Research topic to impress job interviewer
September 29, 2007 6:11 PM   Subscribe

What research topic should I do if I want to impress a future job interviewer to get into technical/business consulting or even project management sometime down the track?

I have around 6 months to do research on pretty much anything I want. I've only been able to come up with:

Web development methodologies
Effectiveness of XXX's Project Management approach

Can you think of someone more specific? What are The biggest problems experienced by IT companies that might be worth looking into? Your input will be appreciated, especially if you're working in the industry.
posted by gttommy to Work & Money (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You want business consulting? You need to start thinking about business. Specifically, you need to start thinking like an executive.

Executives don't care about development methodologies. They don't care about technical specifics at all. They care about risk. What is risk? Oh, I could write a book answering that question. There's project risk (what could keep the project from being successful?), there's risk to the business (what effect on the business will realized, for example, if risk items in the project occur or don't occur), and then there's valuation of each of these risks, etc. There's the implementation cost of controls (learn what a control is!), the cost of mitigating risks if those controls aren't implemented, and the cost of not having the controls at all.

Always, always, always ask yourself "How does this relate to money?" That's just my current work, though.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 6:23 PM on September 29, 2007

"Risk" is the watchword for executives who were hired by someone else to spend someone else's money whose primary interest is retaining their jobs. It's also big amonst those spending their own money when it's money they ought not be risking.

"Reward" is the watchword for executives who are spending their own disposable money or the disposable money of close allies. Venture capitalists and Angel funders are really into terms like "upside potential" and "unlimited."

You must understand both if you want to go far on your own merits. Don't risk more than needed, but don't fear to risk when rewards are great.

Why not study "successful businessmen in IT and how they got that way?"
posted by TeatimeGrommit at 6:47 PM on September 29, 2007

You could always get some certification
posted by delmoi at 6:53 PM on September 29, 2007

Response by poster: Its for a thesis I need to do, not something I really want to do. Thought I'd try to hit 2 birds with one stone. Thanks for your inputs thus far.
posted by gttommy at 9:12 PM on September 29, 2007

Pick a trend and debunk it.
posted by rhizome at 9:34 PM on September 29, 2007

Best answer: Agile Project Management with a focus on Risk-Management and Reward-Maximization.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:37 PM on September 29, 2007

As someone who is a consultant (working with senior executives) and who recruits for our consulting firm, let me tell you: No one cares what topic you choose. They want to see the quality of the work, the depth of the research, the integration of multiple ideas to reach conclusions, but no one cares about the specific topic.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 5:32 AM on September 30, 2007

Pick something you're interested in; you'll do a better job on it.

I did a stint as methodology man for a while; it was fascinating. Were I to write a thesis on it, I might look at the impact of poorly-informed technical decisions made by clients and their aftermath- idiots who insist that the entire site be visible above the fold on a 800x600 monitor, people who really like flash intro movies, people who want the site to work on netscape 4, because that's what they're running, and so forth. But that's what I'm interested in.

What are you interested in? Can you tie it into profit and loss, opportunity, strategy, tactics?
posted by jenkinsEar at 6:05 PM on September 30, 2007

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