Well, my app is in, so what the heck, lets be specific!
Keep in mind, I don't an interview yet, so maybe you dont want to listen to me!!!!!!!!
I opened with: A challenging question posed to me by a client. I literally write out the question in quotation marks. I chose a question that was as business oriented as possible - what the value of a particular asset was.
I then went on to discuss why this was challenging - what did I know about asset valuation? Much less this particular industry? (the client was in a very particular industry that I had little to no experience in). I use the question to highlight the overall purpose of the project (its a representative question of what the hole project was about).
I then state the net result of our efforts - a large multi million dollar savings.
I briefly mention what I was specifically responsible for, making sure to highlight that the project was huge - were talking over a half billion dollars worth of investments being analyzed.
I then use this as a seque to discuss what I did to suceed. I mention key elements of what I did, but I also focus on how my sucess was largely dependent on my team. I talk about the people I supervised (one sentence) and discuss how I lead them and made them an integral part of the effort.
I then come back to the question I used as an example, and highlight what I did to answer it, and close that paragraph with a statement showing my estimates were close and in the end, we got even more money than anticipated.
In my concluding paragraph I talk about the value add being financial, but also strategic. I talk about how one of the people I worked with grew quickly under my supervision and got promoted ahead of schedule.
My final sentence ends with a strong statement about how I viewed the achievement and how it is relevant to Cornell.
Its a story I like because
1) There's some meat to the numbers (big $$)
2) The initial question posed is very interesting and peaks curiosity. I don't want to say what it is here, but try to think of a question you've been asked that made you think "What the !@(#, I have no idea where to start!" - If it sounds that way to you, it probably sounds that way to other people.
3) It talks about MY difficulties (so its introspective)
4) It hits on teamwork and leadership, although briefly
5) It talks about what I specifically did to achieve these goals
6) It drives home a large financial win but also a non-financial win
So this is me...
But how do we do this for you ?
Ok, so maybe you cant hit on financial wins. But you could use the size of the project to convey importance right? How many consultants? How much revenue did the project bring in? Did ANY follow up work get sold? Were you ever part of that in any way? Did you make the presentation?
Give me a few hints as to what you do for a living (other than "IT") and I can try to think of ideas.