How to Answer a Consulting Case Interview

Are you an aspiring management consultant? Do you plan on interviewing with top management consulting firms such as Mckinsey, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Bain, Booz Allen Hamilton, Mercer, L.E.K Consulting, A.T. Kearney, Roland Berger or others? If you answered yes to both these questions then you are guaranteed to face several rounds of case interviews. So how do you answer consulting case interview questions?

When answering consulting case interview questions the most important thing above all else is to demonstrate to the interviewer your intelligence and ability to solve problems. There is a good chance that you will not even generate an answer nor will it be correct. Often case interviews can simply end up being an exploration of issues with the interviewer guiding you down one of many possible paths allowing you to formulate a solution to a problem, give recommendations or ‘ball park’ an estimate.

With this in mind never go too quick because you may overlook important elements of the problem and take too narrow a focus. Be sure to work at a steady pace however, to ensure you can at least give a final answer if required by the interviewer.

Interact with the interviewer and ask any questions to gauge the scope of the problem or fill in missing gaps of information. Often certain details of the case will be withheld purposely to see if you can determine what extra information would be useful. This demonstrates that you are both inquisitive and thorough.

Don’t be afraid to be creative because management consulting requires a large element of ‘thinking outside the square’ and innovative ideas. Be enthusiastic, confident and comfortable. Always let your personality come through. You may get way off track in a case interview and think that there is no way you will make it to the next round, however your personality is what often will get you over the line.

A good point to make here is the importance of bringing structure to your problem solving. Common methods and frameworks such as Porters 5 forces, the BCG Matrix, SWOT Analysis, Revenue and Cost modeling, business life cycle analysis, Mind Mapping, key issues grouping and problem decomposition are great ways of bringing structure to your thoughts, however feel free to structure your solution anyway you can keeping in mind what feels appropriate given the nature of the case question. There is nothing worse than attempting to apply some kind of method framework to a problem when it is off context or inappropriate. It is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

The last point that should be made is in regard to the appearance of your key strengths. Consulting firms hire from a variety of backgrounds and degrees including engineering, science, law, business, economics, management and commerce. They take anyone who shows the right attitude and mind for the job. Management consulting firms look for the most intelligent individuals, ‘all-rounders’ with competencies and interests in a range of disciplines and despite your education or experience being in only one or two areas they will provide the best training and education to bring you up to speed. It is important, therefore, that if you are a business or commerce oriented individual you must be sure to demonstrate creativity, problem solving skills and a level of thinking outside of the traditional number crunching economist or accountant mind set. Conversely someone like an engineer needs to demonstrate a level of business acumen with at least some knowledge or interest in the commercial world. Play to your strengths but don’t show the interviewer that you are only strong in solving problems from one particular approach or based on one educational style. In saying all this, number and math skills are a must, so make sure you can add, subtract, multiply and roughly divide large numbers in your head or on paper without the use of a calculator.

Using Balanced Scorecard Creation Consulting for Company Efficiency

In 1992, the balanced scorecard was established by David Norton and Robert Kaplan. Since then, this has been one of the most used strategy deployment methodology ever created for businesses. However, even though the BSC is widely used today, there are still a lot of companies that are having trouble when it comes to deploying the scorecard technique. The secret here is all in the creation phase. You have to nail this stage for the development of the balanced scorecard to be effective. Beginners like you may find this a real daunting task but you can always look for assistance from other organizations. Search for a company with a good reputation that will help you in generating your corporate or departmental BSC. They can offer you with balanced scorecard creation consulting.

According to a research, 90% of the companies in the United States can create their own strategy for their business but they find it hard to implement it. The percentage becomes bigger in the Asian region because strategic planning is still evolving there. With the help of balanced scorecard creation consulting, it is easy to clarify the mission and vision of the company and use them in the organization’s operations. Whether or not your company has already the strategies set out, you can validate them and use them so that you can have a more comprehensive strategy that will cover all the most important aspects in your business. These are the customers, the processes, information technology and organizational aspects.

You can use the balanced scorecard to deploy your strategies successfully. Aside from that, you can utilize it as part of your Enterprise Performance Management or EPM system. All these and more can be attained only if you have generated the right type and structure of balanced scorecard for your business. There are several companies to offer balanced scorecard creation consulting for their clients but you have to look for an organization that is credible and has really helped their customers over the years. By the end of the training or the consultation process, you should be able to formulate a scorecard that is effective and useful.

There are a number of organizations that provide BSC consulting for numerous periods. It can be a partnership between you and the other company. They will aid you whenever you need assistance in the BSC creation. This is quite important because once you have created your balanced scorecard, it does not mean that you wills top there. You have to update, renew or revise your existing one in order for it to fit perfectly in the current times.

During the scorecard design training, you will learn how to create the strategy map for your business. This is quite essential as this will teach you how to organize your objectives and strategies in one diagram. When you have the strategy map, it is easier to create the BSC because you can use the map as your guide to determine which should be measured as well as the most important processes or situations in your business.

Brief Grounding of an Idea: A Guided Meditation for You

This is a brief guided meditation, including instructions for reading it, to help you to making an idea solid, centered, and grounded.

Purpose of this MeditationThe purpose of this guided meditation is to help you to ground an idea. That is,Guest Posting to help an idea of your choosing to manifest. In my view, it is easy to have an idea, even a brilliant idea; it is not so easy to manifest it if our contradictory thoughts get in the way.

InstructionsFind a comfortable place, sitting or lying down, where you can be fully relaxed and open to the ideas and energy of this guided meditation. After settling down and before reading, take three long, deep breaths to calm and empty yourself.

Reading this MeditationThis guided meditation is designed for you to read aloud to yourself or to someone else. For yourself, you may find that creating an audio tape recording is particularly effective. Speed reading this meditation will not accelerate spiritual progress! In fact, speaking slowly in a monotone is beneficial when guiding this meditation, even though such an approach is generally frowned upon in public speaking.

The designation “……” indicates a pause, during which you may choose to be quiet or close your eyes and experience whatever comes to you. The …… may look awkward as you glance at the page. However, when you are reading the meditation, it serves as a reminder to slow down generally and pause at that place.

During the meditation, you will be instructed to identify an idea you want to manifest, which will then be referred to as (your idea). In place of (your idea), read or think the idea you have identified or read “your idea” if you are reading this to someone else.

The Meditation: Brief Grounding of an IdeaBreathe in your essence. Your essence is who you are. Your essence is pure and clear. …… Receive it. …… Let it flow downward through your body, through the various layers and levels of who you are. ……

Let energy flow from the spiritual layer downward through the mental layer, into the emotional layer and then into the physical layer. This is the direction for manifestation. Experience energy as it flows from the top down. ……

Anchor the energy by moving it down through the body, through these layers and levels, down to the feet. …… Linger at the feet so this magnificent energy from above becomes so familiar to the feet that you know easily when to step forward, move back, or stand still. …… Let your feet continue to vibrate so they place you exactly where you need to be, when you need to be there. ……

From your feet, follow the energy further down, into the earth, and then down into the center of the earth. …… Anchor the energy at the center. You may find it helpful to envision tying a knot in the center of the earth with a cord that flows downward with the energy. ……

Once again, open at the top to allow vibrant energy to flow into the energy field and flow downward. ……

Now, shift your attention to the bottom of your energy field and change the direction of the flow of energy. By opening at the soles of your feet and the base of your spine, you welcome up the earth�s vibration. …… Rich, thick, beautiful energy from Mother Earth flows upward. …… It flows up to support you, …… to bring the essence of the ground up to you, …… to help you know, without a doubt, that you are in the right place at the right time. ……

Align now with your life mission and higher purpose. …… Also align with your intention for the idea that you wish to manifest. …… Take all the time you need to identify the mission, purpose, and intention. …… Relax. ……

Now, name an idea that you want to manifest. …… Notice if it is solid enough to be brought into manifestation. …… Make it more solid and dense, if needed, by drawing more Mother Earth energy into it. …… As soon as you have named this idea, relax into the energy that flows from the top down. …… Relax and open. ……

Focus your attention at the top of your head. …… Envision (your idea) at the top of your head. …… Slowly, allow (your idea) to move downward, down through the layers and levels, down to the feet, and down into the center of the earth. …… Notice any resistance or heaviness or discomfort. …… Ask (your idea) if it wants to manifest in your life. Listen to the answer. ……

Rather than trying to force (your idea) to manifest, observe if (your idea) flows into the earth, easily and effortlessly. You will not benefit by trying to manipulate (your idea); instead, be in the flow. Notice and appreciate. ……

Notice if you remain grounded in this process. Notice if (your idea) is grounded, joyous, ready. If not, let it go! If so, let it go! If it wants to change, let it change.

Power: Its Cause, Its Effect

Introduction
Between the thousands of pages of history, one will see the rise to power of kings and their eventually toppling, either by a social insurrection or an opposing political party, or perhaps the one enemy they never outrun: death. The Russian culture had decided to call their monarchs Czars, the Europeans called theirs Kings, the Egyptians used the term Pharoah. So it is that every culture has a long line of leaders and rulers who have given birth to laws and shaped society and government. So it is also often true that these political figures would have a religious connection as well. It seemed that every culture has its war between the state and the church. In some cases, one would gain control over the other, and sometimes the opposite would occur. Monarchs, by whatever title, were dictators, despots, or unelected leaders. Some may have had representative bodies aid in creating and enforcing legislation, and some leaders were elected themselves, as presidents and chancellors are. Whatever the case, whatever the restrictions or the means of their coming to leadership, every leader has power. By this, they have the ability to enforce restrictions or requirements upon those who they control over. However, as many are already aware of, the idea of power (or government) in this regard is something I consider to be unjust, both on its principle and its practice. The following essay will outline my reasons for this belief, this belief of Anarchism.

The Cause of Power

I imagine that there is little doubt as to the cause of power. By the word power,Guest Posting I mean the ability to influence people through force, essentially, physical force and coercion. Power is the result of people supporting one person as a leader. This support can come in various forms. Either through taxes, military duty, moral support (defending/praising them publicly), or any other method, power comes to a leader by the support of others. In the cases of dictators and despots, they remain in power by both popular and military rule, in most cases. A king whose rule is harsh, brutal, and undesirable by a people will have to have a strong military rule. But even with that, there is the possibility of an insurrection, overthrowing the old leader and replacing him with a new one, or possibly without any. The family of Nicholas II, the Russian Czar, was executed by his own military, because of the incredibly negative effect his rule has had on the land. On the other hand, a king whose rule is neither negative nor positive to the general population, will require only some military support and some popular support. I imagine that a ruler who gains enough popular support will only need military support to defend himself against other political opponents.

The understanding our the mechanics of government in our schools and universities seems to be that a person is elected, impeached, repramanded, or otherwise ousted, through a due process. No decision, either judicial or legislative, can be enforced without several parties examining it, and the interested parties having their opinion put in. The American idea of power, it seems, is believed to be the ability to convince judges, legislators, voters, and others that your idea is the right idea. The president, who has (some of) the American people at his feet, has the media outlets directly towards what he will say next, probably commands the most power in this nation under this definition.

However, despite whatever one may believe about the American political infrastructure, all arguments, all debates, the ability to convince, means nothing, without force to back it up. There may be the process of the president vetoing a bill and the congress trying to get 2/3rds vote to override the veto. One may say that the congress cannot enforce the bill until they can override the veto with a 2/3rds vote. There are other similar barriers in different fields, the so-called “checks and balances” of the judicial, legislative, and executive power. The only purpose that it serves is to convince people that the will of the government is the voice of the people. In many cases, officials outrightly violate the government’s structure. So it was when the Supreme Court ruled that the United States had to respect the Cherokee Nation. The president’s response was rather expressive of what I have said, “The Supreme Court has made their decision. Now let them uphold it.” Power means the ability to coerce, to physical force, and in the most brutal form, the ability to murder and kill.

The cause of power, as I have stated, is rather simple. Power is caused by the support of a figure by one mass or group of people, thus making him a political figure. As to why these groups of people defend and promote this one person, this person they desire to be a leader of all, it is based on their thoughts and ideas, essentially their justification. They believe, inherently, that their leader must be the one with the most military power. The reasons why make up their justification.

The greatest argument in defense of government, which has also been used in the defense of increased restrictions, is that of protection. It is believed that without a government, there will be chaos and vice. Order, it is believed, will be completely ameliorated, as nobody will exist to defend the weak and innocent from the cruelty of the powerful and vicious. So it happens that protection becomes the sole goal of government, though other parties and interests would come to be considered. The often quoted Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote, “Government is an evil; it is only the thoughtlessness and vices of men that make it a necessary evil. When all men are good and wise, government will of itself decay.” Expressing a similar idea, Thomas Paine wrote…

For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest; and this he is induced to do by the same prudence which in every other case advises him out of two evils to choose the least. [Common Sense, by Thomas Paine, section "Some writers have so confounded society with government."]

It seems to be uniformly believed among thinkers that though government (or power) ought to be supported, it is a necessary evil. The primary, and sole, goal of government should be protection. What we then find in various political activism and campaigning is a desire to alter this protection in government, whether it is to boost it, decrease it, or (more often than not) aim it at a new sector or remove aim from another sector. For instance, we have the conservatives who typically are opposed to welfare and social programs, believing that protection should be withdrawn from the poor, while the liberals typically believe in sustaining such protection or increasing it. Some believe that military spending of the United States needs to be decreased while others desire to maintain it and may even want to increase it. All of these activists understand the principle role of government as a protector.

With only a little study on the subject, it is not hard to come to the conclusion that it is an evil, however necessary. The most obvious harm it causes is property appropriation, or taxes. Government needing a means to support itself often goes through this rather simple, typical method of taxation. The evil inherent in this is productivity lost. If man were not “needing a lawgiver,” then government would be unnecessary, and so, too, would be taxes. This is only money, though. One of the greater evils of government, sometimes recognized as much as taxation, is that of control. In short, this means the government interfering with the day-to-day life of its citizens. This could mean search and seizures, court trials, tolls, and control in general which interferes with a citizen’s activity. But there is another form of control by the government which is much more detrimental to personal liberty. It is when political campaigners manage to outlaw an activity which is neither harmful to the individual or the society, or legalizing an activity which is. In some cases, this meant outlawing a particular religion, and in other cases, it meant legalizing slavery of a race or class. Since many of these issues are up to debate (whether Capitalism, or class slavery, is just, for example). So it would seem that as the morals of society evolve, so do the laws on its legislation, but this is another question up to debate. The last final evil of government is corruption. Since power exists in the hands of one person, their rule of the people can be bribed or persuaded with the influence of one wealthy person. This could include businessmen who want laxer restrictions on their products or how much they pay workers or it could include powerful lobbying groups which want their ideals to become laws.

Taxation, control, and corruption are the primary evils of an existing government. Though government is an evil, it is recognized as a necessary evil, in that without it, there would be no protector of the innocent.

The Result of Power

The result of power is with its inability to properly communicate the will of the people. There is a very old political idea, that the people of a land ought to be the ones who control that land. What is meant by this, is that they must be in control of the legislation to pass laws. Their interests must be the ones considered in the passing of any and all legislation. As to the method, the best method, of accurately and properly carrying out the interests of the people and the betterment of the collective, there have been various theories. Granted that today, as our history books have reflected and our governments have formed, the idea of a Republic, or representative government (with elected officials) is most preferred among current thinkers. Obviously, this has not always been so. Some argued that the idea of a dictator (whether called a “monarch” or “king” respectively) with absolute power was the best method of safeguarding the interests of the people. Monarchists believed that people were inherently evil, brutal, and cruel, and that only an absolute authority was capable of bringing order — such ideas can be found in Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan. However, as it can be seen today, such ideas are remarkably antiquated. In some cases, the power is vested in a king, whose absolute authority guarantees order, with a council, whose interests represent those of the people — in theory, anyway. It is popularly believed today, by all nations of the western world, that a representative government (or republic) is the most effective method of preserving the will of the people.

The idea that the people of a region ought to be the ones with control over their lives, a rather old idea, has been one cherished and defended by philosophers and native peoples. It seems that, though they are at no loss for words in exchanging arguments on how a native people control the law, this one idea that they are the ones to control it (or it is their interests to be considered when laws are made) is fairly accepted. Of course there are instances of philosophers or political figures, defending that idea when it came only to their own nation, but abandoning it when it came to the exploitation of a colony. (So it happens, that a man seemingly consistent in ideology, will abandon his morality to exploit the riches of another — though this is not always the case.)

This idea of people in a particular region controlling their lives I shall call autonomy for brevity, though autonomy truly implies a strong Democracy. Though there is a variety of methods that philosophers and political theorists have tried to apply this idea to a system, the justification for it seems to be difficult to find. For some philosophers, they have asserted that the idea of autonomy is the equivalent of justice; a violation of justice, then, would be people not allowed to be controlling their own lives. What can someone offer in defense of this idea of autonomy — what evidence is their to support it? Well, we must understand the various responses that may come from interested parties when it comes to power and autonomy. When a man is not in control of this own life, be it economically or politically or socially or culturally, then he will lose happiness. The primary being who has the ability to control another’s life is the one with power, be it government or military or dictator. When the control over a man’s life is harsh and unjust (that is, without his interests considered), then happiness is at risk, meaning some unfair regulation is put on his liberty, life, or property.

In those instances where a man’s happiness is diminished because of the rule of power, the justification of the ruler’s demands and rules varies. Sometimes it is for his own personal interest. Or it may be that he desires for the people he rules to be something that they are not. He may want this because he feels that he should live among a certain type of people (“refined people”) or that he feels a person is inherently bad (though law-abiding) if they are not of a particular culture. An example of this would be laws requiring that clothing is worn in public at all times — in this case, the laws (whether just or unjust) would be an attack on the liberty of the people. If it so happened that the people desired to be nude at all times, then they would suffer. In some cases, the ruler imposes restrictions upon public liberty because they believe they are protecting the public, or at least assert they are protecting the public. They are either protecting the citizen from himself (such as making it illegal to commit suicide) or they are protecting the citizen from each other (such as making it illegal to possess weapons of mass destruction). As to the justice of the first type of protection, there is little doubt that it is in violation of the principle of autonomy: people making decisions for themselves. A person who desires to live without deep concern for their life at one time, and the opposite another time, should have that right, as it is their own life — and their own liberty, which would be respected in any true autonomist society. As to the second time of restriction, of preventing citizens from harming each other by restricting behavior, the issue itself is deserving of its own paper. I will only say that there have been, in many instances, individuals with power who have used that power to oppress others, either by the folly of their intellect (such as the current drug laws which disallow individuals from happiness) or by their desire to oppress an enemy (such as the censorship laws which prevent Anarchist literature, like the one you’re reading).

When a leader is in power, his unjust rule (to one extent or another) will cause unhappiness and misery to those who are being ruled. Since happiness is a value and by itself, a desirable, one could rather simply conclude that whatever causes happiness is just and whatever prevents happiness is unjust. I’ll accept this statement as true, for the sake of the brevity of this paper, even though I have debated and argued in other papers that there are levels of depth beyond this statement that make it inaccurate (or misleading) in its present form. Since autonomy brings happiness to the people, (that is, people in a particular region governing their own lives) autonomy must then be considered a just and fair idea.

Before going on, one may ask, “Why the disclaimer of ‘in a particular region’?” On our current planet, and our present dispositions, people are united and divided by geological and geographical differences. A mountain range or a several mile wide river may very well be enough to divide two people, while a grassland or forest may be enough to unite the present populations. Only those people who are living together in the same conditions will know what it is like to live in those circumstances. If a people accustomed to living in urban areas were to make laws that governed the behavior of those living in the rural parts, rules and legislation would be passed that would be oppressive to the rural populations and supportive of the people in urban parts. This could be seen in the colonies of the British Empire — India, America, Africa, Asia, etc.. The British passed laws that were oppressive and exploitive of the colonies. I think it is quite reasonable to say that individuals in a particular setting, under the same conditions, must have rules that are made for them. Imagine then, that individuals in one setting have rules made for them by one who has no understanding of their setting or conditions? I think that the attitude of the people would be resentful. A small piece of wisdom from the 1800′s, “At that time the lower classes of Scotland, like those of other countries, had strong prejudices against strangers having any authority over them…” (“A New View of Society,” by Robert Owen, 1816, second essay.) Hence, the part of “in a particular region” is added.

An explanation and justification for autonomy has been established: the people of a particular region must have laws and regulations that are made in their own interest, because it is this political ideal which will maximize their happiness.

Now that there is a sight for the organization of a region, a desired result by organizing, the method of accurately observing and expressing the interests of the people is up to question. Shall we invite in the commonly accepted idea of representative government, officials who are elected to serve the interests of the people? Or should we promote a more classical idea, that of Monarchy and Despots, arguing that only an absolute ruler could objectively understand the interests of the people? Perhaps such theories are too mainstream. Maybe it is Totalitarianism and the Police State that will defend the citizen against himself and the coercive desires of other citizens. A thousand political theorists manage to put their opinions on paper on the subject every year, and the stream of thoughts does not show any sign that it will cease. It seems, though, that there is a general consensus that monarchs and dictators are without a system of being checked by the public, and that representative government is just, because the rulers must act in a manner that the people desire, otherwise lose that oh-so savored power.

As an individual thinker and one to question sacred and old truths, I offer this one statement: that power is destructive towards autonomy, that it has the tendency to ignore the interests of the people, as it grows the people die, as it recedes the flower of freedom blooms. As the powers of government gain in strength, so the people become weakened. As to the origin of their power, whether through campaigning and election, or through a military coup and dictatorship, I believe that the origin of power in every situation lies in physical coercion. Though it is true that one system of power can be a lesser evil than another, I admit, every system of power (i.e. government) is destructive towards autonomy, that is, the will and desire of the people, a living expression of the interest of the citizens.

When a person has power, either through election or military coup, their power exists in the ability to physically coerce people into doing what they do not want to do. The essential idea of a leader or ruler, with power, does not change from government type to government type. In same cases, several rulers share power. Yet a ruler exists nonetheless. This concept of power, the ability to physically coerce, does not change. One must thus ask this question concerning justice: if power exists, does autonomy suffer because of it? I think only a little bit of research and thoughtfulness is necessary to answer this question with a yes.

When a leader, a ruler, a person with power, exists in a society, all the interests of the people of that region are channelled through that one person, or that council or congress, that collection of rulers. The idea of representation is born. Instead of the people directly legislating and enforcing their own rules and laws (however that may be done), someone first gains power (through election or coup) and enforces a rule, often times claiming that they are expressing the wishes and interests of the collective population. This transaction of power, from people to ruler, opens itself up to the possibility of corruption. The will of the people, now emboddied in the strength of one political figure, becomes suspectible to outside attacks, which cripple and maim the strength of the will of the people. This can be seen in several obvious examples…

Partisan Politics… In the most pure, obvious cases, we see fights among political figures where they use the public as cannon fodder. The evils that come from this alone are various. First, we see that political parties will establish laws, not for the common good or expressing and enforcing the wishes of the public, but rather, for the sake of aiding their own political party. Shortly after the United States formed, “the free nation,” John Adams become president, as a member of the Federalist Party, and he would come to compete against Thomas Jefferson (a Democratic-Republican) in the presidential election. The Democratic-Republican Party was largely poor farmers, immigrants, and others who were without economic justice but labored in harsh conditions. Adams, once in office, passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, in which he attacked the rights of immigrants to engage in politics, making it difficult for them to vote. The claims he made, though, that these immigrants posed a threat to American justice were outrageous — so it happened, that the first laws of the “free nation” were reflective of the oppression that comes with power. (For more information: http://gi.grolier.com/presidents/) It can be seen quite clearly today. Anarchists, anti-Authoritarians, among others, are arrested when protesting, because they pose the greatest threat to the rule of any political party. Brett Bursey, for example, was holding up an anti-war poster, among a neutral crowd. He was arrested for Criminal Trespassing (on public property) while the thousand others were left there. The same happened decades earlier when he protested the Vietnam War. (http://www.photodude.com/weblog/2003/june/22_ashcrofts_forked_tongue.shtml) He was denied the right to a trial by jury. These can hardly be considered isolated incidents, as anyone familiar with the police and state terrorists will know quite well that their tactics are used primarily in persecuting people, whether dissidents of politics and religion or simply different racial background. Also, the political parties voted on legislative that would give only their parties (Republican and Democrat parties) government funds for campaigning, whereas third parties were left without anything.

A second evil can be seen in Partisan Politics. Not only does it give power to those whose interests lay in sustaining their power and not the common good, but it destroys any ability for the people of a particular region to control their lives. Currently, in all branches of the American government, all legislative and executive members are either of the Republican or Democrat Party. What has been seen since the 80′s onward was a shift in both parties towards moderate policy. Traditionally, the Democrats represented liberal ideas and the Republicans represented conservative ideas. However, the primary interest of both groups lies in obtaining the support of the public so that their power expands. As both parties shift towards moderate policy (in particular, we see this with the Democrat party), they gain more support from the moderate policy citizens. What, though, is lost in this process? The decision-making ability of the public. Since both political parties are, essentially, the only outlets to government control, such as legislative and executive ability, a citizen is allowed two valid options in expressing their opinion about controlling their own lives. Either they can support a Republican Party, in which they are voting towards conservative/moderate policy, or they can support a Democrat Party, in which they are voting towards liberal/moderate policy. This leaves the citizen with no real opportunity to express their personal, distinct, individual opinions in the matter of political decision-making. The problem is compounded further, though, by the nature of both party’s ideology. By “Liberal” and “Conservative,” a very broad amount of different ideas are expressed. Liberal ideology is typically supportive of social programs, gun control, affirmative action, peace, decreasing military expenditure, among other things, while a Conservative ideology is typically opposed to all of those. What if a citizen’s own personal ideas involved the support of everything but one issue of a party? There is no alternative. They must either support that part or the other party. They have the chance to start their own political party, but the laws strongly disable and cripple any attempts at politics that is neither Democrat or Republican. Either way, the very nature of government is to disable and euthanize the willpower of citizens, defeating their ambition to become autonomous, independent, thoughtful, individual, and in control of their own lives.

Special Interests and Bribery… Since there is a single person representing the interests of an entire collective of people in one region, the ability to enforce a rule and cource others (power) can be manipulated at one point. An individual may represent a private interest and use all their moral strength to convince a power figure to enforce their private interest. By a special interest, it could be a business interest, such as having the government purchasing from one supplier or by making regulation that supports that one particular business, or it could be a moral or political interest, such as legislating against a sexuality preference or against genetic engineering. In either case, we find that there are special interest groups which represent some of the support of a society, just with a higher vigor in the interest of maintaining and supporting their ideals through legislation. In some cases, the bribes are open and obvious, such as providing cash for a senator or official siding with one side over the other. Sometimes this is expressed in a contribution of wealth through a campaign contribution, or even more subtle, it can be expressed in promising special, low-workload, high-income business positions to government officials after their term in office. Even when a special interest group is not offering a bribe, their influence over the affairs of legislation show a distinctively destructive quality when it comes to autonomy. A special interest group may represent the opinion that only 20% of the population agree with, but their efforts, in the form of letters, petitions, fundraising, and lobbying may be able to convince elected officials of supporting that one opinion, even though the greater part of the nation is opposed to it (in a more politically apathetic attitude). In which case, autonomy suffers.

War… Along with the other things mentioned, there is war. Much like those discussed above, it is a result of power, of government power. Given the opportunity, few people would volunteer themselves for military service, given the following facts: (1) they knew that government propaganda only managed in equating the murder of third world nations with patriotism and duty to one’s country, (2) if people knew that it involved risking their life and the life of their friends in an insanely horrific setting, (3) if people knew that it involved the systematic murder of individuals suspected of anti-government acts, even when such individuals were of a completely peaceful and passive manner, very much like the soldier’s own people. It is a well known fact that even ancient civilizations are known to have used propaganda in convincing an unwilling public to partake in the battles that were for the glory and wealth of the state, at the cost of the lives of thousands of people. Since power exists, it has always desired to expand its power, even if it is at the cost of the lives of people, both friendly and foreign. Propaganda was born. It become power’s intent to use its current power in establishing more strength. Wars were fought. In an effort to gain more territory, more support, more strength, established powers and governments have managed to leave countrysides scorched and leave hundreds of bodies in the wake of their earthly chaos. Few informed individuals, if any, would be able to deny the fact that it takes power and government to manage and launch such massive, bloody, destructive wars.

These three outlets of the government, Partisan Politics, Special Interests and Bribes, and War are all just current forms that the government and power make themselves present. The original root that these all spring from is the one that grants an individual power, oftentimes for the sake of establishing an autonomy, as I described in the section on the cause of power. With the existence of power, one will find that the voice of the people, their wills and desires, become corrupted when a power agent is selected to represent them. Corruption comes in various forms, but ultimately, the end result is the people of a particular region not in control of their lives, only oppressed and brutalized by the law.

How to present your idea or invention to industry

Expert advice explaining how to present innovative ideas and inventions to industry.

Many people who have come up with a great new idea find themselves presenting their idea either to a potential investor to raise capital or to a company in order to get a licensing agreement. It is likely that a lot of time and effort has gone into the idea and organising the meeting but what about the presentation and should you have a prototype?

Meeting with interested parties

The most important thing at the meeting is to inspire confidence in your idea. The idea must be well thought out and thoroughly researched before putting in front of the interested party. If you have seen Dragon’s Den you will know that it can be a cut throat environment and the person you are presenting to probably deals with business everyday and therefore expects a certain standard of presentation. Unfortunately a rough sketch is almost always not enough.

In the ideal world the inventor would approach the meeting with a professionally developed,Guest Posting patented product that has been prototyped and is fully working ready for production. However there are often limitations of budget and therefore some elements often have to be a compromise.

Don’t compromise on design

One essential element is to have a professionally designed and developed product rather than a rough sketch. By allowing interested parties to envisage your idea as a real product you stand a much greater chance of success. Often a product designer will be needed to produce this presentation. They will design out any issues regarding materials and manufacturing methods that might not be obvious to the individual.

If necessary, compromise on prototyping

The prototype is likely to be the most costly part of presentation and is not always essential. The visualisation of the product is often enough to convey the potential benefits and feasibility of the idea to the interested party.

However industry does pay more for an idea that has been prototyped as they can be more certain that it will work. The prototyping process irons out some issues that may not be obvious from a 2D presentation.

When a prototype is essential

A prototype will be needed if there is any doubt that the idea will work. Cost can be saved by building a less expensive ‘proof of principle’ prototype. There are three main categories of prototype:

1. Proof of principle: A prototype that simply proves that a particularly new system or mechanism works. Often it is just part of the overall idea and it does not need to look like the final product.

2. Aesthetic model: A prototype that looks like the final product but is not fully functional.

3. Pre-production prototype: A pre-production prototype looks, feels and works like the final product. This type of prototype can be produced to mimic how it would actually be manufactured to check that everything will fit together correctly.

Protection for the idea

Finally it is important to have some form of protection on an idea before revealing it to anyone. The best form of protection is a fully granted patent but this takes time and can be expensive especially if drafted by a patent agent. A self filed patent is cheaper to obtain and so is a good compromise.

The idea can be presented with just a patent filing number rather than a fully granted patent, although it would be more valuable if protected with a granted patent.

Professional product development often creates further intellectual property so it is advisable to complete the design work before filing a patent application.

Originality

One thing to note is that an interested party will often ask if the idea is original. A worldwide patent search completed by a professional patent researcher will determine the idea’s originality and should be completed before doing any product development or prototyping work.

Summary

First check your idea is original by commissioning a worldwide patent search. Then employ a product designer, preferably one who specialises in inventions, to professionally design your idea and create a graphic presentation. Create a prototype of the idea if funds are available and finally organise protection for your idea through a patent.

Help through the process

Obviously the process of taking an idea to market is quite complex. Innovate Design specialise in helping individuals and SMEs take their ideas to market. Their services include:

Global patent searches
Advice on self filed patents
Help with selecting a suitable patent agent
Complete product design service resulting in a professional presentation.

Starting a business in Russia

Doing business in Russia may mean following new rules, registering with the Russian company register, and dealing alongside or in competition with Russian entrepreneurs.

Understand the method of starting a business in Russia with this guide.

If you’re a far off individual or company looking to start actively doing business in Russia,Guest Posting what does one got to know and what does one get to do to urge started? What options does one have in terms of the way to structure your business?

This guide covers the essentials for beginning a business in Russia, including:

How to start a business in Russia

Russian company types

The rules of doing business in Russia

Etiquette and social custom

Russian entrepreneurs and self-employed sole traders in Russia

Foreign companies registered for add Russia

Business in Russia: visas

Taxes and accounting for Russian businesses

Employing foreign staff in Russia

Government and business support in Russia

How to start a business in Russia

There are a variety of things to think about and processes to travel through if you’re a private or company thinking of starting a business in Russia. you would like to start with basic considerations like whether you’ll legally operate as a business in Russia and whether you’ve got a business concept is probably going to figure, before moving onto practical considerations like choosing a legal structure, drawing up documents, joining the Russian company register and opening up a business checking account.

Immigration status
The first thing to try to if you’re a foreigner eager to start a business in Russia is to form sure your immigration status allows you to trade the country. Will, you would like a business or work visa or a residency permit? See the below section on business visas in Russia for more information.

Business plan for conducting business in Russia
Secondly, does one have a feasible idea, and have you ever researched the market to assess whether your business is probably going to achieve success in Russia? Before launching into any business venture, it’s an honest idea to draw up a business that decides to answer all of the questions on whether your business idea is probably going to not only get off the bottom but sustain itself within the long-term. Successful Russian entrepreneurs know that it’s all well and good having an innovative idea, but not all business ideas achieve practice so it pays to plan properly.

You can download business plan templates and appearance at sample business plans from various industries from an internet site like this one. You’ll also check an internet site like this one which maps businesses in Russia. You’ll search the location by business category or name.

Legal structure
If you’re allowed to start a business in Russia and are confident that your business idea works, the subsequent step is to decide on your business legal structure. Information on options available is within the section below on Russian company types.

Choosing name and address
You need to settle on an appropriate trading name for your Russian business (ensuring that you simply don’t choose a reputation that somebody else has already registered) alongside an address to register your Russian business.

Foundation documents
Following Russian legislation, the founders of the business got to draw up the inspiration documents (charter and founding agreement). The method for this may vary consistent with which legal structure you select, but should include the following:

Full name (plus any abbreviation it’ll use in business transactions)

Names and signatures of the corporate founders

The amount and nature of shareholder contributions (cash or in-kind)

Rules for the running of the corporate

Legal responsibilities

Details of any directors, if applicable

For indebtedness Companies and personal Joint-Stock Companies, the minimum legal capital requirement is R10,000 per individual, with 50% at the purpose of registration, and therefore the remainder paid within the primary 12 months.

Joining the Russian company register
Once the corporate documents are involved, you would like to include your Russian business by sending the subsequent documents to the registration office of the Federal Tax Service (FTS):

Registration form including notarized signatures (cost of R200)

Copies of foundation documents

Proof of status of the business founder(s)

Receipt of the state registration fee (which costs R4000)

A copy of the registration form is out there on the FTS website.

You can find your local FTS office here.

Once these documents are sent, the FTS will make a choice within 5 working days and can either approve your business to the State Register or refuse the registration. An inventory of grounds for refusal is often found in article 23 of the Federal Law no. 129-FZ.

If your business in Russia is accepted, this process also registers the business for tax purposes. You’ll receive the subsequent documents within 7 days of the submission of your application:

The Incorporation Certificate (or Certificate of State Registration) for your business

Tax Certificate

Tax number for the business

Copy of your foundation documents with the mark of registering authority

Extract from the Common State Register of Legal Entities

Make a corporation seal
This is the official mark of the business and can be produced by a knowledgeable company. Company seals are not any longer a legal requirement in Russia following a change within the law in 2015, however many Russian businesses still have seals. The value for producing one is R500.

Open up a checking account for conducting business in Russia
Once you’ve got all the official documents from the FTS, you’ll open a Russian business checking account. You’ll get to get a notarized copy of the signatures (cost of R200 per person) for the account. To open a business account in Russia, you’ll need the following:

Incorporation Certificate and Tax Certificate from the FTS

Founding documents of your business

Your Russian business license (if applicable for your business)

Notarized signatures

Documents confirming the identity and authority of the signatories of the account

Once you’ve got completed these steps, you’re liberal to start the running of your Russian company which can inevitably involve tons of organizing, marketing, etc. Where the diligence begins! The steps above should take around 18-21 days in total to finish.

Russian company types

There are a variety of various legal structures to settle on from for Russian business. You’ll get to determine which one you’ll choose before you progress forward with most of the steps within the section above. Full details of legal business structures and their features are detailed within the Civil Code and corporation’s law of the Russia – Federal Law 14-FZ (Limited Liability Companies) and Federal Law 208-FZ (Joint-Stock Companies). The six main sorts of Russian company are:

Limited Liability Company (OOO)

This is the foremost common sort of business in Russia. An OOO can have a maximum of fifty shareholders who got to contribute a minimum of R10, 000 each (50% payable on registration). Shareholders are jointly responsible for company debts up to the registered capital amount.

The management structure consists of 1) general meeting (the highest body that meets a minimum of once a year) and 2) board of directors (oversees general business activities). In some cases, an executive committee can also be formed.

Any Russian or foreign individual (or company) is often a founder or shareholder of any number of Russian OOOs, although to be a member or director you’ll need to have the required visa and/or residence permit to measure within the country if you’re a foreigner. An OOO may be a Russian legal entity that will conduct any sort of activity not prohibited by Russia. They’re going to need a license to conduct any licensed sort of activity.

Joint-Stock Company

This can be either open (OAO) or closed (ZAO). The ZAO may be a private Russian company and is extremely almost like the OOO. The OAO may be a public company. The most differences are that an OAO can have quite 50 shareholders, shares are freely transferable to the general public (rather than simply between shareholders) and therefore the minimum requested capital contribution is R100, 000.

The management structure and shareholder liability of both sorts of companies are almost like the OOO.

Partnership

Partnerships are often more suitable for little businesses in Russia. There are two sorts of partnership in Russian business:

General partnership – where two or more individuals (or companies) have equal rights and liabilities supported a partnership agreement. Unlike with indebtedness and joint-stock companies, personal assets are often wont to cover debts with a general partnership. Management is shared between partners and therefore the business capital is detailed within the partnership agreement.

Limited partnership – where the partnership has two sorts of partners. General partners, who are fully responsible for debts and profits, make the most decisions and may cover costs with personal assets; and limited partners who are only liable up to their contribution to the business capital.

Sole ownership – this is often for people starting a Russian business on their own. Details are within the below section on freelancers and self-employed.

Branch – a subdivision of a far off company based in Russia and entitled to conduct business activity. Not considered a separate legal entity from the overseas company and treated as non-resident more details within the section on foreign companies registered in Russia below.

Registered Office – a subdivision of a far off company based in Russia to represent company interests in Russia, but not allowed to undertake the business activity. Not considered a separate legal entity from the overseas company and treated as non-resident more details within the section on foreign companies registered in Russia below.

The rules of doing business in Russia

According to one HR manager: “In Russia daily work conditions are often compared to a jungle where you don’t know what can fall on your head within the next minute.”

> Personal and company security may be a major issue in every city. Background checks of employees and subcontractors, whether local or foreigners living in Russia are critical.

> Reimbursement of business losses, legal remedies for fraud and recovery of damages of any kind are almost non-existent. It’s good to use Russian legal counsel for safeguarding your interests. Laws governing property are in their infancy.

> Business is hierarchical, so determine who’s who before a gathering and do business with the choice makers. Business cards are essential.

> Russians are addressed by their name and father’s name carried by all Russians rarely by the surname. For instance – Alezander Petrovich – which translates literally to Alexander son of Peter.

> Russians like direct talk. It’s good to underline the profitability factor at an early stage of the meeting, but remember they consider an excessive amount of compromise as a symbol of weakness. Often the ultimate deal isn’t final and you’ll strike a far better bargain by holding out a touch more. When a deal is struck, it’s often sealed with a glass of vodka, better to not refuse.

> Punctuality isn’t a robust point of the Russians, but they expect foreigners to be punctual.

> When handling bureaucrats patience may be a virtue. In government offices, small gifts and money can work wonders. It’s important to understand how the official and ‘unofficial’ systems work.

> Corruption and petty theft is rampant and sometimes justified, even amongst company employees. It’s good to take care.

> An expat must be flexible together with his Russian subordinates and colleagues. To urge the simplest, motivate them, allow them to feel secure, and voice their feelings. Sell your ideas to your Russian colleagues, don’t force them.

Remember learning the way to unlock the human potential of Russian employees is critical for a far off firm to achieve success in Russia. Sometimes the corporate atmosphere, non-monetary benefits, and a guarantee of a stable future are more important for a Russian than the salary.

Etiquette and social custom

Hospitality may be a Russian virtue and reception you see a different side of the Russians you recognize at work. it’s an honor to be invited to a Russian home and there are certain rules to recollect once you visit a Russian home for the primary time:

> Bring a present when invited. Wine, cake, chocolates, and flowers are appreciated. Flowers should tend in odd numbers and avoid yellow roses, which are a symbol of separation.

> Don’t greet or kiss across the edge of the doorstep it’s considered to bring bad luck. Remove your gloves before shaking hands. You would possibly be expected to require off your shoes before entering the house.

> Both the guest and host are expected to decorate well.

> Traditionally a guest is going to be directed to a table laden with food and drinks immediately upon arrival, though the influences of ‘European’ behavior are getting increasingly evident. At the table, you’re expected to participate actively in the conversation.

> Be prepared to simply accept all food and alcohol, Russians enjoy their drinks, if you would like to say no do so very tactfully.

> Russians have a very unique sort of toasting. Participate and learn it, as you shall be expected to offer toasts when entertaining.

> Often the host will mention his travels, prized possessions, or achievements. They could even bring out family albums. Make certain to point out your appreciation. More often it’s how of opening up to a guest. Russians can take criticism and are great satirists.

> Dinners continue late into the night and there’s often a lot of drinking and loud talking. Don’t expect an excessive amount of formalities. Remember the simplest of the home is on the table, provides it due respect.

Russian entrepreneurs and self-employed sole traders in Russia

Individuals working freelance or self-employed can set themselves up as sole ownership. This is often common for those with small businesses in Russia. There’s no minimum capital share requirement during this sort of Russian business and therefore the sole trader takes all the choices and is liberal to use profits as they want once income tax payments are made. Like partnerships, personal assets are often wont to cover debts.

Individuals also can set themselves up as private entrepreneurs (self-employed persons) which suggest that they don’t need to form a legal entity as a sole proprietor. The method for setting yourself up as a freelance is that the same as for beginning a Russian business aside from not having to draw up founding documents. You still get to register with the FTS and can receive a state registration and tax certificate.

Foreign companies registered for work Russia

Companies registered outside Russia can found out a subdivision inside the country either as a branch (if eager to engage in commercial activities) or as a representative office (if eager to represent company interests).

These subdivisions aren’t considered as separate legal entities from the overseas company although they still got to be registered for tax purposes with the FTS. There’s no requirement to make assets for representative offices. With branches, there’s a requirement although the quantity isn’t stipulated in Federal Law. There are not any shares. The foreign company in both cases should appoint an executive body for the aim of managing the subdivision.

Business in Russia: visas

You will get to have a residence permit and therefore the required visa (if applicable) to become self-employed, start a Russian business or hold an edge during a company (e.g. partner, director, board member) where you’re involved in regular decision-making. Those with temporary also as permanent residence permits can apply to start a Russian business. Non-residents are often shareholders of Russian companies.

If you would like to start up a business in Russia and you don’t have residency, you’ll apply for a Russian Work Visa to return and work as self-employed if you’ll obtain a call for participation from the Russian General Directorate of Migratory Affairs (GUVM). If you’re looking to start a business in Russia which may generate revenue and make jobs, you’ll apply for a Russian Business Visa.

Tips for Choosing Dissertation Topics and Ideas

If you are in a Ph.D. program, you are probably required to complete a dissertation before your degree can be awarded. Choosing a dissertation topic or idea can be challenging and difficult. Your dissertation topic and ideas have ramifications for who is on your dissertation committee and where or how you collect your dissertation data. As such, you must choose your dissertation topic and idea carefully. Given the importance of your topics and ideas, there are several things you should consider before choosing your dissertation topic.

If you are in a Ph.D. program,Guest Posting you are probably required to complete a dissertation before your degree can be awarded. Choosing a dissertation topic or idea can be challenging and difficult. Your dissertation topic and ideas have ramifications for who is on your dissertation committee and where or how you collect your dissertation data. As such, you must choose your dissertation topic and idea carefully. Given the importance of your topics and ideas, there are several things you should consider before choosing your dissertation topic.

Choosing a Dissertation Topic or Idea Based on Interest

If you choose to study a dissertation topic you are not interested in, your will move at a snail’s pace. In order to find a dissertation topic or idea you should think about research you have already completed in a class, as a part of your research program or employment. You should choose a dissertation topic and idea that is similar to work you might have already done. Choose a dissertation topic or idea you are already familiar with. Choosing a dissertation topic related to scholarly literature you are familiar is a time saver. If you take this route for your dissertation topic you will save time when it comes to retrieving the literature you need to review. You will also save time writing the dissertation literature review, as you will be familiar with this body of work.

Choosing a Dissertation Topic or Idea Based on Feasibility

You should choose a dissertation topic and idea that is feasible and can be completed in a timely fashion. Many students fall behind because they choose a dissertation topic or idea that is too broad or too big for a dissertation. When choosing your dissertation topic, remember that the dissertation is a scholarly exercise not a 5-volume series of books. Choosing a dissertation topic or idea that is unfocused will prevent your dissertation from being completed in a timely manner. Remember that your dissertation chair and committee want to see that you are capable of completing all phases of your dissertation, from conceptualization through dissertation completion. They also want to see that your dissertation idea and topic can contribute to the scholarship in the field, even in a small way.

So when choosing a dissertation topic or idea you MUST choose a manageable topic. Choose a dissertation topic or idea that you have the resources to complete. Dissertation resources refer to intellectual, time and financial resources. Finally, examine dissertations recently completed by people in your department. Seeing the dissertation topics and ideas others have focused on will give you a good sense of what your department will find acceptable for your dissertation topic.

Choosing a Dissertation Topic Based on Convenience

You should also choose a dissertation topic or idea that is convenient. Ask yourself several questions before choosing your dissertation topic: 1) Are there people in your department readily available to help you develop your dissertation topic and research? 2) Is there a faculty member who would be interested in working with you closely on your dissertation topic, ideas and research? If you choose a dissertation topic that faculty in your department are unfamiliar with, you will have a hard time finding dissertation support. This could make your experience frustrating and extremely difficult to complete. Also, a disinterested dissertation committee member or chair may not offer you the time and attention you will need to complete the dissertation.

If you choose a topic that a dissertation committee member or chair is familiar with and/or interested in, they will be more invested in the timely completion of your dissertation. They will probably be more likely to offer you the advice and dissertation assistance you will need throughout the dissertation process. In addition, dissertation committee members may have some data you can use for your dissertation or might allow you to add your instruments to an ongoing study. If this is not the case, you might want to reach out to an organization that is data driven to explore the possibility of choosing a dissertation topic or idea related to a pre-existing data set. This could save you a lot of time and effort when its time to collect data for your dissertation.

Changing a Dissertation Topic or Idea

Changing or refining a dissertation topic or idea along the way is expected. You may decide you want to add or refine certain aspects of your dissertation topic. Such dissertation topic and idea changes are expected especially when the changes will help you finish the dissertation sooner. Finally choose a dissertation topic or idea that will help you meet your long-term goals. For example, if you know you would like to work in the area of elementary school education, your dissertation topic should somehow be related to elementary school education. In addition, dissertation coaches routinely help doctoral students with choosing and developing their topics and ideas.

Essential Tips For Hiring a Consultant

Some time ago we talked about the circumstances under which hiring a consultant can add value to a business. If you’ve already established the need to recruit one, pay attention to a few issues before you plunge headlong into a contract. Here’s a quick checklist.

Assess in-house expertise. First of all, make sure that you’re not hiring a consultant to teach you things you already know! The best way to do so is to include your senior managers in the decision, and ask them about the existing pockets of expertise in their respective functions. At the end of it all, you might find that you have a smaller or even no need for an outside expert! Better now, than later.

Investigate credentials. There are consultants, and there are consultants. Each of them will have their strengths and weaknesses. Do a thorough background check on the consultant you plan to hire, in terms of capability, commitment and compatibility. Talk to the consultant’s other clients about their experience, if possible.

Pay attention to the contract. Hiring a consultant is serious and expensive business, and is more likely than not to leave a lasting impact on your company. Hence, you can’t seal a consulting assignment on a mere smile and handshake. Draw up a proper contract, which comprehensively covers all important points relating to the scope of the assignment, costs and fee associated with the engagement, and, of course, key deliverables. Have it looked at by someone who understands legalese.

Sign a confidentiality agreement. A consultant will be privy to a lot of internal data – make sure your interests are protected by getting him or her to sign an agreement of confidentiality. You can find guidelines on drafting one in our earlier story on the subject, or better still. If the project is of critical importance, you may like to include a clause that prohibits the consultant to work with a competitor for a certain period after the completion of your assignment.

Shop around. Price is always an issue, and when it comes to the expensive business of hiring a consultant, even more so. An established consultant may just charge for his or her reputation, make sure you find out what the going rate is. Often, you can agree to a basic fee, topped up by a generous bonus in proportion to the end result.

Describe your requirements. The very purpose of hiring a consultant is defeated if there is no clarity on expected results. It is in your interest to ensure that the boundaries of the engagement are made crystal clear – that includes deliverables, timelines and cost considerations.

Involve your team. This is the most important commandment for a company hiring a consultant. No one likes having an outsider telling them how to do their job, your staff included. Share with them the reason for taking on an expert, and what benefits you expect by doing so. Impress upon them the need to support the project, and its impact on the goals of the organization. Once they get used to the idea, it won’t seem like such a bitter pill to swallow. From your perspective, you need to ensure ground level support, without which you can kiss any chances of successful implementation goodbye!

Pharmaceutical Consulting May Get Boost From BMI’s Fourth-Quarter Updates

Pharmaceutical consulting, according to the latest estimates from the Business Monitor International’s Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare Business Environment Ratings, may be positioned to play an increasingly valuable role over the next five years. Projections for the fourth quarter of 2010 and beyond indicate that industry growth is likely to be meager at best.

Although the US pharmaceuticals market is currently in good shape, being ranked first regionally and internationally, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next five years is projected to be only 1.76%. This slowing growth will be the result of a coming confluence of factors: patent expirations, increasing FDA scrutiny, pending healthcare reforms, the wider economic climate, and decreasing use of medications and medical services. With this imminent industry environment, pharmaceutical consultants may well be the key competitive-edge factor for many companies.

The previous quarter of 2010, especially with respect to the OTC segment, saw several events that will likely culminate in greater compliance and regulatory burdens for drug manufacturers. Johnson & Johnson, for example, has withdrawn 21 lots of medicines, including certain Tylenol products as well as Benadryl and Motrin. Further, the FDA recently initiated a new program for posting online safety evaluations of drugs and vaccines that have been recently approved. And in August of this year, major groups in the consumer, physician, and chemical-manufacturing arenas pledged to support a proposed bill intended to protect the US drug supply by allowing the FDA to expanded authority to “safeguard” pharmaceutical supply chains.

Intimately bound together, the economic climate and healthcare reform strategies will also play a role-a role that opens the door wider for pharmaceutical consulting-in the projected five-year industry slowdown. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to decline from 2.8% this year to 1.8% in 2011. The weakening economy, along with the dismal labor market, means that fewer patients are choosing to fill prescriptions, and the number of medical services used by insured people is falling.

All of this means that companies can benefit more than ever from the services of knowledgeable pharmaceutical consultants. The outlook is far from bleak: pharmaceutical spending in the US was nearly $306 billion in 2009, and the market is expected, by 2014, to reach $334 billion in value at consumer prices. Still, competition in a market with decreasing growth and a growing presence of the state is increasing, so ensuring a competitive edge becomes that much more important. Preventive treatment for both patients and the industry is crucial right now.

Pharmaceutical consultants can provide assistance in these increasingly critical areas:
• Quality and compliance
• Good manufacturing practices (GMP)
• FDA regulatory concerns and adherence
• Laboratory services
• Lean manufacturing
• Training and coaching

And the best consultants possess the ability and willingness to examine situations and problems from every perspective and thus, by analysis and testing, formulate multiple possible solutions. Then, management and consultants, together, can determine the best solution.

Tort Reformand the Legal Nurse Consultant

Does tort reform limit opportunities for legal nurse consultants? Absolutely not. As the pioneer in the field of legal nurse consulting, I have watched this profession grow and flourish during the last 21 years. Throughout that time many states have implemented some kind of reform, mostly involving non-economic damages (pain and suffering). Yet in every state where tort reform is in place, legal nurse consultants are actively and successfully practicing and growing their businesses by leaps and bounds. We will continue to enjoy even more electrifying growth over the next ten years.

Here’s why:

1. The number of U.S. attorneys continues to increase annually. Currently there are 1,058,662* attorneys in the U.S. and, as the Houston Chronicle states, at least “25 percent deal with medical malpractice and personal injury cases.”

2. At the national level, the U.S. Senate said “no” to a tort reform bill that sought to limit non-economic damages (pain and suffering) in malpractice suits to $250,000. Even if the Senate bill had passed, legal nurse consultants would still have plenty of cases to work on.

3. Most medical malpractice cases legal nurse consultants consult on involve significant economic damages, such as medical expenses and lost earning capacity. These high-dollar cases will continue to keeplegal nurse consultants busy.

4. Legal nurse consultants don’t just consult on medical malpractice cases. We consult on general personal injury, products liability, toxic tort, criminal and a variety of other cases. Injury cases of all kinds will be with us as long as Americans breathe. Recovery for negligent injuries and the lost wages, medical bills and the like resulting from those injuries is the American way and is an ancient right that goes back to Mesopotamia in 2100 B.C.

5. In states that limit non-economic damages, attorneys are a bit more selective, concentrating on cases with significant physical and psychological damages (not just emotional distress or pain and suffering). That means both plaintiff and defense attorneys increasingly rely on legal nurse consultantsfor assurance that they’re making the best business decision in each case they take on. I even see a day when it will be considered legal malpractice for an attorney not to have legal nurse consultants working behind the scenes on their cases.

Medical malpractice cases simply aren’t going away. According to a March 3, 2003 article in BusinessWeek, the National Center for State Courts found that, despite tort reform, the national volume of medical malpractice cases filed has not changed over the last five years.

One factor contributing to the ongoing flood of litigation: Medical errors in hospitals kill up to 98,000 people each year, according to a 1999 study by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine. That’s 268 patients per day, or the equivalent of a fully loaded jumbo jet crashing every other day. This death toll is higher than the number of people who die from AIDS, breast cancer and car accidents combined. All of the legal nurse consultants I know would actually welcome a shortage of these cases.

Where’s the Real “Crisis”?

Isn’t this “attack on America” with so many people being killed in hospitals what we should be reforming? Instead of worrying about tort reform, we should be concerned about the Dark Ages of Healthcare perpetrated by managed care and the negligent providers who kill 268 hospital patients every day.

In spite of this boom in hospital “victims,” according to the BusinessWeek article mentioned above, the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) reported that over the past ten years malpractice payouts have grown an average of only 6.2% per year. Yet the Journal of Health Affairs showed that the average rate of medical cost inflation over that same ten-year period was 6.7%. This doesn’t sound like an explosion in malpractice awards to me.

We are not experiencing a crisis of litigation but a crisis of malpractice. The NPDB reported that from 1990 to 2002, 5% of U.S. doctors were responsible for 54% of medical malpractice payouts, including jury awards and out-of-court settlements. The NPDB breaks this down further: Of 35,000 doctors with two or more payouts during that period, only 8% were disciplined, and of the 2,774 doctors who made payments in at least five cases, only 463 were disciplined.

The severity of that “discipline” is open to question. On August 28, 2003, the Houston Chronicle reported on the case of a Houston doctor who had been sued 78 times and made payouts in 45 cases totaling more than $13.3 million. His punishment? The temporary suspension of his license. I find this especially appalling since I myself consulted on many cases against this doctor as far back as the early 1980s.

Even these “bad apples” in the medical profession don’t significantly increase malpractice insurance premiums for the rest of the doctors. The truth is that insurance companies do not make their money from premiums, but from investing those premiums. When interest rates and returns are high, the companies prosper and often reduce premiums in competition with one another. When interest rates are low (as they are now), the companies’ returns suffer, and they must raise premiums to make up for the loss of investment income. In June 2003, the General Accounting Office issued a report to Congress (GAO-03-702, available at http://www.gao.gov) which found that insurers’ pricing decisions were affected not only by their losses on malpractice claims, but also by their loss of income from investments, prior premium history and other market conditions such as market share and the level of competition.

The bottom line on tort reform is this: Research has shown that there is no evidence of rising jury awards or the so-called high cost of litigation, and that the economy is the key to rising malpractice insurance premiums.

As unfortunate as they are, high-profile litigants like Linda McDougal (the woman whose doctor conducted an unwarranted double-mastectomy) and Jessica Santillan (the 17-year-old whose doctors failed to match her organ donor) may help to educate the public. The tragedy is that the healthcare system can disfigure or kill someone and still have the nerve to ask for a cap on damages, a concept that in effect frees these paid professionals and for-profit institutions from personal accountability. Try explaining that to the injured person and their family.

As long as the healthcare industry fails to police itself, there will be plenty of work for all of us.