Compass Lexecon Interview Questions & Reviews in San Francisco, CA US
Getting an Interview
Analyst Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Compass Lexecon in February 2014.
Interview Details First round was with an analyst. There was a case study that requires some industrial organization knowledge. Second round has 2 parts: first part was a case interview with 2 analysts. there were some behavioral questions and a case about industrial organization and econometrics ( I was asked to come up with a regression model, so review statistics if you can). Second part was a written case on antitrust with a VP. The questions he asked were not very structured, so I asked a lot of clarifying questions. He had a PhD in economics and gave me a sense that he was expecting me to have the same level of knowledge in economics which I didn't. Got an email the next day after the second round telling me that I didn't get an offer.
Interview Question – Very detailed discussion about industrial organization, antitrust issues and market definition Answer Question
Analyst Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through college or university and the process took 5 weeks - interviewed at Compass Lexecon in February 2013.
Interview Details Went through first round phone interview and then second round on site interview. Second round interview was 3 hours. First three analyst asking questions, then VP, then working on a case study for an hour by myself , then sharing insights with VP
Interview Question – Are you applying to our competitors? Why would you choose us over our competitors? Answer Question
Analyst Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through college or university and the process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Compass Lexecon.
Interview Details Three interviews through On Campus Recruiting from University of California.
First interview - Behavioral interview with a very simple case study question. Lasted about 40 mins.
Second Interview - Behavioral + Case Study - about 3 hours.
Third Interview - N/A (Didn't get that far)
Interview Question – The case study question is very challenging. Lots of material is given and a deep understanding of microeconomics (primarily IO) is required. Answer Question
Analyst Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
The process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Compass Lexecon in October 2011.
Interview Details First round interview was though UC Berkeley's career center. I interview with two analysts. They were interested in previous my research experience, asked some simple questions about monopolies and competition, and asked why I wanted to join the company/interested in the job.
Second round interview was in their office and had three parts. First, a more in-depth test of price and competition knowledge (with a couple simple 2x2 tables). Second, was a case-study-esk hour long project; this was related to market share and had reports and articles about an industry mock-case and tables of data (you really need to know how to read tables well and carefully); it boiled down to would you allow A to acquire B? Would there be antitrust concerns. Last was an interview with a manager about what you did/thought with the case-study.
Third round consisted of several interview with managers/principles which returned to why I wanted to do the work, discussions of what the job was like, and previous research experience. They also asked for a letter of recommendation at this point.
The third round kind of was two across two visits to the office.
The People and Place:
Everyone was nice, very professional, and highly perceptive and intelligent. The office was very nice (bright, clean, modern, etc).
Review monopolies, competition, and pricing before any interview with Compass.
Be ready to talk about research experience. An honors thesis or research assistant work is great. Next best thing is a quantitative research paper or work with primary data (i.e. raw data that you used graphically or statistically).
Interview Question – Whether or not the proposed acquisition in the case-study would be an antitrust concern. View Answer
Summer Analyst Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
The process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Compass Lexecon in March 2011.
Interview Details Applied thru on campus recruiting, received phone interview 2 weeks later which was fairly straightforward (they asked me basic economics questions about supply/demand and complements/supplements). The second round interview took a total of 4 hours at the office; I spoke to two analysts, one senior economist, and one VP.
Analyst Interview (Positive Experience; Easy Interview)
The process took a day - interviewed at Compass Lexecon in May 2011.
Interview Details Got a call from their office, interviewer was a current analyst at their firm. Very interested in my research and econometric work, as well as my experience in other consulting. Lots of discussion about statistical nitty-gritties and some about using Stata. Definitely helpful to have experience with economic research and statistics, and the ability to talk about it on the spot. Case study questions should be easy if you've had intro econ.
Interview Question – You're working for the SEC, and you find that the two biggest firms in an industry are in talks over a merger. What are your concerns, and where do you begin your research into whether you should step in to prevent this merger? View Answer
Analyst Interview (Negative Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at Compass Lexecon in June 2011.
Interview Details I got the job interview by sending an unsolicited email to the recruiting staff. A couple weeks later, I got an email from the recruiting staff telling me that they'd like to set up a phone interview for an Analyst position. When it came time for the interview, I felt totally prepared. Since graduating college, I have had 2 years of work experience in consulting, analysis, document preparation, and even quantitative research using an economic model that I was able to teach myself to use. I was ready to discuss my work experience and how it would relate to the job.
The phone interview was extremely cold. At the start of the call, I was not even greeted with a friendly "How are you?", which was fine (though, a little rude and against basic conversation etiquette), but probably also indicative of the type of company this is. The person they had interview me was an Analyst, and started the conversation by saying that she recently graduated from college herself and had been working there for one year, and then she jumped into questions. It was clear that she had no experience in being an interviewer. Despite all of my work in consulting that would have been extremely relevant to the position, all she wanted to hear about was my undergraduate experience (!?!) and the type of research I encountered there. She even cut me off when I started to explain that I have had much more extensive research experience since graduating college, and said "I'm sorry, I only meant that I wanted to hear about the experience from undergrad." They are extremely interested in quantitative research experience, which is interesting because the job description does not list it as a requirement. Also, if you mention a research project that you did using a quantitative model (i.e., Stata), be prepared to discuss it at length, including what controls were used to conduct the study, etc.
Not once during the whole interview did she ask me what my strengths were, what I would be able to bring to the position, why I should be hired, etc. All she wanted to know was what the extent of my quantitative research was in undergrad and then wanted me to answer a case study question. I did not feel that she was able to get an accurate sense of who I am or what I would be like as an employee, which should be the whole point of the interview, right? The interviewer, who was acting as a representative of the company, came off as very unprofessional. I also got the feeling that since I did not go to Stanford like she did, that she never really gave me a chance from the start. I ended the call with a horrible feeling about the company as a whole, and also the feeling that if this is what the people are like here then this is not where I belong.
I'm not sure what the point is for the company to have what they call a "recruiting team" if they just delegate actual interviews/screening to lower-level staff members.
Interview Question – Her last question was a "case study question" which evolved as she was speaking with me. It started off as "Say the biggest firm and the second biggest firm merge. What would be your concerns with this?" ...Vague, but I got that she meant from the standpoint of competition/antitrust litigation which comprises the majority of Compass Lexecon's work.
After I listed various potential concerns that would need to be looked at, she then said "Let's say there are two scenarios: 1) You have a market with 10 firms and the largest two firms have 20% and 30% of the market share, respectively, and then the rest of the firms split the market share equally between the rest of them; and the other scenario is that you have a market with four firms and the top two have 20% and 30% of the market share and the rest of the market is shared equally between the other two. Which of these two scenarios is more troubling?" Mind you, this is said all over the phone and she is stumbling over her words trying to explain the situation that seemed like she made up on the spot. Later in the conversation, the second scenario somehow became a market comprised of "three firms" instead of the four firms she had initially described. It was obnoxious. After I gave her an answer (Scenario 1 would be more troubling) she responded with "Why?" so I explained how I reached my conclusion, and then she asked "Why would scenario 1 necessarily result in that?" So I said explained that it wouldn't "necessarily", but it could for the following reasons (yada yada yada), and then she asked me an additional question that was some derivative of "Why do you think that?" She basically beat the question into the ground trying to break down my thought process. At the end she said "I tend to agree with you that Scenario 1 would be more troubling."
I felt like she was stringing the question along hoping I would make a mistake that she could zero in on. View Answer