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ZS Case Interview

Anonymous A

I have an interview with ZS on Tuesday. 1 analytical case and 1 structured case. I'm not sure what these mean. On Glassdoor, many of the cases say "A company is looking to expand, what are some things to consider?" But I can't find any cases on this type of question.

(edited)

Matthew
Expert
replied on 10/01/2017
Only ex-McKinsey Partner on PrepLounge (also Oliver Wyman) and McKinsey MBA, Experienced Hire and Undergraduate Recruiting Leader

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.

Customers

  • 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)

Competitors

  • 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.?

Geography

  • 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?

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