In 2009, Lawrence Summers became President Obama’s chief economic adviser.  His previous roles include a stint as treasury secretary in the Clinton administration and president of Harvard for five years.

After Harvard,

Mr. Summers was out on the job market in 2006.  You’d think his résumé might have earned him a bye if he were applying for a job at a finance firm, albeit a top-tier one.  Not so.

In 2006, he expressed an interest in joining D.E. Shaw & Company, one of the highest rolling hedge funds around, as an adviser to investment strategists. According to the New York Times, “As a part of Shaw’s rigorous screening process-the firm accepts perhaps one out of every 500 applicants-Mr. Summers was asked to solve some math puzzles.  He passed, and the job was his.”

There’s a lesson here.

Good enough on paper is not nearly enough these days.  The best employers want to know if you are as good as your history might suggest.  And your prospective boss wants guarantees you will be good enough to do exactly what needs to be done.

Did Lawrence Summers smart over being made to fill out an entrance exam?

I imagine that almost $5.2 million the Times says he earned in just his second year at Shaw was the kiss that made it all better.

About the author Harvey Mackay

Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.

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