Saturday, December 03, 2005

First Blood

None of us except Rohit had any idea about what exactly a case interview is! Watching BCG dudes perform a mock interview is one thing but actually doing it yourself is a totally different game. So Rohit took up the responsibility to flag off the grand prix.

Case 1 - Correcting a strategic implementation gone sour
Interviewer - Rohit
Interviewee - your truly

R: One of the biggest public sector banks in India is our client. Some time ago it decided to install ATMs across thousands of its branches across India. Its been a long time since then but no one seems to use those ATMs. What should they do?

Y: After jotting down some key points - largest bank, public sector, India, large number of branches etc... So if i understand the problem correctly, this bank has installed ATMs in a lot of branches but there arent sufficient number of transactions being generated. Assuming that the bank make some money per transaction, the problem is that it has done a large Capex but is not able to recover any of it. Am I correct ?

R: No. The bank just wants to offer its customers more convenience, not make money from the ATMs.

Y: Ok... after a lot of questions and answers... So whats the profile of these customers - young/old, wealthy/middle class/poor?

R: they are mostly middle aged to old pensioners.

Y: So may be these people are not tech savvy. Were they given sufficient user training?

R: Yeah that was problem. They werent given much training earlier but now this bank has posted a person near each ATM.

Y: lots of questions like - is the ATM prominently located, is it user friendly, has the number of transactions over the counter reduced or is it the same ... etc etc etc... basically going no where.

R: Think about the process of using an ATM.

Y: Bingo!... do all of the customers have cards?

R: Well actually no... we havent been able to send out cards to all our customers. Its a costly process etc...

Y: Ok, so this bank should profile the customers who come most often for a cash transaction and use the technology used by ICICI. Have pre-printed cards for these customers and give them to these customers when they come to the branch.

R:... some more discussion about the exact process of doing this. Problems with pre-printed cards etc. Finally, R says cut - time out.

Feedback from Ankur, Umang and Rohit. Final takeaways:
1. This interview will take me to next round but they will test me again. So this is neither a direct-in, nor a direct-out case.
2. I should have asked some quant questions like - what exactly do you mean by transactions have tapered off? Whats the industry average? Whats this bank's average?
3. This was a 80 - quali ; 20 - quant case.
4. Structure was conspicuous by its absence. Need to structure the analysis better...
5. Recommendations should be more thoughtful backed up by reasons and assumptions.
6. Make the interview into more of a conversation.
7. It was good that I picked up the hint when it was offered. Had i missed it, it would have been all over for me.
8. Should not mumble ... think out aloud after letting the interviewer know that you are doing so.
9. Indicate that you are about to jot down some points and then start writing. Otherwise you lose eye-contact and the interviewer doesnt know what to do.

Case 2 was with Umang... more on that later - may be Umang can post it himself.

Others are welcome to post their experiences as well.

Let me know your comments and feedback.



Sridhar said...

Sridhar's comment:---

Team 2 good: We did the same case last nite (ATM)-- as all of us are using the same database of cases, guess the overlap is inevitable.

The interviewee was Shankar Prasad and the interviewer - yours truly.

Shankar zeroed in on the lack of training issue very quickly and had innovative suggestions like demo video in bank branch shown to custy while account opening. He also suggested that the ATM guard could double as a trainer. With subtle hints, the issue of cards not reaching the custy also came through.

Bottom line: We should take time off, think about the structure of the case and present the approach to interviewer before shooting questions. Problem identification is the key! .. Sridhar (for Team 2 good)

Anonymous said...


Few thoughts on cases on ATMs usage etc. I was in the ATM industry before coming to ISB .

1.The number of cards is crux of the issue.You need a minimum of 3000 cards per branch to reach an acceptable figure of 100-120 transactions per day . There is some math around it.

Check the number of live accounts in the branches .

2.If the ATM does not clock more than 100 transactions a day after 6 months . Doing all training ,customer handholding etc relocation is strategy.

3. Use of regional languages in ATM screens is useful strategy .

4. Check if the ATM is being used by other banks customer in which case the ATM can be a source of interchange revenue for the bank.


Yash said...

Interesting points dude.
Thanks !

Anuj said...

May be if we also employ a person to give demo to all the ppl visiting the bank for transactions it will take away their inhibition of technology.

So everytime a customer walks in into the branch he can be given a demo so that next time he wont hesitate in using it ..after all it really is simple.

Suneil Chawla said...

Interesting case.

One point missed out:

An ATM network provides convinience to the client. But from the Bank's perspective, it's a cost cutting measure, as Cost per transaction is lower at ATMs than cost of in-branch transactions.

One would then take the cost of ATMs as sunk, and look at savings, taking into account the expected growth in number of clients. The non-viable ATMs could then be shut down.


Vinit Garg said...

one more option could be analyzing the customer profile and getting tie-ups with corporates to offer discounts in those segments .. may be with airtel ,mcdonalds etc ..also a marketting campaign for corporates !!
Win - Win !!!