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Interview questions to expect if you ditch banking for Google, Yahoo or Amazon

A decade ago, most highly sought-after MBAs had their eyes on Wall Street. Now, many find themselves choosing between careers in finance and the thriving technology sector, which can offer shorter routes to financial independence if your timing is right.

Some 18% of Harvard MBAs found work in the tech sector in 2013, up from 12% a year earlier, according to the Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, roughly 27% sprung careers in finance, down from 35% in 2012.

If you are one of the many who are on the fence – or if you’re wondering how the job hunt differs in the tech sector – check out the interview questions below. They were collected by students at NYU Stern School of Business who interviewed for positions at Google, Amazon and Yahoo. Most of the questions were aimed at students eyeing full-time and intern roles in strategy.

Google

I’ve read your resume, but tell me who the real you is.

Why did Google introduce the Google chrome browser?

How much excess revenue does Google generate from the chrome browser?

Explain what you just said to a 4-8 year old.

What should keep Larry and Sergey up at night? Is Google on the right track?

Give me an example how you might increase Google’s revenues.

How would you launch a product like local search? What are the considerations, risks? How would you elicit the support of partners? How would you check for fraud?

Which is your favorite course at Stern? Which is the least favorite? Why did you pick these?

What does your previous manager think of you? (Be specific) How do you handle feedback?

Amazon

If you were in charge of the digital bookstore emails (for Kindle) that go to Kindle owners to suggest books and the purchase rate for these was lower than for the same emails for hard-copy books through Amazon.com, how would you diagnose and fix the problem?

They described a product for Kindle (where you can get more in-depth info from the community on a character by clicking on an icon in the book) and asked me how I would decide if this was a good product to launch, how I’d test it, what features I’d pursue, etc.

Consider Amazon Fresh. What are the revenues and costs? Who is your target segment? Where is your target market? If we were to introduce a new product offering, how would you make sure it was set up?

If 3 VPs come to you with different projects, how do you decide which one to choose?

If you were working on Amazon Prime, would you change the price of a membership? How would you decide to do this and how would you measure the impact?

Convince me that Amazon should go ahead with this product. Now tell me why we shouldn’t do it

You said you want to build products that make people’s lives easier. Give me an example of something you’ve come up with that can.

Give an example where you used data to make actionable recommendations.

How would you compel a company like Nike who doesn’t want to advertise on Amazon to do so? What might be some of their reservations in advertising on Amazon?

Yahoo

Tell me about a product you like. What do you like about it? How would you improve it?

How does Yahoo make money?

If you had to exit one of Yahoo’s properties, which one would it be?

What kinds of partnership deals can Yahoo do?

What’s your favorite Yahoo product?

Should Yahoo acquire [company x]?

The CEO wants you to come up with a strategy to grow the mobile business. What do you do?

Pretend you are the product manager for _____ (product). What feature/enhancement would you recommend and why? What would you need to consider before deciding whether or not to implement it? How would you implement?

How do you keep up with what is happening in the industry?

Who are our main competitors in the content distribution space? What advantage do they have they will make it hard for us to be in this space?

Comments (2)

Comments
  1. How are the questions about the company’s products or revenues relevant to the identification of talent?
    Anyone can read up on that…

  2. it’s not relevant to the identification of talent. However, i bet that they just want to test your reaction and how imaginative you are. The correctness of your answer doesnt necessarily downplay your interview performance

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