Average is now the default

As my colleagues know, I am a podcast nut. I subscribe to more than 20 podcasts and listen to them every opportunity I can. One of the podcasts I listen to is On Brand, a podcast hosted by Nick Westergaard (@nickwestergaard on twitter) based in Iowa and features interviews with brand marketers. One recent episode featured an interview with Jay Acunzo (@jayacunzo) who has his own podcast.

While most of the interview talked about brands and marketing, there was one snippet that stood out for me. Jay pointed out that the internet has made it so easy to be average because there are so many templates out there. So now, average is just the default and people have to work hard to become exceptional, and it is only the exceptional who will get ahead and have an impact on the world. Jay’s advice is to always ask yourself why you are doing this and who you are doing this for, to get from average to exceptional.

I thought this was great advice, especially for our MBAs who are interviewing for jobs at the moment. If you take the perspective of the recruiter who has to sit through hours of interviews with other candidates, you need to be exceptional to stand out. And relying on templates for CVs or cover letters, or applying generic frameworks during a case interview, will only consign you to the average and not good enough heap. As to how you can stand out from the crowd, the careers service in any school can only go so far in terms of giving you the tools to think things through but ultimately you have to contextualise and apply these tools to your own circumstance.

The FT 2017 rankings

So I am writing this at 6:30am while listening to Coverville podcast episode featuring 90 minutes of Warron Zevon covers. I work best in the quiet morning although I draw a line at joining the 4am club. I’ve just updated a presentation that I do every year around this time to the current MBA class… Continue Reading

My 2016 Top 10 albums

Over the last three years, I have been posting my top 10 albums of the year on my twitter and private Facebook account. As I while away the last few days of 2016, I have posted my 10 albums of the year below. It definitely does not conform to any critics list and has my… Continue Reading

The artefacts of change

The business school is closed for the end of year holidays and while many students have taken the opportunity to recharge by spending time with families or travelling with friends, I have spent most of it at home doing errands and day trips. I personally hate contending with the crowds and traffic at Christmas. Nonetheless,… Continue Reading

Demonetisation but not as we know it

Much has been written about the impact on daily life arising from the Indian government’s decision to withdraw certain denominations of cash from legal tender in a bid to curb corruption. I personally don’t know enough about the situation in India to make any kind of judgement but it has been fascinating to hear from… Continue Reading

Playlist for those end of term exam blues

All the Cambridge MBAs breathed a huge sigh of relief this week as they finished their Cambridge Venture Project (CVP) presentations to clients as varied as ARM, Jaguar Land Rover, one of the first investors in Linkedin etc. The mood went stratospheric when news that Tom Stanley in the current class was in the starting… Continue Reading

This year’s Business Week MBA ranking

Bloomberg Businessweek has released their annual ranking of business schools for 2016. Curiously, they chose to release their ranking of US MBA programmes before Thanksgiving and made non-US schools wait till yesterday to learn where we stand in the ranking of international MBA programmes. I have always found this nomenclature amusing. Instead of calling it… Continue Reading

Thanksgiving playlist

It’s Thanksgiving weekend in the US but the pace of the Cambridge MBA means that there is little holiday respite for our American students. Students are balancing their course work with their careers search, participation in college activities and also their Cambridge Venture Projects. It is a stressful time so I thought I would share… Continue Reading