— 2 —


It was 6 a.m., the morning after my first day at HGS. I had finally returned to my hotel room at 2 a.m. A few ten-minute increments of extra sleep won out over my commitment to morning exercise. Now, I was up, getting ready to continue the work from last night—I mean, from this morning. I also needed to be ready for my first interview, with Shirley Rickert, HGS’s CFO, later that afternoon. But right now what I needed most was coffee—black and strong. It was already brewing on the hotel credenza, thanks to the coffee essentials provided to guests.

Work on the HGS project had begun almost as soon as our meeting with the top management team ended. Darla Hood showed Vivek, Gordon, and me to the team room on the seventieth floor. ...

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