Wednesday, July 27, 2011

OA Results

Well it wasn't pretty. I had to travel half way around the world after the OA so this is my first chance to share the gory details. I actually wound up doing worse than last year, only passed the SI this time, and wound up with a 5.0. There were twelve of us and don't know how many passed as I was the sixth called out from the room. The only really surprising thing during the brief exit interview is that my examiner went on and on about the numbers, and budget implications on hiring. She very well could have been trying to ease the sting, but was surprised since the 13 D's should be consistently applied in the best of times or the worst of times.

The only thing that I can add without going into the NDA realm is that the different group dynamics during the GE from year to to year will always make it a new experience. Three people from my GE group were still standing and hopefully one of them made it. Everyone was an upgrade IMO from last years group and if the three of us who didn't pass this time fell short of the mark I am even more confused with how the GE is scored. The entire group worked well, adovcated, and pushed back where needed to focus on giving the ambassador the best recommendations. I thought the project we supported wasn't particularly a strong one and was vocal about that without being an ass( or so I think) so I don't have much else to offer.

The SI IMO is still the most straight forward part of the day and I thought the questions were very fair and thought provoking.

I am 0/2 on the CM so don't have the foggiest idea so won't give anyone any bad advice. I definitely had more time to address the quant issues this time around, and definitely devoted more of the memo to facts and figures. There is definitely something in the grading rubric that I must be totally missing.

Having done this twice now I am even more perplexed of what to think about it. In the chit chat that takes place in between sessions and what you see of of 4-5 others during the GE it was the usual, very interesting and diverse group. I'm not sure the process gets it right per se, but with the quality I have seen the last two years I am not sure the OA has to necessarily get it right to assess great people into The State Department.


  1. I'm so sorry that it didn't go better. It's a mystery, the OA. Your job offer is a nice comfort now. If you choose that route, it'll be interesting and challenging. Best,Emily

  2. Thanks I appreciate it and am in Jerusalem right now so not much to complain about. I was honestly much more disappointed last year and just more confused this time around. Hopefully I will hear from one other person from my GE group to see if he made it. You only get a snapshot of someone during the GE, but if I had to pick from one of the group to make it he would have been my pick.

  3. I'm sorry. I know how hard this process is. I just took the FSOT for the first time in June. I passed with a 171. I am not holding much hope for the QEP though since I have zero overseas experience and the whole budget right now doesn't look pretty.

    Maybe, just maybe, I will make it to the OA. Who knows. Luckily I live in DC... so no travel required.

  4. Oh, man, that is not fun to hear at all. I'm thrilled that you're currently somewhere you enjoy, but I also know that you can't get to the end of this process without wondering what went wrong.

    I agree with your assertion about the 13 Ds, wholeheartedly. A candidate either meets them, or a candidate does not. The examiners should assess candidates without budget figures in the back of their head. Let the OA find the right people, and the register winnow.

    Real shame, that. Have tons of fun in Israel, though!

  5. What a shame -- I am surprised to hear this outcome. You have a resilient spirit, and I hope that you continue to apply to be an FSO. As a first-time candidate, and someone who has not even received word on an OA invitation or rejection, I have to say that your words have always inspired me and kept me motivated.

    Just my two-cents, I hope they give you some perspective...

  6. Sucktastic. Sorry to hear that. The lack of transparency on a large amount of this process is really frustrating. Best of luck in the future.

  7. This really stinks! I am sorry to hear about this and I wish you the best!

  8. I'm sorry to hear that. It sounds like you really have a lot of positive energy to bring to the Department and I encourage you to persevere.

  9. I assume you have worked with a study group for at least 4 months. This, I feel, was key to my success. There was no study group in Atlanta, so I formed one. All 5 of us passed the FSOA.

  10. Dude, that's ridiculous. Of all people, I was looking forward to you passing like I was looking forward to it being Wednesday tomorrow. What a blower! I'm not even sure what to think about my own candidacy at this point considering people I thought for sure would pass are either not, or not even getting OA invites.

    So what does the budget stuff mean for the scoring? you pass and then there's a box that says "are the assessors willing to take a pay cut for this person?" and they either gotta say yes or no? I mean how else could they possibly figure you into the budget. I don't remember talking about salary expectations throughout any of this process.

    I'm mad for you. Please try again. Please don't stop posting and good luck in Jerusalem.