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ZS Associates Associate Consultant Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Apr 11, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

Getting an Interview  

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Interview Experience  

44%
44%
11%

Interview Difficulty  

Average Difficulty
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3 people found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Associate Consultant Interview

Associate Consultant

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 6 months - interviewed at ZS Associates.

Interview Details – I think the in-person interview process is quite streamlined, and the manager conducting the interview clearly knew what he was doing. (Getting the interview was another story - next paragraph). I cannot say the same for other top strategy firms who give the interviewing task to 29 year olds with 3 years of work experience, an MBA, an an attitude problem. ZS gives you clear materials to work with, step by step (at least for round one) - it's not a case in your head where a recent MBA grad tries to play mind games with you on a power trip.

ZS seems to be growing very fast, and due to this, my application got lost in the shuffle for months. I applied about 6 months before my 30 minute interview. So, it's a little annoying that there was no point in 6 months that they could have just had me come in and do this, which honestly kind of points to their disorganization. I like the work that they do and really wanted to work for them, so I did keep contacting them (within reason) about getting an interview (they said that they would - repeatedly - but then they just kept pushing it back). On top of that, two recruiters were calling me & my information was being lost - it was a little disorganized and frustrating from the outside.

Finally, when I got the interview - I just blew the case completely. I knew it then & there... and that was the end (after waiting 6 months). Fortunately, I had a very nice and professional interviewer who made everything clear and had no ego or condescension when he saw my mistakes (again, unlike some other strategy firms with awful people). So, I would say this was a positive experience even though I was a train wreck. I wish I could do it again properly - because I had no idea what I was about to face, and I should have prepared for THEIR type of case which is nothing like McK, Bain, or BCG. It's very quant (8th grade math - but still - if you haven't done it in 20 years - not so easy) and interviewer-led.

I know I am just as smart and qualified (if not more) than most of the people who work at ZS based on my degrees and experience, but screwing up a case interview ends it immediately. There is no turning back. Again, it is also annoying because I find the people there very nice and the work interesting...but one case is the barbed wire fence.

Interview Question – Just know how to divide/multiply and add/subtract large numbers quickly...and you can round these numbers - but if you get lost in this, it's over. No second changes.   Answer Question


No Offer

Neutral Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Associate Consultant Interview

Associate Consultant
San Mateo, CA

I applied online and the process took 2 days - interviewed at ZS Associates in August 2011.

Interview Details – My background: Completing a bio PhD at a top school
Had 2 interviews:
1st- Fit interview: Guy was semi-friendly. Didn't want to just "chat". he was very methodical with his questions. seemed more like a Q&A than an interview. He wasnt a native english speaker which made him hard to understand. He latched on to some phrasing that i used and didn't let it go. i.e. i said that i was unsuccessful at XYZ and he wouldnt let go of the word "unsuccessful". At the end of the conversation he said "thanks, good luck on your job search".

2nd - They sent me 4 unlabeled graphs. The interviewer appeared to have just a list of 20 questions she wanted to get through and didnt seem interested in actually listening to my analysis of the case. more just getting an answer. It was VERY quantitatve and analytical, related to sales force optimization. None of my case preparation prepared me for this kind of interview. The job appears to be very dry if this is the kind of stuff they do day-to-day. Know how to do derivatives and analyze graphs. I have no business background, so i had trouble understanding how to calculate marginal profits from a graph. Aske for feedback and she just said to brush up on business terminology and to think outloud when im working through a problem. sound advise.

This was all done over the phone making it an incredibly hard thing to do given the amount of calculations i had to go through.

I received an email a week later saying that they arent passing me to the next round. I responded asking for some specific feedback re my interview and didn't hear back from them.

Interview Question – calculate derivative   Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Easy Interview

Associate Consultant Interview

Associate Consultant
Evanston, IL

The process took 6+ weeks - interviewed at ZS Associates in May 2011.

Interview Details – First two rounds were phone call. One was behavioral type questions like "Tell me a about time when you felt caught between conflicting objectives", Go over Resume, Why ZS etc. The second one was data crunching. I was given a tables, charts with some information as asked questions on that. Brush up your calculating skills.

Final round was in the ZS office- 1 past project experience with a principal where I had explain my PhD thesis to him. Second was behavioral with a Principal. Finally they gave me a lot of material about a company and asked me to prepare a presentation with a group advising the company based on the information provided. The panel was fair and easy on me. It was a little intimidating in the begining, but just manage your time well and be organized in your approach.

-Very friendly people overall and pleasant experience

Interview Question – Tell me a time when you had to work on a project with a tight deadline   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Decent offer, not outstanding but very little to no negotitation


1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Associate Consultant Interview

Associate Consultant
Chicago, IL

The process took a day - interviewed at ZS Associates in May 2010.

Interview Details – Applied on-line, received e-mail about 3 weeks later offering a phone interview. First there was a 30 min fit interview, pretty much just walking through my resume. Then there was a 30 min case question. The night before they sent an e-mail with a bunch of unlabeled charts and graphs. The case revolved around those graphs and I was asked some pretty specific quantitative questions. Like, calculate the 2nd derivative of an equation...I was not prepared. Got a call back the next day (less than 24 hrs) saying thanks but no thanks.

I pretty much blew the quantitative part though so it was not a surprise.

Interview Questions


Declined Offer

Negative Experience

Easy Interview

Associate Consultant Interview

Associate Consultant
Pune (India)

I applied through a staffing agency and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at ZS Associates in March 2014.

Interview Details – 1. HR calls
2. Arranges for face to face interview in Pune
3. In Pune office, first a case study round a manager
4. Then a general discussion round with a more senior person
5. Finally a telephonic discussion with a even more senior person.

Reason for Declining – The package offered was way below my expectation


No Offer

Neutral Experience

Associate Consultant Interview

Associate Consultant
Pune (India)

I applied in-person and interviewed at ZS Associates.

Interview Details – Aptitude, telephonic round, case study analysis and final round with the partner

Interview Question – Didn't receive a chance to answer any of their question. I received an email from HR that my profile has been shortlisted for the position and then later i received email another HR that they cannot take my application forward. On asking the reason, there was no response from the HR.   Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Associate Consultant Interview

Associate Consultant
Shanghai, Shanghai (China)

I applied through an employee referral and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at ZS Associates in April 2013.

Interview Details – First round is a principal interview on behaviorals. The questions include innovation, team work, last minute making a right decision etc. After that, I did a case study with associate principal. It was basically about a product strategy, launching and marketing a new drug and finally was asked to provide an approach regarding sales team design

Interview Question – Please provide me one example of whether or not you're an innovative person. If yes, can you give an example?   Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Associate Consultant Interview

Associate Consultant

Interviewed at ZS Associates

Interview Details – There are 4 stages in the hiring process. First is the test which contains data analytic questions and HR type question. Second round is the group discussion. If you get through both the stages, you have a case round which includes case debriefing. Last stage is behavior round and Personal interview.


No Offer

Neutral Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Associate Consultant Interview

Associate Consultant

The process took a day - interviewed at ZS Associates in February 2012.

Interview Details – Behavioral interview followed by a brutal case-interview.

Interview Question – Plan the sales force of company x, given some data.   Answer Question


No Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Associate Consultant Interview

Associate Consultant

I applied through college or university and the process took a day - interviewed at ZS Associates in February 2012.

Interview Details – one 30 minute behavioral with a manager, super nice and friendly
one 30 minute case interview with a consultant. the consultant was extremely patient throughout, and if you missed an aspect to mention, she would ask you about it to nudge you in the right direction. i think to be successful though you shouldn't need nudging. need to be able to do math quickly in your head.

Interview Question – Tell me about a time you failed.   Answer Question

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