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Cambridge Associates Interview
Questions

28 Questions and Answers by
| Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing
candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries.

Question 1 of 28

We are looking for the most motivated individuals to join the team here at Cambridge Associates. Where you would you like your career to take you in the next five to ten years?

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Cambridge Associates Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    We are looking for the most motivated individuals to join the team here at Cambridge Associates. Where you would you like your career to take you in the next five to ten years?

      This common interview question put you in a tough spot where you should talk about your ultimate career goals while also balancing the needs of the position that you are interviewing for and the needs of Cambridge Associates. Prior to your interviewer, try to research the job and Cambridge Associates to the point where you can match your career goals with they Cambridge Associates offers. While your interviewer is looking for a long-term fit for the position they are interviewing you for, it is okay to set your sights higher as long as your goals meet that of the organization's goals. If at all possible during your answer, point out that long-term success with Cambridge Associates is vitally important to you.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Now that I am to the midway point of my career, I am looking for my next move to be my final move in finding my work home until I retire. As a successful Financial Advisor today, I want to focus on continuing to grow my skills in advising clients on retirement and private wealth management and it sounds like I'll have that opportunity here at Cambridge Associates. As I continue to grow in my skills and prove my worth to you, a long-term career goal is to be in management where I could oversee the work of Junior Advisors and mentor them towards success."

      Ryan's Answer

      "A career in risk analysis has been a dream for some time and this opportunity with Cambridge Associates is really my dream job. If hired here, my goal for the next five to ten years would be to continue to hone my skills and help the work of the department to a point where it is growing and becoming more effective. Down the road, I'm really in a position to be an open book when it comes to where my career with Cambridge Associates would go from there."

  2. 2.

    The clients of a financial firm like Cambridge Associates can display an arrange of emotions when they work with our Client Services team. How would you handle a situation where a client was very angry?

      Whether due to a large amount of money lost on the market or a client feels they were ill-advised by an Advisor, your job as a Client Services Representative will at some point or another deal with a very angry client. For this answer, your interviewer will be looking to hear that you do what is necessary to stay calm and stay focused on finding a resolution. If possible, use a specific example of a time you had to do exactly this and explain how effective communication was critical in making the situation right for the client.

      Ryan's Answer

      "As you can see from my resume, I've spent the last three years in customer service relations for a large insurance company. As you can imagine, a large majority of my customer interactions were with upset customers. I've been called names that I can't repeat here in this interview and my key to working through these situations was to remain calm and not take things personally. Like the financial world, the insurance business is a very life altering experience and a loss or damage to an item is very stressful. I tried to put myself in the customers shoes, see things from their perspective and do my best to ease their situation. In this role with Cambridge Associates, these same skills would be vital for me to find solutions or the right person to talk to if needed."

      Ryan's Answer

      "First and foremost, an active listening approach is the first step to lowering the tension from an angry customer. A couple of months ago, we had a very angry customer come onsite to complain about a defective product that cut his hand pretty badly. The customer came onsite to complain even before receiving emergency care, which was apparent that he needed. First, I let him release his anger and it was not a pretty sight. Then I calmly repeated back what he had said and then explained what our policy allowed me to do at that time. Looking back, my sincere approach and calm demeanor helped calm him down and later that day, my manager had a formal complaint sent to the manufacturer and we were assured that they'd be in contact with the customer."

  3. 3.

    Give an example of a time that you brought an innovation to an accounting practice for an organization. What was your motivation to do this?

      With this being a pretty open ended question, your interviewer is allowing you to have the opportunity to showcase your ability to think creatively and outside the box when it comes to your accounting experience. Whether you implemented a new technology or developed new processes to work more efficiently, make sure that your interviewer walks away knowing that you are an innovator in your work.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Two years ago, I led the charge for my organization to integrate all of our systems together. Of course selfishly, my intent was to positively impact our accounting department by integrating our CRM and ERP systems into our accounting system. After walking through a stringent request for proposal process where we looked at many different vendors, a new interactive system was chosen that every department in the organization could work off of. To this day, we are still seeing the benefits in sales, production and finance. While struggles certainly happened at first with implementing new systems, the small headaches were well worth the benefits we are seeing now."

      Ryan's Answer

      "When I took my current position six years ago, I began leading a finance department ten people. At that time, my employees were what I considered to be jacks of all trades, but masters of none as they were all doing different accounting and finance tasks with the departments that they worked directly with. Within a couple of months as the manager, it was easy to see that different processes among my employees were causing major troubles. Immediately, I created new job descriptions and placed my staff into task specific roles within the finance department. There were struggles with staff learning to work with new departments at first, but a focused work effort for each individual made our department much more fluent and efficient for our internal and external customers."

  4. 4.

    At Cambridge Associates, we pride ourselves on providing the best overall customer experience. Talk about your customer service experience and explain why it will help our clients here.

      In the financial services industry, overall client experience is a major predictor of business growth and the team at Cambridge Associates takes the overall client experience seriously. For this question, your interviewer will be looking for you to expand upon your customer service experience past what they can see from your resume. To seal the deal for your interview, try to talk about times that you have went above and beyond the call of duty to provide the best service possible for a customer.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Over the past five years in my current role in customer service, my number one mantra has been to create the most personalized experience possibl for each person. I have done this by taking the time to get to know the customer, find out what their needs are and creating an experience unique to them. Where my time in automotive sales has really prepared for this role with Cambridge Associates is in this approach. If hired for this role, I know that I will be relied upon to use open and honest communication skills, time management skills and to take a empathetic and personalized approach with each client and I can definitely be relied upon to do that."

      Ryan's Answer

      "In my years in a front facing customer service role, I've prided myself on being the face of the franchise. More often than not, my interactions with customers can be the difference between a repeat customer and a person who never comes back again. To ensure repeat customers, I make sure that I am knowledgeable about our products and services, I'm proactive with their needs and I'm always accountable for any mistakes that are made on my organization's side of things. If given the opportunity to join the team here at Cambridge Associates, I will work hard to be highly educated in your services and be proactive and accountable in every interaction that I have."

  5. 5.

    If hired for this role at Cambridge Associates, I want to be sure that I'm hiring a motivated individual. What motivates you in your daily work and your career?

      In the financial services field, you should have strong personal motivation to succeed in your work and your interviewer is asking this question to see what it is that make you tick while on the job. While being open and honest in how you stay motivated on the job, make sure that your answer doesn't include collecting a paycheck every week or two. While money is certainly a motivator in this field, make sure that you use it in an appropriate context if you decide to talk about the financial piece of this business as being a motivator. In the end, your interviewer is looking to get a sense of how he or she will be able to keep you hungry for more if you are hired for this role.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I find myself the most motivated on the job when I am being challenged and when I can continue learning new things. From what I've learned in talking to others that currently work here at Cambridge Associates, the fast paced environment and continuous changes in the industry would keep me very motivated in my work and you'd never have to question if I were truly enjoying and being motivated in my work."

      Ryan's Answer

      "At a young age, my father taught me to do what I love and love what I do and I know that as I approach the middle years of my career that I made the right career choice. The personal finance field has really blended my love of helping others succeed and my passion for statistics and computers. In this role with Cambridge Associates, I'll be working with your clients everyday on helping them achieve financial success and that alone is all of the reason I need to get out of bed every morning."

  6. 6.

    This position at Cambridge Associates has generate a lot of interest from applicants. What do you feel is the one quality that sets you apart from others we are speaking with about this position?

      This question is the perfect opportunity for you to highlight the one key quality that makes you the best person for this position, so be sure to really think about what this one quality is ahead of your interview. While there are many ways that you can take you answer to impress your interviewer and seal the deal for you in getting the job, be sure to avoid making assumptions about the other candidates in your answer. As well, be sure to avoid anything in your answer that points to this job being convenient for you personally or the fact that you'll be getting compensated for this work. Those are quick ways for you to go to the bottom of the candidate ranking list.

      Ryan's Answer

      "As I've talked about during this interview process and from what you can see on my resume, I have all of the technical skills needed to grow your financial advising practice here at Cambridge Associates. What sets me apart from my competition is my drive to succeed in this industry and I'd love to bring that drive to Cambridge Associates to help working with your highest profile clients possible. Growing up and continuing to this point in my life, I've always been a very competitive person. I've played many team and individual sports my whole life and my drive to win in those has definitely carried over to and been a huge benefit in my work as a Financial Advisor. I'd love to bring this competitive spirit to your team."

      Ryan's Answer

      "From what I understand about this role in Client Services with Cambridge Associates, my day to day work will include a lot of client interaction and I really feel like the job description was written with my skills and abilities in mind. But the thing that will really set me apart for being the perfect fit for this role is my experience on the sales side of things where I spent five years of my working career in the retail sales industry. In sales, I have developed key skills like product knowledge and selling skills that would be very beneficial to this role."

  7. 7.

    We want our advising team at Cambridge Associates to be happy and healthy. How do you manage the day to day stress of being a financial advisor?

      The daily stressors of a career in financial advising can be burdensome, overwhelming and lead to burnout on the job. To get a sense that you can handle stress in a safe and healthy manner and be able to come to work each day with a clean slate, your interviewer is looking to delve into your personal life a bit to see how you manage stress. When answering, you can certainly talk about the things you do on the job to keep as stress free as possible, but also be sure to talk about the things that you do outside of work to avoid burnout. Point out that you have the resources and ability to care for yourself to keep you at the top of your game on the job.

      Ryan's Answer

      "To begin with on the job, I consider myself very excellent at handling stress. Being a goal oriented person, I find happiness in obtaining goals and consider any necessary stresses in pursuit of a goal healthy. Outside of work, I am a very active person that trains for marathons and spends a lot of time outdoors with my family. I find that these activities help cleanse my mind and heal my body to prepare for a new week on the job."

      Ryan's Answer

      "When I maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly and spend as much time as possible outside of work with my children, any unnecessary work stresses are put on the back burner and often relieved immediately. I'm a firm believer in a healthy work-life balance, even though it can be very tough to do in our field. Having the ability to answer a client email or phone call during off hours while unwinding has made our work lives better as well."

  8. 8.

    Discuss a time that you worked a client through a difficult financial situation. What were the keys to making it a success for the client?

      Your interviewer is posing this question to see how you will handle a situation where a client at Cambridge Associates is working through a difficult time. As you talk about how you managed that situation, your interviewer will be looking to hear that you have the interpersonal skills to be effective from the client's perspective. In your answer, be sure to explain the importance of an empathetic approach with your clients and how that approach helps them get through a difficult time.

      Ryan's Answer

      "During the recession in 2008, I had a very large client call to request that all of his funds be pulled out of the stock market. Knowing that this move was a very poor strategy, I needed him to hear that in most personal and educated way possible. With an active listening approach, I repeated back what he had told me and I reiterated that he wanted to sell them at a low price and hopefully buy them back down the road at a high price. This made the client take a pause and think. This was my opportunity to talk about market history and the odds that his stock prices would rebound over time. He decided to keep his funds in the market at the time and a few years down the road, he called to personally thank me for the sound advice. The fact that I took a personal approach while educating him in the process to make his own decision was the definite key to success in this situation."

      Ryan's Answer

      "Sometimes in this field, difficult conversations have to be had with clients and when I need to have them, I use a very personal and empathetic approach. A great situation where this happened was with a client that wasn't meeting their personal retirement goals to be done working at age 62. At the point we were working together, she was 55 years old. After a quick assessment of her finances, I talked to her about letting her two kids be responsible for their own college tuition. As a mother, her intuition was to support her children in every way possible but the reality was that it was hurting her own goals. Simply put to her, I told her that there are no loans available for retirement and that she was doing both herself and her kids a favor by taking the route I suggested."

  9. 9.

    Cambridge Associates strives for client loyalty to keep us running strong into the future. What do you feel are the keys to retaining clients for the long haul?

      Businesses in financial advising are constantly pushing the limits to ensure that they retain clients and Cambridge Associates doesn't take client retention lightly. One slip up and a high profile client will be taking their business to a competitor. For this question, your interviewer will be looking to hear that you understand your role in the customer retention equation and how you take pride in that in your everyday work. Make sure to hit on the point that doing the small things, like prompt communication and follow up, go a long way towards keeping clients happy.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I learned a few very important things from a senior mentor early in my career that I still hold near and dear to my heart to this day. First, clients expect me to be responsive to their needs to ensure that they keep their business with me. Because of this, I return phone calls and emails as soon as I can, even if that means in the evening, the early morning or on a Sunday afternoon. These small actions go a long way in showing my clients that I care. Another key to the success of my long-term clients is my ability to set and manage expectations for them. Clients desire to have a plan and know what that plan entails and I pride myself on my ability to work with them to set goals and a plan to achieve those goals."

      Ryan's Answer

      "Having lost clients in the past that went to another firm, I take that pain personally and do everything I can do to ensure long lasting relationships with my clients. For me, the first key to long term success with my clients is a proactive approach. I don't wait for clients to get in touch with me to make changes to their portfolio, I reach out to them. This action alone shows my clients that I am working for their best interest. Another action I take that shows my worth to my clients are goal tracking and quarterly progress reports that I send out to them. This is particularly helpful for clients that are working with me in their first two years."

  10. 10.

    As a Business Analyst at Cambridge Associates, you will be tasked with working with diverse teams of stakeholders on different projects. How do you handle stakeholders that are difficult and bullheaded?

      Leading a project team will put you in front of many differing personalities and you need to have the ability to work with every type of personality to be successful in this role at Cambridge Associates. While your interviewer may not be telling you that you will work with a difficult person because they know of a few, they're more looking to see how you utilize your communication and problem solving skills to make the situation better for everyone. As you answer this question, feel free to use an example from the past that highlights how you used your interpersonal skills to work effectively with a difficult person on a project team.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Honestly, one of the things that I love the most about being a Business Analyst is the mix of people that I get to work with and if I took an honest look back over time, I'd say that every team that I was a part of had at least one difficult person to work with. In those situations, I rely on an empathetic approach that really tries to narrow down what makes that person tick on the job. With that knowledge in hand, I can then touch them in a relatable manner and even provide them with work that suits their needs the best."

      Ryan's Answer

      "Just recently, an executive with my company was the final decision maker and stakeholder on a sales project and she had some very unrealistic expectations for the project from the start and she wasn't afraid to let me know. To best handle this situation, I listened to all of her thoughts on the project and asked a lot of follow up questions to get her sense of the project. After that, I asked for a couple of days to rework some design of the project. When we had our follow up meeting, I educated her on a few legal aspects of the project that wouldn't fit into her mold. She thanked me for the insight and we were off on the right path from there."

  11. 11.

    We pride ourselves on teamwork here at Cambridge Associates and this role in Client Services relies on teamwork. What are the top qualities would you would bring to a team based atmosphere here?

      At the heart of this question falls your interviewers need to determine how well you will work with others on the team at Cambridge Associates. You will be working with high level advisors and managers that are under a lot of pressure to perform in their jobs and your communications with them will either alleviate some of that stress or add to it. To ensure that your interviewer walks away from your conversation knowing that you are a team player that keeps the end goals of the company in mind, focus your answer on your effective communication skills, your knowledge of everyone's role on the team and your knowledge of what your role on the team will be.

      Ryan's Answer

      "As with any team that I have worked on in the past, my priority is knowing that everyone has an important piece in the overall success of the team. In customer service, this is knowing who to contact with the right questions and who to guide customers to when needed. This ensures that our work is done efficiently on our end of things and that our customers are handled efficiently and effectively. If hired here at Cambridge Associates, my first goal would be to get to know everyone on the team that I would work with, what their roles are and how to best communicate with them."

      Ryan's Answer

      "My top quality is my ability to communicate, both verbally and through writing. I have excellent interpersonal speaking and listening skills and my past colleagues have always appreciated this. Here at Cambridge Associates, your clients would appreciate this in my work as well. I am a very efficient and effective written communicator as well and this would be very beneficial at a company like Cambridge Associates, where your offices are spread throughout the country and I can imagine that email communication is vitally important."

  12. 12.

    How do you believe your coworkers would describe you?

      The interviewer would like to know how you are seen by your colleagues. Select approximately three words that truly define who you are. Be sure to choose words that radiate positive thoughts!

      Ryan's Answer

      "I believe that my coworkers, if asked, would describe me as a reliable person who is always ready to submit the best work possible. My work ethic has never been questioned, and I am very proud with the work that I have submitted in my career, so far."

      Ryan's Answer

      "Here are some other great keywords you could use:

      - Encouraging
      - Caring
      - Knowledgeable
      - Reliable
      - Focused
      - Honest
      - Assertive
      - Tenacious
      - Motivated
      - Ambitions
      - Conscientious"

  13. 13.

    What is the most attractive thing in your eyes about this role with Cambridge Associates?

      For this question, your interviewer is looking to gain insight into what you know and like about Cambridge Associates and how they will be able to help you meet your career goals. In your answer, try and stay focused on the alignment of your values with the organization's values and demonstrate that you've done your research on Cambridge Associates and the job you are interviewing for. To try and maintain positivity in your answer, try not to talk bad about a previous employer as that can make you sound like a difficult employee and raise a red flag for your interviewer.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Over the past couple of years, I've had an eye on pursuing a career with Cambridge Associates because of your reputation as a forward moving financial institution and your commitment to the communities that you do business in. As a person that believes in togetherness and helping others out where possible, these are values that I hold very high and would bring to the team here."

      Ryan's Answer

      "As I enter the midway point of my career, my job search has been focused on finding an employer that I can spend the rest of my career with and someday retire from. Looking at the history, culture and growth of Cambridge Associates, this is definitely a place that I'd love to be a part of as you continue to grow and prosper into the future."

  14. 14.

    If I were to hand you $100,000 to invest today, where would you put that money and why?

      As a simple tool to gauge how you will both satisfy clients and make a profit for Cambridge Associates, your interviewer is looking to hear how you would invest money right now if given the chance. While there is no right or wrong answer for this question, show them your knowledge of breaking up assets based on age if possible. As well, don't hesitate to call out your knowledge of specifically allocating funds into different sectors or individual businesses or industries. In the end, make sure to give a full explanation of why you are choosing what you are to sell it to your interviewer.

      Ryan's Answer

      "If the money was given personally to me to invest for myself, I would go for a 50-50 split between stocks and bonds being that I'm 37 years old. This would provide a good mix of funds that could be placed into aggressive IT and healthcare type stocks with a lot of growth potential while keeping half safe in the bonds market."

      Ryan's Answer

      "Being that I am young and willing to wisely be aggressive with money invested for myself, I would look for gems in certain industries like social media and internet retail sales. Amazon is expected to see prosperous growth and so are places like Pinterest and Facebook. I'd be wise with these investments while being sure to pay close attention to futures forecasts as those could change quickly, meaning a shift in my direction as well."

  15. 15.

    In working with financial data here at Cambridge Associates, what are the steps you would take in the data validation process as part of your work?

      Your job as a detailed and proficient Data Analyst requires you to take proper steps in the data validation process to ensure that data used is accurate and clean. Bad data in the financial industry can have a costly impact and your job will be to ensure that doesn't happen. For your answer to this question, discuss the importance and your method for both data screening and data verification as part of the validation process. Also, be sure to talk about any programs that you utilize during the validation process.

      Ryan's Answer

      "With any large analysis project and performing data validation, my first step is to create a detailed plan for the data needed. This plan will define the required data to be validated and set the way for the remaining steps. The next steps are to validate the information in the database and then the formatting of the data. Finally, prior to validating the data, sampling needs to be done to ensure that a small sample meets the requirements of the project. Being very proficient with many validation programs, I consider myself very proficient in both QuerySurge and Datameer but remain open to learning any new programs here at Cambridge Associates."

      Ryan's Answer

      "Here at Cambridge Associates, your Financial Advisors rely on the most accurate and up to date data to present to clients and I would take great pride in my job as a Data Analyst to provide the best data possible. To validate data, the two important steps I would take are data screening and data verification. I am very confident in my ability to work with algorithms that screens large sets of data for their accuracy. On top of that, I have worked with a few of the different data verification programs like Experian and Sage Intacct."

  16. 16.

    Why would our clients here at Cambridge Associates want you to be their financial advisor?

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  17. 17.

    Talk to me about a challenging situation you had to handle on the job that involved another colleague. How did you handle that situation?

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  18. 18.

    At Cambridge Associates, we expect our advisors to be available to speak with clients in person, over the phone and through email. What are your experiences in working with clients through different communication methods?

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  19. 19.

    Give me an example of a time that you had to solve a problem without having all of the necessary information at hand to do so. How did you handle that situation?

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  20. 20.

    What statistical analysis tools do you have experience working with?

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  21. 21.

    Among the common issues that are faced by Data Analysts in their work, which one or two problems do you feel really challenge analysts in the financial industry?

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  22. 22.

    Tell me about the largest financial portfolio you have been responsible for.

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  23. 23.

    At Cambridge Associates, our clients are the lifeblood of our business and we do everything in our power to make them happy. What does the term customer service mean to you in your work?

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  24. 24.

    What tools do you currently use to help you be a more efficient and effective Business Analyst?

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  25. 25.

    In your work as a Portfolio Administrator, what kind events cause you the most stress on the job?

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  26. 26.

    Give an example of a time that you had to resolve a difficult situation with a client or customer. What were the keys to coming to a successful solution?

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  27. 27.

    How do you feel about performance incentives?

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  28. 28.

    Have you ever had a time where you had to explain accounting processes or practices in layman's terms to someone? Why is the ability to do that important?

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