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Class of 2012

Compiled by: Consulting Club

ISB Case Book

ISB Casebook Class of 2012

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Contents
Introduction ...................................................................................................................................................................... 4
Case Solving Approach ...................................................................................................................................................... 6
Case Frameworks .............................................................................................................................................................. 8
Case Type: Profitability or Profit! .................................................................................................................................. 8
Case Type: Market Entry ............................................................................................................................................. 13
Case Type: Problem Diagnosis Situation ..................................................................................................................... 16
Case Type: PE Investment ........................................................................................................................................... 18
Case Type: Capacity Expansion ................................................................................................................................... 19
Case Type: Turn Around .............................................................................................................................................. 20
Case Type: Growth Strategy........................................................................................................................................ 21
Case Type: M&A .......................................................................................................................................................... 23
Case Type: Business Situation Framework Victor Cheng Videos ............................................................................. 26
Mckinsey & Co. ............................................................................................................................................................... 27
Samudra Dasgupta ...................................................................................................................................................... 28
Himanshu Jain ............................................................................................................................................................. 30
Raman Chadha ............................................................................................................................................................ 33
Rahul Mangla .............................................................................................................................................................. 38
Aditi Sharma ................................................................................................................................................................ 45
Vamshidhar Reddy ...................................................................................................................................................... 48
Sachin Kumar .............................................................................................................................................................. 51
Shreerang Godbole ..................................................................................................................................................... 55
Akshay Sethi ................................................................................................................................................................ 57
Dhruv Vatsal ................................................................................................................................................................ 61
Sonali Gupta ................................................................................................................................................................ 64
Boston Consulting Group ................................................................................................................................................ 68
Rahul Mangla .............................................................................................................................................................. 69
Himanshu Jain ............................................................................................................................................................. 74
Samudra Dasgupta ...................................................................................................................................................... 76
Reshmi Ghosh ............................................................................................................................................................. 78
Rahul Ramaraju ........................................................................................................................................................... 83
Shreerang Godbole ..................................................................................................................................................... 89
Ankur Bhageria............................................................................................................................................................ 92
Brij Vashisth .............................................................................................................................................................. 101
AT Kearney .................................................................................................................................................................... 108
Bishwa Ranjan Roy .................................................................................................................................................... 109
Himanshu Jain ........................................................................................................................................................... 112
Booz & Co. ..................................................................................................................................................................... 114
Himanshu Jain ........................................................................................................................................................... 115
Dhruv Vatsal .............................................................................................................................................................. 117
Parthenon ..................................................................................................................................................................... 118
Nipun Rastogi ............................................................................................................................................................ 119
Varun Mimani ........................................................................................................................................................... 123
PRTM ............................................................................................................................................................................. 126
Prashant Kr Gupta ..................................................................................................................................................... 127
Accenture ...................................................................................................................................................................... 131
Vikash Sinha .............................................................................................................................................................. 132
Rahul Chakraborty .................................................................................................................................................... 134
Richa Gupta ............................................................................................................................................................... 135
Archishman Ghosh .................................................................................................................................................... 137
Rajeev Reddy............................................................................................................................................................. 139
Meenatchi Jagasivamani ........................................................................................................................................... 142
PWC ............................................................................................................................................................................... 143
Siddharth Pai ............................................................................................................................................................. 144
Aeckarth Malik .......................................................................................................................................................... 147
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Arjun Sharma ............................................................................................................................................................ 151
Avneesh Singh ........................................................................................................................................................... 152
Harsha Nallur ............................................................................................................................................................ 153
Deloitte ......................................................................................................................................................................... 154
Akshay Raizada.......................................................................................................................................................... 155
Gaurav Mogra ........................................................................................................................................................... 156
Archana Saseetharan ................................................................................................................................................ 158
Palash Borah ............................................................................................................................................................. 159
Arjun Mehra .............................................................................................................................................................. 160
Ernst & Young................................................................................................................................................................ 162
Sneha Rajan............................................................................................................................................................... 163
Anirudh Kataruka ...................................................................................................................................................... 165
KPMG ............................................................................................................................................................................ 166
Sahas Gulati............................................................................................................................................................... 167
Siddharth Pai ............................................................................................................................................................. 168
Kanika Chawla ........................................................................................................................................................... 171
Siemens Management Consulting ................................................................................................................................ 172
Nishant Gupta ........................................................................................................................................................... 173
Neha Khandelwal ...................................................................................................................................................... 179
Other Firms ................................................................................................................................................................... 184
Shiva .......................................................................................................................................................................... 184
Shrini Ravindran ........................................................................................................................................................ 185
Sapna Jeslani ............................................................................................................................................................. 186
Prashant Kr Gupta ..................................................................................................................................................... 186

ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Introduction
Dear ISBians,
This case book is prepared by the Consulting Club of ISB Class of 2012. The purpose of this document is to assist the
future batches of ISB in preparing for consulting placements.
This case book documents the interview experiences of students across various firms. You may also refer to case
solving tips and frameworks for interview preparation. However, these frameworks are not necessarily the optimum
way in which one should handle consulting interviews.
I wouldnt advice sticking to any particular framework during interviews. Rather use these frameworks as guidance
and create your own framework, leaving room for innovative responses. Every individual will and should have his /
her unique way of tackling consulting interviews.
On the career front, I would suggest that you follow a 3-stage process when choosing consulting as your goal:
1) DecideBefore you start your preparations, you should be absolutely clear in mind that you want to pursue
consulting as a career. Do take note that consultants live an extremely tough life. Most of them work for 6090 hrs/week are traveling 80% of this time. Living life out of a suitcase is not desired by all. Decision to
pursue consulting will require strong focus on academics and curricular. So make a well-informed decision
instead of getting swayed in the mad-rush for consulting that you will find at the ISB campus.
2) PrepareOnce decided, prepare hard for consulting. There will be no shortcuts to this preparation. Typically,
students start preparing for consulting interviews by the end of term 5. Interviews for international and
domestic consulting firms will happen around term 6 and term 7 respectively. Therefore, its advisable to
take up maximum number of courses in term 5 & 8, to keep term 6 & 7 free for preparation. You can use the
following resources/methods for preparation:
a. Watch Victor Cheng case interview videos available online to get an initial insight into the interview
process.
b. You should refer to other numerous resources uploaded on the consulting club portal including past
year casebooks, industry summaries, core-term summaries and interview and case preparation
guides from Wetfeet and Vault. (Link: Atrium Knowledge Portal Consulting Club Placement
Prep Kindly check this link as IT dept may have changed it)
c. Case interview preparation is a collaborative process. Form a group of 4-5 students, where in one
student administers a mock case on the other, and the remaining become observers. Once this mock
process is over, all 4-5 students discuss strong and weak points of the interview. This helps pool in of
ideas and cases. The sources for these cases can be past year casebooks or alums from consulting
firms.
3)

ExecutionProper presentation and execution is equally important as preparation. Important elements of


this presentation will include:
a. Resume: Start working on your resume from the start of term 5. CAS and alumni will prove to be
extremely helpful on this front. Your resume should have been reviewed 5-6 times before you
submit it to any company. Please dont spoil your chances by committing grammatical and spelling
mistakes on your resume.
b. Dont forget to customize your resume based on the industry you are applying to. For instance, a
consulting firm will look for a mix of leadership, teamwork and analytical skills, and few spikes.
When applying for a General Management role, one should focus more on leadership skills. That
said, dont completely change resumes for different companies, as you will have interviews will
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


these companies simultaneously. It is difficult to remember different stories for different
companies.
c. Pre-interview Networking: Maintaining good terms will alums from your dream firm may not help in
getting shortlisted or hired, but it will definitely help you in getting the right guidance/support. Also,
you should make good use of post-short listing dinners/conferences you will have with partners.
Many of these partners will take your interviews. These dinners are an excellent opportunity to
leave a first-impression on partner. Knowing the projects handled by partners/firm will provide you
surface to kick-start your conversation during an interview.
d. Interviews: Take mock interviews with alums and classmates seriously and try to simulate actual
interview settings (We used to book AC, MLTs for practice sessions as actual interviews happen in
them). One should appear confident and cheerful in the interview. Dont be too serious or too relax.
Dont fumble or confuse yourself during the interview. Follow the case solving approach mentioned
in the next section to structure your thoughts.
You will find more tips on interview preparations as you will go through some of the excellently written case
descriptions. I would like to thank the contributors and the consulting club team who made the compilation of this
casebook possible. Special thanks to Asit Sharma, Kumar Abhinav, Rahul Mangla, Nipun Rastogi, Prafulla Rawal and
Ankur Bhageria for their contributions. The consulting club team wishes all the very best to the subsequent batches!
Regards,
Himanshu Jain
Consulting Club

ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Case Solving Approach


Problem definition:
Understand the company and its business. You should be able to create a mental image of the company and its
business. Figure out where the business is operating. What does the company do? How is it placed competitively
etc?
Analyze EVERY WORD of the problem statement and ask clarifying questions w.r.t. that.
Understand what caused the problem and what has been the impact.
Keep the 3Cs (Customer, Company and Competition) and 2Ps (product and price) in mind at all times when
solving a case. Whenever youre stuck, revisit these.
Problem scoping:
Think along basic cuts like:
a. Internal vs. external
b. Short term vs. Long term
c. Current state vs. desired state (desired state can be understood through objectives/ goals/motivations
of the management)
Segmentation: This is one of the most crucial and often overlooked steps. Always break the problem by company
segments before applying any standard framework. Understand which part of the business the problem lies in. For
e.g. think along the below segments:
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.

Customer segments
Product segments
Geographic segments
Segments in terms of different parts of the value chain
Different channels of distribution

At this point, you shouldve a pretty good hold of defining what the actual problem is. It helps to paraphrase or
summarize the problem statement more tangibly at this point.
Problem Structuring:
1. Build out a quick approach of what the key issues are that we need to tackle, and what is the sequence you
intend to follow.
2. Communicate this approach to the interviewer
3. Then build out a MECE structure.
When building a structure:
Note making clarity is important
Visualize the case. Put yourself in the CEOs shoes. It helps!
Dont try to force fit frameworks. Always approach a problem based on first principles. Frameworks will
support your analysis.
4. Communicate the structure to the interviewer and get his buy in.
Analysis:
Develop a hypothesis for where the problem might lie. Then ask questions and collect more information
to prove/disprove it
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Make it a collaborate process. Do not treat it like an interview. Its not meant to be that. Treat it like a
real project and that youre working with a colleague on the project.
Ask for numerical data at every level of structure before going deeper. This is required until you figure
out whether its a numerical problem or not.
Speak with conviction and bring creativity into your solution.
In case of numbers, take your time. Do not sacrifice accuracy for speed.
Synthesis/summary:
It is effectively an answer to the clients problem. Make your recommendation and provide 2-3 strong supporting
reasons for it. Follow it up with considerations / risks that may be involved with the strategy. Overall synthesis
should not exceed a minute ideally.
Important Tips:

Always define the problem again and ask if your understanding is correct
Always take a buy-in on your framework before you proceed
Show the inherent excitement to solve the problem your eyes should sparkle once you identify an issue
Once you identify a core issue always think Why is it happening shows that you want to really solve

ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Case Frameworks
Frameworks can act as useful tools to structure thoughts during a case interview. Moreover, they ensure that you
ask the right questions and help you reach the answer fast. By using frameworks, you will seldom miss solutions to
standardized cases such as Profitability, Market entry etc. However, interviewers these days enjoy asking abstract
cases such as How will you reduce terrorism in India or Should Subhash Ghai sign Aishwarya or Katrina for his next
movie. You definitely cant apply standard framework to such cases. You are expected to relate the problem to a
business situation and create your own framework on the spot.
Following are few frameworks, which I (Himanshu Jain) and my case prep group including Kumar Abhinav, Prafulla
Rawal, Rahul Mangla and Nipun Rastogi, created during our preparation. We are happy to share them with future
batches. Hope they help you get your dream job. In case you have questions, feel free to reach out to any one of us:

Case Type: Profitability or Profit!


Beginning:
This problem is very vast and can come in various dimensions. Its very important to scope the problem in the
beginning itself so that you not solve the wrong problem

Definition: Please help me understand what exactly do you mean when you say that profit is down?
o The aggregate profit or profit margin?
o {If interviewer says profit margin or Profitability}
o Ask: Is it gross margin/operating margin or net margin which is facing the decline?
o Product Mix: Has the decline in profitability in all the products or specific products in the mix?
Comparison/Trend:
o Since when has been this trend in low profits been visible and my how much?
o How has the industry performance been over this time frame? benchmarking.
o Anything particular which changed - did you launch some product/slash prices/competitor do
something/Macroeconomic aspect?
Define Success: [Say that this is a broad based question]-How would the client define success?
o What kind of increase in profit do you want to achieve what will be ideal?

Profit = Revenue Cost (Is a first principle)

Price
Revenue
Volume
Profit
Variable
Cost
Fixed

Say: There are two drivers Revenue and Cost. Which one would you want me start of first?
Cost:

Ask what % of unit cost is Variable vs. Fixed this would help you understand some key trends
o In a high fixed cost business there is very high temptation of price wars.

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


o

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.

Ask and then draw out the value chain


Raw
Material

Inbound
Logistics

Warehousin
g

Manufacturing

Outbound
Logistics

Distribution

What is the percentage split of costs across these different processes?


o 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.
o Many a times 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.
Broadly at any point there are two issues
o Price at which you get or operate (vis a vis Competition)
o Your efficiency (Any wastage due to efficiency problem in terms of people/process/technology)- You
can employ the other PPT framework for this)

Exploring each head one by one

In case of manufacturing Industry


o Raw Material Cost:
Start by asking type of good (Perishable/durable)?
Where does Competitor source from does it get better prices?
If says same price, ask about efficiency conversion ratio/wastage/efficiency for us?
If the problem is higher price or higher overall procurement cost then:
Resolutions
Better Negotiation/Bulk Order
Time of Sourcing (Opportunistic) order when cheap
Currency Hedging Use forwards/futures if prices are expected to rise. Also use call
or put options for the variable part of future demand.
Substitution (Different Raw Material)
Value engineering (Use lesser Raw Material)
Standardization of Parts Backward Integration ordering more of same type of good
- Same supplier - bulk order/syndicated demand?
- Cheaper material - indigenization/rationalization?
- Cheaper supplier - china etc?
o Inbound Logistics:
Do you and your competitor use the same Mode of Transportation?
Do you incur the same rates and same overall cost?
Explore Distance Travelled could be that the rates are same but your factory is further
away from the supplier base.
Are you ordering at the Economic Order Quantity (EOQ) Trade of between Set up cost,
holding cost and expected demand
o Production/Operations:
Explore Labour cost and efficiency vis-a-vis competitor.
Inventory Cost (EOQ)
Overheads such as Electricity/Rent same or higher?
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Machine Utilization: % Downtime - High?


Machine broken? Maintenance/spare cost
Power outrage?
Labour unavailability?
Total availability will be a function of (% of time labour, % time machine available, %
Idle time)
Resolution additional dimensions:
Outsource
Economies of Scale/Learning curve
Labour cost arbitrage
o Distribution/Outbound Logistics:
Explore same as (Inbound)
o Post Sales Cost:
Installation
Service or Warranty cost?
Gross margin is same but Operating margin has reduced:
o Marketing & Administration SGNA
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.

Revenue:

Explore Price and Volume and ask for preference to explore one first.
Caution: Remember it could be that your Prices, total volume and total cost everything is same but the
revenues are down because you are selling more of the less priced product Mix problem

In case Price has reduced:

Questions:
o Has this been for a particular product in the mix?
o Is this product a differentiated product or a commodity?
o Competition: Has competition taken any particular action (reducing prices/launched new products)
o Customer:
What customer segments?
Are the customer preferences changing?
What about price elasticity?
Resolution:
o Product Differentiation
Better features
Better brand
Better packaging
o Innovative Pricing Methods
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012

o
o

Loss Leader Pricing/ Captive Pricing (Razor Blade),


Bundle Pricing
Different methods of pricing:
Value based Pricing (Premium Pricing & Price Skimming),
Cost plus Pricing
Comparable (Parity) Pricing
Bundling & Cross selling
Consolidation: Acquire other markets players Charge premium price, Have more units sold.

Units Sold Decline: It is a function of Market Share and Market Size.

Questions: Market Share is a function of


o Are customers aware of your product - Share of Voice
Promotion related
Inadequate Promotion
Improper Training
Improper targeting
Messaging is not as required impacting perception
o Do customers like your product - Share of Mind
Product/Service Related factors
Poor Quality
Problem with product mix Inadequate depth breadth of product/service mix
Network effects with other products/Complementary Products
Training Adequacy Curriculum/Frequency of Training
Substitutes?
Better competitive offerings?
o Is the product available - Share of Distribution
Distribution Related:
Penetration (No. Of stores), Percentage shelf space
Trade Mix (Retail Segment targeting-do customer buys from these channels)
Service Level/Lead time (Number of days of Stock outs-Is the product available when
the customer wants it?)
Questions: Market Size is down whats happening in the Industry?
o Population * % of a particular segment
o Usage rate
o Suggestions:
Can we do something in collaboration with the industry to increase the segment size?
Can we explore new customer segments?
More users same market or new geographies?
More usage?
Alternate usages? Can enter Allied/Related Product segments?
If demand is seasonal then come up with schemes discounts, promotions
If demand is elastic then cut the price to increase the total revenue

Increasing Volume
There are four methods of doing it.

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Case Type: Market Entry


Beginning:
These are the initial dimensions you need to understand from the interviewer before you deep dive in your analysis.

Motivation: Lets understand - what is the primary objective of the client to enter this market.
o Profit Increase (by expanding his revenue base)
o Investment in some growth industries promising (Will pay off in the long run)
o Diversification
o Empire building expansion plan
o Vertical Integration (Can be backward or forward can result in cost synergies)
Return: What is your target rate of return and (what timelines are you looking for)
o Hurdle rate/cost of capital vs. the Internal rate of return
o Target Revenues or Total Profits
o Total Capital you want to invest
Define Success: [Say that this is a broad based question]-How would the client define success?
o What kind of market share do you want to achieve

Question about the current business


What are the geographies of interest?
What are your products presently?
How exactly does this business work finding about the overall players and dependencies. (Birds eye view)
The most important things to start about the business of interest:
1. Statement: I want to understand which stage of Industry lifecycle are we in - Nascent or Growing, Mature or
Declining
2. Question: Please tell me the overall market size, potential/profit and growth rate
3. Which part of this business do you want to enter? (Draw a value chain of this particular part)
4. How do you want to enter Green Field, Brown field (JV, M&A), Franchise (Evaluation Matrix below)
5. High Growth High Margin (2*2) matrix
Analysis:
Lets look at it from three perspectives External view, internal view and exact mechanics of entering
Industry Attractiveness
Competitive Advantage
Barriers to Entry

Short Term

Competition
Long Term
Customer
Value Chain
Substitutes
Costs & Risks

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Industry Attractiveness:
o Barriers to Entry:
Government Regulation
Any barriers to exit?
High Capital requirements
R&D - IP or Patent
Brand equity
Human Capital
Economies of scale or scope
Switching Cost (Network effect)
Distribution Network
o Competition:
Consolidated or Fragmented
Market Shares
Competing on Product, Service, price, quality, features?
Strength/Weaknesses channels
Contractual Lock-in for customers
o Buyer:
Segment and Growth
Willingness to pay
Channels preference
Demand-Supply Gap
Pricing Power Customer concentration
Threat of forward integration
Present Perception of different products
Preference evolution - Promotion required
o Value Chain:
Supplier:
Consolidated or fragmented
Market Shares
Threat of backward integration
Alternative buyer options for suppliers
Switching costs of buyers
Distribution Network
Raw Materials availability
Manufacturing resources including talent availability
o Substitutes:
Any peculiar substitutes
Consumer behaviour evolution

Competitive Advantage: Understanding companies strength once inside the market


o Short Term: (Fit) Does it make sense for this company to enter the market?
Prior experience in moving to new markets
Business model needed ideally to succeed in this industry
Synergy with existing operations?
Tactical decisions 4 Ps (Product, Place, Promotion, Price)
Game Theoretic perspective and strengths and weaknesses of each player
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


o

Competitive response
Long Term:
How can we create competitive advantage in the long run?
What Barriers to Entry or Exit to erect to deter other new entrants?
Contracts/Product differentiation

Evaluation of different methods of entering:

Evaluation Matrix:
Weights

Investment/Payback Period/Break-even

40%

Management Control

20%

Cultural Fit

10%

Risks

30%

Availability

Essential

Time

Essential

Green Field

Franchise

M&A

JV

Various sources of Risks

Financial Risk:
o What is the cash position of the parent firm?
o What % of companies total cost base will go into the new market? Implications: What will be the
impact if this new venture fails
Technology Risk
Political Risk
People Risk

Wherever you can execute the process in a standardized manner (You can tell outsiders how to do it) and not
much subjectivity in measurement

Understand that there can be different kind of questions:

Should I enter? (Industry attractiveness)


Which method to enter? (JV/M&A)
Exactly where should I enter? (Where to play how to play) need gap analysis required along with max
profit and max customer priority sector
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Case Type: Problem Diagnosis Situation


People Process Technology

People:

People
Tangibles

Intangibles

Salary (Basic)

Prof. Development

Incentives

Personal Develop.

Perks: Money Value

Professional Development
Growth
Research opportunities
Learning and training facility
IP (Doctors, Engineers and IT guys may need this)
Personal Development
Status within the company
Brand of the workplace
Culture
Work life balance

Process:
The following are the first few steps:

Identify Process Map

Identify Critical Path

Identify Bottleneck

After identification of the Bottleneck, explore the following for improvement:

Utilization improvement
o Reduce idle time - Scheduling (Trucks to port case)
o Batching /De-batching (Grouping examples from factory examples in operations class)
o Setup time/Run Time (Complete solution will depend on combination of the two)

Re-Design
o Process improvement
o Capacity Expansion (units of flow rate)
Reduce time
Add additional machines

As X increases, Flow Time increases (bad) and capacity increases (good)


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ISB Casebook Class of 2012

As X decreases, Flow Time decreases (good) and capacity decreases (bad)

Technology & Infrastructure:

Technology
Compatibility

Capability

Employee familiarity

Speed/Rate

Internal Compatibility

Suitability

Lack of Training

Sometimes it may not be clear where the issue is then use: (this is good from understanding how the business runs)
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)

Man
Machine
Method
Materials
Measurement
Mother Nature (Environment)

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Case Type: PE Investment


Following key aspects need to be evaluated in case of any PE player is considering making an investment:
We need to start with the funds motivation to invest and the attributes of the firm

PE Firm
Characterstics
Fund Size

Industry
Attractiveness

Target
Specifics

Market Size & Growth

Business Model

Profitability
Fund Style

Barriers to Entry

Sources of
Returns

Operational Effeciency
Management Capability
Willingness to Sell

Competition
Portfolio

Revenue - Profitability

Unlock Potential

Customers
IRR

Costs & Risks


Suppliers

Exit Period

Substitutes

Market Share & Growth


Product/Services
Use Leverage
Valuation

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Case Type: Capacity Expansion


Do we need extra capacity?

Do we need Extra Capacity?


External Factors

Internal Factors

Total Demand (Size/Growth)

Our products share & Growth

Supply Dynamics

Present production rate

Suppliers Global/Local

Is New Technology available?


Can I use Economies of Scale?

Future Supply Projections


Game Theory Price War
Substitutes
How to Build Extra Capacity?
Investment
Organic - Resources

Improvement
People/Process/Technology

Acquire M&A framework


Outsource
Crucial Points:

Matrix of evaluation is in Market Entry Case Keep in consideration the Investment/Payback Period
evaluation
Reducing or increasing capacity will affect the market clearing price thereby the profitability

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Case Type: Turn Around


Information about the company:

What has been the failure trend?


How was failure defined?
How long has the failure been observed?

After this go into the basic industry information situation:

Product
Customers
Company Strengths and Weaknesses (any major changes in the time period of failure)
Competition (any major changes in the time period of failure)
External factors regulations, taxes, substitutes, trends such as technological advancements (digital for
Kodak)

Now again this is either revenue increase or profitability increase.


Only thing to look out is to check if there is a conglomerate then divest a branch!
Profitability or growth:

Always ask about the other product.


Material part diversification is not possible

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Case Type: Growth Strategy


Beginning:
Current Business: What is the context (customer/product/geography segments) in which you are presently
operating in and what is the current position of your firm? Lifecycle of the Industry?
Ambition: What level you want to grow?

If you want to surpass the Market growth rate that means you want to eat away in other peoples market
share.
What are the options you are looking for: Think about the ansoff matrix to understand the growth from
for scoping the problem

Structuring:
To understand growth we need to look at overall demand and supply dynamics of my product. There could be a
scope of improvement on either side.

Demand side: Market is contracting or demand for my product is falling.


Supply side: Demand is there but I am not able to supply enough.
o This can lead to both lost sales and lost customers

Strategic Options:

Improving the profitable or promising part of the business.


If nothing looks promising then you can consider
o Spin off: Creating part of the business as a separate business
o Divesture: Reduction or sale of assets
o Acquisition: Get yourself acquired by a competitor/sister company or potential entrants

Understand how the business works in each segment of customer:

Understand the value chain and decision making process for the customer?
What part of the value chain am I catering to?
Say: This particular player is the market leader lets try to understand what is it that he is doing different?
Comparison with the competitor
o Offering: Complete value prop in terms of
EVC, Service, warranty etc.
Commodity or Differentiated
Has the competitor erected any BTE: Brand/Network effect/Switching costs
o Price: Why has the competition got it lower?
Cost Structure
Economies of scale
o Promotion: Sales Force or Marketing expenditure - Efficiency and Total Expenditure
o Distribution Network: Also understand who are the stakeholders and any particular reason why they
prefer the other product over ours.

Analysis:
As we know it can be of two parts Volume and Price.

Volume:
o Note: When we talk about penetration for same product/same market then think from two
perspectives:
21

ISB Casebook Class of 2012

You can increase the market share


Increase the market size itself.
o Also think about can you increase volume by better utilization of existing capacity hospital
o Think of 2/2 matrix for volume increase say penetration or market development
Price you have to go to the profitability framework to understand the customer segment contributions and
whether they can sell at a higher price or sell more of the costlier product.
Penetration: More Users/More Usage
Product development: Innovate/Improvise

New channels?

New Geographies?

Maintain Customer Loyalty

Convert customers who are using alternatives or substitutes

New competitive arenas - vertical integration

22

ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Case Type: M&A


There are two ways any M&A can generate value 1) Value of Control 2) Value of Synergy. The actual value of how
the acquirer benefits will depend upon the premium paid.
There are two types of M&A.

Strategic:
o Value Generated = (Vat Va Vt) + (Va-Va)
Non Strategic:
o Value Generated = (Vat Va Vt)
Opportunity Cost: (Va Va)
o Competition
o Industry

Synergy
Operational

Financial

FCF

Tax Savings

Long Term Growth

Bankruptcy Cost

Abnormal Growth

Decreased Agency Cost

Ra

Less Asymmetry info

Time of Abnormal G

Type of Synergies
Operational:

FCF = EBIT (1-Tax) + Depreciation Change in WC Capex


o EBIT = Revenue Cost
Revenue = P * Delta Q + Delta P * Q + Delta P * Delta Q
Delta Q: Ability to sell more
o Better Product
o Combining Strengths: Examples: Distribution network + Sales force, Access
to cheap funds, better geographical reach say more offices, Increased
Management Bandwidth, Combining Sourcing capability with Distribution
Reach
o Cross Selling: Doing this is very risky though
o Bundling
o Up-selling
Delta P: Ability to price higher
o Low Competition
o New products or Better quality
o Increase pricing power in case of Strategic acquisition
23

ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Cost

COGS decrease
o (Dis) Economies of Scale/Scope: There can be losses as well if there are
coordination problems or management bandwidth issue.
o IT budget streamline
o Pooling of technology
o Reduction of overhead
SG&A reduction
o Remove duplication of Sales force
o Promotion Streamline
R&D cost reduction
o Linking innovative capability
o Sharing technology
Reduction in threat of Hold up cost
o Future Price Increase
o Not in time supply
o Not appropriate quality product
o Depreciation Tax Shield
Asset write up: One time gain as assets are market up to market value on acquisition
o Change in Working Capital
One time gain in case acquirer has better receivable management practice
o Capex investment
If Asset Turnover (Sales/Assets) increases then less Capex investment required in future
Growth:
o Long term Growth doesnt change generally
o Look for opportunities that enable permanent competitive advantages
Abnormal Growth:
o Ga = ROC * Reinvestment Rate
ROC can increase due to higher EBIT or higher Asset turnover
RR can increase due to availability of more positive NPV project
Abnormal Growth Time Period
o Can increase due to erecting barriers to entry
Ra
o Beta or systematic risk can reduce in case you combine:
Cyclical (Corporate Banking) + Counter Cyclical (Bankruptcy Advisory)
Cyclical (Luxury Business) + Non Cyclical (Tobacco)
Vertical Integration sometimes reduces risk

Financial Synergies

Tax Savings:
o Tax loss carry forward from a winding business
o Ability to take more debt hence more tax shield
Bankruptcy cost:
o As per MM, if Bankruptcy costs exist (that is there is destruction of value) then this adds value
Lost Customers
Lost Employees
Lost Supplier relationships
o Reasons for default:
24

ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Cyclical business
Cash Flow volatility
Competition
Technological obsolescence
o If Bankruptcy costs exists then savings happen due to merger
Reduced Agency Cost
o Debt brings discipline
Reduced Information Asymmetry
o Internal capital markets (use of most economical source of funds)
o Exploit any mis-pricing in the markets

Analysis of RISKS

Fit
Cultural Fit
o Are the cultures of the merging entities coherent? for e.g both are entrepreneurial orgs
o Are the cultures complementary? For e.g. an entrepreneurial design org and a highly organized
sales org.
o Do we expect significant cultural clashes on merger? For instance formal vs. informal
Strategic Fit
o Are the long-term strategies of the merging firms in tune?
o Will the merged firm evolve a new long-term strategy?
o Costs associated with percolating new strategies through the merged org.
Organizational Fit
o Degree of similarity in org structures. Matrix, functional, divisional etc.
o Management overlap and talent.

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Case Type: Business Situation Framework Victor Cheng Videos


Beginning:
Whenever you are stuck anywhere you can use this framework.
This framework can also be considered as the first principal way of solving: (Gathered from Akshit Shah Project
Manager - BCG) It makes sense to find out where the problem is, you cant reach much depth if you keep working
on an aggregate level
1. Understand the Value chain (Company)
2. Customer Buying behaviour (DMU)
3. Understand the product segments and customer segments: Make a grid and find out where the problem is.
(Customer Product)
4. Competition
Victor Chain:

Products: How much does our companys product meet the needs?
o Commodity or differentiation?
o Complementary products?
o Substitution?
o Product Lifecycle
o Packaging
o Depth and Breadth of product line
Customers:
o Segments
o % contribution to total revenues and % growth trends
o Present Needs and future Preferences evolution
o Willingness to Pay and Price elasticity
o Channels
o Any Promotion preferences
Company:
o Capabilities and expertise
o Distribution Channels used
o Cost Structure (Compare to the Industry what is more suited for the situation and what does this
company have?)
o Intangibles
o Financial Situation
o (Optional) Organization Structure how is the sales team organized is it client friendly?
o (Optional) Investment Cost
Competition:
o Market Shares
o Consolidated or Fragmented
o Barriers to Entry
o Best Practices
o Industry Lifecycle

26

ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Mckinsey & Co.

27

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate

Samudra Dasgupta

Company Name

McKinsey

Interviewer Name

Nalinikanth Gollagunta

Interview Number

Round 1 Interview 1

Personal Interview
Question

We had similar backgrounds in terms of education. We chatted about technology


trends, his projects, etc.
He asked me what other jobs I was looking at apart from consulting. Told him about
finance and GM. He advised me to stick to consulting as he had a feeling I will do well
in it. I felt more confident after this.

Case Type

Profit and Loss

Case Question

A fruit juice making company in HP was suffering losses. Help them.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Extremely simple case. No numbers. I asked 1-2 probing questions. He asked me for a
gut feeling analysis. It was about old equipments.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

He seemed to have made up my mind about me. He wasnt interested in doing the
case it seemed.

Any tips for the future


batch

If you can hit it off with the interviewer in PI, nothing like it.

Outcome

Round 1 interview 2

Name of Candidate

Samudra Dasgupta

Company Name

McKinsey

Interviewer Name

Rajat Gupta

Interview Number

Round 1 Interview 2

Personal Interview
Question

What will your friends want to change about you? How will your friends describe you?
What are your ISB accomplishments that you are proud of? What questions do you
have about me (I had read about his background before going in, so could ask relevant
questions)

Case Type

No case

Case Question
Narration of the case, as
descriptively as possible
What do you think went
right/wrong?

I kind of made sure he runs out of time for asking a case by making the PI interesting
(completely unreliable strategy)

Any tips for the future


batch

Again, if you can hit it off with the interviewer in PI, nothing like it.

Outcome

Round 1 interview 2

Name of Candidate

Samudra Dasgupta

Company Name

McKinsey

Interviewer Name

Sasi Sunkara

28

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Interview Number

Round 2 Interview 1

Personal Interview
Question

Very general PI. Describe your work experience. What all did you do in ISB.

Case Type

Organizational behavior

Case Question

A bank is facing a problem in that its traders are not signing the daily PnL records. Why
do you think that is the case?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

This wasnt about any framework based case cracking. He was asking me a real life
case question he had faced before based on my work experience. He wanted me to list
down 5 factors.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

I wasnt very satisfied with my answers. However he didnt express any dissatisfaction.

Any tips for the future


batch

Be very precise and logical in your answer. Avoid irrelevant remarks.

Outcome

Round 2 interview 2

Name of Candidate

Samudra Dasgupta

Company Name

McKinsey

Interviewer Name

Shirish Sankhe

Interview Number

Round 2 Interview 2

Personal Interview
Question

PI was limited. Some discussion about my achievements at ISB. I asked him some
relevant questions from him field (public policy).

Case Type

Revenue maximization

Case Question

How will you maximize the retail revenue from airports?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Laid down the various revenue levers: footfall in airport, what percentage visit each
store, at what frequency, what kind of stores (luxury/commodity etc), sales for each
kind of store (books/leather bags/food&beverages etc)
Turned out that the location optimization was the key which I missed out.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

He was very happy with the interview even though I didnt crack the case as such.

Any tips for the future


batch

A pleasant cheerful attitude helps more than you think.

Outcome

Offer was made.

29

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate

Himanshu Jain

Company Name

McKinsey

Interviewer Name

Sachin Haralkar

Interview Number

Round 1 Interview 1

Personal Interview
Question

What is the formula of getting 4.0 CGPA at ISB?


Tell me something about yourself?
Asked more information about the venture I started?
What are the challenges you will face as a consultant?

Case Type

Estimation

Case Question
Narration of the case, as
descriptively as possible

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Estimate the market size of Third party services such as security, housekeeping,
gardening etc.
Divided based on users: Residential, Corporate, Government, Hospitals etc.
Interviewer asked to focus on residential. Then divided into number of households for
different income level. Tried to estimate the average spend by each of these segments
taking into account gardening & security for high income and housekeeping for
middle income. Arrived at the answer.
A lot of calculations were involved in the interview. Was given decimal number of
calculate. I was fast and accurate will all of them.

Any tips for the future


batch
Outcome

Moved to Next Round

Name of Candidate

Himanshu Jain

Company Name

McKinsey

Interviewer Name

Renny Thomas

Interview Number

Round 1 Interview 2

Personal Interview
Question

Tell me something about your start-up?

Case Type

Business Situation

Case Question
Narration of the case, as
descriptively as possible

Why do you like consulting?

A high end beauty care company offers a large FMCG company 2% commission for
using its distribution network in network? Tell the CEO of the FMCG what to do?
Started by asking initial questions about the FMCG company its size, its profitability,
its current product portfolio and its future plans. It turns out that the FMCG company
was not dealing in beauty care products.
I started my breaking down the distribution channel to see the costs & margins at each
level. I asked for cost of the distribution house, margin of the distributor, dealer
margin etc. It turned out that costs came out to be 15%!! > 2%.
Renny cleared my confusion by telling me that the beauty care company will give 2%
profit over costs.
I then started analyzing the situation using the profitability framework. This is what I
made:
30

ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Revenue

2% Commission

Costs

Potential Loss

Scale up Costs

Profit

Contingency Costs

I started by explaining costs. The contingency costs will include any legal suits on the
beauty care products distributed by our company, loss of goodwill amongst
customers and distributors in case of the product line flops, etc. The scale up will
include costs of hiring more people, more space and vehicles to accommodate for
sales of beauty care products.
On the revenue front, there will a potential loss of future revenue If we intend to
start this business line under our brand as the global brand would have already
captured a large share of the brand.
Another concern on the revenue front was the amount of commission we could earn.
It seemed that the global player will use our network for few years to establish itself
and then kick our company out of the contract.
Renny asked me to focus on this issue and asked me to suggest solutions. I had the
following solutions:
1) Innovative contracts: We could have call options in the contract, where we get
to share the upside in case the products did well.
2) Partnership Arrangement with other company Where the FMCG buys a stake
in the local arm of the beauty care products.
3) Co-branding the products of beauty care company with ours
Renny asked me to stop and told me that co-branding was the solution Mckinsey
suggest to this FMCG player.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

Nothing

Any tips for the future


batch

Nothing

Outcome

Moved to Next Round

Name of Candidate
Company Name

Himanshu Jain
Mckinsey & Co

Interviewer Name

Jaidit Brar

Interview Number

Round 2, Interview 1 (16th Interview of the Day)

Personal Interview
Question

I looked completely exhausted when I entered the room. This was my 16th consecutive
interview. Therefore, Jaidit didnt ask any questions. Rather, he asked how my day has
been, do I need coffee or food, and did some casual talk to get me relaxed.
After some time, I insisted that we do a case. He smiled and said Lets do a simple
estimation case.

Case Type

Market Estimation

Case Question

Estimate the Pet food industry in India.


31

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Narration of the case, as
descriptively as possible

I started by listing the categories of Pets majority of households keep including Cat,
Dog, Birds etc. Jaidit asked me to focus on dogs.
Assuming the population to be 120bn, I said that we will have around 30bn households
assuming average size of each household to be 4. These 30bn could be further divided
into High income, Middle income, Lower income, and below poverty line. Using
Tendulkar committee report (GSB Course), I cited that 60% of people will be below
poverty line. Of the remaining 40%, I drew a graph showing presence of dogs will be
positively skewed based on income level.

Again the consumption of dog food for any income category =


%of households in the income category having dogs X Frequency of Pet food feeds X
Volume/Quantity of each feed X Price per unit of dog food.
I reasoned that amongst high-income category the number of times dog is fed Pet food
(instead of home food), the cost of unit, the frequency and volume of such feeds will
be more compared to that of a middle income group. Jaideep appeared to be satisfied
with my responses.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

Wrong: I was completely stressed out during the interview. Thanks to Jaidit for
supporting me all throughout the interview.

Any tips for the future


batch

Ensure that you carry enough chocolates and energy drinks with you. The d-day can be
extremely stressful and tiring.

Outcome

Made an Offer.

32

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate

Raman Chadha

Company Name

McKinsey & Company

Interviewer Name

Sachin Haralkar, EM @ Mumbai Office

Interview Number

First Round, First Interview

Personal Interview
Question

Not much, Sachin asked few basic questions about my experience / interests.

Case Type

Very broad market sizing case. Unusual case which required estimation of several
streams.

Case Question

A PE fund is looking to invest in a firm that deals in professional services (such as


catering / office maintenance / pantry / lawn maintenance etc) [my interpretation ->
kind of what Green Park does at ISB]. They want to estimate the size of this sector.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

I was totally lost. It was a very open ended case and I did not know where to start. I
had to estimate the market size of an industry with so many different streams.
I started by asking some basic background question industry size is India specific.
Time line of investment, etc.
Which all streams (out of catering / office maintenance / building management, etc)
should I estimate he said ALL
I knew that no traditional estimation approach (top down / bottom up) would work, so
had to think differently. I took Macroeconomics funda to estimate the size of industry
with multiple streams.
I said, I can estimate it on income based i.e. estimate total number of people
employed in such industry, and then estimate what average income they make. By
multiplying the number of people with average income, I can estimate industry size. I
mentioned approach is similar to estimating GDP of a country.
He said the approach is interesting but what else I can do?
I said I can take an expense based approach i.e. look at various institutions / firms that
need such services, and estimate how much they expense out.
Alternatively, I can take a sample city, say Delhi, look up the yellow pages and call a
few professional services firms and interview them for their turnover. This will give me
a ballpark number. I can extrapolate it to pan-India.
Also, I can look at a representative country, say China or Russia, and get secondary
data on their professional services sector size and then do scale down / up for India.
He wanted me to proceed with Income Based approach.
I said I will first estimate the total workforce in India. Then figure out how many
professional service people we need to support that population.
Sachin said go ahead!
I said population of India 1,200,000,000
Life expectancy is around 60 (I said its on the lower side but makes calculations easy,
he was ok with it). I assumed UNIFORM distribution across age (assumption that I
33

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


stated upfront). Therefore, we have 20,000,000 people / age.
Working age bracket is from 20 to 50 (again this is on average with retirement age
varying across sectors)
So, total workforce (including professional college students), is
30 * 20,000,000 = 600,000,000
Out of which Urban is approximately 30% (this was based on prior project I had done
for NUS).
So URBAN LABOR POPULATION is 180,000,000
Out of which, some may be unable to work or voluntarily sitting out (Macro Eco
fundas), some home-makers, etc so I said I would take 70% of that as actual.
URBAN WORKFORCE = 70% of 180,000,000 = 126,000,000
I said I will assume professional services are needed in urban setting only.
Now I said, I would take a hint from ISB. There are about 570 students on campus, plus
another 50-100 student researchers, and another 100 families. So 1500 people at a
given time.
I said based on my observation, Green Park has about 50 people to manage ISB (this
included people in cafeteria, dining hall, room cleaning, etc).
Using the same ratio pan-India, I can 126,000,000 * 50/1500 = 4,200,000 people in
professional service industry.
Average salary of a particular employee would be approx INR 5000/mo. Giving an
annual industry Gross Production of
4,200,000 * 5000 * 12 mo/year = INR 252,000,000. Converting to US$ at exchange rate
of 50, I got approx US$ 5,000,000,000.
Number looked reasonable. I had erred in the last conversion and calculated US$ 50bn
instead of US$5bn. I pointed it out to Sachin that the number looks very high!! He said
it is and asked me to check my calculations.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

Wrong - One goof up was that I did not get to know the name of my interviewer
beforehand (there was some change in assigned interviewers), so could not know
anything about him. I had to ask him during the interview about his background and
work. But it came across as genuine and he understood the situation.
Wrong - Screwed up on simple multiplication (interview day jitters!). So please practice
your numbers. Sachin had informed the next interviewer to test me on quant I was
honest in admitting to him that I screwed up because of nervousness.
Right - Being the first interview for Sachin, he did not have much of an anchor /
benchmark to compare against (I am assuming). I was able to strike a repo. Feedback I
had received during practice case preps with McK folks was that I had good presence
and energy during interview. I tried to maintain the same even though the case was
tough and did not go that well according to me!

Any tips for the future


batch

Take estimation cases seriously. Draw on the parallels from coursework during
interview.
34

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Outcome

Moved to 2nd interview Round 1.

Name of Candidate

Raman Chadha

Company Name

McKinsey & Company

Interviewer Name

Rajat Gupta, Director at Mumbai Office

Interview Number

First Round, Second Interview

Personal Interview
Question

Quite a few! First half was based on my story (tell me about yourself, your family,
parents, etc)

Case Type

Market Estimation

Case Question

A chemical manufacturing company is looking to enter the water treatment industry


and want to estimate the size of it. What would you tell them?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Rajat started off by asking me about myself, my parents, interests, hobbies, etc.
It was a serendipity that he was from the same town that I grew up in (Allahabad). So
we stuck a good rapport! I asked him which part of Allahabad, etc which school (He
even went to the same school as I did).
Initial half of the interview was my story only. He asked about my interests, future,
what I am passionate about.
Case
I started off by asking what kind of water treatment the client is looking to enter.
He said, why dont you identify them.
I said, Pool Cleaning, Water Filtration for home-use, Water treatment for commercial
usage (power plants, etc). He said focus on pool usage.
I said as per my understanding, pool cleaning is done by adding some chlorine based
chemicals on a continuous basis. He said yes.
I said I will estimate total pools in India and then determine total installed capacity (in
volume terms) and estimate annual demand for chemical agents. He was ok with
approach.
He suggested, take a sample city, lets say ALLAHABD () and estimate number of
pools there.
I said major drivers for pools are
-

Schools
Hotels
Sports Facilitates
Townships (I grew up in one so I knew about them)
Private Pools / Residential Pools

He said ignore Private Pools.


I said Allahabad has 5 good schools with one pool each.
There are 3-4 good hotels with 2-3 pools, so total of 15
35

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


There are municipal sports facilities, and then there is Sports Arena, so approximately
another 10 pools.
Allahabad has several townships (societies with pools), so another 10 such (I could
name several such townships, so we assumed 10).
Total of ~ 40 pools in a town like Allahabad.
Average size of pool I said is 20 m x 50m. He said that is for Olympic sized pool and not
all pools would be Olympic size. He said take quarter of that. I said then average depth
varies across pools but I would take 2m. He said why? I said 6 ft is about 1.8 m, so
another half a feet on top of that gives me 2 m. He said ok.
I multiplied to get volume / pool of 20 m x 50 m x 1/4 x 2 m = 500 m3.
In between he had given me usage of 3 g / m3 / day. I had not made a note of it but
did remember it.
I said most pools dont open throughout the year (Winters, rainy season they are
closed), so I assumed average # of days open as 200 (including other maintenance days
/ holidays).
Multiplying 3 g/m3 * 500 m3 * 40 pools * 200 days/year = 12,000,000 g/year for
Allahabad. Converting into tons, I said 12 tons/year for Allahabad.
Now he said what about pan-India. He said you have 30 sec. I said approximately 100
such cities across India including metros, etc. Total demand of 12000 ton/year. He said
ok.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

Right Connected very well with the interviewer.


Right held my nerves even though Rajat said that feedback from 1st interview was to
test my quant.
Right had a good story and could tie different pieces of resume / education together.

Any tips for the future


batch

Estimation cases are important

Outcome

Shortlisted for 2nd Round

Name of Candidate

Raman Chadha

Company Name

McKinsey & Company

Interviewer Name

Rajiv Lochan, Partner at Chennai Office

Interview Number

Second Round, First Interview

Personal Interview
Question

General stuff about my resume, my work-experience in the US, Rajiv was from IITChennai and played in inter-IIT sports tournaments and I had also done the same. So
some talk around that.

Case Type

Business Situation

Case Question

Why are the airlines in India losing money? What would be your approach to
determine the factors affecting profitability?
36

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Narration of the case, as
descriptively as possible

Rajiv mentioned that he wanted to discuss in general (I knew that structure still has to
be there). He said as an outsider to the airline industry, he was perplexed about the
lack of profitability. He said give me three hypothesis that you would work on to solve
the problem.
I said before getting into hypothesis (there were no general industry landscaping
question as knowledge about the industry was in public domain. He expected me to be
current with the industry happenings!), I would take a step back and analyze the last
few years data to see if there is a blip or sudden drop in profitability. This will help in
determining exogenous factors that might have affected profitability. He said assume
we cant do that and have to work with current data.
I said in that case, there are two ways to look at it
Either Revenues are Low and / or Costs are Too High (Basic Revenue Costs).
On Revenue Side my hypothesis would be that pricing structure of tickets is not
appropriate i.e. pricing too low compared to value offered.
Secondly, overall load-factor might be low (i.e. some operational routes dont see
adequate demand).
On Costs side my hypothesis would be that fuel costs are affecting profitability.
He said good, and wanted to focus on pricing issue. Then we went on to the detail of
calculating the value added by flying vs taking a train.
Train takes about 15 hours between Delhi and Mumbai and costs ~ 2000 whereas a
flight takes about 2 hours and cost one-way 5000 (off peak-season).
I said I would assume that business travelers are price insensitive. Average yearly
earnings of a flyer ~ Rs 15,00,000. So for 2000 hrs / year (40 hrs * 50 weeks), it comes
to about Rs 750 / hr as earning potential. So basically, if a flyer can save time
commuting, he can use it to earn at this rate.
Then potential price difference between train / flying should be 13 hrs * 750, which is
~ Rs 10,000. But currently it is too low!!
He said what else?
I said that by pricing higher some folks might switch from flying to trains. We did some
analysis on that assuming 40% switched. Still it was profitable for airlines to increase
price.
Then we went on to discuss as to why airlines price this way. I talked about anchoring
because of LCCs such as Deccan in the beginning.
General Discussion went on for another 5 mins.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Could connect with the interviewer because of his background (IIT / MS from USA and
inter-IIT)
Was direct in my approach

Any tips for the future


batch

Know the industry news and happenings

Outcome

Made an offer
37

ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Name of Candidate
Company Name

Rahul Mangla
McKinsey and Company

Interviewer Name

Dr. Shirish Sankhe

Interview Number

Round 1, Interview 1

Personal Interview
Question

This was my third interview of the day. I was still quite fresh, thanks to the healthy
doses of chocolates and Redbull !
I had interacted with Dr. Shirish Sankhe during one of the McKinsey events. Hes a
director at McKinsey and talked at length about his work in public policy particularly
GST. The public policy work was quite interesting and I had followed the space on and
off since then. We discussed GST and the recent steps towards its implementation
during the interview.
Tip : Its useful to listen to the leadership team at the post-shortlist events. You dont
have to participate in every discussion, but listening helps as youll find something
interesting, read more about it and will be able to strike an intelligent conversation on
the interview day.
About 30% of this interview was PI. However, most of the PI discussion happened
towards the end of the interview (after the case). In the beginning, the interview
started with the usual ice-breaking question Tell me something about yourself.
I narrated what I believe was longer than ideal summary about myself. Dr. Sankhe
followed up with questions on my work at Microsoft as a Program Manager and
examples of leadership at work. I had some content to share on these questions and
the conversation was flowing (always a good sign )
We then dived right into the case. (more details on the post-case PI discussion below)

Case Type

Revenue expansion and Operations

Case Question

We are working with one of the major airport operators in the country. They want to
increase their retail revenues. How would you help them?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

To start with, this looked like a fairly standard increase revenues case. Nevertheless,
heres the process I followed:
1) Scoping: I started probing around to gather more information on the problem. As a
thumb-rule, I always underlined part of the question statement itself, that I first
wanted clarified. So I asked:
a) What he meant by retail revenues: Was immediately asked to answer this one
myself. As it is quite obvious, it was the revenue generated through the sale of
goods and services for e.g. the restaurants, the book store etc. at the airport.
b) Can you qualify increase? Where are we now and where do we want to be
Was given some numbers
c) Any timeframe - more numbers were shared.
In general, in our case group, we kept the following picture in mind when scoping the
problem. This helped immensely to ensure everything is covered.

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012

2) Structure : Given that it was a revenue maximization problem as split the problem
in a fairly start way:
Revenue = Price X Volume
Volume = Market Share X Market Size
Going from here I parked prices aside for some time and focused on volumes
(price is easier to tackle later usually). For volume I drew the Ansoff matrix :

Tip : Always ensure that you bounce off every part of the structure with the
interviewer. This is critical. As I verified mine, he asked me to continue and then
later also focus on the operational aspects!
3) Analysis: The analysis was more of discussion with Dr. Sankhe and what all can be
done in each of the 4 quadrants above. I kept bouncing off ideas with him and
39

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


filling out things on my sheet that made sense. It was the creative part of the
case. Some of the possible solutions included:
a) Increasing the potential size of the market promote more air travel and get
more people to the terminal.
b) Market segmentation We can look at business and leisure travelers
separately, create separate services for each segment
I dont remember all the ideas that came up, but I do remember the discussion
was lengthy and we discussed not only what but also how. Dr. Sankhe finally
mentioned what I can do on the operations side. I mentioned depending on the
segment, we need to tune our operations speed and efficiency for business
travelers vs. comfort for leisure.
4) Synthesis: I was asked to summarize the case, which I did mentioning the
recommendations that we had discussed. I tried splitting the
recommendations into near-term and long-term goals for the airport, which I
think was liked by the interviewer.
Dr. Sankhe agreed with most things and mentioned that they had made similar
recommendations to the client. He mentioned however that in addition to all I
said, they also suggested ways of improving airport check-in and security check
facilities, as efficient systems will allow passengers to spend more time at the
airport Theyll buy more! Great point and I missed it!
5) Follow-up PI: Dr. Sankhe then asked me if had any questions for him and we
then discussed GST as it was in news recently. We also discussed cars (I
sometimes read about super cars and he owns one!) which was good fun.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

There are two aspects to any interview - Content and Delivery. Let me try and evaluate
the interview from this lens:
Content
1) Things that went well I think I had thought through some of the possible PI
questions and therefore had the content to share. Further, given that I had
read about the interviewers work, we could engage in a smooth conversation
over GST
2) Things that could have been better Couldnt stop kicking myself for missing
the Airport Operations part. He had given me a hint and I was way too lost in
my structure to catch it.
Delivery/Presentation
1) Things that went well The conversation was smooth and the interviewer
seemed engaged in the problem solving process. I ensured that I drew the
structure and my mind map clearly on paper. I also tried to think aloud
wherever I was stuck.
2) Things that didnt go well Rambling on tell me about yourself could have
been definitely avoided. Should have written down the hint around operations
somewhere as I missed it completely towards the end.

Any tips for the future


batch

PI is important! Youll all be cracking cases left and right by the time you are done
preparing, but often we forget that the company is hiring an individual and not a
structuring machine. Its imperative to know yourself, your story clearly. The
interview is a discussion. The more collaborative, engaging and fun it is, the better!

Outcome

Round 1, Interview 2

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate

Rahul Mangla

Company Name

McKinsey and Company

Interviewer Name

Rajiv Lochan

Interview Number

Round 1, Interview 2

Personal Interview
Question

Rajiv Lochan is a partner at McKinsey and has worked extensively in the banking
strategy and operations space. He had worked with American express and US Air
before joining McKinsey.
Tip: Its important to know the interviewer as you can then research more about their
work and have a few questions lined up for them. Also, in all probability, the cases are
real-life examples from their work.
Rajiv had a very different style of interviewing and I could sense that very early. As I
walked in, after the greetings, Rajiv asked me to sit on his seat. His rationale was that
hes here to listen and I am the one driving the interview!
I was then explained the structure of the interview. He wanted to spend some time
upfront in getting to know me (the PI), hell then move on to gathering some free
consulting advice (aka the case interview) and finally well close with any questions I
have for him.
1) He began by asking me general things (sort of tell me about yourself).
2) He then asked me Why consulting. I had thought this question through and
drew a graph that I thought best conveyed what I wanted to say. He seemed
quite interested in understanding the graph better.
3) I was again asked a lot of question around leadership. Its partly because most
of my work and co-curricular revolved around leading teams.
4) Rajiv however, asked me a few tricky ones like three words to describe me as a
leader. I stumbled and came up with a few adjectives.
5) He then asked me to come up with three more words that others will use for
me as a leader you cannot possibly prepare for questions like this, however if
you have your story straight youll be able to come with an answer.
We then moved to the case.

Case Type

Process Optimization

Case Question

A hospital has 4 operation theatres that can be used for open heart surgery. Currently
the hospital conducts 12 surgeries/week and the aim to take that number to 18
surgeries/week

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

1) Scoping: As described in the framework above, the attempt was to clarify the
problem statement. Given that this was process optimization case, I focused on
understanding:
a) The Process itself How are the operation theatres used? How is the
scheduling done?
b) What are the resources required doctors, nurses, equipment and patients.
c) What is the capacity of the various resources in the system turns out there
are 6 doctors only who can perform this kind of surgery and they all have
different levels of efficiency based on their experience. A typical operation
takes 6 hrs.
d) Any scheduling constraints The patients need be readied for the operation,
which takes about an hour before the operation. The theatre then needs to be
cleaned for the next procedure which takes an additional hour.
As I asked more questions, I got loads of numbers in this case. I drew a process
chart and wrote down the various numbers:
41

ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Prepare
Nurses
Support staff
Patient

Operate
doctor
nurses
Patient

Cleanup
Support staff

2) Structure: Given that it was a process problem I thought split the problem
using the usual PPI framework, which is:
Process, People and Infrastructure.
I discussed with Rajiv that the hospital is performing sub-optimally due to one
of the above and we can explore each one-by-one.
Though he agreed with the framework, I could see that he wasnt satisfied.
After a little probing he mentioned that he wasnt sure how would I solve the
operations problem using this framework.
That was my clue. The framework went out of the window and I focused on
trying to remember whatever I could from Ops Management.
3) Analysis: Now that we are trying to optimize a process, my approach was:
a) Find the bottleneck Any improvement in bottleneck should lead to a
consequent improvement in the overall process. I had all the data, so I
started quickly crunching the utilization numbers for all resources (the
bottleneck should have a utilization of 100%)
b) Doctors had the time, the operation theatre could do more and there was
always a queue of patients at the hospital for this surgery. It seemed that
some of the resources were not being used optimally. The operation
theatre it turned out was always the issue. It was never available for some
reason, though it had the capacity to perform more operations.
As I probed further, Rajiv asked me why a flight is usually late because of the
incoming aircraft, I said. That was a useful hint In case of the operation theatre the
surgeries were scheduled one after the other. If one is delayed all others got delayed
and finally the last one of the day was cancelled spilling over to the next day.
The reason doctors dont show-up on time. After all the soul-searching the crux of
the matter was the fact that doctors would book the operation theatres for a surgery,
but 70% of the surgeries didnt start on time leading to the spillover effects.
4) Synthesis: I was asked to synthesis the long discussion and I stated the
recommendations in the following way:
a) Near-term goals Low hanging fruits. Improve utilization by more efficient
scheduling. Dont let a late surgery start as it would be affect all other
surgeries lined up for the day. Instead look for other operation theatres
which may be available to perform the delayed surgery Explained this
cross-scheduling using an example.
b) Long-term goals Behavioral change. The doctors incentives can be
tweaked to incentivize them to start the surgeries on time.
5) Follow-up questions Given that Rajiv had worked in the banking sector I was
curious to know how things are different when it comes to dealing with the
42

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


public sector giants vs. the nimbler private sector banks. He had some
interesting insights to share.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

Content
1) Things that went well Was able to find the core issue (with some nudging
from the interviewer). The PI was smooth overall, was able to come up with
some answers to the offbeat PI questions.
Tip: If you are asked something very different its perfectly fine to take some
time to formulate your answer. Dont jump in if you dont know what to say.
That said, for basic things like achievement at work etc. you should have the
answers on your fingertips.
2) Things that didnt go well fumbled with the numbers here and there. Got
confused between weekly, daily and monthly data. Was able to recover, but
its usually a good practice to keep the units consistent across all numbers

Delivery/Presentation
1) Things that went well The conversation was smooth, the initial PI helped
break the ice. The interview itself was very collaborative and it was good fun
solving the case with Rajiv.
2) Things that could have been better I had made a mess of the calculations,
they were all over the page, which pretty much ended up confusing me in the
interview. Its absolutely important that you do your calculations neatly.
Any tips for the future
batch

Will reiterate what I said earlier. Case solving ability is a hygiene factor or as we would
say in our engineering days a necessary but not sufficient condition. What
differentiates two people who solved the same case the people they are and the
conversation they strike. Consulting is a client-facing job, you need to be able to solve
the problem and interact with the client.
Therefore, dont ignore your story, who you are and why you stand out.

Outcome

Moved to Round 2

Name of Candidate

Rahul Mangla

Company Name

McKinsey and Company

Interviewer Name

Rajat Gupta

Interview Number

Round 2, Interview 1

Personal Interview
Question

Rajat is a director at McKinsey and has been with the firm for 20 years. He has
extensive experience across sectors and currently heads McKinseys Energy and
Materials practice in Asia.
Like the interviewers before Rajat focused on making sure that the interviewee was
comfortable and started with general ice-breaking questions about my background
and work.
The interview didnt have any case and it was general discussion about the work I had
done at Microsoft, my strengths and weaknesses and my career achievements so far.
Rajat then shared some positive feedback I had received from the partners who had
interviewed me so far (which I guess was a good sign). By now I must admit, I was
quite restless to know the result.
43

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Finally, we shook hands with the statement welcome to the firm.

Case Type

Not Applicable

Case Question

Not Applicable

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Not Applicable

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Not Applicable

Any tips for the future


batch

Lifes fair in the long-term and that thought usually helps keeping your nerves in
control. The D-day may decide what firm youll join out of campus, but it absolutely
cannot swing the long career in front of you.
Best of luck, do well and stay in touch!

Outcome

Made an offer.

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate
Company Name

Aditi Sharma
McKinsey

Interviewer Name

Meghana Narayan

Interview Number

Round 1 Interview 1

Personal Interview
Question

Tell Me about your most challenging assignment to date(First question that was asked
the moment I took my seat). Follow-up questions on that.

Case Type

Understanding the cost drivers

Case Question

UK Government hires you as a consultant to help them curb public spending that goes
into healthcare

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible
What do you think went
right/wrong?

The main problem lie with the size of population a particular healthcare professional
was employed to serve. There was underutilization and hence higher spending.

Any tips for the future


batch

After the PI part, the time left for the case question was a little under 10 minutes. Keep
a check on time and focus on making as exhaustive an initial structure as possible.
Thatll often be your best chance at showcasing your skill. The case discussion will
mostly not go on till the very end.

Outcome

Moved to Next Round

Name of Candidate

Aditi Sharma

Company Name

McKinsey

Interviewer Name

Jatin Pant

Interview Number

Round 1 Interview 2

Personal Interview
Question

What all do you think it takes to be a good consultant?

Case Type

Market Entry/Estimation

Case Question

A Korean company is entering Indian market with 0.5-ton capacity ACs. For building
plant capacity, help them estimate the market for the product in India.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Took the vanilla market estimation approachaffordable housing, second or third AC


fitting in residential/commercial office spaces. Was stopped there.

Why should we hire you over others?

Was asked to suggest alternative methods for market sizing. Brief discussion on market
research techniques.
Interviewer was looking at a specific approach to sizing this market. Finally proposed
the analog method. If possible, looking at the market penetration of 0.5-ton AC in a
market similar to India in terms of demographics and/or geography. Following
discussion centered around choice of reference country Latin American nations,
South East Asian countries etc. Interviewer said at the end Now, we have cracked the
case!
What do you think went
right/wrong?

Switch approaches quickly. Think beyond the way you would like to approach a case.
The interviewer is many a times looking for something completely different.

Any tips for the future

Most of what I discussed with the interviewer was what I could remember from the
45

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


batch

ENDM course-was pretty useful. Built on that stuff during the interview.
Most important, make conversation as you solve the problem.

Outcome

Moved to Next Round

Name of Candidate

Aditi Sharma

Company Name

McKinsey

Interviewer Name

Renny Thomas

Interview Number

Round 2 Interview 1

Personal Interview
Question

Tell me about yourself?

Case Type

Sourcing Insource/Outsource

Case Question

A chemical major in India is considering setting up their own power generation facility.
What is the capacity of the plant that they should build?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

After inquiring more about the operations of the company and the motivation behind
this decision, proposed three options for sourcing electricity Make, Buy and
Make+Buy.
After this, the discussion mainly focused on make+buy option. We started discussing
the chemicals business cyclicality etc. Cost of electricity production - inhouse was
more expensive that purchasing from government utility. But the chemicals business
was reverse cyclical to domestic peak demand for electricity in summer. The company
had the option of putting the generated power on grid and selling it to power utility at
power-exchange determined rates. So, make+buy made sense. Then we discussed
about the baseline production capacity and the variation in demand we see around
that where the baseline production for electricity should lie in that case. Risks such
as sourcing of coal were also discussed.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Make+Buy option.

Any tips for the future


batch
Outcome

Moved to Next Round

Name of Candidate

Aditi Sharma

Company Name

McKinsey

Interviewer Name

Shirish Sankhe

Interview Number

Round 2 Interview 2

Personal Interview
Question

About work experience and responsibilities at previous company.

Case Type

Market Estimation

Case Question

Number of cements bags sold in India annually

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Commercial and Residential Space construction. Grouped Indian population into


different income brackets. As a ball park, assumed that every household can afford to
spend nearly 30% of their income on housing. Based on this and prior knowledge of
46

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


per sq. ft. rates for residential (triangulated for 3 metros), came up with the different
brackets of house sizes and the number of households that fall into those brackets. If
average life of construction be 10 years then found the number of sq. ft. of residential
construction annually. Assumed a per capita (household) commercial space
consumption based on the same brackets and came up with total sq. ft. construction.
Multiplied it by cement bags reqd. per sq. ft. Interviewer supplied relevant details
where necessary and looked happy with the approach.
What do you think went
right/wrong?
Any tips for the future
batch

Engage the interviewer. Propose and then discuss alternative solutions for a problem
at hand.

Outcome

Received a job offer!

47

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate

Vamshidhar Reddy

Company Name

McKinsey

Interviewer Name

Jaidit Brar

Interview Number

Round 1, Interview 1

Personal Interview
Question

Questions on my background. Tell me something that is not on your resume and follow
up questions

Case Type

Profitability

Case Question

Ship company making losses for last three years

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Asked basic questions on the business model of the company, number of ships in its
fleet, the routes it serves, and its geographical presence. The company owns 1000 fleet
of ships serving all across the globe and mainly used for transporting cargo.
I used the revenue and cost framework. Revenues actually increased from $ 4B to $ 5B
(in last three years) but the costs had increased significantly (from $ 3.5B to $ 5.5B). I
checked for the industry trends and was informed that the overall industry was facing
high cost issues. Now I started to deep dive into the costs a shipping company faces. I
drew out the entire value chain and started identifying the major cost buckets for this
company. After some discussion, we identified that the key issue was the rising fuel
prices which explained the losses. Then we brainstormed on the recommendations
including hedging, more efficient utilization of fuel etc. Turned out that ships were
travelling faster than the optimal speed and they could be made more fuel efficient by
decreasing the speed of the ships. We had a brief discussion on the implications of
reducing the speed of the ships - other miscellaneous costs and customer impact.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Drawing the value chain helped me think clearly on the different costs. This being the
first interview with McKinsey, I was a bit rusty.

Any tips for the future


batch

The value chain framework is very helpful. Anytime you are stuck, thinking through the
value chain and the basics will be helpful.

Outcome

Name of Candidate

Vamshidhar Reddy

Company Name

McKinsey

Interviewer Name

Faridun Dotiwala

Interview Number

Round 1, Interview 2

Personal Interview
Question

The interview was mostly PI focussed. There was a brief 5 minute discussion on a case
(discussed below). We had a discussion about my story, and reasons for each major
decision in my life - IIT, Work, ISB and why I came back to India. Next, we discussed
about my ISB experience, key learnings, major challenges I faced and areas of
improvement for me going forward. There were a lot of other questions specific to my
profile.

Case Type

Growth

Case Question

Increasing ISB revenues

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

This was a growth case where Faridun wanted me to identify 5 sources for increasing
the revenue of ISB. He wasnt looking for specific details but a high level discussion on
how to increase revenues for ISB. I identified the major buckets - fees, additional
campus, vocational training, executive education programs, tie ups with corporate for
48

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


leadership programs and optimizing the current operations. We had a brief discussion
around these points. This was a very short case and most of the interview was PI
focused.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

I was able to connect with Faridun and this helped me to have a good discussion with
him on my story and other PI questions.

Any tips for the future


batch

Practice PI well. It is as important as cracking the cases.

Outcome

Shortlisted for R2

Name of Candidate

Vamshidhar Reddy

Company Name

McKinsey

Interviewer Name

Sasi Sunkara

Interview Number

Round 2, Interview 1

Personal Interview
Question

The interview started with basic PI questions - Tell me about yourself, why consulting
etc.

Case Type

Increasing Profitability

Case Question

Increasing ROE of UK Bank

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

The client was a UK bank. It was the market leader in SME segment. It wanted to
increase its ROE from 12% to 25%. A few basic questions helped me understand that
even though the bank was the market leader in SME segment, its ROE was much less
than that of competition.
We talked about revenues and cost and Sasi asked me to focus on the costs. I said that
costs for the bank can be broken down into cost per branch* Number of branches.
Cost per branch was higher. He asked me what would be a good metric to benchmark
against competition and after a little brainstorming; I mentioned that cost per serving
a customer should be the metric we need to compare across branches.
Then I deep dived into the major costs incurred by the bank and zeroed in on bad debt
expense and front end people costs to be the major factors. Sasi asked me to focus on
how to reduce costs for front end people. We discussed the different ways to reduce
people costs in a bank - hiring, effective deployment, controlling attrition, increasing
productivity.
Sasi asked me to give three recommendations for increasing productivity of the
employees. I mentioned that productivity could be increased through training,
incentivization (fixed vs variable pay) and automation of low level tasks. Sasi was
happy with the recommendations and ended the case.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

This was my best interview of the day. I was able to connect with Sasi and was able to
have a good discussion on both PI and case.

Any tips for the future


batch
Outcome

Name of Candidate

Vamshidhar Reddy
49

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Company Name

McKinsey

Interviewer Name

Rajiv Lochan

Interview Number

Round 2, Interview 2

Personal Interview
Question

The interview started by Rajiv asking what drives me in life. Then we had a discussion
about important traits of a leader and follow up questions on my leadership style.

Case Type

Pricing

Case Question

Airline Industry and ticket pricing from Delhi to Hyderabad

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

We initially had a good discussion on airline industry and my perspective on Kingfisher


and future trends. Next, we did a brief case to understand whether the current
Kingfisher airfare was reasonable.
I mentioned that we can look at three ways to decide whether the price is appropriate
- value to customer, competitors prices, and costs incurred to serve a passenger. Rajiv
asked me to focus on the value to the customer.
The major value for customer comes from convenience and time saved. We discussed
other alternatives like train and compared the time value of money. Train costs Rs
2000 and takes 24 hrs to travel from Delhi to Hyderabad and plane costs Rs 6000 and
takes 4 hrs (including security, check in etc). So a customer is paying an additional
amount of Rs 200/hr
At the face of it, it looked like a small number considering the customer segment. After
a brief discussion, we looked at the average salary of a person travelling in economy
(middle class). I assumed it to be ~ Rs 8 lakhs. An average person works ~ 2000 hrs per
year which comes to ~ Rs 400/hr.
After some discussion, we concluded that the air fare was too low and the intense
price wars were making it less profitable for everyone in the airline industry.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

This interview was towards the end of the day and by then I was completely tired. In
hindsight, maintaining the energy at the end of the day and being able to connect with
Rajiv were the biggest positives in this interview.

Any tips for the future


batch

Students with multiple shortlists will have a lot of interviews that day. Maintaining
your energy till the last interview is the key - eat well during breaks. Practice giving 6-8
interviews towards the end of preparatory phase (mock placement day, case prep
groups etc). All the very best!

Outcome

Was made an offer

50

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate
Company Name

Sachin Kumar
McKinsey

Interviewer Name

Sasi Sunkara

Interview Number

1-R1

Personal Interview
Question

Interview started with some general questions about my background. Lot of discussion
involved my family background and my journey to ISB. Sasi showed a lot of interest in
my background and let me do the whole talking. He was asking few questions in
between, but It was me who was guiding the whole discussion. There were no why
(why McK/Consulting) questions.

Case Type

Estimation

Case Question

Can you estimate the financial losses in US from subprime crisis of 2008?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

I opened the case in standard manner and asked for few seconds to think about the
problem. Then, I drew following value chain which was involved in subprime crisis.
Home Owners

Subprime Lenders

Investors

Investors were different banking institutions and managed funds. I talked about the
financial losses at each stage of value chain. I mentioned that because a lot of liquidity
dried up, banks did not have money to lend to industries. So, there were indirect losses
as well because of the projects where industry could not invest on account of shortage
of funds.
Sasi was OK with the value chain and asked me to ignore the indirect losses.
I said that I will estimate the losses at each stage of value chain. Here, Sasi helped me
in figuring about that all the financial losses are correlated. Securities in which
investors invested had houses as underlying assets. When values of houses dropped
and home owners were defaulted those securities became junk securities. In the end
whole problem boiled down to calculating the loss in value of houses in subprime
crisis.
I started my estimation from US population of 300 million. I calculated total number of
houses. I made assumption about how many of those houses are on loan. Sasi gave me
figure for percentage of home owners defaulted on their loan. One important point
was that if loan holder did not default, there is no loss in value, even though value of
his house is reduced in the crisis. Sasi gave me figures for average value of a house
before and after the crisis. From this data I estimated the financial losses.
I forgot to include the payment made by loan holders from the time loan was issued till
they defaulted. Sasi pointed that out and ended the case.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

I connected well with Sasi during PI part. He seemed impress from my background
story. Alums told me that if you can make interviewer remember your name after the
interview, you have good chance of making through. I think I passed that test as Sasi
came to me after whole selection process was over and talked to me about my
background.

Any tips for the future


batch

Dont ignore PI. I think many alums will give same suggestion but still we end up giving
95% time to case prep and only 5% to PI. Lot of people will perform well in cases; there
is less chance that case performance is going to be game changer. PI will give you more
opportunity to connect with interviewer. Dont ignore this. Write down your whole
story. Think about what makes you who you are. What makes you unique? If you think
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


you dont have anything interesting, I am sure you have not thought hard enough.
Another thing which helped me was I listed down at least 10 instance of my life
highlighting different aspect - leadership, hardwork, performer, handling difficult
situation. After that whatever question is asked, chances are atleast one of the story
will fit into the answer. Simple public speaking 101 - Always give examples. Dont just
say I have leadership skills, exemplify it.
Outcome

Next interview

Name of Candidate

Sachin Kumar

Company Name

McKinsey

Interviewer Name

Prashanth Vasu

Interview Number

2-R1

Personal Interview
Question

Prashanth is one the most jovial person you would ever come across to. He would
make you feel at ease instantly. He is always smiling, so you would never know
whether you performed well in case or just screwed it .
Again, lot of questions regarding my background. No usual questions like why
McKinsey or why consulting. He was interested in knowing me in more detail. So, I told
him what was not there on Resume.

Case Type

Profitability

Case Question

A tire manufacturing company wants to increase its profits by 7%.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

I dont remember much of the detail of the case as Prashanth did not allow me to take
my notes. I will write down what all I remember.
I started with few exploratory questions regarding, competitors, customers and
product. Found out that company was making tires for 3 wheelers and 4 wheelers. In 4
wheelers there were 2 market segments company was serving- car manufacturer and
service centers.
There were a lot of numbers. I talked about various aspect of profit increasing such as
increasing the price, focusing more on high margin products and customers. I kept
proving different suggestions to increase the profit until we reached the target of 7%
increased profit.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

I made few mistakes in calculation. This could have been detrimental to my chances of
making to second round.

Any tips for the future


batch

Be comfortable with little bit of number crunching, especially handling percentages.


For example, if sales of product A is just 20% of overall sale and you can increase
price of the product by 20%, how much overall profit will improve.
You may be good with numbers but doing numbers in pressure situation is different
ball game altogether. So, try to do number calculations in your mock case interviews.

Outcome

Shortlisted for 2nd round

Name of Candidate

Sachin Kumar

Company Name

McKinsey
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Interviewer Name

Rajat Gupta

Interview Number

1- R2

Personal Interview
Question

I got dinged from other companies I had shortlist with by this time, so I was already
nervous. I knew this was make-or-break for me. Rajats serious demeanor also did not
help much. He started PI without wasting much time.
This interview involved questions which every one prepares. Following are few of the
questions.

Tell me about yourself


If I go out of this room and ask about you, what will your friends tell me?
What would your friends tell me about your weak points?
What are you doing to overcome your weaknesses?
What are your biggest achievements?
Tell me about instances when you demonstrated leadership?

When I answered the question about my weaknesses, Rajat suddenly seemed more
interested and asked me to elaborate. I said to myself shit, why did I say that? I
made honest attempt to describe in detail what I meant. I made sure that he also
knows about my efforts for overcoming those weaknesses.
I had the feeling that I am being grilled. After around 20 mins of PI he said, Lets do a
case.
Case Type

Open Ended

Case Question

How would you reduce carbon emission of India without jeopardizing the economic
growth?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

I was comfortable with this case question because my ELP work was related to carbon
emission only. So, I knew a lot of facts.
I started by dividing the carbon emission in 2 parts Industry and Household.
Industry

Energy generation
Steel
Cement
Other manufacturing industries

Here, I talked about replacing coal based energy with renewable sources. Improving
the technology in other industries. I gave suggestions for different industry. Rajat
seemed impressed by my knowledge of facts and asked me how I knew all this. I told
him that I did my ELP in same area.
Household

Lighting
Cooking
Traveling
Agriculture

I missed the agriculture here which Rajat reminded me. He told me that lot of green
house gasses are generated from the farts of cattle . I asked him what out the
breathing of cattle and human beings. He said thats an interesting thought and it
would be interesting to find out the impact of that.
I took over individual header and started tacking that. For example
Carbon emission from travelling = number of vehicles x average emission per vehicle
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


I said we can limit the number of vehicles. To do that promote the public
transportation and apply higher tax on sale of private vehicles. We can reduce the
average emission per vehicle by making sure that no vehicles older than 10 years are
running on road.
Similarly I covered all different sectors.
In the end Rajat said Ok, but what was my original question?
I skipped a heartbeat. I told him that question was to reduce the emission and not
impact the economic growth. Thats why I talked about alternate ways of reducing the
emission and not recommended to shut down some activities. I said to achieve double
digit growth power sectors needs to grow atleast by 6 % (I read it somewhere), thats
why I suggested investing in renewable energy sources while reducing the dependence
on coal based energy gradually.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

I knew a lot of background information on emission space which impressed Rajat. I


covered various ways of reducing emission and followed MECE structure always. I was
breaking problem in sub problems and handling them independently.
I was evaluating my answers in the interview which made me even more nervous.
Certainly not the best thing to do in interviews, or anywhere you are performing for
that matter.

Any tips for the future


batch

Be confident before you enter the interview room. Dont judge yourself. Believe that
you are performing well. Leave the evaluation part to interviewer.
Always follow a structured approach. Answer is not important, especially for open
ended cases. Its the approach that matters. And think loudly so that interviewer can
know what is going on in your head.

Outcome

Then they told me in person, Welcome to the firm

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate
Company Name

Shreerang Godbole
Mckinsey & Co.

Interviewer Name

Renny Thomas Partner

Interview Number

R1-Int -1

Personal Interview
Question

Specific to work experience. On my key learning and outcomes

Case Type

General

Case Question

You are the head of an Indian FMCG company. A large foreign multinational FMCG
comes up to you and says that it wants to use your powerful distribution chain. What
will you do?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

There seemed to be no logical framework for this. I thought of this as a Mergers case
and mentally labeled each of the companies as Acquirer and Target. Once I had a fix on
this the rest seemed to flow logically. The sequence of questioning was as follows:
1.
2.
3.
4.

What do the companies do?


Who are their customers
What are the motives of this proposal?
What is the Synergy and the Opportunity Cost for the Indian company for not
entering into this agreement?
5. What will be the pricing for this arrangement?
6. What will be the key risks?
I laid out these questions in front Renee and then we proceeded on our discussion. It
turned out that the product set was non-intersecting and the foreign MNC was looking
at understanding the Indian market. It had a powerful brand and great marketing skills.
However, the customer set was the same. Therefore I talked about all the cost savings
for the entrant on account of this proposal. For the Indian company it was about being
associated with a large brand and learning a lot from them in terms of skill sets. The
opportunity cost was that of the foreign entrant moving to a competitor Indian
company and it attaining leadership position in the market.
The key risks were of the foreign entrant looking at targeting my customers after a
certain time period. This could be taken care of by non-compete agreements and
contractual clauses. The key issue would be that of pricing this scheme.
The interviewer seemed to be pretty much fine with what I was saying. We then had a
long chat about Talent Management and how Mckinsey manages its talent processes.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

I think there was nothing great that I did. Remained calm and importantly kept on
saying my thoughts aloud.

Any tips for the future


batch

None

Outcome

Moved to R1-Int 2

Name of Candidate

Shreerang Godbole

Company Name

Mckinsey & Co.

Interviewer Name

Rajat Gupta Director

Interview Number

R1-Int -2

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Personal Interview
Question

Grilled Grilled Grilled..


RG: If I asked your friends what is that one thing that they dislike about you what
would you say?
SG: (I replied)
RG: Okay tell me one more
SG: (I replied)
RG: One More
SG: (I replied)
RG: One More
SG: (I replied)
RG: You dont angry too often but when you do you lose your top.. dont you?
I have no clue how he go to that!! I simply said yes. (Be brutally honest)!
Wow.. !!! For a moment I thought I was a Demon incarnated !!! At the end of it Rajat
smiled and nodded in acknowledgement. I think he just loved the fact that I was
straightforward and saying everything right from the heart. The case followed. But I
knew that I had created an impression.

Case Type

Pricing

Case Question

There is a hovercraft service operating from North Bombay to South Bombay.. how will
you price the tickets?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Pricing elective to the rescue I simply rattled off the theory.


1. Cost Plus
2. Competition Based
3. Value Based
First understand what the various modes of transport are and what the
performance parameters on the dimensions of price and time to reach destination.
Next, look at who the customers are. This should be followed by the basic
principles of value-based pricing. What are the benefits that they would derive
from reaching their destination early. Took one example Increases available
working time. Maybe one can meet more clients. Translates into x number of
clients per year. Probably of getting an order from a client is p. Therefore so much
business generated.
In my opinion the key point was to value the time saved by using the hovercraft.
Also mentioned other revenue generating opportunities on the hovercraft that
could subsidize the actual ticket prices.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Perfect

Any tips for the future


batch

Just be yourself. And say what you really mean.

Outcome

Moved to R2 Offer made

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate
Company Name

Akshay Sethi
Mckinsey & Co

Interviewer Name

Nikhil Lalwani Associate Principal

Interview Number

Interview 1, Round 1

Personal Interview
Question

Tell me about yourself


Why consulting
Tell me about your personal failures

Case Type

Market Entry + guesstimates

Case Question

I want to start a helicopter service to ferry people from Nariman Point to the CS
Airport in Mumbai. Should I?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

This was a very open ended case where I had to assume numbers and walk him
through my thought process.
I started off by asking him some basic questions to set the ground work. Such as :
-

What is your motivation?


Current skill set
Any targets/timelines

After setting the landscape, I put a structure to the problem. Said I will look into this
case in the following manner:
1. Establish if the industry/business is attractive.
2. Do you have the resources and the skills to proceed & successfully run the
business
3. Can you sustain the business
4. How to establish the business.
Majority of my interview was based on Step 1. Industry attractiveness. I did numbers
here and customer segmentation. I was asked to assume, number of trips, number of
seats, occupancy rate, and fuel cost + misc expenses. I was asked to defend each
number. My numbers got messy and I was able to round them off and quickly give him
an estimate. He liked this.
Under Step2, I discussed infrastructure requirements, capital requirements, human
resource, training and his previous skills.
Under Step 3, briefly discussed possible threat to his business from external factors
such as new train lines and new highways. Pressures on pricing and changes in
regulations. Etc.
Didnt have time for Step 4.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

The case went well. I was structure and was able to ask him appropriate questions. I
was able to work well with number

Any tips for the future


batch

Stay calm

Outcome

Next round

Name of Candidate

Akshay Sethi

Company Name

Mckinsey & Co
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Interviewer Name

Faridun Dotiwala Assoc Principal

Interview Number

Interview 2, Round 1

Personal Interview
Question

Why consulting
Why do you think you fit in
Do you think are a leader?
What would you peers says about you?
What are your weaknesses

Case Type

Case Question

I was asked a case out of the blue and during the conversation. If you had to remove
one member from study group at ISB. Who would it be and why?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

At the onset I told him that this is a difficult task because I enjoyed everyones
company and we did well in getting our assignments done. If I was forced to let
someone go I told him I would prefer attitude over skill. From the 2 people I had
narrowed down to I said one had the skill but a poor attitude while the other found it
difficult to cope with theory part but was sincere in his attitude and effort. I picked the
latter.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

The interview went fine. I had answers to the soft questions and was prepared for
them. I thought the case was very short.

Any tips for the future


batch

Prepare for the softer questions and not only cases! Spend some time reflecting on
what motivates you and your long term plans. Further, reflect on the decisions you
have previous made and why did you do so.

Outcome

Next Round

Name of Candidate

Akshay Sethi

Company Name

Mckinsey & Co

Interviewer Name

Jaidit Singh Brar Principal

Interview Number

Interview 3, Round 2

Personal Interview
Question

Tell me something about yourself

Case Type

Profitability

Case Question

A shipping company is seeing a drop in profitability. Explore.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

I started off by asking the ground setting or landscaping questions

Why consulting.

Explain the business of the company


Customer?
What kind of ships and hence what kind of products do they ship
Competition?
Current industry landscape

At this point I drew the profitability framework and explored that with him. I prefer the
frame work from Co2010 casebook written by mouneesh Sinha and I had modified it
little as I prepared for cases. Once I established that the revenues are in line with the
market growth, I jumped into the cost side.
I spent time exploring the costs and cut out various options that could have increased
58

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


costs. I also ran through the value chain I had drawn with his help.
Eventually I figured that the increase in cost was due to higher waiting time at
congested ports which reduced ships turn around for the company. The company
invested in faster more efficient ships that were stuck at congested ports and this
countered the companys competitive advantage. After figuring out the problem I gave
a few solutions to it.
Apologies, this case was long and I cant recall the entire conversation and numbers.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

Reaching the solution was the aha moment. Further, the solution included both the
run of the mill suggestions and some innovative ones. The innovative ones help you
stand out if they are appropriate
The case was number heavy and I got stuck with the numbers a bit.

Any tips for the future


batch

Go slow on numbers and walk the interviewer through your thought process. This will
help in case you get a number wrong because the interviewer would be able to help
you.

Outcome

Next Round

Name of Candidate

Akshay Sethi

Company Name

Mckinsey & Co

Interviewer Name

Rajat Gupta - Director

Interview Number

Interview 4, Round 2

Personal Interview
Question

Tell me something about yourself


Why consulting
Family background
Previous job
Why did you like it? Skills you picked up?

Case Type

NA

Case Question

NA

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

NA

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Clarity and preparation for PI was sufficient.

Any tips for the future


batch

Prepare for PI. Especially for Mck!

Outcome

Another interview!

Name of Candidate

Akshay Sethi

Company Name

Mckinsey & Co

Interviewer Name

Renny Thomas Partner

Interview Number

Interview 5, Round: dont know

Personal Interview

Tell me something about yourself


59

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Question

Why consulting.

Case Type

na

Case Question

na

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

na

What do you think went


right/wrong?

This was a 15 min fit interview.

Any tips for the future


batch
Outcome

Offer!

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate
Company Name

Dhruv Vatsal
McKinsey & Co

Interviewer Name

Rajiv Lochan, Partner

Interview Number

Round 1, Interview 2

Personal Interview
Question

a) Tell me about your leadership experiences.


b) How do you define leadership?
c) In your opinion, how is leadership different from management?
I remember drawing a Venn diagram at this point in the interview, and identified
management as a subset of leadership, alongwith multiple other traits that a successful
leader would exhibit.

Case Type

Profitability

Case Question

What is your opinion on the reasons for the current situation of the airline industry in
India?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Opening question: Industry experts say that there is a lot of overcapacity, which is what
is driving down prices. Do you think that is right?
I said no, and that overcapacity was not the problem. I justified this saying that airlines
would not have delivery of aircrafts lined up if this were the case. Therefore, causality
being inferred was incorrect, and that price decline was not being caused by
overcapacity, but by competition. At this point, I also drew a game theory 2X2 and
argued that players have been unsuccessful in signaling to each other, and therefore a
prisoners dilemma exists.
The interviewer countered back saying that price wars are not a recent occurrence, but
existed about 5 years back. Why then has the industry gone into such a state recently?
I broke down the first part of the discussion on Yield and utilization. Yield was
average price per occupied seat, and utilization was occupied seats/ total available
seats. Discussion on these two metrics itself lasted a good 15minutes, and I dont
remember the details of it now.
Later, he asked me to think of more reasons, so the discussion went onto fuel and
personnel as being the major cost drivers. Ever increasing ATF prices were causing
financial strain for all the airlines. I also mentioned that airlines were allowed by policy
to source from Indian Oil and not directly procure from the international market, and
this added a cost overhead as well. <A little bit of current affairs that I was aware of>
At this point, I think I became highly unstructured, and discussed a lot of facts that I
was aware of. <Prior knowledge clouded the ability to think rationally>. I rattled out
facts on why within the airline industry there was such disparity, and Indigo was able to
do better than Kingfisher because of the way its aircraft servicing contract was
designed, and the way it accepted new deliveries. This was quite irrelevant to the case,
and did not quite go in my favor.
Closing question: What are the two most important things you would try and find out
to understand this problem?
I said that trends in two metrics need to be studied to come to a conclusion on this. I
dont remember the metrics that I came up with though.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

What went wrong?


The entire case was all over the place. I know that of all 3 interviews with McK, this one
did not go well at all, and therefore might have been a possible point of contention
during the final decision.
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


What went right?
The PI questions went better-than-expected in my opinion. I was able to define
leadership and clearly articulate differences between leadership and management
using instances from my experience in the factory. The Venn diagram put across a
concise picture of these concepts, and went in my favor I guess.
Any tips for the future
batch

PIs important

Outcome

Next round

Name of Candidate

Dhruv Vatsal

Company Name

McKinsey & Co

Interviewer Name

Dr. Shirish Sankhe, Director

Interview Number

Round 2

Personal Interview
Question

Nothing out of the ordinary. Why consulting? Why ISB?

Case Type

Market Analysis

Case Question

Assume that the Indian Government is your client. Can you advise them on ways to
improve the mining industry over the next 10 year horizon?

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

This case was by far the toughest, since I had no idea about this sector. The opening
remark by the interviewer was, I have a feeling youre not too familiar with the sector.
We started with an overall discussion around the sector. The questions

Surprisingly, none of the McK interviewers asked the question Why McK?

i.

What do you think are the most important minerals that are mined in India? I took a
vague guess on Bauxite, which I think turned out to be correct. Thereafter, I discussed
a bit more on Iron Ore, Manganese and attempted (unsuccessfully) to broadly identify
the hot-spots for these in India.
ii. The topics then went onto current affairs, and of the 3 news items he mentioned, I
had no clue of any. At this point, the comment made was You should probably start
reading the newspaper.

Nonetheless, I proceeded to attempt the case as follows:


a) I identified an analogy with the Oil n Gas sector, and laid out the value chain for
this sector as follows:

Exploration

Drilling/
Mining

Marketing/
Selling

Then I proceeded to evaluate each component one by one. All questions revolved around
policy only, as the client was the government of India.
b) Exploration: The key thing here, as with the Oil and Gas industry, was that there
were specialists required to do the exploration. My line of questioning delved
into whether the requisite talent was available in India, and some others. The
interviewer pointed out that these specialists are usually based outside, and have
62

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


to be hired specifically for this purpose.
I asked a few more questions trying to understand if the costs were prohibitive
for private firms to engage in these activities and all. It eventually turned out that
the problem with the policy is that these specialists could not claim any
ownership of land. Therefore, once they found out a deposit, they had to hand
over the rights back to the owner of the land. <I have no idea how I couldve
possibly guessed this>.
c) Drilling/ Mining: I tried to evaluate reasons why drilling/ mining would be
constrained to grow, and within a few questions, I was able to identify land and
environmental issues as the primary reasons.
Mining involves a lot of displacement of people, and rehabilitation is a big policy
concern. Also, mining is an extremely polluting activity, and getting clearances to
start the same is a tedious process.
d) Marketing/ Selling: There was some policy related point here as well, but I dont
remember it now. What I do remember is that this point was closed by the
interviewer as This ones difficult to figure since it requires industry specific
knowledge.
What do you think
went right/wrong?

What went right?


a) I think I was forever speaking in a confident tone, even though just the mention
of the mining industry had completely shattered all hopes of cracking the case.
b) I was able to quickly draw up a parallel with another sector about which I had a
faint idea, and this allowed me to draw out the value chain.
c) Kept asking relevant questions, as I was completely thinking of various reasons
how policy could affect the value-chain component under discussion.
What went wrong?
a) Had no idea on current affairs!
b) I had completely ignored this sector during preparation.

Any tips for the future


batch

Keep your cool even if the case is highly unfamiliar. Just a logical thought process will get
you past a lot of hiccups.

Outcome

Offered

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate
Company Name

Sonali Gupta
McK

Interviewer Name

Jaideep Brar (Partner)

Interview Number

Interview 1 (Round 1)

Personal Interview
Question

Tell me about yourself and some conversation around that (he happened to be from
my school, this helped in setting up some initial rapport)

Case Type

Logistics (Operations)

Case Question

A logistics (shipping) company wants to increase its profitability

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

This is a third party logistics company and its USP is on time delivery. It wants to
increase its profitability. Asked some initial questions about the number of ships,
routes, capacity utilization etc
Did some numbers to establish that they were currently going through losses. I dont
remember the exact numbers but I was given information on cost data and something
on revenue, utilization, number of ships, different fleet sizes etc. I was not given all the
data that I asked for. He intentionally missed some numbers and told me that you have
all the information that you need to arrive at the answer. I stumbled a bit initially for 12 mins but finally hit the point. Jaideep was very supportive throughout.
We finally concluded that fuel cost was high and efficient utilization of fuel can solve
the problem to an extent. He asked me to move to the recommendation side. Gave a
long list of possible ways to tackle this:
1) Hedging the fuel prices in the commodity market
2) Long term contracts with suppliers
3) Consolidating of suppliers to achieve economies of scale
4) Alternate fuel; alternate supplier; geographical proximity
5) Charging higher prices for shipping (passing on some cost to the customercompanies)
Listed a few more (forgetting). Jaideep could kind of sense that I was disappointed
about the initial mess up (and I indeed was because this was my first interview for
the day). He encouraged me by saying that I was infact doing very well and if I could
think of someother recommendation?
I asked could there be some spillage etc happening or something going wrong in the
way fuel is being re-filled. He said that could be the case but think of a big ticket thing.
The hint helped. I asked if fuel efficiency and speed are related in some way and if yes,
then due to this technical reason may be we the ships are not being run at a speed
that can achieve the optimal fuel efficiency.
He said that is indeed the case, the ships are running faster than they should. If we
reduce the speed then fuel efficiency can be achieved.
At this point I immediately got reminded that the initial problem statement said that
on time delivery was their USP. Hence, I pointed out but by reducing the speed
they might lose their original value proposition!
I think he was quite happy with this and wrapped the interview by asking me if I had
any questions for him.

What do you think went

Stumbled a bit and was visibly disappointed. Its best to forget about how you are
64

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


right/wrong?

performing and just keep moving on with the day.


The right thing was connecting all the data points and being ready with multiple
options/solutions/recommendations.

Any tips for the future


batch

Never forget the case question or key points as you go into the case details. Being able
to connect different data points helps a lot!
Also, if you can find flaws in your own answers/assumptions and improvise them as
you move forward. It really leaves a good impression on the interviewer.

Outcome

Sent for next interview

Name of Candidate

Sonali Gupta

Company Name

McK

Interviewer Name

Sachin Haralkar (Engagement Manager)

Interview Number

Interview 2 (Round 1)

Personal Interview
Question

1) Walk me through 3 most significant achievements in your resume

Case Type

Market Sizing

Case Question

Estimate the $ revenue of a facilities management company

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Started by asking about the services provided by a facilities management company.


Includes things like plumbering, laundry, gardening, baby sitting, cleaning etc.

2) Cross question on career progression and responsibilities

These services can be used by upper middle class and above households as well by
commercial institutes, malls etc. Was told to focus on the households. Used bottom up
(population) approach, estimated number of households, took urban rural split and
divided the urban households into income segments. Estimated the number of
households which use this service. Then estimated the number of laborers required
per household per year, multiplied this with the ballpark yearly average salary of a
laborer.
Was told to extend these numbers to the commercial side without going through the
whole process of estimations and assumptions. He just told me - now please give me
the final total yearly revenue number in 10 secs. I think the idea was to see if I can
make a reasonable ballpark estimate confidently.
We had a discussion on any other alternate ways of estimating this. I suggested the
following:
1) Using some other country as a proxy and using data from there
2) Using secondary reports, one facilities management companys data and extending
it for other
3) Estimating the revenue of a similar services business

What do you think went


right/wrong?

The numbers and assumptions went right. Maintained my calm. Could have handled
the PI better.

Any tips for the future


batch

Be well prepared with PI questions. I would suggest writing down the answers for
every possible question that you think can be asked, based on your resume. If this is
done, there may not be a need to go through the 100 PI questions or any other
alternate list that gets circulated.
65

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Outcome

Moved to Round 2

Name of Candidate

Sonali Gupta

Company Name

McK

Interviewer Name

Rajiv Lochan (Partner)

Interview Number

Interview 2 (Round 1) Final Interview

Personal Interview
Question

Rajiv - Please be seated on the interviewers seat. I want you to drive the interview
because I see partner potential in every candidate that I choose to hire.
I have seen your resume but I want to know YOU as a person .. A light conversation
followed after that ..

Case Type

Industry Related

Case Question

I wonder what is going on in the airline industry these days, please analyze the
situation for me.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

A very open ended case!


I started by looking at the case from 1) Demand and 2) Supply side factors. In the first
few mins, it was established that demand is not a constraint. There are enough
passengers who would be willing to travel by airlines (this includes AC train travelers
etc), provided supply side factors are favorable.
Moved over to the Supply side. Started by looking at the operational efficiency, cost
structure etc. We had some discussion around this and established that there is a lot of
scope of improvement in this area (drew a close parallel to the South West airlines
thanks to Prashant Kale!)
Next I started looking at the prices. To be more precise, are the airline tickets
overpriced, underpriced or correctly priced?
Prices can be determined either by :
a) looking at the companys cost str
b) looking at the passengers willingness to pay
c) Price of substitutes in this case train
In this case option b) and c) made most sense, because cost is a function of utilization
and utilization is function of price along with other factors. He was convinced with the
argument.
Looked at a typical passenger on Delhi -> Mumbai route. If he travels by train he would
pay around Rs 1500 2000 (confirmed my assumption with him) depending upon train
class, whereas for an air ticket he pays Rs 5000 on an average. If we consider that he
saves 20 hrs on choosing flying vs train, then he pays a premium of around 3000 for 20
hrs. Hence, values his 1 hr at Rs 150 which is fairly less for a business passenger or
even leisure passenger who stays in a five star hotel at his tourist destination. Hence,
the airlines seem to be underpriced.
Rajiv - What is going on here? Why are they underpriced?
Me - If we take a step back and go back to the time when air deccan and other low
priced airlines came with dirt cheap prices, due to increasing competition to increase
utilization they killed each other through price war and now the consumer expectation
is set such that, we are unwilling to pay high for the airlines. Infact some 6 years ago
we would be willing to pay Rs 6000 for an airlines ticket, now despite a yr on yr
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


inflation of 7-8%, we consider Rs 6000 to be a very high price to pay for a domestic air
travel.
Rajiv What do you feel we can do about it?
Me Consolidation, is one option.
Rajiv They did try it through takeovers and all. What else?
Me May be a foreign player or foreign investment can help?
Rajiv Exactly, thats what they are trying to, 49% FDI in airlines industry is an effort
towards that. But how would that help?
Me Prices are all in the consumers mind! If we draw a parallel to medical tourism
industry, consumers are willing to pay a higher price when they see foreigners (doctors
or patients). Deep inside, we as Indian consumers still value a foreign brand better!
Rajiv Convinced! Loved talking to you. I can go on and on but I am running short of
time. Any questions for me?
Me Rajiv, I dont want to hold you up, you seem to running late, maybe we can just
skip this?
Rajiv No please go ahead, its my obligation to answer all your questions.
Me As industries become mature, they start their internal consulting practice, do you
see that as a threat to consulting industry?
He liked the question and answered comprehensively.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

I think, this was my best interview of the day! Just logically followed one step from the
other. Didnt worry about any framework and stayed composed throughout. Infact I
enjoyed the discussion very much.

Any tips for the future


batch

General awareness about the current issues helps a lot. An open case like this enables
you bring a rich analysis to the table, hence it works in your favor if you get a weird
case! (atleast this is how it was in my case).
Since, everyone around you is so well prepared with the cases and frameworks; a case
like this gives you an opportunity to differentiate yourself.
PI prep really helps by the end of the day (generally when you are in the final
interview round with the firm), you get so exhausted that its really tough to think
everything on your feet. A well prepared PI helps set up an initial rapport and gives the
confidence to do the case well.
An initial rapport helps to get the interviewer on your stride in the first few mins. If you
have a good sense of humor do try to bring that up during the interview. It does
help! At the end of the day, every interviewer just sees whether you are a kind of
person they would like to have on their project or not.
Consider the interviewer as your peer and try to have a very mature / intelligent
conversation with him/her.

Outcome

Offer

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Boston Consulting Group

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate
Company Name

Rahul Mangla
The Boston Consulting Group

Interviewer Name

Shweta Bajpai

Interview Number

Round 1, Interview 1

Personal Interview
Question

My first interview of the day and it started with a 30 min PI ! The interview started
with the usual ice breaking question Tell me something about yourself. After a brief
discussion on my background, Shweta asked me why I was interested in consulting as a
career. I drew a graph that I thought best conveyed what I wanted to say. The
interviewer asked a number of clarifying questions on the graph.
Tip: Drawing graphs etc. for PI questions is a high risk strategy, since consultants are
inherently comfortable with graphs, 2X2 matrices etc. You can expect a lot of
questions. However, if you believe that a graph best conveys the idea you have in
mind, then it could be a high return strategy as well.
We then moved on to talking about my career goals, what motivates me and some
resume based questions. Overall an engaging discussion that pretty much consumed
60% of the interview time.
Tip: Cannot stress enough on having your story straight, particularly if you dont have a
typical consulting candidate profile. A good opening conversation never hurts. It helps
set up good rapport with the interviewer and eats away time that could otherwise be
spent on a grilling case
Finally, the interviewer realized that we had spent significant amount of time on PI, so
we divided right into the case.

Case Type

Revenue expansion

Case Question

Your client is a manufacturer of blades that are used in turbines. The blades are made
using a very specific kind of high durability steel. The client wants to double the
revenues of the company.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

1) Scoping:
Using the framework described below (in the McK interviews), I attempted to
gather more information on the companys business and the problem itself. It
turned out that the company operated in a duopoly domestically and also
faced competition from imports. Further, there were no specific time
constraints on achieving the target of 2X revenues.
2) Structure: Revenues are a simple function of pricing strategy and volume. As a
probed further, it turned out that we didnt have much control over pricing.
Therefore, the only means to increase revenues was through increasing the
volume two fold.
Now, Volume = Market Share X Market Size
This brings us again to the Ansoff matrix that can be used to cover all aspects
of volume expansion exhaustively:

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012

As described each quadrant, the interviewer was satisfied with the overall
structure and then asked me to drill down into each quadrant I must admit, I
was a bit taken aback here, normally you would expect the interviewer to
focus on one of the quadrants.
3) Analysis: As we dug in deep through each quadrant, I tried to come with ideas for
Market penetration through differentiation (idea was shot down), New product
development (not possible), exporting etc. I was running out of ideas, when the
interviewer reminded me that I had not explored one the quadrants properly. It
was the diversification quadrant, which is seldom the source of any useful
solutions. In this case, it turned out that the company can use their expertise in
dealing with high durability steel to manufacture other parts that require similar
properties.
4) Synthesis: We covered a lot of options throughout the case interview that lasted
about 20 mins.
Tip: It helps in synthesis if you label key points throughout the case interview.
I attempted to capture key recommendations first and then narrate in brief the
reasons behind each recommendation.
The Interviewer then asked me, if I had any follow-up questions for her. I asked her on
her field of work, which she intently answered. This was the longest interview of the
day and lasted almost 50 mins in total.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

The long PI in the beginning helped. The conversation was a good start to the day and
helped overcome any early morning jitters. I think I could have done a better job at
wrapping up the case quickly as it seemed to be a fairly standard case.

Any tips for the future


batch

When solving the case, keep the interviewer engaged and get buy-in on your structure.

Outcome

Round 1, Interview 2

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Name of Candidate

Rahul Mangla

Company Name

The Boston Consulting Group

Interviewer Name

Ashish Iyer

Interview Number

Round 1, Interview 2

Personal Interview
Question

My second interview of the day was arguably the shortest. Ashish has specific
questions in mind both for the PI and the case.
On the PI front, after inquiring about my background, I was again asked to justify why I
wanted to do consulting and why BCG specifically. Same answers and the interviewer
seemed satisfied with the response. We then started discussing the case

Case Type

Organization Structure

Case Question

An Indian client follows a functional structure and has recently bought a competitor in
Dubai. Due to lack of integration between the parent and the acquired entity, the
company is facing some problems. The functional structure leaves no ownership of the
end business goals on the functional teams and this is hurting the overall business.
What can be a better organization structure?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

I was honestly not expecting a case on organization structure. I had no clue how to
structure an org structure case That said, Ashish made it very clear that he didnt
expect me to go through the problem like a traditional case. Instead I was asked:

Ease of
implementation

1) Name the possible org structures that a firm can have. I named the ones I
remembered but he said I was missing 5-6 of them! After some soul searching I
could recall a few more. I wasnt sure if the interviewer was satisfied with the
response.
2) I was then asked to pick the top two that would be best for the organization
and explain how I would evaluate the options. My answer Create a scorecard
listing key performance criteria for org structures (such as revenue impact,
management bandwidth etc.), assign weights and evaluate all possible
structures. I picked the matrix organization as the first choice and the
divisional structure as the second choice.
3) Ideal Answer. I believe the model answer for this question would be: Evaluate
all organization structures on the following axes:

1
3

Effectiveness
Pick the option that lies in the top right quadrant. As simple as that.
The case whole interview lasted for less than 20 mins. After which Ashish inquired if I
had any queries for him. I asked him a question around the future of outsourcing in
India given the increasing input costs (his area of work).
What do you think went
right/wrong?

I am not really sure. The interview was short and I honestly couldnt gauge if I had
solved the case satisfactorily or not. I could have come up with a better structure
overall, but then the interview was quick and I scrambled to explain whatever came
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first to my mind.

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Any tips for the future
batch

Youll see a variety Interview cases, pace, duration and the even the interviewer style
on the final day. Its probably not worth mulling over your previous interview
performance before stepping into another one. Two reason why: 1) It adds
unnecessary stress 2) Youll never really be able to guess how well or how bad you did
anyway.

Outcome

Moved to Round 2

Name of Candidate

Rahul Mangla

Company Name

The Boston Consulting Group

Interviewer Name

Ravi Srivastava

Interview Number

Round 2, Interview 1

Personal Interview
Question

Ravi is a partner at the firm and also leads the hiring for the India office. A pleasant
conversationalist, he spent the first part of the interview in knowing more about me
and my work at Microsoft. We discussed a bit about ISB and my experience in bschool. We then moved on to the case

Case Type

Market Share expansion

Case Question

The client is a national cement manufacturer and is looking to expand the companys
market share and revenue.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Given that a lot of cases hover around market share and revenue expansion, I would
not go into the gory details of the very standard structure used for this problem.
However, there was one interesting bit we discussed:
Given that the case was about increasing market penetration, the problem came down
to the age-old 4Ps problem (never use the word 4Ps in a case interview!). In the 4Ps to
tweak:
1)
2)
3)
4)

Price - Cannot do much, is already competitive.


Product No differentiation possible, cement is pretty much a commodity
Promotion no scope here as well
Place Explore !

So the problem boiled down to expanding distribution. Heres how I split up the
problem:

Distribution

Get more dealers

Push

Sell more per dealer

Pull

I was asked to explore how to get more dealers. We can impact the distribution by:
1) Creating a pull customers want our products and therefore more and more
dealers want to stock our brand. This was not possible
2) Pushing the brand Incentivize the dealers to stock our brands
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Ravi asked me to explore the push strategy. I then started diving into possible
solutions:
1) Better margins not possible, the competition can also do the same.
2) Reduce dealer costs A major costs for dealer are the cost of storage and
stocking. By increasing their inventory turnover, we can reduce their overall
costs. To increase turnover, you need to reduce inventory. But how? :
Why is inventory maintained Because of the lead time, the dealer needs to
stock some units Promise shorter lead times to reduce inventory
requirements - Answer to the case.
Tip: It really helps to be MECE (mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive)
in your structuring. Youll be able to eliminate options and zero-in on the
solution.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

Case interviews are good fun if your structures happen to fall in place Was able to
break the distribution problem and have something to recommend at the end of the
interview.

Any tips for the future


batch

Try and enjoy the process

Outcome

Made an offer.

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name

Himanshu Jain

Company Name

Boston Consulting Group

Interviewer Name:

Rohit Ramesh, Project Leader

Interview & Round


Number

Interview 1, Round 1

Personal Interview
Question

No PI question asked

Case Type:

Guesstimate

Case Question:

A company is planning to enter the auto car service market in India. You need to
estimate the market size the company. Interviewer told me that ten years back there
were 8lakh cars being sold. Every year the number of cars sold increase by 10%. The
average life of a car was 10years.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

I started by estimating the total number of cars. No of cars today = 8*(1.1^10). Then
realized then that this was difficult to calculate in an interview. I knew that the number
of cars will double in 7.2 years (72 rule). So approximated that presently the number of
cars sold will be around 25Lakh. I then tried to estimate the cumulative number of
these 10 years and took a rough estimate of 1.8Crore (The interview did seem happy
with this). Anyways, I proceeded and mentioned that cars will be serviced based on
regular service (on time/Kms), accidents and special situations (engine break down).
The interviewer again didnt look happy. He asked me to give the total market size. I
had just started calculating and then the interviewer stopped me and again asked for
the total market size. I requested to give me some time to calculate. The interviewer
stopped me. I believe that is was a kind of stress interview to check my nerves.

What do you think went


right/wrong in the
interview?

Nothing went right. I still dont understand why the interviewer stopped me. Probably,
I didnt understand the question well. The interview turned out to be a grueling
experience for me.

Any tips for the future


batch

I had just ruined the First interview of the D-DAY. But, my advice to you is to not let
performance in any interview impact subsequent performances. Start every interview
with a new slate. And bad performance in one interview in no way signifies that you
were incapable, but it is also a function of the case type and the interviewer.
Sometimes, interviewers act tough to check your nerves. Try not to be tentative when
you speak. What worked for me - I quickly forgot what happened in BCG and gave my
best to remaining interviews

Outcome

Interview 2, Round 1

Name

Himanshu Jain

Company Name

Boston Consulting Group

Interviewer Name:

Ravi Shrivastava, Partner

Interview & Round


Number

Interview 2, Round 1

Personal Interview
Question

No PI question asked

Case Type:

Profitability
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Case Question:

A Cement company wants to reduce its cost.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

A typical BCG case. I had done over 10 cement cases. The interviewer was nice and
gave me time to explain things. Started by asking geography, customer, product, etc.
Interviewer told me focus on cost. Made a value chain and tried to benchmark all costs
components with the competitors. I found out that we are doing as well as the
competition on all respect!! Then I picked the largest cost component - Raw materials.
Interview told me that the company was using different coal qualities in different
plants which had different efficiencies when used in each plant. Also these qualities A,
B, C were available in limited quantities. I thought of giving some funda, and said that
we can use linear optimization to reduce costs. The interviewer asked me to laydown
the optimization model!! I wrote some model, which luckily turned out to be right.

What do you think went


right/wrong in the
interview?

Remembered DMOP quite well. Try to ensure that you understand the concept in
detail, for which you are giving the funda. Otherwise, you might end up in soup.

Any tips for the future


batch

Dont panic when asked for complex problems such as optimization, utilization,
scheduling. Revise operations and DMOP well before the interview.

Outcome

Interview 1, Round 3, but I was called somewhere else and couldnt return.

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate
Company Name

Samudra Dasgupta
BCG

Interviewer Name

Yash Erande

Interview Number

Round 1 Interview 1

Personal Interview
Question

What questions do you have for me. Tell me about yourself.

Case Type

Organizational structure

Case Question

A retail bank is losing money. Help them.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

It became clear during the discussion that there were a lot of operational
inefficiencies. Analyzed it using People, Processes, Infrastructure framework. Basically
poor use of physical space, sub-optimal workforce, poor IT the bank was not being
able to support the demand from customers.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

First impressions make a big difference. He immediately took a liking and was very
helpful all through the interview.

Any tips for the future


batch

Smile and be nice, professional and confident

Outcome

Round 1 interview 2

Name of Candidate

Samudra Dasgupta

Company Name

BCG

Interviewer Name

Ramesh Jha

Interview Number

Round 1 Interview 2

Personal Interview
Question

No PI.

Case Type

Market Entry

Case Question

A global truck making company wants to enter India. Should they? How?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Completely quant case. You had to come up with the economic value to the customer
for the current truck offerings in India (based on mileage, weight it can carry, etc) and
then position yourself in such a way that your truck provides greater value.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Told me they did it exactly this way.

Any tips for the future


batch

Beware of frameworks. Even though this was a market entry case, the normal
frameworks were of no help.

Outcome

Moved to Round 2 (which they decided to hold immediately)

Name of Candidate

Samudra Dasgupta

Company Name

BCG

Interviewer Name

Ashish Iyer

Interview Number

Round 2 Interview 1
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Personal Interview
Question

Not much PI.

Case Type

General

Case Question

4 telecom players (with different kitties) are bidding for 3G spectrum. How should A
bid?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

He laid down the rules of the game. There were 4-5 rules. In that framework, you have
to think of the optimal strategy. Unfortunately I dont remember the rules in details
but the solution was basically that you should have enough money to bid in the second
round while making sure you definitely qualify in the first round.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

I initially tried to employ DMOP but quickly backtracked seeing his wonderful
expression. Then solved it using just normal reasoning no frameworks.

Any tips for the future


batch

Beware of frameworks.

Outcome

Made an offer.

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Name of Candidate
Company Name

Reshmi Ghosh
BCG

Interviewer Name

Interview Number

Interview 1, Round 1

Personal Interview
Question

Started with a general chat-up about what my expectations from the day was etc.
Then some standard questions- background, why BCG etc.

Case Type

Case Question

There is a company that installs transmission towers, which are typically made of
hundreds of steel angles. The problem it faces is that whatever time it estimates for
the completion of the project, it overruns it. The client wants your help in identifying
the issue.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

I asked him for some time to put my thoughts together to try and understand the
problem better. I asked him the following set of questions initially.
What range are the estimates of the time durations of the projects and by how much
does the company typically overrun it?
The time ranges from project to project but the approximate duration would be a
year and generally it would be overrun by 50-100%.
What are the steps involved in installation of a tower?
The areas of the land where the towers would be set up are first identified. Then the
towers are erected, with the steel angles reducing in size towards the top of the
tower. After that, the wires are strung over the towers.
Is the client only into installation of the towers or does it manufacture the angles and
the wires too?
The wires are bought from a vendor and kept as inventory, the steel angles are
manufactured
What are the steps in the manufacture of the steel angles?
A team of designers first assesses the requirement and gives the designs (size, angle
etc) to the manufacturing team. The manufacturing team then manufactures the
angles. Steel is gotten from a vendor.
How do the angles and the wires reach the construction site? Is the transportation
owned or outsourced? Are there any delays?
Logistics is outsourced. There are delays, but not significant.
Where do the angles get stored once at the site?
There are stored close to the installation sites in temporary storage areas.
During the conversation I was drawing the process map, which turned out to be
something like this:

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I then told him that I would go step by step and see where delays could be happening.

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


I listed the following possibilities :

Availability of raw materials for manufacture


Delay by the design team
Manufacturing delays (talked a bit about efficiency)
Land preparation time
Possibility of theft from the storage areas
Tower setup delay

We had a discussion on all the points and then he said that the setup of the tower
started off smoothly, but as the pieces became smaller, the time taken to erect the
towers increased. I said the reasons for this could be:

The smaller angles were not available when required


It became more difficult to construct the tower progressively
The labourers were incorrectly incentivized

I was able to eliminate the incentives and the difficulty level aspects through
some discussion. So now it was the case of unavailability of the steel angles when
required.
The possibilities now came down to: The manufacture of smaller angles was not
happening as required, logistical delays and theft. The latter two points were
dismissed as they had already been talked about initially. So the point was that
the manufacture of smaller steel angles was tardy.
The possible issues now could be capacity or manpower issues
Capacity: I asked if there were separate lines/capacities levels for different sizes
of angles. He said no. I asked if capacity was enough. He replied yes. Then I asked
a little more about the manufacturing details and was told that an angle takes
the same time to manufacture, irrespective of the size.
People: Since the discussion on capacity had not yielded anything, I told him that
it was possible that the factory was not manufacturing smaller angles
deliberately. He asked why that might be. I replied that possibly the incentives
were not aligned, and they were paid on a per ton basis. Since a lighter and
heavier angle took the same time to make, they could possibly be concentrating
on manufacturing the heavier angles. He probed a little further and then said that
that was actually the problem.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

I took more time than was required to get to the part that the manufacturing mix was
an issue. Once it was identified, he was happy about the fact that I identified that the
incentives for employees were not aligned

Any tips for the future


batch

Beyond the standard frameworks, many cases in which they cannot be applied get
solved if you imagine the process from the start to end and explore all the nodes.

Outcome

Moved to the second interview.

Name of Candidate

Reshmi Ghosh

Company Name

BCG

Interviewer Name

Amitabh Mall

Interview Number

Interview 2, Round 1

Personal Interview

Do not remember because nothing beyond standard questions. Just a 2 minute chat
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Question

up. As with the first interviewer, Amitabh also put me at ease straightaway.

Case Type

Profitability

Case Question

A fiber manufacturer wants to increase its profitability. Help.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

I asked first if there was any specific reason for this objective and that if there was any
quantitative target in mind. He said that the management felt that profits could be
increased, and no, they had no specific target in mind. It also emerged through
discussions that the their volumes were growing year on year.
I started off by asking about the operations of the firm. He told me that that the firm
had 2 factories in India and Malaysia. The Indian factory catered to the India and
China, and the Malaysian factory was used for export to U.S and Europe.
Further, it was told that China accounted for a major part of revenues.
I then used Profits= Revenues Costs
He didnt have any specific guideline as to target Revenues or costs first. So I started
with the revenue side and through discussions it was revealed that neither the price
nor the volumes could be really altered much.
In the costs part, I listed down the various cost heads. Describing the more important
ones here:
Raw materials- The raw material used was extracted from the bark of some tree,
plantations of which were in Malaysia. So the raw material was sourced from Malaysia
for both the factories. This also brought into picture the inbound duties under the cost
heads.
Manufacture and Export- I asked about the efficiency and utilization of the plants, and
was told that they were as per industry standards. Through some discussion it
emerged that one major cost was in transporting the fiber from the factory to the
destination markets.
Then, considering that the existing factories were fully utilized and that the volumes
were also growing, I suggested that the client could consider opening up a factory in
China. He asked me to go through the process of setting up a factory there and see if it
would be advantageous.
I went through the process and listed the costs- land acquisition/leasing/renting, taxes
and duties , transportation infrastructure, labor cost and availability, utilities cost and
availability. I also talked about some non-cost issues like the ease of doing business
there, labor issues etc.
He seemed fine with it and then showed me a table comparing each of these costs in
India and China, and asked me to calculate the cost of per unit of manufacture. It was a
fairly straightforward calculation.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

I think it went well overall.

Any tips for the future


batch
Outcome

Moved to the second round

Name of Candidate

Reshmi Ghosh

Company Name

BCG

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Interviewer Name
Interview Number

Interview 3

Personal Interview
Question

This round I think was more of a PI than a case round. He told me upfront that he
expected to have more of a conversation and know more about me, beyond the
answers that I had prepared. He asked about my background. Then he asked why I
really wanted to join BCG, who all I knew I the firm, how I knew them etc. We then
talked a while about my previous work experience; and more than the professional
learning he was more interested in knowing about the personal learning I had. He then
asked what I thought was the biggest change as a person that my work experience had
brought about in me. The next question was about what was the most important to
me in life.
Overall, the questions not the types you could really prepare for, I more than once I
told him that I needed a few moments to get my thoughts in place.

Case Type

Market Entry

Case Question

An automobile manufacturer wants to enter India.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Very standard case. No surprises at all.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

I think I was able to have a good conversation with Yashraj in the P.I round.

Any tips for the future


batch

It helps to be spontaneous because by that time in the day even he interviewer is tired
of hearing standard rehearsed answers.

Outcome

Moved to the 4th interview

Name of Candidate

Reshmi Ghosh

Company Name

BCG

Interviewer Name
Interview Number

Interview 4

Personal Interview
Question

No P.I. Moved to the case straight away.

Case Type

Profitability

Case Question

A cement manufacturer wants to increase its profitability. Help.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

This was the 10th interview and I was pretty much spent. This case was my worst one
of the day, and a major part of the case is a blur; please excuse
Since it was cement manufacturer case, my first reaction was- how different can it be
from the numerous cement manufacturer cases that abound all over the case books. I
started with all the common questions, why does he want to increase, market share,
regions of operation, factories, utilization, distribution, competition etc.
Not much seemed to be an issue.
As far as distribution is concerned, it emerged that most retailers stock a lot of regional
brands, and very few stock more than one or two national brands. Some more
discussion later, it emerged that the retailers did not want to stock national brands. He
asked why that could be the case. We talked a while about ROI, and then he asked
what a retailers investment was. I replied that the outlet itself was his investment.
Some more time later, it emerged that the reason that a retailer would not be willing
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


to stock national brands is because he has to carry more inventory in the case of
national brands because there frequency of replenishment is not as high as that of
regional players.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

Was quite disappointed in this one. The only thing that probably saved me was that I
at least touched upon a wide variety of things that could possibly go wrong.

Any tips for the future


batch

Closer to the interview date, have marathon case sessions. At least here I had three
interviews that happened in the earlier part of the day and went off well. You do not
want to be in position that you mess up the first interview with a firm due to
exhaustion.

Outcome

Made an offer

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name
Interviewing with
(consulting firm)

Rahul Ramaraju
The Boston Consulting Group

Name of the Interviewer

Ramesh Jha, Principal

Interview Number

Round 1, Interview 1

Personal Interview
Questions

First interview with BCG and 8th for the day.


Tell me about yourself?
Key achievements at ITC?

Case Question

A heavy vehicle manufacturer is planning to enter Indian market, wants to analyze


whether he can compete in Indian market.

Case Type

Twisted Market Entry

Narration of the case

It was a twisted version of the normal market entry case. The interviewer asked me to
leave the market attractiveness (market sizing, profitability, growth, competition etc)
for the time being.
Interviewer asked me what are all the factors that would make the firm competitive in
the market. Listed down the following parameters:
1. Price
2. Product Features
a. All basic features that I could think
b. Life time value to the consumer
i. Base cost
ii. Maintenance/ Service/ Spares
iii. Fuel efficiency
iv. Resale value
3. Financing
4. Distribution
5. Awareness (Brand Building)
The interviewer then told me that on price front we are competitive and our features
are superior to competition but still the product is not
selling. No problem with distribution, people are aware of the brand.
Problem was identified in financing, the banks are not ready to loan for our truck, and
they are willing to do for competitors like Tata, Ashok Leyland etc. What could be the
reasons?
1. Bank does not believe in the quality of the trucks
2. Bank believes that we are not going to stick around for long, so doubts on
services and maintenance
3. Other players have long time relationship
What can be done to improve financing:
1. Send credible signals to the bank
a. Warranty
b. Buy back guarantee for old trucks
2. Incentivize the banks for loans, give higher commissions to the loan agents.
3. Have your truck displayed in exhibitions, expos, increase test drives and trials.
Consumers make their choice basis life time value, what can improve this:
1. Listed all parameters I had mentioned earlier
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


2. Missed out a critical point: More turnaround ( If the vehicle can move at a
faster speed, I would be able to complete more number of trips so ROA goes
up)
Case ended here.
What do you think went
right for you in the
interview?

Dont know, I guess I laid the structure right

What do you think went


wrong in this interview?

I felt I missed critical points that would have differentiated me in most cases. After 7
interviews my mind was just switched off.

Any tips for the future


batch?

Practice a lot of variety of cases. Last day you really dont think and do cases. Its just
that you apply stuff you have practiced before. After a base level of work basis the
practice, the interviewer guides you a lot

Outcome

Everyone had 2 interviews in R1, so was moved to 2nd

Name

Rahul Ramaraju

Interviewing with
(consulting firm)

The Boston Consulting Group

Name of the Interviewer

Shweta Bajpai, Team Lead

Interview Number

Round 1, Interview 2

Personal Interview
Questions

Second interview with BCG and 9th for the day.


Tell me about yourself?
What do you do in your free time?

Case Question

A casting company wants to increase its revenue base from 100 Cr to 1000 Cr in 5 yrs
maintaining an EBITDA of 20%.

Case Type

Growth

Narration of the case

Was given the following information when asked:

Client based out of India


Sells castings to turbine manufacturers
Castings sold by client are then fixed to turbines and then sold to power plants
by customer
Only 2 players manufacture castings for turbines in India both are at 100 Cr.
(Key fact)

Stuck to basic framework of internal-external.


1. Internal - Growth from existing business
a. Are we covering all geographies in India? Yes
b. Can we sell castings to other customers apart from turbine
manufacturers? Yes but EBITDA will go below 20%
c. Can we explore new geographies? Yes
2. External Growth from other businesses
a. Vertical Integration
b. Diversified business
Details in the various heads:
Existing Business: Indian Market
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


1. Market is growing at 10%. So we would be 1.6 times in 5 yrs. + 60 Cr from
base.
2. I started with market size in India is 200 Cr, get an immediate reply, what
makes you think so? I said we are 100 Cr and the second player is 100 Cr. Are
we missing something?
3. Huge imports exist. Did some numbers and came out with imports to be 400
Cr. So the market was 600 Cr.
4. Why imports?
a. Cost
b. Quality
c. Service Lead times etc.
5. There is a difference in quality. There is a specialized casting involved which
requires CNC. CNC is expensive and requires trained manpower to handle.
6. Gave some stuff on how to get trained manpower and CAPEX was not a
problem.
7. Install CNC, and said that max 50% of import market can be captures. So its +
200 Cr from base.
Geographic Expansion:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Where do you think new turbines would be required?


Developing countries.
Information provided: Main markets are China, Russia, Brazil and Africa.
Ruled out Brazil Told that distances are huge
China ruled out We cannot be competitive on prices with Chinese
manufacturers.
6. Russia catered by china so rule out
7. Africa potential scope - + 200 Cr
External Vertical Integration
1. Can we integrate into turbine manufacturing? Yes
2. Key competitors are GE, Alstom, Siemens and BHEL
3. I mentioned that it would be tough to compete with brands. Why would
customers buy our turbines?
4. Interviewer prompted, we have a sister company which is into EPC, so what?
5. We can pitch our turbine as a part of the entire package.
6. Whats the turbine market?
7. 10 X of casting 6000 Cr. Growth of 10%
8. So would reach 9000 Cr in 5 yrs.
9. I mentioned because of global players in turbine, we would be able to capture
a max of 5-6% of market share. Number was accepted.
10. + 450 Cr.
What do you think went
right for you in the
interview?

PI was good. I chipped in towards the end with some questions on BCG. Interviewer
was great, and made the interview really stress free.

What do you think went


wrong in this interview?

It was fine

Any tips for the future


batch?

Practice a lot of variety of cases. Last day you really dont think and do cases. Its just
that you apply stuff you have practiced before. After a base level of work basis the
practice, the interviewer guides you a lot

Outcome

Shortlisted for R2

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name

Rahul Ramaraju

Interviewing with
(consulting firm)

The Boston Consulting Group

Name of the Interviewer

Avartan Bokil, Principal

Interview Number

Round 2, Interview 1

Personal Interview
Questions

Interview number 11 for the day. Best of the day

Case Question

You have been in Bangalore lets do a case on Bangalore. Two car dealers, sell similar
cars. One located in MG road and other at Whitefield. MG road one has 80% MS and
our client (white field one) has 20%. Client wants to improve market share

Case Type

Market Share

Narration of the case

Started out with the term 2 framework.

How has the day been so far? It was quite visible on my face, so no smart answers
came off.

Market Share = Share of Voice x Share of Mind x Share of Distribution.


Share of Voice:

Promotions/ Awareness Same for both

Share of Mind:

Product Car is the same X


Price Same X
Services and Maintenance Same X
Sales Force Better for MG Road
o Quality
o Quantity

Here I laid down the buyer decision cycle.


Buyer Decision = Function( Search, Awareness, In store search, Sales force, After sale
services, Satisfaction)
Share of Distribution:

Ease of access to White Field was deterrent

Suggested ways of improvement: Take test drive requests on phone, go to customers


residence for trials, Servicing : Pick up and drop facility.
This part got over here.
Part 2: Direction of interview changed, assume both the showrooms have equal foot
fall and equal conversion rate. Why do share of market differ?

Thought for some time, is there a section that does not come to showroom to
buy a vehicle??? Came up with following heads:
o Travel agents/ Cab services
o Hotels
o Corporate
o Government
Target them for higher share.

Part 3: Again I the white field showroom did not exist, you had 2 options to set up a
green field showroom what would you do.
Case 1: No new showroom comes up in future
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012

If I set up the show room in MG road


o Share = 50%*(WF +MG) (US), 50% 50%*(WF +MG) (Them)
If I set up a show room in White field
o Share = MG(Them), WF(Us)

I will set up the show room in whitefield if in future,


WF > 50%*(WF + MG)
Case 2: New showroom comes up in future at Whitefield

If I set up the show room in MG road


o Share = 50%*MG(US), 50%*MG(Them)
If I set up a show room in White field, I will get 50% of WF

So decision must be based on future market at White Field and also on the possibility
of 3rd entrant coming in.
Case went on for 40 min.
After this Avartan really opened up and we started discussing on BCGs work and his
work. Discussion went on for 45 min. So in total 1.5 hr session.
What do you think went
right for you in the
interview?

Everything

What do you think went


wrong in this interview?

Not much

Any tips for the future


batch?

Practice a lot of variety of cases. Last day you really dont think and do cases. Its just
that you apply stuff you have practiced before. After a base level of work basis the
practice, the interviewer guides you a lot

Outcome

Asked to wait for the last round

Name

Rahul Ramaraju

Interviewing with
(consulting firm)

The Boston Consulting Group

Name of the Interviewer

Amitabh Mall

Interview Number

Round 2, Interview 2

Personal Interview
Questions

Interview number 12 for the day

Case Question

A fiber manufacturing firm is facing loss in revenues.

Case Type

Revenue

Narration of the case

Market share world-wide is 25%, Market shares have been increasing. Client based
out of India.

No PI

Derived that industry is in declining.


Asked for information on uses of the fiber?
It is sold to yarn manufacturers, who convert it into cloth. This fiber is known for
comfort.
So decrease in revenue can be because of:

Consumer preference changes


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ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Substitutes come up

To this the interviewer replied yes, polyester has come up which is cheaper. The yarn
manufacturers have started blending our fiber with polyester to lower costs.
Asked for the competition and the geographic distribution, following information
provided:
Our Firm

Major
Competition

Others
firms

3 30 Firms

25% MS

20% MS

15% MS each

India,
Europe,
Indonesia

Europe

SE
Asia, China
Europe

Mod Profits

Mod Profit

Losses

Good Profit

Costs Mod.

Costs Mod

Costs High

Costs Low

40% MS overall

Further information given when asked for, Market is declining in Europe and is
expected to remain constant elsewhere.
After beating around the bush for 3-4 min, came up with a suggestion of acquiring a
firm in China and growing business in China.
Case ended.
What do you think went
right for you in the
interview?
What do you think went
wrong in this interview?

Took time when the world wide data was given.

Any tips for the future


batch?

Practice a lot of variety of cases. Last day you really dont think and do cases. Its just
that you apply stuff you have practiced before. After a base level of work basis the
practice, the interviewer guides you a lot

Outcome

Offer Made.

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate
Company Name

Shreerang Godbole
BCG

Interviewer Name

Avartan Bokil, Principal

Interview Number

R1-Int -1

Personal Interview
Question

General Stuff.. likes-dislikes etc

Case Type

Market Entry

Case Question

An international automobile retail company is looking at entering India. Your advice?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Asked the usual questions on the 5Cs. Then got down to the revenue sources. So
they are sales and after-sales service. We need to look at the cost structure of
opening up a showroom and see what are the break-even quantities and if this
actually possible.
He nodded and we then straight went to the frequency of service in a year. How
many cars will be sold per month and how many actual servicing opportunities will
I get.
Essential point was that the money was to be made in the after-sales and was it
lucrative enough to open up a business

What do you think went


right/wrong?

First interview of the day.. Butterflies in my stomach Made a few errors here and
there.. but overall good.

Any tips for the future


batch

Just be yourself. And say what you really mean.

Outcome

Moved to R1-Int2

Name of Candidate

Shreerang Godbole

Company Name

BCG

Interviewer Name

Burjor Dadachanji, Principal

Interview Number

R1-Int -2

Personal Interview
Question

General Stuff.. likes-dislikes etc

Case Type

Banking

Case Question

The RBI has announced that it will be awarding banking licenses. You are the head of a
NBFC. How does this help you?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Well, first understand what the banking business is all about. General stuff about
customers, business etc.. who are the current customers? What services do they
take from me. Are there any other financial services for which they use other
banks.. They do.. so fine there are some customer needs which I am not able to
meet because of higher interest costs. Why higher interest costs? Because I have
to borrow capital from the market at a higher rate of interest? Why do I have to
borrow capital? Because I do not take deposits? And this exactly how the new
regulation will help me
So I drew the Asset and Liabilities for any normal Bank and for a NBFC. From there
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


I looked at the Income statement of the bank. The crux of the matter was that
accepting deposits would help me to lower by net interest costs and actually
expand my business.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

Went well.

Any tips for the future


batch

I think practice helped. During my preparation I had developed this technique of


looking at the Balance Sheet and Income Statement of businesses for improving
profitability. This helped over here !!!!

Outcome

Moved to R2

Name of Candidate

Shreerang Godbole

Company Name

BCG

Interviewer Name

Ramesh Jha, Principal

Interview Number

R2

Personal Interview
Question

General Stuff.. likes-dislikes etc

Case Type

Marketing

Case Question

You are a foreign truck manufacturer and want to enter the Indian market. How will
you market your product?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Used Marketing 101!


Used the concept of who is the Buyer, Who is the user and who is the Key
Influencers. For each identify what is in it for him from the sale of the product.
Buyer Total Cost of Ownership (Fleet Owners)
User Truck Driver (Reliability)
Influencers Salesman (Incentive Schemes)
I do not remember the details of each but TCO would look at cost of purchase +
running cost salvage value. Analyze each dimension.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Went well.

Any tips for the future


batch

Remember the correct jargons I could see a nod when I said Total Cost of Ownership
, Influencer etc..

Outcome

Moved to R2-Int2

Name of Candidate

Shreerang Godbole

Company Name

BCG

Interviewer Name

Ashish Iyer, Partner

Interview Number

R2

Personal Interview

General Stuff.. likes-dislikes etc


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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Question
Case Type

Organization Structure

Case Question

You are a Indian conglomerate and have made acquisitions in Thailand and Middle
East. What structure will you put in place to integrate the organization

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

MGTO
General theory laid out Functional, Matrix, Divisional
Pros and Cons of each
What is the business objective?
Matches each against the business objective.
Ranked all of them
And done.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Went well.

Any tips for the future


batch
Outcome

Offer

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate

Ankur Bhageria

Company Name

BCG

Interviewer Name

Yashraj Erande

Interview Number

R1 Interview 1

Personal Interview
Question

Yash and I had interacted a fair bit before placements so I shared a good rapport with
him right from the outset. He asked me about what has (and hasnt) changed about
me in last 4 years, compared to when I was graduating from undergrad it was a good
question, something I hadnt prepared for but was able to do a fairly good job of it and
he connected pretty well with the answer himself. After having chatted for a while, we
began the case.

Case Type

Other

Case Question

A Indian banks CASA (current and savings account) deposits have gone down from
23% to 17% in the last couple of years and the bank has asked us to help fix the issue.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

I suspect I got this case given that Yash knew I came from a fin svcs. background and
also since it was a case that he was currently doing. This was a case where no regular
frameworks could be applied. It required plain logical first principles thinking. And
thats what I didnt do.
Problem definition: I spent the initial few minutes understanding the case specifics
what is CASA, who are the customers, what is the companys business model etc.
Reply: It was an Indian bank that served primarily the SME sector, as well as HNIs etc.
CA = Current Account deposits i.e. liquid short-term deposits from corporate (think
salaries and additional cash on balance sheet of corporate). SA = Savings accounts of
retail customers like you and me.
Structuring: This is where I was lost. I couldnt for the life of me figure out how I can
structure this problem. I started with jotting down the standard 5Cs and Product.
Me: I asked about the Company, Competitors and Customers.
Yash: The bank primarily catered to SMEs, HNIs and Retail customers who held
deposits with them. The CASA primarily came from SMEs and retail customers savings
accounts, remaining deposits came from Fixed deposits and long terms deposits.
Competitors typically had 40% CASA.
Analysis:
Me: I then spent a couple of minutes thinking about the issue, and then decided to
explore the deposits issue further I asked whether CASA going down was a company
related issue or industry wide phenomenon
Yash: Mentioned that it was a good question and CA was going down industrywide and
SA was actually growing for other banks. (Here I got a bit of confidence after feeling
my way around for a while.)
I decided to break up the problem into CA and SA and tackle them separately. I was
asked why do I think CA is reducing. I suggested CA was a result of cash balance on the
balance sheets of corporate clients of the bank, and as a result of weakness in the
market its possible that the cash balance of the firms is going down. This reduced
cash balance could be either due to reduction in assets overall or stable assets but
diversion of funds from cash to other assets. He said it was the former.
Then I looked at SA The savings account deposits for the client were reducing while
the industry SA was growing. This was a simpler problem to tackle I broke it down as
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


per a revenue framework: Asked if number of customers were reducing or revenue /
customer was going down.
Yash: no. of customers have been reducing, rev/customer has been steady.
Me: Great. So lets look deeper into why the customers prefer other banks to our
clients. What are the drivers behind a customers choice? Using the 3Ps, I listed a few
things like interest rates, quality of service (product related), branch vicinity to the
customers, strength of salesforce (distribution/channel related), brand
recall/perception of the bank, marketing efforts (promotion/marketing related). I
decided to tackle the channel issue first which geographies is the bank present it,
which geographies are attractive and if theres a mismatch.
Yash: Thats correct. The banks branch network is sparse and not catering to the high
growth areas. Great.
The case ended here.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

Wrong very shaky start. Was a bit lost on how to tackle the problem initially. Started
with the wrong approach, then midway realized what needs to be done. Was a bit
nervous since it was the first interview of the day.
Right Great rapport built with Yash right from the beginning (even before d-day).
That helped a bit. Keeping MECE in mind helped. Picturing yourself as the client often
helps as well. Regaining composure obviously helped.

Any tips for the future


batch

Basic first principles approach helped here. Dont try to force fit frameworks in such
cases it doesnt help. Listen to every word of the problem statement -understand it
very well, and then tackle issues from there on. Always be MECE. For e.g. it was
important to break the problem into logical MECE portions here CA and SA, then
within CA industrywide or company specific issue etc.
Most importantly stay calm most people lose the game due to tension on d-day. I
almost did as well.

Outcome

Moved to next round

Name of Candidate

Ankur Bhageria

Company Name

BCG

Interviewer Name

Ramesh Jha

Interview Number

R1 Interview 2

Personal Interview
Question

Directly started with the case. Basic 5 min chat at the end. Asked Deepak about the
case what happened in reality etc. Also since he specialized in FMCG practice, had a
chat with him on FDI in retail in India and how it will change the industry dynamics.

Case Type

Market entry

Case Question

Global leader in truck manufacturer wants to enter India what should it do? This case
was not so much about evaluating whether to enter India or not. It revolved more
around how should the company set up its India operations. What should it do now
once it has taken the decision to enter the market.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Again, there wasnt a typical market entry framework that could be applied but a
simple focus on the 5Cs worked for me. Specifically I decided to focus on Customer,
Company, Competitors first, and then look at Context and collaborators /partners if
needed. Also, given that this was a market entry issue, an STP analysis of sorts would
be needed here.
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Me: Can you tell me a little more about why the company is looking to enter the Indian
market? What is its objective or goals?
Ramesh: The company finds India to be a large and attractive market and is looking to
set up a profitable operation in India.
Me: What kind of offering does the company have? What kind of customers does it
serve globally?
Ramesh: The company has a fleet of trucks that it manufactures and serves primarily
logistics companies or other large businesses who have their inhouse logistics
Me: Interesting. So what we need to understand now is what do these logistics
companies look for when making a purchasing decision? Why would they pick our
clients offering over another local Indian competitor? What are the drivers behind
their purchase decision?
Ramesh: Fair point. So can you identify what these drivers might be?
Me: Sure So as a logistics company some of the purchase drivers would be Costs,
performance (reliability/ mileage, capacity, maintenance costs etc.), resale value, after
sales service, brand/reputation, availability and delivery time, cost of switching from
existing vendor. I emphasized that given that were dealing with Indian customers,
price and value would play a dominant role.
Ramesh: I agree. So how can our client market its offering to its customers knowing
these factors. Keep in mind its the global leader in truck manufacturing.
Me: Sure. Given that our client is a global leader, what are its competitive advantages
vs its competitors?
Ramesh: What do you think they are?
Me: Perhaps they have superior product offering in terms of technology, performance,
larger array of products, better pricing due to economies of scope and scale?
Ramesh: Correct.
Me: So in that case, our clients value proposition should focus on total cost of
ownership to the customer since all above factors would contribute to potentially a
lower cost of ownership.
Ramesh: Good point. How would you calculate the total cost of ownership?
Me: Sure. Id factor in number of trucks required (could be lesser in case of higher
capacity), price per truck, mileage of truck, performance/speed (which may reduce
delivery times and hence factor in opportunity cost of time or value of faster delivery),
maintenance costs over the life of ownership, financing costs, if any, and resale value
of truck.
Ramesh: Great. Thats fairly comprehensive. In what other way can our client
differentiate itself assuming competitors match our client on the above factors? In
other words, what competitive advantages can it leverage or look to create to sustain
itself in this market?
Me: (I took a couple of minutes to think about it). I mentioned that it could think of
differentiating itself on after sales service or even better financing options, however I
added that it would be difficult to sell this value proposition. Ramesh agreed. I realized
that Ill have to come up with some creative solutions here. After thinking for another
minute, I suggested that the client can leverage its global operations and size.
Assuming it will be serving large businesses (logistic cos and industry), a significant
portion of them would have global operations and it could use its existing relationships
with them in other parts of the world to strike deals in India. Further, it could offer
much better prices if the customers purchase their fleet across countries from our
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


client (bulk order concept). Lastly, given that our client is the largest truck
manufacturer, there would be very few competitors who can provide a similar variety
in types of trucks. So like Boeing that sells a fleet of aircrafts to its customers, our
client could do the same and offer end to end solutions for all the customer needs.
Ramesh nodded in agreement. He seemed to appreciate the ideas. We ended the case
here.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

Pretty much nothing went wrong. Everything went smooth,

Any tips for the future


batch

Using examples from other industries / or cases youve done in b-school helps a lot.
The Boeing example added that extra punch in case analysis. Always think of what
unique insight you can add/bring to the table over and above the regular analysis. That
wow factor in every case.

Outcome

Moved to next round

Name of Candidate

Ankur Bhageria

Company Name

BCG

Interviewer Name

Amitabh Mall

Interview Number

R2 Interview 1

Personal Interview
Question

Amitabh was by far the friendliest interviewer anyone can have. Struck a great rapport
with him right from the get go. We discussed a bit on an initiative that I headed at ISB
Perspectives@ISB.

Case Type

Profitability / Expansion

Case Question

Textile manufacturer has approached BCG to improve its profitability. How would you
go about helping them achieve it?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

This case was a deceptively tricky one in nature. On the face of It, it seemed like a
straightforward profitability framework of Revenue cost. However, it turned out to be
a market entry case.
Me: Could you please tell me a bit more about the client and its business. What
geographies does it operate in?
AM: Sure. Our client is a major supplier to apparel companies. It has global operations
and is present across 40 countries.
Me: Okay. What has been the companys profitability in the last few years? Has it been
deteriorating / steady or increasing? How does it compare to the industry growth?
AM: Overall, its profitability has been increasing at a modest rate, in line with the
industry.
Me: Alright, so does it have any target in mind? What is its objective?
AM: The company basically isnt satisfied with its current profitability and feels it can
do better than the market.
Me: Okay. So given that it has global operations, Id like to understand its largest
geographies of operation. Where does it derive most of its profits from? What has
been the profitability trend in each of these?
AM: The companys largest segments are China, Malaysia and India in terms of profits.
The companys been doing well in China with 10% profitability, Malaysia has been
declining and is currently 5%, while India has been steady at 8%.
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Me: At this point we can think of two ways of improving profitability either by
identifying new high growth and high profitability markets or improving operations in
existing markets. Would you like me to look at its existing operations first?
AM: Sure lets analyze the companys existing markets.
Me: Great. Given that the Companys Malaysian market has been underperforming,
lets try to diagnose that first and see if we can improve profitability there. Does that
sound fair?
AM: Yes.
Me: Okay. So can you tell me why has the profitability been declining here has the
revenue per unit dropped or the cost per unit gone up?
AM: The companys been facing increasing competition from local players whos cost
structures are lower than that of our clients. (At this point he showed be a slide on his
laptop which had the cost structures of the client and the local competition)
(amount in $)
Units sold

Client

Competition

1,40,000

1,00,000

COGS

28,00,000

17,00,000

SG&A

20,00,000

13,00,000

Interest expenses

2,00,000

3,20,000

Other expenses

1,00,000

50,000

Me: The COGS for our client seems to be much higher than that of the local
competition. Id like to delve deeper into the components of COGS to see where the
difference lies. (At this point he showed me the below table)

COGS / unit

Client

Competition

Raw material

4.00

6.00

Manufacturing

9.00

11.00

Transportation/delivery

7.00

Me: If were incurring transportation costs and the competition isnt, this seems to
imply that our client isnt sourcing/manufacturing locally in Malaysia, rather importing
its raw materials or finished goods?
AM: Thats true. The manufacturing is being done in India due lower labour costs and
cheaper available raw materials.
Me: Right, however it seems that that advantage is being lost due to the
transportation costs.
AM: So what do you suggest the client do?
Me: I would explore opening a manufacturing plant in Malaysia itself in order to save
on the transportation costs. However, there would be considerations even in this
move we would need to see whether the raw material and manufacturing costs will
be the same for our client as it is for the local players. Its possible that they get better
prices due to their local relationships. Further, more importantly, we would need to do
a cost/benefit analysis of opening a new plant in Malaysia to the transportation costs
incurred.
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


AM: Great. And how would we do that?
Me: Perhaps take depreciation as a proxy for the annual costs and compare it to the
annual transportation costs, or calculate the PV of transportation costs over the life of
the plant and compare it to the investment required.
AM: Great. Thats pretty much how we analyzed the case ourselves.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

Right: The initial segmentation was very crucial. From starting with an overall
profitability issue to arriving at the analysis of cost structure of Malaysian business was
the key aspect in the case. Rest of it was straight forward. Also got the calculations
right at first go. Further, identifying the tradeoffs with setting up a plant in Malaysia
was also crucial to the analysis
Wrong: Nothing much.

Any tips for the future


batch

Problem scoping and problem definition is supremely critical. This entire case was
based on that. Asking the right questions is supremely crucial. Never forget to segment
the business either by customer / product / geography / channel etc.
Also, dont be in a hurry to solve any problem. Take your time and think through
everything before saying it. Dont jump to analysis before defining the true problem
which in this case was high cost structure of Malaysian operations (and not company
profitability).

Outcome

Moved to next round

Name of Candidate

Ankur Bhageria

Company Name

BCG

Interviewer Name

Avartan Bokil

Interview Number

R2 Interview 2 (My 8th interview of the day)

Personal Interview
Question

No real questions from his end. I struck up a conversation on the Indian Banking sector
based on a newspaper article I read by a BCG partner earlier that week. We both came
from financial services background so it was easy to have a chat on the topic. I had
done my homework on the sector expecting such a discussion on interview day. We
chatted for about 15 mins

Case Type

Market share

Case Question

Since I was from Mumbai, Avartan took an example of an auto dealership in Mumbai
looking to increase its market share. We needed to advise them on a strategy for this.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

So we began the case with Avartan asking me how can we tackle the issue of
increasing revenues and hence market share of our client dealership. We had a short
discussion on the factors we need to look into and how we should approach the
problem. I mentioned that in order to increase revenues, we need to understand
competition and customers. He mentioned that for simplicity sake lets assume theres
one other dealership at the tip of South Mumbai at Nariman Point and our client is
located in the centre of the city.
Me: Ok. So now Id look at the factors customers take into consideration when buying
cars from a dealership.
AB: What factors can you think of?
Me: Well, location would be a major factor, Price of cars wouldnt vary much and
thats not lever we must really pull anyway, dealership service, customer experience at
the dealership, servicing center costs associated with dealership, parts and accessories
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


prices would also be another consideration.
AB: Sure. So lets assume everything else to be the same and location is something our
client needs to decide on, given that it plays a big role. How should our client decide
where to open his dealership. Assume that their current dealership in Mahim doesnt
exist.
Me: Location would depend on the demographics of the various areas in the city
AB: Lets assume that the customers are uniformly spread out between Nariman point
and Bandra. Lets also assume that these locations are the two ends of the city.
Me: (I drew a rectangle and positioned the competitor at one end of it). Lets start with
the assumption that were at the other end. In this case the market will be equally
divided and we will have 50% market share. But we can do better if we move towards
the competitors dealership since wed acquire all customers from Bandra upto the
dealership, plus wed split the remaining market between the client dealership and
competitor. (Unfortunately cant recreate the drawing here easier to explain through
that). Finally thered be a location on the map beyond which the dealership will be
considered too close to the competitor in a way that location by itself wouldnt
provide any advantages to our client. The customers from Bandra end to Nariman
Point would consider both dealerships to be in the same area and would become
location agnostic.
AB: Yes. So what is that ideal point where our client should locate his dealership in
order to gain maximum market share?
Me: Lets assume that customers within a distance of X kms radius of a dealership will
by default choose that dealership for purchase.
(here I struggled a bit to come up with the optimum location for the dealership. I had
the logic right and I was hovering around the answer but I wasnt being able to arrive
at a definitive answer. However the good thing was that Avartan had become quite
engrossed in the problem himself and was solving the same problem on a piece of
paper himself, so we kept discussing and exchanging notes).
Me: Also customers between the two dealerships would always be equally divided
between the two, irrespective of the distance between them.
AB: Right.
Me: So our client should locate 2X Kms away from competitor.
AB: Are you sure itll be 2X?
Me: (I relooked at my analysis and after struggling for another few minutes, I revised
my answer). If X km is the threshold for customers to begin considering other
dealerships, then anything less than X kilometers between dealerships is considered
too close and the customers from Bandra upto clients dealership become location
agnostic and the market will be equally shared again. Hence the ideal location would
be X km away from competitors Nariman Point dealership.
AB: Yes. Thats right. In fact this is a real case study and a lot of auto dealers actually
carry out this analysis when selecting locations.
The case ended here
What do you think went
right/wrong?

Right: I felt I was pretty calm and composed throughout the interview, even when I
struggled towards the end. Also, we had a decent interaction at the start of the
interview and we built a decent rapport.
Wrong: I couldnt arrive at the answer that he was looking for, and even made a wrong
estimate (2X kms). In hindsight, I shouldve cracked this, it wasnt too difficult, but in
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


the interview setting probably didnt strike me)
Any tips for the future
batch

Its okay to make mistakes in the interview as long as you dont get flustered and lose
your composure. Temperament under pressure is as important as problem solving
ability. A lot of talented people in our batch lost out because of lack of composure on
d-day.

Outcome

This was the last of the mandated 4 rounds. Was awaiting results after this.

Name of Candidate

Ankur Bhageria

Company Name

BCG

Interviewer Name

Ashish Iyer

Interview Number

R3 (My 9th interview of the day)

Personal Interview
Question

(This was my final interview and probably the make or break one given that I was
interviewing with Ashish Iyer who makes the final call with recruiting candidates.) If
there was one person who could pull off a poker face it was Ashish. I entered the
room and he seemed exhausted from the day and very uninterested. There were no PI
questions from his end. We jumped straight into the case.
At the end of the case I asked him a couple questions on BCGs brand. From whatever I
had learnt about all the firms, I felt BCG had the best culture by far. I mentioned this to
Ashish I said that BCG scores well on all dimensions versus its major competitors
except on brand which is important in attracting not just clients but talented
prospective employees. And research is one way to push that brand in the public
domain. So my question to him was Does BCG identify that as a channel to
strengthen its brand? For e.g. BCG perspectives is still some way behind McK quarterly
in terms of publishing research. What were his thoughts on that. He responded in
agreement and explained their philosophy. We had a bit of a discussion on that, but
that was it.

Case Type

Game theory

Case Question

Our client is participating in 3G auctions. There are six circles up for auction and 4
players participating (including our client). We have to advise them on an optimal
strategy to acquire maximum circles and the most preferred circles.
Our client (company A) has 3K Cr corpus, B has 3K Cr, C and D have 1K Cr each. The six
circles up for auction are Mumbai (reserve price 1K Cr), Delhi (reserve price 1K Cr),
Karnataka (400 cr), Punjab (400 Cr), Gujrat (200 Cr) and Maharashtra (200 cr). Our
clients mandate is to win as many as they can in the order of priority stated.
Rules of the game:
If theres only one bidder and bid lower than reserve price => gets circle
Multiple bidders If all bid below reserve price => Highest bid wins
Multiple bidders If someone bids atleast the reserve price, irrespective of higher
bids, that firm moves to round 2 of bidding.
In round 2, all bids have to be higher than reserve price, and the highest bidder wins

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

This was the most testing case of all and it came at the fag end of the day. I was fairly
exhausted mentally but knew that this was the make or break case for me. So I
mustered up some resolve and began.
I started off by making some mental notes and saying them out loud just so that Ashish
knew how I was thinking about the problem. My approach was to analyze this auction
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game from each players point of view in order to evaluate its optimal or dominant
strategy. I noted:
1. C & D just had a corpus of 1K cr, which meant that if they went for Mumbai or
Delhi, theyd have to spend all their money on 1 circle and given that A & B
had 3Kcr, C&D would probably lose out in Round 2 of bidding anyway. So their
optimal strategy would be to acquire the cheaper circles.
2. A & B would realize this as well and given their deeper pockets, their strategy
would be move the bidding to round 2 for as many circles as possible. Hence
they would bid the reserve price for the top 5 circles.
3. C & D would not bid for Mumbai or Delhi. Rather, their strategy would be to
submit minimum bids for the remaining circles so that they can play the round
2 bidding game. Given that A & B would be least interested in Mah circle (last
in terms of attractiveness as stated above), both of them would bid for Mah,
and 2 of the other 3 circles.
All this while Ashish gave a slight nod of the head which meant I was doing alright. He
then suggested we leave out C&D for the time being and evaluate our clients strategy
with respect to B.
I then began to evaluate As action given Bs possible moves. What would be the
equilibrium strategy for both the players such that our client maximizes its return.
When thinking about Bs possible moves, I realized that B sees the game in exactly the
same way as A and will be evaluating its options in the same manner as well since both
have the same corpus. Neither had an advantage over the other. Hence if they try to
compete on any circle, in trying to outbid each other, it would prove detrimental to
both.
Therefore it was in their best interest to form a tacit agreement to not compete
against each other and divide up the circles among themselves by pushing C&D out of
the bidding since C &D only had a corpus of 1Kcr.
At this point Ashish nodded as well, and decided to end the case.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

Right: This was probably my best case interview in the entire day. Not just in terms of
solving the case, but in terms of how smooth it was. I didnt falter at any point in the
case and solved it steadily and calmly. Also, I think Ashish liked the energy I showed,
and at the end of the case we had a short chat which I think went well as well.
Wrong: Nothing much.

Any tips for the future


batch

One thing to keep in mind Arriving at the right answer is not important in a case
interview, communicating the way you think and approach the problem is more
important. Always think out loud wherever possible. Companies want to understand a
candidates thought process through these interviews.
Also, keep your energy levels high, as you go through the day you build momentum
and you keep getting better at solving cases. Counter-intuitive but true.

Outcome

Was made the offer

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name
Interviewing with
(consulting firm)

Brij Vashisth
The Boston Consulting Group

Name of the Interviewer

Shweta Bajpai, Team Lead

Interview Number

Round 1, Interview 1

Personal Interview
Questions

First interview with BCG and 6th for the day.

Case Question

A casting company wants to increase its revenue base from 100 Cr to 1000 Cr in 5 yrs
maintaining an EBITDA of 20%.

Case Type

Growth

Narration of the case

Was given the following information when asked:

Tell me about yourself? A few other questions related to work experience.

Client based out of India


Sells castings to turbine manufacturers
Castings sold by client are then fixed to turbines and then sold to power plants
by customer

After assimilating the basic information, I used the following framework to start the
case analyses:
2x2 BCG MATRIX
Existing Products

New Products

Existing Markets

(1)

(2)

New Markets

(3)

(4)

After laying out the BCG matrix, I asked Shweta which one to target first.
Existing Market structure (Revenues):

Our market share: 100 cr


Another competitor market share: 100 cr
Imports: 400 cr (so high?)
Are we covering all geographies in India? Yes
Can we sell castings to other customers apart from turbine manufacturers?
Yes but EBITDA will go below 20%

Then, I compared our products & service quality vis--vis imports.


I created the following table for analysis sake:
Quad

Revenue
Potential

Revenue
Drivers

Risks

+60 cr

Market
Growth

Low Risks:

From
Imports
share

Medium Risks:

(1)
+200 cr

Market Growth =10%

Quality
Price
Specialized Parts
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Skills manpower
Capital investment -specialized CNC
machines
(3)

+200 cr
(from
Africa)

Turbine
requirement
(Developing
Countries)

High Risks:
Came to the conclusion that Africa is the
only market that we can target after
analyzing:

(2)

+450 cr

Turbine
market India

Brazil (distance)
Russia (China)
China (Prices & other typical
Chinese factors
Africa

Risks: Medium
Vertical integration into turbine
manufacturing.
Analyzed Turbine industry using 5 forces:

(4)

--

--

Our sister company is in EPC


Turbine market = 10 x casting (10%
growth)

Risks: Very High


(Far-fetched idea. Should not focus for next
5 years.)

Then, I added another column in the above table with the header Risk mitigation.
We discussed in details how we could reduce the risks for each of the quadrants. Then
based on revenue potential and mitigated risks, I came up with a priority list.

What do you think went


right for you in the
interview?

For the last one and a half year prior to ISB, I was closely involved in the casting
process with my previous employer. I knew casting and related processes\industry
really well to speak with authority about my ideas. The ideas that I gave for mitigating
risks were appreciated.

What do you think went


wrong in this interview?

I guess one or two things related to PI.

Any tips for the future


batch?

I used my prior knowledge of the field to suggest some very detailed, related, and
practical solutions. Solving cases is like clearing the basic threshold. If you can mix the
case with practical industry knowledge, it will give you that high during the
interview.

Outcome

Moved to R1 interview 2

Name

Brij Vashisth

Interviewing with

The Boston Consulting Group


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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


(consulting firm)
Name of the Interviewer

Amitabh Mall

Interview Number

Round 1, Interview 2

Personal Interview
Questions

Interview started with basic PI questions for initial 5-7 min.

Case Question

An Indian fiber-manufacturing firm is facing declining profits.

Case Type

Profits

Narration of the case

Asked a few basic questions about the industry & the client (on the lines of 5Cs, 4Ps)
Understood the overall process flow of the yarn industry, and found out where the
fiber manufacturing firm fit in Collating this information gave me enough time to
generate ideas and structure my thoughts.
Then, used the basic Profit = Revenue Cost framework for this case analysis.
Started with Revenues. Had a detailed discussion about how we can increase the
revenues. Some key points:

Market for this yarn declining (many factors)


Cheaper/ better substitutes or alternatives available
Some countries still unexplored. This was the major factor for revenue
increase. Analyzed a few markets, and created a priority matrix for them.

Moved on to the Cost. Studied the current operations of the firm:

2 manufacturing units (India & Indonesia) (Different manufacturing costs in


different countries)
3 destination China, India & Indonesia (Different prices in each markets)
Created a process flow diagram for internal operations of the firm lest I
forget any key cost aspect

Started analyzing operational cost of the firm. Some key points:

Raw material costs


Labor efficiency
Yield of the plant
Systems

Then, I analyzed the logistics related costs and created the following tables to optimize
it:
Manufacturing
Plant

Maximum Supply

Costs of
manufacturing

India

S1

C1

Indonesia

S2

C2

Markets

Demand for
each market

Prices of the Yarn

India

D1

P1

Indonesia

D2

P2

China

D3

P3
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Shipping Route

Cost

India to China

L1

India to Indonesia

L2

Indonesia to India

L3

Indonesia to China

L4

The interviewer was promptly giving me all the data I was asking for.
I told him that we could use Linear Programming to optimize the logistics cost. Then, I
created the following table for inputs into an LP model:
Variable

Quantity

Contribution Margins

India to Indonesia

X1

M1 (= P2 C1 L2)

India to India

X2

M2 = P1 C1

India to China

X3

M3

Indonesia to
Indonesia

X4

M4

Indonesia to India

X5

M5

Indonesia to China

X6

M6

Supply constraints:
X1+X2+X3 <= S1
X3+X4+X5 <= S2
Similarly, I wrote the demand constraints.
After populating the table above, I said that we could use any standard LP solver to
find out the optimal solution. The interviewer asked me whether I could come up with
a solution without solver!!
I created a table and started optimizing it by allocating the quantity on the basis of
contribution margins. The values were very simple.
Finally, came up with two sets of solution and told the interviewer than we needed to
multiply these two sets of solution with respective contribution margin to find out the
best option. Phew!
He nods. Case ends.
What do you think went
right for you in the
interview?

Everything. All my tables & calculations were neat and clean. I was slow, but I made
sure that there were no calculation mistakes, corrections etc.

What do you think went


wrong in this interview?

Not much.

Any tips for the future


batch?

Stay calm. The interviewer might ask you anything. Be prepared for it.

Outcome

Moved to Round2
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Name

Brij Vashisth

Interviewing with
(consulting firm)

The Boston Consulting Group

Name of the Interviewer

Rohit Ramesh, Project Leader

Interview Number

Round 2, Interview 1

Personal Interview
Questions

He made me very comfortable right from the start of the interview. He asked me
whether I had lunch. He went outside and brought a lunch-box for me. He even asked
me to have lunch before the interview!!
Although some PI questions were off the beat, I was very relaxed & comfortable. PI
section went really well.

Case Question

Auto service center

Case Type

Market entry

Narration of the case

An automobile company has a series of service centers located throughout the


country. Independent dealers own these centers. The profitability of the service
centers was lower than that for other service centers.
Found out more about the operating model:

These service centers are for cars only and that too only by the concerned
automobile company.
Typically three revenue streams:
1. Automobile sales
2. Spare parts
3. Service business
Dealers had invested a lot more in fixed assets for service business as
compared to competition
Used the 3U (Uses, Usages, Users) framework for solving the case.
Discussed about a lot of ideas (two-wheelers, insurance, other brands) within this
framework to increase the profits of the dealers.
Then, we discussed about the risks associated with each of the ideas. Used Machine,
People, & Technology to analyze risks for each of the ideas.
Towards the end, he said I was missing out on something important. Then, I laid the
entire value-chain and found out the missing link. (Important)
Case ends.
What do you think went
right for you in the
interview?

Everything

What do you think went


wrong in this interview?

Not much

Any tips for the future


batch?

If the interviewer asks for a missing link, you should be comprehensive (MECE) in your
approach to find it out. Random guessing may work, but it wouldnt give a good
impression.

Outcome

Asked to wait for the last round

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name

Brij Vashisth

Interviewing with
(consulting firm)

The Boston Consulting Group

Name of the Interviewer

Ravi Srivastava, Partner

Interview Number

Round 2, Interview 2

Personal Interview
Questions

It was a PI heavy interview:

Case Question

Cement company case

Case Type

A bit of everything

Narration of the case

There are already many variants of cement case discussed in previous years
casebooks.

Tell me about yourself.


Detailed questions about my work at Schlumberger
Detailed questions on my IIT - Bachelor of Technology Project (BTP)!! It
wasnt even mentioned in my resume.

Throughout the interview, Ravi never let me settle down. Once, I laid down a structure
to analyze the case, he would critically analyze it and change everything. Everything!
Then, I present arguments and structure on the basis of new information (after taking
1 min breaks to come to senses); he will again overload me with new pieces of
information. The same happened three or four times.

We discussed a lot of business problems, which the company was facing - profit,
revenues, costs, sales channels, marketing 4Ps, distribution network, product-mix,
logistics optimization, performance parameters, etc.
We had been discussing whether Return on Investment was a good parameter to
gauge performance for a good 5 min, before he ended the case.

What do you think went


right for you in the
interview?

No idea

What do you think went


wrong in this interview?

I had no clue what was going on. All I remember after the interview was that we
argued a lot!!
Some of the PI questions took me off-guard.

Any tips for the future


batch?
Outcome

Was made an offer

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Interview

Case Question

General direction of case

Overall Outcome

Round 1,
Interview 1

Declining
profitability for client
in the cement
industry.

The typical thought process during the preparation


had aligned me to draw up an optimization
problem focusing on the cost side. The interviewer
however wanted me to focus on increasing
revenues.

Next interview

Discussion revolved around strategies to increase


sales/ store and number of stores, own vs. general
retail stores, wastage % and other parameters.
Root cause: Increasing Inventory/ Sales ratio was
causing the problem
Round 1,
Interview 2

Market entry
strategy for new
truck manufacturer
in India.

I employed the typical market entry framework for


discussing this case; however the end result
hinged upon the fact that truck users in India
tended to overload trucks, and this was a decision
metric.

Next Round

The manufacturers truck was better in mileage,


build etc., but at a premium. The truck design
however did not permit significant volume
overloading and therefore it was recommended to
not enter the market.
Round 2,
Interview 1

<No recollection>

Round 2,
Interview 2

Client wants to
invest in the solar
industry. There is an
upfront capex
requirement of x
Rs. 1000 MW will be
purchased by the
government at Rs
20/ kWH for the next
5 years. Should we
invest or not.

<No recollection>
This was my last interview (13th) for the day, and
the interviewer asked me upfront about my
exhaustion levels.

Next Interview
Offered

It was one of the simpler cases of the day. I asked


for the RoI requirement, and calculated a simple
NPV of the investment over the next 5 years.
The result came out to be positive, and therefore
the recommendation was to go ahead and invest.

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012

AT Kearney

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate
Company Name

Bishwa Ranjan Roy


A.T.Kearney

Interviewer Name

Shiv Shivaraman(Partner)

Interview Number

PI + Case
Round 1, first interview

Personal Interview
Question

Tell me about yourself.

Case Type

Market Size Estimation

Case Question

Estimate the installed base for Solar Power in India in 2020.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Since I have a Power background, he was keen on asking something related to power.
He also told me that it is not necessary that I have to come up with an estimate close
to 20 GW (Govt of Indias projection for solar power installed base).

How do you think you will fit well in A T Kearney with your 6 years of experience?

I took some time to think and told him about two approaches:
1. Bottom up: Starting with installed base and looking at different reasons /
locations where solar power addition will be feasible.
2. Top down: Going from total power projection and coming to solar power
installed base.
He asked me to choose any one approach and give reasons for it. I chose the second
one, and said that first approach may not be comprehensive and there is a chance that
I miss out some options.
So I took the current installed base and assumed a CAGR of about 9-10% (as per
projections) and arrived at the total installed base in 2020. Further I went on to the
breakup (in %age terms) of total installed base in Thermal, Wind, Hydro, Solar,
Nuclear and other forms of power generation in 2012 and possible break up (in %age
terms) and possible reasons for this change in composition in 2020. I was giving
reasons for each figure that I assumed which was backed by some policy or
macroeconomic factor that could lead to such a scenario.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

Since this is a market size estimation from the sector I come from, the assumptions I
made were critical (as I was supposed to know them well) However I checked with the
interviewer if I had a doubt instead to guessing the numbers.

Any tips for the future


batch

Know your industry well and be prepared with basic fact and stats of that industry.

Outcome

Moved to next interview.

Name of Candidate

Bishwa Ranjan Roy

Company Name

A.T.Kearney

Interviewer Name

Anshuman Maheshwary (Principal)

Interview Number

PI + Case
Round 1, second interview

Personal Interview
Question

Tell me about yourself.


Why Consulting and Why A.T. Kearney?
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Case Type

Identification of bottleneck to growth / profitability

Case Question

A chemical manufacturing companys board has been reshuffled and the new director
has asked you to suggest long term growth strategy in a scenario where they are
witnessing revenue and profitability growth

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

It was a tricky situation as both revenue and profits were increasing and presence of a
bottle neck was not evident. I started with asking questions on the product line,
customer base, sales channels, and competition. I came to know that its a single
commodity business, with B2B customers spread across India, direct sales channel and
client being the major player in industry with 60% mkt share and fragmented
competition. I was trying to see where could the company be lacking that can be
attended so that it grows as per the expectations, so I used the
Profit = Revenue Cost framework, where I started with the revenue side
And broke it up into, Revenue = Price * Quantity.
Here I again asked several questions regarding the price and competitors price etc.
Since this was a commodity business the price was same for all and I did not get any
clue. When I asked about the quantity, I came to know that the quantity was stagnant
for the past few months. After asking several questions about the possible reasons like
distribution bottleneck, raw material supply bottleneck and production bottleneck I
got to know that the plant was producing at 120% capacity and could not produce any
more. The revenue and profit were increasing due to increase in price but the quantity
was stagnant and in fact they had started loosing mkt share.
At this point I was asked to stop and he asked me if I had any question.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

The framework helped think in a structured manner in a situation where everything


seems to be fine. Asking lot of questions helped me diagnose the problem.

Any tips for the future


batch

Practice as many cases with variations of standard framework as possible so that you
know how to use them in a new situation.

Outcome

Moved to the 2nd round

Name of Candidate

Bishwa Ranjan Roy

Company Name

A.T.Kearney

Interviewer Name

Abhishek Poddar(Principal)

Interview Number

Case
Round 2

Personal Interview
Question

None

Case Type

In house or outsourcing decision

Case Question

You are a new power producer and want to expand very quickly. How will you decide if
you should keep the O&M activity in house or outsource it to third party?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

This was the interview where I faltered a lot. I tried to understand the scope of O&M
and he described it as day to day operations, repair and preventive maintenance. I
started with the factors that will influence the decision like timeline, costs, regulations,
technological know how, strategic alignment etc and said I will compare these in both
cases of doing inhouse or outsourcing. He said these are to judge if it makes profit but
not the way it should be decided. I was confused I tried to look at other things like
accountability, availability of personnel, long term growth etc. but he said this was not
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


the way to decide..after a brief discussion he told me that he was looking for a simple
2X2 matrix framework with criticality of activity on one axis and capability in mkt on
another. He said this is a standard way to decide such issues.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

I did not know such a framework and was probably stuck in the aspect of which is a
better way of doing such things.

Any tips for the future


batch

Dont panic even if the case is not going as per your expectations and keep your cool.
Keep the conversation going, ask questions and give some insights wherever possible
even if the interviewer is giving the solution.

Outcome

Moved to 3rd round

Name of Candidate

Bishwa Ranjan Roy

Company Name

A.T.Kearney

Interviewer Name

Pamela Pattabirman (principal)

Interview Number

Case
Round 3

Personal Interview
Question

None

Case Type

Case from retail industry

Case Question

A retail outlet is facing stock-outs very frequently. What should they do?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

I started scoping the case by asking questions and got some insights like it was
happening across all the stores in this chain in this area. I said that there is some
misalignment with demand and supply which is leading to this stock-out. Since this was
happening in all stores in this area, I explored possible common issues like logistics,
warehousing, etc. but could not find anything there. I then realized that this problem
can be with specific brands and found this to be true. Thus I suggested that shelf space
be redistributed so that the fast moving brands get more space and slower moving
brands get less space thus optimizing the inventory and avoiding stock-out. This was a
final check I guess before they made the offer so there were no further questions.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

I did not use any specific framework, should have been more structured in this round.
However I managed to reach the solution and that was what was required.

Any tips for the future


batch

Questions should be asked whenever you get stuck and dont stuck to one issue if you
cant find solution

Outcome

Was made the offer.

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Name of Candidate

Himanshu Jain

Company Name

A.T.Kearney

Interviewer Name

Abhishek Poddar(Principal)

Interview Number

Interview 1

Personal Interview
Question

Introduce yourself? What are your weaknesses?

Case Type

Business Situation

Case Question

You are a new power producer and want to expand very quickly. How will you decide if
you should keep the O&M activity in house or outsource it to third party?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

This was a five minutes interview. Abhishek asked me to just speak out what comes
first to my mind.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

I answered that we can evaluate the decision on few grounds such as control, cost,
flexibility, scale economies, and two other factors which I dont remember (studied
them in SAIT). Abhishek look satisfied with my response.

Any tips for the future


batch
Outcome

Moved to 2rd round

Name of Candidate

Himanshu Jain

Company Name

A.T.Kearney

Interviewer Name

Pamela (Principal)

Interview Number

Interview 2

Personal Interview
Question

Why ATK? Whats your pecking order?

Case Type

Business Situation

Case Question

A retail outlet is facing stock-outs very frequently. What should they do?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

A came up with a good framework for this problem. I said that there can be problems
with:

People Staff not ordering the products on a regular basis. Problem with
delivery boys, management incentives not aligned.
Process
o No. of days of inventory held in stock
o Inventory pooling Centralized warehouse vs regional warehouses
o Frequency with which orders are replenished, product re-order levels
Infrastucture
o Small warehouses/store space
o Slow mode of delivery
Product selection/procument
o Fast moving vs slow moving items
o Just in time procurement
o Shelf space allotment to different products

It turned out that there was a problem with shelf space allotment as most of it was
wasted to slow moving products. Also, Pam liked the idea of inventory pooling and
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asked me to write down equation for the same.
She was happy with all the responses
What do you think went
right/wrong?

I built a comprehensive framework in the start which helped me all throughout the
interview.

Any tips for the future


batch
Outcome

Had a small chat with the partner and Was made an offer

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Booz & Co.

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Name of Candidate
Company Name

Himanshu Jain
Booz & Co

Interviewer Name

XYZ, Principal

Interview Number

1 first interview

Personal Interview
Question

Tell me about yourself? What is your pecking order? What is Booz one of your top
priorities?
Booz has made a relatively fresh start in India Therefore, it offers a more
entrepreneurial culture to work in. Booz offers you Associate position rather than
junior consultant profiles (offered by other consulting firms) So, you in a way get a
straight 2 year jump in consulting. Also, it focuses on the fin practice again a plus for
people who want to get into private equity. Lastly, international opportunities offered
are good.

Case Type

Graph interpretation

Case Question

He showed me a table with 7 investment opportunities A, BG. Which one would you
choose?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

This was a bizarre case. I had never seen any such type of case before. Along with each
investment, values were given such as investment outlay, IRR, Cost of capital, tenure of
the project, NPV etc. The interviewer was asking rapid questions such as Which one A
or B, D or E and I was explaining rationale for each choice. I thought of structuring
the problem by drawing a constraint chart and showing that the response will depend
on the constraint. If investment is a constraint then we will try to maximize on NPV per
unit investment.
Also, in few projects IRR was very high and he questioned why havent you chosen
projects with high IRR. I replied that IRR assumes that we reinvest cash flows at the IRR
rate which is a wrong assumption to make. He appeared satisfied with the rationales I
gave.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Asked questions and kept him engaged


Made reasonable assumptions that I could back with logic.
Used my understanding of corp finance to the fullest I was luck as I went
glanced through all the term summaries just 2 before the d-day.

Any tips for the future


batch

Be confident and calm during the interview. The interviewer will make multiple
attempts to challenge your logic. Explain politely why you think your logic is
right. Acknowledge situations where the interviewer has proved you wrong,
instead of arguing with him

Outcome

Moved to next round.

Name of Candidate

Himanshu Jain

Company Name

Booz & Co

Interviewer Name

Ashish, Partner

Interview Number

3rd interview, (Dont remember the 2nd interview)

Personal Interview
Question

How was your experience of starting your own company? Why did you leave your own
venture? Why should we hire you?

Case Type

Business Situation
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Case Question

TRAI has approached you to help select amongst telecom companies bidding for the
4G spectrum. You can give it to one large company A, or 3 small companies B, C & D. A
is offering more price than the cohort of B,C & D. Help TRAI decide how to design the
bidding process and which option to go for?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Another bizarre case from Booz. I had a smile on my when I heard the case as I thought
that I am out of Booz for sure.
I asked initial questions about the companies, the operational bit, and monopoly
practices. I figured out soon that giving the spectrum to company A will result in
economies of scale and scope, but it will also led to a monopoly problem.
The case became an economics problem where you had to maximize the consumer
surplus. I started making few graphs of consumer surplus, monopoly and monopolistic
situation with Ashish.
I reason out to Ashish that even though the marginal cost curve of players in
monopolistic/perfectly competitive market are higher than those in a monopoly but
you can still maximize on the consumer surplus as price charged will be lower.
But, TRAI will be losing on the additional bid amount company A is paying. We again
started another round of discussions MC, MR, AC, AR.Ashish appeared to be
satisfied with my responses.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Clarity of concepts taught in class is extremely important.

Any tips for the future


batch

From my personal experience, I can tell that companies dont look for straight forward
answers. Rather, they want to see your thought process. Make logical and reasonable
arguments.

Outcome

Was made an offer.

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Name of Candidate
Company Name

Dhruv Vatsal
Booz & Co

Interviewer Name
Interview Number

Round 1, Interview 1

Personal Interview
Question

Why Booz?

Case Type

Guesstimate

Case Question

How many golf balls in the air at the moment?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

I structured this analysis in the following manner:

What do you think went


right/wrong?

What is your pecking order of firms?

a) Divided the world into time-zones, with the assumption that Id focus only on
golf being played during the day.
b) Developed vs developing countries and an approximation of the number of
9hole and 18hole golf courses.
a. Used number of major cities as an underlying parameter to come up
with this number.
c) Number of people playing at that instant. (which was at 1:15pm IST)
d) Out of that, how many people would be playing a shot at that very instant.
a) PI bombed quite badly, as I am not sure I was able to convince him of my
reasons to join Booz.
b) The guesstimate went fairly well. The thought process was quite logical and
structured, and I took his yes/no during the entire assumption-making process.

Any tips for the future


batch

Its not enough knowing your reasons; one needs to be articulate in the responses as
well.

Outcome

Was asked to wait for next interview, but I was called somewhere else and couldnt
return.

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Parthenon

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate
Company Name

Nipun Rastogi
The Parthenon Group

Interviewer Name

Matt (Principal London Office)

Interview Number

1st interview of round 1

Personal
Question

Interview None as such. Matt was more inclined towards a case.

Case Type

The case was primarily related to a market entry situation.

Case Question

So there is an education firm that is looking to expand internationally. What are the
things you would look at? And then the case developed from there.

Narration of the case, as After the question, I tried a couple of scoping questions. I wanted to understand the
descriptively as possible
motivations and objectives of the company. However, Matt was looking for a list
straight away. I tried to evaluate it on two orthogonal metrics, industry attractiveness
and company strengths. I added that industry attractiveness was a combination of
barriers to entry, market size, growth and margins (money potential), value chain
players (suppliers like teachers etc) and competition and existing players. The company
competency included skill sets, degree and programs or domain and technology, cash
and other powers. Then I added that the strengths need to counter the possible risks
that the business could face and also to build a long term sustainable competitive
advantage for the entrant. At this point Matt told me that the company had more
strength in terms of distance education and they were experts in high technology
video conferencing kind of education system. He also gave me a sheet of paper which
talked about the four countries targeted India, Brazil, Spain and Germany (not too
sure on the countries). He asked then to determine one factor that would be of the
greatest significance. I thought for a few minutes and discussed the importance of
regulation in the space. I believed that international player entry can be greatly
impacted by the kind of rules for international players that we have in the system. I am
not too sure if the answer was correct or not as Matt was quite serious throughout the
interview. He then showed me data on the possible distance education markets in the
different countries. It had some trends and numbers. I think in Brazil the marketing
was rising very fast and had a growth rate of 67% or so. I did a couple of calculations
and saw that Brazil could be one of the biggest markets. Then Matt asked about any
inherent assumptions that I would have made in the calculation.
I was a little skeptical about this and hence asked for a minute on this. The Brazil
market growth rate was one of the numbers, Indias adoption of technology in
education and another countrys reduced support in distant education were some
assumptions I questioned in no particular order. I qualified it with the statement that
since Brazils assumption made the market real attractive so it would be really critical.
In the end, we had a discussion on the aspect of the strategy to enter the market.
Where would we need partners, where the government would be most receptive and
similar things?
The session ended with a couple of questions I wanted to clear from someone in
London office. I asked about the kind of projects and their difference from projects in
India. I knew a lot about the kind of workload in India office and clarified how busy
London office was.
What do you think went I was pretty confident during the interview and I think that was one thing working in
right/wrong?
my favor. In fact I even made a calculation mistake in the interview but did not let it
faze me. I was talking throughout although there were instances when Matt left the
room and it was a bit awkward.
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Any tips for the future Be ready for surprises in the interview. One cannot prepare for case interview like the
batch
interviewer leaves the room for five minutes. Also, dont get bogged down by the data
thrown at you. Consolidated tips at the end of my McKinsey interview .
Outcome

Proceeded to the next compulsory interview.

Name of Candidate

Nipun Rastogi

Company Name

The Parthenon Group

Interviewer Name

Aastha Bajaj (Principal Mumbai Office)

Interview Number

2nd interview of round 1

Personal
Question

Interview This was a more elaborate interview of the classic types. Aastha ensured that I was not
feeling nervous and laid out the interview timeline in front of me. She said the first 10
minutes would be personal interview followed by a 15 minute case and 5 minutes for a
few questions from my side about the company.
PI began with questions about my previous interview with Matt. Then it moved on to
the discussion about the luxurious room we were in. The interview was in those faculty
towers and we were in the rooms for visiting faculty. It was lavish and we discussed
how being a professor is a very good option to pursue. Then she asked me about what
I was in real life. What hobbies I pursued and how it fared for me in life. We talked
about what I chose to pursue at ISB and what I thought was important in getting the
most out of the experience. Somewhere my answers connected with her as she was
nodding as we were talking and I could get her to comment on some of the things.
I am not writing the answers to PI questions for a couple of reasons:
a) Uniqueness: When you read PI answers, you might start modeling your own on
what you read. A strict no-no for PI.
b) Contact: You want the answers, contact me at nipunrastogi@gmail.com or
Facebook .

Case Type

The case was primarily related to a market estimation.

Case Question

Estimate the two wheeler market in India.

Narration of the case, as I owe a lot for this case to Kumar Abhinav (my case group mate) and Sudeep Laad (my
descriptively as possible
buddy from Parthenon). We had developed a specific method to go at the estimation
cases.
First I divided the question into two approaches:
Supply side and demand side. Supply was manufacturers and demand was population
based. Since supply was unconstrained I was inclined to go on the demand side. I took
the interviewers agreement on the same and she nodded. I also clarified that
triangulation was important for such estimates and hence suggested that we can do by
population and income segments of the people. The cross-verification could be done
by using the technique of breaking country into small territories and extrapolating.
With the approach out of the way, I laid down the basics. I put down that we will go by
population and income estimates and then see if we need to make an assumption and
can that be verified by any secondary data.
Then I proceeded with dividing the Indian population (1.2 billion) into households (300
million). Then I divided the households into low income, lower middle, upper middle
and rich segments. After this I had to define income segments that would put these
guys into separate buckets.
What I did then I think was something that made my case and prospects in the
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


interview. I initiated by talking about disposable income and defined it via the EMIs
required to pay off the amounts for the vehicle. For instance, I said that a bike is
typically 40,000 and is bought in 20 EMIs then each month needs 2000 INR spare. This I
multiplied by 12 to get annual disposable income as 24,000. I said a poor family would
spare a significance portion of their income to get this kind of a vehicle which I said like
20% for this segment. This meant a 120,000 as annual income for the year. Similarly, I
broke down each and every segment in terms of their income.
The interviewer wanted to check my thought process in the entire estimation exercise.
She asked me why I did not break down into rural and urban divide. I explained to her
that I wanted to do that but then again I avoided it because my personal experience of
Munger and Saharanpur and other cities (close to the rural domain) show that there
are bikes and other two wheelers in abundance. She was real impressed with this (at
least this is what I felt as she nodded and gave her consent). After this I added that
certain households will change their two wheelers every five years and some would do
that every 15 years.
Based on this the total number was found which as a number was immaterial but the
process was important. I think it was up to the expectations of the interviewer.
Then we shifted to me asking questions about Parthenon and busy schedules in the
company. She discussed her perspective on the same and we also talked a little about
the double project allocation system at the company.
What do you think went The entire framework and process of arriving at the number was impressive to the
right/wrong?
interviewer. I could engage her in discussion and checked for her approval at every
crucial juncture is what gave me confidence and also kept us on the same page.
Any tips for the future Stay focused on the number to be found in such estimate questions. Bring in the
batch
experience from your daily life as well as reports you have read. Try to think of two or
three ways to achieve a problem and pick one that is comfortable for you. Check with
interviewer for the same.
Outcome

Sent to the final round.

Name of Candidate

Nipun Rastogi

Company Name

The Parthenon Group

Interviewer Name

Ashwin (Partner Mumbai Office)

Interview Number

1st and only interview in round 2

Personal
Question

Interview None.

Case Type

Presentation of case based on data provided.

Case Question

There was a set of 18 slides provided which were to be interpreted and the basic
questions were to be answered. The questions were not known then.

Narration of the case, as I cannot describe this case in detail here.


descriptively as possible
Basically, it started with me getting the data which had information about a company
and its business and their competition as well. I was given about half an hour to read it.
But the interview before me finished early and so the partner sat in front of me and
was waiting for me to start. I got slightly perturbed and started the discussion. I think I
could not focus on the case in the last few minutes and was not in the best conditions.
Anyways, the discussion began with the partner asking me about the problems in the
company. I pointed out certain things that I noticed were problematic. He seemed
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unimpressed and asked me to discuss an issue I had kind of ignored. We then
discussed how it could be a great problem.
After this setback, there was another question about the competition. In that as well, I
think I missed something that was important. Again there was discussion around it for
some time. I was losing confidence in myself because of these slips. The points that I
was making made sense but then something crucial was always overlooked.
Finally, when we were discussing recommendations to solve the problems, I again
floundered on one aspect of it. Overall, I had a sunken feeling about the interview.
What do you think went I kept missing key aspects at crucial junctures and hence was never in the control of
right/wrong?
the situation.
Any tips for the future Stay calm when things are not going your way. Do try to prepare for this round, I dont
batch
know how though.
Outcome

Did not get through. I think there were comments like the partner was disappointed in
me.

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Name of Candidate
Company Name

Varun Mimani
Parthenon

Interviewer Name

Jitin

Interview Number

1 first interview

Personal Interview
Question

Tell me about yourself & most riveting experience at ISB. Probed me about my
experiences at work specifically with regards to leading teams/initiatives

Case Type

Market estimation

Case Question

Number of passports issued in India in an year

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Just a one-liner as mentioned above

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Any tips for the future


batch

I highlighted that we could solve the case using 2 approaches demand side
and supply side. We discussed them in brief and then he suggested that I take
the demand-side approach
Asked questions and kept him engaged
Involved him in solving the case to make it more like a discussion being led by
me
Made reasonable assumptions that I could back with logic
Take it easy, dont stress out. This is especially important for Parthenon as they
are not looking to put you under pressure for no reason
Smile and sound refreshing. Remember the guy at the other end might have
sat through more interviews than you can imagine!

Outcome

This was the first interview of the first round. Everyone had a minimum of 2 interviews

Name of Candidate

Varun Mimani

Company Name

Parthenon

Interviewer Name

Danesh

Interview Number

1 second interview

Personal Interview
Question

Tell me about yourself.


How was your interview with Jitin?
Why Parthenon?

Case Type

Qualitative factors to look at in a due diligence scenario

Case Question

What are the critical qualitative factors that you would look at in a reverse logistics
mobile repair company if you were a PE player wanting to invest in the same?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Business mobile repair reverse logistics firm


Collects damaged phones from retailers
Repairs them and gets them back to the retailers for delivery to the end
customer
Once I solved the case and highlighted the factors, he asked me what the
threats to such as business could be?
Asked me about exit options for the PE firm if the firm were to make an
investment.
I drew a diagram of the operations
Again, kept the interviewer engaged by asking questions
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Any tips for the future


batch

Followed a structure but did not sound like I was bound by one the case
required one to be imaginative and innovative
When asked about exit options, suggested that PE firms typically exit in around
5 years which showed by understanding of the PE domain
When I was not getting one of the exit options that the interviewer was
looking for, instead of beating around the bush and suggesting silly options, I
simply said that I needed help to move forward sometimes its juts better to
be honest when you are stuck!
I got most things right because of the diagram that I drew.
Be genuine and straightforward
Take your time and think before you ask questions. Show that you have done
an MBA by talking about things like the PE firms exit objective that I
highlighted. Most people know these things, but in the eagerness to
concentrate solely on solving the case, miss out on highlighting their
knowledge about these things

Outcome

Moved to the 2nd round of interviews

Name of Candidate

Varun Mimani

Company Name

Parthenon

Interviewer Name

Ashwin, Partner

Interview Number

2 Partner round

Personal Interview
Question

None

Case Type

Presented a deck of 20 slides and asked to make a presentation to the Partner. Given
30 minutes to prepare

Case Question

Highlighted the problems being faced by the company


Suggest solutions

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

It was a deck of close to 20 slides


Data heavy slides
Was from an industry I had no clue about medical equipments
A number of slides had share price movement graphs

What do you think went


right/wrong?

I highlighted the problem correctly. Dont mix the problem and the symptom.
Eg share price falling is a symptom, not the problem itself.
I maintained my cool with the Partner
I was a good listener when the Partner was talking
Asked questions about things that I was not clear about

Any tips for the future


batch

Time is short in this round be quick


Pick important things from each slide and move fast
Create some sort of index of the slides so that when you are presenting you
know where a certain piece of data is in the deck
Do not lose your composure in front of the Partner

Outcome

Shortlisted amongst the final 4 people for the Mumbai office

Name of Candidate

Varun Mimani
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Company Name

Parthenon

Interviewer Name

Amit, Senior Principal

Interview Number

3 casual conversation on Day 1 as Parthenon came as an international company


earlier

Personal Interview
Question

None

Case Type

None

Case Question

None

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible
What do you think went
right/wrong?

I asked a lot of questions as to where the firm is going etc


Was very positive in my approach

Any tips for the future


batch

Remember - this is not the end of life!

Outcome

Made an offer!

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PRTM

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Name of Candidate
Company Name

Prashant Kr Gupta
PWCs PRTM Management Consulting

Interview Number

Case + PI Round 1

Personal Interview
Question

Why PRTM?

Case Type

Based on the Govt of Indias MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) deal for
fighter airplane.

Case Question

A consortium of tier-1 suppliers is preparing a bid for the MMRCA deal for 120 aircrafts
worth $200 million apiece. As per the regulations the vendors have to disburse 30% of
the contract value in India in form of sub-systems and products.

Answer was weaved around the culture of the organization which is more
collaborative than competitive. Also PRTM has a 4 day travel and Friday is an office
day.

The client is one of the many tier-1 suppliers in consortium and comes to us for help.
The client wants to understand what does the regulation mean for him and how to
proceed ahead?
Narration of the case, as
descriptively as possible

Note: this is how I had approached the case. The same case was asked to other
candidates as well and they may have a different approach and may have reached a
different solution.
During the case Interviewer was also involved in solving the case and driving it
forward
1) what is the dollar value to be disbursed: 0.3 * 200 * 120 = 7.2 billion
2) Established who has the responsibility of disbursing: there are two ways of fulfilling
the obligation. a) Consortium decides who the tier-1 suppliers can source their parts
and tech from? b) tier-1 suppliers are given a part of the obligation which they decide
on how best to source from India
3) it was the 2nd approach so I went to assess the obligation of our client: our client
was 1 of the 4 main tier 1 suppliers. The client was manufacturing power systems for
the consortium. The other tier-1 suppliers manufactured a) structure, b) avionics & c)
general systems.
To decide the obligation on our client the consortium could choose many ways: a) it
divides the obligation in 4 parts equally; b) divides the obligation according to the
revenue of each of the 4 suppliers; c) divide the obligation based on the number of
parts required or any other way the consortium deems fit
So it was the 2nd approach again. The consortium had a 20% margin on each of the
planes and the each of the 4 parts costs 25% of the total cost of plane. => this meant
the revenue for each tier-1 supplier is same and hence the obligation has to be equally
divided.
So cost of each plane = 0.8 * 200 mn = 160 mn. Revenue generated for the client = 120
* 40 mn = 4.8 billion (the interviewer had not calculated this number).
Obligation = 7.2 / 4 = 1.8 billion.
This means that the obligation is 1.8/4.8, approx. 37% which is quite huge. (Again this
number was not calculated by the interviewer and hence probably the aha moment of
the case)
4) so now we have zeroed on what the regulation means for the client. The client will
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have to disburse 37.5% of his revenues in India. So how can he achieve this?
Interviewer: It took us 6-8 weeks to reach this far.
Me: all smiles
5) value chain for a power systems (engines) manufacturer here would look like:
R&D -> testing (instruments & services) -> manufacturing (needs parts) -> sell to
consortium -> after sales services
6) Evaluate capabilities within India and what is strategically viable for the client to
source from India.
a) R&D at first is not a good option because R&D for an engine manufacturer is
strategic competitive advantage
b) testing may be a viable option
c) parts if meet the design specs can be sourced from India
d) This needs to be clarified or negotiated with the govt. if after sales services form a
part of the obligation or is it on top of the obligation?
Interviewer: now suppose if the dollar value of all possible options except R&D is 0.5
billion; what can be done?
Me: R&D is something that one can always look at but this will not be advised.
Obviously it depends on how the industry is. R&D is not critical to all industry but this
one it seems to be. We need to validate this fact. The alternatives can be JVs, buying
tech from an Indian company.
If need be the client can look at setting up a manufacturing plant in India based on an
economic viability. (NPV calculation)
7) Interviewer finally told me that in such cases they will advise the consortium to go
back to the govt and tell them that such disbursements are not possible and hence the
regulation needs to be looked into again and a middle path needs to be negotiated.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

Since I had once conducted a feasibility study for weapons upgrade of a MI-35 NPS
helicopter with the IAF, I was very comfortable with what constitutes the parts and
was able to relate to the problem.
I think the idea there was to see how do I approach the problem rather than arriving at
a solution.

Any tips for the future


batch

Name of Candidate

Prashant Kr Gupta

Company Name

PWCs PRTM Management Consulting

Interview Number

Case + PI Round 2

Personal Interview
Question

So tell me why are you here today? (nice tone)


I was thrown off for a minute. I wasnt expecting such a question before I was even
seated.
TIP: be prepared for a sensible answer to such questions
Why do you want to join PRTM and why do you want to do consulting?
Explained, I like solving problem, across industries and functions etc. PRTM is into
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operations strategy & implementation. I love operations, I have done it for 4 years etc.
I used a lots of words like operational excellence, operational efficiency etc.
TIP: for some reason I was phaffing a lot instead of answering in crisp pointers. <this
could have been fatal for me>
What do you understand by OPERATIONS?
Me: hmmmm
Or tell me where PRTM can help its client to streamline their OPERATIONS.
Since I come from oil & gas industry, I will give you a small example. So if slb has one
manufacturing plant in Europe which is serving to their global operations. Suddenly slb
gets a stream of new projects in India. They need advice on whether to set up a new
manufacturing unit in India or should they source their equipment from Europe. How
should they go about either of the two solutions?
<this is called walking into a case :O>
CASE
So do you have questions for me
I asked about how teams are formed for projects? And are there any energy projects
that PRTM is doing in India?
The discussion then went on to understand how a practice is built and I showed some
interest in building an energy practice in India :P
So does this mean you will not be happy if there are no energy projects?
No, as I said before the traction for consulting is because of the opportunity to work
across industries and function.
Case Type

Open ended no numbers

Case Question

So slb calls me at midnight and says: I want to set up a manufacturing plant in India.
Help me!

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Before we even think of setting up a plant in a new location we need to understand


the demand-supply gap to ascertain if a capacity expansion is required. If it is a
temporary increase in the demand there is no point in setting up a new plant.
Interviewer: the client has specifically asked me to help him set up a manufacturing
plant and he is paying me money to do it. Should I even consider telling him what to
do?
Well, I think we should advise the client to consider his demand to ascertain whether
he even needs another manufacturing plant. In case the study indicates that its a
temporary increase we can save a lot of money for him.
Interviewer: Let us consider some wise guy has already done that study and he is
paying me money to help him set up the plant. So what are the factors I should
consider?
1) Investment
2) Location
3) Supplier Base
4) Talent
Explained why. We evaluate the parameters and tell the client it is feasible and
profitable to set up a plant in India
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Interviewer: Leave the strategy part out. If the client is hell bent on setting up the
plant. What can you do?
At this point, we can do an industry benchmarking and help them identify the best
alternatives for each of the key factors identified above and then go about securing
those assets on ground for them.
Interviewer: So lets talk about each of them and suggest possible alternatives.
Investment we can think about later. Location? Which Location will you choose?
Any location which satisfies the requirements of the manufacturing plant, like constant
water and electricity supply, a good supply base at a suitable distance from the plant,
and available talent pool is good. I said Gujarat may be a good place after being probed
further, reasoning was govt. support.
Supplier Base: Depending on the kind of production, JIT, make-to-order etc we may
choose whether we want supply base to be closer to the plant.
Talent: The talent will be important, we will have to bring some people from the
European plant to build upon the learnings of the 1st unit and then look for suitable
talent at both engineering and labor level.
Interview: Since you said location is dependent on so many options, tell me which
one will you choose if you had these two options:
Location X

Location Y

Good Supplier Base

Ok Supplier Base

Ok Talent Pool

Good Talent Pool

I will choose Location X, as Talent is poachable, it can be compensated to work in a


remote location where the company gets subsidies etc. But building a supplier base at
any desirable location may be very expensive and hence Location X.
Interviewer: Good I would have chosen Location X too. Any other factor you would
have considered.
Another important factor is proximity from the customers. Now since this equipment
will be used either on the east or west coast of India so we are fine locating it
anywhere.
Interviewer: you are partly right, it also depends on the logistics. Suppose you are
going to export the product which is true in this case. You are better off being closer to
the ports.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

I think the small talk (ask me any questions) went pretty well. I kind of made an
impression that I was interested in sales as well. We also had a small discussion on
how Indian businessmen find it difficult to pay for feasibilities studies which may help
them in their businesses. And my experience of dealing with one of them while I was at
Evalueserve and I had tried to sell a project.

Any tips for the future


batch

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Accenture

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Name of Candidate
Company Name

Vikash Sinha
Accenture

Interviewer Name

Mr X

Interview Number

Personal Interview
Question
Case Type

Increasing Market Share

Case Question

A mobile manufacturing company looking to become number 3 player in Indian


market. How would you help this company

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Candidate: Can you please explain little more about the company. Their businesses,
product line and for how long they are in India.
Interviewer: The company is a consumer electronics major in India. They are operating
in India for more than 10 years. However, they are relatively unknown in mobile
market.
Candidate: can you be little specific about the target for the company. Kind of market
share they are expecting and in what terms: number of mobile handsets sold or
revenue.
Interviewer: good question. The company is targeting 10% market share in 2 years.
Currently they are at 4%. Let us assume the number of handset vs revenue market
share is same for the discussion purpose.
Candidate: Can we get information about the currently number 1, 2 and 3 players?
Regarding their market share and kind of segments they are serving to.
Interviewer: Number1 player is Nokia with 40% market share. Number 2 has 20% and
number 3 is at 10% market share. They serve to all the segments..
Candidate: Okay. I would like to understand about the product little more. Do they
offer mobile products in all the segments and how are the products priced.
Interviewer: Their products are priced competitively and they have range of products
catering to all the segments. However, the focus is on lower and mid cost phones. They
do not compete on price. But they provide better features compared to the
competitors for the same price.
Candidate: How many distributors the company has and how are the competition
positioned?
Interviewer: The company has about 45000 distributors all over India, while Nokia has
about 90,000.
Candidate: Are the distributors common for all the manufacturers?
Interviewer: Yes. Its s mix. Some distributors are only for the client, whereas some
others are common.
Candidate: The number of distributors are lesser compared to number 1 player. Does it
mean that the company is not able to reach all the consumers?
Interviewer: Well. The client is relatively new in the mobile market and Nokia is there
for a long time. Hopefully that explains. But increasing number of distributors is not an
option at this moment.
Candidate: Okay. Do we have any idea about the retailer and distributor margin for the
client and Nokia.
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Interviewer: Nokia provides about 4% margin to the distributor and our client gives
about 7%. The retailer margin is same.
Candidate: Well. I assume that since Nokia is a much stronger brand. The volume must
be compensating for lesser margin for distributors and it is a pull market. So increasing
distributor margin may not help. Is there another channel other than store?
Interviewer: Exactly. The client cannot compete with Nokia on this. At the time of the
case there was no other channel.
Candidate: What about the promotion strategy?
Interviewer: They do TV promotion, other forms of media and in store promotion.
Candidate: As you mentioned that the clients products have better features compared
to competition for the same price. It is very important to communicate this to the end
consumers. The sales people in the store should be educated about the product
feature, which are ultimately the face for the consumers. We need to provide
incentive in the form of better retailer margin for them to participate.
Interviewer: Well. Providing a training program to all the retailer would be expensive
and not practical.
Candidate: do we have date regarding the handset sales from all the retailers.
Interviewer: No.
Candidate: Can we get the sales trend data from our distributors?
Interviewer: Yes but that may not be accurate.
Candidate: Do you think I am going in the right direction.
Interviewer: Yes. You are asking right questions.
Candidate: Thank you. As the company is looking to go from 4% market share to 10%.
We probably do not need to target much wider segment, but take a focused approach.
Using the data from the distributors we can divide the retailer in high sales, medium
sales and low sales for low/mid cost handset. Then target those high potential
retailers: train them, incentivize them. Apart from this I would recommend value
based communication in marketing and having clients sales people in some stores.
Interviewer: Right. In fact we also suggested very similar strategy to have own sales
people in the store and that worked. Good analysis and discussion. Do you have any
question
Candidate: Did I miss anything in the analysis.
Interviewer: Yes. You did not ask anything about number 2 player and their distributor
margin They are providing 10% margin. However, our client did not want to compete
on distributor margin. Anything else.
Candidate: Some question about Accenture India Consulting business.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

As mentioned earlier I completely missed about 2nd/3rd player. What is did good was
putting everything on paper in structured format, doing some quick calculation. The
interviewer also commented regarding my good analytical skill and took the paper on
which I was putting everything.

Any tips for the future


batch

Be cool. Be sure that you understand the problem right. Ask question if the problem is
vague. Think of the whole thing as a discussion. If you think things are going wrong, it
is good to seek advice and come back to track.

Outcome

Selected.

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Name of Candidate
Company Name

Rahul Chakraborty
ACCENTURE

Interviewer Name
Interview Number

3 rounds of interview. One based on a small case

Personal Interview
Question

Why Consulting? Why Accenture


The service/functional groups in Accenture that I was interested in
Why not apply to a PE fund (given my experience in Valuation/CF)
Learnings in ISB

Case Type

Business Valuation case

Case Question

How to value a company and decompose the stock price to understand market
expectations as well as diagnose the value drivers to make sense of the stock
performance over time

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

A company was performing exceptionally well in the capital markets and the share
price had increased significantly. Analyzing the historical operating performance
(revenue growth, margins, etc) suggest declining operating performance. I had to
suggest and reason the increase in share price in spite of the declining operational
metrics

What do you think went


right/wrong?

My prior experience in company valuation helped me structure my views and build a


value driver tree to move from share price to actual operating performance drivers.

Any tips for the future


batch

Think out aloud. Research about the service lines. Read the publications on the
website

Outcome

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate
Company Name

Richa Gupta
Accenture Management Consulting

Interviewer Name

Dont remember the Name. Was a Lady , Senior Consultant

Interview Number

Round 1 , Case Based interview + PI

Personal Interview
Question

Walk me through your resume was stopped in between the process to understand
intricacies of what I was saying. lasted 30min

Case Type

I have marketing background prior to ISB and hence the case was also a marketing
case.

Case Question

Give the targeting and branding strategy for ayurvedic fairness face creams in India.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Once the problem statement was given to me, I confirmed if the category of
consumers was known. The interviewer asked me to assume that ayurvedic fairness
creams are a fresh product category and that I need to figure everything, except the
product and price, about how to make it appeal in the market and ensure targeted
sales figure. I began by finding the target customer base Male/Female. The
interviewer confirmed it to be for females. I then moved on to segmentation among
the female group Demographics - Age wise split. On discussion, we narrowed in on
the 18-40yr age band for market of fairness cream users. Young and working/student
woman population. Moved on to tactics for creating reach among this customer base
Promotional elements- Media employed, distribution tactics etc. Main question
asked here was the right retail channel where the product should be placed. Then
went to details of each strategy suggested.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

The purpose of the case was to check the soundness of understanding of the past work
experience you have had.

Any tips for the future


batch

Know your work experience well, basic case preparation helps in atleast tackling an
unknown case with confidence. I did not do any case preparations, but I had
participated in LIME which had helped me think through marketing issues well and I
believe that helped me crack the case.

Outcome

Moved to Round 2

Name of Candidate

Richa Gupta

Company Name

Accenture Management Consulting

Interviewer Name

Dont remember the Name. Was a Lady , Senior Consultant and Head of HR

Interview Number

Round 2 , PI

Personal Interview
Question

Walk me through your resume ; Strengths and Weaknesses ; Dwelled into the details
of my work experience- why I took the decisions I did in my career switches- lasted 3040min

Case Type

No Case asked

Case Question

No Case asked

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

No Case asked

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What do you think went
right/wrong?
Any tips for the future
batch
Outcome

Moved to Round 3

Name of Candidate

Richa Gupta

Company Name

Accenture Management Consulting

Interviewer Name

Himanshu, Partner

Interview Number

Round 3 , PI

Personal Interview
Question

Walk me through your resume , Asked about which function of consulting I would like
to get involved in and why ; why Accenture; given a client situation and asked
marketing strategy for it- mainly B2B marketing lasted 45 min.

Case Type

No Case asked

Case Question

No Case asked

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

No Case asked

What do you think went


right/wrong?
Any tips for the future
batch
Outcome

Given the offer

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Name of Candidate
Company Name

Archishman Ghosh
Accenture

Interviewer Name

Dont remember

Interview Number

Case Interview, Round 1

Personal Interview
Question

None

Case Type

Market Entry

Case Question

A foreign hotel chain wants to enter India. What should it do?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

I clarified the problem before structuring it. Based on my questions the interviewer
told me that the hotel was targeted at business travelers in the upper mid to premium
segment and a key strategy was that they always wanted to be located near an airport
/ railway station. In case of problems related with hotels etc. it is always a good idea to
check out whether there is any constraint with respect to the location.
My approach was to look at the top 7 cities in the country and the tier II & III cities
separately. In the top 7 cities land acquisition would be a key issue and hence I
suggested that the hotel go in for management contracts with existing properties
instead of building from the ground up the interviewer appreciated this point. In case
of tier II & III cities, I suggested going in for Greenfield projects in placed where they
had a first mover advantage, for two reasons. One it would act as an entry deterrent
because newer players would have to risk oversupplying a nascent market and second
it would position the chain for future growth opportunities given Indias increasing
urbanization. I prepared an evaluation table with parameters such as incoming
business travelers, projected industrial activity in the city and presence of existing
hotels and recommended ranking each city and thus arriving at the point of entry.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Although the interviewer was mostly quiet and gave zero indications of whether I was
on the right track or not, I maintained a calm faade and explored different facets of
the problem. I think that helped.

Any tips for the future


batch

I had read a recent Knight Frank report on office and residential property valuation
projections for India and that had helped. A basic understanding of the sector and
some of key aspects such as occupancy, management contract vs. outright ownership
of hotels was also helpful.

Outcome

Went for Round 2.

Name of Candidate

Archishman Ghosh

Company Name

Accenture

Interviewer Name

Sammak Banerjee, ISB Alum

Interview Number

Case Interview, Round 2 & 3

Personal Interview
Question

A lady from the HR department was also present during the interview so I had my HR
round combined with the round 2 interview. There was some discussion about
handling teams and I was asked about my prior experience regarding the same. We
also had a chat about how my ISB experience had been overall. She finally asked me
about location and vertical preferences.

Case Type

Operations

Case Question

A utilities company wants to reduce transmission and distribution losses. Recommend


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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


solutions.
Narration of the case, as
descriptively as possible

I structured the problem as follows T&D losses can be on account of two reasons,
technical losses and non technical. Within technical, it can be purely I2R losses (heat
losses due to inherent resistivity), unmetered power distribution, obsolete technology
etc. Within non-technical losses, it can be on account of consumer theft
(underreporting or outright theft), inaccurate billing (deliberate or accidental), power
that is diverted from its original usage (e.g. agricultural power is highly subsidized but
it may be used for other commercial / personal purposes). Based on the data he gave,
it turned out that the nontechnical losses was the major chunk. Then we had a
discussion on the possible remedies. In case of habitual offenders who tap electricity
illegally, steps can be taken starting from frequent power outages to the specific
geographical areas to taking action with the help of local administration. Other
behavioral aspects were also very important, such as whether the electricity utility
employees are colluding to under report, therefore technological solutions such as
smart grids can be put in (long term solution), or a third party audit can be done (short
term solution). The case ended on these notes and the interviewer was really happy
with the breadth and depth of the discussion. As per him the people aspect was the
most important to get in this case.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

The case went very smoothly.

Any tips for the future


batch

Get an understanding of certain sectors power, telecom, cement, banking are must
knows.

Outcome

Went for final round with Partner

Name of Candidate

Archishman Ghosh

Company Name

Accenture

Interviewer Name

Dont remember

Interview Number

Round 4, with Partner

Personal Interview
Question

None

Case Type

Operations

Case Question

Equipment in a process line is suddenly showing very high downtime. How would you
identify the problem?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Here the interviewer clearly specified that he was looking for a clear approach and not
any solution per se. He actually told me to think for 10 minutes and draw my approach
on a piece of paper. I utilized my understanding of the Six Sigma process and
completed a detailed approach using the DMAIC system (Define, Measure, Analyze,
Improve and Control). The entire interview revolved around this and at the end of it
the interviewer actually took my paper and told me he would keep it for future
reference.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

The systematic process map I drew was the clincher.

Any tips for the future


batch

For ops cases, even a basic understanding of the DMAIC process is a very powerful to
help you structure the problem. Look it up in the net or better still ask your batch
mates who have experience in Six Sigma to explain it.

Outcome

Made an offer
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Name of Candidate
Company Name

Rajeev Reddy
Accenture

Interviewer Name

Senior Manager, (Resources vertical)

Interview Number

Personal Interview
Question

Q) Tell me about yourself?


A) I was obviously prepared for this, so started off.. background->college (IIT Madras) > ITC Limited -> ISB
After sometime, he said lets do a case

Case Type

Optimization of supply chain and profitability

Case Question

Case Details :
Our client is an Oil field services provider like Schlumberger, who operated in both upstream and downstream side of business. He has currently identified an opportunity to
provide a new petro chemical. Tell me how should he go about producing this
chemical?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Since I was not from Oil & gas sector, I tried to clarify the question further. I asked him
a few more details about what is downstream, what is this new product like : raw
materials used, their availability etc
His answers were very short and gave a few details its a polymer product that can be
used in making cans/tins etc. Raw materials for the product would be available in most
countries.
Then I asked him about the capacity of the plant that client was planning to setup. He
said it was a good question and provided some capacity details. Then I took two min to
put down a structure on how we can go about choosing where to locate the
manufacturing facility. I started off saying that plant should be chosen to have an
optimal cost and lead time to its customers. To understand cost further, I drew a value
chain from Raw material -> Inbound logistics -> Manufacturing -> Outbound logistics ->
Warehouses -> End customer. I said we will have to look at costs involved at each step
of the value chain and calculate the landed cost for the product.
I said that we should also look at the risk involved like Political, Economic, Social,
Technological, Legal, and Environmental. I started asking questions about cost of raw
materials etc
He was satisfied with the progress and changed the discussion. Now suppose we have
chosen a country, say UAE to set up the plant, how would you setup the plant?
I said we have two broad options. One is to have an own manufacturing plant, the
other is to have an outsourced production. Again I delved into a cost benefit analysis of
both the options. I said the direct material cost would almost be the same, whereas
the direct/indirect labor and manufacturing overhead costs would be different among
these two options. So he asked, tell me how will you estimate these costs? I said the
first option is to look at some of our existing manufacturing facilities producing similar
products. He said product is completely new for the client. Then I said we will have to
gain some competitive intelligence on how others are doing it. I gave a few more
options.
What he specifically wanted was just visit one of outsourced production units to get
an idea of the costs of operation. I was like oh shit...why did I miss that!

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Taking sometime in the beginning to define the problem correctly helped me get into
relevant issues.
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Having frameworks in your mind of how to approach the case.
Practicing a lot of cases helped a lot.

Any tips for the future


batch

Be thorough with all the frameworks that are in the ISB case books. But never
make it look that you have mugged up all frameworks and just solving the case
mechanically.
Engage the interviewer in a healthy discussion.
Cover a lot of breadth in your framework and refrain from jumping into details
too early.
Form a case study group, and make your groups own frameworks on things
like Profitability, Market entry, Market sizing, Growth, Mergers & Acquisitions
etc.

Outcome

Moved to Round 2

Name of Candidate

Rajeev Reddy

Company Name

Accenture

Interviewer Name

Saurabh Bhatnagar, Senior Manager ; HR Manager

Interview Number

Personal Interview
Question

Interviewer was ex-ITC, ex-HUL, ISB Alum 2003 batch


Q) Lets talk about the Confectionery category of ITC Foods Business. Why do you think
ITC is in this business?
A) ITC started the Confectionery business in 2003 because

Confectionery was part of the vision of company to be No.1 in FMCG in India.


Confectionery was attractive with good growth potential, lot of unorganized
sector, not high competition
Chance to leverage the tremendous distribution network because of cigarettes
division. Gave a few numbers on the reach of ITC in terms of number of retail
outlets, revenues etc.
Good brand building capabilities history of creating Wills, ITC welcome
group.

Q) What is ITCs strategy in Confectionery?


I answered saying that ITC wants to leverage its capabilities to become the market
leader in confectionery.

Innovative products like Toffichew launched every year to steadily gain market
share
Backward integration: Sourcing raw materials from e-choupal etc.
Outsourced production to keep the manufacturing costs low
Deploying technology to optimize the supply chain costs also.
It developed offers mint for adults & candyman brand for children

Drawing a parallel from southwest case of how, it engaged in many mutual reinforcing
activities to support its low cost strategy, I explained how all these factors were
mutually reinforcing to differentiate ITC from incumbents in the Confectionery market
in India.
Q) Tell me about your of working in teams in ITC?
I prepared for this answer pretty well.. talked about when I was handling a team of
executives in setting up a plant for ITC
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Case Type

This round, there was no case

Case Question

NA

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

NA

What do you think went


right/wrong?

I think being able to clearly communicate my experience at ITC, relating learning at ISB
to ITC experience seems to have worked well

Any tips for the future


batch

Be very confident about your previous experience

Outcome

Moved to Partner Round

Name of Candidate

Rajeev Reddy

Interviewer Name

Himanshu Tambe, Partner

Interview Number

Personal Interview
Question

He started by asking a few details about me and my family. Once I told him I am from
Hyderabad, he also mentioned that he started his work here in Hyderabad and we
talked about how much has changed in Hyderabad in last ten years.
Then he gave me a small case about how you would go about identifying the profit
drivers in a consumer goods company.
I started off with a value chain, said I will analyze the cost of raw material,
manufacturing conversion cost supply chain costs and compare it with Industry
benchmarks.
Then he asked in supply chain, how you calculate the costs. I talked about fixed and
variable costs. Variable costs would be the transportation costs from node to node. To
understand the inventory pipeline, I would look at the demand pattern, delivery lead
time and service quality to calculate the optimal pipeline inventory required at each
node of supply chain. This would give an ideal benchmark that can be compared to the
actual costs.
He was satisfied with the case and moved on to some questions about my work
experience from ITC. He asked me to describe a situation wherein I went against the
norms and brought about a change in the company. Fortunately I prepared for this
kind of question, so explained about a situation wherein I convinced the senior
management in company to invest in a radically new manufacturing technology,
challenges involved and how I overcome all of them to finally commission this new
technology at all the six plants of ITC across India.
He moved on to generic questions like why Consulting, why Accenture etc.

Case Type

Small case, already mentioned above.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

I think being able to communicate my thoughts very convincingly helped me get


through this round

Any tips for the future


batch

Cases are very logical. They need to be answered in a conversational format and not
necessarily in the interview question answer format.

Outcome

Was made an offer to join Accenture


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Name of Candidate
Company Name

Meenatchi Jagasivamani
Accenture India

Interviewer Name

(ISB Alum)

Interview Number

Round 1

Personal Interview
Question

Why did you want to pursue MBA after a long technical career?

Case Type

Market Sizing

Case Question

Estimate the market for light bulbs in Japan in 2012

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible
Any tips for the future
batch

Use population as a metric for the number of light bulbs needed; segment based on
residential and commercial needs. Specify a growth rate for new buildings year-onyear.

Outcome

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PWC

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Name of Candidate
Company Name

Siddharth Pai
Pricewaterhouse Coopers

Interviewer Name

Shyam

Interview Number

Round 1

Personal Interview
Question

Tell me something about yourself?


I spoke about things not on my resume to bring a different flavor to discussion; I
mentioned my love for coffee which is something that Shyam enjoyed as well.
What did you do at EY?
Spoke about the kind of work I did including my international stints.
Then he went on to explain about the role on offer as PwC did not have a PPT.

Case Type

Profitability

Case Question

Your client is an auto manufacturer who has not witnessed any drastic changes to his
financial statements for the last three years. What would you tell the client?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

I identified certain aspects that I would ask about:


-

Profit
Change in market share
Any new investments undertaken in the last few years
Growth Strategy
Competitive landscape

Against these parameters I tried to do some benchmarking. I started with market


share; market share was stable for the last three years so that was ruled out; then I
decided to use the 4 A framework to analyse if we could increase the market share

Awareness

Availibility

Affordibility

Acceptance

Shyam let me amuse myself for sometime and then shot down the idea saying that we
could not increase the market share.
Then I moved on to profit; the companys profit was around 10% whereas the industry
benchmark (competitors profits) was around 20%.
Immediately, we decided to focus on profitability. I decided to use the profitability
framework.

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Profit

Revenue

Cost

Product
portfolio

I decided to check the product portfolio to understand what products were being sold
and what the margins on each product were. This was done to ascertain whether the
company was selling more of less profitable items.
Again, I listed down the products (bikes, scooters and mopeds) and identified what the
sales pattern was; it turned out we were primarily selling the most profitable items.
Hence I determined our sales mix was fine.

Moving on to revenue, I broke it down into Price and Quantity. Since we had already
established that the market share was constant I assumed that the quantity being sold
was also constant. I asked about how were we priced in the market and was told that it
is competitive. Again, I reached the conclusion that revenues seem to be fine and
Shyam agreed.

Finally to the costs I broke it down to Fixed and Variable. Regarding the fixed cost I
asked if we had undertaken any new fixed investments over the last three years;
Shyam mentioned that we had built a new factory. I immediately asked him questions
about whether we have recovered that fixed cost or would he like me to calculate the
break even time. I further asked him did we pass on this cost to the consumer or did
we absorb the cost. Shyam asked me stay away from the break even calculation; so I
stopped by saying that out profits would go up as soon we recover the fixed cost of the
plant. I took this as a good segue to move to the value chain analysis.
I quickly drew the value chain to identify the major cost heads/ drivers.

Raw Materials

Inbound
logistics and
warehousing

Manufacturing

Sales and
distribution

Outbound
logistics and
warehousing

I started the standard benchmarking analysis to determine what the costs break up is
across the heads and was told a break up by Shyam (which I do not remember); also I
asked for a competitor bench marking and deduced that the company was lacking in
the manufacturing head.
Drilling deeper into the manufacturing process I brought up costs like:
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


-

Labor costs
Maintenance costs
Machine efficiency
Rentals etc.
I also brought up machine utilization

Shyam mentioned that machine utilization was an issue with the company. After then
it was a just wrapping the case properly. I spoke about error with demand forecasting
or the batch sizes. At this point Shyam asked me to stop.

He then asked me what financial metrics you would look at before making an
investment. I listed the following:
-

IRR
NPV
ROIC etc.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Giving the case a good structure right in the beginning.

Any tips for the future


batch

Practice cases. If you havent it shows in the interview and you might be all over the
place.

Outcome

Moved to round 2

Name of Candidate

Siddharth Pai

Company Name

Pricewaterhouse Coopers

Interviewer Name

Marc, Partner Human Capital

Interview Number

Round 2

Personal Interview
Question

This round was more to check the fit than anything else. Marc started by introducing
himself and asked me to do the same; he specifically asked me to focus on my time at
Ernst & Young.
It was a very generic conversation with Marc where we spoke about what I like to do in
my free time. We also spoke about my international stints.

Case Type

None

Case Question

None

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

NA

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Being natural

Any tips for the future


batch

In HR or fitment interview make sure you keep the interviewer engaged. Research
about the company to ask questions; in my case I asked about five questions about the
company.

Outcome

Made an offer.

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Name of Candidate
Company Name

Aeckarth Malik
PwC

Interviewer Name

Anurag (Principal Consultant)

Interview Number

Round 1

Personal Interview
Question

1. Tell me something about yourself and run me through your professional experience
2. Personal questions around extra-curriculas and ELP
3. Why do you want to come back into consulting (I had previous experience in
consulting)
4. Situational questions around leadership

Case Type

Market Entry

Case Question

A group of HNIs (who have expertise in infrastructure development) want to set up a


five-star hotel in the city of Gwalior, how would you go about advising them? (the case
was specific to my previous industry experience)

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

I began the case by asking whether the decision to enter the market had been taken or
if it was a go / no-go decision that the clients wanted advice on. Anurag told me that
the client was certain they wanted to invest in the hospitality sector but which product
to invest in (five star, budget hotel, service apartments etc) had to be decided.
I followed up by enquiring if they wanted to look at this as an investment opportunity
or as a sustainable business model (I picked this up since Anurag mentioned the client
was certain they wanted to invest). The interviewer told me that the client had a 5
year horizon in mind.
I then asked some generic questions around the trends in the industry, on which I was
asked to share my knowledge since I had experience in the hospitality sector. After
clearly understanding the problem statement and stating / discussing some fact about
the trends in the industry I sketched a framework to arrive at a solution:
External Factors
1. Market: growth rate in the market (for assessing future demand in the industry)
was told the market looks attractive and is growing at approx 12 13 percent annually.
Compared the market growth figures with the returns the investors were looking for.
Further questions about the market potential of Gwalior was told that its
predominantly a tourist destination so I assumed that Gwalior does not witness a lot of
business travelers (be sure to state your assumptions and cross check with the
interviewer if he/she is fine with those assumptions). Asked if there were any
regulatory / clearance (risks) which could pose a potential threat to our clients was
told to ignore the regulations
2. Competitors: On asking who our direct competitors would be in the 5 Star category I
was told that there is another luxury brand hotel which is part of a very large
hospitality chain in India. Asked about the competition in other products ( budget
hotel etc) was told there wasnt much competition in those segments
3. Customers: Asked questions to understand the type of tourists that visit Gwalior
and their preferences of stay, length of visit etc. Anurag mentioned that a majority of
tourists are 2 day visitors who stay overnight. Also such tourists prefer staying close to
modes of transport (airport / station). I then divided the customers for the hotel in
147

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


different segments based on the revenue generating modes for the hotel:

Guests (room booking)


Dining (restaurant & bar F&B)
Banquet bookings (business & social use)

Finally concluded that decision to open a 5 star will depend on the revenue that can
be generated from all 3 revenues streams.
4. Suppliers: I listed down key supplies that are required to run a hotel

General products (for the kitchen, rooms)


Electrical & Mechanical
Manpower (human resources)

After a lot of cross questioning Anurag commented that there were apprehensions
around being able to recruit the right people to run / work in a 5 start hotel and the
competitor (the existing 5 start) definitely had an upper hand because of their own
talent pool.

Internal Factors
1. Financial: I began by asking what were the sources of funds for investment and
whether investing a smaller amount in a budget hotel / service apartments was a
feasible option (financially in terms of returns). Anurag stated the investors had no
shortage of funds but returns would depend on the business model.
I also evaluated other source of investments that could be compared to the returns
generated by the hospitality venture. Anurag then mentioned that I should assume the
returns are highest in the hospitality venture. (important to be exhaustive with your
options)
2. Exit options: I discussed the possible exit options that the investors would like to
evaluate:

Strategic sell out (to a competitor)


Continuing with the business model by expanding (if returns are still high)
Sell their own stake to other investor(s)

3. Core Competence: Since the investors had a background in infrastructure


investments, running and managing a hospitality investment would require different
skills they could hire a management to run and manage the hotel (costs will increase)
Finally, Anurag asked me to conclude the case and give my recommendations. I quickly
concluded the main points and recommended that the investors would be better off
investing in a budget hotel where traffic of customers would be higher and is placed
better to target the customer segment in Gwalior.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

1. Through knowledge of the industry I worked in


2. Presence of mind Anurag gave me a couple of cues that I was able to pick up
3. The case was more of a conversation that went along with the framework I built,
hence being able to connect with the interviewer was important

Any tips for the future


batch

Though frameworks et al are important parts of solving a case, be flexible in your


approach and be ready to include / exclude factors based on your judgment.
In the middle of solving the case I was suddenly asked what is 23 X 7 its meant to
throw you off guard. So remember not to panic when such surprises come up.
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Outcome

Moved to Round 2

Name of Candidate

Aeckarth Malik

Company Name

PwC

Interviewer Name

Marc (HR Director)

Interview Number

Round 2

Personal Interview
Question

1. Tell me something about yourself and run me through your professional experience
2. Personal questions about interests, hobbies, passion (outside work)
3. How do I fit into the culture of PwC
4. What are your expectations from PwC
5. Short term Long term goals
6. Situational questions
7. Asked to comment on the growth story of India

Case Type

None

Case Question

NA

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

NA

What do you think went


right/wrong?

1. Clarity on the role / company


2. Having an opinion on current affairs
3. Being able to engage in a conversation and keeping my energy levels up (since it was
my 7th interview of the day)

Any tips for the future


batch

None

Outcome

Moved to Round 3

Name of Candidate

Aeckarth Malik

Company Name

PwC

Interviewer Name

David (Director Strategy)

Interview Number

Round 3 (telephonic interview)

Personal Interview
Question

1. Tell me something about yourself and run me through your professional experience
2. Questions on my CV specific projects I have handled, my role in those projects
3. Challenges I faced at work and how I worked around them
4. Questions related to my skills in financial modeling
5. Instances of my leadership experiences at work and in my personal life

Case Type

None

Case Question

NA

Narration of the case, as

NA
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


descriptively as possible
What do you think went
right/wrong?
Any tips for the future
batch

Telephonic interviews require you to be very clear and concise in your conversation.

Outcome

Moved to Round 4

Name of Candidate

Aeckarth Malik

Company Name

PwC

Interviewer Name

Shashank Tripathi (Partner Strategy)

Interview Number

Round 4 (telephonic interview)

Personal Interview
Question

1. CV base questions engagements I had done and my role in them


2. Why consulting and why PwC
3. Industry preference (I replied that I was industry agonistic since I knew PwC hires as
generalists - do your research about the roles the company offered in the previous
years)

Case Type

None

Case Question

NA

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

NA

What do you think went


right/wrong?

I knew my chances of being made an offer were high but I took the last round with the
Partner very seriously and kept my energy levels high

Any tips for the future


batch

None

Outcome

Made an offer

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate
Company Name

Arjun Sharma
PwC Consulting

Interviewer Name

Anurag Saxena

Interview Number

Personal Interview
Question

1.)Quickly take me through your resume

Case Type

New Market Entry

Case Question

A major Ready-to-Eat player wants to enter the restaurant business? Should it or


should it not?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

I started by asking what was the rationale behind the decision and what did the
company want to achieve. He said that the company wanted to have concept stores so
that the customers could taste their product and hence increase trials and customer
loyalty.

2.)What did you do in your ELP? This question guided my case. I had done my ELP for a
retail company and he chose a case on retail

After this I asked for time to structure the problem. Using the basic market entry
model I started asking him questions on 1.)NPV calculations,2.)Macroeconomic
environment,3.)Competition, 4.)Regulations,5.)Other marketing avenues
Initially we were going in circles on macro stuff and competition but soon he focused
me on profitability. Thereon we focused on whether it be worth opening the store
versus other options. With this I started to create the income statement for the first
year of the restaurant and understand the breakeven figure.
After putting in the real estate costs, product margins, estimated volume, labor costs
etc we got to a number but at those volume levels the plan would not work and the
business would have sapped money. We then briefly discussed on how we could
increase volumes (footfalls or order amount) and if not then what would be other
marketing avenues. That was it.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

Wrong: Tried to stick to the book initially and do a porters. I think what matters in
consulting interviews is to get the main question right.
Right: Brought it down to the right heads in the income statement and quickly got to
the breakeven.

Any tips for the future


batch

Dont overdo the frameworks or you would miss the actual question. Also stay calm.

Outcome

Passed to second round which was a basic HR session. Final outcome got selected

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate
Company Name

Avneesh Singh
PWC

Interviewer Name

Mr. Shyam

Interview Number

Round - 1

Personal Interview
Question

He asked questions related to career progression, why I chose the career path etc.
Mostly CV based questions.

Case Type

Profitability case for a 2 wheeler automobile client in India. The case was more on
performance benchmarking. During the interview, only the problem statement and the
framework to be applied were agreed upon. The two possible frameworks are plain
income statement analysis for a quick analysis or a complete value chain analysis for
benchmarking. The value chain analysis would involve analyzing each part on various
parameters. We mainly discussed various aspects of the framework only.

Case Question

Elaborated above

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Elaborated above

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Everything was fine. The most important thing was clarity on the question why
consulting and why PWC.

Any tips for the future


batch

Clarity should be there on each statement in the CV. Also, the reason for applying for
the role, the fit as one sees it and why that company is important. Clarity should be
there on frameworks and be confident to defend them.

Outcome

Moved to the HR round

Name of Candidate

Avneesh Singh

Company Name

PWC

Interviewer Name

Mr. Mark (HR)

Interview Number

Round 2

Personal Interview
Question

Mostly CV based questions and general discussion to understand the organizational fit.

Case Type

None

Case Question

NA

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

NA

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Connecting with the interviewer was very important, especially when you realize that
you are being checked for an organizational fit. It was more like the airport test.

Any tips for the future


batch

Connect well, be expressive and clear when talking. Be clear on why you want to join
the firm. Research well on what all it does.

Outcome

Was made an offer.

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate
Company Name

Harsha Nallur
PricewaterhouseCoopers

Interviewer Name

Interview Number

1st Round Case interview

Personal Interview
Question

I was asked to run them through my resume before I was given a case. Most of the
questions were regarding my work experience. Since I worked with a startup and in a
rather niche sector, the interviewer was keen on understanding the sort of work I had
done and he pushed me a bit by saying that it seems to be a lot of responsibilities for 3
years of work-ex.

The HR interview was a general discussion where a senior HR person was evaluating
the fit. He had gone through my resume and we had a general discussion about the
type of clients I have worked with (govt or private) & the problems associated, my
goals, strengths, who am I more comfortable handling subordinates or seniors, etc. It
was a relaxed discussion for 20 30 mins.
Case Type
Case Question

Mid-size IT firm is seeing a loss in profits

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

After summarizing the question, I asked for some details on the type of firm, its
location, etc. Then I started analyzing the loss in profits through the usual approach of
(profits = revenues costs) and then analyzed each of them separately, listing out all
the sources of revenue and costs involved. Also I compared these to other mid-size IT
firms. The interviewer was pushing me to figure out all the costs involved for a midsize IT firm. Apart from the usual details, I also listed out other factors such as a lull in
global economy, currency exchange rates as possible factors. Then I was asked to
summarize the case. Took around 30 mins overall.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

What went right - I was able to think beyond the usual reasons during the case. I think
the HR interview swung it in my favour as I had a great conversation with the
interviewer.

Any tips for the future


batch

Dont stress out before an interview. Look at it as a good conversation you want to
have with someone in my opinions interviewers would prefer that to a mundane
Q&A routine.

Outcome

Successful

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Deloitte

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Name of Candidate
Company Name

Akshay Raizada
Deloitte S&O

Interviewer Name

Santosh Anoor

Interview Number

First interview, first round

Personal Interview
Question

The interview started on a good note as I had interacted with Santosh during the
Deloitte dinner for the shortlisted candidates and he remembered me from that
interaction. The PI question were the usual ones, why consulting, short term and long
term goals. I was also grilled regarding my background and why do I want to continue
working in the consulting industry.

Case Type

Market Sizing

Case Question

Estimate the number of soccer balls in Delhi

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

It was a regular estimate or guesstimate case. I was a bit nervous as this was my first
interview of the day. I tried the usual approach of forming an equation and then
estimating each part of the equation but I realized that my equation was not
exhaustive. But I covered that up by saying things like we can broaden our sample set
by adding other categories/segments. I segmented the target segment into three
categories based on customers (Schools, football academies and personal use). Then I
went about estimating the potential size of each of these segments. At the end, I
reached a fair number and the interviewer agreed with my calculations.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Well overall the interview went well and I was told by the interviewer during the
interview itself that I know my stuff well. The only negative was that I was nervous so I
didnt take enough time to think through my estimate case before beginning to solve
it.

Any tips for the future


batch

Both case prep and PI prep are equally important. But what I found to be the biggest
positive from my experience was the rapport that I managed to build with the
interviewer even before the interview. My suggestion to the next batch would be go
for the PPTs and network with the employers. It will help you during your interview for
sure.

Outcome

Made it to next round

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate

Gaurav Mogra

Company Name

Deloitte S&O

Interviewer Name

Dont remember

Interview Number

Personal Interview
Question

Had light hearted talk on no. of interviews given in the day. Was relaxed.

Case Type

Revenue & Cost

Case Question

Case contained lot of exhibits and it was increasing the EPS by 3 $. Which then
translated to increasing the profits by 300 mn.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

1. Broke the problem into revenues and cost and focused on cost reduction.
Identified major costs heads, trends and suggested certain strategies to reduce
cost. They made me do number crunching and tried to stress me. But was able
to connect well with the interviewer and was not really a problem. The case
was primarily speaking for itself through exhibits, had to just identify the rights
ones. 300 mn was 1% of the total cost and hence it was possible to achieve
that reduction

What do you think went


right/wrong?

The interview went well.. was selected for the next

Any tips for the future


batch

Stay calm and exhibit confidence even when you aint getting anywhere.

Outcome

Was given FIF

Name of Candidate

Gaurav Mogra

Company Name

Deloitte S&O

Interviewer Name

Dont remember

Interview Number

Personal Interview
Question

Nothing much introduced myself and went on to case question

Case Type

Operations and Market Estimation

Case Question

Was asked two questions.


1. Develop and solve a DMOP problem (since I said I was comfortable with it)..
There are 3 suppliers which can be used to procure a commodity but they
offer different prices for different amounts of goods procured. There were
capacity constraints and the prices were different.
2. Estimate the no. of commercial planes in the Indian sky right now.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

2. Wrote some equations. Then he asked me if It was a linear problem. Since the
prices were in buckets drew a matrix for it and explained that the problem is
piece wise linear and we need to use a variable to convert it into linear
problem. He asked me how can I do it.. and I explained we can use a dummy
variable or big M method to write the constraint. Was not very satisfied with
the answer
3. Second question was just market estimation of no. of flights in air. Used I = R *
T and used the analogy of operations here to inventorize the planes in air. Avg
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


no. of flights departing and that landing would give the net R i.e. rate at which
flights are taking off. And T would be average time per flight.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

The interview went well..

Any tips for the future


batch

Do not say you are comfortable with DMOP if you are not really :

Outcome

Was sent to next round

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate
Company Name

Archana Saseetharan
Deloitte Consulting - TS&A

Interviewer Name

Prashant (Partner)

Interview Number

Round1 was PI; Lasted only for <10 mins.


Round 2 was case based; Lasted for close to an hour.
Round 3 was a short PI - < 5 mins.

Personal Interview
Question

Round1 questions:

Case Type

Tech Strategy Case; Asked to play role of consultant and talk to interviewer who played
the role of the client. Asked to use white board for analyzing the case.

Case Question

You are consulting for a US Clothing retailer who has major presence in US and
Canada. Wants to expand to rest of world and needs a technology strategy for the
entire firm in order to support global operations. As of now their Technology systems
are very ad-hoc and are designed/scaled up as and when required.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Started by asking the regular questions that probe motivation behind expansion, etc,
as we start any general strategy case. But realized this case was not about that.
Interviewer asked to just explicitly write down the steps that I would take to help the
client. Wrote points like:

why consulting Why deloitte ; Questions related to work ex; Questions related to
technology related processes/systems mentioned in the JD.

* Understanding existing business model *Understanding existing tech systems *Know


investment planned for this expansion project *Data collection on industry wide
technology systems used *Check compatibility with clients requirements * Analyze
scalability and location specific systems and support *Analyze vendors and pick
optimal ones that give required support etc * Do cost -benefit analysis of
recommendations and list out risk factors*Set up meeting with client to discuss initial
proposal *<Few other steps> * Be part of implementation stage * Design training
modules for employees to get used to new systems and plan the entire transition
phase* Develop metrics to assess the performance/productivity changes etc.
After this we discussed about a few specific questions that followed from discussions
that came out of the above steps. Eg, how will the systems be implemented centralized or decentralized? ; How will you handle the transition phase - how will you
plan the centralized deployment? etc
What do you think went
right/wrong?

Right: Thought process regarding how to solve the case.


Wrong: I once said Give me a minute to think about this ; I dont understand the
retail industry jargon, can u help me understand what is POS machine ?
Interviewer said Thats not how consultants talk. You should never buy time explicitly
nor you should say I dont understand your industry

Any tips for the future


batch

I guess in such tech strategy cases there is no cracking the case. Hence everything
depends on how we think about structuring the steps involved in solving it, using all
tech jargons where ever possible etc.

Outcome

Got FIF after a brief third round.

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate
Company Name

Palash Borah
Deloitte

Interviewer Name

Interview Number

One

Personal Interview
Question

1. Elaborate on work experience


2. A few questions on my undergrad papers

Case Type

None (probability question)

Case Question

What is the probability that the next person who walks into room will have GPA
greater than yours?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

He kept questioning my logic giving counter examples. He was probably trying to check
if the basics were clear or not..

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Any tips for the future


batch

Outcome

Name of Candidate

Palash Borah

Company Name

Deloitte

Interviewer Name

Interview Number

Two

Personal Interview
Question

1. Elaborate on work experience


2. Apart from studies CCAs etc what did you do in ISB

Case Type

Profitability

Case Question

They wanted me to triple the EPS of a food distributor in the next 3 years.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

I was given the case and asked to proceed. Prodded a little on the industry and told
them the numbers that would be interesting to look at. Gave me a couple of slides
filled with charts and numbers. The rest was just looking at the numbers and charts
and making inferences.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Any tips for the future


batch

Outcome

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate
Company Name

Arjun Mehra
Deloitte (S&O)

Interviewer Name
Interview Number

Round 1

Personal Interview
Question

Why consulting?
Preference for any specific industries? Why?
About my experience in theater and acting.

Case Type

Guesstimate

Case Question

Estimate the demand for rifles (used for shooting as a sport) in Hyderabad

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

I was asked this question because of my background as a national-level rifle shooter. I


began with asking a few questions:
-

So we are going to estimate the demand only for people using rifles for
shooting as a sport?
And we will not be dividing it into types of rifles for the sake of simplicity?

From here on I took the following approach (looked at supply to estimate demand) ,
assuming a lot of numbers while providing rationale behind the assumptions:
-

No of shooting ranges in Indian states; around 2 in and around Hyderabad


Average no of shooting lanes in a range
No of hours a usual practice session takes
No of hours a shooting range is open in a week, then assumed 60% occupancy
during weekdays and 80% during weekends
This helped me arrive at the no of shooters
Divided it by 1.X to reach the no of unique shooters in these ranges
Then from my experience started talking about the frequency at which a
shooter would buy a new rifle

This is where he stopped me, and began asking other personal questions.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

I was comfortable talking about the sport because of my experience with it.

Any tips for the future


batch

You know the possible faults in your assumptions while solving a guesstimate, so state
them clearly- in my opinion this shows your awareness and that you will be able to find
the faulty assumption if the final answer is strange.

Outcome

Shortlisted for the next round

Name of Candidate

Arjun Mehra

Company Name

Deloitte (S&O)

Interview Number

Round 2

Personal Interview
Question

None

Case Type

Operations & Strategy

Case Question

We are the CEO and CFO of a food transportation company. We have experienced
significant decline in our profits in the last 2 years. I am the CEO and have promised
the Board to increase EPS to $12 in 4 years.
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Narration of the case, as
descriptively as possible

I tried rephrasing the problem statement to make it simpler for myself. Just asked
them the current EPS ($6) and no of outstanding shares (1.5 million), multiplied and
stated- so we need to increase the net profit of the firm from $ 9 million to $18 million
in 4 years.
Their answer was yes, and then I began understanding the business model betterdrew their value chain and understood that they simply buy food/vegetables and
supply it restaurants, hotels, etc.
Started diving into each of the components and stated probable inefficiencies:
-

Procurement: Pricing could be a problem, Quality also


Storage: Inventory levels could be too less or much higher than required (also
pushed in ops knowledge about safety stock and lead time)
Transportation: Logistics issues with fleet maintenance, shortest path,
utilization of existing fleet, etc.
Demand: Customers perception, demand fluctuations, etc

Once they were satisfied with the breadth I was ready to cover, I began talking about
specific issues. Pricing, quality and a few others were discarded. By asking a few more
questions, I zeroed in on inventory costs, pilferage, wastage and demand estimation.
CEO: But how do these reflect on my P&L statement?
Me: Well they increase your COGS and directly impact your gross margins.
CEO (to CFO): You never told me that my inventory costs effect my P&L statement!
I understood the sarcasm, paused for a moment, and said, Im sorry, the inventory will
be shown in the balance sheet only, not on the P&L statement. But being a perishable
product, inventory and wastage are a result of poor demand estimation and wastage
will appear as indirect loss on the P&L. This seemed to impress them, and they handed
over a sheet of paper to me with 6 different charts.
-

Short P&L statement for the last 3 years


Competitors and market share
Gross margin compared to that of competition
Customer segments (platinum, gold, premium)- no of customers
Profitability of each customer segment
Plan to spend on ops improvement for increase in EPS

I took half a minute to go through all the charts and was pretty sure I didnt have the
time to consume all the information together. So I started speaking out my
observations from each of the charts, and what implications it might have on the
strategy.
In the end, I simply divided the page into two halves for short-term and long-term
strategy. In the short term I suggested keeping a strict control on COGS that were
significantly higher than previous years. Suggested this should be done by demand
estimation+ standardized procurement+ reducing pilferage.
In the long-term, it should take care of the customer segment with highest margins by
loyalty programs, long-term contracts, and other fundas of B2B marketing.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

The fact that I was able to draw insights from all the 6 charts I was shown

Any tips for the future


batch

You are not expected to be perfect, but it is important to demonstrate zeal to learn. So
if you make a mistake while solving a case, respect the experience on the other side of
the table and be open to feedback.

Outcome

Received an offer
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Ernst & Young

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Name of Candidate
Company Name

Sneha Rajan
Ernst and Young

Interviewer Name

Dont remember

Interview Number

Round 1

Personal Interview
Question

What is your criteria for choosing consulting as a profession. What challenges have you
taken up while in your role in the previous company

Case Type

Market Estimation

Case Question

Estimate the number of ipads sold in India within 18 months of the launch

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

The distribution strategy of ipads in India within 18 months of the launch and what
went right for Apple and what went wrong for Apple.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

I came up with an estimation using top down approach and the approach was
appreciated by the interviewer. However when asked about another method of
estimation I took 2 minutes to think and came up with their distribution stores and
how many could be sold approx through each outlet. This was pretty much what was
expected.

Any tips for the future


batch

Keep cool and practice well in case groups for market sizing questions.

Outcome

Moved to round 2

Name of Candidate

Sneha Rajan

Company Name

Ernst and Young

Interviewer Name

Senior Manager- TCE

Interview Number

Round 2

Personal Interview
Question

What in consulting makes you want to make a switch from technology to consulting?
You can talk to me anything that you are keenly following in the market.
Let us take a product such as Kindle and now can you come up with a Bill of materials
for the product on the whiteboard?

Case Type

n/a

Case Question

n/a

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

I was purely tested on my past experience and could come up with a detailed solution
for the bill of materials for the product generically.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Preparing for PI is essential and I guess it helped me in this round. I was able to provide
a solution on whiteboard in an articulate and readable manner which I think was
acknowledged by the Partner

Any tips for the future


batch

Revise on some core work areas critical to your role previously as it might help in
answering

Outcome

Moved to round 3

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate

Sneha Rajan

Company Name

Ernst and Young

Interviewer Name

Partner- name do not remember

Interview Number

Round 3

Personal Interview
Question

Tell me about Smartphone market globally. Who is leading in market share and why
so? How do competitors bridge the gap?
Which books do you read?
Extensive travel will be required. Are you ready for it?
Any markets that you follow?
Your opinion on the video gaming market and the War between xbox and Sony?

Case Type

n/a

Case Question

n/a

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

I described the market share by Apple, RIM, Nokia, Android phones and gave the
winner as Apple. Partner verified it in his laptop . I then went on to describe the main
revenue drivers that make Apple successful. He nodded in reciprocation and added a
point on why he thinks Android is still lagging.
About the travel, I acknowledged that I would be fine with it.
About books, I mentioned some3 books that were closest to my remembrance.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

I was prepared for these questions with exact share numbers for Apple and RIM and
Android and hence could comfortably sail through.

Any tips for the future


batch

Read extensively about the markets in your sector of interest

Outcome

Made an offer

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Name of Candidate
Company Name

Anirudh Kataruka
Ernst & Young

Interviewer Name

Dont remember he was a Senior Consultant in the Telecom Sector

Interview Number

Round 1

Personal Interview
Question

Why consulting and questions on my CV. This interview was unlike other round 1
interviews as they only asked questions about CV/career choice.

Case Type

NA

Case Question

NA

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

NA

What do you think went


right/wrong?

To be honest, I felt I would not move to the next round because he kept on talking
about how my CV gives the impression that I am keen on finance, rather than
consulting. The interview lasted for 10 minutes.

Any tips for the future


batch

If your CV reflects interest in a sector other than consulting, be well prepared for
questions on your career choice.

Outcome

Moved to the Partner round directly

Name of Candidate

Anirudh Kataruka

Company Name

Ernst & Young

Interviewer Name

Dont remember he was a Partner in the Telecom Sector

Interview Number

Round 2

Personal Interview
Question

We discussed my work at Inductis and talked about projects at E&Y. Next, he started
talking about my ELP and asked me several questions about it.

Case Type

NA

Case Question

NA

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

NA

What do you think went


right/wrong?

The fact that I was well-versed with my ELP industry, and that I added high level points
to the discussion which he might not have expected of me.

Any tips for the future


batch

Be well prepared with any questions around your ELP/projects. Think of what
questions a layman could ask, and what someone with superior knowledge about the
sector could ask, and prepare answers to all of them.

Outcome

Sent to the HR to discuss offer details

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KPMG

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Name of Candidate
Company Name

Sahas Gulati
KPMG Sourcing Advisory

Interviewer Name

Sumeet Salwan (ISB founding batch alum, Associate Director), Shubh Thakur (Manager,
HR)

Interview Number

3 Rounds

Personal Interview
Question

Round 1 (15 mins) - Tell me about yourself.


Why the one year gap before joining ISB?
Talk about Starbucks India strategy. What recommendations did you make? (Based on
a point mentioned in the resume. Followed by a number of counter questions)
Why KPMG?
Any questions?
Round 2 (Over 30 mins) Describe your work in more detail
Talk about an important assignment at work. What did you learn from it?
If you want to convince a client to outsource, how would you do it?
If a friend of mine wants to estimate the number of footfalls for his frozen yogurt shop
in a mall, how should he do it?
What sectors do you follow? (Ans: Consumer Tech)
Why did Yahoo reject Microsofts acquisition offer? (I worked as an M&A researcher at
Capital IQ)
How is Yahoo performing now, and why?
What recommendation would you make to Yahoo?
Round 3 Partner Round, telephonic (15-20 mins)
Why KPMG?
Tell me about yourself
When you come on board, what is the biggest challenge you hope to face?
Tell me three things about yourself, that will be additive to our practice
Any questions?

Case Type

Market Sizing

Case Question

If a friend of mine wants to estimate the number of footfalls for his frozen yogurt shop
in a mall, how should he do it?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

If a friend of mine wants to estimate the number of footfalls for his frozen yogurt shop
in a mall, how should he do it?

What do you think went


right/wrong?

The interviewers were pretty relaxed, and the pace was conversational. I feel I could
have done the market-sizing question better. Probably, what worked were answers to
the Yahoo-Microsoft and Starbucks questions.

Any tips for the future


batch

Consulting interviews are not as big a deal as they are often made out to be! Just make
sure of the following:
Know your story well.
Be well read about business etc. (which I was)
Practice cases well (Something I did NOT do. And it showed)
Be articulate, and structure your answers well.

Outcome

Job Offered
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Name of Candidate
Company Name

Siddharth Pai
KPMG

Interviewer Name

Do not remember but was an engagement manager and an HR personnel

Interview Number

Round 1

Personal Interview
Question

Standard PI questions:
1. Run me through your resume
2. Why consulting
3. What are the other companies you are interviewing with and why KPMG?
I was honest and told them about the other interviews I had lined up with EY and PwC.
Also, I stressed upon why KPMG
-

Primarily because of the work (it was outsourcing advisory: helping companies
make outsourcing decisions)
Tried to relate to the KPMG values

4. Tell me about a sector you follow?


I had a group discussion on FDI in retail and hence decided to speak on that. Spoke for
some time about the pros and the cons when the interviewer cut me short and asked
me specific questions about what the margins are, what the closing stock prices of a
few companies in this sector were. I did not know the answer and told the interviewer
so.
5. Then I was asked about outsourcing what factors would you consider etc.
The class on IT Strategy was very helpful as I was able to bring out some insights as to
what the factors are and how the cycle has moved from a more BPO model to a KPO
model
6. Any questions for us?
KPMG did not have a presentation so asked them more about the role, the kind of
clientele and growth in the company.
Also, I asked them how KPMG differentiates itself from the other big 4 in the
increasingly commoditized consulting space.

Case Type

None

Case Question

NA

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

NA

What do you think went


right/wrong?

What went wrong?


Know atleast one sector thoroughly; preferably one where you have worked or the
one where you want to end up being.

What went right?


-

Be confident of what you say


If you dont know something, say it; instead of stating incorrect facts
It is very important to build a rapport with the interviewer, be energetic and
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show enthusiasm
Any tips for the future
batch

Do a lot of company research to know what the company values and beliefs are. Also
ask questions: turn the interview into a conversation rather than a monologue.

Outcome

Moved to round 2

Name of Candidate

Siddharth Pai

Company Name

KPMG

Interviewer Name

Associate Director, Sumeet, ISB Alum founding batch

Interview Number

Round 2

Personal Interview
Question

1. Basic PI questions similar to the ones in the first round.


2. Asked me why a most of the outsourcing business is moving from India to the
Philippines
I spoke about rising labor costs in India; unstable political scenario; unfavorable
policies which may hinder entry into India and finally I spoke about how India is
transitioning from a outsourcing locale to a place where companies want to setup core
R&D operations etc.

Case Type

Guesstimate

Case Question

Estimate the sales of a frozen dessert counter in a mall

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

I decided to approach the case from the demand side.


Asked questions about where the mall is located and what the footfall in the mall was.
He asked me to assume something; so I assumed it to be the Ambience mall in
gurgaon.
Further asked him about competition (in terms of other dessert shops or stalls), was
told that there was none.
Then I started identifying the target audience. To do this I segmented the people
coming to mall as follows:
-

People coming to restaurants or food courts


Assumed how many restaurants were there in the mall, took average
occupancy and finally took a percentage of people who would want dessert
after the meal
Shopping
Similar analysis: No. of shops; average footfall for the shops (I struggled to
come up with a number and Sumeet helped me out)
Window shopping
Gaming (golfworx etc.)
Cinemas
Number of screens, number of shows in a day and average occupancy

I did some calculations and was about to come up with a figure and was asked to stop
by Sumeet, he seemed satisfied with the assumptions and analysis.
I also suggested a supply side analysis of what the capacity of the store could be and
then working backwards.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

In a guesstimate it is ok to think out loud and get clarifications before making


assumptions. It is important to cover as many aspects as possible.

Any tips for the future

Make sure you practice guesstimates; often under-practiced they can get complicated
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batch

if the approach is not right.

Outcome

Moved to partner round

Name of Candidate

Siddharth Pai

Company Name

KPMG

Interviewer Name

Partner

Interview Number

Round 3

Personal Interview
Question

A very short interview where he focused primarily on my international work


experience.

He had worked extensively in the US and asked me about my stint in New York and
Switzerland.
Case Type

None

Case Question

NA

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

NA

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Was able to engage him in a conversation.

Any tips for the future


batch

Make sure you can talk about each and every line of your resume for 5-10 mins.

Outcome

Made an offer.

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate
Company Name

Kanika Chawla
PricewaterhouseCoopers

Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

1. Reasons I want to join consulting and how it fits into my career plan
2. Given my background, why I decided to join ISB
3. Why PWC? Etc

Case Type

Operations

Case Question

A two wheeler manufacturer is incurring losses. Need to identify the reason and
suggest recommendations.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

I initially started with the big picture by asking questions on the market conditions,
demand for two wheeler and target market.
Interviewer: Demand is stable and their main target market is the Tier 2 cities.
Me: How many competitors and how are they doing vis-a-vis our client.
Interviewer: Company has two main competitors. All three (including our client) share
the market equally but in the last few years our client in incurring losses. Competitors
profit is stable.
Me: Demand and the overall market conditions are not the reasons for the fall in
profit. Moreover, our client looks like a price taker. Therefore, I decided to look at the
cost incurred by the company more closely.
Interviewer agreed with my conclusion and asked me to proceed.
I made the income statement of the company with clearly stating each of the
components and understanding the trend for the company. While discussing the
financial statement, we discussed various factors that affect the profitability of the
firm such as raw material cost, supply chain, distribution network etc.
While discussing the financials, Interviewer pointed out that depreciation for the
company has increased over the years. I listed down reasons because of which
depreciation can be high like old machinery, tax benefits etc. We discussed the reasons
in details and identified that there is excess capacity because of which company is
running into losses.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Things that worked for me:

Any tips for the future


batch

Work on your operations and finance basics meticulously. You will never get a chance
to explore such wide range of topics post ISB. So make maximum use of this time.

Outcome

Offered the FIF

I had clarity on my career objective and how I would like to leverage my education at
ISB. Secondly, I had worked on my operations and finance concepts. This really helped
me in building my points during the case discussion.

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Siemens Management Consulting

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate
Company Name

Nishant Gupta
Siemens Management Consulting

Interviewer Name

Ashwit Dias

Interview Number

First Round at ISB

Personal Interview
Question

SMC is very particular about identifying the right fit of the candidate. The interview
was the first round at ISB and if shortlisted for second round, candidates are called to
Mumbai. He started with telling me about himself (Ofcourse I knew everything about
him from Linked In and the SMC website ) He then asked me a lot of PI Questions.
Most of them were standard PI Questions. I dont remember all of them, but listing
some of them here:

Tell me about yourself a very important question. You need to add a bit of
personal touch here. It shouldnt be about telling your resume again
What do you think you will fit into SMC?
Why should I not hire you?
What SMC?
What do you know about culture at SMC? this was probably because culture
was one of my points in Why SMC
What do you know about culture at Siemens?
Give me an instance where you have been at loggerheads with higher
management in your previous company
You have worked in New York with people from many cultures, how did you
handle them?

Case Type

Market Entry and Guesstimate

Case Question

A two wheeler manufacturer is incurring losses. Need to identify the reason and
suggest recommendations.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

It was a very standard market entry case the framework for which is given in
casebook 2010. Once I put the structure in, he looked satisfied and wanted me to
estimate the market size.
You can attack a Guesstimate question by supply or demand. This was to be solved
using the demand side.
NG: There would be 3 types of customers:
1. Residentials
2. Commercials
3. Industrials
Also, we need to look at new constructions only. I then laid out the formula (assuming
infinite shelf life):
#Fire detectors = Area of new construction*No. Of fire detectors/square feet
I now didnt know what to do, so I just asked him do you know the constructions
happening in each of these 3 sectors every year?
AD: At this he smiles and says that would be too simplistic right. What would you do to
get this information?
NG: I would go to the government of India and ask them for this information
AD: GOI doesnt have this information
NG: I would then go to the big construction companies like DLF, GVK etc and ask them
for information
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AD: Ok , there are realty agents who can provide you this information. Now what?
NG: Do we know the fire detectors per square feet for each of them separately?
He then gave me some numbers and I did the math
AD: What if I tell you that you are off by 90%
NG: Let me recheck the math
AD: Your math is fine
NG: I guess not all residentials, commercials and industrials would be putting the fire
detector as the litigation in India is not that strong. So that would bring a factor of
penetration in all of these
AD: Thats right. If you have to guess which sector would have the highest and which
one is the lowest, what would you guess
NG: I think residentials would have the lowest penetration because of minimal risk and
industrials would have the highest penetration
AD: Thats right
He then gave me the penetration numbers and I did the math again (it was correct
again thankfully )

What do you think went


right/wrong?

I think case was average, but the PI part went really well. I was thoroughly prepared
with all the PI questions, so it really helped. I am probably repeating what you guys
have heard from other seniors before, but PI is as important as Case practice. Another
thing that went well was the questions I asked him in the end. SMC has detailed profile
of all people on its website and you of course have Linked In. I know Ashwit was from
GE, so I asked him couple of questions regarding Siemens and GE. I got him really
engaged in the conversation.

Any tips for the future


batch

Focus heavily on PI preparation atleast for SMC. The fit is very important.

Outcome

Shortlisted for second round in Mumbai

Name of Candidate

Nishant Gupta

Company Name

Siemens Management Consulting

Interviewer Name

Rohit Kumar

Interview Number

All of us had to compulsorily appear for 4 interviews at their Mumbai office

Personal Interview
Question

There was no case in this interview. It was a role play interview and lasted 60 minutes.
Rohit is a very chilled out guy and put me at ease in the beginning itself. He first told
me about himself in brief and then started with the interview. Some of the questions
he asked were:
Tell me about yourself
Tell me a situation when you faced a difficult client. How did you handle him?
Tell me about your work at Inductis this question went into a lot of detail
He also asked me about my entrepreneurial ventures in detail and why I dont do and
join them
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


He then started with the Role Play. Siemens Head of Energy has hired you as a
consultant and want you revaluate the guesstimate of transformers given to you by
the Head of Siemens Energy India. This is your first meeting with him, how would you
go about it?
This went on for about 15-20 mins and he was being a really tough client. I think I did
ok and managed to not piss him off.
Case Type

Market Entry and Guesstimate

Case Question

A two wheeler manufacturer is incurring losses. Need to identify the reason and
suggest recommendations.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

It was a very standard market entry case the framework for which is given in

What do you think went


right/wrong?

I think I did well in the roleplay. Again my PI questions were prepared well, so that was
also a plus. The thing that went well was the questions I asked him in the end. I asked
him about his entrepreneurial experience. He was surprised at this question because
he had not told me this in the beginning. I told him that I got it from Linked In. He was
visibly impressed and went on to talk about it in detail. SMC believes a lot in feedback.
After every interview they tell you how it went and how I could improve. Rohit told me
that he liked interacting with me but I probably need to get to the point sooner.

Any tips for the future


batch

You cant really prepare for a role play but you need to be firm as well as polite

Outcome

NA

Name of Candidate

Nishant Gupta

Company Name

Siemens Management Consulting

Interviewer Name

Katharina Beumelberg

Interview Number

All of us had to compulsorily appear for 4 interviews at their Mumbai office

Personal Interview
Question

Katharina is a partner at SMC, so I knew this was the big one. She asked me one PI
question (which I dont recall ) and went straight to the case.

Case Type

New Product Entry

Case Question

Case was about the grid technology and whether Siemens should enter into it

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

She spent about 10 mins explaining what grid technology was. I then laid out the new
product entry framework and she was visibly impressed with the structure. From then
on it was more like brainstorming where she kept on asking questions and I kept on
answering them. I think it was a pretty tough case and my answers to her adhoc
questions impressed her. At one point she even said I wonder why our team didnt
think of this solution before, so I guess the case went well . I dont remember our
discussion, so not putting all the details here.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

I think I did well in the initial framework. She kept on asking adhoc questions, which I
think went well as well. In the end she gave the feedback that I probably need to be
more structured. I think she wanted our discussion to be more structured as well but it
wasnt that big a deal. There was no time to ask questions as we had to leave for lunch
immediately.
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Any tips for the future
batch

Even during normal discussions, people look at structures, so make sure that your
entire conversation remains structured especially with the partners

Outcome

NA

Name of Candidate

Nishant Gupta

Company Name

Siemens Management Consulting

Interviewer Name

Stefan Hegemann

Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

Stefan had come to ISB campus for the PPT. From the PPT I could make out he is a fun
loving guy and same thing happened during the interview as well. He said that all your
PI questions have been covered earlier, however there is one question we need to ask
you further:
What is your salary expectation?
Now this was a question I was not prepared for, so I said that I dont have a number in
mind and that you would have some set policies based on which you would decide the
number. However, he kept on probing me and I finally gave him a number. We then
went to the case

Case Type

Number based case

Case Question

A windmill blade can either be purchased from China or made in India. I had to
evaluate the 2 options

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Stefan had thrown in a bunch of numbers in the beginning and you had to really sieve
through them to get useful data. But overall, it was a straightforward case. All I needed
to do was to make sure that my math was correct which happened to be the case .
Stefan didnt provide any feedback and there was no time to ask him any questions as
we had already exceeded 45 minutes.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

The case went well. I did the math correctly

Any tips for the future


batch

Salary expectation is also a common question that is very commonly asked in many
interviews, so make sure that you are prepared with this question. Go slowly when the
case is a number based case to make sure that your math is correct

Outcome

NA

Name of Candidate

Nishant Gupta

Company Name

Siemens Management Consulting

Interviewer Name

Nagesh Goel

Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

This was my last interview. I had done reasonable well in the 3 interviews till then, so I
knew that if I dont screw this one badly, I stood a very good chance of getting
through. There were no PI questions initially, but in the end Nagesh asked me some
very tricky questions:

Rank the interviews based on your performance


What was the feedback provided to you at the end of each interview and how
did you implement it in the next round?
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012

What were the good points and bad points in each of your interviews?

What is your salary expectation?


Now this was a question I was not prepared for, so I said that I dont have a number in
mind and that you would have some set policies based on which you would decide the
number. However, he kept on probing me and I finally gave him a number. We then
went to the case
Case Type

Entrepreneurial Case (which is another of saying that there was no set framework for
the case )

Case Question

The CEO of Siemens Maintenance wants to increase the revenues from current $50
MM to $250 MM in 5 years. How can he do it?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Following are the details of the case:


Me: May I know the current sources of revenue for Siemens Maintenance
Him: There are 4 sources of revenue Maintenance of Steam Turbines, Wind Turbines,
Gas Turbines and Operations
Me: May I know how much revenue we make from each of these streams?
Him: We make all our revenue from Maintenance of Steam turbines
Me: What is our market share in Steam Turbine Business?
Him: About 20%
Then I asked a couple of useless questions which I dont recollect.
Me: What kind of turbines do we service in case of Steam turbines?
Him: We serve only the machines manufactured by Siemens (This is a very key point in
this case which Nagesh told me later)
Me: Can we serve the steam turbines made by our competitors?
Him: No
Me: What is the revenue that we would be making from Steam turbines business after
5 years?
Him: $100 MM
Me: Does Siemens manufacture Wind and Gas Turbines?
Him: Yes
Me: Why are we not able to service them?
Him: Our main client is NTPC and currently BHEL services them. You can ignore the
Operations part right now
After a lot of back and forth questions, I came to know that Siemens had sold the
design of their gas and wind mills to BHEL because they thought that they would not
enter the service market in India. Siemens is not able to start servicing the turbines
because their cost structure and hence their prices are higher compared to BHEL. The
reason their cost structure was so high was that they got technicians from Germany
and they should rather look at training Indians.

He then wanted me to figure out what should Siemens do to capture market share
from BHEL apart from the cost aspect. I suggested that they can sell new turbines and
replace the old ones. Nagesh then told me that turbines are huge structures which
cant be replaced that easily. I had run out of steam by that point (being the 4th
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interview and a complicated case), so I could not come up with any solutions. At this
point he ended the case and then asked the questions I have listed above.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

I started well in this interview. The intial questions were spot on, but I was lost in the
end. Overall, I think this was my worst interview by far. But I guess the fact that I had
done well in my first 3 interviews helped me.

Any tips for the future


batch

In case you get random PI questions in your interview, then it is always advisable to ask
for 30 seconds to think about your answer. Also, be prepared to come across a never
heard off case. It all boils down to be able to think at the spot

Outcome

Made an offer

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Name of Candidate
Company Name

Neha Khandelwal
Siemens Management Consulting

Interviewer Name

Stefan Hagemann, Project Manager

Interview Number

Personal Interview
Question

Apart from usual CV based questions, one very good question that Stefan asked was
Right from your metric you must have had choices at every stage of your education
and professional life, briefly describe why you made those choices?

Case Type

Data Interpretation Type non typical

Case Question

Process flow of recruitments in one of the Siemens group companies

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Was given a bar graph showing the filtering of candidates from application to the
joining stage. Stefan wanted me to understand the graph and pick out three stages
which were least efficient and suggest process improvements.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

I think, Stefan was looking for balanced candidates with both good people skills and
case analysis. We had a great discussion about India, Indians and why I have great
respect for my last employer.

Any tips for the future


batch

SMC needs people who are honest and have good people skills. Please be honest to
the interviewer and be confident about your answers. Speak your heart out, it worked
for me in the first round.

Outcome

Moved to next stage for interviews in Bombay office

Name of Candidate

Neha Khandelwal

Company Name

Siemens Management Consulting

Interviewer Name

Nagesh Goyal, Senior Consultant

Interview Number

Personal Interview
Question

Loads of them
a) Explain you past experience, one of the major successes and one of the major failure
b) What drives you to go to office every day? How would you describe your last
employer (good points and bad points?)
c) Why ISB? Why finance major? Your favorite subject and why?
d) Now that you are an MBA, go back one year and pick up any one of your project and
describe how would you do it differently?

Case Type

None

Case Question

None

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

N/A

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Nagesh was looking for someone who was succinct and good communications skills.
He did not seem to appreciate long, convoluted answers. I spoke to the ISB alum to
find out more about interviewers personality types and that really helped.

Any tips for the future


batch

Not anything specific. Make sure that you know your strengths, weaknesses very well.
What are your qualities, what inspires you and a lot of such personality based
questions.
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


You should know a bit about Siemens, but there is no need to mug up annual reports
and details etc.
Outcome

Next round

Name of Candidate

Neha Khandelwal

Company Name

Siemens Management Consulting

Interviewer Name

Katharina Beumelberg , VP SMC

Interview Number

Personal Interview
Question

Six of us who were shortlisted for interviews in Bombay had lunch with Katharina. So
my interview was just after lunch, PI questions were more of an extension of the
discussion we had over lunch.
a) Why women avoid consulting as a career. What are her plans to make the SMC
culture more conducive for women employees?
b) Why consulting? And what are my long term goals?
c) How do you deal with conflict management? Key takeaways from your people
management role. What was the most difficult part while I was managing people?
d) What not there in your CV? Guys this is a very important questions, I was asked
this question in pretty much 80% of the companies I interviewed for.

Case Type

Market Entry

Case Question

Siemens has recently designed a smart grid. Which country they should first target and
why?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

a) What are the key factors which are important for smart grid? What are the top
countries for each of those factors.
Narrow down the list to 3-4 countries.
What are the key indicators required for you to decide whether you would make an
entry to country X and how would you go about doing it?

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Katharina was very focused on how one structures the case, what questions you are
asking? And whether you are listening to the question and the answers carefully. I was
making notes after every case interview as to what went well and what not she really
appreciated that.
She also appreciated the fact that I did not try to force fit any framework and was
trying to first understand the problem statement.

Any tips for the future


batch

SMC would never give you a plain vanilla case question. They look for someone who
has better analytical skills and has a structure in solving any case. You might not be
able to put any framework, so do practice some off track simple and analytical
reasoning based cases.

Outcome

Next round

Name of Candidate

Neha Khandelwal

Company Name

Siemens Management Consulting

Interviewer Name

Ashwin Dias Project Manager


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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Interview Number

Personal Interview
Question

More of CV related questions, about projects etc

Case Type

Sorry .. dont remember !

Case Question

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Any tips for the future


batch

PI is as important as case preparation. You should be able to talk well about yourself
and your CV. Dont over practice cases, as soon as you realize you are getting towards
a structural way of thinking in your case. Its s good time to do some cases, but do them
more effectively.

Outcome

Next Round

Name of Candidate

Neha Khandelwal

Company Name

Siemens Management Consulting

Interviewer Name

Rohit Kumar, Senior Consultant

Interview Number

Personal Interview
Question

Not many, just wanted to know more about what I would like to do in my free time.
What are my career expectations etc

Case Type

Profit Loss

Case Question

Analysing whether Siemens should shut down a subsidiary firm or continue

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Rohit had given me a graph after some initial questions, which basically showed the
annual performance of the company over last few years and what are the future
expectations. There were some quantitative analysis needed to be done on market,
company and competitors. There were certain option for which cost benefit analysis
needed to done to understand if it makes sense to continue with the subsidiary.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

I was dead by this time, as this was 4th case interview without any break. So yaa I did
not do very well but I guess Rohit was more looking for the set of questions I was
asking. So guess he was happy with my basic analysis on case and the PI

Any tips for the future


batch

Outcome

Got the offer

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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Name of Candidate

Prashant Kr Gupta

Company Name

Siemens Management Consulting

Interview Number

Case + PI

Personal Interview
Question

So tell me why are you here today?


I was thrown off on this question in 2 interviews ! I still do not have a nice answer to
this question. The best I could muster for this is I am here to interview with you for
the position of xx and interact with you.
Introduced himself at length, this guy had worked with L&T and then INSEAD MBA.
We will structure this interview into 2 parts: First you walk me through your resume
and if I have anything to ask I will interrupt and then we move to the case.
I started with my resume highlights, graduation, Schlumberger, Evalueserve and ISB.
He asked me about the switch from Computer Sc -> Schlumberger and then
Schlumberger -> Evalueserve.
Explained
Why do you want to join SMC?
I explained how SMC culture is similar to SLB culture and how my personality is best
suited for it. After evaluating couple of industries I want to join line management
which is exactly what SMC provides.
So why not other consulting firms and why not directly line management?
Friends and family tell me Siemens is a great place to work. A switch from consulting
firm to another firm is avoidable at Siemens, you remain in the same culture. Unsure
of industry at the moment hence would like to try out different industries before
committing.
Which other firms are you interviewing with?
I named only a select few, which I knew that the interviewer was expecting.
Tell me about your biggest failure, since you have worked more in Schlumberger so
we can talk about that only.
I gave an unsuccessful bid which he did not accept as personal failure. Then I gave him
a personal failure which was due to neglect.
How did you explain that to your superior?
I really did not have to because the situation was historically known for such neglects.
But yes from that movement onwards I had a post-it on my desk reminding me of such
small possible mistakes.
Tell me of a situation where you faced an ethical dilemma and how did you
overcome it?
Explained
What do you think are your transferrable skills that you can put to work at SMC?
Hard working, initiatives, team work, leadership, cultural sensitivity
Explain culture sensitivity, why do you think it is important and give me an example
of things that you think you have learnt and you can put to work?
I hadnt prepared this answer very well, but I managed it well..
Tip -> Prepare this aspect well ahead if you are highlighting international exposure to
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


SMC. Culture is really important for Siemens.
Case Type

Market Estimation Steel Billet Casters

Case Question

Since you have done a study on copper market estimation while you were at
Evalueserve, let us do something similar.
Siemens has a heavy industries division in India and they need to understand how
many steel billet casters do they need this year.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

I asked for clarification on the product as I did not know what a billet caster is.
<However, working on the copper project, I know what a Billet is>
We started with what is required to estimate the number of steel billet casters are
required:
1) We need to know the demand of steel in the country
2) how much of the demand is in the form of steel billets (there are other forms of
steel as well like sheets etc which we will dis-regard)
3) what is installed capacity in the country and if there is a requirement?
4) existing competition
5) any information on new competition
Interviewer: Lets evaluate each of them. How will you evaluate the Demand of Steel
Since I had done the copper market through Bottom up. I went on explaining the
same.
Interviewer: Luckily, the Steel Authority in India maintains pretty good record of
steel usage in India. So may we can use that data directly. Later on asking he also
told me that the installed capacity is running at 100% utilization.
The usage recorded last year was 90,million tonnes. An increase of 10% per annum is a
good approximation. All of this is in the form of billets. No competition.
So we need casters to produce 9 million tonnes.
On asking about the capacity of a caster: I was told that there are 2 kinds of casters,
small which produces 100,000 tonnes / annum and big which produces 300,000
tonnes/annum.
--- IMPORTANT --Me: Do we know the percentage distribution of these two casters? How many are big
& how many small?
Interviewer: the bigger casters produce 40% BY VOLUME of the billets and the rest is
produced by the smaller casters.
--- please note the difference in language. Question was asked for distribution in
number of units, answer was in volume--1) Smaller casters: 0.6*9 / 0.1 = 54 small casters
2) Bigger caster: 0.4*9/0.3 = 12 big casters

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Blunder: I missed the BY VOLUME distribution and calculated as if 40% of all casters
were big and hence my answer differed.
Good things: PI went really well, I was able to define a fit

Any tips for the future


batch
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012

Other Firms
Name of Candidate
Company Name

Shiva
Global eProcure

Interviewer Name

Dont Know

Interview Number

1st round

Personal Interview
Question

Little bit about work ex, and then directly into the case

Case Type

Profitability Analysis (Business Model)

Case Question

A company in capital goods industry (Say trucks) is experiencing lower profit numbers
YoY.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

The company is losing market share (in terms of revenue) in a market thats shrinking.
Meaning, competitors were gaining market share in a shrinking market.
Soln: Market shrinking due to recession, so customers were no longer buying capital
goods but started leasing it. All competitors entered the leasing business model, but
the company was still sticking to sell only model leading to a loss in market share

What do you think went


right/wrong?

Since this case was more about concept than numbers, the conventional approach to
crack dint work. But the interviewer gave hints at appropriate instances to help you
get there.

Any tips for the future


batch

Most cases are Profitability types.

Outcome

Moved to Round 2

Name of Candidate

Shiva

Company Name

Global eProcure

Interviewer Name

Raja

Interview Number

2nd round

Personal Interview
Question

Why GeP. Are u comfortable working in niche consulting, smaller company etc.
Questions for me.

Case Type

Profitability Analysis

Case Question

A company is losing profitability YoY

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

The companys YoY COGS, SGA & interest payments as % of sales remained same YoY.
The dip in profitability was due to higher tax numbers YoY due to govt regulations. I
was asked to suggest a solution to this problem. The solution was to move production
to SEZ areas in the long term.
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


What do you think went
right/wrong?

I almost got to the solution, though dint crack it. But the interviewer dint bother too
much as he was only looking at the thought process and structure.

Any tips for the future


batch

Do some research on the company and make sure you do not stick to a particular
structure to solve cases. Some of the cases they give requires a broader understanding
of the problem

Outcome

Selected

Name of Candidate
Company Name

Shrini Ravindran
Schneider Electric

Interviewer Name

NA

Interview Number

Round 1

Personal Interview
Question

Tell me about yourself. Prior experience. Why Schneider Electric? Why strategy? Have
you ever had any crystal-ball gazing experience before?

Case Type

Business expansion

Case Question

We want to grow the number of our point of sale (POS) outlets to 80% from the
present 50%. How would you go about doing this?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

This case was unique in the manner that I was asked to go back to my room, solve it
and show the solution sometime during the day when asked for. The solution involved
splitting the POS into various buckets and deciding based on the situation and possible
outcomes of pulling the various levers. There was no data at all and it was quite open
ended.

What do you think went


right/wrong?

I had some prior experience of the distribution system adopted by companies like
Schneider Electric and so was able to understand the problem quicker.

Any tips for the future


batch

If faced with an unfamiliar situation just think logically, state your assumptions and go
on.

Outcome

Went through to the 2nd round.

Name of Candidate

Shrini Ravindran

Company Name

Schneider Electric

Interviewer Name

NA

Interview Number

Round 2 (Telephonic)

Personal Interview
Question

Why ISB? What have you learnt? Why dont you go back to your previous
organization?

Case Type

Costing; Business expansion

Case Question

1) Can you name all the cost components of a bottle of packaged mineral water?
2) If your previous organization wants to increase market share, what would you
advise it to do?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

1) This was a costing question where one needs to list the various fixed and variable
costs. Not as simple as it sounds though!
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


2) This dealt more with the switchgear industry. Fairly open ended. Since its a market
share increase case it would start with the present competitive scenario and then drill
down further. I just went logically step-by-step.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

It can get quite tricky to communicate have an interview over the telephone.
Thankfully things went smoothly.

Any tips for the future


batch

Some companies that are not consulting companies also have case interviews. For such
companies, read up as much as you can about the industry they are in. There is a good
chance that the questions would pertain to that industry.

Outcome

Went through to the 3rd round (HR)

Name of Candidate
Company Name

Sapna Jeslani
Concept Management Consulting

Interviewer Name
Interview Number

Personal Interview
Question
Case Type

Finance

Case Question

A real estate company is looking for equity financing for its planned residential project
in Noida. You are made responsible for equity and debt syndication for the project.
How would you determine the capital requirements? What would be the
considerations of the lenders vis a vis equity investors?

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Capital Requirements: 1. Find the total project costs and the expected timeline of
investments.
2. Identify the potential fund raising sources. For e.g down payment and staggered
payment by the buyers of the residential plots, potential real estate lenders like HDFC
etc, potential equity investors like REITs.
3. Determine the optimum debt ratio (capital structure) and $ value of investment
through each source of fund raising.
4. Make investor presentations for fund raising and sign agreements.

Debt lenders considerations: Interest coverage ratio, debt service coverage ratio and
Debt to Equity ratio
Equity investors considerations: IRR
What do you think went
right/wrong?
Any tips for the future
batch

Cases are very logical. They need to be answered in a conversational format and not
necessarily in the interview question answer format.

Outcome

Name of Candidate
Company Name

Prashant Kr Gupta
Amazon BOLD (operations role)
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Interview Number

Case + PI Round 1

Personal Interview
Question

1) Do you know about the role?


2) Tell me about yourself
3) Why amazon?
4) Tell me your 2 strengths
5) Tell me your weakness
6) Situational Question:
Imagine you are managing a team of 20 people where 40% are women. A group of
men from a small team come to you and complain about Richa that her perfume
fragrance is disturbing. If nothing is done about it, they will not be able to meet the
targets.
After I answered the interviewer role played and enacted as if he was Richa. We went
through a conversation.
After the role play he asked if I was given more time would my response be different
NO

Case Type

Weird question no classification

Case Question

Imagine you are manager of a facility and one of your regular customers ordered a
diamond ring worth $30,000 day before yesterday. The ring was not delivered as of
today (2 days after the order) and Amazon has a 3-day delivery guarantee.
The customer writes an email to Jeff Bezos and he in-turn forwards the email to you
for action.
You now have to deal with the situation and then write an email to Jeff explaining him
the situation.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

I wrote down the steps as follows:


1) follow up internally as to where the ring is and what is the earliest the ring can be
delivered to the customer
2) call up the customer, listen to his complaint. Apologise for the inconvenience caused
and assure him that the delivery be made in 24 hours
3) if the original ring cannot be delivered, source another ring and get it delivered on
priority
4) write an email to Jeff explaining him that you have followed up with the customer
and you are resolving the delivery issue. Also you will find out why the delivery was
delayed and improve the process where needed
5) follow up with customer after the delivery is made
6) email jeff again to tell him that the ring has been delivered and issue is closed at the
client end.
He then asked me to write the actual email to jeff.

What do you think went


right/wrong?
Any tips for the future
batch

187

ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Prashant Kr Gupta
Name of Candidate
Company Name

Amazon BOLD (operations role)

Interview Number

Case + PI Round 2

Personal Interview
Question

1) Walk me through your resume


2) Why did you join Evalueserve?
3) What did you do in your project at Evalueserve?

Case Type

Work force Estimation

Case Question

1) You are the facility manager and you have a meeting with the project manager in 2
hours. Your firm is launching a new top of the class mobile phone and the company is
trying to ascertain how many work benches are needed in the customer support
center that they will be setting up to support the new mobile phone? You need to
ascertain capacity that will sail us through to next year
2) You are the in charge of the Fulfillment center at Amazon. Each fulfillment center
has a certain number of ducts to load the trucks. Installing these ducts is expensive and
hence we need to optimize the number of ducts. How many ducts do we need?
3) You are the customer service manager at Amazon and you have to choose between
3 centers A, B & C to outsource email & phone support. Each location has a cost of
servicing customer via two medium and a satisfaction level. All 3 facilities are capable
of handling 100% of the traffic on both mediums.

Narration of the case, as


descriptively as possible

Case 1:
1) figure out the number of units to be sold 150,000 units per annum
2) how many people will need assistance 15% for the first 30 days and then it will
steadily decline to 2% at the end of 3 months from the date of purchase
3) average duration of each call is 8 minutes
Calculate the number of calls at the end of 12 months:
150000/12 = 12500 per month sold
Number of calls, c = 0.15*12500 + 0.085 * 12500 + 0.02*12500*10
Number of minutes, m = c * 8
Number of executives = m/(30*24*60)
Now assume that 80% of the traffic comes during 4 am to 8 pm
Case 2:
1) number of items to be shipped out each day = 2 million
2) each truck can take upto 5000 items
3) it takes about half an hour to load each truck
number of trucks to be loaded in 24 hours = 2 million / 5000 = 400
in 24 hours with 1 duct u can load 48 trucks
number of ducts required = 400/48
Now assume that 80% of the orders come in during 4 am to 8 pm and they need to
ship out in 3 hours of order received.
Case 3:
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ISB Casebook Class of 2012


Location Cost of email

cost of phone satisfaction level

0.4

0.3

92%

0.3

0.4

95%

0.2

0.5

97%

The logic behind choosing C are two:


1) Amazon is a customer centric firm
2) a dissatisfied customer will call again and u will incur higher cost.
What do you think went
right/wrong?

I had just revised the OPMG course and was very stuck with the use of queuing theory

Any tips for the future


batch

Dont read anything wrt to courses or case framework; you will tend to force fit it in
the interview.

189