"Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor." - Truman Copote
Getting an MBA will go down as one of the most rewarding, challenging, and enjoyable times in life for anyone who attends a full-time program. Compared to the working world from which was left, the amount of learning, socializing, and bonding that occurs feels almost inconceivable at first. This combination of experiences helps students further develop their strengths and improve their weaknesses. For myself, studying while staying involved socially was a strength, but interviews and networking were weaknesses (if only this site was round!)
The path to business school and beyond for all of us is distinctly different, yet so many similarities emerge along all of our paths. For example, the mention of Porter's five forces makes any MBA student roll their eyes. But balancing studying, networking, socializing and obtaining an internship or job stands as one of the primary difficulties for many. We've been trained from 16+ years of school that grades make or break our lives. Class begins, statistics and accounting immediately consume the lives of many. A few weeks pass before the bulk of job interviews begin. It's only after walking into those first interviews completely unprepared that the unthinkable is realized: school may not be the most difficult part of this experience.
During my first year, I started applying doe-eyed and bushy-tailed. Prior to returning to Arizona State, I was working in finance; prior to that, I was at ASU for my undergraduate. Returning here was like stepping back to my comfort zone, and it was tough to fathom how different things could be. Adjusting priorities to spend free time practicing interviews instead of studying felt sacrilegious at first, but it soon became clear that landing a dream internship-and later a job-is the true litmus test for grad school success.
Searching for a full-time job provided promise but initially yielded no results. Having ironed out my STAR stories and learned how to research a company, the first rounds of interviews weren't too bad. But it was that final interview that kept standing between me and an offer: something wasn't connecting. Talking to classmates about it, I learned that I wasn't alone. Ryan Kelkar and Bobby Yap had discovered a similar trend in their pursuit; it was time to foster that innovation that ASU so frequently encouraged. November 16th, at a dinner event hosted by our Multicultural Association; the day all of our success in the interview process took a turn for the better.
Ryan tells us that night, "I still remember the day towards the end of my first year in my MBA program when I realized I couldn't make out a single thing that the professor was writing on the board. It was at that point that I realized that I may actually need glasses".
After browsing around Lens Crafters, I came across a pair of spectacles that caught my eye. When I put them on and looked in the mirror, I was astonished at what I saw. My immediate reaction was, "Wow, I look way smarter wearing these than I would without".
We began theorizing how to better our chances in the market. We had all tried changing our answers, digging deeper into past experiences, and over-analyzing the tie color to wear. It was time to get novel. Referencing Ryan's backstory as well as a psychology study stating that people in glasses are perceived as smarter and easier to trust, we decided to test out wearing fake glasses. We figured that if we're making the final rounds doing what we're doing, this small tweak could be our path of least-resistance to landing our dream jobs.
As we all know, a theory should be tested in a controlled environment before it is exposed to the real world. School function after school function, we would bring our newly purchases glasses and ask for feedback on if they could work. It was a promising first test. We then took to blind studies (if you will) by conducting the same test with any stranger who would lend their ear, receiving similar promising answers. It was time to bring this to the big show and see if employers would unknowingly provide us with that ultimate positive feedback in the form of a job offer. Between the three of us, we had only success from here. Disclaimer; fake lenses reflect badly on computers and thus don't work so well for virtual interviews.
Editors Note: I can't help but laugh as I read this. Being the manager who hired Patrick into Bayer, I'm even more impressed at his approach and the fact that his fake glasses may have influenced my (and the hiring panel's) subconscious. Glasses aside, he was incredibly articulate, thoughtful, and had impressive STAR responses. So all of his practice definitely paid off. - Ryan Goodrich