Some firms consider the “analytical case” to actually be the same thing as the “structured case”, while others consider others consider the “analytical case” to be a test of your ability to think analytically in a quantitative context. It seems that ZS uses the latter approach.
The analytical case will be a typical quantitative case that asks you to solve a business problem given a set of facts about the business (some which you may have to ask for). For example:
- Company X has experienced a 12% decrease in profits over the past 5 years despite raising prices of its core product by 5% over the same time period from a base price of $150 per ton. Quantify the source of the profit decrease.
- Company Y is considering running a 2-month promotion before the upcoming World Cup to try to sell more TVs. The promotion would discount TVs by 20%. Given the Price Demand curve exhibit, what would the new revenue be for Company Y during the 2 month promotion?
The structured case would be more open ended so that the interviewer could understand how you approach problems and how you structure problem in a logical and MECE way. For example: Your friend has told you that he has inherited property on a Caribbean island and is considering building a hotel. He wants to know if he would make money and if he would succeed? In a case like this, you are looking to structure your answer into logical buckets with appropriate 2nd level questions underneath each bucket.
- Who will go to this hotel?
- Will there be a target customer segment?
- What are ways your friend can market the hotel?
- What have been the trends in the travel market and what are the implications? (e.g., spending on travel has increased/decreased in US/abroad)
- Are there any other hotels on the nearby islands?
- How large and profitable are they?
- What customers are other hotels on nearby islands attracting? Should the friend consider attracting similar segments or could he offer?
Hotel related cost
- Upfront investment
- What would be the investment, i.e., cost of building the hotel?
- How should the friend finance the investment?
- Ongoing costs
- What are fixed and variable costs associated with running a hotel? (e.g., staff)
- Are there cost reduction opportunities?
- Other costs
- Are there additional costs involved, e.g., in building a school to get educated staff?
- How much will it cost to acquire a customer
Hotel related revenues
- How much will the price for a room be?
- How many rooms will the hotel have?
- Is there an opportunity for other revenue sources such as a restaurant, spa, taxi service, guided tours, etc.?
- Will this hotel attract customers year-round or only in certain seasons?
- How will people reach the island? How accessible is the hotel from the mainland? Will the friend need to build an airport or at least a landing strip?
- Is other infrastructure in terms of roads, a (yacht) harbor, etc., in place?