CQ ConsulTalks | Debraj Chatterjee | Bain and Co.

Communiqué IIT KGP
6 min readSep 10, 2023
Debraj Chatterjee, Bain and Co.

Interviewer: Hello, I’m Arka, a secretary at Communiqué, and today we have Mr. Debraj Chatterjee, who recently got placed at Bain and Co. Hello Debraj, Good Afternoon; how are you doing today?

Debraj: Hello, Arka! I am fine, and you?

Interviewer: I am fine as well. Firstly, the heartiest congratulations to you for getting placed at Bain and Co., one of the topmost management consulting firms in the world. So, basically, in this short interview, I’ll ask you a few questions for our consult-oriented blog series. The blog will be shared with the KGP community to guide them about the selection procedure through your experience. So, if you are ready, can we start?

Debraj: Yeah, thank you very much, Arka. Let’s begin.

Interviewer: So here goes the first question. What was the general selection process for the companies you interviewed? Please mention the number of rounds and the nature of the selection process.

Debraj: Yeah, so I will talk about consulting companies in general. So, the consulting companies that come on campus, they had opened their portal of CV submission through ERP around 1st week of October. So, people have to submit their CVs in three-four days. The CV shortlisting process took up to 2–3 weeks. So, by the 3rd week of October, CV shortlisting was done. Then, according to your CVs, they allot you buddies who are recent graduates from college and working in the company. This buddy process goes up to 1–1.5 months, during which your buddy helps you with everything regarding the preparation. After that, around last week of November, Day 0 happened. You have to go through 2 interviews. One is at the manager level, and the final interview is at the partner level. And you have to get ‘Yes’ from both interviews, then only you will be selected.

Interviewer: That was insightful. Regarding the second question, Can you give some insights about the CV shortlisting process?

Debraj: So, I would say that the CV shortlisting process is the most important thing in the consulting sector. Because around 600–700 applications come from Kgp. And hardly only 7–8 get shortlisted. So only 1% of CVs get selected. The kind of thing that companies look into the CV is that the individual should be well-rounded. He/she shouldn’t be one-dimensional. Also, the CV should portray that the individual has done impactful work in which field he/she had worked. So you have to create an impactful CV. They look for spikes in the CV. The common spikes are like 9+CG, having a PPO, etc. So they quantitatively evaluate your CV based on these things.

Interviewer: Could you please list down the questions you were asked in the different rounds? Puzzles, technical questions, or any other discussion in general that you think will prove to be helpful for students.

Debraj: Okay, I will specifically talk about interview rounds here. In the interview round, there are no technical questions as such. The consulting interviews are oriented around two main things, one is case interview questions and the other is personal experience/Fit questions. So, starting with the case interview, they give you a business situation, and they will ask you to do different things regarding how to solve the problem in that business. To solve that kind of question, one has to solve lots of kinds of puzzles that revolve around lots of math, business acumen, etc. In business problems, you have to think in a structured manner step by step. Then finally, you may find a root cause level problem which is causing a bigger problem. And according to that, you have to give your solution or recommendation to solve that problem. Next, talking about fit questions, the interview mainly wants to judge your personality and how you respond in different situations of consulting. So, they ask questions like how did you deal with a difficult situation at the workplace with a person of a different opinion. In this kind of scenario, it is best if you give an answer from your personal life experience you have come through. The main thing about all the answers is that you have to be very structured. You can follow the ‘STAR approach’ also.

Interviewer: That was insightful. Now, what are some of the FAQs in most companies that you face and think students must definitely prepare for? More specifically, in the context of HR rounds.

Debraj: Sure, some common frequently asked questions are to give your introduction or walk me through your resume. They generally give 30sec to walk through your resume. So you have to tell everything that you have done or what you have mentioned in your resume. Next, a very popular question is why consulting. So, if you are coming from another domain, e.g., you have your previous internship in finance, or SDE, then why are you sitting for a consulting interview? And finally, you could also go through the website of Bain, BCG, McKinsey. They have a list of common HR questions that are frequently asked.

Interviewer: Alright, so moving ahead, this is for the students who will be sitting for the placements in the upcoming placement season. What are things students sitting for placements next year can do from now until December to maximize their chances of getting through a company in this sector?

Debraj: Yeah, correct. I think there is a lot of time from now until December. So students who want to get into this sector should have a properly structured plan. Firstly, the main focus should be on making a proper CV with enough spikes. For that they will need to utilize the summer break if they feel their CV is a bit light now. They can do different kinds of interns, projects, or some impactful work. After building the CV, around July-August, they should look for case partners. And finally, start doing mock case practice with your case partners all the way until placements start. Also, prepare for personal experience level questions. And I think now you are good to go for the interview.

Interviewer: Thanks for the answer. So, you mentioned the ‘buddy process.’ Can you tell me something about the buddy process?

Debraj: Sure, this is one unique feature of consulting selection processes. The companies, after reviewing the CVs, allot you buddies. As I mentioned before, the buddies are recent graduates from IIT Kgp. The company allots you a senior buddy/junior buddy depending upon the company. The buddies are there to help you with all aspects of your preparation. Also, the buddy solves any other doubts like what consulting is, what happens in the company, what is the exact work of consultants, etc. The buddy process is usually non-evaluative, and if anything is evaluated, they will say that that well beforehand. But, my suggestion would be to be clear on what conversations you will have with your buddy beforehand and prepare well. Also, make a good image of yourself in the mind of your buddy as soon as possible. You can also do a mock interviews with your buddy once or twice a week. They will also suggest you about what to do or how to improve. So you shouldn’t hesitate and keep asking your doubts if you have.

Interviewer: Okay, so, anything else that you’d want to share with the students?

Debraj: Regarding preparation, I would like to say that the student should be serious and he/she should have a proper structured plan of preparation for next couple of months. Next, talk to seniors who have gone through the interview process. Also talking about resources, there is a common drive of consulting resources popularly used in the past by KGP students. I have also created a drive of my own which has additional resources. Here is the link. My last suggestion will be to start preparing as early as possible. Because the culture of consulting is growing in kgp and that is why more consulting companies are coming to kgp. Similarly, the competition will be more tough.

Interviewer: Thanks a lot for your suggestions. With this, the interview comes to an end. Alright, Debraj, it was great talking to you and knowing your experiences and insights.

Debraj: Thank You. It was a pleasure being interviewed.