Nov 6, 2012 from Deborah
I spoke with Kimberly this morning and gained some clarity about
where we are at overall with our project.
All that has been accomplished to date is truly amazing. Your
vision is so timely. I tend to get lost a bit with so many
emails bouncing back and forth and unclear about our
priorities. Here is what I see as our priorities.
1. Exam Questions - currently we have 50 and our goal is to
have 100 to 200.
2. Pilot Exam - Christina is conducting a pilot exam in
Singapore in January. Goal is to conduct several to evaluate
the integrity of the exam.
3. Promotion - Manuals, White Paper, Website,
Are there any other main areas I am missing?
May I recommend we focus on one area at a time? Of course, we
will continue to develop other areas, but I think we may make more
progress if we are focused.
1. Exam Questions - provide questions in a seperate
document that we can review. Maybe we could divide into 3 pairs
to develop as many questions as possible for one of each of the
3 subject areas. We would then submit our
questions to the group for review. If further questions are
needed, we could repeat the process by rotating each group to a
new subject area.
2. Pilot Exam - I would like to know what our ultimate goal
is for this step. Is our target companies and organizations only?
Would they need to have gone through training to order to take the
exam? What do you envision for this step? Would there be value in
taking a small number of questions and using them as a pre-test and
then a larger number for a post-test? Would there be value in
testing individuals who have not taken a program to evaluate their
skill level without any formal training? Are there any guidelines for
how the test be delivered?
3. Promotion - I am hesitant to 'roll out' the project until
we have some of these foundational pieces finalized. As
we complete each step, I become more clear about the value and
purpose of what we are doing. This will make it easier for us all to
speak with one voice.
One additional thought regarding the levels and exams - It may be
useful to have add-on testing modules that would be specific to a
culture. This would be much like learning various languages. English is
recognized as the standard for international business, but if someone
doing business in a Spanish speaking culture they would be wise to
learn the language. A person would not have to complete the various
cultural add-ons, but it would demonstrate a higher level of competency
and would clarify some of the possible confusion in developing the
I apologize for the long email filled with my randon thoughts
and questions. I look forward to your comments and insight.
Nov 6, 2012 from Patrick
Thanks for the itemized priority list. I will address them
1. Exam Questions - dividing up the team into 3 pairs as you
would be a great way to get it done. How should we pair up?
work with Kimberly to suggest a structure?
2. Pilot Exam - First, to the current frontline.
Christina/Serena are exploring ways to work with Nanyang Technical
University (NTU) to introduce the IITTI Exam. The biggest issue
whether to charge a nominal fee or offering it free. NTU
should go free at this stage, and it is very good advice. But as
had said before, people don't value free stuff very much. So I
suggested to Serena that NTU may consider "sponsoring" the Exam by
paying a token $20 charge total. This way, both NTU and us can
that the Exam is not free but sponsored. Under such condition,
students taking the Exam may feel differently, given that it is paid
for by their school. I am still waiting for a response from
On a strategic note, in keeping in-line that we should have a
two-pronged approach, namely, Prong #1 would be targeting banking HR's
and Prong #2 graduating business students, the pilot exam is designed
to achieve Prong #2: university business students.
But if we do it right, our Pilot Exam can actually be more than
If these students would start to use their IITTI certificate on their
resumes, it would have a positive influence with HR's receiving
So the Pilot Exam can almost be thought of as "killing two birds with
one stone", so to speak.
For the last two months or so, I have been getting my team in building
the backstage logistics. One of the main features is the concept
to a phone card. I am calling it an:
This will make our system look and feel more professional, and
with the absolutely minimal administrative work for the partnering
university and for ourselves. (I will go more into this exam pass
To further pin-point answering your questions (in blue):
Is our target companies and
Yes, in particular, banks and financial
institutes are our first
set of targets. As a two-pronged approach, finance students is
Would they need to have
training to order to take the exam?
Not at this stage. Why? Because it
would be hard to force test
candidates to go through training first before the exam. Eventually,
it would be ideal to have all candidates gone through training before
the Exam. But that may not be the sentiment of some of the
administration at this point. The biggest barrier to our success
one of ignorance, indifference and entrenched views.
What do you envision for
We may have a solution: As we are
planning on setting the passing
mark to be 85%, there are good chances not everyone
will pass. And that would be a good thing: people would then
appreciate they don't know what they don't know, and will be more
incline to get proper training. But this will take time.
Would there be value in
taking a small
number of questions and using them as a pre-test and then a larger
number for a post-test?
I am not sure what you mean by a
"post-test". Can you please
elaborate? Currently there are several pre-test sample questions
students can see. They are on the IITTI website at:
IITTI web | For Students | Sample test
(This sample test is for instructional purpose, and contains the
answers. The real test don't give out the answers so we can reuse
Would there be value in
individuals who have not taken a program to evaluate their skill level
without any formal training?
Yes, as above, having a high watermark
of 85% passing mark, we
let people know that this is serious. People who treat image and
etiquette as "mickey mousy" shall be humbled! (Believe me, MANY
technical people treat soft-skills as fluff! I don't have to look
Are there any guidelines
for how the test
Yes, as mentioned above, we will use a
"phone card" concept where
exam candidates will be purchasing this phone card. They will
the code of this card into their account in order to "buy" entrance to
one sitting. The exam will be hosted by a reputable university
as NTU). There is a document called "Student Exam Manual" being
reviewed by Serena. Perhaps I can distribute this to everyone who
might want to run a similar pilot to get further feedback(?)
3. Promotion - Yes, I think it is premature to promote wide-scale at
this point. A pin-point strategy would be best so that any kinks
be more readily dealt with before it gets too big.
Nov 6, 2012
What about this: We offer
taking the exam for free in order to have the first experience.
However, if they want a certificate they pay $ 20,00
I think it would be OK to
offer it completely for free for the first 200 people, as WE want it
launched, WE want the feedback, WE want to test the whole etc.
As you said, Patrick, if the
students start to use the IITTI Certification on their resume something
else can start happening in the direction that WE want to go. Look what
businesses do in order to get Likes on Facebook. They offer a lot for
Statistics are also very
important for us. Testing people without any previous education in this
field will provide a 0-situation for us. So we might want to include a
question in the beginning:
- did you get any training on
image and etiquette previous to this test? If yes, how?
- by reading a book
- trained by my family
- formal training
- how many hours?
What a huge project is this.
Thanks for your guidance and work, Kimberly and Patrick.
Nov 6, 2012 from Deborah
I like the idea of taking
the exam for free and if they would like a certificate there would be a
small fee. My reference to 'free' is more in line with offering free
classes and services in general. Typically, they are not valued.
I also like your questions for the testing. The truth
is, we have all been taught social skills. The question is, who taught
us, and was the source knowledgeable and current?
The more we dig into this project, the more interesting and
complex it becomes. I am thoroughly enjoying the journey!