Round 1: A senior partner opened the interview with the introductory ‘tell me about yourself’ and a question on one of my previous internship experiences, which was followed by a business case.
Case: (Industry: Banking) - A bank had deployed sales force to sell home loan policies, however it didn’t result in an increase in revenues. Analyze the case and identify the reason.
Approach: Clarifying questions revealed that the Bank had set up a new Central Processing Unit which reviewed all the home loan applications submitted by the sales force and scrutinized the applications diligently.
I structured the revenue case by traversing the entire home loan application process for a customer. The issue identified was that the sales force was targeting brokers and real estate agents who weren't keen on taking home loans and hence, they would not convey the information to the potential customers. Additionally, the Central Processing Unit was conducting an intensive scrutiny check to flag potential bad debt cases due to which successfully processed home loans were low in count.
Tip: For a profitability case, clarifying questions become of high importance and must cover the breadth of information required to solve the case. Emphasis should be on structuring the problem and asking the right questions.
Round 2: A principal initiated the introductory discussion and then followed it with a business case.
Case: (Industry: Retail) - Productivity of sales force of a retail outlet had become stagnant. Suggest ways to improve it.
Approach: This being an idea generation case, I approached the problem by framing a mathematical equation for the productivity of the sales force as output/input cost i.e. (Sales by sales force / Salaries to sales force). I further broke down the numerator into multiple product factors, representing sales as the number of customers targeted * fraction of customers converted * revenue per customer, and then came up with ideas to increase productivity by looking at each factor individually. Increasing geographical reach, initiating tie-ups with retail stores, offering discount packages, using bikes to minimize travel time, focusing on high margin SKUs etc., were some of the options suggested by me.
Tip: For an idea generation case, try to frame a mathematical equation and then look at each of the factors of the equation individually. This methodology provides an exhaustive and a structured approach to problem-solving.
Final Verdict: Converted.
Dos and Don’ts:
- Don’t force fit frameworks. As you solve cases, keep developing and updating your own frameworks.
- Preferably use separate sheets for recording case information and structuring the problem/laying out your frameworks to keep the sheets tidy.
- Make the conversation engaging and carry a smile on your face throughout the interview
- Be calm & composed during the interview. Don’t panic. Take a minute to think if stuck at any point.
- If one interview hasn’t gone well, don’t let it impact the subsequent interviews. Start every interview afresh.
- Take feedback from the interviewer post the interviews and work on the recommendations.
InsideIIM has a tremendous repository of content around Consulting, including the myths and realities of the Consulting sector and an excellent interaction with a Director at the Boston Consulting Group. You may also be interested in exploring the Alumni Report for the Consulting sector - 2019.