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What if youve never failed?

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Current Student
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Status: Disbelief! The Countdown Begins
Affiliations: CFA
Joined: 29 Jul 2011
Posts: 221
Concentration: Finance, Economics
Schools: Johnson '15 (M)
GMAT 1: 600 Q45 V28
GMAT 2: 670 Q44 V39
GMAT 3: 750 Q49 V42
GPA: 3.5
WE: Accounting (Insurance)
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What if youve never failed? [#permalink] New post 11 Jun 2012, 13:12
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I better start this thread from saying I am far from perfect, everyday, I fail to do something correctly.

But this is the question that all of the B-schools want to know, what's your biggest failure, tell us a time when you were disappointed in the result of something, etc.

What if you have never failed at anything good enough? I guess this means I never tried anything daring or great enough for admission?

I mean, I failed the first time I took a CFA exam and it sucked. But that makes for a pretty lousy b-school essay cause it was a one person task. Who really wants to read that we failed a test, worked harder and then passed? I didnt achieve my goal the first time I took the GMAT, but again not a great story. I work in a really big company where I am a small cog in the big wheel. They dont let me play with anything dangerous enough to really fail at something. Any advice on where to look?

I hate to talk about grades on a test in this section or the beginning of college as not doing as well as I could have. Anyone else in the same boat, with just no clue? I am putting myself on the couch and really digging deep here, but coming up blank. I guess I will come up with something, just wanted to vent it out there.
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Re: What if youve never failed? [#permalink] New post 11 Jun 2012, 13:38
This might sound crazy, but maybe you should go try something now and fail at it. Have you ever qualified for a national athletic competition? Pick a sport and start training.
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Re: What if youve never failed? [#permalink] New post 11 Jun 2012, 16:08
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Dbalks wrote:
I better start this thread from saying I am far from perfect, everyday, I fail to do something correctly.

But this is the question that all of the B-schools want to know, what's your biggest failure, tell us a time when you were disappointed in the result of something, etc.

What if you have never failed at anything good enough? I guess this means I never tried anything daring or great enough for admission?

I mean, I failed the first time I took a CFA exam and it sucked. But that makes for a pretty lousy b-school essay cause it was a one person task. Who really wants to read that we failed a test, worked harder and then passed? I didnt achieve my goal the first time I took the GMAT, but again not a great story. I work in a really big company where I am a small cog in the big wheel. They dont let me play with anything dangerous enough to really fail at something. Any advice on where to look?

I hate to talk about grades on a test in this section or the beginning of college as not doing as well as I could have. Anyone else in the same boat, with just no clue? I am putting myself on the couch and really digging deep here, but coming up blank. I guess I will come up with something, just wanted to vent it out there.


Aaahh, you've reached the "This question does not apply to my life" quandry, I see. Instead of trying to find aspects of your life that fit the question, try to find aspects of the question that could fit your life. I think you're looking at this question too literally. Trust me, you have failed at things outside of examinations in your life.
This doesn't have to be a story of spectacular flame outs. It can be more subtle. Did you make a promise to yourself that you found yourself continuously breaking? Is there an interpersonal interaction that you just can't seem to get right? Have you ever failed to live up to your own expectations or a loved one's? These could all make fascinating failure stories. In fact I'd be more interested in reading an essay on any of these topics than reading about not landing some big client.
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Current Student
User avatar
Status: Disbelief! The Countdown Begins
Affiliations: CFA
Joined: 29 Jul 2011
Posts: 221
Concentration: Finance, Economics
Schools: Johnson '15 (M)
GMAT 1: 600 Q45 V28
GMAT 2: 670 Q44 V39
GMAT 3: 750 Q49 V42
GPA: 3.5
WE: Accounting (Insurance)
Followers: 8

Kudos [?]: 74 [0], given: 7

Re: What if youve never failed? [#permalink] New post 11 Jun 2012, 16:41
Thanks Cheetarah. I was actually just reading your blog earlier, you write very well, so I am sure your essays were a strength in your apps. Congrats on all the success.

There is more then one "this question doesnt apply to my life question" out there for me, but I guess thats why I am looking into it now to do some self assessing. I will start looking into more personal broken promises and failed expectations.
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Re: What if youve never failed? [#permalink] New post 11 Jun 2012, 18:11
If you've never failed, then why are you going to business school?
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Re: What if youve never failed? [#permalink] New post 11 Jun 2012, 19:23
sounds crazy..never failed? Einstein says if you have never failed, you've never tried new things.. go try something new.. you'll definitely fail :)
Current Student
User avatar
Status: Disbelief! The Countdown Begins
Affiliations: CFA
Joined: 29 Jul 2011
Posts: 221
Concentration: Finance, Economics
Schools: Johnson '15 (M)
GMAT 1: 600 Q45 V28
GMAT 2: 670 Q44 V39
GMAT 3: 750 Q49 V42
GPA: 3.5
WE: Accounting (Insurance)
Followers: 8

Kudos [?]: 74 [0], given: 7

Re: What if youve never failed? [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2012, 05:15
manmaker wrote:
sounds crazy..never failed? Einstein says if you have never failed, you've never tried new things.. go try something new.. you'll definitely fail :)


Yeah, it would be crazy to say Ive never failed. I try tons of new things that I fail at, just none of them make for very interesting b-school essays.

I guess I just dont take enough risks to go to a top B-school...
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Re: What if youve never failed? [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2012, 11:57
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I also feel you are taking failure too literally. We are all humans and there are times when we all tend to make mistakes , times when we fall short of our expectations . Some of us bounce back with renewed energy and triumph, while others yield to their failure and never make an effort to try again.
It is all about our perception of failure. People who say they have never failed in life might have not set any standards or goals for themselves and were contended with what ever life sent their way.

You are saying "I work in a really big company where I am a small cog in the big wheel. They don't let me play with anything dangerous enough to really fail at something. Any advice on where to look? "

I would ask you "Didn't you aspire or make an effort to be a big cog in the big wheel instead of a small cog"? If you did, that was a failure on your part. Then how did you better your self to deserve that status? What did you learn from that experience? How did you grow from that experience? Answers to these questions may help you find your failure story.

I hope this helped.
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Re: What if youve never failed? [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2012, 13:56
Expert's post
Thanks Dbalks and Cheetarah1980 for liking my response.
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Current Student
User avatar
Status: Disbelief! The Countdown Begins
Affiliations: CFA
Joined: 29 Jul 2011
Posts: 221
Concentration: Finance, Economics
Schools: Johnson '15 (M)
GMAT 1: 600 Q45 V28
GMAT 2: 670 Q44 V39
GMAT 3: 750 Q49 V42
GPA: 3.5
WE: Accounting (Insurance)
Followers: 8

Kudos [?]: 74 [0], given: 7

Re: What if youve never failed? [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2012, 13:59
Thanks Poonamtandon, that is good food for thought and a good point to get into for self reflection. How did I end up as such a small part of such a big company?

You know, sometimes you feel like you are doing all the right things by working hard and networking, but somewhere you must be doing something wrong to still be the small cog. It really is a harsh reality, but a reality. I guess I was looking for a project or something at work, but I work at an insurance company and everything here is so risk averse that we take months to think about things with little action. So maybe I am looking for something project oriented, when I should be looking at how i got where I am..


Do you think I can use the failure essay to make a case for career change? Like saying that I wanted to work in I-banking and ended up settling in financial services? And that my proactive apporach to solving my failure was becoming a CFA charterholder, networking, and getting and MBA as part of the plan? Do you think the failure has to be completely resolved and made up for. I read in some admissions books that you should be able to state how you fixed the issues, and how you won't repeat the mistakes. If such a mistake is too easy to make up an I still havent done it, do I not qualify to go to a top B-school?

I realize I am overthinking, but just want to bounce ideas off of anyone who will listen and see my options when I inevitably face this question.
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Re: What if youve never failed? [#permalink] New post 12 Jun 2012, 20:36
Expert's post
I agree, you are over thinking about your failure.

Q.1 Do you think I can use the failure essay to make a case for career change? Like saying that I wanted to work in I-banking and ended up settling in financial services? And that my proactive apporach to solving my failure was becoming a CFA charterholder, networking, and getting and MBA as part of the plan?

Ans. You can do that but it all depends how convincingly you present your case.

Q.2.Do you think the failure has to be completely resolved and made up for. I read in some admissions books that you should be able to state how you fixed the issues, and how you won't repeat the mistakes. If such a mistake is too easy to make up an I still havent done it, do I not qualify to go to a top B-school?

Ans. What matters the most is your take away from the setback / failure? Don't we learn from our experiences at every stage of our life ? Learning from our experiences is what makes us mature. And this maturity and resilience is what the Ad Com are looking for in their prospective candidates through such questions.
I hope it helped.
Thanks,
Poonam
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Re: What if youve never failed?   [#permalink] 12 Jun 2012, 20:36
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