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Blog posts tagged in psychology

Posted by Khaled Kteily on in All About Consulting

The Pygmalion effect

In 1968, Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson reported the Pygmalion effect, and named it after Pygmalion, a play by George Bernard Shaw.  Students at a single California elementary school were given a disguised IQ test. Teachers were then told the names of some of the students, 20% chosen at random, could be ''spurters'' that year and outperformed their classmates. The actual scores of the students were not disclosed to the teachers.

Are you starting to think about your course selection for next semester? A recent publication by Harvard Business School - titled "Why Unqualified Candidates Get Hired Anyway" - can teach you a thing or two about the courses you should be taking. 

The article is based on the results of a study called 'Inflated Applicants: Attribution Errors in Performance Evaluation by Professionals', and it focuses on a concept called the 'fundamental attribution error'. This is people’s tendency to "overemphasize internal explanations for the behavior of others, while failing to take into account the power of the situation." 

The research paper shows that "the fundamental attribution error is so deeply rooted in our decision making that not even highly trained people-evaluators, such as hiring managers and school admissions officers, can defeat its effects."

For example, "the first study asked professional university admissions officers to evaluate nine fictional applicants, whose high schools were reportedly uniform in quality and selectivity. Only one major point of variance existed between the schools: grading standards, which ranged from lenient to harsh. Predictably, 

In fact, "admissions officers tend to pick a candidate who performed well on easy tasks rather than a candidate who performed less well at difficult tasks," says [Gino, one of the authors], noting that even seasoned professionals discount information about the candidate's situation, attributing behavior to innate ability." 


Posted by Khaled Kteily on in All About Consulting


This post is Part 4 in a five-part series on the skills you will need to succeed in consulting, and focuses on building an effective network and positive reputation within your office and firm. 

The series:

Part 1: Hard skills and staying organized

Part 2: Knowing your industry, client, and competitors


Posted by Khaled Kteily on in Interviews


A recent study by researchers from Harvard Business School and The Wharton School - published in Psychological Science - analyzed 9,000 interviews over ten years of MBA admissions. The researchers found that the assessment of the interviewees before you had a direct impact on your own assessment. Specifically:

"Even after controlling for lots of other factors (like the candidate’s GMAT score, essay quality, and characteristics of the individual interviewer), there was... a negative correlation between the previous scores given to candidates that day and the score given to the current interviewee."

In other words, if previous candidates have received higher scores, you are more likely to receive a lower score. And vice versa. Click through to read more about this phenomenon, as well as an analysis of the best times to schedule your consulting interviews.