The Value of a Lesson Learned

The Value of a Lesson Learned

I received my MBA from Meredith College, a small, private, Baptist women’s college. I was first in my class, carrying a 4.0 GPA. My final semester, my professor decided I needed to learn I did not have all the answers. Thus, the semester from hell began. Nineteen years ago, Harvard had a file of case studies they considered to be unsolvable. So the battle of the case studies began. My professor …assigned these cases, each one progressively harder than the last.

I was smart enough to know if Harvard’s finest couldn’t solve them, I didn’t have a chance. So what should have been a problem-solving exercise, became for me a research project. Every case study was based on an actual company. So I researched the companies and tracked down the executives who lived the case. I interviewed them and asked quite simply, “What did you do? And what should you have done?” I usually had the answer to the riddle within about 20 minutes.

My professor obviously thought I was a genius. But I was no genius at all. I just had the foresight to know hindsight is 20/20 and knowing what didn’t work was just as important as knowing what did work.