Monday, December 19, 2005

Observations from Vijay Mulbagal's focus group

The following post is courtesy Vijay. I think he gets to the heart of case interviews. Thanks Vijay !!! Read on....

In the last three days our focus group did about 12 case interviews. We kept procrastinating till we could no longer manage the burden of getting psyched out by other groups. The efforts, though rudimentary, have offered some results. The following are a few observations:

All our life we have been rewarded for our knowledge. In consulting, it not knowledge but the process of thinking that is paid premium for. It is quite difficult not to indulge in giving out some off-the-cuff guesstimated answers, as if the interviewer was actually interested in knowing the surface area of an airplane and the number of litres required to paint the surface. The process of probing, by asking intelligent questions, is just not rewarded but rewarding too.

‘What’ is important, but ‘how’ is not to be ignored. The way one puts across a point can change the way the interviewer will respond. Niceties ‘are’ important.

There will be individual differences in the interviewers. It is not required to infer meanings into the behavior of the interviewer beyond what is warranted. If the interview is curt or rude, it does not necessarily mean that he does not like you. Losing confidence midway by reading too much into the interviewer’s gesticulation and articulation is unwarranted and detrimental.

Video recording is not just a ritual that will get one entry into the Club consulting cprep’s closed-door meetings. It is imperative that one records as many interviews as possible. More importantly, go back to analyze each aspect of the interview. To repeat ad nauseam, in case interviews, what matters is not the ‘product’ but the ‘process’. Hence, detailed examination and analyses of recorded videos is paramount. Making notes and comparing on a weekly basis would be of help.

Finally, one should do case interviews whether or not one wants to go for consulting jobs. Case interviews offer a chance to review course concepts; they sharpen the mind and greatly enhance problem solving orientation.

-- Vijay

No comments: