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E-tray exercise and examples



Please note that the e-tray exercise is only relevant for 2014 opportunities.

If you successfully complete the application form and numerical reasoning test, you will be asked to complete our e-tray exercise online.

This exercise is split into two parts and requires you to deal with an inbox containing a series of e-mails and information folders:

  • Inbox Exercise – you will be asked to select the  most appropriate and effective action to take on the e-mails that appear in your inbox. You will have email attachments and information folders available to you to assist with your decisions.
  • Written Exercise – You will be asked to write an e-mail communication about a particular issue relating to the e-tray case study.  You will still have access to your inbox and the information folders, as well as further attachments.  

All the information you need to complete both e-tray exercises will be presented to you when you begin the tasks. However, in order to help you prepare some information is provided below to give you some background to the e-tray scenario.

GDT example

For the purposes of the assessment, you will be asked to take the role of a senior project analyst working for GDT Group. GDT Group is a company that specialises in advising other organisations on growth strategies and rationalisation processes.

You have been assigned to manage a project advising Trafford Lea, a retail company, regarding their future growth strategy. The project involves providing advice and expertise in a number of areas:

  • Regional expansion 
  • Product diversification 
  • Analysis of market trends 
  • Acquisitions

The project has been underway for around four weeks and is progressing fairly well. You have been on holiday overseas for the last two weeks and have just returned to work. On your return, you find there are a number of issues around the project that you need to deal with.


Trafford Lea is a regional retail organisation selling general and specialist books and stationery. Trafford Lea was founded 15 years ago. They have a reputation for strong individual high street shops in towns across the UK, staffed by people who are able to offer advice and excellent levels of customer service. Trafford Lea’s branches are tailored to the needs of the population of the area that they serve; this focus on the customer helps to differentiate Trafford Lea from large retail stores in the same industry sector.

Trafford Lea has grown steadily over the years and now has considerable presence in the North East of England. Currently, Trafford Lea has a number of branches situated in the North East of the UK. Their strategy in the past has been to develop their brand and increase accessibility to customers through shops in regional towns, where their larger competition does not operate and other firms have limited product range. The intention has always been to grow the company gradually by increasing the number of shops in towns within the region whilst also looking at extending to another region that has strong potential for success.

Trafford Lea are aware of other market possibilities, such as ‘business to business’ direct supply contracts to business customers and Internet ordering and sales. However, the Finance Director has always opposed these possibilities, warning of the risks and costs involved.

Trafford Lea has developed a selection of growth strategies and has come to GDT Group and it is your responsibility to recommend the most appropriate strategy to suit Trafford Lea.

Practice the E-tray exercise

We recognise that sitting your e-tray can be a little daunting. In light of this, we have now created a practice assessment where you can find out further information about the exercise and have a go at sitting the e-tray before you complete the final version that you submit. Our re testing policy means that you may be asked to re sit your tests when you attend your first interview with us. If you are distracted during the test and feel you have not been able to complete the test to the best of your ability please contact us immediately so that we are able to take this into account when reviewing your score. If we are not informed immediately and are only told after you have been unsuccessful we will not able to take this into account or allow a re-sit.

Click here to practice the etray

Hints and Tips Document

To help you prepare for the online e-tray exercises please click here to view our hints and tips document.  We hope that this will provide further insight into this element of our selection process.