Deloitte E- Tray Help


Hey, I have been invited to take my online etray exercise for deloitte (2013 intake), and was wondering if someone could tell me if after you have finished the online inbox exercise, do you have to do the written exercise immediately after this??

if not, how long do you have between completing them, and how long do you ave to do so?

also, with regard to the written exercise, does anyone have an example of the report written showing structure, formalities etc

any help would be greatly appreciated!


Hi ajm901,
The e-tray exercise is exactly the same as last year (I failed it last year, past it this time!). I don’t think you can prepare much for the e-tray, maybe look at civil service fast stream, they have a practice test there.

In terms of the written exercise, after I completed the e-tray you can choose to either take it straight away or do it again another time. I chose to put it off (I planned initially to put it off until the next day) and in that time I got an email saying I passed the e-tray and have 7 days to complete the written ex. I would advise waiting after your e-tray to make sure you pass… would hate to put more effort into the written exercise just to find out you have failed the e-tray.
The written exercise is different from last year (they changed it, I’ve been told, because they thought people were able to prepare their answer in advance due to the details being leaked… got to love wikijobs eh?) .
Keep the tone formal but not OTT. You are emailing your immediate manager about an acquisition that Trafford Lea Books want to make. You have an option from three companies to look at. Be sure to shorten the names so it is easier to type. (i.e. Trafford Lea Books will be referred to in the email as TLB, just make sure you mention this in the opening paragraph so they know what you are doing - They like this by the way, it is something they do in their emails to each other. Also they like bullet points, although I didn’t use any so don’t feel you have to.)

General form of the email, I put something along the lines of:

Hi George,

Thank you for your recent email. I shall now look at the three possible acquisitions Xxx Xxxx (XX), Yyyy Yyyy (YY) and Zzzz Zzzz (ZZ) and conclude which company I feel will benefit Trafford Lea Books (TLB) in its growth strategy.

I then wrote a paragraph of 5-8 lines on each of the companies and a conclusion of about 7 lines. I finished with something like

I hope this information is helpful and if you have any queries regarding any of the information or reasoning of my conclusion please contact me and I can go through my decision in more detail.

Kindest Regards,
Your Name

In my conclusion I focused primarily on two things. The financials, including the cost of the acquisition, their absolute profit and percentage of turnover that translates into profit and what the board want. In the background information you learn the board of TLB are worried that the previous growth strategy was too passive and want a more aggressive strategy. Due to this I chose the company that I thought would appease the board as you want to show that you take your clients opinions into consideration.

As for the three companies you are given three quite different set-ups.
Company X (I can’t remember any of their names, sorry) has a business model very similar to TLB and also has many of its shops in the same towns/cities of TLB. It has quite good turnover and is relatively cheap to buy. It also compliments TLBs book catalog in that something around 60% of books are the same so is able to expand the catalog without alienating their current clientele.

Company Y (the company I chose) is based in out of town shopping centers. These guys have the highest growth prospects in the next few years as well as the highest profit/turnover translation % (if I remember correctly). They also have a potentially highly lucrative additional revenue stream in that they have in-house cafes (which I mentioned in the e-tray that I thought TLB should diversify into that field anyway). The key drawback with these guys is customer satisfaction is around 30%, staff turnover is high and it is very expensive to buy. - Oh also I worked out the payback period of each acquisition (purchase price/profit) and it turned out to be not too bad for Y. I think in the region of 4 years but then I added that growth potential will reduce this and said things around that point to counter the high price.

Company Z is (in my opinion) a bad buy. They are family run, have very high (~90%) customer satisfaction and no staff turnover, and are very cheap to buy. However their outlets are solely in department stores meaning little space for advertising, no options of any additional revenue and the department stores have ultimate power over any and all their shops.

Good luck. I passed both and am now waiting on my interview day (first and partner in the same day!) If you have any more questions feel free to ask. I applied to consulting, I’m assuming the e-tray and written ex is the same for everyone.


thank you very much for your comments! they will both be extremely useful.

one more question, in terms of calculations that you are asked to do… what sort of thing can be expected?


Just basic stuff. As I said I calculated percentages and pay back periods in the email. In the e-tray you need to do some basic maths. At one point there is a table of analysts, their hourly rates to TLB and how many hours they worked. In the initial report from your company to TLB you misquoted a price, so you need to recalculate how much it should have been and find the error in the initial quote. Quite simple. Also there’s a part where you need to work out when to start part 2 of the project. You mention about 5 emails previously that it will take 10 days, in this email they say something along the lines of “based on your previous estimate (they don’t tell you what you said… that threw me a bit for a minute) and adding on 3 days for contingency planning when should we start part 2 of the project”. Remember to not include weekends for this, as in 13 workdays, not 13 days (I did not do this first time round, oops).
Take the first 10 minutes or so to read the background information, you don’t need all of it so don’t worry if you don’t use it but some of it is very useful (at points in the task they ask for your opinion on what direction TLB should go in) and some is needed. Also don’t panic at 15 mins to go with still 17 odd emails. I got to this point, panicked because I thought I would run out of time and ended up finishing with 8 mins left… after you get past the first 5 or 6 you start to get the hang of it and can really speed up naturally.


Hi ajm,

I have just been invited to complete the etray exercise aswell? how are you preparing? Any useful links you can suggest?

Thanks in advace


The only one I have seen (that is free) is the civil service fast stream example.


the deloitte website has a practise etray

Though i do think this one was harder then the real one. Cause this has only 6 questions and so less time and yet a lot of documents. in the real one as there are more emails: in the first few emails you might feel you are going slow, cause you are reading the documents for the first time, but then in the later ones you automatically will be faster as u will have spent time reading documents for previous questions.

There is one question in which u have to suggest who should be contacted for an issue about staffing. For that look at TLB organizational chart PLUS there is a document about responsibilities of each position. i cudn’t spot that document. the answer is operations manager and HR manager (shud i be sharing answers :p)

Dont panic, some questions do take longer than others, like the one in which you have to recommend two ppl to work on the project out of the 6 available. (if this sounds horrid, its not, you have to use two tables which are very clearly labelled)

And as to the 13 days comment above, i think even i missed adjusting the date for weekends, and yet I’ve cleared the first part

I hope this helps! Gonna attempt the written exercise now!


Hey Scintillating,

How did you prepare for the E-tray ex? I have mine to complete! Which role did you apply for? Was it manageable-the real e-tray?


Jc2255, Don’t let the pressure get to you and you’ll be fine. Do the practice ones to get a feel of it.


I probably spent about a day ‘revising’ for the test. Preparation is ridiculously essential (they even mention on the website the activity is more to judge your preparation than anything else).

I’ve got a load more guidance (see site below), but my best tips would be to do at least 2 practice ones first. Deloitte and HMRC both provide these. Also try and work out a system (I had 3 sheets of paper. 1 for notes on the 2 companies, 1 for summaries of each document and 1 for calculations and new information).



I have recently finished my E-Tray with Deloitte for their graduate program. I have not received any result as application went ‘under consideration’ status. I could not respond to 2 emails in the end. Will that penalize my outcome in any way. I am worried.


Generally you should have responded to all the emails, but if you completed them in an appropriate order and correctly you should be fine.

As long as the emails weren’t from a Manager


thank you immensely for the help