Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Case of the Billion Bolts

I walked in through the door. I noticed the dame sitting tall and upright against the chair. She stiffly shook my hand and asked me to sit. She asked me to tell her about myself. Ah, these dames. Never trust anybody!

“My name is Wim Wian. What people call me is something else. I’m an IIMA student. It says so on PGP1 List of Students.”

The last thing I wanted to solve this morning was a case, but the dame immediately started on it. Dames always bring trouble and my sixth sense told me this one was going to full of it. The wind from the air conditioner suddenly seemed to blow cooler and I pulled my coat tighter round me as she started the reading out the case.

“Estimate the number of bolts in the United States”

What? Was she for real? Did she expect me to solve this case? It was another baffling case and I thought she expected too much out of me. Why did this dame want to know anyway?

I reviewed the facts.

a) This was a bolt from the blue.

b) Bolts are used for various purposes.

c) There is a country named United States.

d) She was bolting mad.

e) She was a mental case.

I started thinking about what bolts were used for. What were they used for anyway? I reached inside my coat and felt for my weapon. My heart went cold as I realized the inner pocket was empty. I felt I had lost my right hand. Alas, I had forgotten to bring my trusty Casio FX-260 calculator.

I needed a clue and a drink. Wordlessly she handed me a glass of water and motioned me to begin. This dame needed answers, and fast.

I started explaining what I thought about the case. Bolts are used for a number of purposes. I started listing them out. I then went on estimate the number of bolts present in an average house. My voice droned on and on, with the case facts being stated in as many different ways as possible. The dame let me speak, interrupting me with a question now and then.

As I continued speaking, I realized that she wasn’t interested in answers. She just wanted to watch me think! She was a real close one, this dame. Deciding to play on, I kept on speaking as long as possible.

Then suddenly the answer hit me. The pieces all fit together. This was obviously a ‘numbers’ racket.I blurted out the answer ‘One Billion’. She gave a grim nod and seemed satisfied with that. She handed me back my file and I went out closing the door.

Case closed.

PS - Having recently participated in the summers placement process, the above is a fictional 1930's Private Eye spoof on the case interview conducted by consulting firms.