Explore a career in Business Operations in Tech - Discussion with Jordan Kong, Director Business Operations @Ando

Jordan Kong, Director of Business Operations and Board Observer at FoodTech startup Ando, talks about what working in Business Operations is like.

 

Check out the podcast below to listen to the complete discussion! 

 

Some of the areas that Jordan touches upon in this episode include:

1. What's a venture studio (eg: Expa) and how it's great for people who want to work at a startup but dont have an idea
2. What does someone in Biz Ops do
3. Examples of projects someone in Biz Ops may work on 
4. How this can be a highly cross-functional role and requires working with teams across the organization
5. How this is a data heavy role
6. How this role can take on either a strategic finance bent or an operations bent
7. How Biz Ops can be similar to an internal consulting role at times
8. Interesting and challenging aspects of the job
9. How this is a relatively new function and so the career path is not very clear
10. How to assess the importance of the function on the outside/while recruiting
11. Qualities in someone who would enjoy this job
12. How to stand out in a cold mail
13. Recruiting and interviewing tips for interested candidates

Detailed interview transcript: 

 

[LED]  02:04

Thank you so much for taking the time. Really excited about this particular episode. I was doing some research on your background, and also your startup. And I have to say Ando has a very, very impressive list of investors like Jimmy Fallon and Aziz Ansari. How did that happen?

 

[Jordan] 02:23

Yeah, the genesis of Ando was really between two organizations across the country. So one co founded by David Chang of Momofuku group. David Chang, is a celebrity chef and restaurateur as well as co founded Expa, which is a startup studio based in San Francisco, which is founded by Garrett camp, one of the co founders of Uber. So we were really lucky in that two of our co founders obviously had pretty extensive networks across both the technology world as well as the media world, in New York City, as well for David. So, Jimmy Fallon and Aziz are two personal friends of David. Jimmy actually, I believe, loves food personally, and has actually featured Ando in one of his episodes, he invited a guest, I think it was Michael B. Jordan, to come on and do kind of a side by side comparison of the Ando cheesesteak, with the Philly cheesesteak, because I think Michael B, Jordan had just done one of the Rocky movies. And obviously that, you know, that's being said in in Philadelphia. Yeah. So, that was a really fun experience for us, just because, not a ton of companies get that kind of exposure, especially at such an early stage. So we were very lucky to have him on board as well.

 

[LED]  04:06

Yeah, absolutely. And then, and I guess I have to ask you how did you end up here? Because I'm sure it's an experience just being surrounded by this caliber of people.  

[Jordan] 04:19

It's funny that you mentioned this, because that’s part of the reason why I joined Ando. I, to be honest, didn't imagine myself working at a food company. I came to Ando by way of Expa. I had worked in the venture capital world prior to working at Ando. So through my network through knowing a couple folks, I got connected to the team at Expa, and they mentioned that they were starting this new project. It was with David Chang, they wanted somebody to come on As the first employee to help get the project off the ground, basically, and that was a really exciting opportunity for me just partially because of all the names around the table.

 

[LED]  05:10

Yeah, absolutely. So I don't think I'm familiar with the term venture studio. Can you elaborate on that? What's a venture studio? 

 

[Jordan] 05:19

So to be honest, I also had a hard time kind of wrapping my head around it, it's pretty innovative in the way that we operate. So expa has a fund very much like a VC. But rather than going out to seek entrepreneurs to invest in, they operate by incubating ideas within, so similar to a movie studio might have an idea for a movie, and then hire a producer, a director, a cast and crew. Expa operates very much the same way with startups. So they have an idea for a company or product, they think that should exist. And they are the ones to fund it and hire a team around it to execute on the idea.

 

[LED]  06:11

Oh, gotcha. So is it sort of like a Y Combinator or a 500 startups then?

 

[Jordan] 06:17

Similar, but I think the main difference here is that the Y Combinator companies are often companies that apply to the incubator or, you know, to 500 startups, for example. Whereas for Expa, the ideas and companies are bred from within and what they hire our initial employees, rather than initially seeking founders.

 

[LED]  06:42

Oh, very interesting. So I guess, if I am interested in starting a company, but I do not have an idea right now, then I can still apply to Exoa and join there as an employee of some sort, and then work on companies at a later point.

 

[Jordan] 07:08

Totally. Expa works in a couple of different ways. The one you mentioned is exactly the way that I got involved, which is I knew I wanted to have an entrepreneurial experience, but didn't necessarily have an idea that I was super, super passionate about on my own. So I got connected to the Expa folks, the opportunity they presented was being on the ground floor and essentially building this company from scratch, an idea that they had already been working on. But there are other entrepreneurs at Expa who follow kind of the EIR model, which stands for entrepreneur in residence. So if you're a kind of a proven executive of sort, and you want to be somewhere where you can start incubating your own idea and just have a platform and a network of people to help you get something off the ground.  

[LED]  08:12

Interesting. All right then let's get to business operations. So can you then describe for us the job of someone in business operations? 

[Jordan] 08:24

Sure. I think it's interesting right now, because I think business operations as a term has only been around for the last couple of years or more prominently in the last couple of years. And to that extent, it's still a functional role that's emerging and evolving. And it looks very different between companies of different stages. And even at the same stage, different companies would tend to structure it maybe differently. So broadly, here's what I see about business operations that covers the whole spectrum of different roles. One, there's always some sort of mix between Strategy, Finance and data analytics. So it's really around applying a very structured framework to a problem and working cross functionally. So you'll be working with different types of teams within the orgs to get a project or something done.

Maybe it's helpful if I gave a couple examples of projects that I worked on. So one of the initial things that I did was work with our product team to understand our customer analytics. So we as a restaurant, we also have a tech component where customers can order whatever they want through a web app or an iPhone app. And we do a lot of analysis on how customers are behaving within the app, and also how customers ordering behaviors, trends over time. So one of the key projects that I worked on, was sitting with the product team, to understand out of all the potential things we can track and all the metrics that we're looking at what are really the key KPIs? And I'm sure you've heard that over and over again, what are the KPIs that are really relevant to both the customer experience and improving upon that, as well as our business fundamentals? So like, what are the KPIs that drive our business? Yeah, so as you can see, this is this specific project is very much, you know, between somebody who might be more on like the finance team, so to speak, or the data team, and somebody who would be on the product team. In this case, I worked directly with our CTO and our product manager.

 

[LED]  11:13

And KPI for those people who are not familiar with key performance indicators, you're identifying certain metrics and tracking them. Can you share another example, I think it'd be helpful to maybe contrast a variety of projects, that someone like you might work on.

 

[Jordan] 11:27

Sure, So Ando operates our own kitchens, which means we have a lease and we have all the workforce in the kitchen, on our payroll as our hourly employees. And so one of the main projects for me at the beginning, was figuring out now that, you know, we know that labor costs is a very big component of our business model. So understanding how best to schedule the labor force in working with our HR part, my HR partner, as well as with the culinary, the head of culinary, to figure out people's schedules. When is the most efficient way to organize and structure that labor force? And also kind of another finance side of that analysis was figuring out okay, what can we afford as a business to provide in terms of benefits, so things like medical care, dental care, you know, commuter benefits, kind of the run of the mill benefits that you typically will see at a larger tech company, but seeing what we can do to make that also possible for our hourly labor force.

 

[LED]  12:44

Okay. Yeah, this is very helpful. And, based on the examples that you gave, it sounds a lot like, an operations role, right? Like, you're the one who is responsible for making sure that things are running smoothly and efficiently. And we're extracting as much value as possible from whatever resources you have.

 

[Jordan] 13:05

Yeah, absolutely. I think, in terms of, you know, I think everybody kind of wants to understand how does Biz Ops fits into the larger organization, what I've seen is kind of two different types of variation. So in one, business operations rolls into finance, eventually, kind of reporting into the CFO. And in that, in those situations, they would have more kind of a Strategic Finance slant to it. And the other, the other configuration might be that they report into a CEO type person, right. And that would have, sometimes a more kind of operational slant focus to it. But those two lines often are very blurred, and especially for earlier stage startups, they could be even one in the same, you know, the CFO is the CEO. So that's why the range of projects tend across both finance and operations.

 

[LED]  14:43

And in the projects that you described as an example like the product the way you were engaging with product, or where you were working on the on sort of figuring out the labor cost and how to optimize that. Is it you alone working with these teams? Who are the key people that you're working with as you're working on these problems?

 

[Jordan] 15:05

Yeah, so Anso is fairly early stage company. I definitely was the only person in my role working directly with a lead on a different team. What I've seen as well for other larger companies, so companies like Dropbox, for example, was one of the first to have a business operations team. Also NerdWallet, find it kind of personal finance startup, they also have a biz ops team, where they do is they'll take somebody from the biz ops team, and then partner them on a one to one basis with somebody on another function in a role in another functional area, right. And usually, the two or the three of them, however large that, you know, that working team is, is enough to kind of make decisions or propose strategies relating to a specific part of the product. 

[LED]  16:03

Maybe take one of the examples of one of the projects that you worked on as an example. And let's walk through the stages that you sort of went through as you proceeded in the project.

 

[Jordan] 16:22

Yeah. I guess, a good example of this would be when I was working with our CEO to figure out pricing and, or basically the gross margins of our business model.

So first step was meeting with the CEO, framing the problem or framing the questions we had in mind? Kind of more specifically. So, what is the end goal we want to achieve? So is it is this coming? Because we think we're being we're pricing under market or over market? Is this coming? Because I don't know, we think we can make more revenue if we changed our pricing, kind of framing the problem first, and then understanding what the outputs are, which is, which is things like, Okay, well, we want to at the end of the project we want to have, is it that we want to find out that, hey, our pricing model is completely wrong? Or do we want to have like a new proposed pricing model to have in place, etc. So there's a lot of kind of a work upfront, because this role is so broad, that it really serves, you know, me and anybody else in this role to try to scope it out and understand the goals as specifically as you can before, before embarking on the project, then it becomes up to me to drive this process forward. So in terms of something like pricing, there's an external facing aspect and an internal facing aspect. So the external facing one is, is a bit what you mentioned, Sonali, around, potentially the strategic aspect of this role. So going out into the market, understanding some consumer trends, understanding how other people are pricing their products, for example, and bringing that information back into the company that whatever I research, the internal facing, one is more around understanding. Okay, if we price this to date, like why have we done this to date? What were the assumptions before or have these assumptions changed over time. So for example, in food, and this is kind of a very straightforward example. But for food, you tend to price the retail price of the food based on some of the inputs, like how much do the ingredients cost, or how labor intensive is this product to make, for example, investigating those aspects of the pricing directly with the internal partners, so in this case, it would be our supply chain manager who does all the procurement, it would be the head of culinary who comes up with the recipes. It would be the head of culinary operations, who does all the training and managing of the labor force, right. And it's really my job to kind of not only do you know, get my product move my project forward, but also work with the partners to help them understand why this might be important. And I think that's that's one area that that is a little bit nuanced because you don't want it to come in seeing see me like the auditor, right or like IRS training. Well, you didn't do this properly or something like that. And that that often obviously doesn't set you up for success with Working with the other partners on your team. So a lot of it is around communicating kind of healthy, not just understanding where they're coming from, but also help them understand where you're coming from and why some of these questions that you're asking, and the project you're working on is relevant to the company as a whole, but also, in a way to help them see, you know, their workflow a little bit differently, or to add more context to what they're doing.

 

[LED]  20:28

Right. Yeah, actually, this, to me, it sounds very much like a consulting job. But like, you're an internal consultant, as opposed to an external consulting firm that you bring in for a specific engagement. Would you say that's accurate? 

 

[Jordan] 20:47

I've heard this role of business operations been described in that way many times. I think that there are, there are ways where it would be. However, this, I think that in at some companies, they try consciously to move away from that, because they don't want to see the business operation change roles to be transient, in a way. Right. So like, this is like, just a temporary project you're working on, or, or something to that extent. So I am, but I think I think that's a fair assessment. I would just say that, some companies probably set it up slightly differently, so that you're, you're maybe not jumping around different projects so much. Or maybe you're you're working specifically with one functional team over a longer period of time. 

 

[LED]  21:45

That makes sense. Are you in the involved in the implementation of some of these things?

 

[Jordan] 22:05

So yeah, for me, I am involved in the implementation, especially for relates to something like operations. So for example, in the example of the staffing model, like I was sitting with the, the head of people to really figure out, Okay, what does the schedule look like? And how does that impact our financial model? But in another examples, such as the one working with product, my implementation kind of ends when the technical part begins. So it really depends on you know, how much level of skill does it require or specialization required to implement.

 

[LED]  22:48

What is your typical day like? 

[Jordan] 23:14

I think, my so the day to day looks, it kind of looks very different depending on what are the priorities of the business. So for example, I didn't mention this, but one of my goals was trying to also help work with a CEO and our executive team to help set some of the larger, like quarterly goals, for example. So one of the things that would happen is, during those weeks where we're doing quarterly planning, I might be spending almost all my days in meetings, one with the leads of different functional area to help iterate and reiterate on our quarterly plan. My main tools are definitely Excel, I use a little bit of SQL as well. And we actually use a sequel visualizer. So something like a tableau Looker, it's a tool called MetaBase that we use, but primarily as it's meeting with folks cross functionally, and doing a lot of kind of heads down analysis and research on my own.

 

[LED]  24:28

Right. And then how do you measure the success of someone in this role? 

 

[Jordan] 24:42

Yeah, I think, I honestly think that like and this is me coming from an early stage startup perspective. I really think the success in this role, it's easy because you're being I would think you're being judged in a very similar way that others other functional roles are being evaluated, which, which is how effective are you in, in making an impact to the business? And I think a lot of it may, I mean, I guess maybe the the the only difference is there are roles that startups where you're being judged by. And like how well you maintaining systems, for example, like the engineering team needs to keep the website up, for example. But really, my role is more around impact. And impact is definitely really hard to measure, which is why I mentioned for, it's very much like a project based role to be very clear, and to be as specific as possible, and like what you're trying to drive to at the beginning of the project. And, one lesson that I've learned throughout all this, and this also being like my first operating role at a startup, because previously I was on the investing side and VC is that your also your success is also can measure it on how well you collaborate, and how well you kind of communicate your point of view and your analysis to your peers. And as you said, because the implementation doesn't only rely on you, and sometimes it's completely out of your hands, right? Yeah. So it's definitely a very qualitative measurement at the end of the day.

 

[LED]  26:33

Yeah. So that's why you not only have to be very good at the analysis piece and coming up with a good recommendation, but you have to be good at communicating it and influencing other people to do it and making sure that you do you're doing whatever needs to be done to make that happen.

 

[Jordan] 26:49

Absolutely. Any influence is a great word in this case, because one of the challenges of the role, at least how I've seen some of the roles being structured in the org chart for companies is that they're right, there's no direct reporting into you that your team is really kind of a team of peers. So it's really if you're, if you're struggling with that influence part, it's really difficult to be effective in this role.

 

[LED]  27:19

Yeah, I'm, almost imagining like the central team that is trying to find problems and solving them, and then has to influence all these other teams that are actually doing these things to make it happen. So yeah, influence should be a critical component. You brought up challenges, and clearly being able to influence and being a good communicator is one of them. Are there any other challenging aspects of this job?

 

[Jordan] 27:45

Yeah, I think so a couple of things come to mind. For me, depending on what type of person you are, the job could be challenging, because there's a lot of context switching. And it's a lot of balancing between different projects, if you have multiple things going on at the same time, that could be with completely different areas of the business. So you know, to some people, that might be really exciting and exactly what they're looking for. For others, maybe less. So maybe that context switching is exhausting and different, difficult to flip back and forth. And I would put context switching with balancing the workload together. 

The other challenging piece in this is something that my peers are my cohort of other biz op ops, folks and other startups and I have talked about a lot, which is, there isn't necessarily a clear career path growth. In, like I said, because this organization tends to be so cross functional, you have a lot of opportunities to go into different areas of the business. But there isn't a clear path to say, okay, you're one you should be here, you're three, you're going to be here and you're five, you're here, right? So it's really up to the individual to kind of take more active role, right, and in planning their own path in this and what I've seen most commonly is that you'll end up finding maybe one area of the business where you just are really drawn to, and try to carve out a path more there and, and hopefully when this functional role, perhaps matures a little bit, you will see kind of a role that that's maybe more senior or more clear career path, but at this point, it's really up to the individual to figure that out.

 

[LED]  29:51

Yeah, I'm sure like you're saying that a lot of biz ops people are sort of exiting into various more mainstream functions then. So from Biz Ops, you might go into product, you might go into something more like program management or something else category management. Because you're getting exposed to so many parts of the business, you can figure out what you like.

 

[Jordan] 30:16

Yeah. And actually an exciting kind of exit or growth path that I've also heard of is folks going from busy jobs to becoming more and graduating into a more senior role as a GM of a business line. That's also something that that I've seen happen, depending on how the business overall structure

 

[LED]  30:39

What are the things that you really like about this job? You already mentioned some of them. So clearly, you're getting exposed to a lot of different parts of the business. So you get that high level overview. And there's a lot of variety, clearly, anything else that comes top of mind?

 

[Jordan] 30:58

I think the training in Biz Ops is really good in the sense that it's both a role where you can be very macro and micro at the same time. So what I mean by this is, the macro part, obviously, is you're encouraged to be strategic, you're encouraged to kind of understand the bigger picture and how something impacts the larger organization. The micro is that you're still hold held to a pretty high bar. I mean, if you look at the job descriptions for a lot of these obstacles, folks tend to look for people who have an analytical background, either, you know, coming from a quantitative education background, like engineering background, or Bachelor of Science in Economics, or math or physics. And you're also expected to know how to deal with a lot of quantitative tools, you know, Excel being one of the most common ones and SQL and other types of data, data analytics tools as well.

 

[LED]  32:01

And then are there any aspects of this job that you do not like? So not necessarily challenging, but just something that you don't like?

 

[Jordan] 32:14

I think one of the difficulties of the job and what I've seen in the industry thus far is, how effective you can be in your role also really depends on where this business operations team reports into, and how effective is that person. And part, what I mean is, most startups, especially on the tech side, there's always going to be a product lead, right? There's, there's always going to be some kind of financial lead, there's always going to be some kind of operations lead or head of marketing, for example, but because there isn't necessarily a role carved out on the more senior end necessarily, for business operations person. I've seen, what happens is, if the org chart changes at the top, it really kind of affects a lot of the folks on the biz ops team, and how effective and how valued their work might be. So I would say that's probably one of the challenges just to keep in mind if, if you have some listeners who are looking to move into a business role and considering a biz ops offer, for example, that kind of really can make a difference to what type what kind of work they're doing, and how much impact they can have in your organization.

 

[LED]  33:39

Yeah, that's actually a very good tip - how can you assess this from the outside? So let's say I'm recruiting, and I'm interested in Biz Ops - what's a good sign that okay, this role carries some weight in an organization? And what's the sign that maybe it does not?

 

[Jordan] 33:57

Um, yeah, I think that's really, really, really tough. I think that that's kind of like the, million dollar question, right. And for a lot of people interviewing, I'm sure, very hard to kind of see into a company and how the lay of the land is. In terms of tips, I would really just try to get as an unbiased opinion from the team itself as possible and maybe dig a little bit more into, okay, like from all the projects you guys have been working on, tell me about the top three that have really made like the ones that had the biggest impact on the business, right? And then maybe you'll begin to see if they named three projects that they believe are the most impactful. Maybe you can evaluate truly like do if you were the CEO of this company, like would you would you really value what came out of that? or do you think it's more of like, oh, that's like a nice to have.

 

[LED]  35:02

Right. That's a very good idea. And yeah, and I'm sure mostly people are not going to lie, but just based on the kind of answers they gave, you can figure out how critical or not too critical the function is. 

Has there been anything unexpected that you've now found out about the role or maybe any common misconceptions that you think people tend to have about this role that you know, better now that now that you've done it for a while?

 

[Jordan] 35:35

Misconceptions? Yeah, I guess I didn't mention this yet. But I think this might be a good time to maybe talk about the misconceptions. So because this role is, again, very different between companies, I would say, one of the biggest difference is trying to understand business operations is has a has a strategic slant to it in the company or not. And so the way I kind of see it is, sometimes there are some companies where business operations actually means something closer to regular operations, which is around finance. Let's say like, finance, facilities, HR, kind of like the guts of what makes a company keep running. And where, where I see where my experience has been, and where I've seen some of the more successful business operations, teams structured is really having more of an impact on actually maybe the business model or the product itself. So some having a bigger impact to what is core to the company, if that makes sense.

 

[LED]  36:52

So I just had a couple more questions more from the point of view of someone who is interested in recruiting for a biz ops role. What are the five traits you would find in this person who is really doing well in the job and is really enjoying himself or herself.

[Jordan] 37:54

I think business operations, you really have to have somebody who is both interested in dealing with numbers and doing research and the quantitative aspect of a job. And but at the same time, it's heavily people focused, because you are sometimes the hub between different teams, or you're kind of like the glue between the different functional areas. And it requires navigating that, requires a lot of kind of the soft skills. So you have to kind of enjoy the challenge of navigating a organization without necessarily, you know, being part of a silo, for example, right? I think somebody else who would really, really enjoy this job and, and one of the reasons why a lot of former bankers or former consultants actually get recruited into this role is because it's very project based. So you do have that variety of quarter to quarter, you might be working on something completely different. And the whole kind of the, the cadence and the structure of the work you're doing is very project based. And lastly, I think you got to you got to enjoy also being very autonomous to a certain extent, because sometimes you're the lead working on a specific problem. And it's kind of people look towards you to pull together the specs of the project to pull together the timeline and everything. So it really takes somebody who's, you know, a self starter. And not to use too many buzzwords, but self starter autonomous that kind of can do attitude.

 

[LED]  39:50

Right. And I think just based on what you've described, it also looks like to me that you need to be someone who is more of a generalist because the problems that you might work on are so different. So you need to be someone who can sort of learn very quickly, because it's not possible for one person to have prior expertise in everything else, you need to be someone who can sort of learn new areas very quickly and do that minimum level of research on whatever is needed to bring yourself up to date, as opposed to sort of picking one area and going really deep into it.

 

[Jordan] 40:26

Yeah, absolutely. I think, especially at the early stage, where you might be a very small team, or the first hire. Yeah, you definitely need to be a generalist, that's kind of a blessing and a curse to a certain extent, for some people, given where maybe depending on where they are in their careers, or where they're trying to get to, I do think that probably on a bigger team. And you know, one good example of this is actually LinkedIn has a huge biz ops team, where you are working on a very specific area of the business. And in those cases, where the team is larger, there's definitely more room for specialization, and to work on something that you want to keep developing personally, or just an area of the business you're really interested in.

 

[LED]  41:14

The best biz ops people - have you seen them do something really exceptional, or something which really makes them stand out?

 

[Jordan] 41:35

I think, honestly, this kind of ties back to my advice for all generalist, and this is based on what I've seen, how you know how I've seen people move on through their careers, or even reflecting on my own kind of career trajectory coming from finance and moving to the buy side in VC. And then finally having working at an early stage startup, I would just say it's a lot of fun being a generalist, but the majority of folks who end up really succeeding in their careers have had to make some sort of decision to specialize at some point. And that's just from my own observations. I'm sure there are countless counter examples to what I'm saying. But I think, yeah, what makes a business operations person, really successful in my mind is, is obviously, some of the table stakes of just being driving impact to the business and managing your workflow and working well with all your collaborators and your peers. But taking that a step further, is being a little bit more conscientious about how you think about building your career, either staying in business jobs, or just being more deliberative and trying to specialize in, in a specific area of the business.

 

[LED]  43:05

Are there any resources that you would want to recommend for people who are interested in either learning more about the role or, or as they're preparing for interviews, some things that you might want to recommend?

 

[Jordan] 43:22

So now, I was gonna say my first instinct was gonna say, like, hey, just talk to other people who are in business ops, but I guess that's what this podcast is. Yeah, and I'm in total agreement with you, which is, it's really the best way to kind of figure out what you want to do. And to figure out what companies might be looking for candidates is to speak to people in the jobs themselves. And, honestly, I found that if, if you even cold outreach to somebody, or let's say, get a warm intro to them, and genuinely express that you've done at least some homework on hand, which is maybe done some reading, I'm sure there's, I know that there's there's different readings online regarding this topic or something like this, like this podcast, I think if you just express that you've done a little bit of homework, but you're really just interested in buying them a cup of coffee and sitting down for 30 minutes to chop through. A lot of people would respond to that. And I personally have responded to those types of requests.  

[LED]  44:27

Tell us a little bit more about that. Because this, I think, is something which a lot of people want to know more about that okay, how do I cold mail someone and get them to spend some time with me, whether it's on over a phone call, or I think a meeting in person is really hard to get but if you can get that’s amazing. What’s your advice?

 

[Jordan] 44:59

Yeah, I think what I would do, what I tend to do, and I guess what would attract my attention is one, if the person, definitely the homework part, I cannot stress that enough, I really, it does, it's not in your favor, if you send out an email that's super general, and just saying, like, hey, I want to pick your brain. A lot of times people have this concept of. I really encourage people who want to get more access to kind of bring something to the table themselves. So and that could come in many different ways. One is, perhaps you've done some area, or you've done some reading in my industry, and you're interested in sharing with me, and I think people should never assume that I know everything about food, for example. And even if it's just something like, Hey, I recently saw this article and found it really interesting that they were focused on the food waste in the food industry, like what is your view on this? Just something that shows that you've just done at least a little bit of research. And it actually, it's not just showing that you've done the research, but it gives me and you now have a point of commonality to start a conversation thread, that it's not just, yeah, let's schedule a time. But more something for us to bounce off each other. Yeah, I think I can give you an example of recently, like how I engage with with somebody that I had met at a networking event, but wanting to kind of keep in touch with kind of followed up with I followed up with an email to him, and he was currently building, not to give away too much. But he's currently building kind of a very premium, so to speak, consumer experience using technology. And I know that's very broad, but it's an area where I don't know much about so for example, education, right? It's an area that I don't have a lot of experience with. But I do have experience with, let's say, thinking about premium experiences in food, for example. And at the same time, I've also been reading a lot of different publications or blog posts around what does it mean to try to build a luxury or premium experience? So I shared some of those readings with him just saying, hey, like, you might find this interesting, because, you know, because yeah, of what you're doing.And I would love to sit down and talk sometimes about my experience, or my take on this, given given what I've been doing it Ando Yeah, for example.

 

[LED]  47:40

This is a great example and purely illustrates how even though you did not have any experience in that industry itself, you look at what else was there in your experience that you could relate to whatever this person was doing, and then shared stuff with him from that experience. So that's a good example. Thank you. When people are applying for these Biz Ops jobs, I guess, in terms of the actual application itself, the best way to apply is through a referral, I guess? 

[Jordan] 48:14

Of course, referrals are very appreciated here in the Bay Area, and I and I think, if you just, I feel like people are connected, because it's such a small world. But it may not be that hard to do. Now, short of doing that, what I've realized is one, I'm tweaking your resume a little bit just to highlight some of the the aspects of it that might be more analytical or strategic, whatever matches the job description of what type of candidate they're looking for. And typically, for hiring processes, at least at my company, is we do a resume screen, and we do a phone call, that's all pretty standard. There's an on site. And there's usually a couple of different types of case studies involved. And that could be either kind of a take home assignment, that could be something where you come in and you're presented with a case study at the beginning of the session, and at the end of two or three hours, you're expected to present something. I've also seen processes where you're basically in this type of roundtable discussion where you're presented with a problem. And you're you're you're asked to talk through how you would go and approach this with a small panel.

 

[LED]  49:35

Hmm, I see. I mean, from what you've described, it sounds like as far as interview prep is concerned, you should do a lot of the standard consulting case interview prep.

 

[Jordan] 49:46

Yeah, and honestly, I don't know if that's, it's kind of a chicken or the egg. Right. Because a lot of folks that the recruiting sometimes have the consulting background. Yeah. I don't know What started first, but definitely, you know, whatever helps train your Let me tackle a problem kind of mindset and a lot of times that’s through case studies

 

 

[LED]  50:31

Okay. Yeah, let's say I don't have a consulting or banking or that kind of a quantitative background, let's have been working in I don't know, marketing, let's say, what can I do in my resume? Or what are some things that I can do, which will help illustrate that I can do the job?

 

[Jordan] 50:51

Yeah, I would say, in your resume, make sure just to highlight anything that has an analytical aspect to it, or show that you've through something that you've done has had X amount of impact on the business. But I think the tips that I can share are probably maybe a little bit more helpful on the actual interviewing side, where I remember this is back in the day when I was preparing for case interviews as a new college grad. And one of the ways it's really, it's kind of like the saps like, you just have to get good at it. It's a very specific skill. And one of the ways that might be fun is just talking to some of your colleagues in maybe operationally intensive roles, or even people who are doing like product development or user research and asking them about, one or two of the interesting problems that they've tackled in the last year or so of their jobs, and just using those as prompts to kind of kickstart your own thinking process around it. And if they're good enough, friend, take them out to dinner, and just discuss about your approach and how you're framing the problem with them. I've always found, you know, taking some of the real real life type questions is really helpful to just train yourself into that kind of thinking.

 

[LED]  52:16

Well, this was wonderful. Jordan, thank you so much. Really Is there any other advice that you'd want to share? 

[Jordan] 52:36

Ah, no, I think I covered everything. I mean, despite some of the challenges and the different aspects of this role that may appeal to some people or not, I've personally had a really great time working in this operation. So it's a bias review from me, but two thumbs up! :)

Thank you for listening!! 

 

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