Thursday, February 26, 2009

My first Case Interview

I had my first case interview -- actually got out about an hour ago. I've got a few takeaways I'd like to remember.

Last night, a good chunk of my evening was spent figuring out what a case interview even is. I found a few good resources for this:
So the interview wasn't quite what I expected. I was anticipating a full on role-play so I was thrown off when I started. Actually, it was more like studying an actual case: here is the situaiton - what to do?

I was expecting to be able to ask more questions than I was allowed. I thought I'd be judged on my probing skills, once I figured out they wanted to see what I brainstormed, I was on my way. I estimate that getting accustomed to the interviewer took about 1/3 of the time. I was much happier with my performance in the latter half of the interview.

and so what did I learn?
  • The 3 C's Cool Calm & Collected. I could have handled this a little better I think. As I realized my assumed structure wasn't going to play out, I probably showed a bit of confusion. This also stopped me from taking the notes that I wanted so I could analyze better.
  • Could you ask about structure before actually start? Judging by what I saw in this interview and what I read about on McKinsey's website, there are probably quite a few variations out there. To better play the role that is meant for me, it might be good to ask what to expect in the structure.
    Who are you in this?
    Am I allowed / should I be asking for more information?
  • Brainstorm Options Things finally started clicking when I just said: there is this huge amount of info. If it were this, I would do this.......... He liked seeing that I wasn't sold on one solutions
  • How will get Buy-IN I didn't see this one coming. I had a few ideas, and I really tried to focus what I've learned in negotations class and working with the stakeholders. Hmmmm........ if anyone has more ideas here please comment Obviously people don't just accept your ideas because you are a consultant.
  • Articulate Well I always know I've got to improve here. I should practice saying what I mean. I often do have great pictures in the back of my mind; somehow it all gets translated into mumbo-jumbo :)
I look forward to a few more of these. Remembering what I learned should help me move from my earned 70% of all wow to a solid 100% Wow Factor.

New Goal in the MBA Program : 100% Wow!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Arouse in the other person an eager want

Arouse in the other person an eager want -- One of the Fundamental Principles in Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People.

I had a very quick negotiation with my Wife's 11-year-old brother a few days ago. She was watching him and wanted him to take out the trash; he wanted to play video-games. I was getting angry because I didn't like seeing my wife disrespected by this person she was helping out.

And then it hit me that he was desperately waiting for something to be delivered to him in the mail. Most of his battle was putting down the game-controller, so when I said, "I'm surprised you're not running outside to the mailbox, because it was delivered about 30 minutes ago," he immediately started to head for the door. Taking the trash out wasn't as big a deal when he was already up and moving around.

Everyone was served because interests were sought instead of hard stances on positions.

Arouse an eager want: Instead of forcing my will on Sam, I was able to see a connection to something he wanted. Dale Carnegie's suggestion eliminated hurt and angered feelings by seeking a new way to get things accomplished.

Often the advice given in books such as "How to Win Friends and Influence People" and "Getting to Yes" is difficult to follow because you do get emotionally locked into your position and the righteousness of that position. I was quickly moving from "wanting my wife to not have to deal with disobedience" to an attitude of anger and a desire to force this kid to obey everything I said because I said it.

We have to give up those immediate emotions of satisfying ego, pride, anger, or revenge and actually get the deal we'll be happy with a few days later.

Talk about Interests: This is one of the ideas in "Getting to Yes." It was quick, but when I spoke in a friendly manner about his real desire being outside it was very easy to tack on an additional task. When speaking to Sam's interest, the pie was expanded and he excitedly carried out his task.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Excel is lowering my morals

In my class about Pricing and Positioning, we've been running a lot of analytics in both SPSS & Excel.

I think this is kind of funny. It seems Excel 2007 is a little more accurate than the 2003 version. So when you save a file in the 03 format, it sometimes questions ones fidelity. Luckily the loss is minor.

This error made me laugh a little too much. My wife thought I was just a big dork. But I kept seeing it every time I saved.

Hopefully once I graduate the BYU MBA, I won't have my morals questioned so easily.

.......... yeah, I am kind of a big dork.