When you are applying for a business analytics position, the questions that you will be asked are aimed towards your understanding of the business situation, your ability to assess the environment and the industry in which the firm operates and your ability to give a structure to the problem and developing a framework for arriving at a solution. Here are some typical scenarios discussed in business analytics interviews:
Basic Questions on Applying analytics to Business Problems
How will you start while approaching an analytics problem?/ What will be your first step in solving a business analytics problem? (You may refer to the article on first step to an analytical problem for framing an answer)
A large part of business relevant information originates in unstructured data that can’t be stored in SQL, spreadsheets or other structured databases. It’s generally text heavy and may contain text, numbers or other data types like images or audio files. How will you plan to unlock the potential of such data for a traditional company where employees and managers place heavy emphasis on structured databases and spreadsheets.
Questions Based on Business Experiments
1. You have to choose from multiple actions to decide which one will lead to increased sales? How will you make a decision?
2. There are multiple products on your portfolio and you need to prioritize which products should be released first in order to maximize revenue. How will you make a call?
3. You have to take a call on discontinuing one product from a set of N products. How will will you do that while minimizing the revenue impact while maximizing the cost savings from discontinuing a product.
4. You have to select from three different channels for your next marketing campaign. How will you maximize the response rate to the campaign.
5. As a manager you can only select two channels to proceed with the next rund of recruitment. How will you select which channel is better?
How would you use the following types of customer data to analyze the customers and get a better understanding of problems and opportunities for your customers for an insurance company (you can replace insurance with any other industry)-
a). Demographic data like gender, age, geography and income
b). Behavioral data like purchases, registration data, browsing, and device usage data
c). Interaction data like clicks, navigation paths and browsing activities
d). Attitudinal data like opinions, desirability, branding and sentiments
Technology is changing how customers interact with products even for traditional products like insurance, banking and Mutual Funds. As a marketing manager for a finance company that offers multiple products to its customers, what data will you collect to understand the changing behavior of your customers. How will you apply this understanding to gain new customers.
You have joined a company that has ignored the data revolution for years and is now losing its customer base to new generation of competitors. They don’t have enough infrastructure to collect or store data related to existing customers. How will you approach the problem as an analytics manager and what methods will to adopt to immediately arrest the customer attrition and gain lost customers in short to medium term.
How do you plan to measure customer satisfaction for your company? What are the questions that you will ask as part of a survey data collection?(Think about descriptive data collection)
If you ask the question to your customers “How Likely are you to recommend the product to a friend or a colleague”, what are the things you should keep in mind? (How will you define the promoters and detractors. Will you subtract the detractors from promoters?)
How would you justify a certain metric of customer satisfaction (think about finding a correlation with profitability and other managerial outcomes, comparing the correlation with alternative metrics)?
What are the pros and cons of using surveys vs other indicators like store purchase data (what customers are buying and when they are buying it) for measuring customer satisfaction?
How do you measure word of mouth dynamics from customers? As an analytics manager how would you approach collecting the word of mouth data from your customers? (for example how to capture data on who are your customers are talking to, how are the brands being mentioned and so on)
What are the advantages of using passive or unobtrusive ways of data collections from a customer analytics perspective?
Churn Related Problems
1. As a consultant you are trying to identify the customers of a telecom company who are most likely to churn. What data will you collect and what approach will you adopt.
2. On a similar line, you are tasked with identifying employees of an IT company who are most likely to move out to a different company. How will you approach the problem. (approach the problem with techniques such as survival analysis)
3. In retail banking, you are expected to develop a model for identifying the best customers who will be eligible for pre-approved loan based on customer profile attributes (apply techniques such as logistic regression)
Geographical/Location Based Analytics
A bit advanced and challenging but worth the effort – customising promotional messages and targeted promotional offers based on proximity of a customer to the store. For example, if you can track through a mobile GPS data that the target customer is parking near a shopping plaza defined within 100 mts of radius of your store, you can immediately send an enticing offer through SMS offering discount on a product if purchased within the next one hour
Customer and Product Affinity
1. You are tasked with automating product recommendations for any organization with a substantial product catalog and transaction volume to increasing competitiveness via product affinity. How will you approach this problem. (Think market basket analysis)
2. Determine frequently bought items together in a super market for purpose of cross-selling (Refer to the article on Association Rule Mining for a thorough understanding of such problems)
How will you apply time-series for forecasting of demand for products using ARIMA modeling
Application of Analytics in Marketing and Advertisement
1. Image analysis – advanced and challenging – translating images and other high dimensional data into numerical or symbols data to detecting events, surveillance, etc.
2. Sequence analysis – modeling a customer purchases as a sequence – customer first buys a computer, then speakers then webcam
3. Customer segmentation for targeted marketing (used clustering)
Applications in Finance- Fraud Analytics
1. How will you apply analytics in identifying credit card fraud (Anamoly / outlier detection in purchases data)
1. In a airline flight booking operations how will you set decision rules about closing the slots for a particular price range
2. Hotel room bookings – when to say no rooms are available even when there are vacant rooms
Customer Analytics- Measuring Customer Experience and Retention of Customers
1. How will you derive sentiment analysis from product reviews, forum comments and tweets to identify possible point of discontent among customers
Unlocking Customer Data
You as a manager want to begin connecting to your customer data with the right tools and start analyzing your customers’ transactions. What will be your first step? (Ask if there is a data warehouse in place with a well-defined data dictionary)
Value of Data
Data is becoming a new source of value in large part because of what we termed its option value. Give few instances where you think data possesses option value for the business.
Earlier the emphasis was on companies that collected data. Now, the emphasis has shifted to companies that analyze data. In this context there are two types of companies at the different ends of the spectrum. Companies with data (like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit etc.) and companies with ideas to apply it in day to day business (consulting companies, technology vendors and analytics providers). How do you think these two can bridged to exploit hidden value? (think about companies holding involving consultancy firm to extract value from that data)
What changes do you think are likely to happen to the Big Data value chain in short-term (2-3 years) and medium term (5 years)?
How do you think companies that deal with data for one purpose can leverage its value through ancillary purposes? For example air ticket booking websites like Kayak or hotel booking platforms like Trivago has lots of data for customer preferences. How do you think they can leverage that outside their domain of expertise (which is selling air tickets and booking hotels).
Can you visualize a business model for a payment company (like Visa) that can forgo its fee payment and process transactions for free in return for access to more data and then use that data to derive and sell insights.
Site a few examples where a company can derive value from publicly available data. (for example flyontime started to gather open data to predict flight delays, Prismatic aggregates and ranks media contents across the web based on text analytics)
How value can be generated by cross-applying Big Data skills by collecting the data from multiple sources and using them to create an insight that can’t be generated by any of these standalone entities. (like for example, Climate Corporation collects environmental and other data to provide insights to farmers)
Data as Strategy
When Google collects any sort of data, it has secondary uses in mind. For example, GPS data collected from Google Street View and Google Maps ended up in its Training self-driving cars. Amazon on the other hand focuses on primary use of data and derives marginal secondary benefits from the huge data it collects. Give few example on how Amazon can use its data for secondary purposes to derive value. (its recommendation for example uses clickstream data but rarely uses it to predict the economy or other such things. Though it tracks underlined parts of Kindle books, it rarely shares that data with Authors, Publishers etc. to improve their products).
How data can be used to transform the business model of a car manufacturer and what sources would you look for to collect that data? (For example, Insurance companies collect enormous data based on accidents and collisions. By using telematics devices they also track the usage of different parts of a car. This data can be harnessed by the auto manufacturers themselves to improve the quality of their cars and even to reshape relationship with their parts suppliers )
1. How will you recommend the redesigning of store layouts based on data of customer purchase/ movement within the store