Putnam Associates – rebranded in 2021 as “Putnam” – is a top boutique consulting firm that supports large and small life sciences organizations worldwide through strategic advisory services.
If the combo of life sciences and strategy work is what gets you out of bed in the morning, Putnam Associates could be a match made in consulting heaven for you.
Putnam claims that strategy is in its DNA – but is it true? Today, we’ll put that claim to the test. Read on for a detailed overview of Putnam Associates, including insight into the firm’s culture, interviews, careers, and much more.
Table of Contents:
- Putnam Associates Key Stats
- Putnam Associates History
- Putnam Associates Practice Areas
- Putnam Associates Industries
- Putnam Associates Office Locations
- Putnam Associates Careers
- Putnam Associates Internships
- Putnam Associates Career Path
- Putnam Associates Exit Opportunities
- Putnam Associates Culture
- Putnam Associates Interview
- Putnam Associates Salary
- Putnam Associates Target Schools
Putnam Associates Key Stats
- Putnam Associates Website: https://www.putassoc.com/
- Putnam Associates Headquarters: Boston, Massachusetts
- Putnam Associates Locations: 4 offices, 2 countries
- Putnam Associates Employees: 200+
- Putnam Associates Chief Executive: Remco op den Kelder (CEO)
- Putnam Associates Revenue: $28M
Putnam Associates History
Putnam Associates was founded in 1988 in Boston, Mass. on the idea that classical consulting could transform product, franchise, and individual business decisions in the life sciences. Over time, its client roster has grown steadily to include 19 of the top 20 companies in global biopharmaceuticals.
Putnam also works with venture-backed biotech companies, franchises, and a range of others in the life sciences to build data-driven business strategies. Putnam’s singular focus on the life sciences has allowed it to develop deep expertise across the wide range of business functions that its clients rely on. Recent top-line growth has driven a need for new offices in New York and London and the firm continues to steadily grow its base of consulting talent.
In 2021, the firm rebranded simply as “Putnam.”
Putnam Associates Organization
Putnam Associates is a 200-person organization, with CEO Remco op den Kelder at the helm. Let’s explore further.
Putnam Associates Practice Areas
When Putnam thinks about its practice areas, it splits them into two categories: external and internal. Looking internally, it notes three areas of expertise:
- Market research – how many people may benefit from a drug? How much would consumers or insurers pay to solve a problem? How viable is a potential therapy or drug?
- Cell + gene therapy – how can healthcare companies best participate in this cutting-edge therapy area?
- Data strategy and analytics – how can data and analysis be best leveraged to develop strategies in the life sciences space?
The above categories reflect areas in which Putnam helps clients optimize their R&D efforts and strategy development.
However, the bigger part of the firm’s business is helping its clients interact in the marketplace. Specifically, the firm tends to work on six different types of strategy-focused engagements:
- Value, pricing, and access strategy – how should you price your drug/therapy and guarantee as many patients as possible have access to it?
- New product strategy – what new products or therapies are most valuable to pursue? How should one pursue them?
- Established product and franchise strategy – you already have an established brand, but how do you extend and optimize its reach?
- Medical and scientific affairs strategy – can companies address medical questions or scientific issues that create issues or opportunities?
- Portfolio licensing and development strategy – how do companies get the most value out of their research and patents?
- Enterprise strategy – would it be better to grow by investing in R&D, go-to-market capabilities, or by acquiring competitors?
Putnam Associates Industries
Yes, one of Putnam Associates’ strengths is its clear foothold in the rapidly expanding life sciences industry. Unlike many consulting firms, it has a singular industry focus, and tends to work across literally any functional area within that industry. This approach creates value from focus, whereas many other consulting firms specialize in a functional area, like IT, operations, or strategy, and then apply methodologies across industries.
But it’s important to keep in mind that “life sciences” is a broad term, and big pharma, biopharma, and biotech, as well as companies working in emerging areas such as cell, gene, and tissue therapies, all fall under its umbrella.
Your first project might be for a big pharma company seeking to maximize the value of an established brand going off-patent in two years by optimizing its marketing and go-to-market distribution model. Your second project may be for a venture-backed startup company trying to cure a rare form of cancer with an emerging technological approach.
So, despite the firm’s singular focus on the life sciences, individual projects vary in scope and size, making for somewhat varied work. However, you’ll be spending all your time in one industry. If this doesn’t appeal to you, then Putnam is not for you.
Putnam Associates Office Locations
Putnam Associates is headquartered in Boston, with additional offices in London, New York, and San Francisco.
Putnam Associates Careers
Putnam Associates offers a range of careers, from internships to full-time roles to research opportunities. The firm recruits students from the undergraduate to postgraduate level, primarily in the life sciences, engineering, and business domains. Putnam also hires experienced professionals.
Undergraduates can work as Associate Consultants in any of Putnam Associates’ global offices. These positions are well suited for science, economics, or finance majors with a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
Those with advanced degrees (ex: biology, chemistry, biomedical engineering, physics, biochemistry, or engineering) or those working on a Postdoc in the life sciences can join the firm’s Life Science Consulting program, (LSC) combining their degree with management consulting skills.
As you progress within the firm, you eventually become a full-fledged consultant. Those at the Consultant level manage a team of Associates and maintain client relationships.
Experienced candidates applying directly for consulting roles should generally have a track record of at least three years of previous experience in consulting at a top-tier firm in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors. While an MBA or postgraduate degree is not required, an advanced degree is preferred.
Like most consultancies, many roles at Putnam lie outside of the consulting sphere. The firm hires employees in market research, operations, HR, and more. These positions also offer competitive salaries and benefits packages.
Putnam Associates Internships
Each year, Putnam offers rising college seniors a 10-week summer internship program as a Summer Associate. This opportunity is only open to undergraduates and is held annually in the firm’s Boston office. These candidates – obviously – should have an interest in the industry, along with strong analytical, leadership, and communication skills. In the program, you’ll get a taste of the culture and work at Putnam Associates, while working in a team lead by a Putnam Manager or Partner.
Putnam Associates Career Path
Putnam provides the opportunity to build a deep, practical understanding of the fast-changing life sciences field from established industry experts. Most projects are strategic in nature, creating the opportunity for many Putnam employees to have substantial impact very early in their careers.
The Putnam Associates career path looks like this: Associate Consultant > Consultant > Senior Consultant > Manager > Principal > Partner.
Applying to the firm requires submission of a resume and cover letter – make sure yours are tailored to the requirements of consulting. Work with us if you need expert application help!
Putnam Associates Exit Opportunities
Overall, exit opportunities at Putnam are less broad than at generalist consultancies because of the firm’s narrow industry focus. This will pigeonhole you as a “life sciences expert” and considerably affect your exit opportunities.
For example, it is difficult to transition from Putnam to a generalist role at MBB. However, a move to McKinsey, Bain, or BCG’s Healthcare or Life Sciences practices is not out of the question. A career at Putnam can also be leveraged for a horizontal move to a comparable consulting firm or a more senior leadership or management role inside of the life sciences industry. And of course, many employees leave the firm to pursue an MBA or other advanced degree.
Putnam Associates Culture
Looking to become a ‘Putnamite?’ While the nickname is a bit cringe-worthy, the culture at Putnam Associates makes up for it. The culture and work community are open and friendly, and the firm requires less travel than its peers. However, expect some long weeks away from home occasionally – this is still a consulting firm, after all! Positions at Putnam require 50-60 hours of work per week on average, depending on your Manager and the nature of each project. There will be weeks that are busier, and occasionally, weeks that are lighter.
Employees enjoy the flexible nature of the work – and are even able to go to the gym in the middle of the day if work is slow. But as with most firms, your experience will depend, in part, on your supervisor. Employees enjoy the varied nature of the work and find it stimulating and meaningful. For the most part, the people at Putnam enjoy the work they do, and who they do it with.
The firm puts on regular happy hours and fun team-building events (ex: paddling the San Francisco Bay or playing golf near the Boston office) to create a cohesive and collegial culture – something that most really enjoy about life at Putnam.
Putnam has committed itself to a series of values that it expects all employees to embrace. These values form the bedrock of its culture and include:
- Collaboration: Team, trust, compassion
- Excellence: High standards, retention, great experiences
- Ingenuity: Creativity, resourcefulness, pushing boundaries
- Grit: Passion, perseverance, effort creates success
- Diversity: Inclusion, respect, better for it
- #10 in Vault’s Top 50 Consulting Firms in 2021
- Top 25 Consulting Firms by Management Consulted
- Voted “Top Places to Work” by The Boston Globe in 2020
- Ranked on Forbes’ “Best Management Consulting Firms” 2021
- Member of MIT’s SOLVE community
- #1 Vest Consulting Firm for Diversity by Vault (2021)
- #1 Best Consulting Firm for Health and Wellness by Vault (2021)
Putnam Associates Interview
Interviews with Putnam Associates are no walk in the park. As with most consulting firms, you will face case interviews when attempting to break into the firm. The firm conducts interviews by round.
Round 0: A screening interview, generally only for applicants from non-core schools. Expect a few questions about your resume and background, why you’re interested in Putnam, and several fit/behavioral questions.
Round 1: This is where it gets tough. In this round, you’ll face two case interviews. Putnam Associates case interviews are candidate-led, like BCG interviews. You’ll be in the driver’s seat and will face a business problem for a biotech/pharma/medical device company. Don’t be surprised, however, if the interviewer uses a case from a completely unrelated industry to see how you handle it. In addition, always be prepared for fit interview questions in any interview you’re given. Round 1 interviews can be virtual or in-person.
Round 2: If you ace the first round of interviews, you’ll get moved on to the final round, which usually takes place at a Putnam office. This round consists of three interviews – two case and one fit. The fit interview is to ensure that you have a genuine interest in the industry and firm, and to make sure you will be a good culture fit. For both types of interviews, start prepping at least 4 weeks in advance – consulting interviews are the most difficult interviews out there, and candidates who don’t prep, don’t get offers.
Generally, recruitment takes place over a 4-week period. After final round interviews, candidates often go out to lunch with Junior-level Associates.
Putnam Associates Salary
Salaries at Putnam Associates are in line with competing firms, ranging from $75K-$120K (base pay only). Find full salary info here.
Putnam Associates Target Schools
Putnam targets top public and private schools – from high-ranking state universities to Ivy league institutions – in the US and Canada. Core schools include:
- Boston College
- Boston University
- Bowdoin College
- Cal Tech
- Cornell University
- Dartmouth University
- Harvard University
- McGill University
- Stanford University
- Tufts University
- UC Berkeley
- UC Los Angeles (UCLA)
- UC San Francisco
- University of Pennsylvania
- Yale University
Looking to do meaningful strategy work in healthcare with colleagues you’ll respect and enjoy? Then a consulting role at Putnam may be for you. The firm, like all firms, has its tradeoffs, but if you want to build strategy acumen while living at the cutting-edge of innovation in biotechnology and pharma, you can’t do much better than Putnam Associates.
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