This post is old - and we apologize that the media linked within may not be available on the interwebz any longer. 🙁
Saw a tweet from Columbia Business School last week (the school not the adcom) with a video that is so worth watching:
The video is here. It’s totally interesting. It seemed like everything this guy said applies to the bschool admissions process. How much of it is outright luck, like winning the lottery, and how much is skill, like winning a marathon? We think it’s pretty much in the middle.
Back in June 2011, we posted about an article of Mauboussin’s on skill and luck. But if you click just one link today, skip that old blahg post and instead, make it that first one (here) for the video.
It’s a short video, just 6 minutes.
The best part is at about 3:19 where she asks him about being the underdog and what are the winning strategies when you’re the new market entrant (or the applicant with a less-than-rosy profile, perhaps?), versus the industry leader. Seems like you can extrapolate some of that out to strategies that different bschool candidates might take, based on how many boxes they can tick in terms of strong qualifications for a top MBA program.
Of course, we apparently see everything through the bschool admissions lens. A little tilted that way, we are.
Thoughts on this? We know some people think that certain schools, like HBS, are a pure crapshoot, no way to predict outcomes there at all, it’s completely luck of the draw. Of course, our experience is the opposite of that …
But just like this guy says in the interview, when we lose we tend to chalk it up to ‘bad luck’ and when we win, we claim credit due to our ‘skill.’ Just human nature.
EssaySnark likes to think that we have a certain control over our own destiny, based on the amount of work we put forth. No, we won’t all end up at Harvard, but there’s definitely an excellent MBA program waiting to welcome everyone who puts in the ground game. We tend to ascribe outcomes mostly to skill.
Of course, we have our built-in bias – if it were all luck, then all that we do in ripping essays apart and coaching on interview skills and the rest is for naught. So our inherent agenda clearly invites us to say that this is a skills game.
What do you think?