Analyste interview questions shared by candidates
You have a birthday cake and have exactly 3 slices to cut it into 8 equal pieces. How do you do it?39 Answers
Cut in half, stack, cut in half, stack, cut in half. All you have to worry about is the 45 degree rotation of one of the 4 pieces after the second cut. Blade can be kept in place, like a paper cutter, as to minimize the margin for error.
Slice it horizontally across the middle creating two equal halves top and bottom. Then simple two slice cross from above like normal.
Cut each slice into 3 slices. Then eat one of them.
This is really an easy one. First cut into half across the top, then cut the halves in half also across the top (you now have 4 equal pieces) then cut across the middle = 8.
No, Jason and Sharon, you will only wind up with 6 slices. z, too many stacks. You need to cut in half, then make another cut - to get four pieces. NOW you stack these four pieces and make the last third cut - and you get 8 pieces.
A rather easy lateral thinking question. Alina's got it.
The stacking seems to be the "right" answer. But this is a stupid question. Who stacks cake? The frosting from the bottom slice would meld with the stacked slice, thus making the cake inseparable. I wouldn't get the job because I would swear at the interviewer for asking a dumb question. What good is an answer to this question if it wrecks the cake?
Assuming the cake is square: slice 1: cut horizontally to create 2 equal pieces slice 2: cut vertically to create 4 equal pieces slice 3: line up all 4 pieces of cake side by side and cut horizontally to create 8 equal pieces. don't stack, it will ruin the frosting.
With a knife
Alina would be penalized for not being able to count past 6. But then, she could get a job at another company where they appreciate people who say someone's idea is wrong, then put forth the same idea and take credit for it.
A new solution for you: who says slices have to be a straight line and not circular? I would cut a concentric circle in the middle (would have to calculate the radius compared to the whole), and then slice an X with the remaining 2 cuts. It will look like a target. If done correctly the sizes will be the same, it says nothing about having the same shape!
I guess it's much easier if you think of two planes: first cut in half, then to quarters. That's the easy part. Now look at the cake from the side, and cut it across... Each quarter is cut into two and all pieces are equal.
I would consider the interviewer's emphasis on "equal pieces." While my first thought was to bisect across each of the three dimensions, half of the pieces would end up with less frosting than the other half. Stacking the pieces would result in frosting transfer, which would also screw up some of the pieces. Therefore, I'd go with lining the pieces up and have a large knife on hand for each bisection. Hey, people get crazy about their cake slices.
I would take a different approach to this. First of all the question asks for the cake to be cut into 8 equal pieces, not 8 identical or 8 of the exact same size. Equal doesn't always have to mean the same, just equivalent to. First I would find out who I am cutting the cake for, if its 4 old ladies and 4 young guys, equal pieces would not mean that they all needed to be the same. If everybody wanted the exact same amount of cake I would figure out a way to give everybody 12.5% of the entire cake volume, but if some wanted larger or smaller pieces I would come up with a way to satisfy each individuals desire.
If you know how to cut an arbitrary shape in half, you have the solution. After every round, plan the cuts for each individual piece. Then align them so the proposed cuts are in one straight line. Make a cut. This way you can cut any cake into 2^n equal size pieces with n cuts. An interesting question is, if you start with one connected piece, will you always be able to end up with connected pieces. Think of cutting letter S in the middle, like this: $. You end up with two equal figures that are not connected (or, in other words, with 4 pieces). It's also easy to design a cake that can be split into 8 pieces with one straight cut.
I LOVE Andrew's answer! Eat one of the freakin' pieces. That's the corporate way in America anyway. Mike is either a socialist, or works in non-profit, or government. I thought "slice them long ways" but then someone misses out on the freaking frosting, which is the best part. UNLESS, it's a layer cake.
Cut 'em all in thirds and give the extra to the birthday boy/girl to take home.
First I'd yell at whoever cut the cake incorrectly to start with. He's ruining the party. Then I'd squish the 3 pieces of cake together and re-cut the cake into the required 8 pieces. Boom.
This is as easy as pie. Viewing the cake from the top, make 1 cut vertically down the middle of the cake and another horizontally. Viewing the cake from the side, make your third cut horizontally through the middle; QED three slices and 8 pieces of cake
with a beamsplitter and prisms it could be done in 1 (with a laser)
That's an oddly presented question that is understood 2 ways: - 3 cuts allowed to cut one cake in 8 pieces. Which yields cut in 4 parts, then split those in 1/2 again with the last cut, either by stacking, realigning the slices or making a round cut. - 3 pieces of cake must be re-cut to make 8 equal parts. Which is an impossibility unless one piece is 2/3 smaller than the other 2. That yields different answers like cutting in 3, and eat one to leave 8 pieces.
They key to answering any of the brain teaser questions is to ask a few critical questions before even attempting to answer. I would start with: Is the original cake round or square? If square, line up all three pieces and recut to be 4 equal widths of cake. If round, was the original cake cut in 6 or 8 pieces? If 6 pieces you have 1/4 of a cake = easy to redivide into 8 equal slices. If 8 pieces, you have 1/3 of a cake and a little math needs to be applied to create 8 equal slices. First slice a strip off each of the 3 slices to create a fourth slice. then divide each in 1/2 to make 8 equal slices.
Cut each slice into 8 small slices. Then give each person 3 small slices.
There are some posting above who seem to not have a good grasp of numeric's. The answer is not that difficult. First, presume the pieces are not equal size (nothing states they are). Second, presume two pieces are of equal size and the third piece is twice that size. Third, cut vertically (the most usual manner in which to cut cake) the 2 equal pieces (we now have 5 pieces -4 the same size and one larger piece). Fourth, cut the large piece in half, then those two pieces in half again. Fifth, voila, one now has eight equal pieces of cake.
Hmmm, I always assumed they meant three knife cuts by the word "slice" Kind of interesting to me that others assumed the cake was given to you in 3 parts as defined by the word "slice" I'd say that you should cut the cake horizontally using the knife as a measuring device to find the exact center of the circle, then cut vertically using the same method, then take each quarter , using the knife as a straight edge, build an alignment diagram that places each set of two quarter pieces point to point along an axis that defines their center lines, and cut all 4 quarter slices with a single cut of the knife ( defined by the word slice ).
Put it all in a blender. Pour each of the resultant mixture onto a plate or into a bowl.
1. assemble 3 sliced cakes into a big cake (original shape) 2. cut it half (don't care about the indentation) , you would get 2 piece of cake 3. cut it half again, you would get 4 pieces of cake 4. cut all of them half again, that's finish.
To those who think it means you start with 3 pieces ("slices") of cake, READ IT AGAIN. It says (emphasis added): “You have a birthday cake and have exactly 3 slices to cut IT into 8 equal pieces." Get it? "... to cut IT [the cake] into 8 equal pieces."... There is NO WAY it means to cut 3 slices of cake, otherwise it would say "...exactly 3 slices to cut into...". And Mike: "equal doesn't mean same, just equivalent". That's the funniest (and stupidest) thing I've heard all day. Anyway, since 2^3 = 8, you have to stack. Assuming a round cake: Cut (or "slice") 1 creates 2 semi-circles. Stack them. Cut 2 creates 4 quarter-circles. Stack then Cut 3 creates 8 1/8th circles.
is the 3 slices equal in size?
Great answer and explanation here: http://www.programmerinterview.com/index.php/puzzles/birthday-cake-8-pieces/
Make sure the guest of honor has Blown out candles 1st! (was not specified but hey so were many other things) If the birthday boy/girl is under the age of 10, I am not too sure you want to be messing with their cake!! Cakes come in many different sizes and shapes...ESPECIALLY Birthday Cakes!!! ACK They even come in characters and shapes you can NEVER get into equal pieces but, back to the solution! Will use 2 shapes: Round and Square! Cut 1: Parallel to cutting board and horizontal to create 2 layers of equal depth; Cuts 2 and 3: Perpendicular to cutting board once then rotate 90 degrees and repeat! Now give it to the Kid in the high chair to for quality control/assurance!
Like Andrew, I would eat one piece and then cut the 2 in four equal pieces.
Remember 1 whole cake, 3 slices with a knife = 8 equal pieces Place cake flat on table. Grab a knife big enough to cut the cake horizontally. 1st cut - Cut the cake horizontally leaving the cake flat on table as if the cake still in one single piece. Now you have 2 cakes instead of one. 2nd and 3rd cut - cut through the cake vertically in the form of a cross. Now you have 8 equal pieces of cake. As if you had cut 2 cakes in 4 pieces each.
I would state that I only eat cakes in the shape of circle. then 3 equal cuts across the middle. think of it like a pizza... or a pie.... or a pizza pie. Remember these questions are made to have you think outside the box. Not all cakes are square.
cut the diagonal portion then centre line of cake
Cut each of the 3 slices into 8 equal parts which makes the slice count 3*8 = 24, Divide the 24 between 8 people 3 each.
Cut 2 slices into 4 pieces each, cut the third one into 8 pieces.
Separate 2 of the 3 slices, dividing 2 slices for 8 people is easy (each slice in 4) Then with the left piece I divide it in 8 and offer one to each person.
One more: I could put all the 3 pieces together and re slice into 8 equal pieces.
Case interview: basic business problem (if product X costs Capital One $4.00 per unit, with a $800 sunk cost, and we charge X amount of dollars along with a $10 annual fee, how many do we need to sell to break even, etc). Followed by a longer discussion of more complex problems that the situation might entail.7 Answers
Mostly algebra, basic economics, and common sense.
total cost= 4x + 800 total income= x^2 + 10x to break even: 4x + 800 = x^2 + 10x solving for x by evaluating the quadratic equation above, x ~= 25.45 To break even, 26 units must be sold
Why is x^2?
Erin - it probably shouldn't be. The Revenue side should be (unit price + 10) * number of units sold. Dapo has assumed that unit price and number of units sold is the same since the letter X is used to describe both variables. That might be correct, but it would be an odd quirk of the question - I'd bet that you can ask what the unit price is.
very good if all 3 of you are interviewing, I can get the position. It doesn't say the annual fee is per product, so you have to assume or ask if it is the case, and if not the # of customer and potential customers estimation. And that x^2 Dapo, did you pass the online test?
How is it possible to answer this without knowing the selling price per product? # of quantities to sell in order to breakeven depends on how much the selling price per product is? Since the selling price says X, you can sell it for $790 and breakeven by just selling 1 product ($790 per product + $10 annual fee (assuming it's per product)). But I may be misunderstanding the information provided. Any feedback?
Actually, to correct the above response, if the selling price for 1 product is $794 (to cover the cost price of the product itself ($4) ), only 1 quantity needs to be sold. ($794 + $10) = ($800 + $4).
How do you give about giving a presentation without preparation or knowledge of the subject?5 Answers
Job description said NOTHING about giving presentations nor did anyone offer that this would be a quality expected of a BA when directly asked about it (if so, I would have prepared an adequate response). That information was deliberately withheld from me in an effort to trip me up in the formal interview.
I'd answer this by saying that these were actually two different questions - how one feels about giving a presentation on something you have knowledge about but on the fly, versus how one feels about giving a presentation about which one lacks knowledge. Clearly, the first situation would be preferable.
I guess you could see it that way, but it wasn't that way at all. By virtue of the fact that they wouldn't move on to the next topic/question after it was answered, it was clear to me that this was a question intended to disqualify/trip me up.
Personally, I would say that this question isn't about giving presentations; it's about how you handle uncomfortable situations that can arise in business with little warning. How do you give a presentation on a subject you know little about? Don't give a speech, instead, utilize a roundtable discussion method to bring any knowledge the audience might have into the discussion in the hopes that the group's knowledge will help to make the presentation more fruitful and beneficial for everyone. Often, interview questions are not about specific job responsibilities, but rather about skills they are looking for in potential candidates.
A basic template for presentation is responding to this set of questions: What, Why, Where, When, Who, and How? Some people add How much?
How would you deal with a stakeholder who was insisting that a complex process would be the ideal solution to an existing problem?7 Answers
I would explain to the stakeholder that the purpose of the Business Requirements elicitation meeting was designed to identify the business need not to design the solution.
Great answer and exactly right!
Try to present alternate possible process that you think is less complex. Patiently explain pros over the process insisted by stakeholder. Alternatively, try to make the stakeholder understand what would be the risk, challenges and cons of the process they are insisting. If they still do not agree, we will have to escalate or deal the discussion in presence of upper management.
I would agreee with the first answer if we were told that the interaction occurred during a requirements meeting. What if the stakeholder was insisting while you were working on the solution? I agree that the answer should be to either propose the alternate solution and explain why it is the better approach.
I would put down all the data in front of him and lay down the pros and cons of having that process. Previous to that I would do my homework and talk to developers to check if that’s even possible. Offer an alternate solution, If everything else fails, I will talk to higher management.
If you have a 5*5*5 cubic, what is the outside surface area?3 Answers
The simplest answer will be 5*5*5-3*3*3=98
Its surface area...not volume .So answer should be 6*(5*5)
Looking at the first answer makes me doubtful about what a cubic means. If its a cube only, then the answer should be 6*(5*5), as mentioned above.
How would you go about implementing a new service for a company with 6 offices and 1000 employees?3 Answers
I gave them a step by step approach as to how I think I would approach it and gave them a real-life example of a service we had recently deployed. It wasn't what he was looking for.
well, i think this question demands a solution that could work in a distributed fashion, cut across departments and offices and scale with the number of users. This new service got to be uniform, easy to use, and enhance business objectives. Use project management approaches and framework is best, such as SOA. Use best practice out there.
At first I have to see the requirements and the available resources.
How many tries would it take to successfully choose a randomly-picked number from between 1 and 1000?2 Answers
I didn't know, but I vainly tried to get it. Just keep picking a median number (500, 250, 125, etc.) until you get it right.
log2(1000) = log 1000 / log 2 ~= 10
What's the best unbiased estimator for a series random variables?3 Answers
I guess it is just a Gaussian distribution (Normal dist.). Since it has the smallest uncertainty (from quantum point of view) or variance.
I guess it is just a Gaussian distribution (Normal dist.), since it has the smallest uncertainty (from quantum point of view) or variance.
It is the OLS estimator (with Gauss-Markov approximations and normality), by Fisher's theorem on Maximum Likelihood Estimators.
What is the difference between a functional requirement and a system requirement?3 Answers
A functional requirement is the what; a system requirement is the how.
A functional requirement is what the system should do. It is what function is wanted. Non functional is how that is achieved. It specifies how that system should work.
A functional requirement describes the observable behavior of a system. It describes how the work should be done. A system requirement describes the needs of the system (computer) to be able to use the software or hardware. Some examples of functional requirement are “user must be able to login to their account” “user must be able retrieve password”. Some examples of system requirements are “the system must be able to operate in windows and Mac operating systems”
If you have 10 bags of marbles with 10 marbles each and one bag has marbles that weigh differently than the others, how would you figure it out from one weighing7 Answers
hmm, drop all the bags a the same height spread out and see which bag make the biggest mark on the ground.
Add bags one at a time to scale. Should be the same increment of weight added until you add the bag that adds a weight value different from all the others.
hint: use the number of stones to code for each bag.
Assume all marbles are from 10g and the heavier one is 11g Take 1 marble from bag1 ,2 from bag2, 3 from bag3, 4 from bag4, 5 from bag5, 6 from bag6, 7 from bag7, 8 from bag8, 9 from bag9,10 from bag 10..and weigh them together Let it be W. So if bag5 contains the heavy marbles The total weight (W) will be 10+20+30+40+55+60+70+80+90+100 = 555. where as if all were of 10g it should have been 550. meaning the bag which is heavy will always be MeasuredWeight - 550 Mathematically if bag X is the one which is heavy, X can be found using one weighing of sample (W) - (N(N+1)/2)
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Terribly worded question; you never specified that we are given the normal and heavy weights. Without that information, the votes up solution here doesn’t work.
Using a series sum [N(N+1)/2], will not work in this case, as we've not been provided with enough specifics (such as "whats the standard weight of the marbles?). In fact any solution dependent on summed weight will have overlapping solution space and fail. Consider if the standard weight is 10 ounce per marble, and bag 1 is the exception at 12 ounce per marble, for a total weight of 552. Now consider if bag 2 is the exception at 11 ounce per marble - also for a total weight of 552. There is no way to distinguish between the two cases. Given the setup, if appears the interviewer did expect the answer to use some variation of summed series, and I suspect the poster has paraphrased the question and missed some key language - and as best I can tell is not solvable as stated. Google will expect you to provide a generalized solution that can be automated, so the "add the bags one at a time", while simple and clever, would probably not be acceptable as a "weigh only once" solution, and if accepted would be a lesser answer as it does not provide a code-able business solution.
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