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18 FIT & PEI

Session 18: Fit/PEI

While fit is done in this session, we expect candidates to have prepared adequately leading up to this session by listening to podcasts 58-65, listening to other podcasts, leading samples, collecting our feedback, loading more samples etc. If a candidate does poorly here it will be very difficult for them to recover, since they will need to apply these skills in networking, and the skills will not be ready in time. In fact, they probably will never recover.

That means an unpleasant networking experience and no interviews.

We teach candidates the NY Times method in preparing their fit responses on analytical skills, leadership, teamwork, weakness, the resume overview etc.

If you think about case preparation in career strategy terms, the fit part is where we expect to differentiate our candidates and give them that extra edge to beat all other candidates. Why do we pursue this strategy and not just focus on cases?

First, everyone is focused on the case. There is so much obsessive focus on the case that it is hard to differentiate a candidate on the case. Even if you are exceptional in cases, there will be many others at the same level. You either crack it or not. And many people crack the case – and never get offers.

Second, there is far too much of a technical focus on solving the case. Forum writers obsess with cracking the case, but too little time is spent on how you crack the case. The way you communicate in cases is a skill taught best in the fit preparation. So do not apply the language from the fit sessions, but the underlying techniques taught in this session.

Third, everyone takes fit for granted. Everyone thinks they are better at fit than cases. Everyone thinks preparation for fit can be done in a few days.

Experience indicates otherwise. In the ~279 candidates we have trained at Firmsconsulting until February 2013, only 4 have been good enough at fit. The rest needed substantial help.

For these three reasons, fit is a good place to differentiate a candidate.

When we talk about fit, we are discussing three separate elements which are all important.

• First, we are referring to both the formal fit/PEI interview and the fit assessment which occurs during a full case. A candidate is always being judged, even during a full case. That is why this section is so important. That is an important distinction. A candidate needs to act like a professional, despite being under pressure, but also act like they are enjoying the case. What they say, how they communicate, will determine this how they are perceived.

• Second, the candidate’s reasons for consulting, the firm and office must show an insightful and plausible logic.

• Third, the way a candidate dresses, sits, uses their hands, positions their body, all create the right or the wrong image. We focus on these things when we say fit.

In the session descriptions which follow, we are using one description for 4 different candidates. Yet candidates do not perform the same, and while the descriptions are mostly accurate, there will be some differences as a few cases are brought forward, others moved back or candidates fail to prepare adequately. While these differences are minor, they sometimes occur.

Cases questions taught in the session:

Felix’s cases recorded in the session; Talk me through your resume, Tell me about this leadership role at INA-PG, Can you elaborate on your role at the Yale Spring Gala Concert Festival, What was your role in securing the relationship with the $50B Pharma, Why are you an event planner, How do you handle failure & Why are you leaving your PhD?

Sanjeev’s cases recorded in the session; Tell me about your role as sports editor of the magazine, Can you elaborate on your role at the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation Microfinance start-up, Tell me about your internship strategy at BP and how you developed the case study, Walk me through your role in setting up the Singapore office, Can you elaborate on the implementation initiatives you were working on with Bain & Co., What was the value of your state tennis experiences, & Why did you select IESE for your MBA?

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