November 2012

Elite Performance - What It Really Takes

Recently I took my daughters into Seattle to watch the U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastics team perform. They were in town as part of a 150-city post-Olympic tour across the U.S. It is the first time I’ve seen gymnastics at the world elite level in person. Even though the routines were nowhere near as difficult as [...]

Strategic Disruption, Retaliation, and Cooking?

In technology industries, the single biggest strategic maneuver one can make is to employ a “disruptive” strategy. A disruptive strategy is one that so challenges (some would say massively threatens) the status quo how things are done in an industry that quite often it completely wipes out entire industry sectors. Examples include: * Digital movie delivery [...]

Math Never Lies, But it Often Misleads

I’m often fond of saying that: Math Never Lies, But It Does Often Mislead Let me give you an example to illustrate this point. Let’s say you use math to analyze a client and discover they generate $100 million in profit. Is this good or bad? It’s a simple question. From a math perspective, all [...]

Never Listen to Critics

In life, there are two kinds of critics. There are those who sincerely want to see you improve, and there are those that just want to put you down (often to make themselves feel superior to you). Take note of constructive suggestions from the former, but learn to ignore comments from the latter. This truly [...]

How BCG, Bain & the Consulting Industry Got Started

There’s a great article in Bloomberg BusinessWeek that discusses how the global strategy consulting industry got started, why Boston Consulting Group was founded, how Bain was a spin off of BCG, and how Bain Capital was a spin off of Bain. Although the article’s title focuses on tracing the business career of Mitt Romney, candidate [...]

The Uncertainty Arbitrage

There is a simple principle the underlies the relationship between client and consulting firm. It is something I call the Uncertainty Arbitrage. While uncertainty is self explanatory, if you’re not from a finance background, the concept of arbitrage may be new to you. In its usual context, arbitrage is a financial trading strategy design to exploit goods that are [...]

BCG Asia Offer

Following is a field report I received from a F1Y in Asia. Field Report: Dear Victor, Just wanted drop you a quick note. As an experienced hire that didn’t even get interview invites coming out of undergrad and periodic cold web submissions a couple years ago, I now made it to final rounds with Bain [...]

BCG Coffee Chat

Question: I am a junior at [U.S. University] and through a connection I was able to secure a “coffee chat” with a BCG Associate. In the confirmation email, it says “No need to dress up – this is an opportunity for us to get to know each other in a casual setting.” I obviously don’t [...]

Being Influential Through Word Choice

Over the last 5 years, I have taken an unusual interest in linguistics. My interest was prompted by the book Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What They Hear, by Frank Lunz. Lunz is a political pollster. His job is to take a politician’s idea and test it through market research to find the best way [...]