March 12, 2009

Midterms Complete/Why Tests Don’t Matter

Filed under: Finance, Human Relations, School — Robert John Ed @ 5:40 pm

I didn’t have many midterm examinations, which was pretty nice.  The ones that I did have were pretty simple.  One thing about business school that I don’t understand, everyone still gets really stressed out about tests.  First let’s take a look at the big picture:

Grades simply do not matter.  Knowledge matters.

Many students with great grades do not have internships set up as of yet, probably because they didn’t network and look for jobs early.  I say this knowing how talented and hard working my fellow classmates are.  These are tough times, and when the times get tough…

In business school, companies are smart enough to know that geniuses don’t always fit in.  They also know that most schools give good grades to almost every student regardless of real effort.  Maybe not straight A’s, but no one is leaving with less than a 3.5 GPA.  Them’s the brakes.  There is a prerequisite level of knowledge to get into school and so employers take that at face value.  What they really worry about is experience and fit.  Does this kid REALLY get it?  Does she understand how businesses address and solicit a market?  Is she energetic?  Does she want responsibility and know how to lead a team to specific objectives and how to measure those objectives?  Will she hit the ground running?

And most importantly does she want this?  If so, how do we know?

They know because you’ve been knocking down there door and soaking up as much from existing employees as possible.  You’re on a first name basis with a handful of people that have the same job you want.  They respect you because you’ve done everything possible to get down the knowledge curve (within reason) while not being an annoyance.  That’s what they want.  They need young talented people to inject vitality into their organizations, but they’ll never know you’re the person till you say hello.  So stop worrying about your grades.  Worry about what you’re learning.

My marketing classes have been a drag.  The teachers are fine, the material is fine.  But I’ve already learned it.  I learned it in undergrad and over the last three years (if you haven’t noticed, I follow marketing news as though on a leash).  I’m not LEARNING there like I am in finance.  So I’ve made the decision to take classes (finance, medical industry) that will stretch me knowledge wise.

Tests aren’t an adequate gauge for knowledge and ability.  They simply measure your ability to take a test.  You don’t take tests in the real world.  You build campaigns, roll out new products, manage P&L and lead teams.  So I don’t stress the tests, they are a mere formality to get another A, which is going to happen anyway and companies really don’t care for anyway.  Sweat the knowledge and what you are getting that’s applicable in RL.


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