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ZS Associates Case Study Questions 2021

ZS Associates Interview
Case Study

The ZS Associates Interview Case Study is the third round of ZS Recruitment Process. This round holds the highest importance in the entire ZS Associates Selection Process.

In this round, the interviewer aims to judge the following characteristics of a candidate as mentioned in the ZS Business Consulting Website:-

  • Excellent critical thinking and problem-solving
  • Desire to innovate and transform organizations
  • Client service Orientation
  • Emotional intelligence, empathy, and adaptability
  • Strong communication skills and ability to persuade
  • Orientation to quality and creating positive impact

  ZS Case Study 2021:-

Case Study Information
Number of Questions 7-8
Time Limit 30 min
Difficulty Level High
Importance Medium

ZS Associates Case Study Challenge 2021

OBJECTIVE


The one and only important criteria that can make or break your selection in ZS Associates is your scale of performance in the case study interviews.
ZS Associates case study interview mimics what the consultancy job is going to be like by putting you in a simulated business scenario where you are asked to solve a business question and marketing questions.

ZS Associates Case Study Questions will be based on your profile that you select while filling out the form.

  • A collection of sheets or booklets with a case study of some business is offered to the applicant in this round. The case study sheet that you get will contain either of these:
    • Chart
    • Bar graphs
    • Tables
    • Pie Charts etc.

  • For numerous case studies, you wouldn’t have any right or wrong answer to judge. Your method of approach for  solving complex issues holds higher significance in such cases.

  • What Case Study Questions are like:-
    • Ambiguous problems
    • Insufficient information and time
    • Pressure to quickly develop potential solution

Following a structured pattern and finding problems is the
secret to progress in case interview:-

PROCESS

 

  • Clarify :- You should ensure that you have a complete understanding of the question at hand. Focus on understanding the context of:
    • The situation
    • The company
    • The objective of the case.

  • Structure:- Secondly, you need to develop an approach to solve the problem. Build a framework to help you solve the issue of business. A framework is a mechanism that lets you organize complex challenges into simpler, break down complex problems into smaller.

  • Analyze:-  There are three points :
    • First you need to identify the important issues.
    • Request information to test hypothesis. A hypothesis is an educated guess on the answer based on the data and information that you have so far.
    • Identify specific opportunities

  • Conclude:- Make solid recommendations about the action that needs to be taken. All you need is to present the most relevant facts and include the key arguments that justify it.

Types of Case Study asked in ZS Associates:-

Market Sizing

In Market Sizing, there will be large amount of information provided to the candidates that would require a quick assessment and analysis.

Examples:- Our company is opening a new office. How should we acquire the new office space?

 

Business Problems

Business Case studies are usually real-life business situations. A candidate needs to imagine, handle and summarize a complex business situation or dilemma.

Case Study

What you need to prepare:-

 

  • Research company websites before you head into the interview room.
    • Try to find out and understand as best as possible the type of work they do.
    • Figure out what ideas or concepts do they come out with to solve an existing problem
    • Evaluate their effectiveness and longevity of the solutions

  • Approach case interviews with the right mind-set and guidelines.
    • Know the objective of the case study intently.
    • Understand the process and apply it accordingly
    • Use important check points wherever needed to make your hypothesis clear and strong.

ZS Associates Case Study Questions
and Answers

Question 1:

I run a small coffee shop that has been in my family for over 30 years.Recently, I learned that Starbucks has bought the lease on a unit just around the corner.Starbucks will be opening in 3 months’ time. ’m worried about what this means for my business, and want your advice

How would you approach this issue?

What information might you need to solve this case?

Question 2:

For a boot manufacturer that manufactures two types of boots, you have to plan a strategy for responding to a competitor who has launched a new product. To understand the market, you ask the interviewer how big it is. The exhibit below is presented to you.

 

 

Now ,

Take the following steps to analyze this data:

  • In this case, the question is market size – a Euro figure. So you must assimilate all the customer segmentation, product and pricing data into the total market size.
  • You can see that this exhibit, in both
    numerical and graphical data representation, is a mixed map. The first section reveals the tendency to purchase (in other words, the percentage of population that bought boots last year).
    Note immediately that the data is provided for various consumer groups as a percentage, and for each segment, you will have the overall price paid and total population.
  1. Figure out the most efficient approach to get to the final result, and work the math. If all the required data is not present, ask for it.

In this case,

  1. Total revenue from all customers would equal market size.
  2. Total revenue = Number of boots bought * Price per pair
  3. Number of boots bought = Number of buyers * Boots bought per buyer
  4. Number of buyers = (Total Population) * (% of population buying boots)

The following steps can help add more context to your analysis. Let us continue with the example of the boot manufacturing company discussed in the last section:

  • Think about the end target, and make a short hypothesis about the main indicators needed to measure the situation. We will need to find out the main product segments of the industry and the role of our business with consumers to grasp the strategic nature of the market.
  • Understand what the evidence means about the indicators that you just defined. We recognise that, depending on the type of use, the boot industry is split into two divisions and the clients are segmented by occupation.
  • Start to think of factors that could have prompted the evidence to appear as it does, and open up new investigation lines. This makes the interviewer realise that not only do you do math, you can also draw company lessons about the exhibit, which is a crucial ability that a contractor should have. In this scenario, since their occupations need more physical labour and so their shoes will wear out faster, it is fair that more blue collar  employees will purchase work boots. Also, in the two boot segments, what is the ultimate status of our client? That’s thenext natural issue.

In this case, the situation can be possibly summed up as follows:

The total market size is €X Mn. My hypothesis is that the work boots category is the most important for us here, since it is €Y Mn larger than the casual boots segment.

Question 3:

Your client is Healthcare Cloud Inc., a start-up firm in Palo Alto,California,focused on software and information technology. The company runs as a service (SaaS) or cloud business in computing. Basically, SaaS is a licencing and distribution model for applications in which software is licenced and centrally hosted on a subscription basis. Usually, SaaS is accessed via a web browser for users using a thin client.

 How would you approach this issue?

The client has developed an innovative cloud-based software solution for hospitals, Healthcare Cloud. The software is used for tracking patient outcomes and utilizes an extensive database and proprietary analytics to recommend procedures based on patient comorbidities (In medicine, comorbidity is the presence of one or more additional diseases or disorders co-occurring with a primary disease or disorder).

The client is preparing to launch their revolutionary Healthcare Cloud software to market and is seeking our advice on how to maximize revenue. How would you go about it?

Question 4:

A manufacturing company sells a popular soap product named “Foamy”.

 How would you approach this issue?

Company Background

The company manufactures and markets one single soap “Foamy”. It is a premium quality soap popular among the Upper-Class population.

The company has a sales team of 200 salespeople for promoting “Foamy” and they visit the warehouses for promotion of “Foamy”.

Project Mission

Mr. David, the Vice President of the company Sales team is confused that if having the salesperson visit the warehouse is the optimal solution.

He also wants to divide the teams in an efficient manner.

Determine the optimal sales force size for the warehouse: How many salespeople should be assigned to promote “Foamy” to warehouse owners? (Also determine the same if we are given that total visits are limited to 1200)

(Hint: Your analysis should be based on the data in the table below and not based on the 200 salespeople).

A salesperson visiting warehouses can make 12 visits/week

Answer:

Firstly, calculate the number of visits for each type of warehouse.

Big Ones = 50*4 = 200 visits

Tough Ones = 100*3 = 300 visits

Smart Buys = 150*2 = 300 visits

Friendlies = 200*2 = 400 visits

Easies = 300*1 = 300 visits

Thus the total visits = 200+300+300+400+300 = 1500

And the number of visits by a single person is 12 visits/week

Thus the number of sales people to be allotted to this task is 1500/12=125.

Since we are given that the number of visits is 1200. Then we must prioritize the warehouses which are providing more profits to the company.

Thus the preference order will be Big Money>Tough Ones>Smart Buys>Friendlies>Easies.

The total visits = 200+300+300+400 = 1200 (Excluding the Easies one)

Total Number of Salespeople is 1200/12=100.

Question 5:

Assume you are the manager for a consultancy firm. You received the following information and are expected to solve your clients questions:

 How would you approach this issue?

Digilant Toys is a high-end toys maker in the country of Moldova. Moldova, officially the Republic of Moldova, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe located between Romania to the west and Ukraine to the north, east, and south. Moldova declared itself an independent state with the same boundaries as the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991 as part of the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The total population of the country amounted to 4 million (2004 Moldovan census).

The owner of Digilant Toys business has seen substantial change in his market in recent years and is contemplating the future of his business. Up until now, he has been in the business of building high-quality, handcrafted toys largely by hand with a skilled labor force. Recently, however, he has become aware of a new technology that would allow him to build machine-made toys with much less labor.

The following data is also provided to you:

  1. Investment – Investing in the new technology will cost the firm $1M.
  2. Cost Savings – Material costs remain the same, but labor costs are reduced by 50%.
  3. Proprietary Nature of Technology – The new toy-making technology is being offered for sale by a machine tool company, who holds the patent. They are not offering exclusivity to any customers (i.e. they will sell to Digilant Toys’s competitors if possible).
  4. Competitive Threat – It is not known whether the competitors have acquired or are planning to acquire this new toy-making technology.
  5. Customer Preferences – While the machine-made toys are not “handmade”, the quality perceived by the customer is the same or better. It is believed that the customer will be indifferent between the quality and appearance of hand-made and machine-made toys.
  6. Brand Impact – The candidate may argue that machine-made toys might negatively impact Digilant Toys’s brand. If so, ask them how they would test this (e.g. consumer research), but tell them to assume that it would have negligible impact.
  7. Assets – Since the firm has been building toys by hand, the fixed assets are essentially only the land and improvements. These are owned outright by the company. – Book Value of Land: $20,000, Book Value of Improvements: $80,000, Years Owned: 48 and Average Real Estate Appreciation: 6% / years

The following market details are also given:

  1. Population of Moldova: 4 million
  2. Population Growth: 0%
  3. Average Life Expectancy: 75 years
  4. Age Distribution: assume a flat age distribution, i.e. same number of people at every age.
  5. Burial Customs: 75% of people use toys.
  6. Price – toys are priced at $5,000 for hand-made high-end toys.
  7. Costs – Material accounts for 10% of the direct cost, while labor accounts for the other 90%. COGS is $4,800 per toy. Fixed costs for the business are $700,000 per year. Assume all assets are fully depreciated and ignore taxes.
  8. Competition – The client has a 10% market share and a relative market share of about 1 (if asked, you may explain that relative market share is the ratio of the company’s market share to that of its nearest competitor.)
  9. Market Trends, Regulation, etc. – If asked about any exogenous factors, simply tell the candidate to assume that the market is expected to continue as it currently is.

You as a manager of the consultancy firm are supposed to answer these questions:

  1. What strategic alternatives should the owner of the toys business consider?
  2. Calculate the market size.
  3. Calculate the value of the company toy’s business
  4. What is the value of the company if it were shut down and the assets were sold?
  5. What would the value of the company be if the owner invests in the new technology?

Answers:

Answer 1:

We need to decide firstly whether to stay in the toys business at all and if so, whether he uses the new technology:

Option 1: Sell the business to a third party

Option 2: Sell the assets of the company and shut it down

Option 3: Keep operating as is

Option 4: Keep operating and invest in the new technology

Answer 2:

(4 million) x (1/75) * (75%) = 40,000 toys purchased per year.

Answer 3:

Margin per toys = $5,000 – $4,800 = $200

Contribution Margin = $200 per toys x 40,000 toys x 10% market share = $800,000

Profit = Contribution Margin – Fixed Costs = $800,000 – $700,000 = $100,000

Assuming a discount rate of 10% (candidate can assume anything reasonable here as long as they are consistent later), a perpetuity with cash flows of $100,000 per year has a present value of $100,000 / 0.1 = $1 Million. So the current business is worth $1M whether they keep it or sell it.

Answer 4:

Using the “rule of 72″, a 6% growth rate will double the investment every 72/6 = 12 years. Since the property was held for 48 years, the current value will be $100K * (2 x 2 x 2 x 2) = $1.6M.

Since the assets ($1.6M) are higher than the value of the discounted cash flows ($1M), then it would make more sense to liquidate the business and sell the assets.

Answer 5:

Since the company has no proprietary control over the technology, it is likely that competitors will also acquire it, resulting in an overall lowering of the industry cost structure. If this is the case, price will also fall as competition cuts price in an attempt to gain share. If we assume that gross margins remain the same, since the industry competitive structure has not changed we can calculate the new margin contribution as follows:

Gross Margin = $200 / $5,000 = 4%

Labor Cost = (4800 x 90%) x 50% = $2,160

Material Cost = 4800 x 10% = $480

COGS = $2,160 + $480 = $2,640

Price = $2,640 / (1 – 4%) = $2,750

Contribution Margin = $2,750 – $2,640 = $110 per toy

Profit/Loss = $110 * 4,000 – $700,000 = -$260,000

So the introduction of the new technology to the market might be expected to reduce industry profits, making this business completely unprofitable.

ZS Associates FAQ's

How many questions are asked in ZS Associates Case Study?

There will be 7-8 MCQ questions are asked in ZS Associates Case Study.

What type of Case Study Questions are asked in ZS Associates?

It depends on your job profile. The job profile you will select while filling the form the case study questions will be also asked related to this.