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A, B, C, D, E and F are six students seated around a circular table. Each of them is a specialist in one field from among Finance, Marketing, Operations and Strategy with at least one student in each field and at the most two students in a particular field. Further the following information is known:

  • D is sitting opposite to a marketing specialist, who is sitting adjacent to persons of different fields, which are neither operations nor strategy.

  • A is to the immediate right of E, and is opposite a finance specialist.

  • F, the operations specialist, is adjacent to strategy and finance specialist.

  • Only the marketing specialists are together and neither of them is A or B.

  • F is not seated to immediate right of the strategy specialist.

Please find the positions of the different people on the circular table and their profession.

Please tell the approach to where to begin solving such puzzles and what should be looked while solving them.

Source: TIME

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  • $\begingroup$ In (i) is D sitting adjacent to persons of different fields or is the marketing specialist? $\endgroup$ – JR_M Sep 25 '18 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ "adjacent to persons of different fields" means different to each others or different from him? $\endgroup$ – stack reader Sep 25 '18 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling.SE! This is a good puzzle and I enjoyed reading it! Was this in TIME Magazine or on the website? $\endgroup$ – PerpetualJ Sep 25 '18 at 15:44
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(i) D is sitting opposite to a marketing specialist, who is sitting adjacent to persons of different fields, which are neither operations nor strategy. (ii) A is to the immediate right of E, and is opposite a finance specialist. (iii) F, the operations specialist, is adjacent to strategy and finance specialist. (iv) Only the marketing specialists are together and neither of them is A or B. (v) F is not seated to immediate right of the strategy specialist.

From (I), this means that there are two marketing specialists, and either a finance person to their left or right. D isn’t in marketing. F is the only operations specialist by (iii), and by (v) must have a finance specialist to their left; and a strategy specialist to their right. Going around the table we could have 6 spots filled (going from right to left starting at F) — Operations, Finance, Finance, Marketing, Marketing, Strategy. This doesn’t work though, because it would mean D would have to be the Operations person F by (I). We thus have 5 spots filled, because the finance person is the same: Operations (F), Finance, Marketing, Marketing, ??, Strategy (D). The marketing specialists must therefore be C and E by (iv). Further, there can’t be a second Strategy person because they’d sit next to each other (IV). So the question mark must be Finance. This means the first Finance must be A, to the right of the first Marketing E, so the other one is C, and the remaining Finance is B.

So the solution is: going Clockwise:

Operations (F), to their left is Finance (A), to their left is Marketing (E), to their left is Marketing (C), to their left is Finance (B), to their left is Strategy (D), and to their left is Operations (F) again.

—— Edit: I’ve been asked for techniques as to how to solve these. I’ll try to present them here.

Sometimes a diagram will help — especially when order matters and especially especially (for me) in the case of round tables. These round table questions always have some sort of symmetrical principle (eg. sits across from...) that may be difficult to visualize. After that, I tried hard to document my thought process above; that’s why my existing answer reads like a stream-of-consciousness dialogue. I start with a clue and look to see what information I can glean from it, then place it in the diagram (I was on mobile this time, so no diagram for me!). I make a mental note of the parts of the clue I was unable to use. Once I can’t place anything else I move on to the next clue. I keep looping through the clues until it all fits, I suppose, I don’t think the method is that special or unique!

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    $\begingroup$ geez, give us mortals some time :) $\endgroup$ – Kaspar Scherrer Sep 25 '18 at 15:52
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for solving it so quickl. @El-Guest. Can you pls some general insights on what do you look into while solving such puzzles? $\endgroup$ – sam Sep 25 '18 at 15:56
  • $\begingroup$ @sam please take a look at the edit I’ve added — I hope it’s helpful!! $\endgroup$ – El-Guest Sep 25 '18 at 16:14
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks again . Your deductions were very helpful. You looked into the grammatical keywords 'the' and 'a' to figure out number of persons in a profession. correct me if i am wrong?@El-Guest $\endgroup$ – sam Sep 25 '18 at 16:19
  • $\begingroup$ With these types of puzzles, basically everything is helpful, even if it is something minor like a vs the. For most puzzles, even those minor word choices are intentional and should be used to your advantage! @sam $\endgroup$ – El-Guest Sep 25 '18 at 16:22

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