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CMS Vacation Scheme Assessment Centre 2020


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  • Feb 17, 2018
    CMS Training Contract Assessment Centre 2019 - Anonymous

    Assessment Centre: Activity 1 – Written Exercise

    1 hour to read a bundle of information and write a summary with your suggestions. My scenario was advising a fictional oil/gas company on whether or not to invest into a fictional African country. Lots of issues either way but I recommend coming to a decision that you have justified.

    The exercise was hand written (!!) and you only got 1 side of paper so be concise. I, along with everyone else at the assessment centre, used detailed bullet points rather than flowing prose!

    The exercise wasn’t particularly time pressured despite being hand written.

    It is also worth considering the role play during this time; it is based on the same scenario.

    Assessment Centre: Activity 2 – Role Play and Interview

    This was conducted by a partner and an associate.

    Given 10 minutes to talk through my findings from the written exercise – which they had read. I was also asked questions on the scenario for a further 10 minutes or so. They didn’t really challenge my conclusion but did ask for greater detail on some points, or what additional information might be needed when considering the scenario.

    The remaining 40 minutes was a mainly competency based interview. They did ask some questions on CMS’s place in the legal industry as a whole (competitors, challenges they may face, etc.) but nothing super detailed about transactions or clients.

    It was quite formulaic but both were nice to speak to. There was time to ask questions at the end, so worth having 1 or 2 lined up.

    Assessment Centre: Activity 3 – Group Exercise

    Classic group exercise example where we had to plan a presentation (30 mins) then deliver it (10 mins) and finally answer questions on it (10 mins). It was assessed by two associates. In my example we had to come up with an innovative or technological way in which the firm could improve ‘project delivery’.

    In my opinion, some people wrongly tried to show off how much they knew about the firm, instead of showing they can work as a team. I would recommend focusing on bringing everyone into the conversation, sticking to the time schedule, ensuring every point you are asked for is covered, and making sure presenting roles were divided up fairly.

    We did present for 10 mins, but the associates didn’t look like they even marked this section, so no need to be worried about it.

    Questions were mainly about seeing how we responded to being challenged but there was also a question about whether we thought we worked well together. I was honest in my approach to this, so gave some points I thought we could improve on, others just said it went well. I think being able to assess where you can improve is probably the best approach.

    Assessment Centre: Activity 4 – ‘Speed Networking’

    This is apparently a legacy Olswang part of the assessment and is very relaxed.

    You have 8 minutes to talk to 5 trainees one at a time. Some just chatted, some asked questions from prompt cards. The questions ranged from ‘What international office would you like to go to for a secondment?’ to ‘If you could have a superpower what would it be?’.

    Not sure there is much preparation you can do for this. I took the approach of trying to be conversational – more so then if I was asked these in a partner interview.

    I heard the result of the assessment centre within 2-3 days.

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