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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.


replied on 10/01/2017
Only ex-McKinsey Partner on PrepLounge

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?

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