Interview questions you can expect from a consulting firm

Many dread going to interviews because they do not know what questions to expect. Typically, each job industry has a certain way of interviewing their potential employees. The consulting industry is known for its dreadful case style questions. This interview style is difficult because they look more on your thought process than if the answer is correct or not. Many of these question topics tend to be about random situations which make it hard for interviewees to study for. Here are some examples on some questions that have been asked by consulting firms:

1) How many dry cleaners are there in Philadelphia, PA?

2) Your client Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN) is an upscale department store chain in Manhattan which competes with Macy’s. Founded by John W. Nordstrom and Carl F. Wallin initially as a shoe retailer, Nordstrom today also sells clothing, accessories, handbags, jewelry, cosmetics, fragrances, and in some locations, home furnishings. The corporate headquarters and the flagship store are located in Downtown Seattle, Washington.

3) The objective in this case is to cut costs across the company due to lower profit margins during the recessionary economy. Your engagement manager assigns you the task of cutting down costs by 50% in the company’s Cleaning/Janitorial Services Division. What would you do?

4) How many people fly in and out of John F. Kennedy International Airport (IATA: JFK) everyday? how many per year?

5) Your client Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. (LSE: RIO) is the second largest aluminum manufacturer in the world. Although its unit costs are competitive, the company’s profit margins have been declining every year in the last five years and the management is anticipating cash flow difficulties any time. What would you advise them to do to turn around the business?

6) Your rich uncle has just passed away and left you with 3 small oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. How do you determine how much they are worth?

7) How many barbers are there in Chicago?

8) What factors determine the world price of crude oil?

9) Our client is Smucker’s Jam & Jelly Shop, a small jams, jellies & fruit preserves manufacturer in the New England area. They have experienced a drop in profitability over the past few years. Why has profitability fallen?

10) Suppose you are a first-year associate working with one of the top management consulting firms specializing in business turnaround and corporate restructuring. A friend of yours has just inherited a failing start-up software company from his parents and came to you for advice. On which fronts do you anticipate problems? How would you help your friend turn around his software company?

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