Interview Guides + Admissions Boards

Hello from midterm week! Still working on an update about life at Kellogg, as well as some new application-related info. I didn’t realize when people said that business school life was super busy, they really meant SUPER BUSY. People say it’s like drinking from a fire hose, but I think it’s more like being in that gasoline dance party sequence from Zoolander — so fun but a crazy high potential for burnout. (Too soon? RIP.)

Anyway…here are some useful application-related things that have hit my inbox lately:

MBAMission recently sent out a link to their free interview guides, for any round 1 applicants who have heard back about interviews. (If that’s you, congrats!)

And now for some conflicting info…

First, Clear Admit’s MBA LiveWire is buzzing with admissions updates from round 1 applicants. Second, Stacy Blackman just sent a great e-mail to her listserv about not listening to MBA message boards. Here it is, quick and abridged:

“At worst, participation in these online conversations can subconsciously influence your application strategy and send you off in the wrong direction. […] They are not adcom members and cannot judge your odds of being accepted somewhere, nor do they have any special insight into a certain school’s admissions process, as much as they might like to think they do. […]

Nothing good has ever come from listening to—or comparing yourself to—other business school hopefuls. Use that precious time to beef up your resume, work on your essays, or do something else productive.”

Keep your head in the game and best of luck with your applications!

Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

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Happy Independence Day!

It’s not every day that Will Smith saves us from aliens, y’all, so I hope you’re celebrating appropriately!

I’m working on making 50+ pounds of ribs for a ridiculous barbecue, so I’m gonna get back to that and leave you with some inspiration from the one and only President Bill Pullman:

Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

Sheryl Sandberg: Win Hearts

Sheryl Sandberg recently spoke to the graduates of Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management. The speech is making headlines for her touching tribute to her late husband, and she also stressed the importance of being bold, soliciting feedback, empowering others, and supporting equality.

Some other highlights:

“I believe that there are some principles of leadership that are universal — and one of those is that it is better to inspire than to direct. […] Great leaders do not just want to secure compliance. They want to elicit genuine enthusiasm, complete trust, and real dedication. They don’t just win the minds of their teams, they win their hearts. If they believe in your organization’s mission and they believe in you, they will not only do their daily tasks well, but they will do them with true passion.

No one won more hearts than my beloved husband Dave Goldberg who passed away suddenly two months ago. Dave was a truly inspiring leader. He was kind. He was generous. He was thoughtful. He raised the level of performance of everyone around him. [… HBS] Professor Frances Frei has said ‘leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.’ Like Dave, you can do this for others over the course of your career.”

“I hope if you find yourself on one path but longing for something else, you find a way to get there. And if that isn’t right, try again. Try until you find something that stirs your passion, a job that matters to you and matters to others. It’s a luxury to combine passion and contribution. It’s also a clear path to happiness.”

Read the full text of the speech at HuffPo.

Image courtesy of The Huffington Post.

Ted Sarandos: Data, Judgment, Curation

“It is important to know which data to ignore […] In practice, it’s probably a seventy-thirty mix. Seventy is the data, and thirty is judgment, but the thirty needs to be on top, if that makes sense.”

– Ted Sarandos (Chief Content Officer, Netflix)

As someone interested in the data-driven side of entertainment, I love hearing things like this. Yes, data is important — invaluable, really — to discover out what our audiences want to watch and how. But as important is judgment, or taste. So even in data-driven entertainment firms, it’s important to recruit leaders with a well-developed creative sense, as well as a mastery of analytics.

As Tim Wu puts it in his The New Yorker article about Sarandos:

“Perhaps what we are seeing here is better explained by the rise of a different kind of talent. It is a form of curation (at which Sarandos excels) whose aim is guessing not simply what will attract viewers but what will attract fans—people who will get excited enough to spread the word. Data may help, but what may matter more is a sense of what appeals to the hearts of obsessive people, and who can deliver that.”

Image courtesy of IndieWire.

Natalie Portman: On Harvard and Impostor Syndrome

“I felt like there had been some mistake, that I wasn’t smart enough to be in this company, and that every time I opened my mouth I would have to prove that I wasn’t just a dumb actress.”

“Sometimes, your insecurities and your inexperience may lead you, too, to embrace other people’s expectations, standards or values. But you can harness that inexperience to carve out your own path, one that is free of the burden of knowing how things are supposed to be, a path that is defined by its own particular set of reasons.”

– Natalie Portman on attending Harvard

Read more at The Washington Post. Or at Forbes.