The Harvard MBA Study on Goal Setting

Harvard University is one of the most famous universities all over the World and it is not a surprise, that people want to know everything about the place they are going to apply to. As for me, I have always been curious about Harvard and I found a book written by Mark McCormack “What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School”.

I have known that the history of admissions to the Harvard MBA program has been changed radically since the time it was founded. If in the early 60’s the acceptance rate was 30% and reduced up to 25% in 70’s, the current number of admitted students reaches 15% only.

Entering the program appeared to be difficult and competitive; not every gifted student can be accepted, because these days the preference is given to those applicants who already have the first degree or qualification and work experience – they are considered more appropriate for acceptance into the Harvard Business School.

Despite this fact, there is 3% of the graduates of the Harvard’s MBA program make 10 times as much as the rest 97%. There is a question: how is this possible? Is it all because a student has not written down his goals and plans for the future life?

3% of Harvard MBAs Make Ten Times as Much as the Other 97% Combined (study available here)

As the files dated 1979 years say, only 3% of the students of the Harvard MBA Program declared that they wrote down their goals clearly. They also wrote about their plans for reaching them. Only 3%. What about the remaining 97% of students? 84% of them had no definite goals at all and the remaining 13% did not fag themselves to write down their targets.

In ten years, in 1989, another file appeared, which said about the interview of the graduates of the Harvard’s MBA Program. It appeared that 13% of the students, who expressed their goals on paper, earned twice more than 84% of the students without goals. What about the rest 3%? Well, those students earned ten times as much as the other 97% together!

The Power of Written Goals

I became very curious about those numbers and facts and I was going to find out whether such a study is real. The information about the actual online subject matter was absent, but I found the references to the one which was conducted at Harvard in 1979 and at Yale in 1953.

So, now I had Yale’s class study and my research has been developed more. Following the information on Yale’s study, I found the same location, the same results and the same experiment as it was at Harvard’s classes. Is this a kind of fake?

It is too early to make conclusions.On the Internet, I have found the Google Answers where a person offered $20 for a research showing the effects of writing down the objectives on its achievement. Nobody gave a concent for, but the rest participants said those studies did not exist.

I had finally luck to come across the page from the Yale Law Library, where the question of my concern was asked: “Where can I find the Yale study from 1953 about objective-setting?” My investigation came to its end when I read the answer. As appeared there was no study about the goals-setting in 1953 at all.

To the Yale Law Library, many requests on information about the said research were sent and many curious people asked for proves. I was not the only one who was interested in the experiment performed in 1953 and ten years later. I have known that the research was described as an essay about how one’s goals at graduation related to success and annual incomes achieved during the period.

Written Goals in Academic studies

To my surprise, the secretary of the Class of 1953 and his friends from that class did not know about that study, though they had been working for more than a years on their positions.

The administrators of the Yale also did not hear about that study. There was no a single document among the records about the said research as well, and nobody from the Class of 1953 of any other class could recall the study about the objectives-setting.

Sadly, I must confess, that all my efforts to prove that writing down the goals was based on the definite real study were in vain. But my investigation has a happy ending.

I have found the information about the study that really took place. As I said above, there were many people like me, who was curious about the validity of Harvard’s experiment. They have made their own study at Dominican University, where 149 participants took part.

The positive effect of the writing down the goals was confirmed! This experiment represents the experimental proof of the effectiveness of goals writing – it enhances goals achievement.

Have you set written goals and created a plan for their achievement?

Even if I spent a huge amount of time and efforts for finding information about the existence of the study that has never been conducted, I am confident now, that when you write your goals down, you will reach it like I did it at my investigation.

Can you believe now that writing down your goals can affect your future? Do you think you can find some time to sit down to figure out your plans for the future and to express them on paper?

Only when you see your goals on paper, you will clearly realize what your soul longs for, and the ways for reaching your goals will come to your head themselves. No one is making you do this, but you can conduct your own research and check if it works.

One Comment

  1. The link of the study doesn’t work. Where can i get it?

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