I, The Absolute

Reality Check

Posted by itheabsolute on January 24, 2006

The first reality check was delivered today.

Today McKinsey announced its shortlists. The list is full of Dean’s listers. The firm also seems to prefer people from a couple of corporations. A couple of diversity candidates have been short listed as well.

As usual complaining, including disappointment and frustration, started – the firm came and said so many things but eventually shortlists only those with top grades. The fact is that it suits these consulting firms to pick up the top graders. They have empirical evidence that these people perform very well.

The argument is this

1. Show me a reason why I should not shortlist a person with a brilliant academic record.
2. Show me a reason why I should shortlist a person without any good academic record.

It is incorrect to assume that those good in academics are not good in others. At least, 60 % of those people good in academics also excel in other fields (don’t have any data to say the same about their personal life though). At the same time, it is also incorrect to assume that those not doing well in academics do not have anything to offer. If that was the case, then Professors should be ruling the business empires. But, to repeat, it suits consulting firms. The onus to convince the recruiter to shortlist, however, rests with the candidate himself.

It is important and good to be self-aware. But human beings are eternal optimists and primarily incapable of estimating their own worth*. Once the exercise of self-estimation is done, it becomes quite clear on how it was wrong in applying to a firm where all along one knew that one is not going to get a call. It pains to get a ding. But amidst such great peer-group, one should be prepared to be battered with many a ding.

1. Was quite disappointed at not finding the name (in the shortlist) of one of the bloggers – the best all-rounder on campus, in my opinion.
2. Happy that i did not apply. Would not have got short listed in any case 🙂
* I estimate myself based on what i ‘can’. Others estimate me based on what I ‘am’.

7 Responses to “Reality Check”

  1. Anonymous said

    dont know what people are saying in the market…but can definately assure you that some people in the list are not deans listers ( except the diversity folks).

  2. anon

    thank you

    alum / alum 2004

    sometimes i feel that consulting is over rated. aren’t people from other industries making it big in life? but it appears as if the entire MBA education is oriented towards a consulting job. anyways, one cannot control market forces.

    thanks for your comments


    thanks. in a school / college where students have no experience, the only measure could be academics, but in a school where people have put in experience, i am not sure. the firms i guess know what they are doing.


    thanks for wishes.


  3. Sundeep said

    Nice post Vijay.
    Hope you make it to BCG or the firm that you think you will fit in well..



  4. Shreyansh said

    Have been reading your posts for quite some time now.
    The story of shortlisting on the basis of grades is similar (with some variations for obvious reasons) here at IIT.

    But i feel it is too difficult to estimate your self.You might do things you had never thought you were capable of and vice versa.And that is why it is good to be an optimist apart from being aware.

    //I estimate myself based on what i ‘can’. Others estimate me based on what I ‘am’. //
    This is reality check, really.
    Very good lines.

  5. Anonymous said


    Well written blog and so true. Seen it happening in my batch also.

    ISB CO 2004

  6. Alum said

    Who are consultants?
    The ‘Brahmins’ of our current society. The supposedly learned ones who will advise the rest of us on what needs to be done to succeed or solve problems. In your later career, when you head a company or are in an important position and need to call in a consultant, you would certainly want to call in someone who is ‘more learned’ or with a BRAND of ‘more learned’. ‘Grades’ is one of the ways and it is a clear cut method of putting certain people in the so-called ‘more learned’ bracket during your MBA.
    When I argued last year during placements, that the usage of grades to create the shortlist is another way McKinsey build its brand, there were not many takers. But, I believe that is still one of the reasons.

  7. Anonymous said

    That is so well said.It is a hard task at hand at evaluating one self and then finding the right market for it.You seem to have found the way.Way to go.Good luck.

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