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Monday, January 16, 2012

How puffery beats out understated hardwork in club selections

In many Bschools, now is the time of the year where the various student bodies on campus are reformed as the leadership transitions to the junior match. That reminds me of the time when we ourselves invited applications from the incoming juniors. Depending on the college, club and student profile, some bodies were swamped with so many applications, that they do not get time to interview everybody. Imagine a 10member club, getting 150 applications. Even allowing 10min/interview, one would need 25hrs to finish the process. IF you divide the club into 5 2member teams, then they could finish the whole process in 6hrs(5hrs+1hr  break). But then, no one has the patience/time for so many interviews/interactions-atleast not for the same role. And then the issue starts.

Imagine that you are a pressed for time, cynical club member, who needs to review applications and then give a take on it. If you have to review applications to gauge the sincerity of the candidate, you would ideally read through it fully. But otherwise, you may just look at the length of the application(especially those with long answers) and prioritize for interviewing those who have given the longest answers! And even otherwise, those who are modest may not give full details of their achievements, and their new seniors would not typically know them well enough to link that details. While those with a penchant for exaggeration, could write relatively minor points and make a better impression.

While the IIM Ahmedabad placement process puts a stop to this by insisting on a simple ONE page CV, only a few clubs impose word limits etc on the answer. So till everyone shifts to a standard length limit, the above situation is bound to happen. Thankfully, the problem I described is unlikely to happen when a newly elected club president selects his peers for the club, but it would affect the incoming junior batch selection, which eventually decides the club transition in a large way. So this issue does matter.

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