what to do with the prices.
Renny asked me if this was my final advice to which I said yes. He
then asked me why we could not just increase prices as there was
increasing demand in the market. I replied saying that directly
increasing prices would be too risky as there might be long term
implications with distributors etc and we should only do that once
we are fairly confident on the consumer perceptions about price.
Final recommendation / summary

Conduct a market survey to gauge price elasticity and then


103

evaluate. This was a risky suggestion as increasing demand in the


market would directly imply that prices would go up. However I
stuck to my answer and said that increasing prices should be based
on careful research as it may lead to long term issues with
downstream partners and customer perceptions.
What do you think went right while This was a very smooth case and I was able to identify the key
solving the case?
issues easily. Renny prompted me at the end to change my answer
(from conducting research to just raising prices). However I stuck to
my answer and defended it (something which he appreciated)
What do you think could have been Renny was looking for the traditional supply- demand curves to
done better while solving the case?
analyze price variations.
However, as long as you can defend your line of reasoning you
would sail through.
Outcome of the interview (optional) Moved to next round, which was a general PI and the offer was
made.

Names
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)

Abhishek Ahuja
McKinsey & Co.
Sujit Chakrabarty (Principal)

First
Tell me about yourself
How did you plan this day? How has it gone?
These are standard PI questions so it wasnt very difficult and
went well
The PI was brief (about 5 mins) as the interviewer wanted to
get on with the case
Case question (as narrated by the Your client is the CEO of an IT company, who has a week to
interviewer)
present to the board on the weak performance of the company
and recommendations that would help turn things around
How did you define the scope of the Started with general questions on the company, as little was
case
provided in the case. The company was a US based IT company
providing solutions across the globe.
It was placed 2nd by market share and had impressive revenue
growth of 20% but profitability was a concern. There were a few
other figures provided but not very relevant.
This clearly paved way for approaching the case through
standard profitability framework. We started with revenue that
was growing well, so I agreed with the interviewer to eliminate
this aspect and move to costs. Finally, on costs objective was
clarified the board expected lower costs.
Case Analysis presented by you
At this point I listed the broad cost categories and was asked to
assign weights to the same. I had listed the following with
weights:
104

Payroll costs 70%


Other Operating Costs 10%
Selling costs 10%
Admin costs 10%
We went into some details of each with regard to software and
hardware, and their depreciation/ amortization of a large IT
company.
Next, we focused on the payroll costs and its drivers. I clarified
on the number of employees, location, salary costs, other payroll
costs and outsourcing options. To this information was provided
on the company having employees in both India and US. Indian
employees had lower costs but also lower charge out rates as
compared to US. However, the profitability % was higher for US.
Final recommendation / summary
Taking the objective of lowering costs in isolation it may seem
that shifting employees to India is ideal, however, the board
would not appreciate lower revenue and profitability.
Accordingly, recommendations included: (1) Negotiation of
higher charge out rates for Indian employees to enable shift by
charging based on deliverables instead of employee location. (2)
Looking at China/ Indonesia as alternatives for outsourcing with
lower costs with similar charge out rates as US.
What do you think went right while The case had a standard profitability approach but required
solving the case?
detailed numerical analysis to identify the root cause and reason
for the CEO dilemma. The numbers went well and the
interviewer was particularly happy with my recommendations.
What do you think could have been
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional)

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Abhishek Ahuja
McKinsey & Co.
Shirish Sankhe (Director)

Second
What have been the recent events at ISB? How has hosting
Progressive Punjab helped ISB?
Provide an example of a leadership experience outside of
work?
Briefly take me through your CV and elaborate on one of your
sections in the CV
What was the rationale behind the job shift?
Do you really think consulting is your calling or is it a stepping
stone?
(At the end) Any questions for me specifically?
Comments on the PI rounds (please This was a PI heavy round with various cross questioning and
elaborate on what went right and
discussions on my perspectives on multiple topics
105

Shirish made me comfortable but was continuously prodding


me with tricky cross questions maybe to check whether I
contradict myself. Here my PI preparation was put to good use.
Research on the interviewer really helped as we had a long
discussion after soling the case on the specific questions I had
for him.
Case question (as narrated by the This case is based on a case the interviewer gave the previous
interviewer)
year. He wanted to know whether I read the Casebook 2013 and
whether I remembered the case facts. The case was given to
Shwaitang (refer Casebook 2013) and further figures were
added. I was asked to compute the break-even FSI for
construction of apartments for existing dwellers.
How did you define the scope of the At first I put forth all facts that I remembered from the case
case
given last year with regard to the area of the property, the
conversion of acres to sq. ft., restriction of FSI etc.
I then asked him certain clarifying questions regarding
Options for the real estate developer for land use
Area of development and the kind of customers
Whether existing dwellers were required to pay anything?
I then confirmed that break even FSI was the only objective of
the case, and moved forward.
Case Analysis presented by you
As the break-even FSI was required, I formulated the equation
involving various factors on the revenue and the cost side.
The revenue side involved land area for revenue generating real
estate development, FSI, number of apartments, sale price and
sale-ability percentage. I then estimated each of these factors
with FSI as the variable.
The cost side estimation was partly done in the case given in the
previous year. He asked me to estimate the cost of constructing
a flat in a way other than that used last year. I decided to use the
market rate I knew in my hometown and divided that into profit,
land premium and cost. This required a brief guesstimation
exercise for profit and land premium. The next step was
difference in cost of construction between development for
existing dwellers and the one for sale. Here again certain basic
knowledge of real estate was required (I had some work
experience in the area) and I developed a factor for the same
based on area, furnishing etc.
The rest of the case required numerical calculations for coming
up with a break even FSI. However, assumptions here were
critical. Especially with relation number of apartments expected
to be sold at pre-launch and then subsequently at different
rates.
Final recommendation / summary
This was a numbers heavy case that required an exact
computation of break even FSI. However, it required various
assumptions and guesstimations that were more a part of the
final summary than the solution.
what could have been done better)

106

What do you think went right while Staying calm while solving the numerical portions was critical to
solving the case?
getting the calculations right. There are no excuses for having
inaccurate calculations and are best done slowly as there are no
points for speed.
The assumptions I made were based on my work experience and
I justified each one of them through examples and logic.
What do you think could have been This was a PI heavy round with a number heavy case. I had gone
done better while solving the case?
through Casebook 2013 but never expected that I would be
made to recall facts. I did hesitate initially but with the
interviewers help recovered and was able to solve it relatively
smoothly.
Outcome of the interview (optional) This was my second interview with McKinsey, and both went
well. Offer was made after this interview !

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Comments on the PI rounds (please


elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)

Case question (as narrated by the


interviewer)

How did you define the scope of the


case

Kushagra Gupta
McKinsey & Co.
Renny Thomas, Director Head of Financial Services Practice
Round 1 Interview 1
Renny was very warm in welcoming me and put me at ease by
starting out with the standard PI questions such as tell me
something about yourself, why consulting, why McKinsey, CVbased questions on work experience (probably since my prior
experience was in financial services)
PI was mainly to put me at ease and to have an informal
conversation regarding my interests, prior work experience and
motivation for taking up consulting having worked with an
investment bank before. This was my 3rd interview of the day
and the good thing was that I was very conversational and
involved Renny in my PI answers. It is very important to keep the
interviewer involved in the conversation and to treat the
interview more like a chat.
Our client is a family-owned chemicals manufacturer in Gujarat.
The waste product from the manufacturing process is used to
manufacture cement in an ancillary plant attached to the main
chemicals manufacturing plant. In the past 6 months, the
demand for the clients cement has increased two-fold. The CEO
has approached McKinsey & Co. to advise him on the future
course of action.
I started out by asking questions about the client such as what
chemicals business they are into, who are their clients and how
is this cement manufactured. I also inquired about the
distinguishing characteristics of this cement and what macroeconomic factors have led to this sudden spurt in demand.
It turned out that the client was manufacturing chemicals for the
construction industry and that they were a well-known local
107

chemicals player. As to the cement, it was priced lower than


competitors since it was made from waste byproduct but
otherwise equivalent in quality. The sudden spurt in demand was
on account of construction boom (domestic and commercial) in
Gujarat.
Finally, I asked whether our client was looking to enter the
chemicals business in a major way given the rise in demand to
which Renny answered in the negative. So the scope of the case
boiled down to improving profits within the confines of the
existing factory setting.
Case Analysis presented by you
I structured the analysis as we could do one of 2 things
increase supply of our cement or curtail demand.
We could increase supply by increasing the quantity of cement
manufactured from the ancillary unit. This could be achieved by
increasing capacity of the entire plant (including ancillary unit),
reengineering the chemicals manufacturing process to make it
more inefficient to generate more waste by product and thus
more cement to sell. However, Renny commented that the plant
was running at full capacity and the company had no immediate
plans of capacity expansion.
To curtail demand, we could simply raise prices of our cement,
yet be lower compared to competitors which would
automatically ensure demand matches supply. This was exactly
what Renny was expecting and said that this is what they advised
the client.
Final recommendation / summary
I structured the summary as:
Context: A chemicals manufacturer wants to increase profits
from cement produced in its ancillary plant in the face of
increased demand.
Recommendations:
Short-term: 1) Increase prices of the cement to closely match
those of competitors but still be lower than them. 2) Bundle and
sell cement and chemicals to existing construction clients at a
higher combined price (clients would save on dealing with fewer
suppliers and procurement costs).
Long Term: 1) Capacity expansion of plant. 2) Process
reengineering of the chemicals manufacturing process to
increase waste by product.
What do you think went right while Scoping was the main aspect in this case and I think I nailed the
solving the case?
scope down quite early. The bundling suggestion was a kind of
wow moment since I think Renny did not expect this
suggestion.
What do you think could have been I took a fair bit of time in reaching the most obvious answer,
done better while solving the case?
which was raising the price of cement. A word of advice, try to
solve cases by first principles rather than applying a rigid
framework. At the time of defining the scope, you can make out
whether the case fits into a framework or whether you are
better off using first principles.
108

Outcome of the interview (optional)

Advanced to Round 1 Interview 2

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Kushagra Gupta
McKinsey & Co.
Rajat Dhawan, Director Head of McKinseys Operations
Practice in Asia
Round 1 Interview 2
This interview was a complete PI based interview. Some of the
questions that Rajat asked were:
1) Tell me something about yourself.
2) Grades and academic/research experiences at ISB and VJTI.
3) In-depth discussion about my work experience with a focus on
leadership traits.
4) Leadership positions at ISB with the Finance Club.
5) My interests in Formula 1, travel and volunteering
engagements.
The interview was more like an after lunch chat (he did have
lunch prior to my interview!!) on my CV.
Comments on the PI rounds (please I think the interview went quite well. My advice for PI would be
elaborate on what went right and to not leave it till late to prepare for it since it is a very important
what could have been done better)
part of the consulting interview, especially for McKinsey. Try to
prepare your stories well and intersperse them with humorous
comments/interesting/unique facts. Personalize all your answers
to Why McKinsey? Why consulting?, etc.
Case question (as narrated by the None
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the None
case
Case Analysis presented by you
None
Final recommendation / summary
None
What do you think went right while None
solving the case?
What do you think could have been None
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional) Advanced to Round 2

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Kushagra Gupta
McKinsey & Co.
Abhijit Kulkarni, Engagement Manager with the Mumbai office
Round 2 Interview 1
Abhijit is an ISB alum and also an alum from VJTI, my engineering
school. The interview started out as a discussion of VJTI, how
things have changed there, professors from his time, etc. We had
a discussion around his McKinsey engagements and work-life
109

balance in consulting. Then Abhijit mentioned that both partners


in Round 1 had already approved of me and that the outcome of
this interview would not affect their decision. He then said the
cherished words, Welcome to the firm!!
Comments on the PI rounds (please General advice for PI (and cases) is to be yourself in the
elaborate on what went right and interviews and not be concerned with the outcome of the
what could have been done better)
interviews that you have already given. Many people will be
interviewing with 4+ firms, which means atleast 10-12
interviews. Keeping you cool and not fretting about a bad
interview will do your confidence wonders in the madness that is
Day 1.
Case question (as narrated by the None
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the None
case
Case Analysis presented by you
None
Final recommendation / summary
None
What do you think went right while None
solving the case?
What do you think could have been None
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional) Made an offer

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)

Vishal Anand
McKinsey & Co.
Shirish Sankhe (Director)
Round 1 1st interview (1st interview of the day)
Whats the secret of CGPA 4.0/4.0? Why your academic record
at IIT is not as outstanding as it is in ISB? How should I go about
investing my personal wealth (Because I was an i-alpha analyst)?
A bit of smile and a bit of excitement always helps. Do prepare
for all typical interview questions but dont be too dependent on
it. Be honest in whatever you say.
A cement manufacturer is setting up a plant in Chennai and
would be selling the cement in Mumbai. He wants your help in
determining the price.
The question was quite straightforward.

How did you define the scope of the


case
Case Analysis presented by you
I asked few questions around capital expenditure, depreciation,
taxes, transportation cost, operating cost, channel margin. He
asked me to calculate the WACC. I asked questions around beta,
risk free rate, market risk premium and he asked me to take a
guess for each of them. The calculation was based on the
assumption of perpetuity cashflow. Finally I gave him the price
and he was happy with it.
110

Final recommendation / summary


What do you think went right while
solving the case?
What do you think could have been
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional)

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)

I was asking to the point question as it was a clear cut number


case and he did not expect any faff.
At the end when I told him the answer, I forgot to take into
account the taxes which clicked me once asked me to think once
more if I am missing something.
2nd Interview

Vishal Anand
McKinsey & Co.
Sasi Sunkara (Senior Partner)
Round 1 2nd interview
It was more of a chit chat. Was asked personal questions about
my family, my education etc.
He was very chilled out. My 1st interview went well and I was
quite confident in this one.

A promoter of a conglomerate has won the bid to set up some


government program (something like e-choupal) in 4 states
including Bihar and the shareholders are not happy and think
that it will be a value eroding proposition. Suggest 5 ways to
enhance the value of this investment.
How did you define the scope of the I asked about the existing business of the company (the
case
company was into several businesses including equipment
finance) and how the village centers will be run and what will be
the investment of the company etc
Case Analysis presented by you
He wanted only 5 ideas and no framework based analysis. I
asked for 2 mins and gave 5 recommendation:
1. Reduce the cost by asking the local entrepreneurs to
share the cost
2. Leverage the geographical reach in the existing
businesses of the company
3. Diversify into businesses which are village centric
4. Use this as a platform and invite other companies to use
this platform and charge fees for e.g. Banking services
5. Since its a government initiative, ask for tax breaks etc
which can lift the value up
Final recommendation / summary
What do you think went right while Everything. Most importantly I asked upfront if I shall only give
solving the case?
recommendations or shall I also do the analysis. He asked for
only recommendations.
What do you think could have been It was good enough.
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional) No 2nd round offer was made after the 1st round.

111

PWC
Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)

Case question (as narrated by the


interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the
case

Case Analysis presented by you

Rachit Raj
PWC Strategy & Research
Anuraag -Principal Consultant
First
Had the basic personal interview questions Tell me about
yourself, Previous role, How will you connect it to the role being
offered?
PI is very important to connect with the interviewer.
It is very important to get your story correct. In my case the
interviewer wanted to understand the connect between my
previous sales role and the consulting role on offer. For people
with multiple shortlists Dont ignore any organization/role
specific prep
A paper manufacturer in India is losing Market share (MS) due to
competition and you are consulting the head of Marketing
division of this company.
I first nailed down the objective Is it to arrest MS decline or do I
need to look at other aspects?
So I started with scoping questions that were :
Segmented the products any particular products losing MS
Segmented by geography Any zone losing MS
Decline in MS happens when your growth is lesser than the
market growth so I clarified if any particular competitor was
doing very well . The answer I got was new set of competitors
came in the market 2-3 years ago. They are slowly growing and
eating into the clients MS.
During the scoping questions I had found out that we were losing
MS across products but in a given geography North and west
zone.
So it as a case where a pioneer in a market was losing MS to new
comers and the pioneer was unable to differentiate its products
as it was the paper industry.
I asked for the details of how sales were done in the industry and
realized that distribution was done through dealers and this was
the critical point in the case wrt. to recommendations.
Finally I used a tabular approach to clearly identify how the client
was different from the competitors.

Types of product on offer


Price point
Discounts offered
No. of dealers
112

Client
Capabilities

Competitor
Capabilities

Dealer Margin offered


Sales force
Geography present in
Etc
Final recommendation / summary

The key thing about recommendations was that I was


recommending to the head of marketing so I had to focus on
how could marketing arrest the MS decline. I made
recommendations to expand into East zone that was growing
with minimal competition. By this time he stopped me.
What do you think went right while I was a longish interview with 20 mins of PI and 25 mins of case. I
solving the case?
think I was able to convince him on why I want to shift from a
sales role to a consulting role. Also it was very conversational.
What do you think could have been Interview happened at 1:00 am at the night, and by then I had
done better while solving the case?
appeared for 5 other companies, so I was completely exhausted.
I was low on energy.
Outcome of the interview (optional) Next round

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the
case
Case Analysis presented by you

Rachit Raj
PWC
Dont remember the name -Principal Consultant
Second
No PI, only case

It was a pricing case, where a pharma company has come out


with a new drug to cure HIV/AIDS. How should they price it?
It was not a standard case, so I had to understand the problem
first. The interviewer did not want me to come with a final rice
but wanted an approach of how would I price it.
I started by listing down factors :
Price = f(size of target market, purchasing power of target
market, cot incurred by company etc..)
Then he asked me, where could I get data for all the above
factors from. For example for purchasing power of the TS one
could use the per capita GDP of the country as a proxy.
Then the question turned to pricing it in Europe given that
there is a huge disparity between the per capita income of west
and east European countries, how would I price it and what
would I do to stop smuggling of cheaper priced drug from east
113

Europe to west Europe.


I said I would color code the pills differently and promote them
as different drugs in both places.
Final recommendation / summary
It was very conversational and the interviewer was trying to test
where would I lead the conversation.
What do you think went right while Given that it was not a standard case, I did not use any
solving the case?
framework which was appreciated by the interviewer.
What do you think could have been
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional) Next round

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the
case
Case Analysis presented by you

Final recommendation / summary

Rachit Raj
PWC
Shashank Triphaty - Partner
Third
This was mainly PI and went smoothly

Small guesstimate was given estimate the size of the baby


diaper industry.

This was a simple guesstimate and I did it with the standard


population approach. After which, partner asked me alternate
ways of solving the same question.
The entire experience of day 1 is very exhausting.. The main
challenge is to not lose hope when you receive a rejection from
one company as you have other interviews lined up.

What do you think went right while


solving the case?
What do you think could have been
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional) Job offered

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)

Siva Sakthiraj
PWCs PRTM Management Consulting
Mr Chenincherry, Director
First round (~50 mins)
114

Personal interview questions (please Why PRTM?


write the questions only)
Why not return to your prior firm? (I was a consultant in one
of the Big 4 firms prior to ISB)
Specific questions on some of my previous work assignments
Comments on the PI rounds (please We discussed quite a bit on the merits/demerits of Big 4 (to
elaborate on what went right and defend on my decision not to return), and how even though
what could have been done better)
PWC had acquired PRTM, the demerits discussed for Big 4 would
not be applicable. My interactions with the alumni working with
PRTM on the structuring and relationship between PWC and
PRTM helped to a great extent in this discussion.
Takeaway: Make full use of the alumni network at the firm you
are interviewing with. Helps you credibly substantiate your
reasoning for some of these standard questions.
Case question (as narrated by the (A market entry case)
interviewer)
The case discussion took off from a discussion on a market entry
assignment that I had at my prior job.
A Chinese company providing professional accounting services is
looking to enter India. Advice.
How did you define the scope of the Took time to clarify on some basic questions such as what
case
specific accounting services (to which I was informed tax
accounting), time frame, capital available etc. Then setup a
standard market entry framework.
Case Analysis presented by you
Spent a considerable amount of time sizing the market. Divided
the consumer segments into standard B2B and B2C segments.
The B2C was relatively straightforward (Urban/Rural
High/Med/Low Income household Effective usage of service).
Took a discount to the number by deducting those individuals
who would fall under tax bracket but may not use because of no
complications in tax structure (eg. only salaried individuals
without complications such as capital gains & other taxes).
Argued for pricing by considering that such a service may save
0.5/1 day of work for the individual and hence, that is the
maximum cap that he/she would be willing to pay for this
service.
The B2B segment was relatively grey. The end segment were
businesses that were not large enough to use professional
auditing services but at the same time not small enough so as to
be lucrative. Worked with the interviewer to assume the number
of businesses that would fall in this range based on the
corporate tax filing numbers.
Then went about evaluating the market on fundamental
attractiveness - current players in the market, switching costs
115

among consumers, demand-supply gap, barriers to entry


political, technological etc., along with relative competitive
positioning.
Final recommendation / summary
Based on the evaluation, recommended that the firm enter with
a focus on B2B market segment initially in a specific geography
of urban markets for resource efficiency.
What do you think went right while I think the extensive detailing of the market sizing worked in my
solving the case?
favor. It helped showcase my line of thought and at that same
time clarified to me what my final recommendation should be.
What do you think could have been Since the market sizing was extensive, I had little time left for
done better while solving the case?
evaluating the other aspects of the market, which constrained
me a bit. At the end of it, the interviewer pushed me to make a
recommendation though I was not complete with my
framework.
Though, in hindsight, I would repeat what I had done in terms of
detailing because that is where you could differentiate from
other candidates. Dont bypass stuff just because you believe
there is a time constraint.
Outcome of the interview (optional) Through to Round 2

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Siva Sakthiraj
PWCs PRTM Management Consulting
Mr Lakshman, Director
Ms Srivastava, HR Manager
Second round (~45 mins)
Director
Why should we hire you? (considering that my prior
consulting experience was skewed towards energy,
infrastructure, cleantech sectors that were not of much
focus at PRTM then)
Again, some specific questions on my previous work
assignments
HR Manager
Two areas that I would focus on apart from the standard
advisory assignments/BD work while at the firm?
Instances when I was upset/stressed out during my prior
consulting assignments?
Few other standard HR questions that I dont remember
Comments on the PI rounds (please Again being prepared for these questions helped. Having done
elaborate on what went right and considerable research on the consulting assignments carried out
what could have been done better)
by PRTM, I was anticipating questions such as the fitment one.
All interviews at PRTM were highly conversational. Though the
above were the major PI questions, all of them naturally fit into
our conversation. Hence, you could drive the discussion towards
areas of your strength if you are cognizant.
116

Exception: To my knowledge, the other candidates did not have


the HR Manager interview in the second round.
Case question (as narrated by the Surprisingly, while all other candidates had a case interview in
interviewer)
this round, I did not have one. This may either be because my
first round case discussion went very well or my prior consulting
experience gave the interviewers some confidence on my casesolving abilities or just plain randomness.
However, be prepared to encounter at least two rounds of cases
while interviewing with PRTM.
How did you define the scope of the NA
case
Case Analysis presented by you
NA
Final recommendation / summary
NA
What do you think went right while NA
solving the case?
What do you think could have been NA
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional) Through to Final Round

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Siva Sakthiraj
PWCs PRTM Management Consulting
Mr Singh, Country Managing Partner

Third/Final round (~80 mins)


Areas/Sectors/Functions that you expect to contribute in?
Why PRTM over McKinsey/BCG?
Some personality trait questions
Three things that will make you enjoy your stay post joining
PRTM? Conversely, three things that will make you quit?
Comments on the PI rounds (please This was the make or break interview. And it went for 80 mins
elaborate on what went right and (twice as much as that for the other candidates) primarily
what could have been done better)
because, I believe, we were able to strike a chord.
Considering that the Country Managing Partner (CMP) was
interviewing, there were several subtle aspects (often ignored)
that, I believe, went right for me.
Always make sure you research extensively on the
interviewers background. A very straightforward aspect, but
in the rush to prepare cases, often forgotten. At the end of
the day, interviews with CMPs/MDs/CEOs, often comes
down to building a rapport / comfort factor. I had researched
considerably on the background of the CMP through alumni
117

and professional networks so as to find common points of


discussion which could help me strike a chord.
Be as transparent as possible. With the experience of
CMPs/MDs/CEOs anything that you are trying to fake would
easily come through. By being transparent, you could make
your individuality stand out, which generally impresses
interviewers of this stature.
Start and finish on a great note. Make your About yourself
as personalized as possible. Further, while you may ask
generic questions at the end such as Vision, Long term plan
etc, try again to squeeze in a personalized question that
makes you stand out from the other candidates.
Case question (as narrated by the There was a mini-situational case, which he kind of made it on
interviewer)
the go. I thought it was pretty straightforward and more to test
the way I think when put in a spot. Dont think any preparation
was required for this, so dont bother much.
How did you define the scope of the NA
case
Case Analysis presented by you
NA
Final recommendation / summary
NA
What do you think went right while NA
solving the case?
What do you think could have been NA
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional) Offer made!

118

SIEMENS MANAGEMENT CONSULTING


Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Vikas Pavankumar
Siemens Management Consulting
Stephen VP SMC/India Office Head
First
The interview revolved around PI
A large number of generic questions such as
Why Consulting? Why SMC?
About yourself?
A large part of my interviewed revolved around Stephen
discussing one of my projects that I had mentioned on my
resume

The fag end of the interview was questions that I had about
Siemens Management Consulting and my view on certain
business units of Siemens. He also discussed about his
experience of consulting Siemens businesses in India versus in
Germany
Comments on the PI rounds (please It is very important to have your story in place. It will help you
elaborate on what went right and answer important questions such as Why SMC and Consulting?
what could have been done better)
Especially for Siemens the importance on personal interview is
extremely high since they evaluate candidates on the cultural fit
since eventually a candidate is expected to move to a Siemens
Business
Case question (as narrated by the No Case
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the
case
Case Analysis presented by you
Final recommendation / summary
What do you think went right while
solving the case?
What do you think could have been
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional) Selected for Round 2

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Vikas Pavankumar
Siemens Management Consulting
Nishant Gupta Consultant
Second
The interview revolved around PI
A large number of generic questions such as
119

Why Consulting? Why SMC?


About yourself?
Whether you had a conflict with a top management in your
previous organization? How did you deal with it? What if a
similar situation were to happen with you at Siemens how would
you deal with it?
Also asked me to run through a project that I felt was the most
exciting to me?
Comments on the PI rounds (please Again at Siemens the importance on personal interview is
elaborate on what went right and extremely high since they evaluate candidates on the cultural fit
what could have been done better)
hence it is extremely important to have a strong grip on your
story
Case question (as narrated by the Role Play
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the
case
Case Analysis presented by you
Final recommendation / summary
Try to play the situation when you are in a role play
Always maintain a few important traits
Honesty
Analytical and off the feet thinking
Communication Skill
Presentation skill
What do you think went right while
solving the case?
What do you think could have been
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional)

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Kushal Patwardhan
Siemens Management Consulting
Apeksha Khadelwal (senior Consultant)

First
Tell me about yourself
Biggest failure
what frustrates you
Biggest accomplishment
Three words your friends would use to describe you
Tell me something that is not on your resume
Why Consulting?
Why SMC?
Hobbies
Comments on the PI rounds (please It was an extensive PI (Close to 40 mins) . This interview was a
elaborate on what went right and month before day 1 so I had not prepped for PI too well. Except
what could have been done better)
'Why SMC?' which I was able to answer very well
120

Case question (as narrated by the


interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the
case

Case Analysis presented by you

CEO of Siemens India wants to reduce accidents happening on


sites
Asked what constitutes an accident - any work related human
injury
What sites- Mainly power plant, turbine etc project sites
Limited to employees? - Yes
I laid out a structure that No. of accidents = No. of risky
situations X No. of humans exposed X % likelihood of injury
We can look at each aspect and identify opportunities to
improve.
1. No. of risky situations - can reduce by better equipment,
better planning, better reporting of risks ,etc
2. No. of humans exposed - We can try to keep employees away
from the risky situations by using more automation, etc
3. % likelihood of injury - This further depends on following
factors
%risky behavior X % use of preventive equipment
We can focus on improving risky behavior with safety training
We can increase use of PPE (personal preventive equipment) by
increasing awareness and rules mandating use of PPE
Apeksha said these are all correct approaches however what is
required to achieve all this at a higher level?
I answered these changes need to be driven from top level as a
cultural change . 'Safety first'
a. Incentivize and mandate risk reporting
b. Empower employees to prevent a risky situation even if it
means lost time and revenue.
She said that's exactly what SMC recommended.
She then showed me a graph showing no. of accidents
25
20
15
10
5
0
0

121

10

12

14

Y-axis representing no. of accidents and X axis months after


implementation of SMC recommendation
The accidents started going up after SMC's recommendation was
implemented. Why?
I answered, initially the actual reporting of accidents was
probably low, so the initial increase just indicates higher % of
accidents actually reported. Then eventually once the reporting
% stabilized the no. of accidents started going down.
Next she asked me, CEO wants to buy safety vests for 10,000
employees. How many vests he should buy?
I asked clarifying questions about types of employees (80%
workers 20% officers) Do they work in shifts (No, all work in
same shift) How many sites (100 sites avg 200 employees)
So I said the workers work simultaneously at all sites in same
shift so we need 1 vest for each worker. = 10,000*80%*1= 8000
Officers probably don't use it all the time so we don't need to
buy 2000 vests.
Here I could not really figure out how to solve it but she ended
the case and asked if I had any questions for her
Final recommendation / summary

Incentivize risk identification and safe behavior, empower


employees to prevent an accident at the expense of work
stoppage
What do you think went right while For part1: I got the feedback that structure was very good and
solving the case?
recommendations were also good.
What do you think could have been Part 1: I sometimes went too much into detailed
done better while solving the case?
recommendation for preventing certain types of accidents and
Interviewer had to pull me back up to the big picture level.
For part 2 (guesstimate): I couldn't solve the last part (which
required use of little's law) .
Outcome of the interview (optional) Shortlisted for next round in Mumbai Office

122

THE BOSTON CONSULTING GROUP


Name

Nishant Kedia

Company

The Boston Consulting Group

Interviewer

Navneet Vasishth, Partner (Director)

Round

Round 1 Interview 1

Personal Interview Questions

Jumped straight to case after exchanging pleasantries

Comments on PI Interview

NA

Case Question

An IT company has two businesses one premium (Engineering


products) and another commodity (Service). It is facing increasing
costs in both the businesses. On the other hand prices of products
and services are reducing owing to competition. What should the
firm do?
It was a profitability case

Scope of the case


Case Analysis

I started by understanding more about both businesses industry


wise trends, duration of this trend, any specific organization
changes, magnitude of change in prices and costs, break-up of
increase in various components, what is the target etc.
Navneet told me that the effect is more prominent in Engineering
business wherein we have fallen much below the average industry
profitability.
I focused on the Engineering business and understood both
revenue and costs parameters. Based on the discussion it became
evident that pricing power does not lie with the firm and it cannot
differentiate its products much to price them higher.
Moving on to cost part, I laid out all possible costs an IT
organization has and discussed each in detail. It is at this part,
wherein I got struck as I asked a few irrelevant questions to which
interviewer asked me to take time to think. I added a few more
cost heads and we had further discussion.
It seemed that the interviewer was checking my ability to think
360 degree on what can possibly raise costs in an organization.

Final Recommendation/ Summary

After a few hicupps I was able to point out that manpower costs
has increased because of the organizational structure of the
company, wherein the organization had become top heavy.
Recommendations included:
- Increase in variable and reduction in fixed component of
compensation
123

Change in organizational structure


Acquisition of other firms with bottom heavy organization
structure
- Reshuffling of manpower between businesses
(A few more which I am unable to recall)
I was able to find a way whenever I reached roadblocks. Listening
to interviewer and understanding his expectations is a must
before commencing any analysis. Whenever, ideas stop to come
by, just think from the absolute basics and sub-divide everything
into smaller parts. Also, thinking aloud helps interviewer guide
you whenever time is scarce and you are going down the wrong
path.
I became blank in the middle of case, hence took a bit more time
to solve the case.
-

What went right?

What could have been done better?


Outcome of the interview

Not disclosed. Attended the pre-scheduled second interview.

Name

Nishant Kedia

Company

The Boston Consulting Group

Interviewer

Sachin Kotak, Principal

Round

Round 1 Interview 2

Personal Interview Questions

Tell me about yourself?


Describe very briefly what you have done in ITC
What are you most proud of?
Why Consulting?
Sachin is known to be a stress interviewer. He looked
disinterested for most part of the PI. He interrupted a couple of
times in between asked me to be concise. Knowing about him
well, I maintained my cool and kept replying confidently.
Altogether I was satisfied by my performance.
A friend of yours wants to enter the car hire market. What would
you advise him?
It was basically a market entry case, turned into an open ended
case by the interviewer.
Initially I enquired about primary objective of the entry, current
business of my friend, why car hire market only? etc. Sachin told
me that your friend is a working professional, who just wants to
start-up and has made mind to enter the car hire market. So, I
didnt evaluate the attractiveness of the car hire market. From
then it was clear that it was a problem relating to the entry
strategy: mode of entry and resources required.
I laid out a comprehensive framework:
- Resources required
o Financing

Comments on PI Interview

Case Question
Scope of the case
Case Analysis

124

o Technology
o Consumer Knowledge
o Manpower
o Infrastructure etc.
Mode of entry
o Own
o Franchise
o M&A
o JV

I also mentioned a matrix to evaluate which of the mode of entry


is best suited. Sachin looked quite displeased with my approach as
he described it as too mechanical. I further enquired if something
important is missing. He asked me to think like an entrepreneur.
I was puzzled as I felt I had covered everything. I mentioned that
financing, customer know-how, exit options and a good team are
the most important. He nodded and asked me to think more.
I said that a value proposition needs to be decided luxury cars,
comfort, cost effectiveness, etc. That will define the operational
strategy new cars vs refurbished cars, car accessories, customer
segments to be targeted etc.
Sachin kept pushing me to think further, which led me to come up
with a lot of other considerations (which I dont remember now).
Final Recommendation/ Summary

What went right?


What could have been done better?

It was an out and out stress interview, wherein the interviewer


will negate most of the things you say and will keep pushing you
to think harder. I guess I was prepared for this and did reasonably
well.
Keeping cool under stressful situation and thinking out of the box
helps perform well in a stress interview.
I dont know yet!

Outcome of the interview

Called for Round 2.


Accepted an offer from McKinsey by then, hence didnt attend the
interview.

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please

Sarvesh Rathi
The Boston Consulting Group
Bitan Dutta, Project Leader (PL)
First
Tell me about yourself
125

write the questions only)


Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)

Case question (as narrated by the


interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the
case

Case Analysis presented by you

Your first interview will be usually case focused. Having said that,
prepare well (rehearse it a few times) for the basic interview
questions like tell me about yourself, why a particular firm, why
consulting and the like. Not answering these questions
appropriately would most certainly impair the interview.
A Company manufacturing hand tools have not been able to
meet their revenue targets
Was not a very open ended question. I discussed with Bitan
about the background of the Company and established that the
Company entered the market 4 years back and have consistently
been missing their revenue targets.
I started the question by asking questions to understand the
company and its product lines. From further discussions I
gathered that the market was competitive and fragmented with
the top 3 players having close to 40% market share. Our client
was the 2nd largest player in the market. It was also established
that the industry was growing and industry growth was in line
with our expectations. From here on I started to lay down the
structure for the case.
Told him that the inability to match budgets could have been on
account of three factors:
Ambitious budgets
Internal factors like product / service / distribution /
promotion related problems (share of voice * share of
mind * share of distribution)
External factors like macro economic factors / declining
industry / substitutes / change in preferences
We quickly ruled out factors like ambitious budgets, product,
service and promotion related problems. I figured out that the
product offerings were much superior to customer expectations
and competitor offerings. I recommended that the Company
could explore the option of reducing product quality to industry
or slightly better than industry levels because hand tools are a
commodity and better than industry quality / brand do not make
a difference to the buying decision. The recommendation was in
line with blue ocean strategy to reduce features that the
customers dont value.
We started discussing about distribution related issues. Bitan
highlighted that the Companys offerings were available across
all channels and stock outs were not an issue. This left us with
the issue of aligning distributor / retailer interests with that of
the Company. We ruled out the possibility of profit margins
being an issue profit margins were in line with what
126

competitors offered. I felt like I had hit a dead end here. Bitan
prodded me in the right direction and asked me to think about
what the distributor / retailer looks for while pushing a
Companys product. I replied revenue potential leading to higher
profitability and return on capital employed.
Bitan had given me my hint while the profit sharing ratios were
similar, capital deployment required to stock the Companys
products were higher. Upon further discussion, I discovered that
the Company required its distributors to make payments with 2
weeks as against the industry standard of 1 month, thereby
doubling capital requirement and reducing ROCE. At this point
Bitan smiled, indicating that I had reached a logical conclusion. I
recommended that the Company should relax its credit policy.
However this meant higher capital deployment for the Company.
This is where the recommendation about reducing product
quality to industry standards / customer expectations came in
handy (Please note that it doesnt always pay to have the best
product in the market especially for commodities. Meeting
market-standards is sufficient). I pointed out that enhanced
profit from higher sales and also from reducing product quality
would more than take care of interest costs if any from the
additional capital deployment.
Bitan then questioned me about what could be a potential M &
A strategy the Company could pursue. I highlighted that while
buying out the biggest company was an attractive option, it
would come at a significant premium. In a highly fragmented &
competitive industry, it might be difficult to justify the deal.
Buying the insignificant (smaller) players would bring no
capabilities to the Company (the smaller players typically have
limited brand presence and brand loyalty is also insignificant.
Hence a viable strategy could be to try and acquire the 3rd largest
player in the market. My background as an investment banker
came in handy here.
Final recommendation / summary
What do you think went right while
solving the case?

What do you think could have been


done better while solving the case?

As stated above
Was able to lay down a coherent MECE structure
I had interviewed with Deustche Banks investment banking
practice before I attended the BCG interview. That interview
went very well and gave me a lot of confidence for all other
interviews. I was not a bundle of nerves when I started my
interview process with BCG.
In the hindsight it seems very obvious that a distributor will try
to optimize his capital requirements. I should have highlighted
this possibility without Bitan having to prod me in that direction.
127

Outcome of the interview (optional)

Next interview

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Sarvesh Rathi
The Boston Consulting Group
Burjor Dadachanji, Principal

Comments on the PI rounds (please


elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)

The interview didnt really start on a positive note. Burjor has


been an investment banker with JP Morgan in his previous life. I
told him that I had interviewed with Deustche Banks IB team
before coming here. He put me on the back foot saying that I
would take up DBs offer and ditch BCG. From here on it was an
uphill task to convince him that BCG was indeed my first choice.
The interviewer wanted to be sure that I was serious about BCG
and he did push me to ascertain that.

Second
What other interviews do you have today?
Tell me something about yourself that I wouldnt know from
your resume
Why do you want to move from investment banking to
consulting, when most people try to move from consulting to
investment banking?

The above questions were not asked one after the other. They
were asked during the case discussion, thereby making the
personal interview section a stress interview. You will have a
stress interview at some point. So watch out and be prepared.
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the
case

A serial entrepreneur with excess cash (to the tune of INR 50 crs)
wants to invest in the call taxi business. Advise.
I asked questions about which city was the entrepreneur
targeting, what were his strengths and the investment
timeframe. Also does the client want us to advise him about
whether he should enter the business or not or also about how
he should enter the business.
Burjor clarified that the entrepreneur was looking to invest the
entire amount within one year and the client was seeking our
advise on both counts. The client was good at obtaining licenses
and managing man power intensive businesses.

Case Analysis presented by you

By now it was clear that it was a market sizing and market entry
case.
I listed down the entire structure of a market sizing and market
entry case and started with market sizing.

128

I split the market into the following divisions:


1. Within the city trips
2. Trips outside the city
I further sub divided trips within the city as follows:
1. Airport to office / home drop and pick up
2. Railway station to office / home drop and pick up
3. Home to office drop and pick up
4. Other applications
Basis the above classification, we went ahead to size the market
(determine the number of cars that the market can profitably
accommodate) and decided that the market was attractive
enough. We further proceeded to understand the total number
of cars available in the market and the supply shortfall that could
be fulfilled by the entrepreneur.
We proceeded through the market entry frame work where we
spoke about our strengths vis--vis competitors, customer
decision making factors and attitudes, risks involved (PESTLE)
and mode of entry.
However we figured out that though returns were attractive, the
supply shortfall (that our client could fulfill) would not consume
the entire INR 50 crs the client wanted to invest. This would
mean that he would have to identify additional avenues to
deploy his cash. Hence we decided that while the call taxi market
was attractive, the client should continue to look for other
options (in a time bound fashion) and could take up the call taxi
option if no other attractive investment opportunity comes up.
Final recommendation / summary
What do you think went right while
solving the case?

As stated above
Be prepared to answer PI questions / discussions while solving
the case. Most importantly, you should be able to go back to the
case without forgetting where you left the case conversation. Its
a way to test your capability to manage yourself under stress.
It helped that I had noted most of our case discussion on the
white sheets provided to me (in an organized fashion). Hence
even when I was interrupted by PI questions, I was easily able to
go back to the case facts and pick up from where we left the case
conversation.

What do you think could have been

The interview went on for about 65 minutes (standard


interviews are about 45 minutes). It helped that I didnt lose my
cool when the interviewer told me that he was convinced that I
wouldnt take up an offer from BCG.
None that I can think of
129

done better while solving the case?


Outcome of the interview (optional)

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the
case
Case Analysis presented by you
Final recommendation / summary
What do you think went right while
solving the case?
What do you think could have been
done better while solving the case?

Outcome of the interview (optional)

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the
case

Next round

Sarvesh Rathi
Boston Consulting group
Suresh Subudhi, Partner
Third
Tell me about yourself

A cement manufacturer wants to increase channel sales. Advise


I didnt know the meaning of channel sales and I didnt ask
Suresh what it was. This effectively meant that my case analysis
was on a complete tangent to the question

Case interviews are more like discussions and the recruiters are
looking of problem solving skills. They dont expect you to know
everything. In the hindsight I should have asked Suresh what
channel sales meant. IF YOU DONT KNOW SOMETHING ASK!
Sent for one more interview

Sarvesh Rathi
Boston Consulting group
Navneet Vashisth, Partner
Fourth
There was no personal interview. We got started with the case
immediately. This was my last round and being administered
only a case meant that all I needed to do from now on was to
crack the case!
An IT majors profitability is lower than its peers. Advise
Upon further discussion, Navneet clarified the following:
1. The Company is engaged in provision of IT services
2. All contracts are time and material based
3. Profitability is lower in percentage terms
4. I was expected to advise on why the profitability was
lower and what could be done to set it right
130

Case Analysis presented by you

Upon further questioning, Navneet indicated that the Companys


profitability was 2% lower than its peers. Profit % could be lower
on account of lower billing rates (revenue issues) or on account
of higher costs (in percentage terms). Navneet smiled and said
that indicated that the Company was billing its clients at industry
rates.
So we moved to costs and did a quick comparison of the
common size cost statement (individual costs as a % of total
revenues) of the Company and its peers. It resulted that the
issue lay in employee costs. Upon further discussions, Navneet
indicated that salary & employee costs per employee were in
line with industry standards. This clearly indicated that the issue
lay in employee efficiency (leading to over staffing on projects)
or in bench strength or both. Navneet quickly clarified that
efficiency standards were on par with industry. This meant the
issue lay in bench strength. Navneet smiled and said yes. On
further discussion, I figured out that overstaffing issues existed
both at the engineers and management level. Navneet asked me
to identify the reasons for why they were overstaffed.

Final recommendation / summary

What do you think went right while


solving the case?

What do you think could have been


done better while solving the case?

It turned out that the Company was overstaffed at the lower


levels because the employees on the bench had a set of
specialized skills but the Company was not able to sign contracts
which called for those skills. At the management level, the
Company promised all its clients greater involvement of the
senior management in all projects.
I recommended that the Company should provide training to its
employees at the lower levels so as to make them fungible
resources. I also recommended that the sales force needs to
realign its strategies to be able to focus on winning projects
commensurate with the bench strength. Further, the Company
should start focusing on selling its skills than winning projects
merely on the strength of greater involvement from higher
management. All of the above recommendations meant training
& realignment of priorities for the sales team
I was able to lay down a structure very early in the conversation
(the initial discussion to scope out the case was helpful). From
then on it was straight forward I just had to follow the
structure. Despite it being a make or break round, I was able to
keep my calm and it reflected in the way I handled the case.
Being a good listener helps. Navneet dropped a lot of hints
throughout the case and it helped that I was able to capitalize on
those clues
The case went very well. No regrets

131

Outcome of the interview (optional)

Offered a job.
General pointers that helped me during preparations:
1. Dont fret about the number of short lists you have
received. I had only one consulting shortlist and
managed to convert it. The more the number of
shortlists, the more the pressure of managing interviews
on Day 1. This is not to say that you shouldnt have
multiple shortlists. Everyone likes the cushion offered by
multiple shortlists. But you would do well to remember
that multiple shortlists dont guarantee you a role and a
single shortlist doesnt make you ineligible for any role.
Be careful what you ask for!
2. Dont fret if you have messed up your 3rd or 4th round. If
you have done in your other rounds, chances are that
they will give you another crack at the cases.
3. From the day you receive your shortlist, nothing in the
world matters (including classes and assignments) apart
from case preparations. Doesnt mean that you flunk
classes / miss assignment deadlines. Just accord the
highest importance to case preparations
4. ISB casebooks are more than sufficient for your
preparations. Finish all ISB casebooks before you
proceed to do others. Structures laid out in the CO 2010
/ 13 / 14 casebooks are comprehensive. A word of
caution here while its great to follow casebook
structure, formulate (consistently review / revise) your
own structures it will give you a lot of familiarity and
confidence
5. Doing cases in groups is very helpful. But your group may
not always be up for case preparations. They have their
own academic and other commitments. Reading and
trying to solve cases on your own is as helpful as doing
them in group. Utilize every opportunity you get to read
cases on your own
6. Day one (when consulting interviews take place)
happens usually in the middle of Term 6. So try to ensure
that you take only 3 papers during Term 6 (that way you

132

would have more time for your case preparations).


7. On the day of the interview, be sure to keep yourself
energized (energy / snicker bars and chocolates are your
best options). I was physically and hence mentally
drained by the time I started the 4th round of my
interview.
8. There will be someone in your batch who would be up
for case preparations anytime you call him. Find those
people out. They are your best buddies when it comes to
case preparations.

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)

Sidharth Gupta
The Boston Consulting Group
Yashraj Erande, Principal

First Round, First Interview


Started off with this. Just one question: Tell me something about
yourself.
8:30 am. I was waiting in a room with all shortlisted candidates
when Yash walked in looking for his next interviewee. I had
asked the alums helping out the shortlisted candidates who
would interview me. And I had seen his profile in the profile
book shared by BCG earlier. So I recognized him immediately and
went up to him to say I was next on his list. We walked to the
interview room, where he made sure I was comfortable. He was
very friendly, and the interview started with the straightforward
Tell me a little about yourself
I had an interesting answer prepared, and this bit of the
interview was quite smooth.
Case question (as narrated by the Our client is a bank with a Rs. 50,000 cr balance sheet. Among
interviewer)
the assets, you have about 50% worth of government bonds,
20% cash and 30% other assets. The liabilities include customer
deposits (a distribution between short and long term, current
and savings accounts was given, which I dont recall).
Last night, the government has announced change in interest
rates for long term bonds from 9% to 11%. Does this affect our
client?
How did you define the scope of the It was my first interview of the day. And it was early in the
case
morning. Which made me nervous.
I asked for a minute to think about the issue, after which I
started off with a simple profitability framework Revenues and
costs. Yash stopped me right there and asked me what question I
133

was trying to answer. I said I was trying to look how the change
in interest rates would affect the banks profits. He told me to
first answer whether or not it affects the banks balance sheet,
and if so, how. And we could look at the profitability later.
Case Analysis presented by you
I had started off with a traditional framework, but was made to
realize that this case required not a regular framework, but
simple straightforward thinking.
So I decided to look at what all items on the balance sheet could
possibly see a change in their value due to the interest rate
change, and it was clearly only the government bonds (worth Rs.
25,000 cr) on the asset side that would be affected, if at all. Now
the job was to identify how. Here, I faltered when I said that the
value of the assets would increase as the bank-owned bonds
yielding 9% would now yield 11%. Yash pointed out that this was
not the case, and the bonds owned by the bank were bought
when the interest rates were 9% and the bonds would continue
to yield only 9%. I thus had to think about this again. This was
when I realized that the value of the bonds owned by the bank
had actually gone down as the bonds available in the market
would yield more. Yash said that this was right and asked me to
talk more. I said I would look at the situation from the point of
view of an investor. Anybody looking to buy bonds would buy
from the open market and not from our client to get 11% yield.
Yash said this was right and asked me to now calculate the fall in
the value of the bank-owned bonds. I did this by equating the
NPV of a bond bought for Rs 100 in the open market to the NPV
of a bond bought for Rs. X from the bank.
Time for which to calculate the NPV = 2 years (time to maturity
of the bonds asked Yash for this)
Discount rate to be taken = 11% (Risk-free rate, same as the long
term bond yield rate in the market)
This helped me get the value X, and consequently the fall in
value of the banks assets.
With, this part of the case over, and almost 25 minutes into the
interview, Yash asked me to just quickly list the various options
available to the bank at this point in time. I listed the following
options:
1. Hold on to the bonds and wait for the rates to go back
down
2. Sell them off and take the loss. Will help reduce tax
liability
3. Another one or two options that I dont recall now.
He seemed happy with the case overall. Towards the end, he
asked me if I had any questions for him. We spoke for another
couple of minutes and the interview was over.
Final recommendation / summary
Covered above.
What do you think went right while The interview lasted about 30 minutes. I hadnt started off very
solving the case?
well. Was a little nervous, which probably contributed to me
134

being a little confused about the question in the beginning as


well. However, after digressing and being put back on track by
the interviewer once, I collected myself, told myself the case
could only get better from there on, and it did. Towards the end,
I was fairly confident and was rattling off possible solutions
quickly.
What do you think could have been The only thing I could have done better was to be more
done better while solving the case?
confident and quicker in the beginning, thus saving more time
for final recommendations. The first round interviews are usually
allocated 30 mins.
Outcome of the interview (optional) Everybody gets two interviews in the first round, so this wasnt
really a decider.

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)

Sidharth Gupta
The Boston Consulting Group
Bitan Dutta, Project Leader

First Round, Second Interview


Just one question at the very beginning of the interview.
Something about my most significant achievements till then.
I had gone back to the waiting room after my first interview, and
was told I would have the second interview soon.
Started around 9:15 am. I kept the PI answer fast and
interesting, and Bitan seemed to like the answer.
Case question (as narrated by the Our client is a hand tools manufacturer who has been in the
interviewer)
Indian market for 5 years, but they have never done well. We
need to solve their problem.
How did you define the scope of the I had a few questions before I started my case analysis.
case
1. Understanding the question:
a. What is meant by havent done well? Is the
profitability below the industry average, is the market
share low, etc.
b. What exactly are hand tools?
2. Understanding the industry:
a. How many players in the market?
b. What are the different categories of products?
c. How does distribution work in the industry?
3. Understanding the client:
a. Is the client present in parts of India or all across?
b. Who are the customers?
c. How are sales being made?
Etc.
The answers that Bitan gave me through some slides that he
135

had:

Case Analysis presented by you

1. Understanding the question:


a. The market share was low (around 10%)
b. Tools like spanners, pliers, automobile repair tools etc.
2. Understanding the industry:
a. Three big players, with us being the third biggest. The
top two had market shares of 35%, 25% or so. The rest
of the market is fragmented.
b. No sub-segments
c. Network of distributors across the country, most of
whom stock products from all manufacturers.
Distributors are of two types big and small. On
digging more, I was told that big distributors were
mostly in cities and contributed to roughly 25% of
overall sales. Small distributors penetrated the entire
country and contributed to 75% of overall sales. On
asking about transportation, I was told that all product
transportation happens through trucks.
3. Understanding the client:
a. They have relationships with distributors all over the
country
b. Business as well as consumers.
c. These distributors/retailers are the only medium
through which sales are made. The distributors are
reached through a dedicated sales force
Armed with all this knowledge about the client, I now moved on
to understanding why the client was not doing well, by looking at
the Key Success Factors of the Industry:
1. Price (The product is a commodity)
2. Ease of access
3. Quality
When I asked about the prices of the clients products compared
to competitors, I was shown some numbers which basically
concluded that the prices were higher than competition. So
there was clearly one problem area here.
I then moved on to the distributor network and asked if the
distributors were stocking our products in as much quantity and
as prominently as the competitors products. The answer was
that many of the small distributors were not.
I decided to analyze this problem from the demand side as well
as supply side. On the demand side, one obvious problem was
that the demand would be low because of the high prices. On
the supply side, problems could be a poor transportation
network (we already knew this wasnt the case) or long lead
times or reluctance to stock because of lower retailer margins,
136

etc.. I was again shown data which basically pointed out longer
lead times compared to competitors. This was a problem
because it would lead to either frequent stock-outs or high cost
of capital and warehousing for the distributors as they would
need to maintain larger inventory. I was told that this was
indeed the problem, and distributors were not stocking the
clients products due to the high costs involved.
Lastly, I was asked to give a 60 sec summary of the identified
problems to the CEO of the company.
Final recommendation / summary
Direct solutions to the two big problems identified Reduce
prices and lead time. We didnt really discuss these.
What do you think went right while Everything. I knew I had cracked this case. Bitan too seemed
solving the case?
happy with the quick thinking
What do you think could have been Nothing I can think of
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional) Moved to Round 2

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Sidharth Gupta
The Boston Consulting Group
Navneet Vasishth, Partner

Second Round, First Interview


We had a 20-25 minute discussion in the latter half of the
interview, where we both asked questions. His questions: Why
BCG? Another question or two that emerged out of whatever we
had been discussing till then.
Comments on the PI rounds (please I had a strong feeling that I had cracked the second interview. So
elaborate on what went right and I stuck around for the next round. When I was told that Navneet
what could have been done better)
would be interviewing me, I had an idea that this could be the
final interview if I did well. That definitely did help my
confidence.
The interview started around 11 am.
Everything went right in the PI. We had already developed a
rapport by the time we got to it. Navneet had been smiling
throughout the interview, which was encouraging and I think I
smiled back most of the time as well. We had already discussed
some of my work practices at my earlier workplaces during the
case. Towards the end, we discussed theatre, writing, his
international experience and mine. We both seemed to be
enjoying the discussion and it hardly felt like an interview.
Case question (as narrated by the The interview started with the case.
interviewer)
Our client is a specialist software company. They make
customized products for, say, aircraft navigation systems, luxury
car entertainment systems, etc. Their profitability is 15%,
compared to an industry average of 20%.
137

How did you define the scope of the I asked questions similar to the previous case in order to
case
understand the industry and the company.
Findings:
1. Products are customized, and each project is different
2. There are 2-3 other players in the market of comparable
revenues, but higher profitability
3. All sales are B2B, and there is a dedicated team for sales
and marketing efforts
4. I also understood how the projects were executed. I stated
my understanding on how I would do it: The sales team
pitches projects to clients. Projects then go to the Product
development or Technical team who develops the product,
in coordination with the Project Management or clientfacing team. These are then implemented on-site by the
client but with extensive support from a support team.
Navneet confirmed this project cycle.
Case Analysis presented by you
I now drew a simple profitability framework. Revenues Costs.
Revenue was comparable to competitors, so the bigger issue lay
in the costs being higher. I confirmed this with Navneet and
moved ahead.
To understand the costs, I drew upon the value chain of any
project in the company which I had drawn above.
The major cost heads included:
1. Employee costs
2. Technology costs servers, softwares, etc.
3. Sales and Marketing costs
4. Rents, interests, etc.
I decided to focus on the employee costs as I knew these would
be the major chunk. Navneet agreed.
Employee costs included: Hiring costs, Training costs, Salaries
and Attrition costs. Of these, salaries would be the major chunk.
On asking Navneet if the salaries were more than the industry
average, I was told that they were as per industry standards. The
attrition also was not more than the industry average. At this
point, I decided to take a different approach.
I decided to create an employee pyramid to understand if the
number of employees in each salary band was sub-optimal. The
thinking here was that if the issue isnt with the amount of salary
being paid, it has to be with the number of people being paid.
I took the analogy of a consulting firms employee pyramid which
would look something like this
138

I asked if the number of employees at each level was optimal


in terms of the industry average as well as in terms of the
employees idle time.
If we had more employees at the higher positions, we would be
paying them more, thus leading to higher employee costs.
Navneet said that this was indeed a problem, but this was one
that would take the company from 18% to 20% profitability.
There was still something that was stopping the company from
going from 15% to 18%

Final recommendation / summary

On asking more about the idle time and team structures within
the organization, I found that the idle time was high not only at
the higher levels but also at lower levels, because of 2 reasons:
1. There were separate teams for each specialization. For
eg. GPS, Audio, etc. and the resources werent shared
among these teams
2. Resources were dedicated to projects as well and
nobody worked on 2 projects at a time. This meant that
even if one person wasnt required full-time on Project
A, if a new project started that required similar skills, a
new employee would be hired instead of sharing the
existing ones.
The recommendations I gave included:
1. Effectively use the large number of senior people to
acquire and manage more projects, and if that is not
possible, lose some of them
2. Use an organization-wide capacity management tool to
keep track of employee utilization by project, skill,
department, etc.
a. Break down projects into modules and allocate
employees of different departments to these
modules as required, rather than allocating for
entire projects
3. Establish a smaller set of super departments, rather than
139

the several existing departments. Also encourage sharing


of employees across departments
4. Establish a knowledge base to reuse modules developed
over earlier projects
What do you think went right while Everything. I managed to establish a rapport with Navneet fairly
solving the case?
early on and he was very encouraging and helpful throughout.
A few things that always help in any case interview:
1. Keep checking with the interviewer if youre proceeding
in the right direction
2. Simple, yet sometimes not so much. Keep smiling and
keep trying different approaches even if things dont
seem to be going too well shows the interviewer you
are confident. Everybody likes to help and work with
confident people.
3. You will be given a brief profile of the entire interview
panel a day before the interviews. Go through it and
carry a printout with you. Makes it easier to strike a
conversation and nothing like it if you share interests
with the interviewer.
What do you think could have been Nothing I can think of
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional) Made an offer I couldnt refuse :)

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)

Abhishek Ahuja
The Boston Consulting Group
Suresh Subudhi Partner
First
Tell me about yourself?
How has the day been for you so far?
PI was very brief and we moved to the case almost right away

Client is a tyre manufacturer primarily for passenger and


commercial vehicles in the domestic market. The client is not
satisfied with the growth and wants to enter the tractor tyre
market in the US.
How did you define the scope of the Clarified more on the details of the company with regard to its
case
profitability and market position to find that profitability was in
line with industry and it ranked 3rd in India. Then moved on to
the tractor industry landscape in the US to find that there are
good growth aspects with three main segments premium,
standard and budget.
Clarified that objective was to identify how to enter this tractor
market in USA as it provided higher growth opportunities in the
near future than those faced by the company with its existing
140

segments.
Case Analysis presented by you
Based on the case facts and clarifications this was a new market
entry case and as we know, there is a broad framework for this. I
started by following the same to determine whether it would be
a good idea for this company. Accordingly, I started with Industry
attractiveness.
Followed the basic questions of industry attractiveness:
competition, existing players, market size, segment shares and
growth trends. The main information was with regard to
competition: two major players had duopoly in premium
segment; Indian exporters were in competition for standard and
Chinese exporters for budget. Then tried to understand whether
the company had competence to source and manufacture tyres
but interviewers asked me that was not a constraint.
Concluded that market was developed and with growth
opportunities, the market was attractive but depended on
market positioning.
Interviewer agreed and wanted me to delve deeper into market
positioning and determine the factors for market positioning. I
then moved to price points and the three different categories in
the market. My question on price elasticity brought discussion of
farmer perspectives that farmers assigned higher price to higher
quality.
I then explored option of possibility of going in between existing
segments and the interviewer agreed.
Final recommendation / summary
Final recommendation on summary was to enter an in-between
price range as farmer demand is relatively inelastic with a
premium on the price. The case was stopped abruptly without a
synthesis.
What do you think went right while Involved the interviewer at each stage and took buy ins as a lot
solving the case?
of information was required to move forwards and judgments
needed to be made.
What do you think could have been I took my time in analyzing the problem especially towards the
done better while solving the case?
end in making the recommendations. Ideally this time should be
less than a minute at a time but I may have gove over.
Outcome of the interview (optional) I was called for the next round

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and

Abhishek Ahuja
The Boston Consulting Group
Yashraj Erande Principal
Second
What are your interests
What do you think of recent announcements by RBI Governor?
Again PI was brief but could establish a rapport as he was an ISB
alum. We talked about recent developments and placements
141

what could have been done better)


outlook of an increased class.
Case question (as narrated by the Client is a bank and recently RBI has increased the interest rates
interviewer)
on treasury bonds. How will this impact the bank and what
should the management do to secure a stable balance sheet
position?
How did you define the scope of the At the outset I gathered some information about the banks
case
operations, location and customers. It was a large retail bank
operating throughout the country. Next I went on to
understanding the balance sheet where I was given various
figures for both assets and liabilities. After confirming objective
of interest rates on banks balance sheet I moved on to the
analysis of the case.
Case Analysis presented by you
The approach I developed was to first look at the impact of the
interest on the value of assets on the balance sheet and possible
alternatives to deal with them.
This case involved calculations around impact on market price of
bonds given the change in interest rates. This involved concepts
of Corporate Finance and Macro Economics.
After determining the impact that value of assets would be
adversely impacted we moved on to impact of the same.
Considering it was a listed bank, there is likelihood that stock
prices would be adversely impacted. It was further confirmed
that amount of treasury bonds with the client was higher than
competitors. Further, the coverage ratio of assets to large retail
deposits would also fall possible resulting invoking certain RBI
guidelines protecting interest of customer. At this point
interviewer was satisfied and asked me to move on to measures
for improving the balance sheet state.
Final recommendation / summary
Final recommendation involved measures to improve the
balance sheet position post interest impact. First, was to pass on
cost of interest to other assets by increasing loan rates. Second,
was to restructure the balance sheet by attracting deposits to
fund assets and taking advantage of this move by RBI to lower
liquidity. Third, anticipate NPAs as a result of increased loan
rates and increase securitization. At this point the interviewer
decided to close the case.
What do you think went right while The fact that I had gone through the concepts of bond valuation
solving the case?
in Corporate Finance and interest rate impacts in Macro
economics I was able to move on with the case. Interviewer was
checking these concepts and did not dwell on other areas. The
case went well and was one of my best interviews of the day.
What do you think could have been This was on the only case during that day that tested only core
done better while solving the case?
courses concepts. I was looking for a framework to start with,
and took a longer initial pause. However, the interviewer made
me comfortable in just focusing on the concepts and not
digressing into a framework for the case.
Outcome of the interview (optional) I was asked to come for the last interview, and was indicated
142

that an offer was likely. However, before the last interview I had
received McKinsey offer and communicated to BCG alums that I
would not be continuing further.

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the
case

Case Analysis presented by you

Kushagra Gupta
The Boston Consulting Group
Sachin Kotak, Principal
Round 1 Interview 1
Sachin started out with standard PI questions such as tell me
something about yourself and CV-based questions related to my
prior work experience.
The PI questions were pretty standard but BCG gives very little
importance to PI other than being an ice-breaker. Sachin showed
me an assessment sheet that they use to grade candidates and
most criteria related to case-solving skills.
I am an entrepreneur who has been thinking of launching a car
hire/cab service. I am approaching you for advice in this regard.
On the face of it, this case seems to be a typical new market
entry case. So I started out by asking about what kind of cab
service he had in mind, in terms of which clients (C-suite
executives, mid-management professionals, tourists, etc),
locations (metro, 2nd tier cities), current competitors, etc.
Sachins responses to these questions were quite vague and I
guessed he wanted me to suggest a business model and
proceed. So I chose one business model (C-Suite cab service) to
outline how I would go about organizing the venture.
I drew a bit from the New Market Entry framework and New
Product Launch frameworks. I structured the analysis under
following buckets:
1. Attractiveness of the business: Customer segments I will be
targeting (C-Suite professionals), existing competitors
(Unorganized sector of unorganized cab providers, newer players
like Uber), USP of my business (luxury sedans with online
booking and low advance booking time), etc.
2. Product: Location (Metros and Tier 1 cities), Price (Premium
pricing), Sales channel (transportation departments of MNCs,
travel aggregators, premium concierges and 5-star hotels)
3. Financials: Revenues based on distance travelled and type of
vehicle, Costs leasing of cars, drivers salary, maintenance of
cars, technology investment for booking and tracking.
4. Risks/Challenges : Regulatory risks in procuring driver licenses
from government agencies, training of drivers, high upfront costs
of acquiring cars and customers.
At this point, Sachin asked me to generalize these factors which I
143

described for one business model to scale to other business


models. I replicated the same criteria to determine trade-offs for
another business model (car share service).
Final recommendation / summary
I outlined the above mentioned factors that one would consider
while launching any cab/taxi service.
What do you think went right while I got most of the factors that Sachin was looking out for and we
solving the case?
had a healthy discussion on the 2 business models that I
suggested.
What do you think could have been In his feedback to me, Sachin mentioned that he had expected
done better while solving the case?
me to outline the factors that I would consider independent of
the business model and then describe how those factors would
determine choices based on the business model. He wanted a
blueprint, which I ended up recommending, but I spent a lot of
time discussing the C-Suite cab model and not much time on the
general factors he was looking out for.
Outcome of the interview (optional) Advanced to Round 1 Interview 2

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Kushagra Gupta
The Boston Consulting Group
YashrajErande, Principal

Round 1 Interview 2
Yashraj is an ISB alum so we started off on an informal note
discussing ISB in general. The standard questions of tell me
something about yourself and why consulting.
Comments on the PI rounds (please The PI questions were pretty standard but BCG gives very little
elaborate on what went right and importance to PI other than being an ice-breaker.
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the Our client is a bank. In the past 6 months, the value of the assets
interviewer)
on their balance sheet has shrunk. You are called in to advise the
client on the cause for this devaluation.
How did you define the scope of the I asked the basic scoping question such as what kind of bank this
case
was (retail/investment), was it a nationalized bank (it was) and
what assets were affected on the balance sheet (50 crore of 10year Indian government bonds). Hence, I deduced that these are
the cause of the problem.
Case Analysis presented by you
I suspected that the devaluation must be due to interest rate
changes and asked Yashraj on the interest rates 6 months before
and now on 10-year government bonds. He gave me figures of
8% and 10% respectively. Then I presented my analysis that the
change from 8% to 10% in interest rates meant that the bond
prices decreased. Yashraj asked me to calculate the balance
sheet impact. I tried to explain using the bond pricing formula of
how change in discount rate would affect the price of the bonds
but could not put a figure to the impact without a calculator. He
then mentioned whether I had leant about some ratio (I forget
144

the exact name) which measures interest rate sensitivity of a


bond (I had not). He described it as as the percentage change in
price of bond for 1% change in interest rates. Once he gave me
this number, I was easily able to calculate the balance sheet
impact.
Final recommendation / summary
I calculated the balance sheet impact of the change in interest
rates using the ratio given by Yashraj.
What do you think went right while I quickly identified the cause of the devaluation and could
solving the case?
explain theoretically why the devaluation would occur.
What do you think could have been I did not know about the specific ratio that Yashraj was looking
done better while solving the case?
out for. Make sure read up on Corporate Finance if you have a
finance-based CV.
Outcome of the interview (optional) Put on hold for Round 2, backed out of the process after
receiving an offer from another firm.

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)

Vijayalakshmi (Viji)
The Boston Consulting Group
Karthik Valluru, Project Leader (PL)
First
A brief introduction about myself

The interviewer was a Chartered Accountant himself and so I


was able to strike a chord with him talking about the profession
in general
Clarity in what you want to focus on in the PI with the
interviewer will help a lot
Case question (as narrated by the You are a large steel manufacturer in a country and you want to
interviewer)
expand into South east Asia. How will you go about it?
How did you define the scope of the The scope of the case was clear and I went ahead to reiterate my
case
understanding of the question
Case Analysis presented by you
The case was very open ended and therefore it became
necessary to structure the thought process clearly based on
what parameters I wanted to discuss with the interviewer. I have
presented the crux of the analysis here as I dont remember
greater details:
I opened the analysis understanding more about the Company.
The Interviewer responded that they are the largest player in
India and they have a significant cost advantage due to lower RM
procurement being done at the corporate level centrally for all
their processing plants. I then understood the competitive
landscape in South east Asia. There is a local player who is the
market leader there.
Once I gathered these details, I then laid down the broad
145

structure of the case:


Options to enter acquire a company or go green-field
or to import from India where the current plant is.
Analysis of the risks of various countries in South East
Asia to determine location of the plant / acquisition
target this can be political, economic and legal and
listed down the various items that I would consider. I
created a matrix with the conditions / criteria on the left
and started scoring them saying what is important and
presented a matrix to him at the end of the discussion
laying down two three countries where the plant could
possibly be located.
Competitive advantage of the firm I engaged in
discussions with the interviewer to understand the
advantages of the firm the main advantage was the
RM procurement and lower import duties in the country
as they sourced steel from abroad
Competitor actions I made a game theory table of the
various choices of the Company and how would the
competitor react. This also helped in determining the
risks in each of the options above. The
Acquire a new company I listed down criteria that I will
consider and understood that there are smaller plants
which can be acquired. There would be a significant
culture difference and integration might be a difficulty
I listed down the pros and cons of the options by now
alongside when discussions were done as a chart and
laid it in front of the interviewer
Final recommendation / summary
Acquire a smaller plant or go green field subject to risks
What do you think went right while The structured approach helped a lot in solving the case. During
solving the case?
the entire case, we were doing a joint problem solving and I
engaged the interviewer into the case well by showing him my
whiter paper where I had laid down structure like a ppt slide. The
case was open ended and hence I was able to steer it the way I
wanted to. Use of game theory brought a wow factor with the
interviewer
What do you think could have been
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional) Next interview

146

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Vijayalakshmi (Viji)
The Boston Consulting Group
Sachin Kotak, Principal
Second
A brief introduction about myself and the kind of deals I had
looked at in the Private Equity fund where I worked before
He questioned about my views on being an entrepreneur in India
and how I used to evaluate business models
The interviewer had worked in an investment bank in the past
and he asked me about the current industry trends etc.

Comments on the PI rounds (please Ability to talk about the industry I came from helped me a lot to
elaborate on what went right and connect with the interviewer. I discussed with him my opinions
what could have been done better)
on current trend and he appreciated that I had a view on the
events happening.
It helps to read newspapers and keep yourself updated about
economy in general and especially events in the industry you
came from. It shows that you are overall good rather than just
being academically bright.
Case question (as narrated by the A small company wants to start taxi operations in a city. How will
interviewer)
you go about it?
How did you define the scope of the Another open ended case and I defined the case by asking
case
questions about the taxi company. I gathered that they are new
players and wanted to start fresh with the idea of going for
investment in the near future
Case Analysis presented by you
I started the question by asking questions to understand the
market first. He asked me to take a city like Chennai and that it is
a very crowded market
From what I gathered about the market from him I put down the
broad segments of the market within city commute, outside
city commute, corporate travel and on-demand radio taxi
market.
Once I put down the segments, I outlined the broad frame work
with which I was going to approach the case:
Analysis Current market scenario in these given
segments
Estimation of demand in these segments
Factors on growth of the segment
Then I would give him the final recommendation of which
market can the taxi operator target and proceed.
Analysis of market scenario: I asked a series of questions about
each of these segments and wrote down factors that he should
consider targeting each of the segments. Some of the factors
147

included across segments highly crowded radio taxi market,


entry of player like uber in this segment, growing corporate
travel services, need for safety of employees and more long
distance office location due to city getting expanded, etc.
I asked him if I have to estimate the market demand. He asked
me to assume that there is enough market demand in all the
segments identified
We analyzed the growth of these segments, based on the factors
I have listed down in the first part and it became evident that the
corporate travel segment and the within city travel market for
luxury customers are growing at a higher rate
He asked me how would I differentiate a taxi provider which will
operate in these two segments from the other players and how I
would position them:
I made a simple framework saying either price or quality of
service can be the broad areas and listed down the
methodologies in which each can be differentiated. Some of the
suggestions are as under:
Subscription based pricing for the luxury customers like
a package which they can use within 7 days etc but
booking in advance
Enable within car experience for the luxury customers providing wi-fi etc.
Monetize the luxury market by providing targeted
advertisement for luxury service providers and use that
revenue to cross subsidize the rate charged to the luxury
customers and therefore have a lower price point than
other players
Create an app for the Company to find out where the
cab is and ensure safety of employees
Create optimization engine for pick up of employees
using the shortest route and this would also ensure that
there are no more than required cabs at any point in
time serving the Company thus enabling lower costs to
the customer
He then asked me to draw criticism of the solution from an
investor perspective and what factors would the investor
consider when investing in this kind of a business model.
Final recommendation / summary
The within city travel luxury customer market and the corporate
travel
What do you think went right while The knowledge of the radio taxi market helped me figure out
solving the case?
market segments when approaching the case. Once I had put
down the broad segments and the structure towards the case,
148

the interviewer became very relaxed and the rest of the case
was more like a conversation and that helped me a lot.
What do you think could have been I could have thought of better suggestions on the factors I
done better while solving the case?
provided on differentiation. I was very tired since this was the
fifth interview and was not able to be very creative in solutions
Outcome of the interview (optional) Next interview

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Vijayalakshmi (Viji)
The Boston Consulting Group
Navneet Vasishth, Partner
Third
I was asked to introduce myself.
The next question was why do I want to get into consulting when
I worked for a PE fund which is exciting in itself. What are my
real motives behind this decision
What are the reasons that would stop me from pursuing a
consulting career. This was a tricky question and I answered very
openly on what would prevent me in the long run.

In my introduction, I mentioned that I grew up in a semi-urban


area till my class XII, and he asked me to tell me what are the
challenges I faced when I moved to a city and how I addressed
them. This was like a list down strengths question masked
differently
Comments on the PI rounds (please I was very open and honest in my conversations and the partner
elaborate on what went right and appreciated my honesty especially on the question on why
what could have been done better)
would I leave consulting. He shared his views as well and I
discussed this with him for over 5 mins. Being a good listener
then helped me connect with the interviewer.
These questions were not asked one after one. Except the first
two, the others were asked during the case interview itself.
Case question (as narrated by the An IT company is facing decline I profits
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the I defined the case asking questions about the IT company it has
case
both services and products business with services being the
major component. These services are offered to automotive,
aerospace and a couple of more niche sectors. The services and
products mainly cater to R&D and project design for clients.
I questioned about revenues and margins in each of these
segments. The products business has been having an increase in
sales and margins have been constant. In services business, the
149

Case Analysis presented by you

revenues have been increasing but the margins are declining.


Thus the case boiled down to analyzing the reasons for cost
increase in the services business
I listed down the entire value chain of costs that are incurred
when rendering services to clients employee costs,
administrative costs and selling costs. We quickly concluded that
the costs were increasing in employee related expenditure.
I listed down the various sub - costs that one could incur with
respect to employees training, salary and then welfare costs.
Quickly we gathered that the training costs are not increasing
since there is very little attrition when compared to the industry.
The welfare costs are in line with industry standards and that the
Company is not looking to cut down costs there since it believes
that the employees have to be taken good care of to avoid any
adverse effects on business.
The only other costs that was increasing was salary costs. I
presented a framework saying that there could be an increase on
account of more number of employees or an increase in salaries
compared to the other players in the market. The partner said
that the salary levels are on par with the industry. Then I said
that the number of employees could be the case. He quickly
ruled out saying that the number of employees is the same per
project as any other competition.
If number is the same, then I reasoned out that there could
problem with efficiency. Then we discussed about the efficiency
of the employees and I figured out that the efficiency has been
dropping on an overall level. Also I figured out that though the
numbers of employees per project are the same, the costs per
project for same number of billable hours when compared to
competition is higher. This gave me the clue that there was some
issue with the employee composition for each project. I brought
this up and the partner smiled (I know I cracked it here). The
efficiency is dropping since the employee feels monotonous to
do same job even after promotion into next level.
Then we discussed composition of the team for every project
and that the team is more top heavy than competition leading to
higher costs. The fact that the attrition was low linked here and I
said that the people have moved up in the project increasing the
costs while revenues remained at same rates. I also figured out
that there was a crunch in the project manager level in the
products division and that employees are not generally allowed
to shift.
The partner then asked me how to solve this problem and how
150

to help the client. I listed down a lot of ideas and some of them
are as under:
Cutting down employees may send a wrong signal to the
market that the company is not doing well and hence
the team members who have grown up in hierarchy
needs to be given alternative projects / roles justifying
their costs
Newer industries/sectors where the current skills can be
used need to identified and new clients should be
pursued
Employees can be trained and made more fungible that
they can be rotated between the divisions and overall
costs can be retained
The rotation can be formalized and the employees can
apply to such roles within the company and they will be
selected on based on the need and their ability
Employee-appraisal process should be relooked into to
check whether the promotion policies are too liberal and
whether they need any changes
Final recommendation / summary
As stated above
What do you think went right while Be prepared to answer PI while solving the case as well. Most
solving the case?
importantly, you should be able to go back to the case without
forgetting where you left the case conversation.
I had made slide like charts on paper when the case interview
was happening and charted them out on the table one after one.
So I was able to go back to the case easily synthesize and then
solve it even after interruption by PI.
Be a good listener and that helps in building rapport with the
interviewer. The case was not straight forward in terms of
dropping profitability since the costs and number of people were
the same per project. Listening and attention to detail helped me
figure out the problem from interviewer.
At the end the partner asked if I have any questions for him. I
discussed with him about Big data and consulting since the
partner was primarily into technology sector clients. He was very
interested to explain his views on it and talked about his recent
engagements. I was able to engage in conversations with him
about Google and their plans etc and he was very happy that
inspite of coming from a finance background, I understand
technology and the outlook of the sector. This closing note gave
me the confidence that I am moving to the next round.
What do you think could have been
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional) Next round
151

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Comments on the PI rounds (please


elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)

How did you define the scope of the


case
Case Analysis presented by you

Vijayalakshmi (Viji)
The Boston Consulting Group
Yash Raj Erande, Principal
Fourth
What was your GMAT score?
He asked me why was I not in 99 percentile though I was an AllIndia rank holder in CA exams.
It made me very unsettled. Also in only one of the earlier
interviews with another firm I made a computation error and
that started playing at the back of my mind the minute he asked
me my GMAT score.
You are the CEO of a 50,000 crore bank. Raghuram rajan has
passed some changes in the central banking system which has
pushed the yield rate by 0.5% (dont remember the exact %).
What will you do?
The question was very clear that we have to chart a course of
action for the bank based on the recent changes made by RBI
governor.
I asked him basic questions about the composition of the assets
and liabilities of the bank and noted it down.
I told him that I will first understand the impact of the change on
the various items on the Balance sheet before I proceed with the
analysis. He nodded to it.
He told me the various items on asset side such as loans given,
investment in government securities for CRR ratio, fixed assets,
etc and their composition % on the overall balance sheet size.
He told me the various items on the liability side such as deposits
from retail customers, corporate, loans from RBI and other
banks, equity capital and their composition.
I told him that the yield curve change would affect the asset side
because there are no items on the liability side that would get
affected by this change.
He said ok and asked me what are the items on the asset side
that will be affected by this change in yield rates. I said that the
investment in government securities will be affected since their
market values are based on treasury yield curves. I asked him as
to why does the bank invest in government securities - the CRR
ratio he mentioned was xx% and the bank had a higher % in the
152

government securities (dont remember the exact % mentioned).


He said that the bank did not explore options and hence this was
the investment in treasury securities.
He asked me how would I go about on identifying the impact of
this change on the asset side. I told him that we should look at
the modified duration of these assets which will help us quantify
the impact of yield changes. He said the modified duration is 2x.
So I quantified the impact of the change (modified duration will
be covered in fixed income securities elective). The impact of the
change was about 100 crores which was very small compared to
the size of the Balance sheet.
Once I figured out the impact of the change, I said that we need
to consider the following before we make a decision to change
the investments into an alternative investment which might yield
a better return:
The impact was very small and this is a notional loss
since we have not realized the loss yet
the minimum CRR ration has to be maintained and that
leaves us with very little chance to change a majority of
the investment into any other alternative
what are the other alternative assets in which we can
invest and what are their risks when compared to the
government securities
what is the economic condition and whether we foresee
this change to reverse or become higher?
Based on the discussions, I said that we should not consider
reacting immediately to this change since it most likely looks like
a decision by RBI governor to control inflation and that we
should wait to see what would be the long term outlook by RBI. I
also suggested that we should have a investment framework
which clearly lays out the criteria for selecting asset forms, their
risk preferences, the composition we would like to maintain
based on their modified duration etc.

Final recommendation / summary


As above
What do you think went right while The clarity in concepts gave me the confidence to do this case
solving the case?
well. I had not done a case earlier like this during preparations
and it was a complete googly but knowing your basics helped
solving it logically.
Also awareness of what was happening in the economy gave
some leverage to get further details and engage better with the
interviewer.
What do you think could have been While doing the calculation for the impact of the change, he
153

done better while solving the case?

Outcome of the interview (optional)

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

asked me to crystal ball gaze the nos and not use any
multiplication etc on papers and guess estimate the amount. I
got tensed here and started taking more time as I felt cornered.
But since I identified modified duration correctly, the interviewer
was happy and I gained my cool later.
I think it is very important to keep cool even when asked
unsettling questions as most of the times he is trying to check
whether you have the fortitude or not.
Moved to next round

Vijayalakshmi (Viji)
The Boston Consulting Group
Suresh Subudi, Partner
Fifth
1. Tell me about yourself
2. Where did you do your schooling and education
3. Why do you want to do consulting when you were
working in a PE fund earlier
4. Why did you change jobs -You have shifted three jobs in
four years what is the reason
5. What if you dont like consulting and think PE fund is a
better alternative

Comments on the PI rounds (please The entire interview was a PI round. He argued otherwise for
elaborate on what went right and every reason I gave. I stuck to my reasons and logically explained
what could have been done better)
him my move and how it fit into my overall career goal.
Knowing yourself well makes a lot of difference. Interviewers are
also looking for consistency in your performance and thoughts.
Some of these questions were asked earlier and he had listened
to the other interviewers before he interviewed me. So he asked
me questions mainly on my job shifts indicating to some answers
I gave to his colleagues. Consistency helped me present my case
well and also gave me a lot of confidence
Case question (as narrated by the No case
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the None
case
Case Analysis presented by you
None
Final recommendation / summary
None
What do you think went right while None
solving the case?
What do you think could have been I was carrying my phone with me into the interview room by
done better while solving the case?
mistake and it started ringing loudly during interview. I stood up
apologized calmly and left the phone outside before I continued
154

Outcome of the interview (optional)

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

my conversation with him. Please make sure that you do not


keep it with you during interviews. Be cool though things are
going against you.
Offered a job

Shirish Damani
The Boston Consulting Group
Navneet Vasishth, Partner
Round 1, 1st Interview
Navneet wanted to do the case first followed by the PI. So these
questions were asked post the case.
1. About yourself. (have a common theme flowing across your
answer)
2. Why consulting? (Try and personalize the answer apart from
the regular stuff)
3. Why do you think you will not become a good consultant? 2
reasons
Navneet is from Chandigarh and I had also stayed in Chandigarh
for ~3 years during my work after P&G. After the about yourself
answer we discussed a few things about Chandigarh that helped
me connect with the interviewer and eased me out. This
always helps. As per popular belief consultants like people whom
they can talk to and if you can show them that quality it is always
a plus. But mind you, this is no substitute for case solving.

Comments on the PI rounds (please I think it was good and the discussion on Chandigarh helped.
elaborate on what went right and Moreover I asked him about how he managed travel with family
what could have been done better)
and kids and he was more than happy to share his personal
story. Again what I learnt from my buddies is that consultants in
general and partners in particular like to talk about their
experiences and guide others. So ask them some relevant
questions and turn the interview into a discussion.
Case question (as narrated by the Our client is CEO of an IT services company and is concerned that
interviewer)
his profit margins have been going down. Wants advice.
How did you define the scope of the This was one of the more standard cases. So I started with asking
case
the basic scoping questions.
SD: What are the revenue streams of the company
NV: It has two broad divisions IT services and Engg services
SD: Is this a problem across both the divisions
NV: Yes
SD: Where does the company operate
NV: India wide but most clients are international
SD: Since when has the profit margins decreasing.
NV: Last 2 years
155

Case Analysis presented by you

SD: Is this an industry wide problem or company specific


NV: Company specific
SD: What is the current and target profitability level. And within
how much time do they want to achieve the target ?
NV: Current is 18%, Target 22-25%. Time Target ASAP.
SD: Is there a problem with Gross Profit, Operating Profit or Net
Profit.
NV: Lets look at all the possibilities
Having got the basic information I took a couple of minutes
before I started. I used the standard profitability framework. (If
there is a possibility go ahead and use the framework but tweak
the framework based on the information you already have)
SD: Since the profitability is going down we will look at both the
revenue and costs sides.
NV: Lets start with the costs side.
I made a simple value chain and identified that people costs
where the primary costs of an IT firm.
SD: Since people costs are the primary costs of the firm let us
look at that.
NV: Yes, I have some data on the COGS as a % of revenue. Lets
look at that.
He gave me the following data for the client COGS over a period
of time and asked me to calculate the gross margins in each
case.

Software
Development
Cost
Servicing Cost
Misc

Today
40%

3 years back
35%

15%
5%

15%
5%

I did the simple calculations but made a slight mistake in the


current year calculation. Where instead of telling him the gross
profits I told him the COGS instead. He asked me to recheck and I
was quick to identify my mistake. Such small mistakes are not
the end of the interview and you should not lose your cool over
it.
SD: Since the GM has gone down by 5% from 45% to 40% this is
the key issue and look at it in detail in particular people costs.
156

NV: Yes lets look at the people cost in detail.


SD: People costs can be broken down simply into No. of
employees*cost/hour. How are we doing on each v/s
competition.
NV: We are struggling on both ends. Lets look at it one by one.
I asked for a 2 min break and made a list of possible reasons.
SD: Ok lets start with no. of employees. As this is higher there
could be the following reasons,
1. Higher bench strength which is being underutilized
2. More no of employees per project (vs competition) to deliver
projects faster vs competition.
At this point I was trying to think of more possible reasons and
was stuck for some time but then Navneet asked me to move
forward.
NV: Lets focus on point 2
SD: Ok. So this could be a company strategy to differentiate itself
vs competition but the issue could be that it is not charging the
adequate premium and hence the profit margins are lower v/s
competition.
NV: Ok. Now lets look at employee cost/hr.
SD: Higher employee cost/hour could be due to the following
reasons,
1. Overtime
2. Over skilled employees
3. Excessive overhead in terms of top management.
I quickly realized the general management is not a part of COGS
and was quick to point that out. Navneet agreed and asked me
to focus on the first two points.
SD: Overtime could be due to the same reason as discussed
above.
NV: Yes. What about point 2?
Here I took a break as I could not think of many reasons. Even
then I could only think of one reason.
SD: This could be due to,
1. Company wants to provide superior services v/s competition
to differentiate itself and hence as hired overskilled employees.
At this point Navneet probed me a little.
NV: Yes that could be there. What else?

157

I again took a 30 sec time out and was starting to get a bit
nervous as this was my 5th back to back case interview and I
could hardly think of anything new. But then I thought of
another reason.
SD: Maybe the company has aggressive growth plans for the
future and in order to be prepared for it the company has hired
over skilled employees or has promoted people in advance to be
ready to take on responsibility.
NV: Yes this could be another possibility. So what will be your
recommendation for all the possible issues identified.
SD: For overtime and more employees v/s competition the
company should start charging a premium so that it can maintain
its profit margins. If the companys clients do not value the faster
service and is not willing to pay a premium then it should stop
offering that. For higher cost/employee due to faster promotions
in order to meet future expansion company should not be too
worried as long as the expansion/growth is happening as per
plan. The management should be aware and should
communicate to others the higher costs is due to the investment
in manpower to meet future expansion plans.
NV: Ok.
Navneet looked satisfied with the discussion and asked me to
summarize the case. At this point I took a minute break and
made a note of all the points I intended to cover in my final
recommendation.
Final recommendation / summary
The client is facing lower profitability due to increased employee
cost. So it should start charging premium for the faster and
better services if its clients value the same. And if the increased
costs are due to higher employee costs keeping future expansion
in mind the company needs to be patient and communicate the
same to its share holders as not much can be done now. It just
needs to ensure that the anticipated growth is on its glidepath.
What do you think went right while I think keeping cool helped me. I made some minor calculation
solving the case?
mistake and was stuck a couple of times. At these points I took a
break and engaged the interviewer which helped.
Taking breaks at the right moment is very critical as it allows you
to think comprehensively before you start presenting your
thoughts. It is always advisable to make a note of all you think
during these breaks so that you do not miss out on a point later.
Before making the final recommendation it is always advisable to
take a break and think of the key point you want to cover in your
final recommendation. It needs to be crisp and concise and at
the same time cove the key points/findings. NEVER include
something in your final recommendation which you have not
discussed during the interview.
What do you think could have been Avoid calculation mistakes. However, if you do happen to make
158

done better while solving the case?


Outcome of the interview (optional)

one do not fret over it.


Moved to next round

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Shirish Damani
The Boston Consulting Group
Vipin Gupta, Project Leader

Round 1, 2nd Interview


Vipin told me that he will start with the case and do the PI later.
However, the case got extended and we did not have time for a
PI.
Comments on the PI rounds (please NA
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the This was my 6th case interview of the day. After my last interview
interviewer)
with the BCG partner I had got the feedback that the partner was
impressed with the case and PI however, he felt that my energy
level is dropping. So as I went into the interview that was playing
on mind and hence when Vipin started narrating the case I was
listening to him very absent mindedly for the first half to one
minute. Please avoid this.
VG: Ill take the case I was discussing with the last candidate. We
established that out client a telecom major should not operate
across the country as it is not possible to profitable all the
regions. So it wants us to decide whether he should be make the
selective operating decision on a state level basis, district level
basis or telecom tower level basis i.e., for eg. consider each
telecom tower should he operate or shut the tower looking at
each tower in isolation or should this be done at a district/state
level.
How did you define the scope of the I was making some notes in my A4 and then asked some
case
standard questions.
SD: Size of the payer? Motive (reach/profits)? Competition?
Most of this turned out to be irrelevant to solve the given
problem. And I was a little confused where to start from. At this
point I decided to engage Vipin more.
SD: So how do you want me to go about it?
VG: First give me an answer state/district/tower and some
reasons to back the same and your thought process.
SD: Ill take a couple of mins.

159

Case Analysis presented by you

At this point I had no clue what he was asking for and how I was
expected to solve this. This happens with most people and is
fine. The key is to keep your cool and not to show any signs of
nervousness.
SD: I think they should do it on a state level basis as people travel
within state a lot and hence if they have to pay roaming every
time they move out of their network it will not be affordable for
the customers.
VG: Yes thats there. So how it works is that if the customer
moves out of the network provided of our client he/she gets
hooked onto the network of some other service provider and the
client pays the charge to the other service provider but does not
charge the customer anything extra. Therefore the clients profit
reduces if the customer moves out of his network and is using
some other network.
Now I understood a little more about the problem and asked for
data on the costs associated with maintaining a tower. To this
Vipin gave some numbers on installation cost, monthly
maintenance cost etc. But again this did not have much to do
with the case and we discussed some points on this with little
progress. At this point I started to get a little nervous as I felt I
was not moving in the correct direction. I took a minute to think
and finally realized that this had got to do with the contribution
margins associated with each scenario.
SD: We need to look at the Weighted Average Contribution
Margin (WACC) in each scenario and make a decision
accordingly.
VG: Why are we looking at the contribution margins and not the
net profit margin.
SD: Because the fixed costs will remain fixed in the short run and
the company might not be able to immediately realize the
benefits as some fixed costs like salary of top management,
employees will not be omitted immediately.
VG: Ok
SD: Do we have data on the contribution margins for self
provided calls and those provided by other service providers.
And do we know the % call volume in each case between self
provided calls and those provided by other service providers.
VG: Yes.
The he gave the following data to me.
%Call volume of %Call
volume
self provided calls provided by other
service providers
160

State Wise
District Wise
Tower Wise

90%
85%
75%

10%
15%
25%

CM of self provided calls 90%


CM of calls provided by other service providers 75%
With the above data I did the simple WACC calculations and told
him that the client should go forward with the option with the
highest WACC. As usual added some watch-outs to this like
customer satisfaction in case quality of other service providers is
not good, alignment with long term vision, how can the fixed
costs be changed in each scenario etc.

Final recommendation / summary

I think Vipin was looking for the WACC approach and he was
satisfied that I finally got to the crux.
The client should go on a piece wise service strategy based on
the strategy with the highest WACC. However there are a few
watch-outs as mentioned above.

End of case.
What do you think went right while I think keeping my cool during times when I was a little clueless
solving the case?
and nervous helped.
Moreover, knowing concepts such as WACC clearly and being
clear on how and when to apply them is critical so do a revision
of all the core term courses.
Whenever faced with a road block engage the interviewer and
draw him into a discussion v/s trying to solve the case all alone
to little effect.
What do you think could have been As mentioned I went into the interview thinking about my
done better while solving the case?
energy level going down as that was the feedback I got from the
last interviewer via my buddy. Due to this I was not focusing on
the case at hand during the initial part of the interview and
hence drifted a little initially. Avoid this, such things will always
happen. The crux is to forget about the last interview and take
each one as it comes (esp. if you have multiple shortlists).
Remember SUNK COST (again core term revisions will help )
Outcome of the interview (optional) Moved to next round. However, since I had accepted an offer
by then, did not go for the next round.

Name
Pranav Mathur
Name of company interviewing with The Boston Consulting Group
Name and designation of the Vipin (Project Leader)
interviewer
161

Interview round (first/second/third) First


Personal interview questions (please Vipin mentioned that he was the one who had shortlisted my CV and
write the questions only)
hence knew it in detail. He briefly introduced himself and jumped directly
to the case with no PI questions.
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the
case

Case Analysis presented by you

N/A

Your client is a telecom service provider who has been facing losses in
Maharashtra. They need your help.
I asked the basic questions on company, customers and competition. I
was told that the company has always made losses and had only 3%
market share. I was also told to only concentrate on the Maharashtra
market.
I took some time out and drew out the standard profitability framework =
Profit = rev costs.
I started with revenue = Price * Quantity.
Here I broke the quantity into Voice, SMS and Data and asked vipin if any
one of these was an issue. He replied that we are at par in terms of price
across the three.
I looked at quantity in terms of market share and market size. Did the
basic analysis (as per the casebook framework) and tried to segment the
market based on geographies within Maharashtra, type of service, type of
customers etc so that I could identify a segment that was less profitable.
However, Vipin told me that all segments are equally divided.
At this point I was stuck as I had finished the framework evaluation and
nothing seem to fit. Vipin hinted that the client has 5000 towers in
Maharashtra to provide the service. This was the cue to look at the
problem from a value chain point of view. I said that typically a tower has
high costs (variable and fixed) and the same provides service to a
particular area. Vipin asked me what number would you look at to judge
the performance of the tower. Since we had already established that all
customer segments are equally profitable and equally distributed within a
geography, I said I will look at population density/tower. Vipin was happy
to hear that and asked me to go on.
I said that there might be areas where there is low population density and
hence we are not able to recover the costs of the tower.
I would prioritize the towers based on population density in the coverage
area and then decide. I also mentioned that the analysis should be
forward looking and take into account new developments in those areas
to account for higher population density later.
He asked me to talk about costs/customer. I said that there are variable
and fixed. Vipin told me about the various cost heads and asked me which
ones would I consider. I said Variable as rest were all allocated fixed costs
and hence not impact the decision (MADM fundas)
162

Finally, I synthesized and gave my recommendations.


Final recommendation / summary
Evaluate the situation from a population density/tower and variable
cost/customer approach.
What do you think went right while Was structured in the analysis and wrote very neatly in the paper. I caught
solving the case?
on to his hints fast and was able to switch between frameworks easily.
Know your frameworks well and be ready to mix and match different
frameworks whenever required.
What do you think could have been Do not be too stuck up on the case frameworks as they may not always
done better while solving the case?
work. Always assess the situation independently and then move forwards
be ready to create your own approach and ditch the framework
approach whenever required.
Outcome of the interview (optional) Moved to round 2

Name

Pranav Mathur

Name of company interviewing with

The Boston Consulting Group

Name and
interviewer

designation

of

the Suresh Subudhi (Partner)

Interview round (first/second/third)

Second

Personal interview questions (please General chit-chat regarding my institute rank and how I managed to
write the questions only)
get that (rank - 7 ). He asked me what I felt about Arvind
Kejriwal (The Delhi election results were in the news at this time). I
told him my views on the same. Suresh said that he wanted my
views on Arvind Kejriwal since he and I both are alums of IIT KGP).
Comments on the PI rounds (please Struck a good rapport with Suresh. Was up to date with the current
elaborate on what went right and news on elections and hence was able to have a decent
what could have been done better)
conversation on the same.
Case question (as narrated by the A tyre manufacturer wants to enter the global agricultural tyre
interviewer)
business. Help them.
How did you define the scope of the I approached this through the standard market entry case. Initially I
case
asked him about the company, customers and competition. I was
told that the company currently makes only light motor vehicle
tyres for Indian market. It also does a bit of exports.

Case Analysis presented by you

Agricultural tyres are used in tractors etc. There are a few Indian
companies who have gone global and earned 20-25% returns. Our
current ROI = 10-12%.
I jumped into the framework and analyzed 1. Industry
attractiveness 2. Resources required and 3. Methods of entry
Analyzing the size, scale and growth of the industry we realized that
the USA/Europe market was growing at 2% and rest at 10%. Further
analysis revealed that there are two types of tyres sold new
163

tractor tyres and replenishment sales. The replenishment sales


were the major growth areas and customers did not want high
quality products and were price conscious.
There were 5-6 major competitors in these markets and in the
other markets there were many players competing on price. So it
was clear that it would not make sense to enter the other markets
and we should only explore US/Europe.
I talked about new entrants and the barriers to entry. Suresh asked
me how would you get to know who is entering and what the
competitive outlook would be like. I said I will look at past data and
current companies toughness in the market (to gauge if they are
likely to crush others or not). Suresh asked me to think more.
I took some time and mentioned that if people are looking at
expanding we can look at land allocations to gauge how many new
plants might come up in US/Europe. He asked me to think harder
(at this point I was drained and started feeling the pressure). I took
some time and said OEM manufacturers would know about new
machine orders being placed and we can get to know the capacity
etc purchased. (prior experience worked here as I had seen this
being done at ITC as well)
Suresh seemed happy with the analysis and asked me to give a
recommendation. I summarized what all we had discussed.
Final recommendation / summary

There was no specific outcome to this. I just summarized the entire


discussion.
What do you think went right while Handled the pressure fairly well and was able to remain calm and
solving the case?
composed. I used my own experiences to evaluate what a firm does
in order to understand competitive moves how to gauge market
intelligence etc.
Draw from your past experiences and relate them to the cases.
Such approaches are really appreciated.
What do you think could have been The focus of the case kept shifting from market entry to
done better while solving the case?
competitive assessment and required me to be completely alert to
what Suresh was saying.
Outcome of the interview (optional)

Moved to round 3

Name

Pranav Mathur

Name of company interviewing with

The Boston Consulting Group

Name and designation of the Sachin Kotak (Sr Principal)


interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third) Third

164

Personal interview questions (please Sachin seemed disinterested and sat down on the sofa next to me.
write the questions only)
This was my 7th interview of the day and I was very tired by then.
Comments on the PI rounds (please I guess Sachin was just testing me on how I can handle a case in a
elaborate on what went right and different setting this was not a traditional case across the table since
what could have been done better)
Sachin was sitting on the Sofa right next to me.
Case question (as narrated by the I want to open a car rental service in Delhi. Tell me whether I should
interviewer)
do it or not.
How did you define the scope of the Asked standard questions on what does a car rental service does etc.
case
Case Analysis presented by you
Standard framework based questions. I however could not think
anymore and made a mess of the case. Sachin was looking for creative
segmentations and approaches which I could not come up with. He
did not seem too happy with my standard approach and said that I
was unable to think.
He was looking for customer segmentations based on type of
employment I could not comprehend what he was looking for. We
had a brief discussion on the case and that was it.
Final recommendation / summary
No recommendation
What do you think went right while I started off well with the framework approach however could not
solving the case?
understand what Sachin was looking for.
What do you think could have been Try to be creative!
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional)

Surprisingly, I was called for the fourth interview which I did not go to
as I had another offer at hand.

165

THE PARTHENON GROUP


Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)

Comments on the PI rounds (please


elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)

Case question (as narrated by the


interviewer)

How did you define the scope of the


case

Case Analysis presented by you

Shirish Damani
The Parthenon Group
Danish Faruqui
First
Interview started with the standard take me through your
resume question. This question I was not answering very well
and thankfully the interviewer interrupted in between and asked
me to explain my work in P&G in more detail.
Being an engineer and having done capital management at P&G
helped me in quite a few interviews as most people were
intrigued by the work profile. I was well prepared with my
answers
and
hence
worked
in
my
favor.
Could have done better with the take me through your resume
question as most of my buddies told me that interviewers will
ask more pointed questions and hence was not very well
prepared with this answer. But I will recommend all to prepare
answer to this question as it becomes tricky to judge which parts
of the resume to focus on and at the same time ensuring that
the answer does not turn into a speech.
A PE firm is considering investing into a Brazilian company which
provides standard education applications to schools. They want
you to help them understand if they should go ahead with the
investment or not. More particularly by answering these
questions,
1. Why will this application be/not be successful?
2. How can the firm gain competitive advantage over its rivals?
3. Will this application work in India? Why/Why not?
Since this was my first case of the day, I was a little hesitant to
start off. Took a min and then started by asking more about the
application and its utility.
SD: What does the application do?
DF: This is an application which standardizes the course
curriculum and instructs teachers what to teach and how to
teach.
SD: Who pays for this application?
DF: The school doesnt pay. The app. Provider directly charges
students. The school just provides the app provider with a
platform ie. A student base.
Then I took a couple of mins. And started with my analysis.
Since this was not a regular framework case (hardly any case will
be a regular one) I was engaging the interviewer a lot more than
normal.
SD: The app will be used for 3 main purposes
166

1. It will standardize the curriculum and parents are guaranteed


good quality education
2. The schools can signal of the most up to date technology being
used and differentiate themselves from competition.
3. It will make life easier for the faculty and hence school can
attract better faculty.
DF: Focus more on the last point and think exactly what impact
will this have
I thought a little and said school can attract better faculty. But
upon being probed a little got to the crux that with standard
apps available schools can actually do with poor quality faculty
as a lot of the curriculum has been standardized and hence can
lower its faculty cost.
Now coming to question 2.
I asked some details on the market structure i.e., market share
and competition.
DF: The firm client is planning to invest in has market share of
15% and is currently 5th in the market. It wants to reach to the
top 2 with market share of 35-40%.
Again I took a couple of minutes to think about viable
alternatives. The most obvious answer was the firm could create
a pull for its app by giving a commission to the schools from the
fee it collected from the students. However, I thought that
others could copy this and hence is not a sustainable way.
Thought of a few more alternatives. Then started answering.
SD: There are multiple options. First, is that the firm can give a
cut to schools for the schools to prefer the firm. However, this
can be easily copied.
The interviewer stopped me there and then and said this is
exactly what the firm did and was successful and asked me to
move on to the next question.
SD: This will not work in India because for one in India teaching is
not a very high paying profession so not much benefit to schools
as discussed in earlier. Secondly, the curriculum of each board is
fixed and there is no further need to standardize.
DF: Exactly. Curriculum in India is set by each board. In countries
like Brazil the curriculum is given overall and details are not
specified hence there is a lot of teacher specific variability
induced in the system. Hence, such a software had great benefits
in terms of standardizing

167

End of case.
Final recommendation / summary

There was no such final recommendation. The interviewer was


very satisfied with the discussion.
What do you think went right while Thinking from basics and not force fitting any framework was the
solving the case?
key. Taking time out to think and actually thinking and writing
down your points before speaking helps you make a more
comprehensive argument.
List down all ideas coming to your mind and mention it to the
interviewer. I learnt this during my case practice sessions with
my buddies when many a times the reason/idea I thought was
very stupid would turn out to be the right answer.
The most important thing is to stay confident throughout. Any
sign of nervousness is a big turn off for the interviewer.
What do you think could have been Could have been better prepared for the take me through your
done better while solving the case?
resume question.
Outcome of the interview (optional) Moved to next round

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)

Shirish Damani
The Parthenon Group
Mayank Gupta
Second
This was a quick 30 min interview without any PI.
NA

Our client is a PE firm looking to invest in an education


consulting business in China. They want advice on the same. In
particular,
1. Why do students come to them?
2. On what factors will the demand depend?
How did you define the scope of the SD: What does education consulting mean?
case
MG: This is consulting for students who want to go outside China
for graduation and post graduation studies.
SD: What is their business model?
MG: They help students with their applications and the passport,
visa formalities and take commission from both students and
colleges.
SD: What is the investment horizon of the firm?
MG: 3-4 years
Case Analysis presented by you
Took a couple of mins and began with Question 1 i.e., why do
students come to them?
I could think of the following reasons,
1. Since people in China are not very fluent in English they would
168

need help with applications.


2. Firm provides end to end support so it is convenient for
students.
3. Easy way to get higher education since most of these colleges
would be the 2nd rung colleges (as they give commission to such
firms I assumed these would not be the Harvards and the
Stanfords) and hence getting through would not be very difficult
with help from these firms.
Mayank was convinced with the answer, however he pointed out
that the main reason why the students go outside China is
because of the glamour associated with the international tag. I
kicked myself for not asking this basic question at the start.
He asked me to move to the next question i.e., On what factors
will the demand depend?
Most factors I could think of would not be relevant in the given
investment horizon and asked Mayank whether I should mention
them or not. To my relief he asked me to list down all factors,
1. Growth in English education in primary schools. As people
become fluent in English the need for such services will go down.
This was accepted.
2. Growth in good quality higher education institutes. However,
Mayank argued that these people are going for the tag and dont
really care about quality education. To this I argued that if
foreign institutes open campuses in china students could be
willing to study in them because of the brand. He kind of agreed.
3. Demographics of China. With an aging population the demand
for such services will go down. This was accepted.
Next Mayank asked me to analyze why were foreign institutes
giving them a commission. I took a min and came up with the
following reasons,
1. Since these are not very well known institutes they seats will
remain empty if students are not pushed by such firms.
2. Since marginal cost of serving a student is minimal institutes
want all seats to be full.
3. It would want students from as many countries as possible so
that it can boast of an international student and alumni base.
Next Mayank asked me to think why dont Airlines promote their
seats in such a manner. I was quick to realize that the similarity
was that for both of them i.e., Airlines and Education institutes
marginal cost of an additional student/customer is almost zero. I
took a good 2 3 mins and was actually thinking aloud. Finally I
concluded that the information asymmetry in case of education
institutes is much higher as compared to airlines and hence such
education consulting firms can actually influence your decision.
169

In case of airlines the choice is generally made based on fare and


timing and hence possibility of travel agents influencing your
choice of flight is minimal.
This was the end of the case. Next Mayank asked me what other
shortlists I have. I told him the name of other firms and he asked
me my preference. I told him I was undecided and would decide
as the day proceeds.
Final recommendation / summary
No such final recommendation or summary.
What do you think went right while Again the same as before. Think from the basics and dont force
solving the case?
fit frameworks. I actually interacted with Mayank towards day
end after I was done with my placement. He actually told me
that the thing he liked most was that I did not try and force fit
any framework and was asking logical questions to break down
the problem. He said this is what clients expect and hence what
firms look out for in candidates. He was actually upset with some
people trying to force fit framework to this very question and
was strongly against it. So keep this in mind.
What do you think could have been Could have done a better job asking the clarifying questions in
done better while solving the case?
particular why do Chinese students go abroad for studies. I went
into the interview expecting PI to be followed by a case.
However was a bit surprised when directly started with a case
and hence probably messed up the initial part. Dont go with a
fixed mindset interviewer might tweak the interview based on
his mood/preference.
Outcome of the interview (optional) Moved to next round. However, since I had accepted an offer
by then, did not go for the next round.

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)

Ridhi Gupta
The Parthenon Group
Pranav Saxena
First (Interview 1)
None, Mostly Case Based

The client is a Nigerian based company operating in higher


education. While the growth in higher education sector is 15%,
our client has seen only a 7% growth in number of enrollments.
What could be the reasons?

How did you define the scope of the


case
Case Analysis presented by you
Looked at what are the product offerings of this school in terms
of subjects and what kind of students enroll in our school.
170

So the school had two campuses, one in the city and the other in
the outskirts.
While the school in the city offered Math and Accounting, the
school in the outskirts offered Business, Math and Accounting.
So it was observed that most of the growth was coming from
Business enrollment which our campus in city was unable to tap.
Further because the 2nd campus in outskirts was at a remote
location, students did not prefer it. In terms of students, we had
regular students and some part time enrollments coming from
older people looking to upgrade their skills. The sudden increase
in number of part time enrollments was driving the overall
growth number up. These people also preferred to attend school
in the city over the set up and preferred studying Business. So
since our city set up was not catering to their needs, we saw a
relatively less growth compared to the overall growth numbers.
Final recommendation / summary
To start Business as a subject in the city campus and attract full
time students to the outskirts campus by providing better
residential facilities etc
What do you think went right while Asking the right questions and getting the right analysis that the
solving the case?
interviewer had in mind.
What do you think could have been
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional)

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)

Ridhi Gupta
The Parthenon Group
Mayank
First (Interview 2)
None, Mostly Case Based

The client is a China based company that provides application


services to universities abroad to the students. Its been seeing a
fall in its business, what should it do?

How did you define the scope of the


case
Case Analysis presented by you
So first of all I looked at understanding the business model.
So the client charged every student a fixed amount of $200 and
provided him with a list of 5 universities where he had a shot of
getting through, helped him with essays, provided assistance
with visa one he got the admission.
171

This was basically because of language barrier between students


and the universities they applied to.
The client also got $2000 commission from the university where
they admitted students.
It is observed that no one increases the commission from the
student at the moment. Should the client go about increasing
the charges for his services? Say he increases the charges by
10%, he loses 10% of his students. Should he go for it?
The answer is no, because his major revenue driver is not the
commission from students but the commission from the
universities, and the volumes matter more than the price he
charges.
Final recommendation / summary
To start Business as a subject in the city campus and attract full
time students to the outskirts campus by providing better
residential facilities etc
What do you think went right while Asking the right questions and getting the right analysis that the
solving the case?
interviewer had in mind.
What do you think could have been
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional)

Name
Name of company interviewing with
Name and designation of the
interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)

Ridhi Gupta
The Parthenon Group
Mayank/Jasdeep
Two

Was given a 10 page case about a company and was asked to


work out a roadmap for the company by identifying problems in
the business/areas for growth spanning different streams of
businesses they are in. Was given 30 minutes to prepare it and
then present in on the white board, after which they grilled me
for around 20-25 minutes on my recommendations

How did you define the scope of the


case
Case Analysis presented by you
Final recommendation / summary

I found a lot of concepts taught in MGEC useful in this particular


interview, so it really helps to be on top of the concepts covered
172

in core terms.
What do you think went right while
solving the case?
What do you think could have been
done better while solving the case?

Name and designation of the


interviewer
Interview round (first/second/third)
Personal interview questions (please
write the questions only)
Comments on the PI rounds (please
elaborate on what went right and
what could have been done better)
Case question (as narrated by the
interviewer)
How did you define the scope of the
case
Case Analysis presented by you

Partner Round
PI Completely
Was asked about my motivation to join Parthenon, general
interest in the firm, things I knew, career aspirations etc

Final recommendation / summary


What do you think went right while I think what worked here overall is my awareness levels about
solving the case?
their business and having interacted with people to understand
what their work is about.
What do you think could have been
done better while solving the case?
Outcome of the interview (optional) Was Made the offer

173