Puzzles Asked in Business Analyst (MBA) Interview [2020]

The business analyst remains to be one of the most sought after jobs in today’s digital world. There are multiple stages of interviews and tests that a business analyst has to go through. 

In this article, we will list out some critical puzzles asked in business analyst (MBA) interviews. We have taken a question from each type of significant category to give you a quick look at the overall scenario. 

To dive deeper into the preparations of the Business Analyst role, we will recommend you to enroll in our MBA (Executive) with a specialization in Business Analytics | NMIMS.

Puzzles Asked in Business Analyst Interview

1. You are provided with a rope that takes one minute to burn out. The rope is non-uniform. It has different burning rates in different areas. You are given the task of measuring 30 seconds just by burning this rope. How will you do that? Elaborate the thought process.

Image Source

Since the rope is non-uniform, we can’t assume that it will take 30 seconds to burn the rope by 50%. Hence, we need to consider a solution that takes non-uniformity into account.

Rate of burning = Total length burnt / Time Taken

Here we have to keep the time taken = 30 seconds and conceptualize a process that modulates the burning rate and the total length burnt accordingly.

We will start burning the rope from both ends!

The point where they meet will happen in precisely 30 seconds. Let’s say the burning ends meet at 70 % of the total length. Hence, due to the non-uniformity, the whole time is taken to travel 30 % = the entire time is taken to travel 70 %. Therefore, in this way, we can easily measure 30 seconds using this system.

These types of puzzles for business analyst interviews are asked to check the candidate’s logical reasoning and the ability to think out of the box.

You are riding your bike on a deserted road at night. You get bored and start counting the number of bikes that you see on the way. You observe that in every half an hour, the probability of discovering another bike is 95%. You reach your locality and will reach your home in another 10 minutes. What is the likelihood that you will see another bike?

As stated in the question, the probability of observing a bike in 30 minutes is 95%. We will assume that the occurrence of bikes is random. 

Now we can’t conclude anything on the occurrence in 10 minutes. If we see a car in 30 minutes, that doesn’t necessarily mean we can’t see another in the next 10 minutes. Hence, we will go the other way around. We can say that if we do not want to see any bike in 30 minutes, we mustn’t see any bike in the corresponding 10 minutes slots. 

Is 0.05. Hence, if we divide this 10 minutes window into 3, we can say that the probability of not observing a bike in 30 minutes = probability of not observing a bike in the first 10 minutes and the second 10 minutes, and third 10 minutes.

The probability of not observing a bike in 10 minutes slots is equal, hence-

Probability of not observing a bike in 30 minutes = (Probability of not observing a bike in 10 minutes) ^ 3

Hence, the probability of not observing a bike in 10 minutes = (Probability of not observing a bike in 30 minutes) ^ ⅓

Which comes out to be around 0.3684.

The probability of observing a bike in 10 minutes = 1 – the probability of not observing a bike in 10 minutes ~= 0.6316 

Business analyst interview puzzles like this assess the candidate’s understanding of probability and chance types of questions.

Read: What business analyst do?

2. The following image shows the trajectory of the two wheels of a motorcycle. In which direction was the motorcycle traveling- left to right or right to left? Elaborate.

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Source

It can be intuitively guessed that the red line corresponds to the front wheel, and the blue line corresponds to the rear wheel. The rear wheel always tries to follow the front wheel but is unable to turn on its own. Hence, in the case of turns or twists, the blue line acts like a smoothened version of the red line.

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Now, the rear wheel must always point towards the front wheel, and there is always a constant difference between the two. Hence, it can be concluded that the lengths BC and EF are equal. At any point, the tangent at the blue line makes sure that the red line is one length away from it.

Hence, it can be easily observed that the motorcycle is going from right to left.

These types of puzzles for business analyst interviews are asked to assess the direction sense of the candidate and the ability to analyze the problem in depth.

Also Read: Key skills business analyst need to have

3. You go to a dark room, and a robber catches you and binds you. You ask for mercy, and he offers you to play a game. He gives you eight coins and puts them on a surface in front of you. The 3D projections of coins are erased, and you cannot feel the surface at all. Now out of those eight coins, 4 are heads up, and 4 are tails up. He asks you to flip some coins and make two bundles and pile them up such that each of the bundles has an equal number of heads up.

The problem is not as easy as it seems. Without actually feeling the coins, we cannot figure out which side is up for each coin. Hence, we need to think of a solution, where irrespective of which side is up, we arrive at a point where we can easily conclude the heads up and tails up are equal in each bundle.

Now as per the statement, we just want to make the number of heads up the same in both the bundles. Let’s just build two bundles. Now, in this case, the bundles might be random. There can be any number of heads up in each bundle. But, we can conclude that the number of heads up in bundle one + the number of heads up in bundle 2 = total heads up, i.e. 4.

Hence, we will simply flip all the coins in each bundle to ensure that the heads up become equal.

For example- 

B 1 = H H T H

B 2 = T H T T

B 2 after flipping = H T H H.

The number of heads up in B 1 = Number of Heads up in B 2 after flipping.

Check out: Business Analyst Salary in India

Conclusion

Business analyst interview puzzles of this kind are asked to check the candidate’s awareness and whether he/she can find the solution that is otherwise easy, but is difficult to grasp.

Companies across both IT and e-commerce sectors pay excellent compensation to deserving candidates who can add value to their organization. Apart from the regular educational qualifications and work experience, having advanced Business Analysis certifications also helps in bagging jobs that offer high-level salaries.

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