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Lucknow in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical,

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No part of this casebook may be reproduced, or
photocopying or otherwise without prior consent from
, IIM Lucknow.

As companies worldwide get more and more concerned in hiring the right talent in their key
position, candidate evaluation during interviews has become more and more sophisticated.
The case interview is unique to present with a problem to be solved in the context of realworld business situations and seeking solution that tests both logical reasoning and creativity.
It allows the interviewer to evaluate candidates skill in deconstructing a problem and
communicating thought process, their ability to think on their feet, how they handle
ambiguity and assess their comfort with numbers. Although traditionally used by consulting
firms in their recruiting processes, the case method is now increasingly used for jobs across
functions whether general management or investment banking.
The casebook by The Consulting & Strategy Club of IIM Lucknow documents candidate
experiences in interviews by different firms that have been hiring from IIM Lucknow campus
over the years. The ideal way to use this book would be for the candidate to first arrive at a
case solution employing his own approaches and then enhance their learning through
comparison with the approach documented in the casebook.
A diligent study of the popular case solving techniques along with practice with this casebook
will enable readers to develop a proficiency in arriving at well-structured case solutions and
face interviews much more confidently.

Arant | Goutam | Pradyut | Rahul | Rohit | Srivalson

Animesh | Anuj | Mahesh | Nikita | Vinita

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Foreword ..................................................................................................................................... 2
About Case Interviews ................................................................................................................. 4
Skills Tested ................................................................................................................................. 4
Types of Cases Encountered ......................................................................................................... 4
Do List for a Case Interview .......................................................................................................... 5
Frameworks ................................................................................................................................. 5
Some Important Frameworks ....................................................................................................... 5
Accenture Business Consulting ................................................................................................... 10
Interview Experience 1 ..................................................................................................................... 10
Interview Experience 2 ..................................................................................................................... 12
Interview Experience 3 ..................................................................................................................... 17
Boston Consulting Group............................................................................................................ 20
Interview Experience 4 ..................................................................................................................... 20
Interview Experience 5 ..................................................................................................................... 27
Interview Experience 6 ..................................................................................................................... 30
Interview Experience 7 ..................................................................................................................... 32
Interview Experience 8 ..................................................................................................................... 34
KPMG ........................................................................................................................................ 38
Interview Experience 9 ..................................................................................................................... 39
Interview Experience 10 ................................................................................................................... 40
Mckinsey & Co. .......................................................................................................................... 45
Interview Experience 11 ................................................................................................................... 45
Interview Experience 12 ................................................................................................................... 46
Interview Experience 13 ................................................................................................................... 47
Interview Experience 14 ................................................................................................................... 50

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About Case Interviews

Case interviews are usually based on real problems which interviewers
themselves have encountered in the course of their client engagements. They
usually last for about 20 minutes and seek to test the candidates problem
solving skills. In a typical case interview, the interviewer states a problem and
the interviewee goes about tackling the problem by asking a series of questions.
The interviewer answers these questions based on how he wishes to direct the
interview. The candidate must put forth a logical framework for solving the
problem after having understood the key issues and must ideally make some
recommendations/conclusions towards the end of a case.

Skills Tested

Problem solving skills

Quantitative skills
Communication skills
Poise and professionalism
Firm fit

Types of Cases Encountered

Estimation casesDetermine something by making reasonable
assumptions about critical variables.
For example: How many golf balls fit into a 747, or how many pens are
sold every month on the IIM Lucknow campus?
Market Sizing & Entry/Expansion
Profit/Losses Analyze changes in profitability, revenues and costs
Industry Analysis
Product Launch Help a client gauge if and how to launch a product
Mergers & Acquisitions
Competition Handling
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Do List for a Case Interview

Take notes
Do not make any assumptions
Ask questions
Take your time before responding
Lay out a structure for the interviewer
Summarize at regular intervals


Knowledge of basic types of frameworks is helpful in case interviews

Helps in structuring the case analysis especially complex cases
Attention should be paid to minute details of the case
Identify the most critical issue and try to find solution for it
All the frameworks are very well-known and just using them wont help
you in cracking the interview
Dont fit a framework forcefully. Use it as a checklist to be exhaustive in
case you are stuck
Try mixing and matching frameworks with different types of cases
Try to form your own effective framework

Some Important Frameworks

The market-clearing price and quantity is determined by the intersection of
demand curve and the supply curve.

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Try to find out the reason for change in profitability.
Profit = P * Q - ( (VC * Q) + FC)
Profits are defined as total revenue minus total cost. Changes in revenue are due
to a change in quantity, price or both. Total cost is the sum of variable plus
fixed costs. Variable costs vary directly with quantity while fixed costs are set
for a given period.
It is one of the most widely used frameworks and one can differentiate their
analysis by not using it. Still, a quick and effective framework for industry

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It is usually the first step in industry analysis and should be followed by further
analysis. This makes it very time consuming in nature. Analysts use it for
qualitative evaluation of a firms strategic position.


It can be used to examine an industrys depth.

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It is a very effective tool in analysis of the cases.

In a full case analysis, this framework leads to time wastage and should be
avoided. It can be used as a presentation framework.

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These frameworks are very helpful in analysing marketing cases in consulting
Consider variables for segmenting markets
Analyse the profile of emerging segments
Validate emerging segments
Formulate a targeting strategy
Decision on which segments should be targeted
Understand the perception of the customers
Position products in the minds of the consumers

Product Functionality, brand, packaging and services

Price- Absolute and relative price
Place- Channel, inventory, logistics and distribution
Promotion- advertising, publicity, sales force, sales promotion

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Summer Internship 2011
Accenture Business Consulting
Interview Experience 1

Brief Profile :
Personal interview

Accenture Business Consulting

Shalabh Malhotra
2 Rounds
IIT Guwahati, Mechanical Engg., 10 months in NTPC
1st Round
1. Tell me about yourself. Examples from life to
justify for whatever points you had mentioned.
2. Guesstimation Case
3. Do you like travelling? Which all places have you
been to? (A consulting job requires a lot of
travelling. Make sure you justify that you love
4. What do you know about Accenture and ABC?
Which vertical in ABC interests you the most?
2nd Round
This round is based on your work-ex. Know your
company well and have a good hold on your sector.
1. Tell me about your experience in NTPC Ltd.
2. Why NTPC Ltd. after engineering and why MBA
3. Present Power Scenario in India. Difficulties
faced by thermal power plants at present.
4. Future of Nuclear Power Plants. Pros and Cons.
5. Hydro-electric plants and their pros and cons.

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Narration of the case


Problem statement:
You are a private company who has got the contract to
install street lights in Lucknow. Guesstimate the number
of street lights that will be required and the expected
profit you think you can earn.
1. I assumed Lucknows area to be 20km by 20km.
2. I, then, divided the city into a matrix assuming it
to be criss-crossed by #60 20 km roads running
horizontally and vertically each.
3. Then estimated an approximate of 30% area to be
under forest cover.
4. Divided the roads in the remaining 70% area into
roads present in residential and non-residential
(commercial + highways) areas. Took an estimate
on number of street lights present per km in both
these areas.
5. Finally came to a number on the number of street
lights taking into account that some places will
have 2 lamps on a single post while others will
have just 1.
6. After that estimated the product + set-up cost for
each street light.
7. Estimated the running charges (maintenance and
electricity). Electricity charges would depend on
the number of operation hours and watt-rating of
the lamp. Maintenance charges and profit margin
was estimated.
8. In the end a total estimate of profits was

What do you think

went wrong in this

Though I was called for the 2nd interview, I think I

didnt do well in the Guesstimation case (1st round)
itself. The 2nd interview was good but I guess they were
calling people for the 3rd interview based on both the
interviews combined. Prepare for cases and
Guesstimation well.

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Interview Experience 2


Accenture Business Consulting


Binay Jaiswal

Name of interviewer
and designation

4 rounds were held. I dont remember the specific

names of all the people. The first round was taken by
Gautam and third round was taken by one of the alum.


1st and 2nd round were case interviews. Third was a work
experience specific interview and last was the HR

Brief Profile :
(Graduation College,
stream, Work ex
details, etc.)

B.Tech in IT from NIT Durgapur

Personal interview
questions (With
indicative answers if
you choose to share

Round 1:

45 months of work experience:

37 months in IBM and 8 months in TCS as SAP ABAP
Technical Consultant.

The first questioned asked was the number of shortlist

on day 0 and the interviewer jumped straight into a slide
in his laptop. Basically the slide had plenty of line
diagrams. I had no clue what it was about. As we started
interacting, I figured out the line diagrams showed
number of units sold in a span of 8-9 months.
I was asked to analyse the line diagrams. On further
interaction and based on my answers, I came to know
the diagrams had the data about the number of units sold
by various companies and total number of units sold in
each month. The figures didnt show any consistent
pattern and I was asked to figure out why was it so.
Basically only thing I could figure out was the sales
showed cyclical nature and the number showed a
positive trend just before Oct-Nov and a dropping trend
in Jan-Mar.
There was a clear market leader but the sales were
decreasing in latest months while there was a fierce
competition for the second and the third slot. A detailed
discussion took place about who can take the second
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place and why. Then he asked some FRA question

related to the graphs. The discussion boiled down to
FIFO/LIFO method and he gave some data for a
particular company and I was asked to show the impact
of LIFO or FIFO on Profit, COGS, Taxes, and retained
After that he asked a short case on airline industry and it
didnt revolved around rising oil prices (Aberration of
current Market condition). According to the case, one
courier company increased the freight charges though
there was a decrease in oil prices. My answers revolved
around higher interest rates and depreciation which
decreased the operating profit of the courier company.
But he was looking for something else and the case was
supposed to be analysed from demand-supply side
(Microeconomics!!!!). With his input we concluded that
the business model of freight industry was changing.
Companies who used to transport by rail/road now
started using Air Freight which increased the demand
suddenly and hence the price. Further because of
capacity constraint, the Air Freight company bought few
new aircrafts and hence wanted to break even early to
make the most of current market.
Note: The interview went Ok types. Interviewer
expectation was much more and I think I could not
handle the Airline case upto his expectation. He wished
me good luck for the next round.
Round 2:
I came to know that they have scheduled my first round
again as they were expecting more.
The interview started with How did the first round
went? I said It was decent but I should have done
better. He asked would have or should have? I said
Should have. What went wrong was his instant
question. I gave my analysis and he looked satisfied by
my analysis (He displayed like that). I was told that
this round will have 2 parts: (i) Case (discussed below)
and (ii) some general questions

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As he was very satisfied with the case analysis, the

second part of interview was not much of pain. It was
more of a general discussion. As I had work ex in IT
industry, I was asked how will I handle management
consulting as its very different from IT consulting and
required very competent skills. I was also asked about
the highest level of client interaction and how I
managed them. He specifically asked for one of the CV
point which was about interacting with the program
director of the US based client and how I managed to
convinced him to increase the scope of the development,
issues faced and what it took to convince him to approve
the increase in man hours effort from 400 to 950.
Few questions about my strengths and how I will handle
the clients specifically when I am interacting with CXO
level people followed. I was also asked why consulting
and whether I would be comfortable travelling after
marriage. Overall I had a very good interview.

Round 3
This round was taken by one of our alums. I was asked
if I am nervous or excited. I said both and was asked to
explain why so. (Good Ice Breaking 5 minutes). I was
again asked the number of process I am running for
(Other Shortlists!!!). A casual discussion followed like it
must be tough running for different process in different
parts of the campus.
He was constantly picking up points from my CV and it
was more or less work experience related interview.
Questions like my greatest failure in life so far and my
learning from it, why Accenture business consulting,
strengths of Accenture etc. I was asked to compare
between Accenture and (i) IBM (ii) Deloitte (iii)
McKinsey and few other consulting companies. Why
consulting figured again and my fit as a consultant was
I was also asked about my CGPA and relative position
amongst PGP1 students. Questions like do you face
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difficulty studying after 45 months of work ex and how

I adjusted, how I manage pressure here etc. followed. I
asked three questions to him and a detailed discussion
took place.
Round 4
It was HR round which lasted for around 10 minutes.
Questions like Why ABC, Consulting, my strengths,
best and worst feedback received in my previous work
ex were asked. I was asked about my expectation from
ABC. Brief discussion about my POR and CGPA
Narration of the case
interview (Please be
as descriptive as

Problem statement:
The case was about decreasing sales of Nano in Kolkata
and adjoining areas.
Case analysis:
Initially we discussed if it was a normal trend in other
parts of India or not. If there was any price increased by
Nano or any changes with the design which might not
have gone well with the consumers. We also spoke
about impact of negative publicity like engine failure
and instances of fire breaking out in Nano. Marketing
strategies of handling negative publicity was also
But the maximum discussion happened around 2 points:
1) As Nano was mainly for people with 2 wheelers, I
wanted to understand where the real issue was.
Whether consumers are moving to 2.5-3 lakhs
priced car like Alto and Zen (few others also) or
people with 2 wheelers were not able to buy
Nano. I asked about any trend whether any data
regarding people willingness to buy Nano
(Through Test Drives taken, visits to showrooms
etc.) but not actually buying was there or not.
After few minute of discussion, I was told that the
main issue was people with 2 wheelers are not
buying Nano. So the main issue was affordability.
I recommended zero % interest rate for EMI for
first 2 years of purchase and very minimal ROI
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after that. We also discussed about the bank Nano

should partner with and then he filtered the
question to 1 bank only. I opted for SBI as it has
branches in adjoining remote areas of Kolkata and
people there have higher trust in Govt. banks.
2) We also spoke about the Demand-Supply
constraint. If there was any channel conflict. Brief
interaction revealed that Nano had only 7
distributors in that part of region and this was a
major problem and it should increase by 3-4.
What do you think
went right in this

My case performance in the second round went pretty

well. The interviewer complimented me about the
analysis (though it may not look that impressive above).
The structure and thorough conversation helped me sail
through and I was told that I kept the interviewer
interested and hooked throughout the case solving
After my third round I was also appreciated about my
prior work experience and I was told You had a quality
work experience and I appreciate your practical
approach of business understanding.

What do you think

went wrong in this

Any tips for future

batches on the basis
of your experience

My first round didnt go that well particularly the

Airline question. I should have interacted more to
understand various perspectives rather than being biased
with current market situation (Like higher oil price and
interest rates which was not applicable here)
1) Stay Cool because it will help you to interact
freely and focus on various perspectives which is
very important in the case
2) Display a lot of enthusiasm and dont shy away
from talking. Remember Consultant need to do a
lot of talking. Just ensure you talk sense on that
3) Practice some cases before interviews.
4) Never think that you are out of race. Dont judge
yourself in the interview. Interviewer might give
you chance to bounce back.
5) Higher Work Ex people particularly IT
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background can t get day zero shortlist is a myth

Interview Experience 3


Accenture Business Consulting



Name of interviewer
and designation
Brief Profile :
(Graduation College,
stream, Work ex
details, etc. )
Personal interview
questions (With
indicative answers if
you choose to share

First (of 3 rounds)
Work experience of 2 years
1. Tell me something about yourself?
2. Asked me about my role at previous workplace?
3. Why consulting?
4. How did you know Accenture?
HR related questions were asked in the subsequent

Narration of the case

interview (Please be
as descriptive as

Problem statement:
A multination firm in oil and gas segment is looking at
setting up a green field plant by collaborating with
ONGC India. You being one of the directors chosen to
work for this partnership what are the most important
factors you would look at?
Case analysis:
I divided the decisions into HR, operations, finance and
marketing related decisions. Since the venture was a
new one I focused on the organizational chart
development and the role of director in selecting the
right people for higher and middle management roles. I
also talked about getting policies with regard to skill set
of workers, policy on unions being in place. Talked
about setting up a township and hiring a contractor for it
as the location is likely to be in a remote area. Also
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focused on retaining and hiring of talent.

Marketing function decisions included pricing of
product (based on cost estimates of sales force) and
sales force for carrying out B2B activities. Discussion
on operations was the most important one in this case. I
talked about the role of director in hiring a contractor
and overlooking the subcontractors used. I also talked
about the timelines of the project and suggested a
milestone based approach with penalties to ensure that
the work gets done. In addition to contract related
equipment i focused on the equipment specification to
match to the capacity expectations. Aggregate planning
with scaling up was also suggested to make the factory
operational and to sort out initial issues. I focused on the
supply chain related issues to transport the end product
to customers.(Suggested pipeline)
Talked about the role of cost accountant in determining
the price of the end product and also focussed on
selecting an external auditor to oversee the accounting
Divided the case as per verticals in an organization

A guestimate on the number of streetlights in Lucknow

was asked (He asked me to be very short in description
and wanted me to use numbers at every step)
I approached this by assuming Lucknow to be close to a
rectangle in shape the dimensions being 20 x 15 Km.
Then i assumed the main streets to be passing though
lines joining the mid points. I assumed that these roads
to be two lane and had the highest density of lights. The
next part was about the streets branching out of these
streets and i assumed lower density of lights here. Thus i
got a series and added them up to get the number of

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Other questions
Guesstimate the number of travellers to Antarctica
Guesstimate the number of cab drivers in Delhi

What do you think

went right in this

Got the structure. I was able to use the ques. from the
interviewer and could this helped in approaching the
case better.
After the discussion gave 3 points on which a director
needs to focus

What do you think

went wrong in this
Any tips for future
batches on the basis
of your experience

Should have organized the points in each vertical in

order of their importance.
Ask for clarifications to the interview if needed. Practice
a lot of cases with your peers.
Be clear about Why ABC?

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Boston Consulting Group

Interview Experience 4


The Boston Consulting Group


Abhir Bhomavat

Name of interviewer Principal

and designation


Brief Profile :

BITS-Pilani Goa Campus (8.73 Electronics and

Instrumentation, Fresher with an internship at J.P.
Morgan Investment Banking)
Was a convener on the council during my under
Institute rank 2nd at IIM-L in the first term with a GPA
of 9.4

Personal interview

Narration of the case


1. Are you clear about your decision between IB and

2. Why consulting
3. Why BCG?
I had a well prepared answer for all these questions
Problem statement:
The client is a company that manufactures an interactive
educational tool. It is basically something as big as a
blackboard fitted in the classroom and has touch screen
interactivity. What do you think is the scope of this
product and what are the other things that the company
can do in the field of education to increase its revenues
(to 1000 Cr)?
Case analysis:

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I first tried to understand the product properly.

Q. Does the company make any other products?
Ans: No
Q. What is this particular product used for majorly? To
teach what?
Ans: English language
I was trying to build a structure at this point when he
interrupted me by asking me if I had understood the
question. I felt he was trying to put a bit of stress. He
then asked me to explore what all are the options that an
educational tech company in India could explore.
Q. Are we looking at only classroom services or online
as well?
Ans: Upto you what you want to look at
I built a structure which split into Classroom learning
and online learning. Then further split classroom
learning into providing education material and products
(like the one the client makes). In online I split it into
videos and material.
He was happy with this basic structure. He then asked
me that the client was focusing on language needs of
people. So he asked me to estimate the demand of the
English language learners. He then asked me to estimate
how many such are those who already have a source to
learn and how many are wanting to but do not have a
source and what should I target?
I started with the metro population in India. Roughly
14mX4 = 56m. Then divided it by the age group. I dint
plug in any figures. I just made the initial tree. I told him
that I would plug in the figures later. Age group of 16
and less who are going to schools.
He then asked me why I have not considered adults who
want to learn English.

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Then I considered that as well.

He then asked me why I have not taken into
consideration those who do not know that they want to
learn English. I didnt understand what he meant, so I
asked him to explain. He told me that a domestic maid is
latent demand because she doesnt know that she want
to learn English (got kind of philosophical at this point)
So he asked me to factor that in as well. He asked me
how we can make them use an online medium when
they do not have basic education in the first place.
He helped me a lot with the case. Infact he gave me the
2 most important points of adult demand and latent
demand. Overall I found the case to be very tough and
ambiguous. He kept on asking me if I understood the
question which made me lose confidence many times.
What do you think
went right in this

I was passionate about the education industry like I had

mentioned. I also was not put down by his comments of
have you understood my question. He didnt give me
much time to think, but I still managed to build a
structure with all the ambiguity in the problem. I feel he
was judging the different ways in which I could think
since it was a pretty open ended and highly unstructured
case to start with.

What do you think

went wrong in this

At first I didnt understand why he was focusing on the

demand of English language. I should have taken into
consideration of adults as well. I was looking at only
school children. I was very nervous since it was my first
interview of the day and was also the very first for BCG
in the morning. The interview was shorter than I

Any tips for future

batches on the basis
of your experience

Please make sure of what you say in the initial HR

questions. I had mentioned that I liked teaching. That
was the reason why picked out this case for me. So
please make sure you can show the passion for a
particular interest that you have mentioned.
Be calm during the case. He will help you out for sure.
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It is important to be persistent and keep going at the

Personal interview

Narration of the case


1. Are you convinced about consulting vs. IB?
2. Why do you want to do consulting and not IB?
3. Tell me something different/interesting about
4. Have you worked on live projects? If so tell me
one in which you used a completely different
Ans: I spoke about a project that I had done during an
intern at a CSIR lab after my 2nd year of engg. It was
highly technical and involved FEM in the field of
Biophysics. He asked me what I did differently. I
explained it to him in layman terms. He was very
impressed with my answer.
Problem statement:
A financial services company (NBFC) that has entered
India few years ago wants to know whether it should
continue in India or not?
Case analysis:
Q. I asked him the relative position of the business viza-viz its peers.
Ans: It is not very high. Somewhere around 6th.
Q. What are the different businesses?
Ans: Mutual funds debt and equity, Asset
management, etc.
Equity fund is not performing as well as its competitors.
Debt is on par
Q. What is its target market?
Ans: HNIs with income of INR 5Cr +
I had made a brief structure earlier in which I had said
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that I would like to explore 3 things. The historical

performance of the fund, Its competition, and the third
thing was future growth in India.
He gave me some details on the historic performance
and all.
He also told me about the competition.
I was then asked to make a decision of whether to
continue in India.
I told him based on the future growth story they should
remain in India. He wanted me to ask the growth rate of
HNIs in India. He then gave me those figures.
Q: He then asked me what all problems they could face.
Ans: Very volatile equity markets, major source of HNI
money is black so we cant capture the entire growth in
HNI. Competition could outdo us. If interest rates fall,
investors would want to invest abroad. I gave a few
more options that I cant recall right now.
The case was very straight forward. Basic questions
needed to be asked. I had expressed an interest in
finance so I was given this case.
What do you think
went right in this
What do you think
went wrong in this
Any tips for future
batches on the basis
of your experience

He was very impressed with my HR questions. That

gave me major confidence. The case was simple and
need a proper structure initially which I provided. He
was impressed with the option generation as well.
I forgot to ask him the growth rate of our target market
Prepare HR answers really well. My case was
something which anybody would have cracked but the
differentiating part was the HR answers.

Personal interview

1. Tell me about yourself

2. Why does consulting excite you?
Was well prepared for these.

Narration of the case

I had 2 cases in this interview.

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

What do you think
went right in this
What do you think
went wrong in this
Any tips for future
batches on the basis
of your experience

The extra information I had on Infosys was something

he was very impressed with. He liked the fact that I was
persistent in the PE case. I was thinking of different
options. He led me to a solution.
I didnt get the hint of him leading me to an LBO based
solution even though I knew what an LBO was.
Be confident and be persistent. Keep on going at the
case even if you are stuck

Interview Experience 5

Name of interviewer
and designation
Brief Profile :
Personal interview

Narration of the case


The Boston Consulting Group

Arjun Bhaduri
Arvind Pandey, Partner and Director
B.Sc (Economics Honors) from St. Xaviers College
No work experience
1. Why should BCG select you?
This was a pressure question because everything I said
seemed to displease him. I just tried to match my
personality with BCG and that seemed to work for me.
Problem statement:
A cement manufacturer based out of East India has been
seeing his prices in east India dip heavily in the past few
months. Despite being the market leader, he seems to be
unable to arrest the fall in prices. The aim as a
consultant lies to raise the prices by 10% and find a
strategy to make sure the prices do not fall so easily
Case analysis:
This was a very complex case with multiple problems
and solutions with each having a different set of pros
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and cons. He wanted me to see the case from a simple

demand and supply point of view.
The supply was overshooting demand in the market as a
result of the actions of competitors. So the issue was
also to do with the distributors in the middle and how
brand consciousness would come into the scene. The
structure could be simplified to a 2*2 matrix with price
elasticity of demand and brand consciousness on the
axes. The issue could be then simplified on the basis of
the quadrant in focus.
Overall, the issue was embedded in being able to use
game theory with the distributor and play prices up and
down at regular intervals. Another strategy was to enter
into forward contracts.
What do you think
went right in this
What do you think
went wrong in this
Personal interview
Narration of the case

Calmness and common sense was the key.

Was a little nervous at the beginning of the interviewing

as a result of the complexity of the case.
1. General conversation for about 5 minutes?
The interviewer was very calm and reassuring and
that helped me build the conversation.
Problem statement:
A local taxi driver in Delhi wants to explore the
possibility of signing a contract with a radio taxi service.
Help him with his dilemma
Case analysis:
This was a case that really tested your ability to think far
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and wide because the math was simple but the

underlying logic could have been missed very easily
Used a simple revenue-cost structure for the pre and
post radio taxi phase. Then tried to see if any of the key
variables could be modified to come up with a different
The case had two parts- one was the initial decision and
the decision after changing a key variable.
What do you think
went right in this
What do you think
went wrong in this
Personal interview

Narration of the case


Thought simple and picked up the cues very well.

Failed to see the obvious solution the first time and

needed a little pushing in the right direction.
1. Asked my questions about my tastes in food?
2. General discussion on football and tennis and we
spoke about our favorite stars from each of them.
More than anything else, this was an amazing
conversation where I could speak without any
fears and inhibitions.

Problem statement:
A life insurance company in Sri Lanka is losing out on
market share. Where does the problem lie?
Case analysis:
The case was a test of structure to see if you could
create one with all the levers enlisted.
The market share could be seen as a function of number
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of policies sold and the revenue per policy. The

discussion would then carry on the aspect of number of
policies. The number of policies itself would be a
function of a number of factors, out of which one of
them was creating an issue.
The toxic area was something to do with the insurance
policy salesman and the entire structure had to be
panned out so as to get to that
What do you think
went right in this
What do you think
went wrong in this
Any tips for future
batches on the basis
of your experience

Was highly energetic and logical in my approach.

I rushed through the case in parts.

Be calm, logical and energetic. That is all you need to

impress the interviewer.

Interview Experience 6

Name of interviewer
and designation
Brief Profile :
(Graduation College,
stream, Work ex
details, etc. )
Personal interview
questions (With
indicative answers if
you choose to share
Narration of the case

The Boston Consulting Group

Aman Bhatnagar
Pranay Mehrotra, Partner & Director
IIT Delhi
Electrical Engineering (B. Tech)
Entrepreneur, 17 months
1. Started with discussion about Tintin, Herge,
literary quizzing, went on to about yourself, gave
his introduction and a chocolate, clarified on why
it took so long to get to see me
2. Interested with Manchester United, talked about
playing vs. watching football vs. gaming for a bit
Problem statement:
Client is a life insurance agency in Sri Lanka facing
declining market share
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Case analysis:
Market leader, no.2 and no. 3 growing in dominance,
Market growing, they didnt release a particular policy,
dont give enough incentives to their agents which other
firms are capitalizing on,
Broke it down into their business structure, understood
how they operate, tried to find loopholes in each step

What do you think

went right in this
Any tips for future
batches on the basis
of your experience
Name of interviewer
and designation
Personal interview
Narration of the case

Was asked to stop after explaining the approach and

asking two or three questions, BCG vs McKinsey took
over, spirited discussion regarding pros, cons and
discussion I had with Gautam Kumra at McK, after
debates and stressing the people point, we called it a
Confidence, at ease, conversational tone and mode
Relating with the interviewer, leading the interview
Take hints, explain approach.

Arvind Pandey, Partner
Talked about himself, food, asked about experience till
now, outlined that well start with a case and then move
on to any doubts I have about BCG
Problem statement:
Leading cement manufacturer is facing declining
profits; prices have halved in the last few months and
facing decreasing prices further as well. Suggest
emergency measures for next few weeks.
Case analysis:
Spoke about the business, market, the competition and
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how everyone else was coping. Talked about how the

business worked; distribution and sales network,
retailers and incentives and breakup in terms of branded,
unbranded cement. Twist in the case, BCG says increase
prices; profits fall by 12% more and take a hit. Now
Value chain + market scenario, focused on issues like
rising costs, raw material sourcing, manufacturing
difficulties, expansion possibilities but were discounted.
Went on to retailers and distribution and his eyes lit up,
literally. Focused on region wise distribution, why there
were discrepancies in individual dealers selling different
quantities given same consumption patterns, focused on
price prediction patterns and inventory holding practices
by different retailers.
Was stopped after this, talked about BCG, consulting as
a career and how the partner found his calling, how
BCG contributes in making real change in the world
What do you think
went right in this
Any tips for future
batches on the basis
of your experience

Confidence, at ease, conversational tone and mode

Relating with the interviewer, leading the interview
I was informed later it was a stress interview. Since I got
offers from both firms, seems best to be clear, calm and
logical on the day and not let anything bog you down,
least of all, the pressure and reputation.

Interview Experience 7

Name of interviewer
and designation

The Boston Consulting Group

Mustafa Rangwala
All interviewers were with partners
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Brief Profile :
Personal interview

Narration of the case


Did B.Tech in Electronics Engineering from VJTI.

Worked in JP Morgan for 21 months
Asked me why I wanted to join Consulting and not stay
in finance as my CV was fin-oriented. Also asked I
whether I would join McKinsey or BCG (Be ready with
the answer to the last question as it is going to be
Problem statement:
The client is a financial services company. It has started
a wealth management business five years earlier. The
business is not performing nicely. Should the company
keep on making on investments in this or exit.
First asked about the industry. The industry was
growing but the company was losing share. This meant
that the problem was with the company.
Structured to find about the revenue and cost structures
of the industry and the firm in particular. Tried to gather
as much background information on this as possible.
Talked about training the employees, any new adverse
regulations, competitor offerings, etc. In short covered a
lot of different angles.
Finally he asked me to give 10 recommendations to
solve the problem. This was difficult as we had barely
discussed the case for 10 minutes. Took 5 minutes to
write down my suggestions.
Structured my answer in three areas: Customers,
employees and business improvement. Gave 3-4
suggestions in each bucket.

What do you think

went right in this
Any tips for future
batches on the basis
of your experience

I was able to give 10 recommendations which required a

lot of idea generation
Idea generation requires a lot of practice. Make sure you
do abstract cases which involve idea generation. Also
have questions for the interviewer ready for at least 3
rounds of the process.

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Interview Experience 8


The Boston Consulting Group


Vinay Doshi



Brief Profile :

UG : Shri Ram College Of Commerce (2011)

Stream: Economics
Work-ex: 0 months

Personal interview

Just a little chat about where youre from, what you like
doing and stuff. Of course, it began with the
quintessential -Why don't you tell me something about
Well, the simple approach I took to answering this
question each time was to link the major points on my
cv and answer Why you for BCG? I do not think
speaking about only one particular instance or event is a
very good idea, unless of course, the interviewer
himself/herself probes the area
Problem statement: About a potato chip manufacturing

Narration of the case

What do you think
went right in this

Well I didnt really end up cracking the case as well i

could have. That was really a big negative I thought.
But i hindsight, the fact that i got an offer only affirm
that there is no such thing as cracking the case- they
only judge your approach to problem solving, and as
you very well know there is no one correct solution

What do you think

went wrong in this

I really made a connect with the interviewer I felt. Let

him do more of the talking bit as i sat listening. It really
helps, because in the end, the interviewer will inevitably
end up dropping those crucial hints that shall help you
reach a conclusion.

Any tips for future

You really need to be calm and only then will the
batches on the basis of analytical skills and creativity really show. But do not
worry - the interviewer shall go out of his/her way to
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your experience

make you feel so.

Just be you and try to establish connecting with the
interviewer. A smiling face comes in handy too.
Also, there is a lot of buildup on campus to the start of
day zero- just remain calm during that time. Its easy to
feel over pressurized, especially with all the short-lists
coming in, but just relax. Its going to be fine.



Personal interview

Although the partner did not ask me any questions

specifically, I started talking to him about his day, job
and used this as an opportunity to highlight the points in
my work experience which I wanted to share (remember
they will not always ask you everything and do ensure
that you connect it wherever possible)

Narration of the case


Problem statement:
The client is a large cement company with the highest
market share. The second close player is cutting prices.
To match the prices the client has also reduced its prices
and is facing declining profits. The client has given us 3
weeks to solve the problem.
I asked him about the dynamics of the industry. He
explained that there is not much difference between the
products as well as the cost structures of the company.
This meant that even the competitor is losing money by
the price war.
I suggested 2 alternatives to solve this: first involved
analysing the cost structure and trying to reduce costs.
But the interviewer told me that the client has used all
the cost efficiencies possible (this indicates that the
interviewer does not want me to go deeper).
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Second option that I suggested involved was the Game

Theory approach. This involves indicating to the
competitor that we will not reduce our prices even if he
does so. This I suggested could be done by issuing some
way of communication to the competitor. But he said
that the competitor is not willing to talk. I could not
think of what could be done so he suggested that the
client should increase the prices. This will show to the
competitor that the client is serious.
Then the interviewer said that after one week, the sales
of the client had declined drastically and the competitor
had not reduced its prices. This created a problem of
To solve this data was collected geographically and
analyzed. It was found that some dealers had reduced
the stocks of the clients cement. The clients did this as
they expected the price increase to be temporary and
thus wanted to postpone the purchase. I suggested
increasing the prices again. This will signal to the
dealers that the price increase is not temporary.
Finally he asked me to give some suggestions about the
same. I suggested that the dealers should be given
discounts based on the average volumes they generate
every week and month. This will help in inventory
planning. Secondly whenever the price is increased they
should be increased all at once and any decrease should
be spread over a larger period. This will not allow
competitors and dealers to pre-empt the client.
What do you think
went right in this

I was able to get the fact that the problem related to

Game Theory.

What do you think

went wrong in this

The case had only one solution but I could not exactly
pinpoint that

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Any tips for future
Even though the ideas might sound outlandish, get them
batches on the basis of across, they will give you the benefit of thinking out of
your experience
the box. Try to involve the interviewer in the case as
much as possible, if he is interested he will point you
out more and more in the right direction.


Personal interview

Started directly with the case. At the end of the case

asked me about LBO (Leveraged buyout) and asked me
to give an example in the Indian markets

Narration of the case


Problem statement:
I was travelling in a taxi when the driver asked me about
switching his car and joining the radio cab service such
as Meru. What is your advice?
I said that we will compare the profits of the two
methods and make our decisions based on that. I asked
about the revenue and costs of the two and calculated
the profit.
I proved that joining the radio cab was better. But the
interviewer told me that was the wrong answer. He
asked me to go back.
I took the current taxi and approached the different line
items one by one. I suggested that if the driver installed
an AC he will be able to charge more. But the
interviewer asked me to suggest something else.
If the engine of the cab (which was currently diesel)
could be replaced by CNG (the radio cab used CNG) the
fuel cost reduced drastically making the current cab
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more profitable. I showed him the calculations.

What do you think
went right in this

I was able to get to the required answer.

What do you think

went wrong in this

He expected me to get to the answer much quicker.

Any tips for future

Try to be receptive to the hints given by the interviewer
batches on the basis of in the process. They are extremely important to get to
your experience
the solution quickly.

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Interview Experience 9

Brief Profile :

Abhishek Mani Tripathi
3 rounds of case interviews
NIT Trichy, ECE, 2years Analog Devices

Personal interview 1. Why Consulting?

2. Why KPMG? What are your expectations from the
internship programme?
3. What would you do for conflict resolution
4. Questions for the interviewer
Narration of the
case interview

Problem statement:
Round 1:
A company which has a market share of 60% saw
reduction in its revenue for last 3 years due to intense price
competition. Competitors are reducing prices and the
company is not able to compete since cost of production is
higher than prices quoted by competitors. Machinery
employed for production is old and labor costs have been
rising over years. Customers have been very loyal to the
Round 2:
A multinational insurance company wants to enter into
Indian market. They offer life insurance, general insurance
and fire and damage insurance. Company has been offering
insurance in its parent country through online mode.
Round 3:
A company wants to set up an automobile manufacturing
unit in India. Do a cost-benefit analysis for the company. I
was not allowed to ask questions in this round.
I tried to analyse this case taking into account factors like
location, government regulations, market size, availability
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of labour, transportation etc. ( Time limit : 3 minutes )

Case analysis:
First case :
I proposed that since machinery has not been replaced
since years, quality of products has degraded. Secondly,
competitors have reduced their prices by outsourcing it to
countries like China.
Second case :
Analyse it by separating life insurance, general insurance
and fire and damage insurance. Give inputs on mode of
delivery (online mode is not very feasible in Indian
scenario). Also, take into account role of brokers and
agents in case of fire and damage insurance.
What do you think
went right in this
What do you think
went wrong in this
Any tips for future
batches on the
basis of your

I was able to provide solutions to first 2 cases and the

interviewers looked satisfied but couldnt do well in third
Was not able to provide a good solution to third case

First of all read complete case carefully. Ask questions and

try to get as much information as possible. Communicate
your answers to interviewers and keep them involved.

Interview Experience 10

Brief Profile :
(Graduation College,
stream, Work ex
details, etc. )
Personal interview

Rashik Gupta
There were 4 rounds and each round followed a
similar pattern HR questions followed by a case
BITS-Pilani, Chemical Engineering, 8 months at ZS

1. Tell me about yourself

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Narration of the case


2. Do you know about the work that KPMG does

3. Experience at IIM Lucknow
4. Describe the project that you did at ZS Associates
This question was followed by many questions about
my project
5. Short-term and long-term goals
6. Personal goals in life
The only thing they were looking was how you structure
your analysis and your line of thinking. They were not
looking for any detailed analysis and in all the cases I
was stopped after I had discussed my overall approach.
Case 1:
Problem statement:
Samsung has come up to you with a business
proposition i.e. they want to start an insurance company
for electronic goods. How will you help them?
Case Analysis:
The only thing they were looking was how you structure
your analysis and your line of thinking.
I started with asking questions about the new business
model to extract some information like target
customers,, how is the value proposition different from a
warranty, how much can Samsung expect to charge its
customers for insurance.
My first step was to analyze the business model and
establish the financial feasibility. This was followed by
target customers who are the target customers and are
they sufficient to justify investment and why will they
be interested in our product. Third step was to deal with
operational issues of providing this product.
Case 2:
Problem statement:
A foreign bank wants to open its branch in India. They
have hired you as a consultant. How will you approach
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Case Analysis:
My first step was to inquire about the bank. So I asked
them about their current scale of operations, countries
where they are operating, their market share and
reputation among clients.
I then explored what are the different areas of banking
where the bank can start its operations and based on the
answers to above questions, narrowed down on 1 area.
Next step was to deal with operational issues, how they
will start operations. I focused on 2 questions in this:
1. Who will be the customers immediately after
2. How will be getting those customers and build
trustworthy relationship with them?
After an approach was finalized to start operations, I
also briefly discussed how they will proceed in short
term to expand their business in India.
Case 3:
Problem statement:
You want to open a petrol pump. Proceed.
Case Analysis:
In this case, my questions were not answered and I was
told that it is your business, make necessary
assumptions. So I took up 3-4 options like highways, a
busy market in a city and similar other options. Then I
followed a guesstimate approach for calculating the
demand in these locations. Comparison of demand or
revenues with investment gave me the best possible
option for the petrol pump.
Case 4:
Here they followed a slightly different approach. Before
the case, I was told that no questions will be allowed. I
have to make necessary assumptions by myself and I
have 5 minutes to present my ideas and they wont
allow me to complete if I am not done in 5 minutes.
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Problem statement:
A US car manufacturer wants to setup a plant in India.
You are hired as a consultant. Help them.
Case Analysis:
I started with stating my assumptions to make sure that
all of us are working in the same framework. My
assumptions were:
1. They already export their cars to India: This
helped me to simplify my case as now I am aware
of my target customers and what is my position in
the market. Also I know how my product is
viewed in Indian market.
2. It is amongst the biggest car manufacturers of US:
This simplified the problem of establishing trust
among customers as the company was a big brand
name and enjoyed a good position in the market.
So I started with the reasons of investing in India.
Possible reason can be increase in demand and lost sales
because imports are not able to meet demand or increase
in competition and therefore for reducing costs, I have
to operate in India rather than import my cars. I stated
all the possible reasons and assumed one reason to be
the valid one for further analysis. Lets say the reason is
increase in competition.
So we have decided that the motive of investing in India
is to reduce costs. Now next step was to decide on a
location that will help me in this regard. So I looked at 2
possibilities for this.
1. My customers are uniformly spread throughout
India. In this case, my only concern about the
location will be investment costs i.e. cost of land,
cost of setting up a plant etc. and the tax rebate
that I will get from state government.
2. I have most of my customers located in a
particular area. In this case, I must strike a
balance between above mentioned investment
costs and my logistics costs i.e. plant must be
located close to my biggest market.
Since the reason for investing in India is increased
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competition, my last step was to analyze how I will use

my cost savings to deal with competition. I analyzed
pros and cons of different options mentioned below:
1. Increase my marketing budget to attract
2. Decrease prices by passing on the savings in
manufacturing to customers
3. A mix of both the strategies
Any tips for future
batches on the basis
of your experience

Case analysis is very important. Make sure that you

prepare a structure and show them the structure of
analysis before starting.

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Mckinsey & Co.

Interview Experience 11

Name of interviewer
and designation
Brief Profile :
(Graduation College,
stream, Work ex
details, etc.)
Personal interview

McKinsey & Co.

Aman Bhatnagar
Rajat Dhawan, Partner

Narration of the case

What do you think
went right in this
Any tips for future
batches on the basis
of your experience
Name of interviewer
and designation
Personal interview

Problem statement: NA No case

IIT Delhi
Electrical Engineering (B. Tech)
Entrepreneur, 17 months
1. About yourself one of my interests is TED talks,
talked about the model of TED, how it works, qualities I
talked about resonated with consulting, led the interview
from there on, asked about mood on campus, preferred
recruiter, dream jobs
2. Consulting fits, where do you see yourself in
McKinsey, your career goals, 10-15 years down the
3. Talking about the AIR 147 in IIT-JEE, coaching
institutes, and then questions to him

Confidence, at ease, conversational tone and mode

Relating with the interviewer, leading the interview
Relax. Be yourself. Talk like you would to a senior
colleague at a swanky restaurant when its his treat.
Gautam Kumra, Senior Partner
1. About yourself about TED talks, structure of
TED, about my venture, how it started up, how it
evolved, current state, future plans
2. Told him about a question Rajat asked, discussed
about that for a bit, and then he asked about other
offers, shortlists, interest in finance etc.
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3. Questions about BCG vs McKinsey, detailed

discussion on Collaborative team spirit,
Evaluation patterns, presence in almost all sectors
where other firms are next to absent e.g.
Healthcare, Impact in terms of setting up
organizations like the ISB, PHFI, dealing in a
scale which others could never hope to achieve,
always being the innovators, the trailblazers as
well as facts about compensation.
Narration of the case
What do you think
went right in this

Problem statement: NA No case

Confidence, at ease, conversational tone and mode
Relating with the interviewer, leading the interview

Interview Experience 12

Name of interviewer
and designation
Brief Profile :
Personal interview

Narration of the case


Mckinsey & Co
Tejas Choudhari
Mr. Sikka, Associate Partner
1st Round
BTech(IT) from VJTI, Mumbai
1. Tell me about yourself. I had practiced this answer
many times so was able to say it fluently and perfectly
2. Asked questions about my entrepreneurial venture
and what was my role in it. Current situation of the
venture and future prospects. General questions, nothing
3. Some questions on my cricket career during school
and college
Problem statement:
As he was talking to me about cricket, he started talking
about how we could estimate cricket ball sales in the
country for one year. Basically, I was given a
guesstimate first up.

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Case analysis:
First, I confirmed whether he was talking about leather
cricket ball. Thereafter, I started talking about where a
cricket ball will be used and who will buy a cricket ball.
At each juncture, I kept on checking with Mr. Sikka so
as Im not deviating from the solution.
Then I told him that I would estimate sales of cricket
balls for Mumbai and then extrapolate it to the whole
I calculated number of matches played in one day by
estimating number of grounds in Mumbai (having
played on most of the grounds, it was easy for me).
Then I separated one day matches and 20-20 matches as
one day match requires 2 balls and 20-20 requires 4
balls(As two 20-20 matches are possible on a single
pitch in one day).
Also, considering that each ground hosts practice
session 2 times a day and this will also contribute
towards the sales. Then he stopped me and said fine. He
did not go into depth of the guesstimate as it could have
got complicated with other parts of the country to be
considered for contribution towards the sales of cricket
What do you think
went right in this

I was able to connect with the interviewer. I asked him

questions on which we spoke for 15 minutes and he
seemed interested.

What do you think

went wrong in this

No idea as such. I guess he needed something more

from the guesstimate. More number crunching could
have helped.

Any tips for future

batches on the basis
of your experience

Please practice your cases as well as guesstimates. Also,

know your CV in and out. Always connect with the

Interview Experience 13


McKinsey & Co.

Amit Deshpande
, IIM Lucknow

Page 47

Name of interviewer Rajat Bhargava

and designation
Personal interview

We started the interview by talking about the video

conferencing facilities in IIM L, since there was a VC
setup in the interview room. We talked about it for a
while and then we started the interview.
He asked the most standard question: tell me something
about yourself. I gave him a long and descriptive answer
since he wasnt engaging me much. We ended up
talking about badminton since both of us were
badminton players.

Narration of the case


Since I am passionate about badminton, he asked me to

estimate the no. of badminton courts in India. I started
off by dividing India into rural and urban areas, and
confirmed with him that I can ignore the rural areas for
this guesstimation. I divided the urban areas further into
tier 1 and tier 2 cities, and started with Mumbai as an
average for tier 1 cities. The rest of the case was pretty
straightforward, since I took an average number of
people per badminton court and multiplied it by the
population. I took a percentage of the number in case of
tier 2 cities to arrive at the total number.

What do you think

went right in this
What do you think
went wrong in this
Any tips for future
batches on the basis
of your experience

Structure was good. I clarified key assumptions with the

interviewer before proceeding.

Name of interviewer
and designation
Personal interview

Amit Kheda

I overestimated the total number the first time, but

corrected the number after a reality check.
Draw out an MECE structure before starting analysis of
the case. Reality checks are essential.

The interviewer was extremely informal. He was talking

how weird the interview process is these days, as
compared to the process in his days. We talked about
how big the interview room was and how difficult it is
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to focus while sitting in a comfy couch! He didnt ask

me any personal questions since he said he had already
been through my CV a million times.
Narration of the case

The case was about a fertilizer manufacturing company

based out of the US which was receiving complaints
regarding its poor customer service.
I started by asking details about the company, its
operations, its customers, the competitors and the
market in general (barriers, trends etc.). After the initial
questions, I realized that the problem was in the supply
of fertilizers to the customers (which were 5 major
distributors across the US). So, I broke down the case
into the supply value chain, i.e., raw materials
(procurement and transportation), manufacturing
process and inventory handling. This led me to the
problem which was their inventory handling methods.
Specifically, the demand estimation was way off; they
estimated demand on an annual basis and it was a wordof-mouth contract with the customers. Besides, despite
geographical variations within the US, the demand was
estimated by one sales team centrally. This was the key
issue and I got to it pretty quickly. The pace of the
interview was very fast and the interviewer did not let
me talk for long periods of time; basically he was testing
me on my speed of option generation. I thought I did
pretty well and suggested seasonal demand estimation
based on geography and that the contracts with
customers should be on paper.

What do you think

went right in this
What do you think
went wrong in this

Good case overall. I got the structure right which helped

me arrive at the solution fast.



Name of interviewer
and designation
Personal interview

Gautam Kumra

Nothing really. However, I really had to think on my

toes because the interviewer was constantly interrupting
me and trying to disturb my thought process.

Very serious interview. He was completely straightfaced right from the word goes. Immediately asked me
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to tell him something about myself. After hearing me

out, he asked me to tell him something about my work
experience at the Bain Capability Centre. This part went
pretty well.
Narration of the case

He didnt really give me a case. He asked me which

sector I followed in India, to which I replied the retail
sector. We then entered into a discussion into the retail
sector in India. I had very little sector knowledge and
retail was my best bet. SO after giving him some facts
that I had read, he asked me what a retail company think
should about while entering the Indian market, i.e., the
key success factors. I told him that we should consider
the target customer segment, the product offerings, the
retail format and the locations. The interview was pretty
OK till this point. However, then he started getting into
details. He asked me what a company should do to
compete with the huge unorganized sector, and wasnt
convinced with my answer. I knew that Id blown it.
Finally he ended the case and asked me if I had any
other shortlists before I left.

What do you think

went right in this
What do you think
went wrong in this
Any tips for future
batches on the basis
of your experience

HR answers.

Everything else. Sector knowledge let me down.

Please prepare one sector thoroughly, not just facts, but

to have a business opinion about it.

Interview Experience 14


McKinsey & Co


Srinath Nagarajan

Name of interviewer Gautam Kumra, Partner

and designation
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Brief Profile :
(Graduation College,
stream, Work ex
details, etc. )
Personal interview

Chartered Accountant, BCom(Hons) from SRCC, Delhi
University. Prior work ex as a Tax Consultant with
Ernst & Young, a Visiting Faculty at St Josephs
Colleger, Bangalore and then as a Ratings Analyst with
CRISIL Ratings
1. Tell me about yourself
Had a 1 minute intro prepared highlighting
specific aspects about myself that I wanted to
bring to his notice
2. Tell me what you did in CRISIL
I explained that I was engaged in assigning Credit
Ratings to Corporates under Basel II Regulations
3. How would you go about Rating a Company, lets
say Bharti Airtel
Because it was Bharti Airtel I had to give an
answer tailored to what the approach would be for
a Telecom company would be. While answering I
was conscious of 2 things One, that I have a
clear structure to my answers and Two, tried to
keep it as simple and jargon free as possible.
3.1(An Offshoot from something I had mentioned
in the earlier answer) What are the ratios that
you would look at?
Here I mentioned the financial ratios that I
would look at stating specifically why I would
look at each ratio. He probed me on a few
ratios here and there. The intention appeared
to be more to check my articulation of a
financial concept.
Eg: What is a Current Ratio?
I explained the formula. However I did not
stop there. I went on to explain that it was used
to assess the liquidity position of the company.
Then I went on to explain to the logic behind
the usage of the ratio Simply put, it tells us if
there is likely to be sufficient inflows of funds
over the next one year to meet the maturing
payment obligations. So a current ratio of less
than one means the company has more to pay
than what is coming in, a liquidity problem
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(Based on the approving nods that I was

getting, I felt he liked those portions of my
answer where I endeavored to de-jargonize or
simplify complex concepts)
4. So Tell me, how would you increase the revenues
of Bharti Airtel
That was my case, it had begun. However, at that
point I thought it was just an extension of my
previous discussion and I started rambling. One
sentence in, I realized that this was my case to
solve and I wasnt doing any of the things had
rehearsed - probing questions/ 2 minute time out
etc. In fact I did not even pick up the pen and the
paper. I will discuss the case in the next session,
but what I learnt is that the case can come at you
un announced just be alert enough to grab it and
not ramble on

Narration of the case


Problem statement: How do you increase the

revenues of Bharti Airtel
Case analysis:
Preliminary questions - We all know Bharti Airtel and
the services it offered quite well So there was no need
to ask preliminary questions. Also, since I wasnt aware
that I was doing a case I did not have the opportunity to
ask preliminary questions.
Structure: The Structure that I used was fairly simple
Increase in Revenues can in Existing markets or through
expansion in new markets.
I explored the existing markets first. Here increase in
revenues could occur through increased market
penetration, increased usage of basic services among
current users or increased usage of Value added services
among existing customers. He asked me a couple of
questions on how these things can be done and I gave
him some off the cuff answers.
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For the New markets, I suggested that the company

could look at inorganic expansion through acquisitions
or through establishment of Greenfield operations in
new markets with high market potential.
The entire case was more like an informal chat. There
were a few follow up questions on some of the options I
had generated. The case did not last very long about
10 minutes at the max.

What do you think

went right in this

I thought the pre-case portion of my interview went of

really well. I was on top of all the points I had
mentioned in the CV, so any discussion on my past
experiences especially work ex went well. The thing I
felt worked for me the most was my ability to describe
the entire rating process without using complex
financial jargons and my ability to explain things from a
laymans perspective

What do you think

went wrong in this

I did not do the case analysis particularly well. I did not

use the pen and paper. This meant that I was generating
options thinking on my feet rather than providing
carefully considered alternatives. This to a very large
extent inhibited my creativity and did not give me
enough opportunity to demonstrate my structuring

Any tips for future

batches on the basis
of your experience

Know your Resume well. At no point in the interview

should you ramble on. All answers must be natural (ie,
must not appear rehearsed), brief, structured and to the
Retaining composure through the interview is critical.
Mistakes may happen during the interview, but it is
important to pick you up and keep at it. People rarely
have perfect interviews where everything has gone right
and interviewers dont expect it either.

Brief Profile :
Chartered Accountant, BCom(Hons) from SRCC, Delhi
(Graduation College, University. Prior work ex as a Tax Consultant with
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stream, Work ex
details, etc.)
Personal interview

Narration of the case


Ernst & Young, a Visiting Faculty at St Josephs

Colleger, Bangalore and then as a Ratings Analyst with
CRISIL Ratings
1. Tell me about yourself
Had a 1 minute intro prepared highlighting
specific aspects about myself that I wanted to
bring to his notice
2. You have mentioned that you sing on a Band in
Bangalore, what do you do here exactly?
I explained the kind of music that we played and
where we performed. I also explained the future
plans that we have. I think he liked the fact that it
was not something of the past and that I had a
vision for the band in future also
3. How do you manage singing on the band, now
that you are in IIM Lucknow
I mentioned how we exchange tracks over the
internet and how we perform and do studio
recordings when I visit during the breaks
4. All right Srinath, lets start with a case shall we? I
nodded and we moved on to the case
Problem statement: I am the manufacturer of Tata
Nano. While setting up the plant I expected to have
sales of around 5 lac Nanos per annum, but now the
number is way below that. Can you help me find out
Case analysis:
Preliminary questions Since it was Tata Nano, lot of
the background questions were not required. I clarified
whether the problem was a lack of bookings that they
received. He agreed.
Structure: The Structure that I used was not the best
but it did get me to the problem. I started off by saying
the lack of bookings could be on account of 3 reasons
One, a lack of awareness of the product among the
target customers (Marketing problem), Two, Being
aware of the product but not being able to place a
booking (Distribution problem) or a Three, being aware
of the product yet not interested in the product (I called
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this the product problem). He asked me to ignore the

first 2 (he did not seem highly impressed) and explore
the 3rd the product problem.
Here I again broke it up in to 2 further branches
Problems that the Car has by itself (Internal factors) and
problems in the external environment mainly
competition, etc. I deep delved in to the Internal factors.
Of the internal problems I mentioned, he agreed that the
negative publicity from the steering wheel catching fire
was an issue and comfort factor was another issue. As
and when he acknowledged a problem, I made a
separate note of it. Eventually when he asked me to
explore the external factors, I used these points to do a
quick summary of the key takeaways up to that point
In the external problem, I divided it into competition
from other cars and two wheelers. I asked a few
questions here trying to pick up a clue or 2 of how to
proceed from there but he just refused to shell out any
information. At this point he also took out his
Blackberry and acted uncooperative. I went on to
analyze for myself that given that the price of the next
cheapest car was over a lakh higher than this car the
issue lay more with the 2 wheelers. I went on to list
factors why people would prefer 2 wheelers to a Tata
Nano. Of the factors I listed, he acknowledged that the
high running costs and availability of easy financing
options seemed like the distinguishing factors. He said I
seemed to have arrived at the problem,
He now asked me to tell me how he could provide
financing options for the Nano. This I felt was like a
guess estimate problem. I said I would work backward
to solve the problem. This is how I solved it I said the
average Nano target customer would earn Rs 10000 per
month (he had given me that number in an earlier
discussion, he liked the fact that I had noted it down and
was using it again) I said, given the average savings rate
of the country is at 35%-40% (this is from the RBI
website I think). That meant a saving of about Rs 4,000
per month. No one would be comfortable giving up their
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entire saving, so if we considered 50% of this, the

customer will be willing to pay an EMI of 2000 per
month. The company would want to complete the
financing within a period of 4 years cause after that the
car may be worthless in case of repossession. So this
meant roughly a down payment of 20,000 followed by 4
years of EMI of 2000 pm approximately (I took his
approval on all of the numbers I used, so he was
comfortable with this number).
Summary: I began to summarize all my
recommendations to that point but he stopped me saying
that I didnt have to absolutely nail the case.

What do you think

went right in this

My explanation of the stuff related to music on my CV

really worked for me. I tend to get a little excited when I
speak of my music and that must have come across as
genuine to him. This I know because when I met him at
the end of the day, he remembered my bands name
which showed that I had piqued his interest on that

What do you think

went wrong in this

In my attempt to keep the structure exhaustive I dwelled

in to a lot of aspects that may not have been required.
He seemed unimpressed by my suggestions of it being a
marketing/ distribution problem. Then again that may
have been a put on reaction merely to unsettle me.

Any tips for future

batches on the basis
of your experience

The most important thing to nail a consult interview is

composure and confidence. With this in place, half the
job is done.
In all HR answers it is important to show genuineness.
No answer must come across as fabricated.

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