Putnam Associates Interview: Everything You Need to Know

Whether you are interviewing for the general consultant or life science consultant role, Putnam Associates interviews consist of case interviews and behavioral or fit interview questions.


There are typically two rounds of interviews that candidates must go through before receiving a job offer at Putnam Associates. Your interview process at Putnam Associates will look something like the following:

  • Screening round: If you are applying to Putnam Associates from a non-target school, you’ll likely have a phone screen interview with a recruiter before moving onto first round interviews. Expect to be asked questions about your resume, your interest in Putnam Associates, and a few behavioral or fit interview questions.


  • First round: Two 30- to 40-minute case interviews. You may be asked one or two behavioral or fit interview questions, but both interviews will heavily be focused on case interviews.


  • Final round: Three 30- to 40-minute interviews. Two of these interviews will be heavily focused on case interviews with a few behavioral or fit interview questions. One of these interviews will be heavily focused on behavioral and fit interview questions.


If you have an upcoming interview at Putnam Associates, don’t worry because we have you covered.


In this article, we’ll go over the details on exactly what you should expect on your interview day and what strategies you should use to ace your Putnam Associates interview. We’ll cover:

  • The 4 steps to solve any Putnam Associates case interview


  • Putnam Associates case interview examples


  • The 10 most common behavioral or fit interview questions


  • Additional case interview resources we recommend


The 4 Steps to Solve Any Putnam Associates Case Interview


A case interview, also known as a case study interview, is a special type of interview that nearly every single consulting firm uses. Putnam Associates case interviews simulate what the consulting job will be like by placing you in a hypothetical business situation in which you are asked to solve a business problem.


Since Putnam Associates specializes in serving pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies, the business problems you’ll be given in your case interviews will likely be in these industries.


You will need to ace every single case interview in order to land a job offer.


Putnam Associates case interviews are all candidate-led. You will be in the driver’s seat of the case interview and will be expected to ask the right questions, perform the right analyses, and decide the direction of the case.


Follow these four steps to solve any case that you may get:


1. Understand the problem


The case will begin with the interviewer giving you the case information. While the interviewer is speaking, make sure that you are taking meticulous notes on the most important pieces of information. Focus on understanding the context of the situation, the company, and the objective of the case.


Don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions if you do not catch something. If you are not familiar with the industry, it is completely acceptable to ask how it works. Sometimes, repeating the information back to the interviewer is helpful to confirm your understanding of the case.


Finally, make sure to verify the objective of the case. Not addressing the right business question is the quickest way to fail a case interview.


2. Structure a framework


Develop a framework to help you tackle the business problem. A framework is a tool that helps you structure and break down complex problems into smaller, more manageable components. With a framework, you’ll be brainstorming different ideas and organizing them into different categories.


It is completely acceptable to ask the interviewer for a moment of silence so that you can collect your thoughts and think about the problem.


Once you have identified the major issues or areas that you need to explore, walk the interviewer through your framework. They may ask a few questions or provide some feedback.


3. Solve the problem


Once you have developed a framework, you can begin to solve the problem. To solve the case, you’ll likely need to answer a mix of quantitative and qualitative questions.


When solving quantitative problems, make sure to walk the interviewer through your approach before doing any math. Check if the interviewer has any further information for you before making your own assumptions. Finally, neatly label your calculations and write out all numbers so that the interviewer knows exactly what you are doing. 


When answering qualitative questions, try to structure your answer in a logical way to make it easier to brainstorm or communicate your point of view.


For both quantitative and qualitative questions, make sure to go beyond just answering the question. Think about how your answer impacts the answer to the case. Always try to tie the implications of your answers to the case objective. This will help you develop a hypothesis for what a potential recommendation could be.


4. Make a recommendation


In the last step of the case interview, you’ll present your recommendation and provide the major reasons that support it. You do not need to recap everything that you have done in the case, so focus on summarizing only the facts that are most important.


It is also good practice to include potential next steps that you would take if you had more time or data. These can be areas of your framework that you did not have time to explore or lingering questions that you do not have great answers for.


Putnam Associates Case Interview Examples


Below are some examples of Putnam Associates case interviews or case study interviews that past candidates have received. These should give you an idea of the types of cases you may see on your interview day.


Example #1: Hospital Profitability


Your client is a large single-site hospital that serves a wide range of patients. They are located in Boston, Massachusetts and are part of the Harvard HealthCare system.


The hospital’s board is growing concerned because they have noticed a decline in the hospital’s earnings from medical services even though the number of patients served has remained steady over the past few years.


The hospital has hired you to help them figure out what is causing the decline in earnings and what strategy they should implement to increase earnings.


Example #2: Opening Care Centers in China


Your client is a multinational pharmaceutical company that is known for their cancer drugs. Recently, your client has experienced a decline in sales growth and is considering new business opportunities.


In the United States and Europe, there are many private companies that focus solely on cancer care. However, such cancer care centers do not exist in China. Your client is considering opening and operating a chain of private cancer care centers in China.


How would you evaluate the attractiveness of this business opportunity?


Example #3: New drug development


Your client is a multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in Paris, France. They mainly participate in the research and development, manufacturing, and marketing of pharmaceutical products for sale primarily in the prescription market. However, they also develop over-the-counter (OTC) medications.


Recently, your client has developed a new idea for selling its two blockbuster drugs. One of these drugs lowers blood pressure and the other lowers cholesterol. The client’s research and development team is testing a new drug that is a combination of these two drugs. The idea is that this will generate more revenues in the short term.


You have been hired to help the client answer these three questions:

  • Is combining these two drugs a good idea?


  • If so, how should this new drug be priced?


  • What is the impact of this new drug on the client’s revenues?


Example #4: Drug pricing


Your client is a large multinational company headquartered in New York City. They produce a wide range of drugs and have global annual revenues of $80 billion.


Your client is in the business of making anti-smoking drugs. One such drug is a prescription medication used to treat smoking addiction. This drug reduces cravings for cigarettes and decreases the pleasurable effects of tobacco products.


The client wants to sell this particular anti-smoking drug at a premium price. You have been hired to determine whether this product can be introduced in India and what optimal price should be set for this drug.


Example #5: New product entry


Our client is a Fortune 500 health care services and medical devices company. They specialize in health care supply chain services, providing pharmaceuticals and medical products to more than 40,000 hospitals and clinics each day.


Researchers at our client have just invented a new product for non-invasive surgical procedures. Should they introduce this new product to the market? If yes, how should they launch and enter the market? If not, why shouldn’t they?


Example #6: Sales strategy


You have been hired by the VP of Sales at a large pharmaceutical company. The company has just received FDA approval for a new product that will take between 9 to 12 months to bring to market.


Your task is to advise the VP of Sales on whether a sales force should be hired for this new product. If so, how many salespeople should be hired? 


Example #7: Consumer Loyalty Program


Our client is a large global consumer packaged goods company that specializes in healthcare products. Examples of products that they sell include: bandages, baby products, skin and beauty products, and facial washes.


The CEO of the company was discussing several business issues with one of our consulting firm’s senior partners. One of the topics that came up was consumer loyalty programs.


The CEO would love to do a customer loyalty program, but have asked us on whether this would be a good idea. What would you recommend?


Example #8: Business operations


Your client is a global healthcare company that manufactures pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and consumer packaged goods. Recently, they have been interested in substantially increasing the size of their operations.


Your client’s goals are to double both sales and profits in the next three years. As a consultant that has been brought in to help them, what would you recommend that they do?


Putnam Associates: The 10 Most Common Behavioral Questions


In addition to case interviews, you will likely be asked a few behavioral or fit interview questions. To answer these questions effectively, you should keep in mind the five values that Putnam Associates emphasizes.


From Putnam Associates’ website, these values are:

  • Collaboration: Team, trust, and compassion.


  • Excellence: Set high standards, develop and retain people, and exceptional experience.


  • Ingenuity: Creative thinking, resourcefulness, and pushing boundaries.


  • Grit: Passion, perseverance, and effort drives success.


  • Diversity: Inclusion, respect, and better for it.


With these values in mind, here are the ten questions that are most commonly asked.


1. Why are you interested in working at Putnam Associates?


How to answer: Have at least three reasons why you’re interested in working at Putnam Associates. You could mention that you loved the people that you have met from Putnam Associates so far. You can talk about your passion for healthcare and life sciences and how it’d be a great fit for the types of projects at Putnam Associates. Finally, you can talk about the professional development opportunities and apprenticeship model for learning.


2. Why do you want to work in consulting?


How to answer: Again, have three reasons why you’re interested in consulting. You could mention the fast career growth opportunity, the opportunity to develop soft and hard skills, or the level of impact that you can make by working with large companies on their most challenging issues.


3. Walk me through your resume


How to answer: Provide a concise summary of your work experience, starting with the most recent. Focus on emphasizing your most impressive and unique accomplishments. At the end, tie your experiences to why you are interested in consulting.


4. What is your proudest achievement?


How to answer: Choose your most impressive, unique, or memorable accomplishment. Structure your answer by providing information on the situation, the task, the actions you took, and the results of your work.


5. What is something that you are proud of that is not on your resume?


How to answer: This is a great opportunity to highlight an accomplishment that is not related to your professional work experience. Perhaps there is a non-profit that you volunteer at, a side project or business that you work on, or a hobby that you have won awards or recognition for. Choose something that is impressive and interesting.


6. Tell me about a time when you led a team.


How to answer: If possible, choose a time when you directly managed a person or a team. For this question and the following questions, make sure that you structure your answer. Structure your answer by providing information on the situation, the task, the actions you took, and the results of your work. This is known as the STAR method and is commonly used to answer behavioral or fit interview questions.


7. Give an example of a time when you faced conflict or a disagreement.


How to answer: When answering this question, focus on emphasizing the steps you took to resolve the conflict or disagreement. Speak to the interpersonal skills you had to use in order to mediate the situation. Interviewers want to know that you are a great mediator and that you can handle conflict in a constructive way.


8. Tell me about a time when you had to persuade someone.


How to answer: Choose a time when you were able to change someone’s mind. Focus on emphasizing the steps that you took to persuade that person and what impact and results this had. Interviewers want to know that you are a great communicator and a good people person.


9. Describe a time when you failed.


How to answer: Choose a time when you failed to meet a deadline or did not meet expectations. Focus on emphasizing what you learned from the experience and how you used that experience to deliver even better results in the next opportunity that you got. Interviewers want to see that you don’t get discouraged from failure and that you treat those experiences as learning opportunities.


10. What questions do you have for me?


How to answer: This is a great opportunity to get to know the interviewer on a more personal level. Ask them questions about their experience in consulting or their career. Express genuine interest in what they have to show and ask follow-up questions. The more you can get the interviewer talking about themself, the more likely they will have a positive impression of you.


Recommended Case Interview Prep Resources


We hope that you found this article on Putnam Associates interviews helpful. If you are considering which resources to use in your case interview prep, we recommend the following:

  • One Week Case Interview Course: A comprehensive case interview course that condenses all of the case interview strategies, techniques, and practice you need into a 15 – 25 hour course. Learn through 50+ concise video lessons and 20 full-length practice cases with detailed solutions.


  • Hacking the Case Interview: In this book, learn exactly what to do and what to say in every step of the case interview. This is the perfect book for beginners that are looking to learn the basics of case interviews quickly.


  • The Ultimate Case Interview Workbook: In this book, hone your case interview skills through 65+ problems tailored towards each type of question asked in case interviews and 15 full-length cases based on real case interviews. This book is great for intermediates looking to get quality practice.