Monday, September 19, 2005

what the F am i doing here?

I've said this to more than one classmate, but i've been really bothered by the question of whether I belong here at the GSB. Or at any business school for that matter. I know, it's crazy, but it pops up in my mind, what can I do. I've been told that it's a big place and you'll find your niche of people and all will be good. I understand that, but I don't think it's about my classmates.

We had a session on the MBTI today and I thought it was pretty revealing. If I were to believe the results, it is actually about me and certain characteristics that are probably innate.

It was a surprise to me to see that I was adjudged to be an EN-F-P. I always thought I was EN-T-P. That's what those free tests I did on the web told me. But, according to this more detailed one, I'm slightly skewed towards being an 'F'.

What does this mean? According to the book:

For people with ENFP preferences, life is a creative adventure full of exciting possibilities. ENFP's are keenly perceptive about people and insightful about the present and future. They experience a wide range of feelings and intense emotions. They need affirmation from others and readily give appreciation and support. ENFP's are good at understanding how people and groups work and are persuasive and compelling in pursuing what is important to them. They are adaptable, blooming where there are planted. Their energy and enthusiasm encourage others to bloom as well.

Got to say, all that blooming stuff sounds pretty kick-ass-go-yogi-go. But, when I ask the 'what-if' questions, things are a tad different. For e.g., What if an ENFP doesn't get the 'affirmation' they need from others. Again, for lack of an alternate, we turn to the book:

If ENFP's do not find a place where they can use their gifts and be appreciated for their contributions, they usually feel frustrated and may:
* become scattered, have trouble focusing, be easily distracted
* fail to follow through on decisions
* become rebellious, excessively nonconforming
* ignore deadlines and procedures

See, this is scary stuff. This was EXACTLY what my job got to be at one point. And it was because it was a stifling situation for me personally. We did another test today where we had to, in groups sorted by type, complete a few statements. The NF's responses ?

Q. Work is a reflection of ..
A. what I care about.

Q. The most important contribution I can make in my work situation is ..
A. use my talents.

Q. The worst thing I can be asked to do in a job is ...
A. routine stuff, or be asked to fire someone.

I quote these because it seemed from the other responses that we as a group were so off the charts when compared to my other cohort-mates in their group responses. Some of them:

Q. Work is a reflection of ...
A. Personal goals, passions and abilities, responsibility etc.

Q. The most important contribution I can make in my work situation is ...
A. Impact on society, increasing production, accomplishment of goals, creative solutions.

Q. The worst thing I can be asked to do in a job is ...
A. Artistic skills, work in a changing environment, unethical, non-challenging work.

Don't the other responses sound more MBA-like ? No wonder NF's are also characterized as Idealists, with a motto: To Thine Own Self Be True. Pretty freaking hard to do if you're an MBA student, I tell ya.

ENFP's hate routine, schedules, and structure and usually manage to avoid them.

Seems to me almost all the jobs an MBA can expect to do post-graduation actually involve a lot of routine, schedules, and structure. I say *almost* all because I'm an optimist and still believe there's got to be a career for me that will allow me to be myself. After all, Dr. Seuss was an ENFP. Wait. OK, bad choice. But, they didn't give us any other ENFP examples :-)

What is also interesting is looking at the percentages of these various types as compared to the general population. ENTP's are 10%(working MBAs) as compared to 3.2%(national sample), ENTJ's are 8.9% vs 1.8% (whoa!),ISTJ's 17.1% vs 11.6%, ESTJ's 17.4% vs 8.7%, and INTJ's 7.1% vs 2.1%. Looks like the TJ's self-select into b-school.

The NF's in b-school, on the other hand, are lower than the national averages. For ENFP's it is 5.9% vs 8.1%. In our cohort we divided the class of 52 into 4 groups - NF, NT, SP, SJ. There were 3 NF's.

I don't know. Maybe I'm not making sense and over-reacting to this little test thing. Then again, the book may be right:

ENFP's find meaning and significance readily and see connections that others don't.

Ah well, screw it. My brain's fried and the World Music Festival is in town and there's a free concert at Millenium Park that I want to check out. Off I go now.


Blogger PowerYogi said...

Don't let a little standardized test screw you up. You are meant to be at the GSB and you will find a career that fulfills all your ENFP desires. FYI, there were 8-10 NFs in my cohort.

Yours truly is an INTJ. The example given: "Mastermind" a la Ayn Rand. Oooookay, don't know how true to form that is, though I definitely identified with the "Rationalist" characterists.

Consider the information you've been given in the grand scheme of things, but don't take it as the gospel, IMO.
wakechick | Homepage | 09.19.05 - 7:18 pm | #


I thought I was a ENTP too...but I was not too surprised with the ENTJ that I got.
Colormix | 09.19.05 - 8:18 pm | #


Given your strategy for picking your Micro class, I would have thought you'd find it really cool

I'm an NF too, and when my cohort did it I think there were like 5 NF's and I was the only guy.
byron | Homepage | 09.19.05 - 10:55 pm | #


Not all jobs are boring I am sure we will end up doing smth really funky Just do not bet on money and read the Steve Jobs speech again! There is a lot of wisdom in his words...
tanya | 09.19.05 - 11:05 pm | #


The dreaded MBTI- Done the test 3 times now over 2 years as part of work. I'm an INTJ borderline "E". Remember the test reflects your preferences and these may change over time.
Mbwana | Homepage | 09.20.05 - 1:20 am | #


thanks ppl. i guess i was just writing thoughts that came to my mind as I sat in the lab. that's part of the E - say first, then think true to form, this yogi be.

wakechick - you an i? no e? me surprised.

colormix - could it be that we 'think' we are the traditional bschool types because we want to go to bschool.

byron - it was cool. NF's do seem to have more women

tanya - i think we know what those jobs are, need to figure out a way to get them
poweryogi | Homepage | 09.20.05 - 1:23 am | #


I thought I was ENFP but turned out the be ENTP. I guess it's not always what it seems...but I still believe those tests don't mean sh@#$
KV | Homepage | 09.20.05 - 11:32 am | #


Hey Yogi,

I'm an ENFP as well. (Borderline F)

and have had the same doubts about MBA being a heavily TJ thingie!

But I figure, I'll become a kick-ass entrepreneur, start and grow a company and hire all these TJ MBAs for running it. ENFP_car.html
yukta | Homepage | 09.20.05 - 12:07 pm | #


The 'I' shocked me! INTPs are supposedly "The Thinkers" and we'll be good Computer Specialists/Analysts and Engineers! Yewww!!! But INTPs also make good Strategic there's still a tiny ray of hope
Truth Fairy | Homepage | 09.20.05 - 5:19 pm | #


rags you are so right on - we need to hang out more

finally, someone not afraid to be an individual
Jonathan Goldsmith (Not Holdsm | Homepage | 09.20.05 - 9:23 pm | #


Another ENFP here!
Ricebaby | 09.28.05 - 7:54 pm | #

19 November, 2005 03:08  
Blogger Ms Julie said...

I google ENFP and MBA and end up with someone who is in the same spot! True, being an ENFP is difficult. I graduate in 9 months and I all I hear is "get a high power job to pay the loans, make mom and dad happy and shock everyone at your high school reunion. Yea you- the one who was the bottom 5% in her graduating high school class." Now put all of that aside, I hear " Hey, you have way too much energy for people to handle and your ides bounce in and out of your head daily. You tend to sit and wonder how you can change people's lives for the better" Ah the controversy in my head and soul. I really would like to move to a remote island with a hottie and pursue the thoughts in my head, however it does not seem to be going that way. So for now, I Google MBA and ENFP and see where I get. Thanks for yoru blog.

17 March, 2007 11:49  

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