Tuesday, October 13, 2009

BCG 1st round interview (2)

My next interview was with a principal who had gotten an MBA at Wharton and then went to work at Sony Music in Cali. She left Sony after a few years and started her consulting career with LEK consulting in Melbourne before transferring to the Boston BCG office as a project manager in 2004.

The interview was very conversational right from the beginning. We talked some about my resume, but there weren't any scripted questions. Some of my research is done in collaboration with Novartis Pharmaceuticals so she asked what I liked and disliked about both the academic research environment and the pharmaceutical industry. Then she asked me how the things I liked and disliked would translate to making a good career in consulting. I talked about the intellectual pursuit of new ideas and liking the teamwork aspect of the collaboration and how both of those are very applicable to consulting engagements...she seemed to smile and think that was a pretty good answer.

Then we dug right into the case. This case didn't have any charts and it seemed like she might have made it up on the fly on the way into the room (she had a few numbers sketched out in pencil in the top corner of her paper that she kept referring to).

This case involved a larger commercial retailer..."think of it like a K-mart." They were thinking about adopting RFID technology. She asked me to think about what kinds of things I thought they could use RFID for. I regurgitated a bunch of ideas and when I mentioned inventory management she stopped me and said, "let's focus on that one for a bit." She told me that the store feared they were losing customers because they had been stocking out of goods and that they think using RFID may help prevent stock outs and that they would be able to increase their customer base by 2.5% with RFID technology. I was asked to calculate the average profit/customer based on some numbers and then calculated how much they would make by increasing their customer base by 2.5%. She gave me the cost of the RFID technology...cost per chip and then cost for the machinery to analyze the chips. The life of the machines was 8 years so I expensed the fixed costs accordingly. It turned out that it was just barely breaking even with the 2.5% of customers we gained. I decided not to implement the change because the 2.5% was a soft estimation and if we only gained 2%, we would be losing money on the investment. I also talked about how it would be nice to be able to pilot the venture, but that implementing RFID would have to be a company-wide implementation because of the distribution channels that are involved. Under that circumstance I mentioned that unfortunately a trial program would not be possible.

I asked a few questions...similar to the first interview and we called it a day....she walked me back to the lobby where we kept talking some about big pharma and she wished me well and I headed off on my way. Leaving the office I graded myself A-A+ on this particular interview...I really didn't think it could have gone better. The question was whether a B/B- and an A/A+ average was good enough to move on to the next round.

Through the grapevine I had learned that a high ranking official at the MIT consulting club had been dinged in the first round interview at BCG...which made me a little bit worried as to if I had done well enough...only time would tell....they said 2-3 business days until I would be notified with the results!

1 comment:

  1. Tks very much for your post.

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