Top 10 Things I Learned #3 – Learn the History of Every Decision

The Top 10 Things I Learned in Business School #3

Learn the History of Every Decision

Getting a business degree for me was a long lesson in making better decisions. Sure, you get a lot of quant work, which I loved, but on the whole you’re forced to undertake too many things, prioritize them, and execute to the best of your ability. Imagine business school like the TV-series The Amazing Race: Your goal is generally the same as the guy next to you. How you get there is totally up to you.

The easiest trick is to simply learn the history. You’d be surprised how many people attempt to work with only the information given. If you could solve a problem with only the information given, the world wouldn’t need consultants. Don’t waste your time in a meeting if everyone is trying to make a decision when there is still information to be gathered.

MBAs too often use their quant skills as a crutch rather than a tool. Decisions are made based on logic and logical conclusions are reached only after knowing the history. Know that in any place in life there is a history that precedes your arrival. Opening your mouth before you’ve learned that history is foolish.

3 real situations students wished they had avoided:

Application #1 – The place you have been waiting forever for a job/internship offer has an HR team that has to get everything approved by a c-level in another state. You feel jerked around, while you watch your buddies starting cool jobs.

Application #2 – The firm you want to work for regularly gets specialized consulting from a professor at your school. You don’t know this and continually berate the secretary with phone calls to get to the decision-maker.

Applicaton #3 – A firm offers you an internship that is un-paid. You decide to try it out becuase they are flexible with your studies. After working there for a month you realize that they are in financial trouble and hired you becuase they are already over-budget.