At McKinsey, the skill I needed the most was not maths. In fact, the most advanced maths I ever used was multiple regression.

Surprisingly, even more than ‘problem-solving’, the skill I used the most was ‘articulation’ – writing, explaining, and crafting persuasive stories using data.

And not just McKinsey – throughout the business world, success requires strong articulation skills, not the least because clarity in speech comes from clarity of thought. If you can’t articulate, you can’t persuade. And if you can’t persuade, you can’t lead.

And this is one area where students in the US are ahead of Indians. And not without reason.

In school, I never got a chance to do any quality writing or presentation. And even when we wrote some beaten down prose, our teachers were incapable of correcting or guiding us. E.g., nobody ever told me that passive voice should be avoided like plague. Pun intended 🙂

Tragically, our schooling conditioned us to give the answer the teacher wanted to see, down to the exact words, where possible. It was deadly effective in snuffing out any critical thinking.

If the schools don’t change, we need to find other ways to solve this problem.

We can’t keep doing this and then say that the new generation is dumb. People are what we train them to be.

– Rajan

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