ZS Associates Interview Questions & Reviews
Getting an Interview
- Popular Job Titles:
- Business Operations Associate (45)
- Business Analytics Associate (37)
- Business Associate (27)
- Consultant (18)
- Business Technology Associate (18)
- BTA (12)
- Associate Consultant (11)
- Associate (9)
- Business Associate Intern (7)
- General Analytics Associate (6)
- Analyst (6)
- Intern (5)
- Software Engineer (4)
- Business Analyst (4)
- BAA (4)
- Summer Associate (4)
- Operations Research Associate (4)
- ODA (3)
- OR Associate (3)
- Knowledge Management Associate (3)
- Business Analytics Associate Consultant (3)
- Business Information Specialist (3)
- GAA (3)
- Operations Delivery Associate (3)
- Business Analyst Associate (2)
- BOA (2)
- Quality Assurance Analyst (1)
- Manager (1)
- Operations Research Analyst (1)
- Enterprise Support (1)
Associate Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through college or university and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at ZS Associates in March 2009.
Interview Details – Met the company through campus recruiting. Their recruiting team is very professional, and they after a campus interview I was invited to the on-site interview. I had lunch with one of the employees and had a chance to get to know about their work. On site interview included meeting with a variety of managers and associates, some doing the case interviews, some doing a company fit conversations.
Interview Question – One manager did a stress interview. Answer Question
Operations Delivery Associate Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at ZS Associates in January 2013.
Interview Details – At first I got an email from HR asking me to set up a phone interview. It was very simple and quick, basically just a little about myself and learning about the position. About a month later, they contacted me to set up a follow up phone interview. This was about an hour, split into two parts, a half hour case study (They emailed the materials for it at the start of the interview) and a half hour behavioral portion. A month after that I got a phone call from HR saying that they decided to not hire at all for the position after all.
Interview Question – In what ways have you made a process more efficient/streamlined? Answer Question
Business Technology Associate Interview (Negative Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at ZS Associates.
Interview Details – 1st round - HR -> 30mins- Very genuine and straight forward questions about resume, work experience and brief discussion on BTA role/interview process. Amazing HR.
2nd round- Case study -> 45mins- Interviewer gave a case study on sales data ( DB questions- indexing, characterizing etc). they are very concerned about wrapping up the interview in exact 30mins. Amazing interviewer
3rd round- Behavioral interview -> Interviewer had an heavy accent, and was so nervous that interviewer literally stammered while asking questions. It made me so uncomfortable, and sort of threw me off. It did not go well. When I finished talking or stopped to see if we were on same page, there were awkward silences. It was so weird. Worst behavioral interviewer ever! I have done well in all my behavioral interviews including McKinsey. Interviewer asked me basic quests like tell me abt ur leadership skills, talk abt team work, how do u manage a project downtime, etc. Again, interviewer cut off exactly at 29:59 mins (LOL). I saw it on my phone. BTW- this interviewer also checked my linked profile ;)
I did not make it to the 4th round cuz of what I believe the behavioral interview, although, the HR said I needed more technical skills. I did excellent in my technical interview and answered all questions correctly. The 2nd round interviewer was so happy with me.
Interview Question – none- just the behavioral interviewer was weird. Answer Question
Software Engineer Interview (Neutral Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at ZS Associates.
Interview Details – Step 1: Phone interview: 1 hour, 30 minutes technical/30 minutes behavioral. Technical question was: Given a list of words, find the 5 most frequently occurring words. Write pseudocode. The interviewer gave me the question, then hung up and called me back 10 minutes later to discuss my solution. We discussed the runtime complexity, data structures used and their effect on performance, what would happen if solution was modified in such -and-such way, etc.
Behavioral: Basically just asked a bunch of questions. What was your biggest project, what role did you play in this project, what are some difficulties you encountered and how did you solve them, did you ever have problems with team members, etc. Basic behavioral questions. Then was allowed to ask questions. Was told that they would get back to me in a week. I heard back from them to schedule an on-site in Evanston.
On-site: Arrived a bit early, was given a folder with info on the company, benefits, brochures, and other miscellaneous things.
When the time to start the interview arrived, I was escorted downstairs for a demo with one of the software development team members. They went over the various technologies they use and what products they are making. This lasted around 20-30 minutes. At the end there was some time to ask questions.
Then I was taken to a conference room and given a packet with 3 software engineering problems and told to do two of them. I was given 45 minutes alone to work on them. The first problem was: Create classes to implement windows and visible regions of overlapping windows. The second problem was algorithmic: Given a grid of black and white cells, find the biggest connected black square. The third was related to database models; I believe it was to create an E-R diagram for some business. I decided to do the first two; however, the first question was actually a bit vague, and the instructions I was given were confusing, even when I asked questions. It turned out to be more of an algorithmic question of finding out if some region is visible, instead of just creating class structures. Because of this I did poorly on the first problem. The second, I was able to develop a pretty good algorithm for. After the 45 minutes is up, a manager comes in to discuss your solutions with you, and you have a chance to ask questions.
I then met with the department manager for a behavioral round. This guy seemed like he wasn't enjoying the interview at all, like it was a huge chore for him. However, I answered the questions as best I could. At the end there was a chance to ask questions.
After this, I went out to lunch with another member of the software team. We had a nice conversation while eating sushi. After lunch, we headed back to the office for wrap up where I was told I would hear back in a week if they were interested. Didn't hear back though.
Interview Question – See the above questions, I included most of them Answer Question
Very Difficult Interview
Consultant Interview (Negative Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
I applied through an employee referral - interviewed at ZS Associates in April 2013.
Interview Details – I interviewed with 2 individuals, one was a manager, the other was a principal. The principal interview went good. My first interview was with the manager. He was the one that presented me with the case. He had 3 problems
1) He had a very heavy accent, which made it hard to follow his thought process
2) He became upset after a while, at least that's what I felt
3) He refused to offer any help in the case, so when I answered the first part correct he wanted more of an answer in his head. When I couldn't reach his same conclusion things just went downhill after that.
Another thing that deeply bothered me was that I was promised to interview with someone else, and I found out on site that they changed my schedule.
Interview Question – The case was structured, which threw me off especially since I had an interviewer that had a terribly heavy accent. Answer Question
Software Engineer Interview (Neutral Experience)
I applied online - interviewed at ZS Associates in April 2013.
Interview Details – First interview was a phone interview, basically walking them through my resume, and was asked questions about my experience.
Second interview was a 30 minute technical assessment and a 30 minute behavioral.
Interview Question – Technical questions was to come up with an algorithm for finding the 5 most common words in a list. Answer Question
Business Associate Intern Interview (Neutral Experience)
I applied through college or university and interviewed at ZS Associates.
Interview Details – There are two rounds of interview from campus recruiting for LA office.
1st round consists of 2 interviews, one behavioral by managerial position, one case by an associate.
The case was pretty straightforward and structured. It's kind of like a walk-through of how they help clients market new products.
The manager was friendly and shared a lot of trend issues with me.
2nd round consists of 3 interviews, 1 demo.
1 case interview was like a structured, walk-through as well. Might need to be careful not to make stupid mistakes. I did that...
1 case interview was more open-ended. I got a packet of slides and need to come up with recommendation. The manager suggested me to say my final recommendation first before explaining why.
1 behavorial interview was hard. The interviewer really wants specific answer.
Interview Question – What is a time where you had to make judgment that is not easy to make? Answer Question
Associate Consultant Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
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
Analyst Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through an employee referral and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at ZS Associates in November 2011.
Interview Details – The general interview questions were standard, what I found most difficult was a computerized test using a software I had never used before (geography sales for type tool). I had a phone interview and an in person interview.
Interview Question – computerized test using a software I had never used before (geography sales for type tool). Answer Question
Business Operations Associate Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through college or university and the process took 2 days - interviewed at ZS Associates in August 2012.
Interview Details – Four stages
1. Aptitude Test - Math, English, Logical Reasoning
2. Group Discussion
3. Behavioral Interview
4. Final Interview
Interview Question – Role playing a client call Answer Question
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