So first of all I would like to congratulate you for getting placed at Auctus Advisors.
So without wasting much time let’s start the interview
So the first question is what was the general interview process for the companies that you interviewed mentioning the number of rounds and the nature of the interview process?
I was interviewed for 3 consulting firms, BCG, EY Parthenon and Auctus Advisors. Generally the selection process for consulting firms starts early from August or September. The first step in the process is CV shortlisting followed by case interviews which can vary from Buddy calls, Manager/Director level calls to the final Partner rounds. In BCG, 30 students were shortlisted for the case interview process followed by 2 to 3 Buddy rounds which are said to be non evaluative. 10 students out of the entire pool were called for the final interview rounds in Kolkata where another 3–4 rounds were conducted with the Managers and the Partner before the final offers were rolled out. Similar was the case for the EY Parthenon, the initial shortlist was of 17 students followed by an on-campus Buddy round and 2 interviews with the Managers on VC. They finally called 7–8 students for the final interviews in Mumbai where another 3 rounds were conducted with the Managers and the Partner. For Auctus Advisors, the process starts a little late, the CV submission is done from the CDC platform only and the shortlist is released by October. The process is again similar, starting with a buddy round followed by a Manager and a Director round on VC. 10 students were shortlisted for the final round on Day 1 of the placements and another 3–4 rounds were conducted with the Directors before shortlisting the final candidates for the job role.
Could you mention some questions which were asked to you in the different rounds like puzzle questions, technical questions?
So for consulting the interview process is a bit different than conventional companies. In consulting, case interviews are given more importance as a part of the selection process. As any other interview, it starts with you introducing yourself to the interviewer followed by a couple of cases that need to be structurally solved and concluded with the help of the interviewer at each step followed by some HR questions depending on the interviewer. There are no separate HR rounds in the process as the nature of the interviews are such that communication skills and fit for the role becomes an eccentric part of the process itself.
What were some of the common questions asked by every company?
Some of the common questions that can be well prepared before the interviews include “Tell me about yourself? “ which is often an underrated question taken by the students. It is very important to keep this in mind that the initial introduction sets the tone of the interview, so a crisp and preferably structured answer prepared for the same helps in going a long way along with the case interview process. Other questions could be along the lines of Why Consulting? Why Firm? and other basic HR questions that can be prepared as well.
What students must definitely prepare for before facing the interviewer?
The students who are willing to apply for consulting job roles need to start preparing early from the summers itself. They can start with forming a case group with 3–4 like minded students aiming for the similar profiles. Next step would be to draft their own CVs/Cover Letters from scratch. A lot of thought process goes into reflecting yourself on a piece of paper, so it is very crucial to get your CV rectified by seniors and understand what is relevant and what is not. Though the timelines will be very unpredictable this time, the students can still make use of this time to get through some of the basic theories/frameworks and guesstimates given in the resources like Victor Cheng videos, Day 1.0 and Case Interview Cracked and start practicing cases with their groups as soon as they reach campus.
Any advice to the students who would be sitting for placement this year from now till December so that they can maximize their chance of getting placed in a consultancy firm?
With respect to consulting, there are very few companies that visit the campus for placements and have limited openings. At the same time it is important to realize that the process for case preparation is not limited to select few companies like these but relevant to many other companies/roles that require a similar skill set. Being said that, in terms of suggestions in preparation as per my experiences, it is equally important to periodically reflect back on previous cases and evolve your approach step by step. Recording your own cases and reviewing them back is a handy approach to improve case flows. For me personally, solving unconventional cases helped me a lot in improving my structure and could work out for you as well, if structuring is at all a problem. It is equally important to understand the role of a good interviewer while practicing cases within the group and make sure the feedback is as detailed as possible after each case. Though the process demands a lot of time, efforts and commitment, I can surely say that the experience is rewarding beyond results and the offer is just a cherry on the cake.
How did you prepare for technical rounds like coding rounds or something in a similar manner?
Well there are no such coding rounds if you are applying for a consulting role as we discussed earlier, there are only case interviews and the case preparation for the same can be done through various resources like Day 1.0 from IIT Madras, Case Interview Cracked from IIT Bombay and Case Interview Secrets and LMOS by Victor Cheng. The starting point can be the Victor Cheng videos followed by the basic theory/frameworks given in Day 1.0 and CIC. There are a couple of solved cases also which the students can go through to understand how the flow for a case interview works. Rest of the cases need to be practiced with the group starting with Profitability cases followed by Market Entry and Unconventional cases. Within these sections also students can start with 1 star then 2 star cases and so on to develop a strong hold on the case solving mechanism. Doing guesstimates is another crucial thing which helps in broadening your thinking process. There could be many ways to solve a guesstimate, so students should try and brainstorm multiple methodologies to solve the same guesstimate and discuss it within their groups. Solving just a lot of cases should not be the priority, understanding the fundamentals and strengthening the first principles step by step are much more important.
So, any higher knowledge of coding or finance is not required?
No, nothing of that sort is required. All your previous experiences, be it in any field needs to be properly reflected on your CV which is the first step of the shortlisting process. Just in case the interviewer decides to grill you on your CV, you should be in a position to justify your work. After getting shortlisted, the majority of the focus is on your case solving skills in the interviews, rest everything becomes secondary.
What were your participations and involvements during your stay at Kgp?
Throughout my stay in the campus one of my singular focuses was to proactively try out various things which excites me to be a part of it. Moving ahead in this direction, I got various opportunities to explore in robotics, research, core and finance to find out the best fit for myself. The internships I did added more perspective to the kind of work culture that best suits me, the organizations I worked for nurtured my leadership and team working skills, the projects and the competitions helped me realize the importance of implementing my knowledge to something tangible. All these experiences contributed in some way or the other to help me figure out the right choice and consulting looked like a natural fit to go ahead.
Any advice that you want to impart on students?
My advice to all the final year students sitting for placements would be to first of all ask themselves what are the profiles they are really interested in. Once they have decided that this is the kind of profile that they want to go for, they should start reaching out to seniors who are working in these firms to understand whether it is a right fit for themselves or not and then start enquiring about the selection processes and the kind of preparation that is needed for the same. Placements is a long process and it provides a lot of options/opportunities for the students to apply from. So it is very important to be aware as well as informed about the prospective role you want to end up with, as it comes with a commitment for at least a year or so.