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CMS Interview 2021

BK

Legendary Member
Future Trainee
Gold Member
Premium Member
M&A Bootcamp
Aug 26, 2020
155
77
Please state the month/year you interviewed at the firm.
January 2021

Please specify what the interview was for.

CMS Academy

Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.

1-1:15pm - Welcome and tech check
1:15-1:30pm - Welcome, general introductions
1:30-2:15pm - Case study prep
2:15-2:30pm - Tech check and break (called off individually when interviewers were ready)
2:30-3:30pm - Case study presentation, questions and interview
3:30-3:45pm - Wait for interviewees to return, enter group assessment rooms
3:45-4:30pm - Group assessment

Please provide a summary of each assessment on the day with approximate timings.


Case study - 45 mins to read through materials, make notes and prep presentation. Materials included a variety of emails/online news articles/information about a company and you were tasked to make a decision if we should act for this client and give a 10 minute presentation to the partner.

Case study presentation - 10 min presentation. Partner didn't mind if it was much longer or shorter. Asked a few questions after the presentation.

Partner interview - List of competency and motivational questions about why you want to work for CMS, explore what interests you and your previous experiences. Nothing too hard and no trick questions.

Group assessment - Given 30 mins to look at the brief document and then talk as a group to prepare a 10 min presentation. The brief was extremely short and the task was quite open-ended so can really go off in any direction.

What is your best advice for each aspect of the assessment on the day? Please break this down for each assessment. This can include advice for preparation, as well as tips for the day.


Do not underestimate the group task! It was extra difficult to manage the team and build rapport due to being on MS Teams. The task goes very quickly and its so important to take charge when the team goes off piste (this was my downfall). Also ensure your contributions to the group are meaningful and helpful.

Were you successful?
No
 

BK

Legendary Member
Future Trainee
Gold Member
Premium Member
M&A Bootcamp
Aug 26, 2020
155
77
Please state the month/year you interviewed at the firm.
January 2021

Please specify what the interview was for.
CMS Academy 2021

Please give an overview of the day with approximate timings.
1pm - 1.15pm: log on for tech check
1.15pm - 1.30pm: welcome talk
1.30pm - 2.15pm: case study prep
2.15pm - 2.30pm: break
2.30pm - 3.30pm: case study presentation + interview
3.30pm - 3.45pm: break
3.45pm - 4.30pm: group exercise

Please provide a summary of each assessment on the day with approximate timings.
Case study prep - You are given 45 minutes. You are asked to decide whether it is a good idea if your client entered into business with another. In order to help you decide, you are given a bundle of documents containing different facts. These are in the form of emails, newsletters and fact sheets.

Presentation - You are given 10 minutes to present the above to a partner. The partner will not speak during this time and it is only you who will talk. You might see the partner making notes. You will then be asked 1 or 2 questions about your case study, once you have finished your presentation.

Partner interview - 40 minutes in total. The same partner you presented to will interview you for about 30 mins. I was asked competency-based questions (these competencies are listed on the firm's website) which I answered by giving examples from previous experiences. You then have the next 10 minutes to ask any questions you have to the partner. I asked 3.

Group exercise - You have 45 minutes with your group. You'll work in a team of about 3 or 4. The exercise is designed to test your teamwork skills. We were assessed by 2 of the firm's current trainees. They sent us a Word document with a question they wanted us to answer as a team. Mine was ‘what are the different commercial issues surrounding law firms?’ – they also sent some pictures and keywords to help the team think of answers. We were given 20 minutes to prepare as a team and then 20 minutes to present to the trainees, with 5 minutes at the end for any questions they had for us (they always have questions!).

What is your best advice for each aspect of the assessment on the day? Please break this down for each assessment. This can include advice for preparation, as well as tips for the day.

Case study prep: As you are given 45 minutes to prepare for this presentation, flick through each document quickly and pick out key information. You aren't expected to talk about every risk/advantage listed there - just the important bits. Make sure you have a template/structure that you can use to prepare your presentation, otherwise a) prepping in 45 minutes can be hard and b) presenting this information in 10 minutes will be difficult and things might be all over the place.

Presentation: Although you'll see the partner making notes as you speak, try not to get too distracted by this.

Partner interview: 1) Use the STAR technique throughout. Check their website for the 6 key competencies, they're quite focused on these. If you feel like you haven't given a good example for one question, try to give another one. You can give 2 examples for a question if you need to - I did that. Prepare 1/2 examples for each competency listed on the website. They asked me about all of the competencies so it helped I had examples for each. 2) When they ask about challenges, don't just stop after mentioning the challenge. Talk about how you overcame that challenge and what you do to ensure you can tackle it (that's the key bit). 3) Have some water with you during the interview and feel free to take sips throughout (I did). If you need time to answer a question, just say 'please can I have a moment to think about this?' and they'll be more than happy to let you. I said this twice and my interviewer was very nice about it. It's actually better if you take your time to give a good answer rather than jump in, giving an unstructured answer. They always prefer you thinking before answering. 4) Prepare questions in advance for your interviewer and make sure they're appropriate for the person who's interviewing you. Eg don't ask a partner questions like, 'when am I likely to hear back?'. Instead asking about their day to day responsibilities and their sectors.

Group exercise: 1) Try to be the one that manages the team and keeps everyone together. 2) You have about 20 minutes to prepare for this group presentation, so offer to be the one that will keep an eye on the time (and make sure you do). Even if someone beats you to it and offers before you, still keep an eye on the clock and just remind the team of how much time there is left. 3) Give everyone a chance to speak during the presentation, don't speak too much.

Were you successful?
Yes