What to expect on a Deloitte assessment day

Attended one of these assessment days recently and passed so I thought I’d share the experience to help other candidates who might be called.

It’s a whole day affair (lunch is provided) that starts with a short 30 minute presentation about Deloitte and what distinguishes it from its competitors. You’re then given individual timetables that tell you who you will be meeting and when and what you need to do to prepare. Everyone’s timetable is different so some will immediately begin with their interviews whilst others will be scheduled to start the other exercises. However, there’s absolutely no need to stick to the schedule for preparation, as long as you are ready for the interviews you’re free to manage your own time however you see fit. Everyone stays in the same room with materials provided but the individual interviews and presentations are done privately.

There are four areas of assessment that each carries equal weight although Deloitte claim it’s vital you do well at the group exercise. The four assessments are a written essay, partner interview, presentation followed by a further competency based interview and finally the group discussion.

You’re given 1 hour for the written assessment which involves a case study about a pharmaceuticals firm called Medicare who are implementing an ERP system (called Project 2) as part of a business transformation project in the USA. Deloitte have been hired to evaluate Project 2 and advise Medicare on the rollout of a similar ERP system across Europe. The material consists of a presentation given to the senior management at Medicare by Deloitte and the written assessment is to summarise this succinctly using full sentences and narrative for distribution to the Medicare managers. You need to pull in all the salient info whilst ensuring sensitive data is not revealed and you’re limited by ensuring it all fits into two pages.

The partner interview is straightforward enough and allocated 45 minutes. You will have already been interviewed previously and made a good impression which is why you were invited back for the assessment day. As long as you show enthusiasm and know the obvious stuff such as what Deloitte is all about along with the business area you want to join and the role specifics with relevant examples of your own experience, this should pose no problem.

A lot of people worry about presentations but I actually enjoyed this one the most. Candidates may be given different case studies depending upon the role and seniority of the job they’re being assessed for but I think the main theme is consistent which is how Deloitte is able to help the organisation. You’re allocated 1 hour to prepare a 10 minute presentation (no more than 6 slides) and then a further 45 minutes for the actual presentation followed by a Q&A session.

My case study was for a soft drinks company facing a myriad of problems such as increased competition from more agile competitors, poor data quality, distributed production centres and legacy systems that hindered the supply chain. The objective is to come up with a short presentation (using flipcharts) describing how Deloitte can tackle these problems and the opportunities it presents. It’s an individual exercise so your audience is another partner, different from the other interview, and the aim here is to test how well you communicate and structure your ideas as well as your business acumen. The presentation and Q&A session is followed by a further competency based interview where you will be questioned about your skills and experience.

The final exercise lasts around 45 minutes and is a group discussion which is by far and away the most stupid, pointless and self defeating part of the whole day. It’s not hard to see why either. The case study is a fictitious community led by a group of “Elders” who are trying to find ways to save money. They’ve come up with a list of initiatives, each of which saves the same amount of money, but each of which has very different repercussions (e.g. ban drinking, cut health care, kill all pets). Candidates are given 10 minutes to individually prioritise the initiatives beforehand by writing them down and then use the remainder of the time to discuss, as a group, how they would rank the same initiatives. The actual assessment starts when the group discussion begins and the aim is to ensure that at least 3 of your top 5 rankings are somewhere in the groups collective top 5 rankings.

However, with the Deloitte assessors watching, the whole thing rapidly falls apart as candidates quickly realise that the group exercise is actually competitive and the only thing that counts is who can make their voice heard, irrespective of whether or not a valid point is being made and whether or not their rankings are in the top 5. If you’ve ever watched The Apprentice, it’s like that only much worse because you actually have to take part in this cringe worthy nonsense. The group exercise proves absolutely nothing useful because when you have several people all trying to make their point and talking over each other, the only thing that can be assessed is quantity not quality. And further proof of how futile this absurd group exercise is comes at the end when the Deloitte assessors merely ask for a show of hands to gauge how many people successfully got their rankings in the top 5 without bothering to collect the actual recorded answers.

So in short then, enjoy the day, it’s worth attending for practice even if the Deloitte job on offer isn’t what you want but definitely watch out for the stupid bloody group exercise which is an utterly pointless albeit necessary sideshow.

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24 Responses to What to expect on a Deloitte assessment day

  1. Saurabh Ranjan says:

    Hi,
    Thanks for a wonderful description of the assessment day.i have mine for a technology consulting role in a week time.will it be possible to give some insight on how to prepare for case studies and written exercise?

    I am finding it tough to find frameworks that apply to IT cases.

    Looking forward.

    • Grumpy Bear says:

      If you’re finding it tough to apply frameworks to IT cases, the role most likely isn’t the right one for you as Deloitte is all about implementing strategic frameworks.

      You will be left to manage your own work on the day so make sure you have a plan and stick to it. Allocate plenty of time for the bits you think might take you longer with a contingency to ensure you deliver something at the scheduled time.

      For the case studies and written exercise, you need to be proficient in absorbing large amounts of information and summarising the salient points in full sentences. Additionally, your written English should be top notch. Judging by the grammatical errors in your post, you need to work on this.

      All exercises carry equal weight (apparently) but Deloitte place a lot of importance on the stupid group exercise that will be the worst part of the assessment day. Ensure you contribute to this session no matter how pointless the exercise and argue your case well.

      Good luck!

      • Saurabh says:

        Thanks for your reply and your feedback.Can you give some examples of the cases/written exercise that are given for IT consulting roles?My issue is that I have my own frameworks that i use, but after studying some Case Study Materials, I was confused how the generic frameworks mentioned in those books might apply to IT, and that was where I needed some help.

        Also,really appreciate your feedback on the my writing and will definitely work on it to get it right the next time.

        Are you currently working with Deloitte in UK? Would be great to catch up some time if it does not make you grumpier 🙂

        Thanks !

      • Grumpy Bear says:

        I used to work for Deloitte UK, then left to join a bank and was then offered another Deloitte role but declined.

        If you have your own frameworks, I would suggest you use those as it would demonstrate competency and the ability to apply this to a business case.

  2. Saurabh says:

    Hi,
    I had my assessment centre last week and it went pretty well but i have not yet heard back from them till now.Is this normal or does it mean they have rejected me.I was told i should hear something back in 72 hours.I am a bit restless and thought you could give some insight.

    Thanks for your inputs !

  3. Kim says:

    Hello grumpy bear,

    I also must appreciate the detailed description that you have provided of the assessment day, one of the best that I’ve read 🙂 ( Your comments on the group exercise did make me laugh )

    I have an assessment day coming up for a role within Technology Consulting – Analytics and need some guidance on whether I should expect cases to be around reduction in costs & implementations ( technology focused) or can they be on anything else ie. Price Optimisation, growth plan, mergers etc..

    The case interview is the only element of the day which I’m quite worried about so any help from you or anyone else would be appreciated

    Thank you in advance

    • Grumpy Bear says:

      Depends on the specific role you are applying for. There is no harm in preparing for those type of questions and putting them in your analysis. If I recall, the case interview is to probe two aspects; how you came to your analysis (i.e. understanding of the brief) and a justification of your recommendations.

      Good luck!

  4. Basil says:

    Hi Grumpy Bear,

    Thank you very much for this useful article, it’s one of the most elaborate and well written description of the Assessment Day. I’ve got mine coming up this Wednesday 29th April and it’s for a Senior Consultant role within the Supply Chain practice.

    I was wondering if you can share with us the methodology you used to structure your answers for both cases ? This may be different from one individual to another but I was told to use the STAR approach…

    Thanks again for your help !

  5. Johnson says:

    Hi Grumpy Bear,

    It was a nice view for me to read all mentioned above. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I just get a call for group assessment and I applying for an audit associate job position. Can you give me some tips, what should be done during the group assessment in order to tackle the interviewer’s attention. I means which parts that will be evaluated by them.

    I also wondering the pattern of assessment that will be conduct whether discussing about certain given topic or talking about how to solve a case study given.

    I hope you can give your support on me.

    Thanks again,

    Rgds,

    KS

    • Grumpy Bear says:

      I would say contribute to the group discussion and make salient valid points rather than talking too much. Try to initiate a discussion, question other points (but not criticise) and show competancy of analytical thinking. Guaranteed there will be others there too busy squawking to actually make a worthwhile addition and unfortunately, the Deloitte assessors tend to focus on the noise more than the quality. Above all, demonstrate that you can work in a group, add value, articulate yourself well and put your points across constructively.

      Good luck!

  6. kellyk says:

    Hi Grumpy Bear,

    Thanks for providing this description of the assessment centre – very insightful!

    My concern is around the presentation case study, I was wondering if you could share how one might structure the presentation – what do they expect to see in the presentation? How did you go about responding to the case, how detailed, etc?

    Your help would be really appreciated!

    • Grumpy Bear says:

      Each case study is different so it depends on what material you are given which is based on what role you are applying for. However, I think the approach would be similar as mentioned in the post. Review all material and distill this into salient points that make a relevant case for the recommendation by using an analytical approach to justify each point. You only have an hour to prepare so being able to quickly absorb lots of information and sift through it is the hardest part. Good luck!

  7. Jazmeen says:

    Hello Grumpy Bear,
    Your comments are indeed very useful. I have an interview coming up in 10 days for a ‘Consultant’ role (previously called Manager role) in the Immigration and mobility. I will have:
    1) 30 mins competency based interview,;
    2) Case study
    3) Presentation of the analyse and a Q&A session.
    Questions:
    1) What do you mean by flip charts? Visio material or simple powerpoint slides?
    2) Will the audience pretend to be ‘a client’ or is this supposed to be an ‘internal Deloitte audience” presentation?
    3) I am anticipating that my presentation will be based on a lot of assumptions (for e.g pricing, capabilities, projects) – Is it a good idea to justify based on assumptions?
    4) I do not have any knowledge of Tax, do you think that element may be my weak point as I clearly do not want to focus on this but I recognise that my analysis may not be holistic. How would you complement this lack of knowledge?

    • Grumpy Bear says:

      1. Large pad of paper on a whiteboard or tripod. If you seriously don’t know what a flip chart is, I wouldn’t bother turning up to the interview.
      2. Client in the first instance.
      3. Absolutely, you have to quantify your decisions and with a lack of information, assumptions are allowed.
      4. Don’t try to bluff but if you are going for a role in Immigration and Mobility, tax knowledge would not be required anyway, right?

      Good luck!

      • Jazmeen says:

        Thank you Grumpy Bear. I am glad I know what a flip chart is..I thought it was another novel system!! .. hardly use paper these days, everything is on powerpoint.

        My interview was postponed due to unavailability of partners. Waiting for a call next. Wish me luck, I really want the job at Deloitte and have been practicing my competency based interview questions.

  8. Rnav says:

    Hi Grumpy Bear,

    Indeed all you have shared so far is priceless !! I have a question, is the nature of the case presentations still the same after so many years?? Or its the kind where I should identify some clarification questions, find the answers from the interviewers before doing some root cause analysis and then coming up with the recommendations.

    Also, can you tell me any site from where I can practice such written summary type exercises as well as practice some case presentations, the ones available for cases on the web are very, Bain, McKinsey and BCG types which are quite different if you know what I mean. (Or am I incorrect, its quite the same ?)

    I have my assessment day in a week and a half for a senior consultant position. It would be great if you could share your views.

    Thanks in advance,
    Rnav

    • Grumpy Bear says:

      A friend of mine had a Deloitte assessment day just last year and it was largely the same with identical, and useless, group discussion at the end.

      You are reading into the case presentations too much. You turn up, are given a paper to study and prepare a case. That’s it. No questioning the interviewers or asking for clarification, or any root causes analysis rubbish. You have a limited time to prepare so use it wisely. Good luck!

  9. Deepti says:

    Hi Grumpy Bear,

    Could you be able to provide details on how you solved your case study and what techniques you used

    • Grumpy Bear says:

      I can but I’m not going to. It’s an assessment day, if you think you can’t hack it or need details on how to solve a case study then Deloitte is not for you.

  10. Denik says:

    Hi Grump Bear,

    Any advice for this dreaded group exercise, is your advice just to talk the most, purely to tick the assesors boxes? Are there any subtle tips or intelligent ways to play this that you could recommend. E.g Asking questions, building on other comments or should i just get stuck in?

    Kind regard

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