Danish Shafi '13
Post-MBA Position: McKinsey & Company
One thing that I’ve become more aware of is the limitations of the knowledge we have and the limitations of the tools we have in solving problems. It’s important to know what you don’t know.
When I came to business school, one of my goals was to understand how the world works a little bit better.
The level of expertise in the classroom has been phenomenal. I’m taking a class on behavioral economics and institutions taught by Robert Shiller, who is maybe the biggest expert in the country on that. I’m taking a class on financial fraud taught by Jim Chanos, the guy who predicted the demise of Enron. Competitive strategy is taught by Fiona Scott Morton, who just returned from a stint at the Department of Justice leading a group of economists dealing with antitrust issues. I’ve had Gary Gorton, whose research is cited by Ben Bernanke, talk about the financial crisis, and Stephen Roach, the former chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, teach me about China.
I’ve become a lot more structured in how I approach problems. What are the hypotheses we can make? What are the data we need to actually test those? What learning does that yield?
One thing that I’ve also become more aware of is the limitations of the knowledge we have and the limitations of the tools we have in solving problems. It’s important to know what you don’t know. At Yale SOM, the faculty will say, “Here’s what the research says—but here are things we don’t know.”
If Bob Shiller says, “We don’t know this,” you know you’re at the edge of our knowledge.
Interviewed on April 10, 2013.