Hello, I’m Arka, a secretary at Communiqué, and today we have with us Mr. Apoorv Bansal who recently bagged an internship at Bain and Co. Hello Apoorv, Good Afternoon, how are you doing today?
Hello Arka! I am doing well, and how about you?
I am fine as well. Firstly,heartiest congratulations to you for bagging an internship at Bain and Co., one of the topmost management consulting firms in the world. So here goes the first question. What was the general interview process for the companies you interviewed? Could you also mention the number of rounds and the nature of the interview process?
Okay, so there were 3 rounds after CV Shortlisting. 1st round was a case round that lasted for around 40 minutes followed by another case round (2nd round) of 20–25 minutes followed by the final HR round (10 mins)
Nature of the interviews:
1st round was majorly interviewer driven, where the interviewer was giving me data points, and relevant information to drive the case. Whereas the 2nd round was a lot different, here I had to create several hypotheses around the problem statement, finally narrowing it down to the solutions.
PS: Post shortlisting, we were allotted mentors (Bain employees) with whom we had our mock interview rounds, but those were non-evaluative. Those mock interviews helped me a lot to get acquainted with the case-solving process.
That was insightful. Coming to the second question, Could you please list the questions that were asked in the different rounds? Cases, HR Discussions, or puzzles in general that you think will prove to be helpful for students.
: There were 2 types of questions, purely case-based and then CV based. Here are the round-wise detailed questions:
Case: “Suppose the CEO of an e-commerce company approached you, and they are running a loyalty program for a year, and you need to calculate the cost incurred in implementing the loyalty program.”
Now, as I dived into the case, there were different questions. E.g. In the end, when I calculated the cost invested in the program, the interviewer asked me, “How would you report this to the CEO, and what will be your recommendations to reduce this cost”.
CV: “Any experience you would like to share and what were your key takeaways from that experience.”
Case: “Suppose you are the CEO of a toothbrush manufacturing company and your R&D head approaches you. He has developed a special toothbrush that lasts forever, and it has been made using a special plastic, and chemical. Basically, it is a future toothbrush, you can use it as long as you can. Now you have to build a hypothesis and talk about the pros and cons of this product.”
After that, he moved into Pricing where he asked “If we have to launch the product in the market, then how should we price it?”
And then the 3rd one which I feel is one of the most important ones for consulting companies. Here, I was asked:
a) Why Consulting, and Why particularly Bain?
b) Where do you see yourself in the next 3–5 years?
c) My CV was more inclined towards Product Management, as I had done a few internships in the same. So the interviewer asked me again “Why do you want to go for consulting, why not Product Management”
Thanks for the answer. So, moving on to the next question, how did your preparation for case rounds evolve once you were shortlisted?
For case prep, guesstimates and to have a basic idea of how to approach a problem statement, I started with Victor Cheng videos followed by 4 videos of CIC, and IIT Bombay (Link to the videos).
PS: But I’ll suggest doing this in reverse order.
Then I started practicing mock rounds with my friends in an interviewer-interviewee format, where I followed these resources (Link):
1) CIC, IIT Bombay Case Book
2) Guesstimate book by Communiqué, IIT Kharagpur
3) Bury the Hatchet with case problems
4) Day 1 (IITM Casebook)
Interviewer: Alright, so moving ahead, this is for the students who will be sitting for the placements next year. So what are the things they can do from now until December to maximize their chances of getting through a company in consulting?
Apoorv: Firstly, I would like to say that in consult, to have your CV shortlisted is like a black box. The very first thing students should work on is building a stellar CV.
A few parameters I feel a consulting company looks for while CV shortlisting:
1) Good CG (>8.5)
2) Position of responsibilities
3) Internships (Prefers brands to startups/ Foreign Training also adds a great value)
4) Extra Curricular (E.g. Being a part of Inter IIT contingent team, National level Chess Player)
5) Competitions (E.g: Secured a podium in any national/global level competition)
6) Academic Achievements (E.g.,: Department Rank 1, Scholarship holders)
PS: Also, every statement in your resume should be answering 2–3 of these questions for it to be really impactful:
● Why were you chosen?
● What did it mean to your company/club?
● How do you know that you have delivered value?
● By How much?
● What can the company/club do now because of this outcome?
● What were the results?
Once after CV is shortlisted, case rounds will be there where you will be judged upon these metrics:
a) Quant (How good you’re with numbers, as in case you’ll get a lot of data points)
b) Business Judgment
e) Coachability (How fast you’re able to grasp a new idea or how acceptable you are to the interviewer’s thought process?)
Now to sharpen these areas, here are a few resources I would suggest you should follow from now onwards:
For Quant: Solve Aptitude based questions (more on the Data Interpretation side)
For developing Business judgment: Read newsletters like Finshots, and The Ken and discuss recent happenings in the business world with your group (consisting of people aspiring for the same goal).
For Case & HR prep, I have followed a few resources, which I have answered in the previous question. I’ll share a drive link with you, please attach those resources in the article itself.
Okay, so would you like to share any last-minute tips that are very important, and it helps a lot?
I think the previous responses were pretty exhaustive. But still, if asked, I’ll have one thing to add, “Excel at what you do” and you’re good to go.
Thanks a lot for your suggestions. With this, the interview comes to an end. Alright, Apoorv, it was great talking to you and knowing your experiences and insights.
Thank You, Arka. It was a pleasure being interviewed. I hope it was insightful.