Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tough Day: Prudential Momentum assessment (Part 2)

As the Heathrow Express (nearly said Hogwarts Express…) is carrying me away from London, I would like to ponder on the key moments that I would like to take away from the last day, the day of my assessment for the Prudential Momentum Program. Yes, by the end of the day I was completely exhausted, but energized at the same time. It is a weird feeling of when physically your body is tired, but the level of excitement refuses to go – it happens when you work on exciting but challenging projects, undergo strenuous assessment or get married, I suppose.

The day of assessment brought me what was promised by Prudential and they worked hard on sticking to the time and ensuring that the schedule runs as planned. Two interviews (one business and one HR), a case preparation, individual and group exercises on that case and a peer feedback session at the end. As I mentioned yesterday, only 1% of the applications make it to the assessment center, so that was a motivational factor repeated several times as a kind of morale boost during the pep talks we had at the beginning of the day. The ratio candidatate:assessor of 1:1 also suggested that we were in for some serious stuff. Over coffee I had a chance to ask around about the backgrounds of the folks I would have to go through the day with – mostly British, mostly Finance and (a point in my favor) not MBAs.

The pace of the day does not leave you time for a leisurely comfort break and the lunch is tightly squeezed between assignments. This is also an exercise in managing your time properly, because the amount of information you have to process does not allow you make a thorough analysis of everything, so prioritization is important. Without disclosing the contents that much, here is an overview of the tasks that I went through:
  • Business Interview: probably, the easiest part for me. We had a nice chat about my past work experiences with a guy who used to work for Shell, so it was easy to connect and draw on common experiences. In general, I find it very beneficial to find commonalities with the person who interviews you and try to establish a stronger personal bond. I know that it’s trying to skew the scales to my side using the similarity bias, and it does not work at all times, but hey – in love and war… 
  • HR Interview: something new for me professionally – a semi-structured interview that is built to gather information about your personality through the experiences you had in the past. It’s narrative-based and there is a lot of latitude for the candidate to talk. I am always a bit wary of talking too much in such occasions. 
  • Case Preparation: I was given a bunch of materials about a company and a specific business task. I am not sure if there is a variety of cases and one is selected to ensure that none of the candidates had explicit work experience in that particular industry, but at least that was the case with our group. One hour is enough to prepare for the individual and the group part of the exercise, but yet time is a scarce resource. One piece of advice – brush up your SWOT skills. Otherwise, it’s very similar to any case you would have at a business school, with financials and whole lot of other data cryptically scattered around. 
  • Individual Presentation: you have to present back to a panel of assessors the results of the case preparation using any materials available. Even shorter time is allocated for their questions, but the questions are on the spot and some of those were quite unanticipated. 
  • Group Exercise: the longest exercise of the day. The group (8 people in my instance) has to arrive at a unanimous decision around a business problem. Only three pieces of advice: collaboration, collaboration and collaboration. My personal challenge was, as usual, balancing not talking excessively but yet being heard and making a good impressing on the assessors. In the feedback session I got some positive comments on how I had done it. 
  • Peer Feedback: to my utmost delight, this part was built in the official outline of the day – it is rather uncommon for events like that and it sends a strong message that the company is committed to personal growth of its employees, if it chooses to spend the assessors’ time on conducting those sessions during the assessment center. Mind that there will be official feedback provided at a later stage once the assessors’ opinions are aggregated and the hiring decision is made. This exercise is presented as a chance for the assessors to observe our abilities to give and receive feedback, but personally for me it was more important to hear from my partner how I came across throughout the day. 
It was also a great opportunity to meet the Prudential employees and ask them questions about the company, its culture, working there and their instant feedback on how they perceive you fitting in. Unfortunately, there was only one “momentee” but I did have a long chat with him about his experiences (at the expense of a larger chunk of my lunch though). Even though the time is limited, there are numerous occasions for networking and we all know that sometimes a rightly placed question can get you further than a full-hour interview.

I was promised the feedback and the decision within about 10 days. A bit long for my personal liking, but this is another indication that this whole process is taken seriously at Prudential. Indeed, this was a rewarding experience and irrespective of what the results will be, I am grateful I have gone through the process and already have learnt a lot.


  1. Hi there,
    great blog! I am soon going to this assessment centre and preparing as much as I can. One question I have is: are there more behavioural questions? and and advice on how to prepare for the case? I'd appreciate any feedback. Thanks!

  2. Hi - congrats on getting through to the assessment stage. Regarding your concerns:

    - get prepared for the behavioral interview, e.g. be ready to give examples of conflicts you have had, biggest achievements and disappointments, a complex situation that you have managed or a difficualt customer that you were able to satisfy, etc. You can expect questions like that at virtually any assessment you are going through, so such preparation is never a waste of time.

    - go through a couple of regular business cases. my advice would be to brush up the Harvard Business School case book or a similar one of Kellogg's or Wharton. They are geared more towards a case interview, but they provide a comprehensive view on how to "crack a case". Please mind that an assessment is not about "cracking a case", but how you manage a complex business decision with a set with stakeholders, including your fellow candidates.

    Good luck,




    I like this post: 


    You create good material for


    Please keep posting.


    Let me introduce other material
    that may be good for net community.


    Source:Prudential interview questions


    Best rgs




Related Posts with Thumbnails