During an interview for a position as an assistant product manager in cash management at a big four Australian bank, a candidate was asked the following question:
How would you go about calculating how many cricket balls are sold in Australia per year?
The candidate's reply
I think I started with: "Errr, do you mean whether I would survey shops to see how many they sell?". To which the interviewer replied: "No I mean calculate it for me right now. You can use paper".
My answer was roughly: In the town where I grew up the population was about 15,000. There were 12 grades of cricket - from juniors to seniors, men's and women's - and about five clubs, so about 60 teams.
The Australian population is about 40 million. So assuming my home town and the country as a whole have a similar ratio of cricketers to population, that means about 160,000 teams in Australia.
Then assuming a team has a couple of practice balls at the start of a 12-week season, and a new ball for each game, that's about 15 balls per team per season. So my answer was 160,000 x 15 = 2.4 million cricket balls.
How he would have responded in hindsight
I was happy with the logic of my response overall, but some of my assumptions were a bit off. For starters, I would have liked to have got the population of Australia right! Anyway, it wasn't a disaster. I was hired.
How would YOU have answered?
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