How Not to Fail the Failure Question
It’s the last thing you want to think about. For years, you’ve blotted out the memory of missing your sales quota. Your heart sinks when you remember that sure fire promotion that produced zero orders. And God forbid anyone learns how you were demoted for going around your boss. What’s the point of going back, you think. I’ve forgiven myself. Can’t we just leave it be?
Well, not if you’re applying to Ross, Haas, or Tuck. Each of those schools includes an essay question that requires you to face a failure. And how you’ve faced workplace adversity is often a guide to how you’ll deal with it at business school…and beyond. Accepted.com, a consulting firm that’s advised graduate students for nearly 20 years, recently weighed in on how to turn a disappointment into a positive on an admissions essay. Here is their advice:
1) Show How Failure Led to Success: If you never try, you never learn. In your essay, share how your mistakes laid the groundwork for a step forward, such as a successful alternative or a procedure that prevented a recurrence.
2) Share Why Things Went to Wrong: No, this isn’t the time to point fingers. It is an opportunity to demonstrate self-awareness. Go through your decision-making process. What factors – hubris, defective data, or organizational shifts – produced this result? What were the consequences? Once you examined the wreckage, what steps did you take to ensure it never happened again? Remember, the quality of the solution reflects the depth of your learning.
3) Focus on What You Learned: This is your mea culpa. Don’t be afraid to show some humility. How has your experience changed how you deal with people and adversity? In your essay, you need to show how you’ve grown, whether it is conducting deeper dives or keeping emotion out of decision-making. Show how you can adapt and grow. After all, isn’t that what business school is all about?
Blast from the Past:
How MBAs Learn Finance: The Story Behind A Best-Selling B-School Textbook
It covers 1,184 pages. Now in its 14th edition, it’s used by nearly 40,000 students annually. And it generates $5 million dollars each year. It is Financial Management: Theory & Practice by Eugene Brigham and Michael Ehrhardt. And it is the best-selling textbook of all time for MBAs!
That’s right: It is the book that has been studied by hundreds-of-thousands of MBAs – and shaped the thinking of three generations of business school professors. Once sold for $7.95 during the Johnson administration, it now carries a list price of $242.95 at your bookstore. And it has been built on a half century worth of hard business lessons.
So how did this textbook get its start – and why is it so popular among students and educators alike? And how did it survive business fads, clashes among authors, and a near fatal endorsement? Check out our investigation to get the inside story of this iconic textbook.