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Puzzles Asked in Business Analyst (MBA) Interview [2023]

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1st Sep, 2023
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Puzzles Asked in Business Analyst (MBA) Interview [2023]

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. 

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.

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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.

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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.


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.


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.

4. You have 8 batteries, but only 4 of them work. Your goal is to find the 2 working batteries needed for a flashlight to turn on. How many battery pairings must you test in order to be certain that the torch will function?

To solve this, you can identify the batteries as A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and H. Two batteries cannot be directly compared. Thus, the strategy is to administer a circular test to them in pairs.

Start by testing batteries AB, BC, and AC. If none of these pairs work, it means either A, B, or C is working, and at least three batteries between D, E, F, G, and H must be functional.

Next, test batteries DE. If this pair doesn’t work, it implies that at least 2 out of F, G, and H must be working.

Similarly, try combinations FG, GH, and FH to determine which batteries are functional. By following this method, you can identify the 2 working batteries for the flashlight.

5. You have a birthday cake that needs to be divided into 8 equal pieces, but you can only make 3 cuts. Here’s how you can do it:

First, cut the cake horizontally in the middle. This will give you two equal halves.

Next, cut the cake vertically through the center. Now you have four equal pieces.

Finally, stack the four pieces on top of each other and make the third cut vertically, splitting the stack in half. This will give you eight equal pieces of cake.

6. We have a bag containing 20 blue balls and 13 red balls. The task at hand is to draw 2 balls at a time from the bag without replacement. When two balls of the same color are pulled out, they are exchanged for a blue ball. Conversely, when two balls of different colors are drawn, they are replaced with a red ball. As the balls are not returned to the bag after each draw, the total number of balls decreases gradually. 

Now, the question arises: what will be the color of the last ball left in the bag after several rounds of drawing? 

When two red balls are removed, a blue ball replaces them. Similarly, if two people draw a red ball and a blue ball, those results are exchanged for a single red ball.

Consequently, whether two balls are taken out at once or one is extracted and replaced, the number of red balls in the bag will always be odd.. Consequently, the last ball lingering in the bag will invariably be red. The interviewer cunningly tests the candidate’s analytical approach to reducing this common puzzle, which may initially appear perplexing but becomes uncomplicated once the underlying pattern is comprehended. So, the next time you encounter such a conundrum, remember to apply this simple yet effective method to unveil the solution confidently!

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Check out: Business Analyst Salary in India


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.


Dilip Guru

Blog Author
He is a Growth Hacker, Digital Marketer & Blogger. He loves solving problems of scale and long term digital strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1How to prepare for a business analyst interview?

Every business analyst interview is different from the other. However, the preparation is more or less the same. To start with, practical BA knowledge is of paramount importance. Go through all the BA case studies you have access to. It is also necessary to be aware of global practises. Also, be prepared about the tasks in different knowledge areas. Most interviewers ask candidates if they have in-depth information about mind-mapping, UML, process modelling and UI mockups.

2What are the highlights of the upGrad business analyst certification program?

For anyone looking to learn the basics of business analysis, the certification program offered by upGrad is ideal. The duration of the course is only three months and involves 100+ hours of learning. It is highly recommended to fresh graduates, engineers, managers, IT professionals, and marketing and sales professionals. On program completion, candidates can explore various avenues including that of a data analyst, business analyst or sub managerial roles. The course also includes live sessions with industry experts.

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