Career Success

In a recent article, I wrote about How to Tell Someone They’re Totally Wrong. It was in response to my comments about music and learning how to write songs. That discussion and the flood of emails I’ve received (with very polar points of view) has probably been one of the most controversial topics I’ve written about [...]

I recently wrote an article about the difference between Planned vs. Emergent Career Strategies. The career plan is one you create at the beginning of your career when you have the least amount of information. The emergent strategy sometimes reveals itself in the process of pursuing the original career plan. New information emerges that was [...]

When you first learn a craft, it’s useful to learn the rules. As you master the rules, it’s useful to break the rules. The difference between learning, mastering, and then breaking the rules comes from understanding why the rules exist. Rules, rules of thumbs, or conventions exist around problems in a field that recur frequently. [...]

A product company like Apple invests heavily in research & development (R&D) to maintain its competitive advantage. One of the ways you can tell a CEO is managing for short-term results at the expense of long-term sustained success is when he or she cuts back on R&D investments. In the workforce, there are two kinds [...]

There are three key secrets to getting promoted in a consulting firm. Here is one of them: “Do what is needed, not just what is asked.” In your first few weeks and months in consulting, you will typically be assigned tasks. This is just temporary to make sure those who interviewed you did not make [...]

In consulting, your personal reputation is everything. It is the one thing by which everything else in your career revolves around. Here is the thing with reputations. Once your reputation is set (whether it is good or it is bad), it is very hard to change. If you are seen favorably, more partners want you [...]

At Stanford, I took a class called Power & Politics. My professor said, “If you put two people in a room together, there’s politics.” As much as I disliked the answer at the time, I’ve come to appreciate that it is true. Politics occurs when different people with conflicting needs try to each get what [...]

In school, if you get 95 out of 100 questions correct, you get a 95% score. Much of childhood education grading is done on an objective basis. However, once you enter the workforce, this changes. You get promoted based on how others perceive your abilities, as opposed to any objective measure of your abilities. You [...]

One of the first lessons every first-year at McKinsey is taught is the difference between a fact and an opinion. The worst thing you could do at McKinsey was present an opinion as if it were fact. If you did this in front of a partner, the partner would never want you on another project. [...]

I was reading an email from a member of my case interview preparation community that had recently gotten offers from Bain and Booz Allen Hamilton. He made one particular comment that triggered a thought in my mind on how to think in a more structured and analytical way… automatically. This technique has been sitting underneath my nose [...]

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