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WARNING: MBB Interviews Booz Allen and GPO

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  • #42434

    D. Bass
    Participant

    Hi All:
    I am a MBB and an ASQ BB with a Technical BS, a MBA and over 24 years experience.  Further, I have built 2 high tech plants (thin films)and am in the process of building my 3rd (composites).
    Also, for 10 years in the 80’s I was an Industrial Engineer and did many things that are today considered to be “Lean” in those days (e.g. Standard Work, SMED, Machine Cells, Total Prod. Maintenance).
    So…I think that its fair to say that I know what I’m doing…but like everyone, I have my weaknesses.
    I prefaced this thread with that info so that you guys can get an idea of where I come from.
    Over the past month, I have interviewed both the US Government Printing Office (GPO) and Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH) in DC for Continuous Improvement positions.
    I liken BOTH experiences to trying to sell tennis shoes to someone who doesn’t wear shoes…and worse, doesn’t know how to ask the right questions to buy them.
    #1.  Government Printing Office
    At the GPO, I interviewed the Assistant Director (Public Printer) and several of the GPO Staff in a “group” interview.  The GPO is “reorganizing” and is hiring “Organizational Architects”. 
    I found the job on the US Gov. Jobs site by search for “Lean” and “Six Sigma”…so its important to understand that these words were in their Job Description.
    So I go to the interview, and they not only know NOTHING about Lean and Six Sigma, the Assistant Director informed me that they interviewed 6 people before me and that NONE of them were even Certified BBs.  He said that they were looking for Organizational Architects…not Lean-Sigma people…and that there was probably no more than a few hundred people in all of GPO who cared about Lean or Six Sigma.
    But they have already published a “Strategic Plan” for Reorganization…into 6 Biz Units…but they cannot tell if it should be 5-6 or 7.
    I then became a teacher…spontaneously…explaining to them that if they had done a High Level Value Stream Map, they would be able to properly determine how to reorganize.  When I explained to them that while they would get a great deal of “Low Hanging Fruit” that they should expect 3-5 years to see their organization become a functional Lean-Sigma environment…they lost interest.
    Needless to say…I did not get an offer.
    #2.  Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH)
    A very nice and well-intentioned Head Hunter set me up with this interview.  BAH is a beltway bandit.  A consulting firm that works mainly with the DoD.
    At BAH, I interviewed 4 people…each for 40 minutes…and only 1 of them knew ANYTHING about Lean-Sigma.  One person was right out of college and she couldn’t even articulate what she does for the “Organizational Improvement” group at BAH.  Another was a nice guy, 13 year Marine Vet..who also knew NOTHING about Lean-Sigma.
    As it so happens, I had already been to all of the Army Depots, Naval Shipyards and Air Force Logistics Centers back in the early 90’s and I know from my research that NAVSEA is the only entity in the US DoD with a “Directive” to conduct Lean-Sigma…which started at Norfolk Shipyard and now the USN has a Lean-Sigma College.
    I also know that (like the GPO example above) the US Air Force can’t even articulate the pertinent questions about Lean-Sigma…much less discern the answer.  At least one command in the Air Force suggests that they want to teach 100K personnel Lean-Sigma…a process that would take 20 years.
    Since BAH is a Consulting Firm that will be trying to sell its services to the Pentagon…and since they had the unmittigated gaul to have me talk to people with little or no experience in Continuous Improvement-Lean-Sigma, I again felt that I needed to engage in some embellishment to get my point across.
    BAH decided to pass on me, since I “digressed” too much…
    The Moral?
    We started Lean-Sigma in Manufacturing and it has spread to Financial and to Medical…so you might think that Goverment is “ripe” for change.
    Don’t you bet on it.
    They still are more interested in “Appearances” than “Substance”.
    Both GPO and BAH turned out to be a joke.
    Don’t waste your time.

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    #133946

    Minion
    Participant

    I’m sorry,
    Why do you think anyone cares?

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    #133955

    Bass
    Participant

    Well…obviously you don’t care…
    But someone might…and I doubt seriously if you speak for everyone.
    The information to glean from my post…which obviously you may have missed due to reading comprehension skills…or lack of them…
    …Is before folks leave their busy jobs and invest time and effort to look for a CI-Lean-Sigma job in or around government.
    Don’t waste your time.
    I’m sure that others on this forum have been approached…or will be approached for job opportunities in and around government (DC).
    They should be aware of the “lay of the land” in DC before going.
    Maybe you have time to waste.  I…like most herein…do not.

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    #133959

    Mr IAM
    Participant

    Bass,
    I am currently seaching the world for a decent place to contribute as well.  I have had a couple interviews already with manufacturing and medical companies that don’t know much of anything about quality in general.  While I am applying for a “quality engineering” or “process engineering” positions I have not had one person in any interview ask me one technical quality question – no not one.
    Not a question about process capability, or measurement error/validation, or SPC, or hypothesis testing, or designed experiments… nothing technical.  Of course I wouldn’t expect these questions from an HR person but these are people who either are in the job I am applying for, or are the manager.
    I don’t understand it myself…  People say that want “QE / PE / ME” and talk about BB’s or MBB skills or certification just because they have heard of it – not because they know what it is or value the skill set.
    This time… I will be taking my time to find the right fit in an organization the values skill set, the tools, the approach and what it can bring to the organization… I have a feeling I will be looking for quite some time….
    So… I can relate to what your saying.. Best of luck!

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    #133962

    Ken Feldman
    Participant

    Mr. Iam,
    If you interview with me, I will ask lots of technical questions.  If interested get me at [email protected]
     

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    #133963

    Mr IAM
    Participant

    D,
    Ha!  I bet that you would!  Problem is – I would have to post your questions of me to this forum to get an answer, which would mean I’d  then pay Stevo big $$ to get an answer back, before I could pass the answer on to you.  I think it would make for an awkward interview!  Don’t you?

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    #133964

    BTDT
    Participant

    I have a picture of the interview in my mind.Master Darth: “do you hear the grasshopper at your feet?”Young Mr Iam: “old man, how is it that you hear these things?”Master Darth: “young man, how is it that you do not?”Cheers, BTDT

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    #133965

    Mr IAM
    Participant

    BTDT,
    Wow you really expect the conversation would be that deep eh?  You give me more credit then I deserve!
     
     

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    #133969

    Helper
    Participant

    BTDT,
    A really great post……..really!

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    #133976

    AB
    Participant

    BTDT,
    Now that’s more like a “real master black belt” ….kung fu style…way to go!!! From Six Sigma to …the “real stuff”
    AB

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    #133983

    Markert
    Participant

    Wow, it appears that Darth has some kind of icky, yellowing toe-nail infection that would require some highly compensated professional assistance.
    Where’s Vinny and the GiantMedicalProductCompany med’s when you need him…..

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    #133991

    Ken Feldman
    Participant

    As a matter of fact, Dr. Vinny did forward the product below to help with my little problem.  It is amazing.  There are also some off label uses which you can imagine but we can’t discuss on this Forum.

     
     

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    #133992

    Markert
    Participant

    What would be wrong with discussing it’s use in removing rust and debris from the hull of Stan’s sailboat, or the what is left of Mr. IAM’s grasshopper from the hood of Vader?
    Gotta go, I’m waiting to hear back from my e-mail to Superbag.
    https://www.isixsigma.com/forum/showmessage.asp?messageID=88691 

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    #133993

    Ken Feldman
    Participant

    Phil, you can contact me offline.  I already have all the info from SuperBag and would be glad to share.  It looks like a great opportunity.  Since he sounded so sincere I provided all the info plus my bank account number and pin.  Turns out he is also in partnership with the guy from Nigeria who keeps sending emails saying he wants to send me $13,000,000.  I think that one is a scam since I have only received $6.2M so far.  I plan to use the money I have received so far to buy a Home Depot franchise.  If interested, I would be glad to consider you for Paint Department Supervisor.  Of course I would have to do a complete background check first.

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    #134513

    Dave Roberts
    Participant

    D.Bass,
    You sound a little bitter about being rejected from two organisations that tend to pride themselves on hiring the best people in the World. note. BAH, behind McKinsey are the best recognised and considered consulting company in the world and have a reputation far beyond anything that I’m sure you have on your resume.
    I suggest you stick to interviewing with Manufacturing companies as your “disgressing” may fall on def ears at any large strategy consulting firm. The annoying long length of your email does tell me that you’re probably a ‘detail’ person who loves a dinner party conversation with equally interesting beings….
    Ciao.

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    #134591

    D. Bass
    Participant

    Dave Roberts:
    Bitter?  Hardly.  I have more work than I can possibly accomplish and I live in the pastoral mountains of NC, versus the harried, crime ridden environment of Washington, DC. 
    Moving to DC would have been a MAJOR move down in the quality of life in any event.
    The people at Booz Allen called me and asked me to come to DC  for an interview.  Not the other way around.
    The point of my post was…is…and will continue to be this…
    That certain elements of the US Government and their Surrogate the “Beltway Bandits” are starting to throw the “buzzwords” of “Lean” and “Six Sigma” around, but that they know soooo little about either subject that in two interviews in less than 1 month in DC…I was unable to find a single soul who could even intelligently articulate the questions…much less interview viable candidates for the answers.
    So, again, if the professionals who post herein want to waste their time on a fool’s errand, then by all means they should respond.
    On the other hand, if they leave stable situations thinking that they can have a positive effect on the “appearances-mean-more-than-results” crowd that litter DC, then go ahead.
    So, any disparaging remarks I may have made remain intact and my intent is clear. 
    To warn others that IF you go to such interviews, and you are a BB or MBB, don’t expect to exchange interogatives with knowledable people on the subject of Lean and Six Sigma.
    They’re just not there. 
    D. Bass

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    #134612

    AB
    Participant

    D. Bass
    You said
    “I liken BOTH experiences to trying to sell tennis shoes to someone who doesn’t wear shoes…and worse, doesn’t know how to ask the right questions to buy them”
    So what do you do in a situation like this when you have an inquisitive customer who might buy tennis shoes from you but don’t know what questions to ask but is considering upgrading from bare feet to tennis shoes? Incidentally, that was the exact same situation I was in when I went to a sports store to buy a pair of ice-skates for my 6 years old son. I went to buy “Braun” skates and had never worn ice-skates myself or ever purchased them before..
    Please share what your response would be and I’ll be happy to share what the storeowner that I worked with did.
    Cheers
    AB

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    #134648

    D. Bass
    Participant

    AB…
    What did I do?  I did the only thing that I could do…in both instances. 
    I instantaneously morphed from being a candidate into a teacher.
    At GPO, one interviewer wanted to know if there was something called “Six Sigma Lite” that could be achieved quicker…when I told them to expect 3 to 5 years for the “cultural change” to take hold.
    But at least the wanted to know what Lean Sigma was all about.
    Whereas, at Booz Allen, I wasted two days to sit with people half my age and less than half my experience, who are simply putting their “pincky toes” into the pool of Six Sigma, beacuse the DoD is starting to ask for it.
    So, when someone who doesn’t know anything about Six Sigma asks you what you’ve done…the answer will necessarily sound too detailed…since Lean Sigma implies levels of detail to which the uninitiated are unaccustomed.
    That’s my point.
    You can’t teach and interview at the same time.
    Now, I’m sure most of you are as busy as I am and would only like to respond to real scenarios.  I’m sure that many of you have also found that many unscrupulous Head Hunters post jobs that may…or may not exist…just to increase their resume “count” of BB’s and MBB’s.
    As a result of my two junkets to DC, I will henceforth only interview with Hiring Managers. 
    No more kiddies right out of college. 
    No more Six Sigma wannabe organizations. 
    And certainly, definitely, no more Beltway Bandits.
    ~DB

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