The Four Pillars of Critical Thinking

As this blog has grown, and will continue to grow, I’ve decided to move everything over to a new home: JeffKavanaugh.net. Please head over there to read the full post, and subscribe to receive updates of future posts about once a week.

As I sit here writing this, preparing for another campus recruiting season, I’m reminded of thousands of college students I’ve interviewed — the ones well prepared by their schools for a career in consulting, but also the many who have been shortchanged, in some cases even cheated, by the university they attended.

They spent tens of thousands of dollars, invested years of their life, and yet emerged with little training in the one of the most important skills for the real world—critical thinking.

The people who succeed as consultants and industry professionals in both the short and long-term tend to be the people with the best critical thinking skills, beyond the facts and figures they learned in college. In a world where nearly infinite information is instantly available, critical thinking and the ability to learn quickly are the long-term competitive differentiators.

Too many classes still measure GPAs by what you know, not how you apply it. Thankfully, some of the leading schools are starting to emphasize these skills, but far too many do not. Beyond your GPA, I care whether you exhibit these four pillars of critical thought:

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