Sie sind auf Seite 1von 101

Consulting Casebook

2016-17

Indian Institute of Management


Kozhikode

Table of Contents
How to use this book .............................................................................................................................. 3
Solving a Case.......................................................................................................................................... 4
First Step: Definition of the Problem .................................................................................................. 4
Second Step: Problem Scoping ........................................................................................................... 4
Third Step: Segmentation ................................................................................................................... 4
Fourth Step: Problem Structuring ....................................................................................................... 4
Fifth Step: Analysis .............................................................................................................................. 5
Sixth Step: Synthesis/Summary .......................................................................................................... 5
Case Frameworks .................................................................................................................................... 6
Profitability or Profit ............................................................................................................................... 6
Cost: .................................................................................................................................................... 7
Revenue: ............................................................................................................................................. 9
Increasing Volume ............................................................................................................................ 11
New Market Entry ................................................................................................................................. 12
Problem Diagnosis Situation ................................................................................................................. 13
PE Investment ....................................................................................................................................... 15
Capacity Expansion ............................................................................................................................... 16
Turn Around .......................................................................................................................................... 17
Growth Strategy .................................................................................................................................... 18
Beginning: ......................................................................................................................................... 18
Structuring: ....................................................................................................................................... 18
Analysis ............................................................................................................................................. 18
M&A ...................................................................................................................................................... 20
Type of Synergies .............................................................................................................................. 20
Case Type: Business Situation Framework Victor Cheng Videos ....................................................... 23
Case Type: Market Entry ....................................................................................................................... 25
GUESSTIMATES ..................................................................................................................................... 29
Example 1: Estimate the no. of auto rickshaws in Delhi ................................................................... 30
Example 2: Estimate the two wheeler market in India ..................................................................... 31
Practice Cases ....................................................................................................................................... 33
Case Type: Profitability ..................................................................................................................... 34
Case Type: Growth Strategy.............................................................................................................. 37
Case Type: Market Entry ................................................................................................................... 40
Case Type: New Product Offering ..................................................................................................... 41
1|Page
IIM Kozhikode

Case Type: Growth Strategy.............................................................................................................. 44


Case Type: Investment and Divestment ........................................................................................... 45
Summer Placement ............................................................................................................................... 49
Experience............................................................................................................................................. 49
Boston Consulting Group .................................................................................................................. 50
Accenture .......................................................................................................................................... 64
Deloitte ............................................................................................................................................. 76
EY....................................................................................................................................................... 86
KPMG ................................................................................................................................................ 92

2|Page

IIM Kozhikode

How to use this book


It gives us great pleasure in bringing to you the IIM Kozhikode Case Book for the first time.
We have spent more than a month to frame, collect and collate the content. The objectives of
preparing and publishing this book are as follows:
1. Provide a detailed view of the various frameworks
2. Enable the students to capitalize on the interview experiences of the various interviews
at older IIMS, ISB etc.
3. Detailed review on Guesstimates and Case questions
Few tips before you start preparing for consulting interview:
One, practice to absorb and not to memorize: It is very important to practice and one cannot
undermine the learning it brings but refrain from finding the best answer for any type of
problem. Focus on sharpening your approach than the answer because as you all might know
a thousand roads can lead to the same goal. Second, work in (non-homogeneous) groups:
This is the best way to maximize your learning from the diverse experience everyone offers.
Challenge yourself to work with people you havent before; dont spread your preparation time
with a homogenous group because you might end up risking the width and depth that a nonhomogenous group can offer. And third, maintain individuality: Companies come to hire
individuals because they offer perspective that is not shared by everyone alike. Hence, it is
important to focus on how you as an individual fit best into a particular role, in a particular
culture, rather than following a group and get into a role that is not for you.
IIMK or any other B-School would say, there are no right answers as far as cases are concerned.
It is very much possible that you might think of different, more comprehensive or even better
ways of solving the cases that we were asked.
Another point we want to convey is about the solutions given for the cases listed. Some of the
cases have detailed dialogue between the candidate and the interviewer. These will give you a
very good feel for what happens in a case interview. For some cases, we have listed the main
areas to be explored. As you can guess, due to varying levels of interest and recollection, the
case solutions have different depth. Use the ones with less depth for discussion within your
case study groups.
For better preparation you may follow any one of IIMA, ISB or Darden casebook. You must
also revise the following courses:
Micro and Macro Economics
Operations Management/SCM
EOS/ Competitive Strategy Frameworks
MANAC/FM-1&2
Marketing Management/ Frameworks
QM
Work hard, act smart and be stress free- thats all you need to land on your dream job. We
wish you all the very best for upcoming placements
-

Team Konsult

3|Page

IIM Kozhikode

Solving a Case
First Step: Definition of the Problem
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.

Second Step: 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)

Third Step: 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.

Fourth Step: 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
4|Page

IIM Kozhikode

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.

Fifth Step: Analysis

Develop a hypothesis for where the problem might lie. Then ask questions and collect
more information to prove/disprove it
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.

Sixth Step: Synthesis/Summary


It is effectively an answer to the clients problem. Make your recommendation and provide 23 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

5|Page

IIM Kozhikode

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.

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?

The aggregate profit or profit margin?


{If interviewer says profit margin or Profitability}
Ask: Is it gross margin/operating margin or net margin which is facing the decline?
Product Mix: Has the decline in profitability in all the products or specific products in
the mix?

Comparison/Trend:

Since when has been this trend in low profits been visible and my how much?
How has the industry performance been over this time frame? benchmarking.
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?
-What kind of increase in profit do you want to achieve what will be ideal?
Profit = Revenue Cost (Is a first principle)

6|Page

IIM Kozhikode

Profit
Revenue

cost

Price

Variable

Volume

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

- In a high fixed cost business there is very high temptation of price wars.
- 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

Warehou
sing

Manufac
turing

Outbound
Logistic

Distribution

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


- In case one particular head has highest % say 50% or more then you can ask the
interviewer that you would want to look at this head to start with.
-

Many a 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


- - Price at which you get or operate (vis a vis Competition)
- -Your efficiency (Any wastage due to efficiency problem in terms of
people/process/technology)

Exploring each head one by one

In case of manufacturing Industry

7|Page

IIM Kozhikode

Raw Material Cost:


o
o
o
o
o

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?

Inbound Logistics:
o
o
o
o

Production/Operations:
o
o
o

Outsource
Economies of Scale/Learning curve
Labour cost arbitrage

Distribution/Outbound Logistics:
o

Machine broken? Maintenance/spare cost


Power outrage?
labor unavailability?
Total availability will be a function of (% of time labor, % time machine available, %
Idle time)

Resolution additional dimensions:


o
o
o

Explore Labour cost and efficiency vis-a-vis competitor.


Inventory Cost (EOQ)
Overheads such as Electricity/Rent same or higher?

Machine Utilization: % Downtime - High?


o
o
o
o

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

Explore same as (Inbound)

Post Sales Cost:


o
o

8|Page

Installation
Service or Warranty cost?
IIM Kozhikode

Gross margin is same but Operating margin has reduced:


o
o
o
o

Marketing & Administration SGNA


R&D cost
Restructuring cost
Licensing and regulatory costs

If NOPAT is down
o
o
o
o
o
o

Depreciation & Amortization


Interest Expense
Tax rates which geographies (VAT) does our company operate in?
Inventory Write off
Gains/losses or external investments
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

Innovative Pricing Methods:


o Loss Leader Pricing/ Captive Pricing (Razor Blade),
o Bundle Pricing

Different methods of pricing:


o Value based Pricing (Premium Pricing & Price Skimming),
o Cost plus Pricing
o Comparable (Parity) Pricing

9|Page

IIM Kozhikode

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


Are customers aware of your product - Share of Voice
o Promotion related
-Inadequate Promotion
-Improper Training
-Improper targeting
-Messaging is not as required impacting perception

Do customers like your product - Share of Mind?


o 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
o Substitutes?
o Better competitive offerings?

Is the product available - Share of Distribution?


o 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?


Population * % of a particular segment
Usage rate
Suggestions:
o Can we do something in collaboration with the industry to increase the
segment size?
o Can we explore new customer segments?
o More users same market or new geographies?
o More usage?
o Alternate usages? Can enter Allied/Related Product segments?
o If demand is seasonal then come up with schemes discounts, promotions
o If demand is elastic, then cut the price to increase the total revenue

10 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Increasing Volume
There are four methods of doing it.

PRODUCT
Present

MARKETS

Present

New

11 | P a g e

New

Market Penetration
(New viewers in existing
segments)

Product Development
(Content Development)

Market Development
(Reach out to new
segments)

Diversification (Move
into new medium,
channels e.g. Digital)

IIM Kozhikode

New Market Entry

Ask if this fits the companys mission / culture -- e.g., why does the company
want to expand?
o Invest excess cash flow
o Increase market share
o Decline in existing market (shrinking sales, higher costs, lower margins)

Assess the firms resources and capabilities:


o Economies of scope and scale
o Ability to leverage current value chain components (infrastructure needed)
o Capital, labor, and capacity constraints (see CAPACITY card)

Evaluate market conditions


o Size and growth rate of new target market
o Competitive profile / trends and likely competitive responses
o Barriers to entry (and how to overcome them) and regulatory considerations

Consider complements with current product / markets, potential issues of


cannibalization, and market cross-elasticities

Analyze cost - benefit of new market entry


o Niche vs. large market share
o Consider methods of entry (e.g., JV, direct investment, exporting, acquisition)

12 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Problem Diagnosis Situation

People

People

Tangible

Salary
(Basic)

Incentives

Intangibles

Perks:
Money
Value

Prof.
Developme
nt

Personal
Developme
nt

Professional Development
o Growth
o Research opportunities
o Learning and training facility
o IP (Doctors, Engineers and IT guys may need this)

Personal Development
o Status within the company
o Brand of the workplace
o Culture
o Work life balance
Process

Identify
Process Map

Identify
Critical Path

Identify
Bottleneck

Identify
Utilisation
Improvement

Identify
Redesign and
Process
Improvement

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


Utilization improvement
Reduce idle time - Scheduling
Batching /De-batching (Grouping examples from factory examples in SCM
class)
Setup time/Run Time (Complete solution will depend on combination of the
two)
Re-Design
13 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

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

Capacity =

1

+

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


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

Technology

Technology
Compatibilty

Capability

Employee
Familiarity

Speed/Rate

Internal
Compatibilty

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)

14 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

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
Characteristics
Fund Size
Fund Style
Portfolio
IRR
Exit Period

15 | P a g e

Industry
Attractivenes
Market Size and
Growth
Profitability
Barriers to Entry
Competition
Customers
Costs and Risks
Suppliers
Substitutes

Target Specifics
Business Model
Management
Capability
Willingness to sell
Revenue Profitabality
Market Share and
Growth
Product/Services
Valuation

Sources of Return
Opertaional
Efficiency
Unlock potential
Use leverage

IIM Kozhikode

Capacity Expansion
Do we need extra capacity?
External Factors

Internal Factors

Total Demand
(Growth/Size)
Supply Dynamics
Suppliers Global/Local
Future Supply
projections
Game Theory Proce War
Substitutes

Our products
share and
growth
Present
production
rate
Is new
technology
available?
Can I use
economies of
scale

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

16 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

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

17 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

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.
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
o EVC, Service, warranty etc.
o Commodity or Differentiated
o Has the competitor erected any BTE: Brand/Network effect/Switching costs
Price: Why has the competition got it lower?
o Cost Structure
o Economies of scale
Promotion: Sales Force or Marketing expenditure - Efficiency and Total Expenditure
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.
18 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

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

-You can increase the market share


-Increase the market size itself.
Also think about can you increase volume by better utilization of existing capacity
hospital
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

19 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

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

Operational

Financial

FCF

Tax Savings

Long Term
Growth

Bankruptcy
Costs

Abnormal
Growth

Decreased
Agency Cost

Ra

Less
asymmetry
info

Time of
abnormal
growth

Type of Synergies
Operational:
FCF = EBIT (1-Tax) + Depreciation Change in WC Capex
EBIT = Revenue Cost
Revenue = P * Delta Q + Delta P * Q + Delta P * Delta Q
Delta Q: Ability to sell more
Better Product
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
20 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Reach
Cross Selling: Doing this is very risky though
Bundling
Up-selling
Delta P: Ability to price higher

Low Competition
New products or Better quality
Increase pricing power in case of Strategic acquisition
Cost

COGS decrease
(Dis) Economies of Scale/Scope: There can be losses as well if there are
coordination problems or management bandwidth issue.
IT budget streamline
Pooling of technology
Reduction of overhead
SG&A reduction
Remove duplication of Sales force
Promotion Streamline
R&D cost reduction
Linking innovative capability
Sharing technology
Reduction in threat of Hold up cost
Future Price Increase
Not in time supply
Not appropriate quality product

Depreciation Tax Shield


Asset write up: One time gain as assets are market up to market value on
acquisition
Change in Working Capital
One time gain in case acquirer has better receivable management practice
Capex investment
If Asset Turnover (Sales/Assets) increases then less Capex investment required
in future
Growth:
Long term Growth doesnt change generally
Look for opportunities that enable permanent competitive advantages
Abnormal Growth:
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
Can increase due to erecting barriers to entry
Ra
Beta or systematic risk can reduce in case you combine:

Cyclical (Corporate Banking) + Counter Cyclical (Bankruptcy Advisory)


21 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

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:
Cyclical business
Cash Flow volatility
Competition
Technological obsolescence

If Bankruptcy costs exists then savings happen due to merger

Reduced Agency Cost


Debt brings discipline
Reduced Information Asymmetry
Internal capital markets (use of most economical source of funds)
Exploit any mis-pricing in the markets
Analysis of RISKS

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

22 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

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

IIM Kozhikode

24 | P a g e

Barriers to Entry
Best Practices
Industry Lifecycle

IIM Kozhikode

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.
Profit Increase (by expanding his revenue base)
Investment in some growth industries promising (Will pay off in the long run)
Diversification
Empire building expansion plan
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)
Hurdle rate/cost of capital vs. the Internal rate of return
Target Revenues or Total Profits
Total Capital you want to invest
Define Success:
Say that this is a broad based question]-How would the client define success?
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)
High Growth High Margin (2*2) matrix

Analysis:
25 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

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

Value Chain

Substitutes

Industry
Attractiveness

Customer

Cost & Risks

Try to grow your


capabilities
Organic/Inorgan
ic and then

ETER

Dont
Enter

Further
evaluation is
needed

Company
Competitiveness

Industry Attractiveness:
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
Competition:
Consolidated or Fragmented
Market Shares
Competing on Product, Service, price, quality, features?
Strength/Weaknesses channels
Contractual Lock-in for customers
Buyer:
Segment and Growth
Willingness to pay
Channels preference
Demand-Supply Gap

26 | P a g e

Pricing Power Customer concentration


Threat of forward integration
Present Perception of different products
Preference evolution - Promotion required
IIM Kozhikode

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
Substitutes:
Any peculiar substitutes
Consumer behavior evolution

Competitive Advantage:
Understanding companies strength once inside the market
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
Competitive Response
Long Trem

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:
Various Sources of Risk
Investment/Payback
Period/Break-even
Management
Cultural Fit
Risks
Availability
Time

Weights
40%

Green Field

Franchise

M&A

JV

20%
10%
30%
Essential
Essential

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

27 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

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

High Risk

Ability to monitor work

Easy

Equity research,
litigation support,
R&D support

Highest Risk
Difficult

Pricing, Product
design

Subjective

Low Risk
Transaction
processing, insurance
claims, customer
service
Moderate Risk
Supply chain
coordination,
customer data analysis

Objective

Precision of metrics used to measure process


quality

28 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

GUESSTIMATES

29 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Do not neglect this section and be thoroughly prepared with the same. A guess estimate can
be asked in multiple ways, even while solving a normal profitability case. Once you have
completed the guess-estimate then try to include the following to make your analysis much
richer
1. Verification of data Identify a few sources from where you can get
the right numbers to further refine your estimate.
2. Sensitivity Analysis Conduct a basic sensitivity analysis and identify
the most critical assumptions you made.
Such an extended analysis shows that you have thought through all the assumptions made and
are not arbitrarily using any number to estimate. Although the numbers do not matter here but
having a basic sense of the numbers used, knowledge of conversion scales and identifying the
potential areas of over/under estimating helps a lot.
Guesstimate problems can be solved through three methods (with certain other variations):
1. . Top Down Method
2. . Bottom Up Method
3. Employing a proxy
Tips:
1. When you receive a guesstimate question, please make sure you scope it down so that
applying a method becomes easy
2. Use simple numbers and round off intelligently so that you dont get stuck on account
of calculations
3. Please try to write the guiding formula you are going to use and explain it to the
interviewer so that while you are performing the guesstimate, he follows you.
4. Whenever you make an assumption, please take a buy in of the interviewer asking
Does that make sense ?
5. Whenever you make and assumption, please make sure that the actual no. can be
found out through a public information source, so even if your assumed no. is not
correct, it can be correct. Be sure to state the same.
6. Try and be MECE (Mutually Exclusive Collectively Exhaustive), just like in solving
cases, at each step

Example 1: Estimate the no. of auto rickshaws in Delhi


Whenever you encounter such problem, please be sure to ask the interviewer whether he
wants you to solve the problem from supply side or demand side.
From Demand Side
You actually go about determining the actual demand of auto rickshaws. The steps followed
could be as under:
1. Formula: No. of auto rickshaws = (Total No. of Auto Passenger Trips to be
travelled per day in Delhi)/ (No. of Trips/Auto/day)*(No. of Passengers/Trip)*
Utilization factor

30 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

2. Now in order to calculate Auto passenger miles, we would divide the trips into trips
into trips made for regular usage ( done by professionals ) and occasional trips, and
use top down method to calculate each
3. We would first figure out trips done for professional usage by figuring out how many
people use auto rickshaws for professional usage on a daily basis, using filters such as
income.
Top down Method

Population of Delhi = 1.2 Crores


% Working (say 1 per household) = 1.2/4 = 30 lacs
Auto Fare per day =Total kms* km rate = 20*15 = Rs. 300
Total monthly expense = 300*30 = 9000
Assumption (A person can at max spend 10% of his income on auto rickshaw) = 90000
Rs per month should be his income)
% people in urban Delhi in that income bracket (10%) = 3 lacs
% People who shall be travelling by auto = 1-% people who use own vehicle-%people
who use metro = 40%
No. people who would use auto on a regular basis for professional usage = 3
lacs*0*40% = 1.2 lacs
Hence no. of passenger trips from professional usage = 1.2*2 trips/day = 2.4 lacs auto
passenger trips
Similarly, we can find out for occasional usage ( we can also employ 80:20 rule as
well, saying majority of trips are for professional usage, lets add 20% to account for
remaining trips, but such justifications should be backed well with data)
On no. of trips an auto makes, you can use the following formula = (Average speed of
an auto) * No. of operating hours* (Idle time)/ Average distance per trip
And verify this no. by using your judgment whether it looks practical or not
You can similarly find out, the other terms in the main formula and figure out the
number.

From Supply Side


1. In order to verify this you can employ supply side through following formula
= (Average Total No. of autos sold in Delhi/year)*( Average life of an auto)
2. You can find out the first term by looking up the sales numbers of all the major auto
players for past few years (In the interview you would have to assume or ask) and
average life of an auto also is a similar information
Similar Problem: Estimate the Airplane Fleet size of Air India

Example 2: Estimate the two wheeler market in India


Please make sure you ask whether the market has to be estimated in no. of units or You can
again approach this problem from supply side and demand side. You need to clarify the same
with the interviewer.
Demand Side
31 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

We would divide the demand into : New Demand ( new users) and Replacement
Demand ( Existing Users)
Replacement Demand = ( Total No. of Two Wheelers Currently in India)/ (
average replacement period)
New Demand = (Population segment Growth Rate) * Total no. of two wheelers
currently in the country
Two wheelers can be of two kinds: Domestic (owned for personal usage) and
Professional (owned by professional agencies such as dominos, police, postman)
. To estimate for personal usage, we would employ top down method
Start with population of India, 1.2 Billion
Urban (30%) and Rural (70%), which implies 0.36 Billion Urban and 0.84 Billion
Rural
No. of Urban Households 0.36/4 = 90 Million and No. of Rural Households = 0.84/6
= 140 Million
Now we need to figure out how many can afford a two wheeler and remove the elite
population that only owns four wheelers. Hence, we shall have to find out the income
level and figure out the number of two wheelers in households hence.
Lets say that no. comes out to be 30 Million
Now based on the current no. we can find out the expected replacement demand
Replacement Demand (Domestic) = 30/4 = 7.5 Million
New Demand = 30*2% (growth rate of eligible population segment)
o = 0.6 Million
Hence total domestic market = 7.5+0.6 = 8.1 million/year
To calculate Professional Demand, we can use proxy and bottom up combination
So, first assumption is professional usage is primarily urban
Then take a city and categorize various types of uses (This is bottom up approach):
1). Police
2). Dominos
3). Postal Services
4). Others
Estimate each of these and come with a number
Then employ proxy method as under
Total Professional usage = (No. of vehicles in the city)*Urban population in the
country/ (Population of the city) * Correction factor

Supply Side: Similar approach as Example 1, please try it yourself


Similar Example: Estimate the pet food market in India
Estimate the luxury home market in Chandigarh
Example 3: Can two dogs have identical no. of hair in the world?
Short Answer is YES!
This one is an application of pigeon hole principle (Such problems are asked in
Oliver Wyman/BCG)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigeonhole_principle#Hair-counting

32 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Practice Cases

33 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Case Type: Profitability


CASE: Raw material prices (McKinsey)
Source: IIMA Casebook 2013
Case statement: Client is a power plant located in India, and is worried about expenses related
to coal. The client has no other plants or business interests. Explore this issue and suggest
some methods to resolve any issues that you encounter.
Candidate (C): Just to clarify, I am to focus only on coal, and not worry about other costs,
revenues or overall profitability. Is that correct?
Interviewer (I): Yes
C: Id like to categorize the association of coal by the plant into 4 stages: Sourcing,
Transportation, Use/Processing, and Disposal.
I: OK
C: Before I process further, Id also like to know whether the worry about coal related
expenses is unique to our client, or an industry wide phenomenon.
I: It is not unique to our client.
C: Very well. Ill start with sourcing then. Can you tell me a bit about how we are currently
procuring our coal?
I: Our client buys coal from two sources. One is from a state owned monopoly, and the other
is from foreign companies. The foreign coal market is like a standard commodity market
quite competitive, with companies being price takers. The Indian coal prices are set by the
government, and revised periodically.
C: Could you tell me a bit more about the trends and prices of the two markets?
I: The foreign coal market has a broadly increasing trend in terms of prices, although there
are a few short term fluctuations. For the Indian state owned monopoly, as I said, the
government sets prices and has periodically increased them from time to time.
C: Are these trends likely to hold in the future as well?
I: Yes, you may assume that.
C: Does the client have a sourcing strategy at present?
I: Nor really. Contracts are set for a given period, and usually the contract is made with the
source (foreign or Indian) that is likely to have the lower price in the near future
C: It appears that the ideal scenario would be for the client to pay the lower of foreign or
government set Indian prices, for every load of coal it buys at all points in time.
I: OK. Can you show me on a graph what that might look like?
C:

34 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

I: Right. As you can see that is quite a random pattern. How then do you propose to obtain
the minimum price at all times?
C: I can think of two primary ways of doing it. The first would be through a financial
mechanism. The company could buy options to purchase coal on the foreign market, and
exercise them if it is ordering at a time when the foreign price is lower than the Indian price.
Although there would be a price in terms of the cost of the options, I feel that the reduction in
uncertainty and the concomitant benefits to planning would make this option worthwhile. The
second option would be integrated upstream, by buying coal fields abroad or forming a JV
with a foreign coal company. Although a deal could be structured to get a supply of coal as
and when needed, I would still go with the first option because the power plant is unlikely to
have the business expertise to handle running a coal operation.
I: OK that sounds good.
C: Would you like me to explore the other parts of the coal chain how the coal is transported,
whether the processing of coal can be improved, and issues regarding to by-products or disposal
or coal?
I: No, I dont think so. These are quite standardised, and our client has adopted the best
practices of the industry. I think that will be all. Thanks.
C: Thank you.

35 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

CASE: CEMENT PRODUCER (BCG)


Source: IIMA Casebook 2013
There is a major cement manufacturing company which recently has started experiencing a
decline in profitability. They have hired you to determine the cause of the same and suggest
remedial measures.
Case Discussion:
Candidate: Since our profitability has declined, I would like to analyse the situation from
two angles, whether our costs have increased in a disproportionate manner or have our
revenues decreased in a disproportionate manner when compared to the industry levels.
Interviewer: Fine.
Candidate: This follows from the fact that there might be certain factors which have
decreased our selling price or any of our significant cost drivers has experienced a major
influence by some external factor.
Interviewer: That seems a good enough basis.
Candidate: To start with the problem I would first like to analyse our revenues. Has our
selling price decreased in the recent past?
Interviewer: No, in fact we have in fact tried to increase our price to offset this loss in
profitability.
Candidate: Since revenue = price*volume and for profitability volume does not play a role, I
assume that the revenue side of our balance sheet is fine.
Interviewer: Quite right, in addition to that our volumes have actually increased over the
past six months.
Candidate: So, I believe it would be fair to assume that our profits might have increased but
only our profitability has decreased.
Interviewer: Yes.
Candidate: Trying to analyse the cost side of the problem, I would like to analyse the value
chain to determine the various cost drivers.
Interviewer: Yes.
Candidate: Our key drivers I believe would be
1. Raw Materials
2. Manufacturing
3. Storage
4. Sales and Distribution
5. Marketing and Administrative Expenses
Are we missing out on any relevant cost driver?
Interviewer: That seems a fairly comprehensive list, carry on.
Candidate: Starting with the raw materials, I am personally familiar with the cement
industry. I would like to analyse what are the relevant raw materials and figure out any
changes in the costs of the same with respect to any data we might have.
Interviewer: The raw material is basically limestone which has not experienced any major
upheavals. In fact the same can be said about our manufacturing process.
Candidate: Assuming that there are no issues with the raw materials or the manufacturing
process, I would like to analyse the distribution costs. Have they experienced any change?
Interviewer: Coming to think of it. Yes, our distribution costs have increased in a significant
manner.
Candidate: And have we been able to find the relevant cause for the same?
36 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Interviewer: No, that is why we have you here


Candidate: With the increase in volume, one would
Candidate: With the increase in volume, one would expect the distribution costs to be less
due to economies of scale. However as this is not the case, I would like to analyze the
distribution system. What is the model we are following?
Interviewer: In the cement industry, cement is supplied from the factories to the relevant
centers which take care of further distribution themselves. We receive an order from one of
these centers and map it to the nearest facility, if it is able to supply it, then it is good, else we
move on to the next closest factory and so on
Candidate: Is the cost of supplying from any one factory to any other center constant?
Interviewer: No. It depends on the distance and quality of roads. The petrol prices havent
changed that much over the past year.
Candidate: It seems that with the increasing demand we are not able to supply the cement
centers in the most cost effective manner.
Interviewer: True, we almost have to end up at our third or fourth choice plants as the first
two are invariably running to capacity.
Candidate: So it is clear that our plants due to their capacity are not able to satisfy their local
demands in a cost effective manner.
Interviewer: Thats good. So what do you suggest, we should do.
Candidate: I would suggest setting up more plants or renovating the plants to increase
capacity.
Interviewer: Our client does not want to incur any capital expenditure
Candidate: We could increase our selling price to retain the necessary margins.
Interviewer: That would not be possible; its quite a competitive industry.
Candidate: We could try to allocate centres to factories based on the most effective
combination to minimize costs.
Interviewer: That seems a feasible option. How would you do it?
Candidate: Let us assume there are two Centres, 1 and 2 and two factories a and b. We
will try to minimize
C1a + C2a + C1b + C2b based on the demand and supply constraints of each centre and
factory. C here stands for the cost incurred in the specific transit.
Interviewer: Very good. Anything else you might want to add.
Candidate: This optimization basis is a short-term solution only. The organization should
carry out a proper forecast for the future demand and if it finds it favourable, it should go for
capital expenditure in addition to these short term measures.
Interviewer: That seems a pretty good analysis. So can you just summarize the case for me?
Candidate: Our client is a major cement manufacturer. Of late, in spite of increase in profits,
it has been experiencing a decline in profitability. The reasons were for the same were found
out to be the unfavourable costs incurred while supplying the products to the relevant centres.
A short term measure for the same was to optimize the costs incurred by matching the factory
and centre in a most cost effective manner. A long-term solution would involve doing the
cost-benefit analysis of a possible expansion and using the same to expand capacity at
relevant plants.
Interviewer: Thanks. We have had a good discussion.

Case Type: Growth Strategy


37 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

CASE: SATURATED TELECOM MARKET (ACCENTURE)


Source: IIMA Casebook 2014
Let us discuss a case which we recently did at Accenture. The client is a telecom operator in
India and wants to increase his revenues and grow in this saturated market. What would you
advise?
Candidate: I would like to start by understanding the telecom market in India, looking at the
revenue drivers and advise the client on which ones he could use. I understand that the
telecom sector works by hiring its services from tower operators and then use their own brand
name and services to generate revenues.
Interviewer: True. Our client too hires such service at market rates.
Candidate: Okay. Then I shall explore the meaning of saturated market. Has the client
explored all geographies? Like the whole of rural market? I recently read that we have about
680 million telecom connections. So, I believe there is still some untapped market to explore.
Interviewer: Right. There is an untapped market. Let us go on and say the rural market has
been penetrated to the extent possible and they have probably done what they could in that
respect.
Candidate: Okay. So assuming a saturated market, we should look at increasing revenue
from existing consumers. We could analyse the existing calls being done and could think of
schemes like STD call rate packages, local call packages, local and STD SMS packages that
suit to the area to increase per user usage. The idea would be to have lower rates more than
compensated by higher usage.
Interviewer: Good, what else?
Candidate: We could look at various value-added services like revenues through internet
services on mobiles. Having different plans and offering better speeds, we can get more
consumers to use internet on their mobiles. Also, with 3G technology, mobile internet will
surely be a huge source of revenues.
Interviewer: Good. Anything else?
Candidate: Also from games and applications. There are many businesses coming up in the
area of mobile gaming and product development of applications. We could buy them and use
them as sources of additional revenue.
Interviewer: Okay, thanks for the inputs. We will now move to the next interview. Thanks for
your time.
CASE: Should American Express drop annual fee charged?
Source: ISB Casebook 2014
Case Narration: American Express (Amex) is a consumer services company providing a
variety of services to its cardholders. Its primary service is its well-known charge card, that
enables members (i.e., cardholders) to purchase goods and services from millions of
merchants that accept the card. Unlike other credit cards, cardholders are required to pay off
their accrued balances each month, and interest is not charged.
Recently, Amex has faced strong competition from new credit cards entering the market.
They have considered dropping the $55 annual fee. What are the economics of such a
decision, and should they drop the fee or not?
Recommended Approach:
SOLUTION STRUCTURE
Determine how American Express makes money.
38 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Evaluate the pros and cons of dropping the annual fee.


Explore options for replacement revenue.
Make a recommendation.
Revenue Drivers:
$55 x the number of members (could round to $50 for simpler math).
Q: How many people have the American Express Card? A: What is your best
estimate?
The number of cardholders is approximately 14 million (you can round to either 10
or 20 to simplify the math).
No additional revenues from consumers, since balances are paid monthly. (Amex
doesnt enforce late fees)
1% merchant fees for all transactions from merchants honoring the Amex card.
Est. annual transactions are $1,000.00 per cardholder. ($1,000 x 1% x 10mm = $100
million)
Issues to be addressed:
If the annual; fee is dropped, Amex loses $55 x number of cardholders.
Amex would have to generate new or additional revenues to overcome the loss of annual-fee
revenue.
Using a conservative estimate, lost revenue will be 10mm x 55 = $550 million.
Q: Will consumer spending increase sufficiently to generate merchant-transaction
revenue?
A: Not likely, since cardholders must still pay-off balances at the end of the month.
Therefore, must increase number of cardholders to increase merchant-transaction
revenue.
Q: Is it possible to sufficiently increase the number of cardholders? A: How would
YOU estimate this?
The average annual transaction revenues are $1,000 x 1% = $10 per member.
Therefore, the number of new customers required to overcome the revenue loss would
be 550mm/10 = 55 million
Now, is it possible for Amex to gain 55 million new members this year? Not likely, is
it!
Also possible to raise transaction fees: more revenues, but must address consequences
for vendor relations.
Q: Does Amex enforce late fees?
A: No, but most credit cards charge $20 - $25 for late payments.
Should Amex charge interest and allow card-members to hold a balance?
Would the new revenues from interest offset losses from dropping the annual fee?
Depends on rate of interest and average balance. Q: What is the average APR and
average monthly balance? A: You tell me. (use 15% and $500)
If average balance = $500 at ~10% APR = $50 per member x 10 million members =
$500 million annually.
Recommendations
Based on economic analysis, dont drop the fee. It is difficult to replace the lost
revenue.
While some options exist (i.e., charging interest on balances) the consequences should
be explored.
39 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Amex could issue an interest-driven credit card under a new brand name (in fact,
Amex did so with the Optima card).

SOLUTION ANALYSIS
The client specifically inquires about the economics of ending the annual fee. Good answers
should focus on this issue, and should provide recommendations based on the analysis. Good
answers should explore the issue of rival credit cards entering the market, how their product
offering is similar or different from the American Express card, and the strengths and
weaknesses of American Expresss position. Alternative revenues should be explored. One
option is charging interest and allowing cardholders to hold a balance. Answers should address
how this would this affect the AMEX brand, i.e., the consequences of becoming a just another
ordinary credit card. Another is enforcing late fees, or raising merchant fees. The consequences
of these should be addressed also.
Outstanding answers should additionally explore the effects of competition among credit cards
for revenues, and recommend how Amex could increase revenues without dropping the $55
fee. For example, comment on the quality of new members acquired, since competition is
forcing many credit card companies to issue cards to riskier consumers.

Case Type: Market Entry


CASE: FURNITURE COMPANY (Deloitte)
A 40 year old company selling office furniture wants to enter the home furniture space. You have
been hired to decide whether to enter the segment or not. How will you go about doing this?
Candidate: Before I start, can you tell me a little about the company - specifically, what kind of
office furniture it sells, who are their major customers.
Interviewer: Sure, the company caters majorly to the big offices where a lot of standard furniture is
used.
Candidate: Does it customize the furniture or does it have fixed designs?
Interviewer: There is only a small degree of customization, most designs are from a short list of options
Candidate: Now coming to the problem, apart from a potential business opportunity and higher
profits, are ther any other objectives for entering the segment? Is the existing segment saturating or
not profitable?
Interviewer: Quite the contrary - the office furnishing segment has been growing at a very good rate,
and margins are also generally high for office furnishing. You can assume the they just want to
explore this opportunity.
Candidate: Ok, I will go about with the analysis in the following way (draws chart):
1. The home furnishing industry:
a) Market size, growth, margins
b) Competition etc.
c) Demand-supply gap
2. The client company:
a) Ability to invest in this business (cash position, current position of the company etc.)
b) Availability of laborers and other supply side constraints
Interviewer: This looks good to me. So let me quickly give you some information:
The market is growing, but slower than the office furnishing space. It's margins are also typically
lesser and are shrinking because of many mass-producers and high labor costs. There is always a
40 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

supply gap when it comes to customized furniture in your home, but we have no estimates of whether
existing retail supply is enough to account for the demand.
The client company is also in good shape to make any investment in such a project, provided, that it is
profitable in the long run.
Candidate: So, I would like to analyze the client's ability to enter this business a bit more.
The major differences between home and office furnishing are:
1. Scale & degree of customization
2. Distribution
Interviewer: Excellent points. So why don't we analyze them one by one.
Candidate: Office furnishing usually happens in large volumes, and as you mentioned there would be
very little customization involved. However, in case of home furnishing, customization is typically
higher and more importantly, a wide variety of designs and styles are required. In addition, volume of
each design sold will be low and unpredictable.
Interviewer: That is correct, and that is another reason why operating margins are not as high as
compared to office furnishing. go on
Candidate: In terms of distribution, I will assume, the client won't go for custom-made furniture at
households. SO it will need either it's owned outlets, or contracts with existing outlets. In case of the
former, real estate costs will eat up into the company's profits and in case of the latter, margins will
reduce even further.
In addition, they will have to design an entire distribution system from production to the retail outlet.
This can be a costly affair too.
Interviewer: Absolutely, in fact estimates state that if the company gets into the business, it will suffer
a loss in this division for at least the first few years.
Also, on the point you mentioned about labor - the existing availability of labor in itself is scarce and
securing more skilled labor and training them for this purpose will not be easy. It will take
considerable time and investment.
So, we are running out of time... With these facts in hand, what decision do you take?
Candidate: Considering the margins, the condition of the industry and our lack of experience in this
segment, coupled with the labor sourcing problems, I am tempted to decline this opportunity.
However, the company is looking at the segment for the long term, and if it is able to solve the issues
mentioned above and use it's brand name to settle into the market after 4/5 years of loss, I would still
recommend them to go ahead and explore the opportunity.
Interviewer: Ok, thank you. The client did in fact enter the segment and they are doing really well after
6 years. That would be all.

Case Type: New Product Offering


Case: Third Party Automobile Service Stations (BCG)
You are having tea with Mr. Ratan Tata. He has just returned from Germany where he saw
third party car service stations which were doing very well. So, he is thinking of opening a
chain of such stations in India. You need to give him your thoughts and make a pitch from
BCGs side for helping him with the project.
Case Discussion:
Candidate: Im not very sure of what you mean by third party service stations. Can you
explain a little?
Interviewer: To service a car there are service stations. They can be authorized stations like
the chain that Maruti has or they can be local garages. The third type, which is currently
41 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

missing in India, is an independent chain of service stations which will service any brand.
These are third party service stations.
Candidate: Ok. This is a new business that Tata would want to enter. Id like to look at a few
things while considering the new venture
Tatas final aim - do they have a target profit /market share/return on assets as their target
from the venture
Market scenario growth & size, competition
Tatas capabilities financial capability, expertise in area, synergies with other businesses
Interviewer: Tata is a big & profitable company, they want as high profits as possible from
the venture. Also, they have no constraints with regards to finances. They build automobiles
as you know and have authorized service stations for their automobiles.
Candidate: So, the aim of Tata is high profits and they have sufficient finances and expertise
in the automobile area. Ill go on to look at the automobile maintenance market. Currently in
India there are 2 kinds of garages the local ones and authorized service stations. So, when
we enter the market, would we be servicing all kinds of brands and providing a full range of
services?
Interviewer: Yes. All brands and a full range of services.
Candidate: We would need to differentiate ourselves from the 2 kinds of competitors that we
have in order to get customers.
Interviewer: Ok. How would you do that?
Candidate: Ill look at why a customer goes to a service station and why he chooses a
particular station to go to. A car would be taken to a service station for
Regular check-ups/services
In case of an accident
Maintenance when it breaks down
Interviewer: Ok
Candidate: Now when an owner chooses a service station he would want
Quality In terms of genuine parts if replacements are done, trained mechanics, the car being
treated properly, delivery on time
Cost He would want the service to be as cheap as possible
Convenience The service station should be close or should have a pick & drop service.
There would be a segment of customers who would lay a lot of emphasis on cost while
another segment would lay emphasis on quality. In case of an accident or break-down
convenience would play a big role. Local garages will have low quality and low cost while
authorized service stations will have high quality and high cost. Also, local garages are
generally more in number so would be more convenient to reach in most cases.
Interviewer: Ok. Now I want you to make a grid of the dimensions that youve mentioned and
figure out where our competitors lie and where we should go.
Candidate: (Starts drawing a 2X2 matrix)
Interviewer: Let us club convenience with quality. Well just analyze the situation based on
2 parameters

42 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Now, Tata wants to start a third party chain of service stations which will serve all brands. If
Tata targets low quality, local garages will beat them since these garages can service all brands
and charge very low unbeatable prices. Also, they would be built at strategic locations which
Tata may not be able to acquire, coming late into the market. On comparing Tata stations with
authorized service stations, Tata could stand a chance. They could ensure quality by sourcing
parts from manufacturing companies and employing well trained mechanics. Since such a
service station will service all brands it will be a convenient place to come to for high quality
services. However, the price charged will be high.
Interviewer: Do you think anyone will come to such a service station when they can go to a
Maruti or Hyundai authorized service station?
Candidate: In India a majority of cars are Maruti and Maruti has a very good chain of
service stations which are convenient to reach and high quality. Hence, Maruti cars will
definitely not come to Tatas stations. Other brands like Hyundai would come since their
service stations are few and far apart. If Tata offers the same quality at the same price, it
might be cheaper & more convenient for consumers if Tatas chain has numerous stations at
strategic locations.
Interviewer: Maruti has almost 50% of Indias car market share. Now do you think it is
beneficial to set up Tatas third party service chain?
Candidate: Owners of other brands will prefer to go to their authorized service stations as they
would be more trusted. And given such a lopsided market in favor of Maruti, it will be difficult
for us to compete with Maruti directly. So, the number of cars coming to Tatas stations might
be too low for the venture to be viable. But, if there are expectations that many new brands will
enter India as some already have, then Tatas venture could be viable given that these firms
would not want to open a service chain of their own due to small numbers and newer vehicles
could mean that the
local garages might not be well-equipped to deal with all kinds of problems with the vehicle.
Interviewer: What would your final recommendation be?
Candidate: My final recommendation would be to not start such a venture currently since
Tata would not be able to beat competitors on any dimension - cost or quality. However, in
the near future this could turn sustainable so an eye should be kept on this market.
Interviewer: Ok. Thanks.
43 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Case Type: Growth Strategy


Case: Growth Potential In Fire Safety Equipment (BCG)
Source: ISB Casebook 2014
Our client is evaluating growth potential for a distributor of fire safety equipment. How
would you approach the problem?
Case Discussion
Candidate: Hi. I would need a moment to pen my thought down.
Interviewer: Please do.
Candidate: I would first like to look at the market in itself, and examine the growth potential
that exists there, also analysing the existing competition in the market. Then I would like to
look at our client's growth prospects in particular along with the key strengths of the client and
how they can be used to grow in the field.
Interviewer: Sounds good. So what do you think drives growth in this industry?
Candidate: First of all I would like to know about the growth rate within the industry.
Interviewer: It is not very significant. It is close to 2% per annum.
Candidate: Okay. Now we can look at the nature of competitive forces that exists in the
industry. How many key players are there and are we an established player?
Interviewer: Lets not look at competition for the moment. Lets focus more on
understanding the industry and what drives the industry.
Candidate: Ok. So I assume the key streams of revenue would be initial installation and
maintenance.
Interviewer: True. But what drives the demand for the initial installation?
Candidate: Demand must be driven by the need for safety precautions. In most cases, it might
actually be driven by government rules and regulation regarding fire safety norms for buildings.
Interviewer: Correct! Please continue.
Candidate: Since mostly commercial clients who purchase fire equipment do so for
compliance, I would like to approach the problems from two angles. The first would be the
growth in the existing customer base and the other would be growth due to change in
regulation. Growth in the underlying customer segments would be linked to overall industrial
growth.
Interviewer: Yes. But how do you think could you measure the growth in industry?
Candidate: Well, industrial growth in turn could also be measure by the increase in
commercial and residential space etc.
Interviewer: Good. Since growth rate in number of square feet of space is the proxy for
demand growth, what would you understand from the following table?
Metro
Delhi (NCR)

Expected Growth Expected


Expected Growth
in
Residential Growth
in in
Commercial
Area
Industrial Area
Area
9%
12%
10%

Mumbai

10%

8%

12%

Chennai

9%

15%

7%

44 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Candidate: We can see that the growth in Delhi and Chennai would be important to us
because we are dealing with industry safety equipment.
Interviewer: Well, I never said we were dealing with industrial clients. What if we are
dealing with safety equipment used in commercial areas?
Candidate: In that case Mumbai and NCR look like interesting questions. But I would like to
have some more data on the expected growth in lakh sqft and not just percentages, before I
can comment.
Interviewer: Ok. How will change in regulatory requirements and/or increased compliance
affect the industry?
Candidate: Do you have any data on the current regulatory requirements and how they will
change?
Interviewer: No, But I know that the current ratio of regulators per factories in our target
industry is roughly 1:8000, which is expected to remain same in the future.
Candidate: Ok. So that means there will not be any significant increase in compliance.
Interviewer: How do you think can compliance be increased, without increasing manpower?
Candidate: There can be more frequent checks and stricter penalties for lack of compliance.
Interviewer: Fine. There are two proposed regulatory changes, one that would impose a high
fine on products not complying during an initial check-up during commencement of a
facility/space and a second that would increase the frequency of subsequent check-ups.
Which has the potential for increasing market growth?
Candidate: I would go with the latter, as it would automatically enforce initial compliance
which the former enforces, and also increase maintenance revenues.
Interviewer: Thank you. That would be all.

Case Type: Investment and Divestment


Case: Road Construction Company (Bain)
Source: IIMA Casebook 2013
Your client is a Road Construction Company. This client had recently won a government
contract through a bidding process for constructing a road. The price awarded at the time of
the tender was Rs. 4000 crore. But soon the client realized that their cost of the project was
going to be Rs. 4500 crore. What should our client do to make the project profitable?
Case Discussion
Candidate: Can you tell me about the nature of the project? Does it only involve
constructing a road or also operating it for a certain time period? Also can you let me know
the duration of the entire project?
Interviewer: It is only a build project with an expected completion time of 4 years.
Candidate: Fine. Does the company have any target hurdle rate (Return on Invested Capital /
ROIC) for its projects.
Interviewer: Yes, any project with a ROIC greater than 15% is considered suitable.
Candidate: To target returns, I think we should look at the revenues and cost. Moreover,
since it is only a build project, I think costs become highly important as our revenue remains
only from one source.
Interviewer: Yeah, that seems a good way to begin. So let us look at the costs now.

45 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Candidate: Even within costs, I think our foremost concern should be to identify the possible
reasons for the 500 crore escalation. Is there any specific reason that the client has shared
with us.
Interviewer: Not really, I think you will have to figure that out as well.
Candidate: So, I will start with different factors contributing to the cost.
Interview: Okay.
Candidate: Raw materials would be a major component of the costs. Here, if the company
has long term sourcing contracts then I dont think it would have contributed to cost increase.
Do we have any information about their sourcing contracts?
Interviewer: No.
Candidate: In that case, we can also look at the option of negotiating prices with the
suppliers if the company has a high bargaining power with them.
Interviewer: OK, these two options look fine.
Candidate: Further, maybe we can also explore low cost substitutes for existing raw
materials. In case if we can alter the product mix, even that option should be looked at.
Interviewer: Dont you think these options will impact the quality of the road.
Candidate: At all times while considering these options, we should set certain minimum
quality standards as per norms and then see if we can reduce costs.
Interviewer: That seems fine.
Candidate: Apart from raw material costs, I believe that we should also look at the
equipment costs. Here a decision to either lease the equipment or buy it needs to be taken.
Interviewer: Can you explain what will be the basis for such a decision?
Candidate: It will depend on the scope of future projects. If this is a one-off project of its
kind, then the company should lease the equipment. Otherwise, if the company plans or is
executing similar projects, they can buy the equipment. In such a case they can depreciate the
costs across different projects.
Interviewer: You can move onto other costs now.
Candidate: Employee costs need to be very well planned. Since the project is expected to
last for 4 years, there can be a substantial increase in these costs. Can you let me know
whether the company has its own employees or hires a contractor?
Interviewer: The contractor brings in most of the employees.
Candidate: I think in such a project, the speed of the project to a large extent would be
determined by the amount of labour used. Maybe, then we can go in for more employees or
ask the current workers to work overtime. This will reduce the duration of the project and
increase the Net Present Value.
Interviewer: Do you think employees would work overtime?
Candidate: They might, but a better option would be to consider working multiple shifts.
Interviewer: Yeah, that could possibly be tried. Any other cost that you would like to take into
account.
Candidate: I think even the financing costs would play a major role depending on the capital
structure of the project. Will the project amount of Rs 4000 crore be paid in phases or only
upon completion of the project?
Interviewer: Money will only be paid upon completion of the project and due to this a
significant portion of financing will come through debt.
Candidate: This will result in significant interest costs that will have to be paid during the
project.
Interviewer: Also, the company is using a percentage completion method of accounting.
Anything about the working capital financing that you can think of?
46 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Candidate: The employee wages and raw material payments would form a significant portion
of the working capital. We can look at negotiating the credit period with our suppliers but given
the 4-year span of the project, I think that this cost will still be substantial. In case of employee
wages, I think that they would have to be paid daily.
Interviewer: So is there a way to address this concern?
Candidate: Maybe we can go back to the government and renegotiate the payment terms
such that the amount of Rs. 4000 crores is paid in installments rather than only at the
completion of the project.
Interviewer: If this doesnt work out, what other options will you suggest?
Candidate: The Company could drop the contract but in that case it will have to estimate the
impact of such a decision on its reputation and ability to get future contracts. Also, a penalty
might need to be paid in this case.
Interviewer: Would you suggest the company to go ahead with the current project even if the
terms remain unchanged?
Candidate: Yes, the company can consider this project to be a real option for future projects.
Maybe they will incur a loss of Rs. 500 crore on this project, but it will enable them to bid for
such projects in the future.
Interviewer: Good justification. I believe we have had a good discussion. Thank You.

Case: PPP In A Road Construction Project (BCG)


Source: IIMA casebook 2013
The client (a construction company) is currently evaluating the prospect of taking up an
upcoming public-private-partnership project. The project is for the construction of a stretch of
highway for the government under the Build-Operate-Transfer model. The construction cost
(about Rs. 1500cr) will have to be borne by the client and the client will earn revenue by
collecting toll for the next 10 years. Evaluate whether the project is worth investing.
Case Discussion
Candidate: I want to start with the pure financial aspect of project evaluation and will later
move onto subjective evaluation criteria.
Interviewer: That sounds good.
Candidate: Do we have any information on the approximate cost of construction and the
average traffic flow forecast once the highway is complete.
Interviewer: At present the construction cost of the highway would be about Rs. 1500 Cr.
A simple net present value evaluation after asking for expected inflation rates, rates of
interest, toll projections and vehicle traffic projections showed a positive NPV of about Rs.
150 cr. So you think we should go ahead with the project?
Candidate: Right now at least the financials do not indicate a loss so I think it is worth
thinking it through and then deciding.
Interviewer: Really? You think I would be happy earning a meagre Rs. 150 crores on an
investment of Rs. 1500 crores? And that too over a distant time horizon of 10 years.
Candidate: I am not saying the returns are enough. I want to stress on the fact that we should
take a look at other perspectives before taking a final decision.
Interviewer: Ok. Tell me what are the kinds of risks that I am taking if I decide to go ahead
with the project?
Candidate: The primary things that affect the return on investment over here are project
construction cost and vehicle traffic in the next 10 years. So any unwanted deviation in their
47 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

estimates is a big risk. There could be a huge decrease in vehicular traffic if there is an
alternate transportation route (train or road) that comes up between points A & B that are
connected by the highway we plan to build. We also need to take a look at the overall utility
of the highway as in vehicle traffic can be low if other segments in the highway are not
completed on time.
Interviewer: Great answer. So what else? Tell me more about the risks.
Candidate: Any delay in the construction might attract a penalty from the government and
will also affect our cash flow projections (by shifting them further into the future) thus
affecting the viability of the project.
Interviewer: Perfect. Just to let you know, delay in completion is the biggest problem that
such projects face in India.
Candidate: There can also be an adverse effect due to political considerations. Say if the
power dynamics changes in the next few years. It might have a different outlook on this
project.
Interviewer: Nice. What else?
Candidate: We should also look at the land procurement process if any for the construction
of the highway. That part often leads to local opposition to such projects and can be harmful
for the project.
Interviewer: Yes but let us leave that responsibility to the government.
Candidate: I think I have enumerated all the risks I could think of.
Interviewer: I think we should give it a stop there. The analysis was pretty good and
structured.
Candidate: Thank you. I really enjoyed doing the case with you.

48 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Summer Placement
Experience
PGP 19

49 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Boston Consulting Group

Interview Experience PGP 19


2015

50 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Name of the Candidate


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

Case Type
Case Question

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

Maanav Mahon
BCG
N/A (Principal)
Interview 1
Nothing out of the way. It was only from the
resume and focused majorly on my past work-ex
and about my startup. Also, "why consulting?"
Went on for 10-12 minutes I suppose
Numerical: Profit/Loss
The client Is in the hotel business. However does
not own any properties. Provides his brand name,
resources and training to existing budget hotels.
Profits have been declining for the past few years.
Figure out the cause and give a recommendation
So before anything I needed to ask a few
questions to clarify my doubts. I asked how
many hotels were there, what was the actual
amount of loss we were facing and was it
spread out over all properties. Then I went
on to further analysis. I divided the possible
factors into External and internal.
External factors included: market growth,
competition/substitutes and Government
regulations etc. After some questions I got to
know that there was no problem with the
hotel/tourism industry as such. Also that the
number of customers coming to our chain
was decreasing while on the other hand it
was increasing for our competitor, which
was operating on same principles as us.
Once this was done, I looked into the
internal factors, such as pricing, marketing,
service quality etc. to figure out where the
problem lied. Got to know that, as these are
budget hotels, there is not much
differentiation price-wise. Also, the
competitor is not offering any discounts. Got
stuck here, so asked the interviewer, if there

51 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

is anything I am missing out. He said that the


occupancy of the hotel also depends upon
the discretion of the reception manager,
who makes on the spot decisions about
room pricing
From this, I gathered that there is some issue
with the way we are training the staff. This
led to the info that the competition was
doing on the job training for the staff and we
were doing classroom training, which was
not as effective. Did a cost benefit analysis of
switching the training process and gave the
final recommendation
What do you think
went right/wrong?

What went wrong was that I could not think of the


training problem by myself. However the fact that I
was never hesitant in asking for directions and did
not waste a lot of time beating around the bush
was what went right.

Any tips for the future


batch

Keep it a 2-way conversation. Do not try to make it


a one-man show, because its not. It matters a great
lot to them that the candidate should be receptive
of what the client wants to say, hence ask
questions and keep adjusting your approach based
on the info you get.

Outcome

Qualified for next round with the partner

Name of the
Candidate
Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

52 | P a g e

Maanav Mahon
BCG
N/A (Partner)
Interview 2
Only from the resume and focused majorly on my
past work-ex and about my startup. Nothing else at
all. However asked a lot of detailed questions
about these two. Went on for around 20 minutes.
IIM Kozhikode

Case Type
Case Question

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

Qualitative: Market Expansion


Client manufacture a wood pulp based fibre and
has been running into losses. The operations are
majorly in Europe and Asia (India and Vietnam).
Figure out the cause and provide recommendation.
Just wanted to clarify regarding the value
chain, as in does the client manufactures and
distributes as well and who are the
customers. Got to know that the client
manufacture as well as supply to the
customers, who are basically cloth
manufacturers. The fibre is used majorly to
make shirts. I divided the possible factors
into External and internal.
External factors included: market growth,
competition/substitutes and Government
regulations etc. The first question I asked
was about substitutes. Got to know that
polyester and other better quality fibres are
now dominating the market. Then asked
about the competition. He gave me the
situation of five other competitors, from
which, I could easily gather that Europe was
a loss-making market. Asia was OK overall,
but China seemed to be a growing market.
Once this was done, I looked into the
internal factors, such as pricing, marketing,
service quality etc. to figure out where the
problem lied. However there were no issues
on this front. At this point I asked him to give
me a moment to gather my thoughts,
however, he said that you are almost there,
just give me a recommendation based on
whatever you have got so far.
The last part was all about structuring the
recommendation. So told him that it seems
like Europe is a fast declining market for us
and that China is a market that we need to

53 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

expand into. This can be done either by


starting from scratch, by an acquisition or by
a joint venture. Suggested him to go for a
joint venture as it will allow him to tap into
the existing infrastructure of the other
company and hence make his entry into the
market much easier.
What do you think
went right/wrong?

I felt it was a pretty straightforward case. All that


was needed, was to structure it properly.

Any tips for the future


batch
Outcome

Offer

Name of the Candidate Sushrut Helwatkar


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question
Case Type

BCG
Project Lead
Round 1, Interview 1
Describe the roles and responsibilities at my last
working place - HCCB
Case 1 - Supply chain optimisation.
Case 2 - Market Expansion

Case Question

Case 1 - An oil manufacturing company has 2 ports


through which Raw oil is imported. There are 9
manufacturing facilities spread across the
geography. There are 70 distributor locations. How
do we ensure optimisation of costs in a dynamic
environment?
Case 2 - A tea manufacturing and distribution
company, who is the market leader in South India,
is facing issues while expanding its market in North
India. How to make a turn-around?

54 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

Case 1 - I explained the algorithm to be used for


making an Optimisation Model, where in the costs
of sourcing would be compared and optimum
movement of material carried out keeping in
perspective the Cost of Production at various
plants, Freight costs and Procurement costs.
Case 2 - I used the 4P approach to identify the
problem area. The Pricing and Product was the
issue area. The pricing was premium and the
product was sold in small packets, so there was a
mismatch in the pricing and SKU pushing strategy.
Recommendation - push bigger SKUs at premium
pricing.

What do you think


went right/wrong?

Right - Asked the right questions. Got to the


answer without beating around the bush.
Wrong - Interviewer told that energy was lacking.

Any tips for the future


batch
Outcome

Moved to Next round

Name of the Candidate


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

Sushrut Helwatkar
BCG
Karishma Bhalla - Principal
Round 2, Interview 1
The Interview started with a chat about my family
background and reason for choosing my
graduation field.
Case - New Product/Service Introduction
A Car insurance company wants to negate the
middlemen at the dealer level by introducing
online insurance for the new-car owners. What
should be the target segment for this product's
launch?

Case Type
Case Question

55 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

I started off with targeting Company owned car


dealerships. These accounted for about 10% of the
dealers. The next level would be the type of cars SUVs were targeted here as the people who prefer
these cars would be tech-savvy and interested in
the product. The next level would be based on
geographic location, areas with good road
infrastructure to be targeted. The next level would
be consumers with a family - less prone to rash
vehicle usage. In family owners, based on the
credit card history, low risk consumers would be
targeted.

What do you think


went right/wrong?

Right - Overcame expectations of the interviewer


without any prior knowledge of the industry. This
was appreciated by the interviewer.
Wrong - Took some time to move from family level
to the next level.

Any tips for the future


batch
Outcome

Moved to next round

Name of the Candidate


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question
Case Type
Case Question

Sushrut Helwatkar
BCG
N/A, Partner
Round 3, Interview 1
The interviewer directly moved to the case study.

56 | P a g e

Case - Declining Market Share


The case was regarding an insurance company
based in Sri-Lanka who was the market leader 2
years back, but now has come to 3rd position. The
decline in market share is to the tune of 15%. How
to regain the market position.

IIM Kozhikode

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

The industry trend was of extraordinary growth.


The competitors had captured most of the new
market.
The sales channels were distributed to three types

1. Personal Selling (60%)


2. Sale through Banks (35%)
3. Online Selling (5%).
The major drop in market share was contributed to
Personal Selling channel. On analysis of this
channel, two critical factors came up
1. Number of salesman
2. Conversion rate of salesmen.
The conversion rate was adhering to the industry
average. The issue was with the strength of the
sales force. As a recommendation, I suggested to
increase the sales force and also to conduct
trainings to improve their conversion rates.

What do you think


went right/wrong?

Right - Followed a structured MECE approach - the


hierarchy put on paper was appreciated by the
interviewer.
Wrong - Got stuck during the sales channels part,
interviewer suggested the third sales channel of
banks.

Any tips for the future


batch
Outcome

Offer

Name of the Candidate Neha Sankhe


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
57 | P a g e

BCG
Karishma, Principal
Round 1, Interview 1
IIM Kozhikode

Personal Interview
Question
Case Type
Case Question

NA

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

(I took half a minute to evaluate the advantages


and disadvantages of online model in this case)

Profitability
A car insurance company is concerned about its
declining profits because the dealers (who directly
deal with the customers) are charging a higher
premium to customers with an intension to earn
more than the quotes commission. The company is
considering going online with its business
transactions. Evaluate whether it would be a good
move.

Neha: The advantages of going online are that here


will be
- Better monitoring of premiums charged and
commission taken by dealers
- Customers will appreciate transparency as they
have better visibility
Disadvantages would be
- Dealers will not appreciate the change as they
cant manipulate the customers and get higher
commission
- (She has told me that the car insurance market is
commoditized) Dealers will switch to other
insurance companies
- Training the local dealers would require resources
How is the breakup of the premium charges
Karishma: 80% of it is premium fee, 10% service
fee and 10% dealer commission.
Neha: Okay, so the dealers are taking 20% from
the customers and passing on 70% to the company
as premium fee?
Karishma: Yes
Neha: An online model will help in this case. It will
58 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

be difficult to convince the local dealers because


going online would mean that the dealers will start
getting 10% as per policy. They will switch to other
insurance providers.
Karishma: Thats right. But, Insurance companies
have renewal scheme too
(15 minutes in the case)
Neha: Right. Once a customer is acquired, he will
go for a renewal of insurance in a year or 3 year
depending upon the insurance plan subscribed to.
Karishma: Can you still make the dealers stick to
you by offering him what he needs?
Neha: Yes, I was thinking whether we could offer
him a 20% (or maybe 30%) cut from the premium
fee of customer in the first year. This can be seen
as a higher customer acquisition cost and an
incentive for dealers to take up the online portal
and register each customer through the portal. We
can cover the same in the renewal process by
keeping the dealer commission same, and charging
the premium. In the long run, the company can
directly take the entire renewal premium from
customer through online renewal.
Karishma: Can you work that out on the paper?
Neha: I worked out the plan. Made a table for
year1 and pear 2 and year3 and showed how this
will help in the long run.
Karishma: Okay, Do you have any questions?
(This is the great opportunity to have a
conversation with the interviewee. I asked a
question and had a chat for about 2 minutes and
left)
What do you think
went right/wrong?
59 | P a g e

I had done a similar case. I realised that I should


have thought about the renewal part. But, what
IIM Kozhikode

worked for me was the later part of the case. I


went slow and asked many questions. (Some were
very basic) Finally she was convinced with it.
Any tips for the future
batch

Use the opportunity of asking questions to them


very wisely.

Outcome

Moved to Next round

Name of the Candidate Neha Sankhe


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question
Case Type
Case Question

BCG
Amitabh Mall, Partner
Round 2, Interview 1
NA

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

(I took half a minute and noted zillion things to be


considered during market entry and framed some
quick introductory questions to be asked)

Market Entry
A European textile giant is considering entering
China. How should the company go about it.

Neha: How big is the company in Europe? Why


moving to China? Competition in China?
Amitabh: The Company is one of the biggest in
Europe and is moving to China to make more
profits. Competition in China is very fragmented
geographically with many local players and none
big ones.
Neha: Okay. And what kind of textiles do they
produce?
Amitabh: They actually produce the yarn required
in textile production.

60 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Neha: That means it is a B2B market the company


is looking at. Just want to ask, how is the demand
like in China for this yarn.
Amitabh: Thats right. The demand is good and
hence a good opportunity for the company.
Neha: Okay, I think this look like a good market.
Let us analyze the kind of profits the company
should be looking at. It can enter the market
through make, ship or acquiring model.
Amitabh: Good. He pulled out his laptop and
showed me a table with the different costs
associated with the shipping and making routes.
Neha: Worked out the final cost of yarn if we ship
or if we make and realized that the make costs
were lower. I suggested that, instead of shipping
the make costs are lower. The problems, which
would arise if the company decides to make, is
that, there will be high costs of having an
integrated distribution network in China. But,
initially they can outsource their distribution or
acquire local companies to utilize their distribution
network and resources.
Amitabh: Okay. Any questions.
Neha: I had some, but Karishma answered them.
Thank you.
What do you think
went right/wrong?

For 15 minutes I was evaluating between the make


and ship model and completely forgot to consider
the Acquisition model. Only in the end I mentioned
about it. Acquisition route works well in Chinese
fragmented markets. I knew this, still I didn't bring
it up.

Any tips for the future


batch

They will help you in case you miss anything. I


missed to add a cost in shipping and earlier found

61 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

shipping to be more cost effective. But he


reminded and I corrected myself.
Outcome

Moved to Next round

Name of the Candidate Neha Sankhe


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question
Case Type
Case Question

BCG
Senior Partner
Round 3, Interview 1
NA

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

Initially I asked some introductory questions about


the life insurance industry as a whole and tried to
find the possible reason why the company could be
making less profits. Asked about competition and
realized that he didnt want me to focus on them
much (by his responses)

Profitability
A life insurance company is making less profits.
How would you help them?

Okay. So, lets look at some internal reasons. How


does the insurance sell?
Partner: Through hired agents. Can you think
about what data you will ask for from the company
to analyze low profitability?
Neha: Sales per agent could be a way to find out if
agents are selling the product well. Because, in lifeinsurance industry, the persuasion and push from
the agents will determine the sales of the company
Partner: Any thing else that could have affected
the profits
Neha: I said a series of things, to which he
62 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

responded with No, No ,No , No..


(That part was scary because I thought I am losing
it)
Partner: Product?
Neha: What about the product?
Partner: Dont you think that the insurance policy
we were providing was not as per the
requirements of the customer? This could be a
reason of decline in sales per agent.
Neha: yes, I mentioned that I didnt think of that
because our product/service was competitive and
hence, quality was not much of a concern. But,
thanks for highlighting the thing I missed.
(I dont remember much of this interview, but he
tried to pressurize me by saying I am wrong and
think hard)
Partner: Any questions?
I used this opportunity to better the situation and
had a small chat with him.
What do you think
went right/wrong?
Any tips for the future
batch

Think out loud. Bring up every possible reason for


declining profits. Dont miss anything.
Keep cool even if you think the interview is not
going good.

Outcome

Offer

63 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Accenture

Interview Experience PGP 19


2015

64 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Name of the Candidate Kiranmai Gogireddy


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question
Case Type

Case Question

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

Accenture
Saurabh Kumar Sahu - Principal
Round 1, Interview 1
An overview of the job responsibilities at the
organizations I worked
(Ecommerce, Budgeting application provider)
Case 1: Qualitative: Workforce productivity
Case 2: Qualitative: Profitability
Case 3: Qualitative: Declining market share
Case 1: Your client wants to improve the workforce
productivity of organization. What all factors would you
take into consideration and what are your
recommendations?
Case 2: Your client, an Ecommerce company, has been
seeing very low profit margins and hence profitability.
Analyze relevant factors and give recommendations to
improve the profitability.
Case 3: Your client, a conglomerate, has seen a decline in
overall market share even though all the individual
business units have seen an increase in the market share.
Is this scenario possible? If so, how?
Case 1: I listed down various factors for improving the
organization productivity as per the theories of
organization behavior such as hygienic, motivational etc.
and gave some suggestions accordingly.
Case 2: I used the cost driver approach for profitability
and categorized various costs such as website setup,
logistics, sourcing, promotions under fixed and variable
and gave recommendations as to how savings can be
made.
Case 3: Asked if the conglomerate operates in all the
industries, the interviewer said yes. I said that the given
scenario is possible and gave the example where the

65 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

market size increases and the market share of individual


business units will also increase but to a lesser degree,
hence resulting in a drop in the overall market share.
What do you think
went right/wrong?

Since I knew the domains well, I was able to come up with


the relevant factors quickly and asked good questions.
The interviewer was impressed with the approach,
progress and moved on to next questions.

Any tips for the future


batch

The cases asked will mostly be from the domain of


previous work experience. Hence, thorough preparation
in that area will definitely help.

Outcome

Qualified for next round with the partner

Name of the Candidate


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

Kiranmai Gogireddy
Accenture
Saurabh Agrawal - Principal
Round 2, Interview 1
Detailed questions on my responsibilities at work
Why consulting/Why the shift from IT to consulting?
What alternate careers are you considering and why?
What skills from your previous work experience would
help you in consulting?
Challenges you might face while transitioning to a
consulting career?
How would you convince your client (CEO) that you know
more than him/her about their domain/industry?

Case Type
Case Question
Narration of the case,
as descriptively as
possible
66 | P a g e

NA
NA
NA

IIM Kozhikode

What do you think


went right/wrong?

It was a stress interview - The interviewer kept countering


my answers at every point, I came up with more
alternatives as far as I could.

Any tips for the future


batch

Be thoroughly prepared for various


HR questions on consulting.

Outcome

Selected for Partner Round

Name of the Candidate Kiranmai Gogireddy


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

Accenture
Ganesan Ramachandran - Partner
Interview 1
Questions on my background and responsibilities at work
Why consulting?
Pitch a product (of the organization I worked at) to a
potential client
What function and sector would you like to start your
consulting career with?
Would you be able to handle the rigour of work and travel
of consulting career?

Case Type
Case Question

NA
NA

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

NA

What do you think


went right/wrong?

Was able to answer the questions well due to thorough


preparation on work experience and consulting. The
change in Accenture's process (regarding which I asked a
question) was being driven by the interviewer.

67 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Any tips for the future


batch

Asking a good question at the end of interview will create


a good impression.

Outcome

Offer

Name of the Candidate Apoorva Mittal


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

Accenture
Anil Ravindran, Manager
Round 1, Interview 1
NA

Case Type
Case Question

Role Play
What decisions should you take considering the recent
slump in oil prices?

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

I made it very clear from the interviewer that the


organization has upstream as well as downstream
operations. Firstly, he asked me explain the current
scenario and the reasons behind it. I talked about the
geopolitics and the advent of shale gas technology. I
didn't talk much about upstream operations and only said
probably we have to close our deep-sea operations. For
downstream, I suggested to make the use of strategic
resources India have near Hyderabad. The next course of
the discussion went to Refinery Transfer Pricing and Gross
Refinery Margins. Abruptly the interviewer shifted to the
e-commerce Industry and the round abruptly ended

What do you think


went right/wrong?
Any tips for the future
batch

There were too many things coming of abruptly, the key


was to keep your head cool and listen to the questions
properly.
Keep yourself updated about the latest trends in the
industry you hail from.

Outcome

Qualified for second round

68 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Name of the Candidate Apoorva Mittal


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

Accenture
Sandeep Singh, Manager
Round 2, Interview 1
The icebreaker here was a puzzle testing the concept of
probability. A revolver contains two bullets and they
occupy consecutive spots. A person shoots himself for
two consecutive times. Find the chances for his survival.

Case Type
Case Question

Rural Marketing
A FMCG major in the country is considering entering the
rural market with the aid of Self Help groups. How would
you suggest the company to approach

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

Again it wasn't something which was discussed at full


length and the round ended abruptly. The issues
discussed were the need of opting for new distribution
channel and empowering women to sell goods. It was
then diverted towards designing a special program
targeting rural masses and deploying women as the sales
agent

What do you think


went right/wrong?
Any tips for the future
batch

Take sufficient time before answering the questions

Outcome

Moved to Partner Round

NA

Name of the Candidate Apoorva Mittal


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number

69 | P a g e

Accenture
Amit Wagh, Principal
Round 3, Interview 1

IIM Kozhikode

Personal Interview
Question

No cases were asked in this round, I was told to help them


walk through my resume and some questions related to
why consulting and long term goals

Case Type
Case Question
Narration of the case,
as descriptively as
possible
What do you think
went right/wrong?
Any tips for the future
batch
Outcome

NA
NA
NA

NA
NA
Moved to the Final Round

Name of the Candidate Apoorva Mittal


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question
Case Type
Case Question

Accenture
Rutvik Gaur, HR Manager
Round 4, Interview 1
Again some basic resume related questions

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

I was asked to practically demonstrate 2nd law of


thermodynamics (Entropy of the universe is continuously
increasing) and at the same point I have to prove the
same by stating some examples and facts from day to day
life (It was the toughest question in the entire interview).
In the later half I was asked to develop the business plan.
It was a stress interview, all of the points I mentioned
were discarded blatantly

What do you think


went right/wrong?

It was a stress interview, so just try to use some logic and


stick to your argument but at the same time be flexible as
well

70 | P a g e

New Business development


A company is planning to open a new food chain serving
chat in the city. Develop a business plan

IIM Kozhikode

Any tips for the future


batch
Outcome

NA
Offer

Name of the Candidate Annan Aggarwal


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question
Case Type
Case Question

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

What do you think


went right/wrong?

Any tips for the future


batch

Outcome

Accenture
Senior Manager
Round 1, Interview 1
NA
Profitability of an e-commerce company
Built a Profit and Loss statement for an ecommerce
company and asked me to improve the profitability of the
company
Discussed on the competition
Discussed on the various types of e-commerce
models and profitability of each
Discussed on category mix and its impact on profits
Discussed on growth prospects of the industry
Had good knowledge of the industry which helped;
Figuring out what exactly the interviewer wanted me to
do helped a lot;
The interviewer was interested to know my point of view
on issues
Industry Analysis workshops helped a lot;
Try and bring in your independent/personal point
of view into the scheme of things;
Moved to Second Round

Name of the Candidate Annan Aggarwal


Company Name
Interviewer Name
71 | P a g e

Accenture
HR Senior
IIM Kozhikode

Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

Case Type
Case Question
Narration of the case,
as descriptively as
possible
What do you think
went right/wrong?
Any tips for the future
batch

Outcome

Round 1, Interview 2, HR Round


Resume basedStrengths, Weaknesses , Which course do you like the
most, Why Consulting, Something which is not on your
resume, Failures in life; Achievements; What
differentiates you from your peers at IIM-K

NA

NA
Need to be consistent with your answers
Maintain eye contact
Prepare a question that you would ask the HR
Moved to Partner Round

Name of the Candidate Annan Aggarwal


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

Accenture
Partner
Round 3, Interview 1
Why Consulting?
Resume based - Why do u think Consulting suits
you? And then follow up questions based on the
answers

Case Type
Case Question
Narration of the case,
as descriptively as
possible
What do you think
went right/wrong?
Any tips for the future
batch

NA
NA
NA

72 | P a g e

NA
Prepare very well for the 'Why Consulting
questions
IIM Kozhikode

Your answers can guide how your interview goes


about, so be very sure of what you speak
Be prepared for the grill - It could be a stress
interview
Outcome

Offer

Name of the Candidate Noel Roychoudhury


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

Accenture
NA
Round 1, Interview 1
Very detailed questions from my resume mostly related
to work ex, ABG Scholarship interview, why I think I did
not get the scholarship, then simulated a situation
wherein I am in an elevator with all the panelists of the
ABG interview and I have got 30 seconds to convince
them to change their decision. Concluded with asking me
if I had any non-academic questions for him

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

NA
NA
NA

Any tips for the future


batch

Try being as honest and upright as possible, be extremely


comfortable with answers to the resume related
questions and be yourself. They mostly look for people
who are going to fit with their organizational culture more
than anything else.

Outcome

Qualified to the next round

73 | P a g e

This round was mostly right in all sense because I could


answer very detailed and tricky questions from my workexperience, also I answered the question about not being
awarded the ABG scholarship with honesty which he later
pointed out. He also liked the non-academic questions I
asked him about AMC related to the kind of work etc.

IIM Kozhikode

Name of the Candidate Noel Roychoudhury


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

Accenture
NA
Round 2, Interview 1
A stress interview wherein he tried to test my patience, I
felt. Hovered around, why MBA for about 15-20 mins,
what skillsets do you think a consultant needs to have for
another 10 mins asking me to explain why each skillset is
required, then he asked to solve a few puzzles and ended
with a general "Do you have any questions for me?"

Case Type

Tricky Puzzles (very random ones)

Case Question
Narration of the case,
as descriptively as
possible

NA
I felt he was looking at the approach which I used in
solving the puzzles, and whether I was able to justify my
thoughts with enough logic

What do you think


went right/wrong?

I think major turnaround in this interview happened in


the "Do you have any questions for me?" part and the
skillsets required to be a consultant part

Any tips for the future


batch

Even if you feel that the interview is going out of your


hand, do not show any kind of desperation and try being
as honest and witty as possible till the last second

Outcome

Qualified for Final round

Name of the Candidate Noel Roychoudhury


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question
74 | P a g e

Accenture
NA
Round 3, Interview 1
Very casual resume based questions and some HR
questions like whether you have faced any moral
dilemma before, why do you love reading this particular
IIM Kozhikode

genre of books etc. It was more of a chat rather than an


interview
Case Type

NA

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

NA
NA

Any tips for the future


batch

Be easy going and casual if the interview gives you the


right kind of vibes.

Outcome

Offer

75 | P a g e

This round was very informal and casual and I was getting
positive vibes throughout.

IIM Kozhikode

Deloitte

Interview Experience PGP 19


2015

76 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Name of the Candidate Nikhil Jandial


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

Deloitte
NA
Interview 1
A 15 minute interview focusing on my past work
(had to describe my role and a project), my interest
in consultancy and a Guesstimate. Also focus was on
why Deloitte and what I know about Deloitte

Case Type
Case Question

Guesstimate
For the new Bandhan bank in India, estimate how
many credit cards would it have.

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

I clearly defined at the beginning that since


Bandhan bank is newly created bank for lower
income groups, it does not include present
credit card holders.
I did rough estimation and presented the
panel the numbers. The factors used were
urban/rural, age group, income groups,
people with bank accounts.
However the win here was me stating the
people in Bengal will have higher % of
accounts as this bank originated there. Also
spoke about the Jan Dhan Yojna and pointed
out we could include full population and
remove people with bank account factor.

What do you think


went right/wrong?

77 | P a g e

Right - Being aware about what Bandhan bank


was/its origin. Key here is when the panel is just
trying to look at your approach, you bring in various
factors like Region bias/Jan Dhan Yojna etc and
impress the panel.

IIM Kozhikode

Any tips for the future


batch

It is very important to be aware of happenings


around the world apart from general expectations
from IIM graduate. How you best integrate your
learnings from your awareness into your business
situations plays a vital role in your selection and
performance

Outcome

Selected for Round 2

Name of the Candidate Nikhil Jandial


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

Deloitte
NA
Interview 2
A 45-minute interview where I had to solve one
entire case quantitatively and qualitatively. Post the
case solving, the partner was called into the room
and I was made to summarize the case and my
solution to him. The intention here was to judge my
communication skills and how I present my findings
to a senior executive.

Case Type
Case Question

Buy/Build strategy case


Post the Obama act, hospitals in US are finding it
difficult to maximize revenues as they are not able
to retrieve full money from insurance companies.
How best can they solve this issue? Either build their
own internal optimization strategy or buy from a
third party. The cost of both options to be estimated
and decision to be taken.

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

I began the case solving by some questions on Working model, Annual performance and
performance/growth parameters.
I was provided quantitative data further based on
my questions. For example - I asked about annual
performance and the revenue figures were shared,
and then I asked for operational cost figures and

78 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

those figures were shared. Post which I computed


the costs for both options and found it to be same.
I was further asked to compute efficiency and other
geography parameters related to geography and I
did the same by taken his guidance on how you
define each parameter in this business.
Finally I had to take a decision on the options. Since
quantitatively the cost was same I pointed out
various qualitative factors that will help take
decision.
Factors:
1) Though costs are same now, as monthly fees
needs to be paid to third party instead of 1 time
investment in internal optimization , third party is
subjected to various fluctuations in market prices.
2) If there is monopoly of third part person in market
prices will be volatile and as per him
3) The third party vendor will solve the problem but
not share the process and approach, hence similar
problems in other areas would need dependency on
him. Can make a contract with him though to share
all information after solving the case.
4) Monthly cash outflow will be higher for the
company which might not be desirable. As project
duration is not known.
The above plus couple of other factors made me
decide on internal optimization.
What do you think
went right/wrong?

79 | P a g e

Right - Connected MANAC and ME concepts in


strategy making. Gave a different and out of box
feeling to the panel. Wrong - Quantitatively was not
at my best and needed panels help. Could do much
better if I had practiced few quantitative cases
before.
IIM Kozhikode

Any tips for the future


batch

Very important to bring out new factors for which


you need to pause, think and then deliver. Everyone
who enters the room can talk and state common
factors, your selection depends upon how different
you think and deliver.

Outcome

Offer

Name of the Candidate Elizabeth Mathew


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

Deloitte
NA
Interview 1
Basic questions about my background. Why I want
to switch from IB to Consulting. What about my
nature seems to align to Consulting. I had a gap year,
so what I did then.

Case Type
Case Question

Guesstimate
Since I have a background in the wedding planning
industry he asked me to guesstimate the wedding
photography market in India

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

I first asked him if he wanted to know the


number of photographers or the rupee value
of the market, to which he replied the rupee
value. Then we calculated the percentage of
population that is in the marriageable age.
Since weddings require a couple, we halved
the number. We split this by income groups
and took an assumption of how much each
income group was willing to pay for a wedding
photographer.
He then asked me if I had missed out on
anything. So I made adjustments for possible
remarriages or marriages outside the
conventional age bracket. Also I did an
analysis trying to account for differences in

80 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

marriageable age of men and women. This got


very messy so he stopped me midway.
It became very calculation intensive and after
a certain point it was evident that the
interviewer was not interested anymore. That
got me scared So I started asking him if what
I was doing was correct and generally for
support.
What do you think
went right/wrong?

Right: I tried to cover all the possible respects that


could affect the wedding market.
Wrong: My calculating abilities weren't very strong.
At one point I made a mistake were I forgot a zero of
a million.

Any tips for the future


batch

Keep asking questions. Build a relationship with the


interviewer. Its a give and take system.

Outcome

Selected for the next Round

Name of the Candidate Elizabeth Mathew


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

Deloitte
NA
Interview 2
Brief questions about my college. What I liked about
Delhi and what I didnt. Asked me to compare Delhi
and Hyd. A couple of questions about my projects
with my previous employer.

Case Type
Case Question

Profitability
A hospital in America is having issues with their
medical claims process. Analyse and suggest possible
improvements

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible
81 | P a g e

So first I asked for numbers regarding the


number of patients they treated and how
many claims have gone through each month.
IIM Kozhikode

The cost of clearing each medical claim was


also given. Once I analysed this data it became
evident that the hospital should consider
outsourcing this process. Then I asked for data
regarding the outsourcing agency. This agency
was offering a fixed cost per claims and had an
upper limit of the number of claims they
would process. The interviewer asked me
what could be the possible downsides to this,
so i discussed how laying off workers is never
a smooth process and how there would be
excess capacity in term of IT systems and
existing software. I also discussed the possible
doctor-patient confidentiality clause issues.
I was asked to suggest ways of making the
outsourcing process smoother. I suggested a
VRS system, phased out transition and selling
the excess capacities.
Then they took it one step further. They gave
me regional data split for the hospital. The
hospital had claims processing offices in 4
regions across America. Individual data for the
number of claims processed per month,
number of employees, cost per employee was
given for each office. I analysed this data by
calculating how much it costs per claim in
each regions and compared it to what
outsourcing would cost. I also compared this
between regions. Finally came to the
conclusion that 2 of the offices were operating
cost effectively. She asked me to calculate the
total cost benefit that the hospital would get.
What do you think
went right/wrong?

Wrong: I didn't have much knowledge about the


medical claims processing system.. It took me a
while to figure out the very basis of the case

Any tips for the future


batch

NA

82 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Outcome

Selected for the next Round

Name of the Candidate Elizabeth Mathew


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

Deloitte
NA
Interview 3
The partner walked in mid-way through my case
interview. He was very interested in my work ethic
and asked me questions that revolved around how I
approach problems. He also asked me about my
family. Majority of the interview was about why I
wanted to join Deloitte. Why after CFA you want to
do Consulting? What are your long-term goals?

Case Type
Case Question

NA
NA

Narration of the case,


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

NA

Outcome

Selected for the next Round

NA
Read up about the company and have one relevant
question ready. This should be a smart insightful
question.

Name of the Candidate Yukti Batta


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

83 | P a g e

Deloitte
Partner
Round 1, Interview 1
1. Walk me through your CV.
2. Why do you want to go into consulting?
3. What is the unique thing about you?
IIM Kozhikode

4. What is your major accomplishment during workex?


Case Type
Case Question

Guesstimate
Estimate the market for Loius Vuitton handbag
worth 1 lakh in India.

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

I started with an approach which took into


consideration that such handbags would have
demand mainly in the tier 1 and tier 2 cities. Then
took a percentage of people residing in these cities.
Then considered what would be the percentage of
the highly affluent families. Then considered that
roughly half are women and out of these 40% would
lie in the target age group and a further 25% would
be interested in such a handbag. Landed up at a
figure of 50,000.

What do you think


went right/wrong?

The fact that I took into consideration the location,


income level and age group factors gave the idea
that it was not a narrow type approach.
Secondly, the question that I asked to him was
regarding Business Transformation as there was a
recent article at that time saying how Deloitte is the
go to consulting company for this purpose.
I started with the commonly used answer for why
consulting and then he said let us give another try.
Then I was frank and mentioned about wanting a job
with power, travel and related to telecom industry.
The partner was responsible for 2 out of the 4
leading telecom operators in India, so there was
around a 5 min conversation about the future of this
industry.

Any tips for the future


batch

84 | P a g e

Keep the energy level high and question whenever


in a fix. Try to be frank and true. Well prepared
answers are good but then they should not appear
as if scripted.
IIM Kozhikode

Outcome

Selected for the next Round

Name of the Candidate Yukti Batta


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

Deloitte
Managers
Round 2, Interview 1
1. Why consulting?
2. Why Deloitte?

Case Type

Case 1: Profit/loss
Case 2: Guesstimate

Case Question

Case 1:
A motor insurance company is trying to ascertain the
flaws with its current system since there are
unncessary claims.
Case 2:
Estimate the size of the wedding photography in
India.

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

Case 1:
The case given had all the data and 3 possible
reasons were provided. There were internal issues
and numerical data was also there giving the
number of stages in processing these claims.
Calculations were involved to figure out whether
new system should be adopted or the current one
should be modified.
Case 2:
So I started by asking are we focusing on any
particular income group, the answer was no. Then I
considered the various age groups, mainly, below
18, 18-30, 30-45, above 45. Then considered the
growth rate of the Indian population. The next step
was to consider the male and female population and
estimating the rough number that gets married each
year. After reaching a particular number, I

85 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

considered that three income levels exist, and the


amounts being paid would probably be 1000, 10000,
50000 for wedding photography.
What do you think
went right/wrong?

One of the interviewers was really adamant that the


answer I am giving is wrong but I was equally
adamant. He gave me scenarios specifying different
growth rates and profits asking which option would I
go for.
What went right is the fact that I stood by my
decision, which was obviously based on calculations.

Any tips for the future


batch

Since the interviewer wasnt really agreeing with


me, I was getting a bit annoyed but the point was
not to lose my temper. Moreover, the other
interviewer ultimately agreed that my approach and
answer were both right. Hence, if you are certain
that you have taken into consideration all the
necessary factors, stick by your choice.

Outcome

Offer

EY

86 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Interview Experience PGP 19


2015

87 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Name of the Candidate Abhishek Harlalka


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

Case Type

EY- PI
Senior Manager
Round 1, Interview 1
General HR questions in the beginning and then
getting details about the work experience from the
resume. He went through every detail from resume
and sought for clarification wherever needed.
Company goal and objective.
NA

Case Question

NA

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

NA

What do you think


went right/wrong?

Everything went smooth and the answers were


structured

Any tips for the future


batch

Try to answer to the point and don't beat around the


bush. Try to get the clarity of the role and align your
answers accordingly. Also structure your answers
before presenting it to the interviewer
Selected for the next round

Outcome

Name of the Candidate Abhishek Harlalka


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

EY- PI
Partner and HR
Round 2, Interview 1
Long term plans and suitability of the role. Which
domain I would like to work in EY

Case Type

Supply Chain

Case Question

Strategies to select a vendor

88 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

Any tips for the future


batch

If I am planning to make a product for which I need


to screen some suppliers before giving away
contract. What are the things I need to look at
before selecting one? Given that quality and price
are the two basic parameters that are excluded from
the criteria list
I couldnt think much about the criteria and could
answer just 2 of them as he start posing restrictions
after each point of mine
One just need to be calm. Sometime its the test of
your patience and thought process

Outcome

Offer

What do you think


went right/wrong?

Name of the Candidate Ritika Yadav


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Questions Asked

Case Type

EY- PI
Senior Manager
Round 1, Interview 1
1. Proclivity towards finance
2.What is corporate finance
3.How do you measure the health of a bank
4.What is asset management from a firms
perspective
5. What are the typical assets for a bank/ how does a
bank earn money
NA

Case Question

NA

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

NA

Outcome

Selected for the next round

Name of the Candidate Ritika Yadav


89 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Qusetions

Case Type

EY- PI
Director
Round 2, Interview 1
HR Round
1.Resume+ Past work-ex details
2.Basic knowledge of French (mentioned as a 3rd
language in my resume)
3.Why EY? Why not PwC(past work ex )
4. Career goals (short and long term)
NA

Case Question

NA

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

NA

Outcome

Selected for the next round

Name of the Candidate Madhur Agrawal


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Qusetions

Case Type

EY- Transactions Advisory Services (TAS)


Director
Round 2, Interview 1
The Interview revolved around my previous work-ex,
why I wanted an IB role, how will I contribute to the
revenues of EY's IB division, my family background
and my personal background
NA

Case Question

NA

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

NA

What do you think


went right/wrong?

I think my ability to make the conversation


interesting with a few punches here and there kept
it good.

90 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Any tips for the future


batch

Sound convincing in whatever you say. There is no


right or wrong

Outcome

Offer

91 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

KPMG

Interview Experience PGP 19


2015

92 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Name of the Candidate Shekhar Tenny


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

KPMG
Angad Singh (Associate Director)
Round 1, Interview 1
This was a group activity. No personal questions.

Case Type
Case Question

Caselet on an e - commerce firm


A group of 10 students was created and we were
asked to discuss and list down the important factors
to consider to forecast the demand of items so that
the e-commerce companies like Amazon, Flipkart
can maintain optimum levels of inventory. We came
up with around 12 factors and then we were asked
to rate them on the basis of High, Medium or Low
importance.

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

We discussed factors like seasonal products, location


of warehouses/fufillment centres, complimentary
products, new product launches, lead time for
delivery and several others. We had to prioritize
these factors and offer solutions to deal with the
same.

What do you think


went right/wrong?

Any tips for the future


batch

Wrong: The discussion could have been more


structured. The group had difficuty prioritizing the
factors and the KPMG executives had to steer the
discussion some times.
Learn to converge to a solution. Having the last word
need not always ensures success.

Outcome

Selected for the next round

Name of the Candidate Shekhar Tenny


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
93 | P a g e

KPMG
Director
Round 2, Interview 1
IIM Kozhikode

Personal Interview
Question

Any tips for the future


batch

Walk me through your resume. Why consulting?


Why KPMG? Some questions on my work experience
and any challenges that I faced there..
Profitability/Sales increas
I was asked what my favorite company was. Then he
asked me to assume the role of the CEO of that
company and give recommendations to improve
topline and bottom line. The key here is to
understand, which aspect has the major influence
on the company operations. I chose Amul and for it,
supply chain management is the key.
I was asked - if I had a meeting with the Unilever
CEO in an hour, what would I discuss with him and
tell him about the growth aspects of Unilever in
India in the next 5 years. This question was asked
purely to test my awareness about the
macroeconomic changes introduced by the new
government in the centre and how it impacted
business.
Wrong: Always have a list of top 3 companies that
you admire with their strong and weak points. I was
caught unprepared for this question and had to blurt
out the first compnay that came to my mind. It coud
have backfired but I was lucky to sail through.
Read newspapers. Try to link the news articles with
the impact they can have on business.

Outcome

Selected for the next round

Case Type
Case Question

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

What do you think


went right/wrong?

Name of the Candidate Shekhar Tenny


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

KPMG
Paertner
Round 3, Interview 1 (Telephonic)
Again asked to introduce myself and walk through
the resume. Some questions on my work-ex.

Case Type

Pricing

94 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

Case Question

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

What do you think


went right/wrong?
Any tips for the future
batch
Outcome

You have to start a flight between 2 new cities. How


would you go about pricing the flight tickets. Discuss
the factors.
I approached this case by first identifying how big
and prosperous these 2 cities were and whether
they were surrounded by town with people having
sufficient spending power. I also discussed if those
two towns had connecting flights to major cities of
the country. Then I suggested analyzing the existing
means of transport between these 2 towns, number
of AC buses, number of trains, etc. Then I discussed
taxes that are levied by the airports of those towns.
NA

Ask questions if you are stuck. More often than not,


the interviewer drops some clue and it helps to take
the discussion forward
Offer

Name of the Candidate Vipin Kumar


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

KPMG
Angad Singh (Associate Diretor)
Round 1, Interview 1
NA

Case Type
Case Question

Scalability and new market opportunities


Case on expansion of a wedding platform and its
scaling opportunities

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

95 | P a g e

Which new products should the online wedding


platform enter, new industry if possible, along with
financial projections and other implications on
advertising, marketing, customer retention as after
getting married, customer donot come back to the
platform again.
9 candidates were called for case discussion together
and we were divided in groups of 3 to plan and solve
3 aspects of problems, financials, marketing and new
market identification in India. My team was to asked
IIM Kozhikode

What do you think


went right/wrong?

to suggest new products, we suggested a few things


like online photo platform, wedding catering services,
automatic photo albums delivery on important days
like birthday and wedding anniversary. The other 2
teams made their suggestions and each was asked to
cross questions one another
Cross questioning and correcting the financials was
mainly important for them, I corrected a few things
estimated by other members. Estimation based on
internal factors as pricing, service, etc. were
inacccurate as most of the paid subscriptions in
wedding online platforms are for females and not
bridegrooms. After this guesstimate, corrections
based on market size were also asked from all
participants in case

Any tips for the future


batch

Estimations and marketing techniques feasibility


corrections in other team's estimates proved good
for me. Nothing wrong as far as I remember.
Don't hesitate in giving random ideas and claiming
that you suggested the Idea

Outcome

Qualified for next round with the partner

Name of the Candidate Vipin Kumar


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

KPMG
Partner
Round 1, Interview 1
Why consulting, major vertical preference, 2 small
industry specific cases, nothing related to resume

Case Type
Case Question

Scalability and new market opportunities


Qualitative: Airlines industry problems in India;
Quantitative: Online Market opportunity for real
estate construction material manufacturers
1. The second most profitable airline in India, has
come to KPMG. It wants to become a leader and is
currently non-profitable.

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

96 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

2. A construction material manufacturer client wants


to enter online space. Analyze Ecommerce industry
as an opportunity for the client.
External factors included: market growth,
competition/substitutes and govt. regulations
etc. For this in the airlines case, I was looking
into how fuel price hedging is performed by
our client and others, expansion plans,
competitive targeted marketing by other
players, etc.
For the material manufacturers, an initial
guesstimate was required for which I asked
several questions on feasibility of clients to
supply in different locations in time, any
existing players, portfolio of the client i.e.
which categories in construction does it cater
to, any existing tie ups with big construction
firms. He gave me very brief answers to these
and hinted high market growth for an existing
online player using the same model
The airline case and client were easy to sort
out from here on as I could confirm that the
client has similar profile to SpiceJet. So, plans
of following having uniform fleet, fuel price
hedging in markets, JV with the biggest tier-2
city airline caterer or a low cost leader, better
offers for customer retention.
In manufacturing material client case,
profitability of operating online was
marginally higher than operating offline. I
started the market size guestimate by
considering 2000 houses/buildings/offices
under construction in each of the 4
metropolitan city outskirts. Most of the big
contractors already have their fixed contracts,
so smaller contractors are the target here.
Average order per day of INR 85k on the basis
of my personal experience in construction
sector was taken. A supply cost was deduced
by me and I completed a market size
97 | P a g e

IIM Kozhikode

What do you think


went right/wrong?

Any tips for the future


batch
Outcome

guesstimate along with suggestions for


improvement in operations. A supply chain
design from company outlets to cities being
catered with order clubbing and inventory
planning management system was also
discussed
First case was easy, discussion based, mostly general
knowledge was required but for the second I was
hesitant in going out of the box and asking. I was
answering questions based on my personal
experiences only.
Keep asking questions, if need be, think out loud

Qualified for next round with the team director

Name of the Candidate Vipin Kumar


Company Name
Interviewer Name
Interview Number
Personal Interview
Question

KPMG
Director
Round 3 (Telephonic)
Nothing related to resume except for internship
related questions done during graduation

Case Type
Case Question

Market expansion opportunities


Qualitative: Market Expansion for telecom player

Narration of the case,


as descriptively as
possible

98 | P a g e

A client is the second highest subscribed


telecom operator in Madhya Pradesh. The
client wants to become the highest subscribed
telecom operator.
External factors included: market growth,
competition/substitutes and govt. regulations
etc. The first question I asked was rural
market telecom penetration in the state. How
saturated urban markets were, what was the
talk time plan offerings being made in rural
areas and urban areas by competitions, if any,
number of antennas planted by different
IIM Kozhikode

players in the state to find out if any load


sharing can be done by a venture between
players. I also asked what is the market share
of 3rd leading players.
Once this was done, I looked into the internal
factors, such as pricing, marketing, service
quality etc. to figure out where the problem
lied. However there were no issues on this
front. At this point, it only seemed that the
market leader had the benefit of good
marketing and first movers advantage.
So for recommendation, I suggested to exploit
a few select villages with paying capability or
least under poverty line residents. To enter
the rural market, even resource sharing with
the 3rd market leader to reduce risk of failure
and move against the market leader.
Marketing by marginal funding in village fairs
and festivals, etc. The next question was on if
the client's village distributor is giving
preference to other telecom players for under
table incentives, what can be a solution. I
suggested overlapping of villages for
distributors where sales are below average. 2
distributors taking care of marketing of
telecom brand in one village to cross verify
one another's portfolio. Talk time prepaid
recharge coupons of INR 10, 20 and 50 only to
be distributed in the villages along with a
particular bottom-line for each distributor
What do you think
went right/wrong?
Any tips for the future
batch
Outcome

99 | P a g e

It seemed to be a pretty straight forward case.


Things come up only after discussion. So, keep
asking questions.
NA

Selected

IIM Kozhikode

Disclaimer
The Case book is an extension of the Placement Preparation (PGP-18) HandbookConsulting. Konsult is not responsible for the experiences collected. They are provided by
the students to the best of their knowledge.

100 | P a g e
Kozhikode

IIM