1 Kiramar

Lesson 14 Homework 5.2 Answers For Interview

Presentation on theme: "Job Interview Basic Vocabulary"— Presentation transcript:

1 Job Interview Basic Vocabulary
With Pictures

2 Job Interview Vocabulary
Applicant, Job SeekerFormal Attire, DressInterviewerEmployerResume, TranscriptsJob Interview

3 Job Interview Vocabulary
An interview is a formal meeting between a job seeker and an employer.The employer will ask questions to determine whether the Applicant is an appropriate fit for the job and for the company.The job seeker will ask the employer questions to obtain enough information about the job to decide if the job and the company is the right fit.Vocabulary : Interview, Employer, Applicant, Job Seeker

4 Job Responsibilities Work Experience
AnswersI am responsible for watering the plants. I take care of corporate accounts.I usually answer telephones. I mainly write reports.I am in charge of cleaning the yardQuestionsWhat do you do (in your job)?  What is your main job? What are you in charge of?Work ExperienceI have 3 years of work experience as a gardener I take care of corporate accounts for the last two years for “XYZ” companyI have been a good Yard cleaner for the last five yearsVocabulary : Responsibilities, In charge, Experience

5 Job Interview –Job Titles

6 Job Interview –Job Titles

7 Job Interview –Job Titles

8 Job Interview –Job Titles

9 Job Interview –Job Titles

10 Job Interview –Job Titles

11 Job Interview –Basic Words
Educational DegreeMedical Insurance

12 Job Interview –Basic Words
SalaryTraining

13 Job Interview –Basic Words
TranscriptsHousing

14 Job Interview –Basic Words
Gender EqualityWork Schedule

15 Job Interview –Basic Words
GradesOffice

16 Job Interview –Basic Words
LanguagesVacation

17 Preparation: Facing the Interview

18 What to know/do during the Job Interview
During the interview, your body language plays an important role along with verbal communicationThese terms are explained belowBody Language: is a form of non-verbal communication, consisting of body pose, gestures, and eye movements. Humans send and interpret such signals unconsciously.Body Pose: Sit/ stand upright. Don’t slouch or bend your backEye Movements: Look at the interviewer while talking. Looking up or down means you are not confident or are not saying the truthHand Gestures: When you first meet the person, smile, say your name and give a firm hand shake. After that, keep your hands on your lap Don’t play with a pen or fidget. It shows nervousness.(See next slide for some examples)Verbal Communication: is the actual words you say to the other person when answering questions

19 Smile and introduce yourself
Body LanguageJerry. Nice to meet youPlease take a seatHi, I’m Anne.Pleased to meet youHand ShakeSmile and introduce yourselfMaintain eye contactSit calmly with handson lapDon’t slouch!!Sit Upright

20 What to know/do after the Job Interview
Say you have performed well in your interview. But your role doesn’t endthere.1. You should always send a ‘thank you’ note or mail or call all the people who interviewed you. You can do this the day after your interview.Example of a phone call:You: Hello, may I talk to Brian Fox please?Brian: This is him.You: Hello Mr. Fox. This is _____. You interviewed me yesterdayBrian: Oh..yes. How are you?You: I’m good, thank you. I called to thank you once again for your time and for inviting me to interview at your firm. If you need more information about references etc., please let me know. I have my contact information on the resume.Brian: Sure. Thanks for calling back. We should get back to you within a week or so. If you don’t hear back by next Thursday, please call me again. We are having a busy month, so I might forget.You: No problem. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks.

21 What to know/do after the Job Interview
Example of anDear Mr. Fox,It was a pleasure to meet you and your colleagues yesterday. I wanted to thank you once again for your time and for inviting me to interview at your firm. If you need more information about references etc., please let me know. I have my contact information on the resume.I look forward to a positive response from your side. Please let me know once you have made a decision.Thank you and have a nice day,Sincerely,_________Note that in the US, even if it is a negative response, they usually inform you. So if you don’t hear from them, don’t presume it’s a no. Follow up at least one more time. May be they aren’t checking as often. Try making a phone call instead.

22 What to know/do after the Job Interview
2. Continue the job search till you get written confirmation of offer –Keep looking for new opportunities, applying for positions and interviewing.Do not put all your hopes on that interview and wait in anticipation.3. It may happen that you get more than one offer at the same time. In that case, it is important to consider various factors before confirming one. Some important ones are:Which Job will you enjoy more?Which one pays higher?Which has better benefits package (health insurance etc)?Do you have to travel far for one of them?How will it affect your family? etc.4. Share your interview experience with others in the group who are seeking jobs.Assess how you did in the interview and work on improving upon weak areas.Try to recollect the questions and keep note of them so that you can be better prepared next time if the same questions are asked.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of interview preparation for Consulting jobs in the previous chapter, we’re going to go much more in-depth on the types of questions that are likely to come up in Consulting interviews. Questions in these interviews will typically come in these different flavors:

  1. Behavioral & Experience Questions
  2. Resume & Cover Letter-Specific Questions
  3. Consulting-Specific and Firm-Specific Questions
  4. Business And Current Events Knowledge Questions
  5. Questions for the Interviewer
  6. Math-Oriented Interview Questions
  7. Consulting Case Study Questions

If you use other resources to prepare for your interview, you will hear a lot of discussion about the final category—Consulting Case Study Questions. To be certain, Case Study questions are extremely important. However, so are all of the other categories. You want to put yourself in a position where you can respond well to all of the question types, so while you should spend quite a bit of time preparing for Case Study Questions, you should also spend time preparing for questions in the other categories.

This Chapter is devoted to the first six categories. Please see our Consulting Case Study Training Guide for lengthy discussion and examples of the final category of questions.

Behavioral & Experience Questions

While Experience questions discuss your work and academic experience (i.e., your resume), Behavioral questions tend to focus on three distinct possible areas:

  • Personality
  • Leadership
  • Ethics

You continually hear about Case Studies and their importance, but Behavioral and Experience interview questions are very important. They help the interviewing Consultants assess who you are as a person, and what your current skill set is. Being able to articulately answer any behavioral or experience question in a confident manner will help give the interviewer assurance that you would make a valuable employee and high-performing Consultant.

Two important questions will spring to mind for the interviewer when he or she meets you. First, if he or she were to spend hours working with you on a project, would he or she get along well with you? Second, if you were on-site at a client on your own, would he/she have confidence that you would interact effectively with the client and represent the firm well? Bear these questions in mind during this portion of the interview. You want the interviewer to like you as a person, and also feel assured about your professionalism.

There are generally no correct answers when it comes to Behavioral and Experience questions (though in many cases, common sense will tell you what some truly terrible answers might be!), so we will offer a number of tips to help you successfully navigate this part of the interview.  We will also provide you with a list of the common questions, which cover most topics.  We offer tips for answering the key questions but often do not give sample answers, as many of the questions lend themselves to responses that are truly candidate-specific. Also, giving boilerplate answers runs the risk of job-seekers “over-memorizing” these responses, and this can work out badly.

In short, it is perfectly natural for each candidate to have good answers to these questions that are quite different from those of another candidate.

In responding to these questions, always try to subtly highlight your skill, experiences, leadership qualities and initiative (but don’t force it!). These questions may also test how you might interact with fellow consultants and clients—use this opportunity to demonstrate that you are a “team player,” easy to get along with, and highly professional.

General Tips

  • Know your resume and cover letter backwards and forwards. We’ve mentioned this before—if you list something on your resume or mention it in a cover letter and you cannot discuss it intelligently, it is a terrible situation. This is often a deal breaker.
  • Practice, practice, practice – just like with the cases, if your friend, relative or a professional has asked you all these questions many times, when it gets to the interview you will have much less reason to say “let me think about that one.”
  • Being articulate, concise, and structuredin your answers is just as important in this component as with the cases.  Remember, there is no correct answer, but there is a good communication protocol.
  • Offeryour own experiences or examples of your knowledge where possible (try to think of these beforehand and find a way to bring them into the discussion in the interview, especially if they are impressive).
  • Always answer the actual question asked. If you are asked which has been your favorite class at school, be decisive and pick one, not two. Discuss it intelligently. And keep your discussion focused on that class, not on something else!
  • Write down each behavioral and experience interview question you come across in your preparation and have your own answer prepared for each one. Remember, there are no correct answers, but the more you’ve practiced and thought about a question, the more intelligently you can respond to it if it comes up again.

Example Questions

Behavioral and experience questions, and many of the variations of them, can be very dry and annoying—and the interviewer knows that. But they need to be done, so be prepared for them. Your goal is to come across as engaging and charming, but do not try and be too funny or witty. This can be viewed as unprofessional if taken too far.

The answers you give should reflect your personality, as you do not want to leave the impression you are a completely different person around your boss than around your friends.

Here is a collection of many examples we’ve run across over the years:

How would your previous boss/sibling/friends describe you? How about if he/she/they were to describe you in only 1 word (or 3 words, or 5 words)?

  • Be honest, but be positive. If your former boss didn’t like you (for whatever reason), be sure to mention the positive qualities that you feel confident this former boss would mention about you.
  • Be sure to describe yourself to the interviewer through the lens of the other person. Even if you perceive yourself to be a certain way, if you know that others do not, then don’t discuss this. Discuss what they would think of you, not what you would like them to think of you.
  • Usually, the words “intelligent” and “hard-working,” or something similar, should appear here. And be sure to back this up with details on why the other person would perceive you this way.

Describe a time you led a team. Describe your leadership style and the obstacles you faced as the team’s leader.

  • Firms want to recruit future leaders, and so a small part of the interview process will be around “shows signs of leadership.” These questions appear to be becoming less common, but they still occur.
  • You need to draw on your experiences and have prepared a couple examples of leadership and of obstacles faced, and how you overcame them as the leader. It can be in sports, in a college experience, or even in your previous work experience.
  • Follow-up questions might come regarding the experience or other details of your answer, so practice talking about these experiences with a smart friend who can ask good follow-up questions. Moreover, once you’ve developed your own answers, you’ll be able to use all of these answers for these types of questions in other interviews.

Describe a time when you have been part of a team. Describe challenges you faced as being part of that team. Have you ever challenged a leader/boss, whether at college or in previous work experience?

  • Similar to the previous question, firms want to recruit future leaders, but they also want to hire good team players, so there will also be questions around how you act in a team environment (remember, all Management Consulting projects are done in teams).
  • You need to draw on your experiences and have prepared a couple of solid team examples and also examples of issues you faced and how you dealt with them as a team player. Showing solid initiative is also evidence of leadership; knowing how to navigate a difficult situation in a team dynamic will earn you big-time points with the interviewer.

What would you do if you had problems with your manager or a fellow consultant on the job?

  • This is just another version of the team and leadership questions. Rather than answer directly what you would do, give an example of your own when you were faced with such a situation and describe how you dealt with it and how it might apply to the current situation.
  • A good idea for this variation of the question is to note that it really does depend on the situation and that the most important things to keep in mind as you weigh your options are respect for all individuals involved, and honoring the needs and priorities of the client.

Provide an example of when you decided to do something you did not want to do.

  • This is, surprisingly, another variety of the same question, but it is tricky. The reason is that you want to show that you are a leader and a great team player, so when answering this question be cautious to use an example that does not suggest that you failed to “step up”—i.e., failed to live up to the expectations of those around you. Much better would be to use an example where you were unsure at first whether X was the right course of action, but upon further contemplation, decided that it was—and then did X to the best of your ability.
  • You can also describe what you learned from this experience.
  • This variation is a great opportunity to touch on the subjects of maturity and self-motivation.

Discuss your interest in X (usually one of the interests you listed on your resume).

  • This question is an excellent chance to connect with the interviewer and also to continually highlight skills and experiences that will show you are going to be both an interesting person to work with and “rock star” consultant.
  • If it is a personal interest, such as poker or scuba diving, then respond honestly based on your experiences and skill level. There is a good chance the interviewer also is familiar with the area, so do not pretend to be a world-class poker player when you don’t know who Doyle Brunson is, for example. (In fact if you don’t know who Doyle Brunson is, then “poker” shouldn’t be on your resume in the first place!)
  • If the topic is work-related, the response to this question can lead to a more detailed, specific discussion, so know the basics on the topic before your interview. For example, if the question is about a particular industry listed on your resume, know basic information on the industry, like the market size, growth rate, key competitors, revenue and expense drivers, barriers to entry, core products, customers/clients, industry trends, regulatory issues, etc. If you do well on this question the interviewer will be thoroughly impressed.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

  • This question is less common today, largely because the answers to it tend to be pretty bland.
  • However, be prepared with an answer that shows an accomplishment that is not necessarily the standout point on your resume. It allows the interviewer to learn about another accomplishment that is not as obvious, and thereby gain more insight into you and respect for your abilities.

What is your biggest failure?

  • This question is also less common today.
  •  However, be prepared with an answer that shows that you really did have a difficult learning experience—some sort of obstacle to overcome—and that you really did learn something from that experience and have integrated it into how you live today. This shows resiliency, and it’s a valuable attribute to have in Consulting. To put it mildly, not all Consulting projects come off easily and smoothly. The ability to “turn lemons into lemonade” can be an asset for you in your career and in your interview process.

What are your main strengths? What kind of “strengths” feedback have you received from previous job reviews?

  • Be prepared with an answer that uses examples from your previous work and educational experiences to highlight your strengths. Be specific. This is a question you should be able to respond to automatically and flawlessly.

What are your main weaknesses? Weaknesses feedback from previous job reviews?

  • As with the “failure” question, this is about showing your ability to recognize areas for improvement. However, make sure that these areas for improvement do not include core Consulting skills! For example, don’t say something like “I’m afraid of Microsoft Excel and am worried that I’m never going to learn how to use it!”
  • A much safer response will revolve around a weakness that has been identified and resolved in the past. Be prepared with an answer that shows that you have integrated the lessons from this problem and have improved or are working on improving these weaknesses.
  • Do not give tacky responses such as “I work too hard!” or “I’m too much of a perfectionist.” These responses sound like you’re trying to present a positive quality masquerading as a weakness. The interviewer will see right through it, and it will not reflect well on you.
  • Reminder: be structured and articulate in all your answers. Since this type of question frequently pops up, you should be able to respond to this question smoothly and confidently. You’re much better off giving a mediocre answer confidently than hemming and hawing, rambling, or saying something inappropriate. In part, what the interviewer is doing here is seeing how you respond to pressure.

Was there any situation at work or in college when you regretted acting unethically?

  • Your purpose here is to use a difficult example in which you regret your decision. Be sure to express earnest regret and discuss how this has affected your behavior going forward.
  • The purpose of this question is to show the interviewer that honesty and ethics are extremely important to you. This is an area where you want to leave no doubt in their mind, especially in light of recent scandals involving senior consultants at top firms like McKinsey.
  • Reminder: be structured and articulate in your answer and describe what you learned. And for this question, be sure to come across as genuine and thoughtful.

Do you work well under pressure and manage your time well? How do you manage your time?

  • This is a silly question, because who would answer “no”? But this is an opportunity for you to highlight specific examples of you working well under pressure. Be careful to avoid examples where you could have prevented being under pressure, such as by procrastinating.
  • As for managing your time, the interviewer wants to hear how you prioritize key tasks, set specific time and action goals, maintain to-do lists, etc. If you keep a detailed, organized planner, show it to him or her and explain your system!

What was the last book you read (or film you saw)? Variation: What is your favorite book (or film)?

  • Be honest. This is an opportunity for you to highlight your interests, as long as the insights or takeaways from the book or film can be well articulated. Bonus points if the discussion can be used to highlight an important concept in the business world or in Consulting  specifically
  • For this reason, we think a book on an industry that you are interested in generally prompts good discussion.

What do you like to do on the weekend/for fun/in your spare time?

  • Be honest but be prepared for this because, like the previous question, this is an opportunity for you to highlight your interests and articulate what is it you enjoy doing (whether it is traveling, surfing or painting). You are trying to paint a picture of an interesting person whom the Consultant interviewing you would enjoy spending time with.
  • Ideally, you’ll select something that can lead to an interesting discussion about a recent experience (for example if you enjoy surfing, you might have recently been surfing for a weekend with friends, and you can provide details about the trip, what the waves were like, how the experience made you feel, why you enjoy it so much, etc.).

What are your thoughts on ethics in business?

  • For this question, in a Management Consulting interview, there is no grey area in your response to this question. You believe integrity is important and that business people should go out of their way to avoid any questionable situations.
  • You also could suggest that maintaining client confidentiality and prioritizing the needs of the client are highly valuable and necessary priorities for any successful businessperson—especially a Consultant. (For Consulting firms, these attributes are critical to their business.)
  • You also could suggest that a lack of ethics leads to a less secure and less productive business environment, and that you agree with political actions to reduce conflicts of interest.
  • In some areas of finance, some may argue that as long as you are within the law, profitable practices are good business, even if they are somewhat questionable in terms of ethics. This is absolutely not the case with Management Consulting—firms live off of their stellar ethical reputations, and the reputation of a firm (just like that of a person) can be eroded in an instant.

Resume & Cover Letter-Specific Questions

Describe yourself/your experience in 1 or 2 minutes (variant: Tell me about yourself/your work experience).

  • Many interviewers will ask you to describe yourself in a sharply limited timeframe.  Be prepared for this request and be sure that you are succinct and articulate. Remember, this person may be interviewing 12 people that day, and your job is to impress him or her quickly.
  • When you receive this question, there is a good chance that the interviewer has not had a chance read your resume completely, and is interested to see what you select to present in those few minutes.
  • Be sure to highlight your education, any key work experience and one other item that is interesting/relevant (e.g., you grew up in another country or you are an expert basket weaver).  There is no need to say why you want to be a Consultant in response to this question—that will come up later.

Describe experience X on your resume (often the experience chosen will not be the major experience that you wanted to stand out)

  • Prepare and rehearse delivering an answer for each experience/interest/line item on your resume.
  • Think about follow-up questions that could come from you describing the experience, as your description often leads to a discussion about a related topic.
  • For this question, the interviewer may intentionally be trying to catch you off-guard. Show that you can handle the pressure by responding thoughtfully and intelligently, and do your preparatory homework ahead of time.

What experience on your resume has had the greatest impact on you?

  • The answer to this question can go a lot of ways, but be cautious not to be too dramatic. Use the questions as an opportunity to highlight your skills, experience and interests—especially as they may apply in the Management Consulting profession.
  • Communication of your experiences is important, so focus on being structured, thoughtful and articulate.

Why did you leave job X or not stay in that field (such as where you did a previous summer internship)?

  • As long as you’ve prepared and practiced an answer for each experience/interest on your resume, this should not be hard. (In most cases, for college students especially, the answer is easy: it was time to return to school!)
  • If your previous job was not in Management Consulting (as an intern, for example), you can use this question as an opportunity to compare your previous experience to Management Consulting, and why you think the switch is a better fit for you.
  • You should aim to highlight the skills and insights you gained from those experiences, which will (obviously) lead in to a discussion about why you want to do Consulting. Prepare this response all the way out and rehearse it—it’s all too easy to have the response to this question fall short if you’re not prepared.

Did you get an offer to return from your previous summer internship?

  • If you did get one, that is a positive answer. Explain why you got the offer, and why you’d rather work in Consulting instead.
  • If not, find a way to logically explain why you did not. Do not go too deeply into negative details surrounding your work performance, unless you have a well-thought out way to explain how this will not happen in your next job.

What was your favorite class at college and why?

  • Again, the interviewer is trying to get to know your interests, skills, and ability to be articulate. Far less important than the subject chosen is your ability to describe it in a cogent, thoughtful, and intersting way.
  • Think about follow-up questions that could come from your description of the experience, as this description often leads to a discussion about a related topic. Rehearse responses to those follow-ups.

Why did you choose to major in X? You studied X, but now want to do Management Consulting? How are they connected?

  • The interviewer is trying to test your interest in Management Consulting. This question should not stump you. If it seems like a leap (for example, transitioning from Art History to Management Consulting), you should have a solid, rehearsed answer that makes sense.
  • Here’s a path you might take: whether you studied math or liberal arts, you can say that you learned about Consulting while at school, whatever course of study you currently taking. You can make a connection between the skills you’ve learned in your major and the job you’re applying for.
  • For true liberal arts students, we highly recommend taking a couple of business courses and/or some analytical modeling courses, so you can bring these up in an interview to show how serious you are about this career.

What drove your decision to attend X University? If an MBA, why did you decide to do an MBA and why X business school?

  • Once again, the exact answer is not as important as ability to structure your answer intelligently, and respond articulately and confidently. Demonstrate insight into the pros and cons of the school of your choice, what your experience has been like, and how these have led you to want to work in Management Consulting.
  • MBA students, who have more work experience, almost always face this question—but undergraduates are also receiving this question more and more these days. Based on your work experience and studies, therefore, you should prepare two industry areas and two capabilities that you can briefly talk about if asked.
  • If you end up discussing a particular industry, know basic information on the industry, like market size, growth rate, competitors, revenue and expense drivers, barriers to entry, core products, customers/clients, industry trends, regulatory issues, etc.
  • By showing knowledge of an industry, you will not be pigeon-holed into that area, but it does show a level of maturity and intellect to the interviewer—as well as the ability to analyze one industry (and why should this ability not be able to be translated to a different industry?).

Tell me something about you that is not on your resume.

  • The interviewer is trying to get to know your interests, skills, and ability to be articulate. He wants to learn how you handle being “caught off-guard”—i.e., a question that you are not prepared for. Be able to talk about something not on your resume but make sure it is not something that should be on your resume (e.g. lived for two years in high school in another country).
  • Think about follow-up questions that could come from you describing this experience and be ready to answer them articulately. In short, be prepared.

Consulting-Specific and Firm-Specific Questions

These questions are important to get right, as there is often doubt as to how much the candidate understands the position and what is expected, and whether he/she will be sufficiently prepared.  They also help determine whether he or she is applying to other unrelated jobs and is possibly not really that interested in Consulting or working for that particular firm.

You want to show how much you’ve spoken to Consultants and ex-Consultants, read company websites and publications, etc.  Do not be vague. Instead, offer personal examples during these questions (for example, “spoke to a senior manager at X firm working on a major renewable energy project” or “reviewed the latest article on shareholder value from your firm’s research portal”). Be sure that your answers align with your other answers, especially the career-related questions.  You also want to get across that you have the skills/characteristics that are required to be a top Consultant, and that your answers can demonstrate that you know what these characteristics are.

Some people have made consulting a career while others have used their experience as a springboard to a variety of opportunities.  Consultants have made their mark in all areas of business, finance and politics. An interviewer would like to confirm that you are ambitious, curious and have thought about your career. Importantly, then, you do not have to have definitive plans, but it is important to demonstrate the maturity to show that you have seriously considered your career.

How do you envision your career in 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, or even 20 years? (Yes, we have heard this 20-year question being asked).

  • The key here is not to say, “I’ll be senior partner at your firm,” which is a knee-jerk response of many candidates. It comes across as arrogant and patronizing. We suggest not even saying this jokingly. Instead, show that you’ve thought about your career, and importantly, how working in Management Consulting will help you in that career.
  • As for the 3-year version of this question, we would always recommend that you say that you will be learning and contributing at a top tier consulting firm, as firms do not expect candidates to be thinking about leaving so soon. They want candidates who are willing and eager to stay for at least 3 years if they are invited to do so. In that respect, saying “I’d like to be a 3rd year Consultant at your firm” is an excellent response.
  • Beyond that, showing a longer-term interest in other areas, such as being in the corporate world, politics, Private Equity or another area is perfectly fine—just be sure to demonstrate how your future plans connect to Consulting and how Consulting will help you achieve such plans.
  • If talking about graduate school, we suggest saying you are seriously considering an MBA, because bringing up other graduate and doctoral programs, at this point, can put off some interviewers (this really does vary by firm—some Consulting firms, for example, love Ph.D. programs and may have numerous doctoral graduates working in the firm).

What is your ideal job?

  • This is similar to the previous question. The key is not your answer but rather to show that it will be an environment where you feel challenged, where you will learn , and where you will make a contribution. If possible, talk about one or two specifics of Management Consulting and how this field appeals to you in this way—particularly within the context of achieving your long-term goals.
  • Remember that Consulting is a springboard to many careers in addition to being an appealing long-term career in and of itself.

What type of projects would you like to work on at (Consulting firm X)?

  • This is similar to asking what areas/capabilities interest you. It also is a way of testing whether you have done your homework, in terms of learning the type of work a Consultant does and what the firm you’re interviewing with does.
  • This can lead to an industry discussion, so if that happens, know basic information on the industry, like market size, growth rate, competitors, revenue and expense drivers, barriers to entry, core products, customers/clients, industry trends, regulatory issues, etc.
  • Use common sense. For example, if you say in the interview that you want to focus on the Media industry, but you are applying for a job at the Chicago office of Firm X, know that there will likely be far fewer media opportunities in the Chicago office than there would be if you had applied to the NYC office. In short, do your homework!
  • It is usually fine to say you want to be exposed to many industries and find that a few industries appeal to you more than others. However, showing detailed knowledge of any of these industries—even if it’s only one that you’ve been exposed to—does give you a leg up on most other candidates.
  • That said, be careful not to indicate that you are not very open to a wide range of opportunities. This could be a death sentence for your candidacy at a firm that is looking to hire generalists.
  • Note: if you are applying to a niche firm or particular group within a larger firm, obviously it is expected that you clearly articulate why you would like to specialize in that industry/niche.

If you do not get a Consulting position, what job will you seek?

  • You want to be confident that you will get a position, so this can be a tricky question. That said, a good answer would be a field that shares a lot of commonality with Management Consulting (for example, working in the Corporate Strategy department in a company, or as an analyst or junior executive at a start-up company).
  • Do not say investment banking or law school. These fields are much different from Management Consulting, and they strongly suggest a lack of passion for Management Consulting. If you happen to be interviewing for both banking and Consulting positions, you are usually better off not mentioning that at all. (We would also suggest you try to make this decision before your interviewing process begins!)

Why do you want to be a Management Consultant?

  • Use a personal example about how you came across Management Consulting and why it specifically appeals to you and your strengths. Be specific and include examples from your experiences. (For example, something like “I like work that involves problem solving in a team setting, as evidenced by…”).
  • Focus much more on getting across that you have the skills and a deep interest in business rather than discussing the career opportunities that accompany Consulting.
  • Avoid discussion of travel and any other benefits of the job and also do not bring up the specific firm for this question. The question is about Management Consulting as a general field, not about this specific firm.

How did you learn about what a Management Consultant does? How have you prepared for the interviews?

  • For this question you want to show that you took a structured approach to understand what a Management Consultant does and how you prepared for the interviews. Ideally, you will want to come across as someone who is seasoned enough at this that they could coach other candidates on how to do it!
  • Provide specific examples about how you learned about Consulting and your own preparation experiences (for example, “spoke to X number of current or former Consultants; read the following online publications or books, joined the management consulting club at school”).

Why firm X? Why firm X versus firm Y? What other firms did you apply to?

  • It is important to say that you also applied to the other firms (if indeed that is the case) but even more important to emphasize that Firm X (the firm you are interviewing with) is your preferred firm for a number of reasons (be sure to articulate them).
  • Note that this is a silly question for them to ask, since you will need to change your answer to this question for every firm you interview with, but it is part of the game, and if you want to succeed, you will have to play along convincingly.
  • Do not hold back mentioning other equivalent or more highly regarded firms that you are interviewing at, as this does make you more appealing to the interviewer. However, be prepared to go into detail about advantages that the firm you’re currently interviewing with has relative to the other firms.
  • The most important thing here is to highlight a few things that you’ve learned about the firm you’re interviewing with. This can be things you’ve learned from the firm’s published materials, but it can also from the people you have interacted with in the interviewing process.

What skills do you believe are crucial to success in management consulting?

  • You could mention many skills, but it is important to mention at least some of the following (these are the kinds of people they are looking for):
    • Strong work ethic
    • Attention to detail
    • Ability to grasp complex concepts quickly (the steep learning curve in the Consulting industry is as appealing as it is daunting!)
    • Intellectually curious and rigorous
    • Strong analytical and quantitative skills

Are you also applying to investment banks?

  • We do not recommend you lie, but telling an interviewer that you also applied to investment banks does sometimes lead to immediate rejection. This is true even though many candidates at top schools apply for both. Perhaps the best response, if you are indeed looking at both, is to suggest that you are interviewing with some investment banks, but that you will take any Consulting offer you may get, even over the most prestigious investment banking firm.
  • If you have a diplomatic way of avoiding this question without lying and without coming across as disingenuous or evasive, then more power to you! But importantly, we feel you should not be dishonest. If nothing else, it sets a very bad precedent for your behavior in a business context.
  • Note: Consulting and investment banking jobs are extremely difficult to get—we at Street of Walls strongly suggest you decide upon which field you are more interested in early, so that you focus on either Management Consulting or investment banking only, to maximize your chance of securing a position. (If you do this, you’ll also be able to answer this question truthfully as well!)

If you were presented with the chance to join a private equity firm or strategy division at an attractive corporation early in your tenure, would you take the position?

  • This is a somewhat silly question, as in reality you would at least consider the opportunity. But we highly recommend that you say that if you wanted to do Private Equity or corporate strategy, you would have searched directly for such a position.
  • Good things to add to this response are things like “I’ve spent a lot of time talking to Consultants and am certain that I want to at least spend a few years working as a Management Consultant,” or “once I’ve made a commitment to anything, I feel as strong personal obligation to meet that commitment—irrespective of other, hypothetical opportunities that may come along.”

Business And Current Events Knowledge Questions

Management consulting recruiting is competitive. If you are not both interested in business and already reading business and market news, then perhaps you are not really as interested in Management Consulting as you think you are.  In other words: even while you are a student, you should be reading newspapers and keeping abreast of ongoing business events.

You do not have to know all of the business issues going on, but you do need to have a broad view of the key current events, as well as some deeper knowledge of a couple of specific events or trends. It is rare that you will be asked about a specific news item—unless, of course, it relates to something that you have discussed.  If, for example, you stress a deep interest in healthcare and there has been major news on the healthcare industry, you might be asked for your understanding and opinion, so be ready.

 What newspapers/publications do you read? What interesting business books have you read?

  • You can say that you have little time given your study load, but that you briefly read publication X and Y whenever you get the chance.  The Economist, Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times are all Consultant favorites.
  • The question about books does not come up very often. Preferably, you should be ready to briefly talk about one or two popular business books. Also ask which books the interviewer recommends you to read, if the topic comes up.

Describe a recent business event that interests you.

  • The key here is the structure of your response. You should succinctly articulate the event/issue as you understand it—whether it is a recent merger, strategic announcement, bankruptcy, stock market performance trend, or any other of a wide range of business topics. Ideally, you can then lead the topic to an area that you are interested in and can speak intelligently about it—particularly if you are able to steer this into implications for different business or industries. (For example, you might talk about rising commodity prices and how this might be putting pressure on gross profit margins on certain types of businesses.)
  • This is your chance to show how you can intelligently present and discuss a business topic, as well as discuss potential ramifications—this is the heart and soul of the job of being a Management Consultant.
  • This can also lead to an in-depth industry discussion, so if possible, try to be aware of the basic information about the industry: market size, growth rate, competitors, revenue and expense drivers, barriers to entry, core products, customers/clients, industry trends, regulatory issues, etc.

What industry do you see evolving/transforming and why?

  • This is similar to the previous question about recent business issues. It is not a common question, but does provide an opportunity for you to offer insight into on a particular industry.

Is there a particular Company and/or CEO that impresses and inspires you?

  • You should have a structured answer as to why you are impressed by a particular company and also by a particular CEO.  The CEO does not have to be the CEO of the Company that you are impressed with, though doing it this way could make your research easier.
  • Preparing for such a question could help you get familiar with a specific industry, which would be helpful for the two preceding questions.
  • Follow-up questions are likely, so be sure to have good insights into the Company and also into the CEO that you select. It would also be helpful if you could memorize some information about the industry that the company operates in (see two previous questions).

If I were doing research and wanted to gain insight into a particular aspect of a Company or industry, what approach would you recommend?

  • This question and variants of it are a way to test both your knowledge of how Consultants operate, as well as your ability to think outside the box.
  • Start with the usual sources: company filings, industry data, Company presentations, media articles, and a web search.
  • Next, enumerate other possible sources of information: contacting industry experts, such as customers, competitors, distributors, industry journalists, industry association executives, suppliers, industry executives, and former/retired executives.
  • This question very frequently has follow-ups, so be flexible. Try to decide, based on the follow-up questions and prompts, which of these information sources would be useful. If you have working knowledge of the analytical techniques that might be used to address the issue being discussed, be sure to mention it in whatever level of detail you feel comfortable.

Questions for the Interviewer

In addition to interacting and asking questions about the Case Study during an interview, you should attempt to ask the interviewer about his or her own experiences in Consulting. Management Consultants tend to like talking about their own experiences, and we believe that you will benefit if you prompt the interviewer to talk a lot about their experiences. It will teach you more about the firm and the industry, and convey the feeling that you are interested in the interviewer’s life and work. Some potential questions (or a variant of these questions) to ask the interviewer, or ideas for generating smart questions to ask, include the following:

  • The interviewer will likely give you his/her background and experience with the firm. A good question is to show how alert you are and ask about something he/she mentioned (for example: “You mentioned time spent in a foreign office/on a project in a certain city. How did you enjoy this experience and what did you learn?”)
  • Ask about something specific (positive and/or negative) that you have heard about the firm. You will need to reveal where you learned it. This shows you are doing real homework about the firm and are therefore a serious job candidate.
  • If you know a particular firm is strong in an area you are interested in, it is definitely worth asking questions about that area, and asking whether it will be possible for you to speak to a manager or partner who focuses on that area to learn more about it. Firms typically hire generalists, but certain partners and managers like to hire Consultants with knowledge and interest in their focus areas. If the Consultant you are interviewing with works in that area, all the better.
  •  “Are you focused on a particular industry or capability? How did you choose this industry or capability? Do you have favorite industries or capabilities?”
  • “What has been your most interesting case (or study or project or engagement)? In your opinion, what are the key components that make a case (or study or project or engagement) interesting?”
  • “After 3 months on the job, what did you realize about Management Consulting that was not obvious to you prior to starting?”
  • “How is the current economy impacting the management consulting business? Not just in terms of the total volume of cases (studies/projects/engagements) but also in the types of cases (studies/projects/engagements) your firm is working on?”
  • “Are there any books or articles that you highly recommend I read as I go through the interview process to learn more about Consulting, business strategy or analytical methods used in the industry?”
  • “I have heard that the firm has a strong mentoring and training program. Could you please tell me more about it? What has your experience been like?”
  • “How is the case (study/project/engagement) team selected? Do junior consultants get any say on the which cases (studies/projects/engagements) they will work on?”
  • “What differentiates a good analyst Consultant from a ‘rock star’ analyst Consultant?”
  • “What part of this job do you find most satisfying? Most challenging?”

Math-Oriented Interview Questions

There are many challenging aspects of Management Consulting interviews, and without a doubt, one such area is the ability to do fairly basic math during the Case Study questions and other quantitative questions that come up.

In real life, we all have access to computers and calculators.  However, it is critical to be able to show you can think through basic math problems without these aids, because you’ll be doing this all the time on the job.  For example, you may be running a growth strategy project for a client, and the client may ask something like “What if I were to boost that division’s volume by 10%?  What would be the impact on profit?”  You could always calculate an exact answer with computational help, but to be able to provide an approximate answer on the spot is useful and reassuring to the client.

The math problems posed in consulting interviews are rarely difficult—provided, of course, that you’ve practiced many cases. Thus, in addition to our separate Consulting Case Study Training Guide, below we offer you over 60 sample Consulting interview math questions below. A variant of any of these questions could come up as part of any interview. By practicing these questions and the techniques needed to solve them, you will dramatically increase your speed and accuracy at answering the quantitative questions that arise so frequently in Consulting interviews. (These skills will also help you succeed on the job as a Consultant!)

Example Math Questions

    1. Assume a new Steinway piano costs $25,000 in China. Piano is popular in China, with more children playing piano in China than there are children in the United States. Assume 0.05% of the approximately 400 million households in China will purchase a new Steinway in the next decade.  What will be Steinway’s total revenue in China over the next decade?
    2. Answer: $5 billion. (The key to this problem is to get your powers of ten correct.)

    3. If the elasticity of demand for Australian beer is 0.9, and the average customer buys 4 beers when the price is $1.50 per beer, how many beers will the average customer purchase when the price is $1.00?
    4. Answer: 5 beers (5.2 is the exact answer, but round to 5 as you cannot buy 5.2 beers).

    5. Norwegian expressionist Edvard Munch’s The Scream recently became the most expensive artwork sold at auction, selling for $119.9 million. Assuming Sotheby’s takes a 1% commission of the sales price and that the seller initially paid $90 million for the painting, approximately what was the return on the investment for the seller?
    6. Answer: 31.89%. (Remember that this is an estimation question, but you should try to get close.)

    7. Linkedin’s Press Center claims that professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a “rate of approximately two new members per second.” If this trend continues, approximately how many professionals will sign up for Linkedin in the next 21 days?
    8. Answer: 3.456 million. (Estimation; try to get close.)

    9. An emerging Spanish dress designer’s revenue in the past year was $240,000, selling 3,000 units at $80 per unit. The fixed production costs were $19,800, and the variable production costs were $180,000.   The fixed selling costs were $7,500 and variable selling costs were $21,000. Net income before taxes was $11,700.  What is the breakeven output of units?
    10. Answer: 2,100 units. (There is an easy way and a difficult way to arrive at the same answer.)

    11. How many hours were there between December 22nd, 2011 and April 17th, 2012?
    12. Answer: 2,808 hours. (Estimation and thought process are key; try to get close. Don’t forget the leap year.)

    13. Assume 50 working weeks per year, and 40 hours of work a week. What is the average hourly wage for a salary of $80,000?
    14. Answer: $40 per hour. (Dividing $80,000 by 2,000 is the same as 80 divided by 2.)

    15. The Flowertree Hotel in Shanghai has three types of rooms. The Standard (60 rooms at $200 per night), the King Terrace (40 rooms at $300 per night), and the Mayfair Suite (20 rooms at $450 per night). If the occupancy is as follows per room type per night (Standard 80%, King Terrace 70%, Mayfair Suite 60%), what is the total revenue for the night?
    16. Answer: $23,400 revenue per night. (Use paper to track the pieces.)

    17. The population of China grew from approximately 1.26 billion people in 2000 to 1.36 billion people in 2012. By approximately what percent did the population increase?
    18. Answer: 7.9%. (Demonstrating long division—use paper. Try to come up with an initial estimate before diving into the mechanics of division.)

    19. How many days were there between Monday, January 3rd, 2011 and Saturday, May 5th, 2012?
    20. Answer: 488 days. (Estimation and thought process are key; try to get close. Don’t forget the leap year.)

    21. The population of France is currently 65 million people. If the population grows at a rate of 0.5% per year, approximately what will the population of France be in 20 years?
    22. Answer: 71.82 million. (Note that a good initial estimate is 0.5% × 20 = 10% growth, i.e., 71.5 million. Give this estimate first, then note that the correct answer will be slightly higher because of compounding.)

    23. Seek Limited, a global online employment company, achieved an EBIT margin of 39% on approximately $400M revenue in 2011.  Assuming sales remain constant, for EBIT to be $180M in 2012, approximately what is the minimum EBIT margin Seek Limited must achieve?
    24. Answer: 45%. (Simple division, but there is extraneous information in this problem. There often is on Consulting math questions.)

    25. The average American consumes approximately 150 pounds of sugar per year while the average German consumes approximately 110 pounds of sugar per year. Assuming the German population is 80 million and the U.S. population is 300 million, how many pounds of sugar are consumed in these two countries per year?
    26. Answer: 53.8 billion pounds of sugar. (Use paper to calculate and track the pieces.)

    27. If 0.0146 Euros = 1 Indian Rupee, approximately how many Euros is equivalent to 14,000 rupees?
    28. Answer: 205.07 Euros. (Try to come up with an initial estimate first. See why 210 is a good estimate.)

    29. On July 5th, 2011, RIMM’s (the owner of Blackberry) stock price was $28.92. A year later on July 3rd, 2012 the stock price closed at $7.35. Approximately what percent did the stock price fall over that period?
    30. Answer: 74.59%. (Try estimation first—it’s very easy to get very close to the correct answer quickly.)

    31. A building contractor purchased 3000 Silica bricks and 2000 Alumina bricks. If a Silica brick is 40% more expensive than an Alumina brick, approximately what percentage of the total cost is Alumina brick?
    32. Answer: 32.25%. (Calculate the pieces first. It may help to assume a specific price per brick for one of the types.)

    33. imababybrand.com is a recently launched baby clothes online retailer that had 17,000 unique visitors last month. If the number of visitors to the site doubles in the next month and triples in the following month, what will be the total number of visitors over those three months?
    34. Answer: 102,000 visitors. (17,000 × 2 × 3.)

    35. Assume an architect at a major firm earns $36 per working hour and that she works 50 weeks per year, and 40 hours per week. What is the annual salary of this architect?
    36. Answer: $72,000 salary. ($36 × 2,000.)

    37. Assume the size of the U.S. candle industry is $600M and is forecast to grow 10% per annum for the next two years.  What will be the size of the market in two years?
    38. Answer: $726M.  ($600M × 1.1 × 1.1. Note that 10% each year for two years does NOT equal 20% over two years. But starting with an estimate of $720M, and saying this is slightly too low, is a reasonable start.)  

    39. A limousine company in Chicago charges $35 for the first 5 miles and then $4 per additional mile. What is the cost of a 21 mile trip?
    40. Answer: $99. ($35 + $4 × [21 – 5].)

    41. Huy, an in-house Strategy Consultant at a major retail chain, was asked to determine what percentage of female visitors to its stores made a purchase. If 70% of store visitors are female and 20% of those visitors made a purchase, what percent of all purchases are made by females?
    42. Answer: (This is a trick question. It cannot be determined without knowing what percent of visiting males make a purchase. Say 10% of visiting males make a purchase. In that case, the correct answer would be  (20% × 70%) ÷ [(20% × 70%) + (10% × 30%)] = 82.4%.

    43. A non-married couple each earns $95,000 and each pay 28% in federal taxes. Once married, the couple will have to pay 33% tax if their combined income is over $160,000. How much more federal taxes will the couple have to pay once they are married?
    44. Answer: $9,500. (The easiest way to calculate this is to look at the difference in tax rates, i.e., 5%. Note that this is NOT how the US tax code works!)

    45. In 2010, 18% of directors on the boards of the Fortune 100 companies were female. Assuming 9 directors per company, how many female directors sit on boards of Fortune 100 companies?
    46. Answer: 162 directors. (100 × 9 × 18%.)

    47. Assume that gasoline costs $2.70 per gallon. How many gallons can a driver purchase with a $50 note?
    48. Answer: 18.5 gallons. ($50 ÷ $2.70.)

    49. A major Sydney cinema chain charges $10 for a general admission ticket and sells an estimated 1,000,000 tickets per year. The CEO believes that the firm would sell 1,300,000 tickets if prices were $8. How much incremental revenue would the cinema chain earn if the CEO’s projections are correct?
    50. Answer: $400,000. (Calculate the pieces on paper and subtract.)

    51. Brazil has an estimated population of 195 million people, 27% of which are younger than 14 years of age. Approximately how many people in Brazil are under 14 years of age?
    52. Answer: 52.65 million. (Try to estimate first.)

    53. Approximately 115 students of Yale Law School’s 2014 class are female. There are 250 students in the class. What percentage of the is female?
    54. Answer: 46%. (115 ÷ 250.)

    55. An ergonometric furniture store in San Francisco has three types of ergonomic chairs. The Everyday, Home and Deluxe. For every Deluxe chair, there are 4 Home chairs, and for every Everyday chair, there are 0.5 Deluxe chairs. What percent of chairs are Deluxe?
    56. Answer: 14.29%. (The best way to solve this problem is to pick a number of a certain type of chair (say, Home) and solve for the rest.)

    57. Elizabeth drove a Ferrari for 3 hours, averaging 60 mph for the first hour and 90 mph for the remainder of the trip. What was the average mph?
    58. Answer: 80 mph. (Do not fall into the trap of averaging the speeds. Calculate total distance, and then divide by total time.)

    59. Google’s profit margin was approximately 26% on revenue of $38 billion in 2011. If Google’s 2012 revenue increases 10% and its 2012 profit margin increases to 30%, what will Google’s profit be in 2012?
    60. Answer: $12.54 billion. (30% × [$38 × 1.1]).

    61. There were approximately 18,000 public payphones in Australia as of January 2012, down 7.7% from a year earlier. Approximately, how many public payphones were there in Australia a year earlier?
    62. Answer: 19,500. (Remember that you cannot add 7.7% to the 18,000 figure. Instead, divide 18,000 by [1 – 7.7%]. Along the way, try to come up with an estimate before diving into the long division.)

    63. A Hong Kong real estate broker typically gets 3% commission on the rental cost incurred in the first year of a rental. What is the commission on a $2,500-per-month apartment?
    64. Answer: $1,200. (3% × $2,500 × 12.)

    65. A boutique clothing business in San Diego has an average selling price per unit of $17.  Fixed expenses are $140,000 while variable expenses are $4 COGS per unit and $3 selling expenses per unit. How many units does the business need to sell to earn a profit of $42,000 (the owner has decided to close the business if it earns less than $42,000)?
    66. Answer: 18,200 units. (Variable profit is $10 per unit. [$140,000 + $42,000] ÷ $10 = $18,200.)

    67. If 1 Canadian dollar is equivalent to 1.05 U.S. dollars, how many Canadian dollars does $9,450 U.S. dollars buy?
    68. Answer: 9,000 Canadian dollars. ($9,450 ÷ 1.05.)

    69. Prior to Google’s IPO in 2004, investors were offered shares in Google at a price of $85 per share.  In mid-2012 one of the initial investors sold her stock for $580 per share. Assuming this investor had to pay long-term capital gains tax of 15%, approximately what was her total after-tax return on investment in Google?
    70. Answer: 495%. (Break this down into pieces. Pre-tax return = $495. After-tax return = $495 × (1 – 15%) = $420.75. $420.75 ÷ $85 = 4.95 = 495%. Note also that the price was $85 in the problem—100 times the after tax proceeds of (1 – 15%) = 85%. This makes the math much easier.)

    71. A liter of cola syrup costs $6. If a liter of cola syrup, when mixed with water, produces 15 liters of cola, how much is the cost of producing a liter of cola? (Assume no cost for the water.)
    72. Answer: $0.40. ($6 × 1/15.)

    73. Kee’s Chocolates, a NYC chocolate store, sells an 8-piece box for $20 and a 16-piece box for $36. How much cheaper, on a percent basis, is it per piece if a customer buys the 16-piece box?
    74. Answer: 10%. ($20 ÷ $8 = $2.5 while $36 ÷ $16 = $2.25. The difference is $0.25 per piece, or $10% of the price per piece of $2.50 for the 8-piece box.)

    75. Assume 1 British pound is equivalent to 1.25250501 Euros. Approximately what is the equivalent in Euros of 1.1 million British pounds?
    76. Answer: 1,377,755 Euros. (Estimate in this case. For example, 1.25250501 is about 1.25, or 5/4. 5/4 of 1.1 million is 5.5/4, or 11/8, which is 1.375 million.)

    77. Ksubi, a high-end jeans brand, sells its jeans at retail stores for an average of $220. The total cost of producing the jeans is $160 (including transport, marketing, etc.). Approximately what is the profit margin on Ksubi jeans?
    78. Answer: 27.27%. ([$220 – $160] ÷ $220.)

    79. Coca-Cola has an estimated 42% market share while Dr Pepper Snapple has an estimated 16.7% market share in the U.S. carbonated soft drinks market. If Coca Cola and Dr. Pepper Snapple increase their own volumes by a total of 5% and the remaining volume remains constant, approximately what will be the combined market share of Coca Cola and Dr. Pepper Snapple?
    80. Answer: 59.88%. (Add the two shares together to get 58.7%. The increase in the total market is 58.7% × 5% = 2.935%. [58.7% + 2.935%] ÷ [100% + 2.935%] = 59.88%. A reasonable estimate is 60%.)

    81. Assume gasoline costs $1.45 per gallon and Charlie’s car averages 44.2 miles per gallon. How many miles could Charlie drive assuming the tank was empty and he spent $10 on gasoline?
    82. Answer: 305 miles. (Estimate first: 44 × about 7 = about 300. $10 ÷ $1.45 × 44.2 = 304.82.)

    83. A shoe store offers a 50% discount if a customer purchases a second pair of shoes. If 40% of customers that purchase shoes also purchase a second pair, no one buys more than two pairs, and 154 pairs of shoes are purchased in a day, how many customers purchased shoes?
    84. Answer: 110 pairs of shoes. (For every 100 first pairs of shoes that are purchased, there will be 40 second pairs purchased. Therefore the answer is 154 ÷ (100% + 40%) = 110.)

    85. Adam Chavez can read 100 pages in 40 minutes.  How many pages can Adam Chavez read in 4 hours?
    86. Answer: 600 pages. (He reads 150 pages per hour, or 2.5 pages per minute.)

    87. Mongolia’s estimated gross domestic product (GDP) for 2011 was $8.5 billion. If Mongolia’s GDP grows 10% per year over the next 5 years and 7% per year over the following 5 years, approximately what will be Mongolia’s GDP in 10 years?
    88. Answer: About $19.0 billion. (Work with the percentage growth first. After five years, the multiple is 1.1^5 = 1.61. After 5 more years, it is 1.61 × 1.07 ^5 = 1.61 × 1.40. Thus the total multiple is around 2.24. 2.24 × $8.5 = $19.04 billion. Estimation is key here.)

    89. An Air France flight from Boston to Paris on a Boeing 777-200 has 262 seats. Premiere class has 12 seats at $2,400 per ticket, business class has 30 seats at $1,500 per ticket, and economy class is $800 per ticket. Premiere class and business class occupancy is 100% and economy class is 90% full. 4 people in business used frequent flyer points to pay for the flight. What is the revenue for this flight?
    90. Answer: $226,200. (Use paper to add up the pieces, and don’t forget to subtract $6,000 for the people who used points to pay for the flight.)

    91. A hair salon had total revenue last week of $22,400.  The average haircut price per client is $60 and 1 in 5 clients also spent $20 on hair products. How many clients did the salon have last week?
    92. Answer: 350 clients. (The average client spends 1/5 × $20 = $4 on hair products, so the average “ticket” is $64. $22,400 ÷ $64 = 350.)

    93. Revenue from one of Indonesia’s largest goldmines increased from $100 million to $200 million between 2007 and 2011. What was the compounded annual growth rate of the revenue?
    94. Answer: 19% CAGR. (Estimate using the Rule of 72. If it takes 4 years to double, the annual growth rate is about 72 ÷ 4 = 18, thus about 18%.)

    95. Mr. Paulson purchased a vintage high-end British bicycle for $4,000 and spent $1,800 on repairs. Six months later, Mr. Paulson sold his bicycle at an auction for $6,400. Approximately, what is his return on total investment?
    96. Answer: Approximately 10.3%. ($600 profit on $5,800 invested. Note quickly that this is just over 10%.)

    97. Texas Instruments sells its most popular scientific calculator for $35, making a 15% profit margin on this product line. What is the average production cost for this calculator?
    98. Answer: $29.75. (If profit is 15% of $35, then cost is 85% of $35.)

    99. There are 12 black socks and 12 white socks together in a drawer. It is dark and you cannot tell them apart. What is the smallest number of socks you need to take out without looking to be sure to have a matching pair?
    100. Answer: 3 socks. (The second sock may be a differ from the first, but if so, the third sock is guaranteed to match one of the first two.)

    101. The population of London is 7.7 million people. Assume 80% of London’s population is old enough to drink beer, half this population likes beer, and that each person who likes beer drinks 3 bottles of beer per week. How many bottles of beer does London’s population drink in a year?
    102. Answer: About 480 million bottles. (52 × 80% × 50% × 3 × 7.7 million. Try to estimate first, by noting that a beer drinker drinks about 150 bottles per week, and that 40% of the population are beer drinkers.)

    103. If 0.5% of Thailand’s 70 million people can afford to purchase a BMW, and 5% of these people purchase a BMW, how many BMWs are purchased in Thailand each year?
    104. Answer: 17,500. (350,000 can afford it, and 5% of these people actually buy one.)

    105. The market for Californian wine in China has been growing at a rate 12% per year over the past 5 years and is now $635 million. What were Californian wine sales in China 5 years ago?
    106. Answer: About $360 million. (Estimate first. Note that at 12% growth for 5 years, the consumption has nearly, but not quite, doubled.)

    107. Toby’s Estate, a hipster coffee shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, sells an average of 628 coffees per day at an average price of $2.85. The total cost to make a coffee is $1.75 (includes fixed and variable costs). Approximately what is the weekly profit of Toby’s Estate?
    108. Answer: $4,836. (Note that variable profit per cup is $1.10. Estimate originally: about 600 × $1.1 × 7, or a bit more than $4,600. If you want to make the interviewer laugh, ask whether customers need to have ironic mustaches in order to be served.)

    109. Brazil has an estimated population of 195 million people and its most populated city is Sao Paulo, with 11.3 million people. Approximately what percent of Brazilians live in Sao Paulo?
    110. Answer: 5.79%. (Estimate first. Roughly, this is about 11 ÷ 200, or 5.5%.)

    111. How many minutes are there between Sunday, March 4th, 2012 and Wednesday, June 27th, 2012?
    112. Answer: 165,600 minutes. (This question is a good opportunity to demonstrate your ability to break a large task down into pieces. Start by calculating the number of minutes per day. Then calculate the number of days. Try to estimate along the way. At some point, you may note that it is about 120 × 1,400 or roughly 170,000. Then dive into the exact calculation.)

    113. Richard Branson is selling special chocolate chip cookies at $4 per dozen. After selling 50 dozen, he believes that he can charge more. He increases the price to $6 per dozen and sells 40 dozen. What is the elasticity of demand?
    114. Answer: The elasticity of demand = 0.4. (Percent change in quantity = –20%. Percent change in price is 50%. 20%/50% = 0.4.)

    115. Approximately 15% of applicants to Columbia Business School were accepted out of the 6,700 applicants for the 2011 class. How many applicants were accepted?
    116. Answer: 1,005 applicants accepted. (6,700 × 15%. Note early that this should be very close to 1,000.)

    117. A BMX manufacturer has fixed expenses of $100,000 and variable expenses of $100 to manufacture each BMX. The sale price per BMX is $300. What is the number of units the manufacturer is required to sell to breakeven?
    118. Answer: 5,000. (Note that variable profit is $200, so $100,000 ÷ $200.)

    119. Business Unit 1 in Company A is a $30M business that is forecast to grow at 20% this year.  Business Unit 2 achieved sales of $10M but is forecast to grow at 40% this year.  These are the only two business units in Company A.  How fast will the overall company grow this year?
    120. Answer: 25%. ($30M × 20% = $6M in growth from BU1; $10M × 40% = $4M in growth from BU2.  $10M in total growth off of a $40M total company size ($30M+ $10M) = 25%.)

    121. Assume the famous French chocolate brand Valrhona has 5% market share of the $11.1 billion chocolate market in France.  If the total market size grows 2% and Valrhona increases its share to 6% next year, approximately what will be Valrhona’s revenue next year?
    122. Answer: $679 million. (Note that Valrhona’s revenue would be $666 million if the market didn’t grow; then, add 2%, which is $13.32 million.)

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