Sweet Validation

Remember how two Fridays ago I thought I rocked one interview and was rocked by the other? In an interesting turn of events, I was called back to the latter firm for second rounds but did not make it through for the former.

Management consulting interview season definitely keeps you humble (and guessing), goes to show your idea of how an interview went may not be the end all be all (slash that there may be hope when you think you have no chance) be AND that you never really know what the interviewer/firm is looking for until you get the decision. If you get the nod, you know you did well, if not, well, it's a murky grey zone. There are so many things that go into a decision that vary in importance based upon the firm such as (just to name a few):

  • The airport test: would I enjoy being stuck with you in an airport or would I rather eat a live tarantula? 
  • Presence: Would I feel comfortable putting you in front of a client/the CEO of a Fortune 500?
  • The case: Can you structure your thinking but not be constrained in your thinking by your structure? Are you able to pull out key insights and ignore irrelevant data? Are you able to think creatively? Can you do math quickly but accurately in your head? Can you keep me interested in your thought process or am I thinking about what I'm going to eat for lunch?

You get the picture. It's funny how I thought I understood the process & what the different firms were looking for prior to the start of recruiting season a few weeks ago...and boy was I off the mark. The past two weeks have been especially learning-intensive between interviewing experiences, receiving the yay or nays, and then seeking out feedback from the nays to adjust moving forward. As much as knowing some of this stuff beforehand would have been helpful, I'm really glad I had the opportunity to make some mistakes, get feedback, and learn from it all. Optimism, baby!

Validation of that and of the past three years of work came this evening when I got a call from one of the senior people from the firm I interviewed with this past Friday (Oct 21st). Hearing him introduce himself was quite the surprise...I wasn't supposed to hear back until tomorrow or the next day and was expecting the call to come from the recruiter instead of from someone senior. At this point, my heart started beating pretty quickly since it could only mean one thing and the fact that he himself was calling meant that what he said next will be forever ingrained in my mind:

"We were really impressed by you and want you on our team. Congratulations and welcome to xxx!"

Holy. Cow.

All of the hard work, lost sleep, and energy I've thrown into the past few years were validated in those two sentences so actually having a consulting offer on the table is beyond surreal. While I'm not in a position to make a decision yet since I'm still in process with one final firm (1st rounds are Oct 31) and am beyond lucky to have another offer from a different company, the idea of having options, particularly in this economy, is strange to me.  The big question now is what I want my life to look like for the next few years in terms of location, hours worked, team structure, type of work, and overall lifestyle...

...and I'm thankful that I have a bit of time and some great people in my life to help me sort it out.

p.s. one week until I'm FINALLY 21!