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Francesco

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4

Should I mention a major past failure?

I flunked out of university on my first try - wasnt passionate about what I was studying, had no goals, overweight, extremely introverted - ultimately, entirely due to my own mistakes. I realised I needed to fix those faults and shouldn't dive in straight into another degree. So I worked in a sales job which helped me grow a lot and after 8 months, joined a different university to do an accounting and finance degree, and killed it (and collected some decent extra curriculars in university).

I left out this information (first university and work experience subsequent to the failure) due to lack of space in my resume. I'm wondering if I should talk about this should the topic of failure be brought up during my interview. My friends are advising me to steer clear from mentioning this as they see it as too egregious a fault for MBB. I'm inclined to mention it as it was a turning point in my life and I'm proud of how far I've come since.

Appreciate some advice on whether I should bring this up during the interview should I be asked about past failures.

I flunked out of university on my first try - wasnt passionate about what I was studying, had no goals, overweight, extremely introverted - ultimately, entirely due to my own mistakes. I realised I needed to fix those faults and shouldn't dive in straight into another degree. So I worked in a sales job which helped me grow a lot and after 8 months, joined a different university to do an accounting and finance degree, and killed it (and collected some decent extra curriculars in university).

I left out this information (first university and work experience subsequent to the failure) due to lack of space in my resume. I'm wondering if I should talk about this should the topic of failure be brought up during my interview. My friends are advising me to steer clear from mentioning this as they see it as too egregious a fault for MBB. I'm inclined to mention it as it was a turning point in my life and I'm proud of how far I've come since.

Appreciate some advice on whether I should bring this up during the interview should I be asked about past failures.

Thanks a lot all, appreciate the feedback. As some of you had mentioned, the subjectivity of how it might be perceived was definitely a concern for me as well. Will leave it out unless explicitly asked about "greatest failurs" or asked about the gap in the resume/late start (age-wise) in entering the workforce. — Anonymous A on Jun 04, 2019

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Hi Anonymous,

I would not proactively mention a failure story, unless the interviewer explicitly asks for one. However, if that’s the case, your story would be a totally fine example, since it includes the key elements for a “good” failure story:

  • Presents a real failure (many candidates use “fake” failures to appear good – when this happens the interviewer usually digs deeper – everyone has some failures and if you are not willing to share one that’s a major red flag)
  • Shows you worked through the failure
  • Shows you learned from the failure and successfully overcome it

Hope this helps,

Francesco

Hi Anonymous,

I would not proactively mention a failure story, unless the interviewer explicitly asks for one. However, if that’s the case, your story would be a totally fine example, since it includes the key elements for a “good” failure story:

  • Presents a real failure (many candidates use “fake” failures to appear good – when this happens the interviewer usually digs deeper – everyone has some failures and if you are not willing to share one that’s a major red flag)
  • Shows you worked through the failure
  • Shows you learned from the failure and successfully overcome it

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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Hi,

You can mention this and you can even sell this experience but for MBB it does not sound like a huge achievement. So if I were you, I would a) not mention it proactively by myself since it's not a big deal b) use it as an achievement story, but make the right package. Make sure that this story is not outdated - if you have more than 3 years of experience I would not mention it at all

Best

Hi,

You can mention this and you can even sell this experience but for MBB it does not sound like a huge achievement. So if I were you, I would a) not mention it proactively by myself since it's not a big deal b) use it as an achievement story, but make the right package. Make sure that this story is not outdated - if you have more than 3 years of experience I would not mention it at all

Best

I know many other people may have different opinions but I think you can spin this past in such a positive way that could tell a story of how determined and self-aware you are about your interest and ability. While some would flow along with a degree with which they were not motivated about, you decided to let it go and indeed strategized about studying another that you truly care about - and to cap it, you truly did well at the latter degree! Great people fail at a lot of things - but they are regarded great eventually because following their passion usually lead them to unusual results most of the time. I would find a very positive spin to the story and go ahead to share it. But if you can't share the story without sounding it off as regret in your past, then I would rather keep it... Good luck

I know many other people may have different opinions but I think you can spin this past in such a positive way that could tell a story of how determined and self-aware you are about your interest and ability. While some would flow along with a degree with which they were not motivated about, you decided to let it go and indeed strategized about studying another that you truly care about - and to cap it, you truly did well at the latter degree! Great people fail at a lot of things - but they are regarded great eventually because following their passion usually lead them to unusual results most of the time. I would find a very positive spin to the story and go ahead to share it. But if you can't share the story without sounding it off as regret in your past, then I would rather keep it... Good luck

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I agree with the previous experts that you should probably leave the story out unless you are explicitely asked for an example of failure in the fit section of the interview. MBB can be a bit cookie cutter in who they are looking for so the way your story would be perceived if brought up proactively will depend a lot on who is interviewing you. For some it could be positive, for others raise red flags. Hope that makes sense and best of luck with your interviews!

I agree with the previous experts that you should probably leave the story out unless you are explicitely asked for an example of failure in the fit section of the interview. MBB can be a bit cookie cutter in who they are looking for so the way your story would be perceived if brought up proactively will depend a lot on who is interviewing you. For some it could be positive, for others raise red flags. Hope that makes sense and best of luck with your interviews!

(edited)