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Vault’s Verdict

As a well-known, respected firm within the life sciences sector, Putnam appears to be in a strong position heading into the uncharted waters of 2023. Of course, operating within a sector that is as close to recession-proof as it’s possible to be helps, but Putnam’s status is built on years of success, with the added cushion of the backing of a larger organization behind it.

All of which translates to a group of consultants who are seeking to make some serious headway—both individually and as a collective—this year and beyond. To help in that regard, Putnam offers a well-thought-out onboarding and training program, with regular promotion opportunities to boot. Sprinkle on a compensation package that is at or close to the top of the market for the sector, and you have a pretty enticing combination: stability, progress, and financial security.

Firm Culture

“Consultants are not just a number, while we are growing there is still a perception of ‘everyone knows everyone’ and the staffing process is highly personal. You feel like you have control and a clear view of your progression at the firm.”

“Extreme depth of knowledge in healthcare and life sciences, coupled with a wide range of strategic expertise, spanning all the way from technical M&A diligence to pricing and contracting approaches. We are true thought partners to some of our clients' most important strategic decisions.”

“I think it really is the culture of Putnam. Everyone is incredibly intelligent and hard-working, but everyone is also really enjoyable to be around. We have fun, and enjoy each other's company, while also learning a ton from each other throughout our cases.”

“Putnam has been in the industry since the late 80s, so we have had the opportunity to watch the healthcare industry grow and have made some really strong client relationships in the process. For instance, the company will refer to client representatives by first name and has a solid understanding of what type of outputs these clients typically anticipate. I think a lot of healthcare consultancies have been founded more recently (i.e. the last 10 years) in response to the booming biotech/healthcare industry and thus many experience growing pains. On the other hand, because Putnam has been in the game for quite some time, I think there are more grounded expectations of our employees.”

“The people that work at Putnam are extremely driven. I really like that everyone comes from very different backgrounds such as different majors or academic paths, different geographic locations, and different life experiences. Especially when working in a team, it is really useful to have unique viewpoints. The value is created in combining different beliefs, thoughts and ideas to make something great for the client.”

Quality of Life

“Even though there is a core office day on a weekly basis, Putnam is flexible with consultants preferring to work remotely. Travelling to the client site is not usual, especially for entry- to mid-level consultants. My personal experience with time off has been positive, as the firm has approved PTO even at short notice. Putnam follows a model of double-staffing which means that after the first 4-6 weeks of being with the firm it is the norm for folks to work on two projects simultaneously. Even though this provides great opportunity for time management, multi-tasking and learning in general, it can be quite challenging to meet expectations and can lead to long hours.”

“I appreciate how I am often encouraged to log off by a reasonable hour (approx. 6:30 on most days). I also appreciate how Putnam's culture encourages activities such as coffee chats and built in happy hours to promote a healthy work environment.”

“Low travel requirements allow you to have a great quality of life, see friends at your local city, etc. Time off is never, ever frowned upon and the teams do their best to accommodate and distribute workstreams so you can go on holidays without any problems and without needing to be on the phone in case anything might arise. People are friendly and incredibly smart. The hours are generally quite good; you may have the occasional time crunch on a specific week, but teams try very hard to avoid this and projects are scoped appropriately so this does not happen.”

“Most project leaders are very good at balancing the need to get work done and sent deliverables off to clients, while still maintaining good work/life balance. especially at a time where WFH has blended the line between work and life, I have found most people to be very respectful.”

“Work life balance is one of the strong points of Putnam. There is no travel to clients' site, all offices operate under hybrid model and we go to the office once or twice per week. A lot of informal events (bowling, bouldering, yoga, etc.) are organized with everyone from the office attending. Hours are very reasonable for consulting.”


"Best: generous sign-on bonus to help with relocation fees, end-of-year bonuses are given to everyone and almost all receive the maximum %, very flexible and generous with allowing staff to reimburse meals and transportation home after long workdays, very clear salary progression based off of promotion structure, also reimburse for meal delivery services. Worst: delayed granting of sign-on bonus.”

“Comp packages are fair—but it can be difficult to see where you can grow in the business if you are not a consultant. Pay is fair, but the company should feel comfortable being more transparent about pay at different levels. Employees share that information between themselves anyway, and it could help a lot with perception.”

“Salary jumps are high! Leadership does an excellent job of being transparent on salary and pay equality, at least at the consultant level. The worst aspect is a perceived lack of transparency about cost-of-living increases and annual bonus structure."

“The best aspect of our firm’s compensation package is the benefits received throughout the year, and inclusive of our two bonuses we are eligible for. We have a year-end bonus based on our work where you are granted a large bonus, then a second bonus determined by how well the company does as a whole which is a separate smaller bonus. The worst aspect is the rigid structure and timing of raises. You are almost locked into a certain amount and cannot move up fluidly into newer raises.”

“They recently initiated a pay adjustment to correct to the market, so we are more in line with competitors.”

Career Development

“At every level, Putnam wants people to succeed. At the end of every project there is a formal review given, and then you can you schedule time with your manager to discuss their feedback in detail and gather valuable advice to bring to your next project.”

“Best aspects of my firm's career development include the mentorship and first-hand experiences you have to learn and grow early on in your career. You are given tasks that have real impact. Worst [aspect] could be their onboarding training. I think it could be more thorough.”

“I am incredibly new to the firm. However, the pace of learning through both formal and informal training is one of the best aspects of Putnam. The firm and its people care about the development of each employee and are willing to dedicate the time to bring new hires up to speed on the Putnam ways of working. Putnam takes promotions seriously and focuses more on the person's capabilities rather than just timing, so if you are ready for a promotion before the standard cycle, it can happen. 

One of the difficult things at Putnam related to career development has to do with recruiting. Putnam rarely, if ever, hires out of MBA programs and doesn't have a path for people with non-consulting work experience and an MBA.”

“Promotion and career development processes are very transparent and all entering associates are given a clear path towards advancement and goal achievement. All are assigned career development advisors that advocate for them and help them navigate the performance review process, which is done several times per year. There are also end of case review sessions after every case, which help associates and upper management give each other feedback, highlight strengths, and areas for improvement.”

“Very clear career progression and path to Partner. Yearly promotions up the chain for high performing individuals. True meritocratic promotion process. Tons of mentorship along the way.”

Community Engagement

“At Putnam, everyone is very inclusive and makes sure everyone is welcomed regardless of identity. We also have a DEI fellowship which allows employees to focus their time towards improving diversity in the workplace at Putnam. Overall, I am very impressed with the diversity at Putnam and feel very welcome when I am in the workplace.”

“Emphasis on diversity of staff. It is very obvious that the new hires come from very different backgrounds on a personal as well as educational level--most intellectually diverse environment I've ever worked in.”

“Firm has a dedicated diversity initiative and several employees work part-time exclusively on diversity issues. Hosts important discussions around diversity and equity in the workplace. Hosts celebrations for heritage months, pride month, and other celebrations of historically marginalized groups. Firm itself skews white and male. Certainly are diverse employees, but represent a minority of the workplace.”

“Putnam has a big focus on D&I efforts through the many affinity groups that exist within the firm. All consultants have equal access to high quality work and promotion opportunities and Putnam is very introspective in terms of diversity and inclusion.”

“We have quarterly engagements and discussions to improve diversity and equality. There is cultural recognition of various holidays and efforts to open the floor to have discussions about inequalities. The only difficulty is a lot of these discussions are bottoms-up with junior level employees having to organize the discussions, though leadership will approve the initiatives.”

Business Outlook

“Due to unprecedented innovation in the biopharma industry, business outlook remains high for life science consulting.”

“Extremely strong outlook; Putnam is always operating at or close to capacity and growing quickly to meet organic growth in demand from clients.”

“Our leadership team is fantastic and our business is growing significantly. With the acquisition, there were some concerns over impact on Putnam culture, however, the leadership team has done as much as they can to mitigate those concerns and ensure that Putnam has maintained a positive work environment.”

“Putnam has a strong set of recurring clients who trust the firm with their most challenging business problems. At the same time, it has strong brand recognition that allows it to capture greater share. It has a global footprint and I do think the London office will be key in its long-term outlook.”

“Strong reputation and expertise that has made Putnam a leader in its field for decades. Really knowledgeable partners and employees of all levels. Clients trust and respect our strategic recommendations and are frequent repeat clients.”

Hiring Process

“All of my interviews were within one week, which worked well for me. What they were looking for was a highly self-motivated individual, who could manage their time well and had a positive outlook.”

“I think the interview process seemed pretty standard for consulting. The firm recruited from my university which made the process seem somewhat more personal. I don't think the firm is looking for a particular academic background in terms of school attended or major which I really admire. For instance, colleagues in my starting class range from business school backgrounds to former pre-meds which highlights Putnam's prioritization of character.”

“Interview process is very straightforward - 2 rounds, case and behavioral, a behavioral interview with a partner, and a final Q&A session. Callback was quick and communication was very open with the recruiter. I believe Putnam is searching for smart, driven, eager individuals who are willing to work hard, have a diverse background (relevant experience is a plus), can think strategically and outside the box, and have strong teamwork skills while also exhibiting strong leadership skills.”

“There is no feedback when a candidate fails an interview and the response from the recruitment team is very slow, making candidates wait for weeks for a response, when this is unnecessary. The interviews themselves are very personal and friendly especially compared to other companies. This reflects the culture of Putnam as an approachable firm with open employees.”

“Very smooth, non-intimidating but rigorous interview process. Ideal candidate: Ability to clearly structure and solve problems; life science knowledge preferred but not required; able to communicate and collaborate effectively in a team.”

Interview Questions

“Case interview questions are mostly pharma related - typical market sizing, revenue forecasting.”

“Case questions are extremely rigorous and require candidates to have a solid foundation of the life sciences / healthcare industry in order to quickly move through questions.” 

“For myself, I went through 3 rounds of interviews, not a lot of questions pertained to the actual job that I do now, but how I would face certain challenges when preforming them, how I deal with change and what I would do to help encourage others to adopt said change.”

“Interview and case questions used by Putnam are inclusive of some behavioral ones related to how you are as an individual and as a potential employee at the firm. In addition, there are some case questions which allow the firm to assess how you strategize and think critically.”

“There were two case studies, one that I presented some previous work I had done and another with a pretty basic verbal case study. Questions during the interview were typical of any interview, in general those with a passion for life sciences will do well during the interview.”


501 Boylston Street
Floor 5
Boston, MA 02116
Phone: (617) 456-5200

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Private
CEO: Remco op den Kelder
COOCOO: Matt Riordan
Global VPA Practice Lead, Partner: Eric Auger
2023 Employees (All Locations): 550

Major Office Locations

Boston, MA (HQ)
San Francisco, CA
New York, NY

Major Departments & Practices

Value, Pricing, & Access Strategy

New Product Development Strategy

Established Product and Franchise Strategy

Medical Affairs Strategy

Portfolio, Licensing & Development Strategy

Enterprise Strategy