DV-T

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Interviewer: So tell me, historically, who you think is the most influential person and why?

Two options: Choice 1 is a 'safer' answer. Choice 2 runs the risk of being misunderstood.

Interviewee chooses #1: I believe Martin Luther King was the most influential person in modern history because his courage and vision to stand against segregation and fight for civil rights for all persons of color have been instrumental in leading the US towards becoming a more equal nation, etc.

Interviewee chooses #2: I believe Adolf Hitler was the most influential person in modern history. His racists ideology led to the murder of millions of innocent people, etc. Hitler and his movement opened the eyes of the world to evil manifest, and his lasting legacy is that civilized society today will fight against those who share his beliefs to ensure that history is not repeated, etc.

Will the interviewee be caste in a very bad light if they choose to answer this question with Hitler regardless of the explanation as to why he was chosen?
 

figeon

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Not sure why you even have to ask this question?
 
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Piglet2020

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Choice 1 is generic. Most people would choose Gandhi, Martin Luther, some great inspirational leader.

Choice 2 makes you stand out as long as you can explain yourself properly.
 
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sbspftw

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First describe what you mean by 'influential'. In my mind, influential is a someone whom EVERYONE knows and someone that EVERYONE has learned a lesson from. Every single person GLOBALLY would know this person. For this, either MLK or Hitler would work. Influential doesn't necessarily need to mean good or bad. It means that we learned something crucial from that person that will last for decades. Someone who was important to history to be remembered, and has influenced decisions made by billions around the world today.

Medical school admissions interviewers shouldn't think badly of you, if you have valid points. But it is highly likely that they'll misunderstand. Because of Hitler, we are scared of fascism and understand the mistake of letting people suffer in poverty and disenfranchisement. This does, have many implications in the current political climate, as I'm sure you've seen.

However, I can see the other side as well. Some admissions counselors might have a very STRONG opinion against Hitler, and say that what he did perhaps didn't need to happen in order for us to learn about fascism or learn the lessons we have today. Be prepared to answer these if you get some push back. I also understand that this might be personally hard to someone. Imagine an Admissions counselor who is polish or jewish and had ancestors in the holocaust, and an interviewee is telling them that Hitler was influential.

So although your point might be valid, be prepared to think about these things.
 
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ChymeofPassion

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Out of the entire history of the world you pick MLK? Think a little harder. I think Hitler is a better answer. Influential /=/ good. You have to be able to explain it well though. It would be easy (as my 7th grade brother could probably do) to say MLK was great because x, y, and z. Hitler would require some argumentative gymnastics, but I think would be more powerful.
 
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mistafab

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LOL can't believe you would ever consider bringing up Hitler in an interview.

This is why they have interviews. To weed out the psychos with no insight into appropriate behavior or professional discussion.

Instant reject.
 

kamakazi5

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LOL can't believe you would ever consider bringing up Hitler in an interview.

This is why they have interviews. To weed out the psychos with no insight into appropriate behavior or professional discussion.

Instant reject.
Hitler would be a completely reasonable, albeit cliché, answer to that question. There aren't many questions I can think of where it would be appropriate to bring up Hitler but that is definitely one.
 

sbspftw

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You can have a professional and appropriate discussion about Hitler. Hitler is not necessarily an inappropriate answer to this question. Answering Hitler to "Who would make a good doctor?", "Who is your inspiration", and "Who has done great things in this world" would be wrong and inappropriate. To this question, however, I think it's more insensitive than inappropriate. Part of being a doctor is to be able to argue and maneuver through difficult and controversial questions, that show that you can critically think about what's important and what needs to be learned and how to move forward. However, being a doctor also means to be sensitive to the feelings of other people in the room, and understand when a comment or argument is going too far. It's an interesting but hard balance to achieve at times. However, I do agree that they probably hear MLK 1972879182 times. OP follow your heart, but have a well-thought out answer that conveys exactly what you want to convey.
 
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kdapik

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Even if you can explain your answer, I don't think mentioning Hitler in an interview is a good idea! and I am not against unique and original answers. Some interviewers may have strong opinions against Hitler and will not accept your explanation. I would pick the safest answer and go with the former option
 
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While I don't doubt that one could have a great explanation for this choice, a med school admissions interview is not the time to roll that dice. It's not worth it. Think about it: the answer to this question isn't going to be what gets you admitted, but there's a chance it could be what gets you rejected. And while I'm usually a proponent of the "if they reject you over this then that's not a place you want to be," this is quite a bit different.
 

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Interviewer: So tell me, historically, who you think is the most influential person and why?

Two options: Choice 1 is a 'safer' answer. Choice 2 runs the risk of being misunderstood.

Interviewee chooses #1: I believe Martin Luther King was the most influential person in modern history because his courage and vision to stand against segregation and fight for civil rights for all persons of color have been instrumental in leading the US towards becoming a more equal nation, etc.

Interviewee chooses #2: I believe Adolf Hitler was the most influential person in modern history. His racists ideology led to the murder of millions of innocent people, etc. Hitler and his movement opened the eyes of the world to evil manifest, and his lasting legacy is that civilized society today will fight against those who share his beliefs to ensure that history is not repeated, etc.

Will the interviewee be caste in a very bad light if they choose to answer this question with Hitler regardless of the explanation as to why he was chosen?
I wouldn't use #2 at the Touros or Einstein.
Because of the potential for it to be taken wrongly, I'd avoid mention of Hitler.

I'd disagree with #1 as it's quite Americo-centric. One could argue that Gandhi influenced and affected far more people than MLK. In fact, MLK was influenced by Gandhi!
 

boogiecousins94

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Couldn't you answer with Rosie the Riveter or Uncle Sam to be creative although thats USA specific. They never say the person had to be real did they? You could argue that I feel like
 
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Keep it simple. The interviewer needs to know you're a bright, clean-cut young go-getter and come out of there with no reservations about whether or not you'll act appropriately when you need to tell someone they have cancer.

If anything brought up on your primary, secondary, or interview is misinterpreted you're not going to be able to go up to the admissions dean and say, "Nu uh. What I really meant was this. See how smart I am? Now turn that reject into an accept" after the fact. Some interviewers will be ESL, or have their minds on grants or professorial stuff, and may not be able to appreciate the nuances of an oh-so-smart/smug/"ballsy" answer.
 

el_duderino

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This is why people with great stats end up with 0 acceptances sometimes.

Good god. Don't try to prove how smart you are or something. Just be normal.
 

Kingsmen2018

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People who try to sound smart rarely do. The interviewer will hear hitler and automatically think you are a dipsh*t or even bringing it up in a professional setting.
:troll:
 
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DV-T

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The inquiry is legitimate. My posting history does not suggest that I troll.
 
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"Two options: Choice 1 is a 'safer' answer. Choice 2 runs the risk of being misunderstood."

me, "please dont say Hitler..."

"Choice two: Hitler."

:smack:



Also, while I agree that influential technically doesn't mean good or bad, that is not how it's colloquially understood. When people ask who's been the most influential, it generally means who has been the most inspiring. I take it you realize this too because deep down you know MLK is a more acceptable answer than Hitler.

Don't be the guy who says Hitler, its not original at all, its not a very good answer as Lizzy pointed out above and even if it was you're committing yourself to a more complex explanation than you actually need. There are so many ways where it could backfire its not even funny. In today's political climate... With Nazi rallies occurring in the US... you tell someone Hitler is the most influential person in history... Imagine if your interviewer happened to be jewish...

I would probably take the position that its impossible to boil history down to one influential moment let alone a single person. Unless you wanted to say the mitochondrial Eve
 
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Matthew9Thirtyfive

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While there are good arguments to be made why Hitler could be an interesting answer to that question, do you really want to be remembered as the Hitler guy? Because once you say that, I guarantee they will not remember a single other thing about you.
 

Gilakend

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Honestly I don't think either of those are good answers. The question is who is the most influential person in history and you went back 50 years.
 
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Answer 2 is just tooo risky. I really think people can justify that argument, but you had better do that in a casual conversation but not in an official interview. NO NO NO.
 

holycrap

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As long as you make it absolutely clear you're not a neo-nazi then it's not a bad response; I still wouldn't risk it.
 

ciestar

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Oh God please do not say Hitler. You can likely articulate a good answer but that will leave a bad taste in anyone's mouth just because of what he did.

Think harder about this one.
 
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aldol16

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That depends on how you cast "influential." People of influence do not have to have good influence - in many cases, they exert their influence in evil ways. That's why they're bad. In that sense, I do believe that Hitler was more "influential." We owe most of our world order to him in the sense that we set up the current world order to prevent the rise of another Hitler. The Middle East's borders are shaped because of Hitler and the war he caused. I think he must be condemned for his evil but his influence was no doubt larger than Dr. King's.

Whether that's a good thing to say during an interview depends on how you say it and how risk averse you are. Personally, I would go with #2 and explain it very well because it's hard for me to argue for #1 over #2. But I believe the consensus opinion even among historians is #2. The problem with being unique though is that it can go either very well or very poorly depending on how you deliver it and how it's received.
 

longhaul3

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1. You are fairly likely to end up with a Jewish interviewer, or at least more likely than if you just picked a random person out of the US population.

2. If you insist on the genocide route, why not Genghis Khan, who was supposedly so prolific that he altered the genetic makeup of much of the Northern hemisphere?
 
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Interviewer: So tell me, historically, who you think is the most influential person and why?

Two options: Choice 1 is a 'safer' answer. Choice 2 runs the risk of being misunderstood.

Interviewee chooses #1: I believe Martin Luther King was the most influential person in modern history because his courage and vision to stand against segregation and fight for civil rights for all persons of color have been instrumental in leading the US towards becoming a more equal nation, etc.

Interviewee chooses #2: I believe Adolf Hitler was the most influential person in modern history. His racists ideology led to the murder of millions of innocent people, etc. Hitler and his movement opened the eyes of the world to evil manifest, and his lasting legacy is that civilized society today will fight against those who share his beliefs to ensure that history is not repeated, etc.

Will the interviewee be caste in a very bad light if they choose to answer this question with Hitler regardless of the explanation as to why he was chosen?
Both answers are cliched, but 2 is especially bad, since by mentioning Hitler, you are trying to act smart for no apparent reason (and also potentially offending your interviewers). Stalin (or even Mao) is a better choice than Hitler, but not sure why you would go for a genocidal route when there are so many unique and inspiring individuals in history.
 

bioboy23

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"Two options: Choice 1 is a 'safer' answer. Choice 2 runs the risk of being misunderstood."

me, "please dont say Hitler..."

"Choice two: Hitler."
This is exactly what I thought... to my surprise, I was correct :laugh:
 

Matthew9Thirtyfive

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sat0ri

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Maybe we should ask the interviewee questions that pertains to how capable and compassionate they will be as a doctor.
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Stagg737

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To me both MLK and Hitler are garbage answers. Imo MLK just comes across as an interviewee displaying no critical thinking skills, a lack of thinking outside of the box or about events outside the US in the recent past, and is a weak PC answer. I'd stop paying attention to the any part of the answer after "MLK". MLK isn't the most influential person in history, he's not the most influential person in U.S. history, and he may not even be the most influential African American in U.S. history. To me this answer is a fail on every level of the question and makes me think the applicant not only couldn't think of a good answer, they're just telling me what they think I want to hear.

Imo, Hitler is a better answer to the actual question (who is more/most influential?). I don't think it's "edgy" like everyone is suggesting, and imo it's not difficult at all to create a solid argument as to why he may be the most influential person at least in modern history. Again, it's a very obvious answer that doesn't demonstrate critical thinking skills. At least with this one I'd actually be interested in the interviewee's justification and give the person some credit for not just picking an answer they think I want to hear and trying to actually answer the question.

That being said, there at so many other answers that would not only be better answers to the actual question, but there are far, far better answers to demonstrate critical thinking skills and thought processes beyond the knee-jerk response. If you want to play it safe, go with someone who revolutionized their field/the world. Johannes Gutenberg created the printing press and made it possible to disseminate written information en masse for the first time. He created a reason for the common folk to learn how to read and made educating the masses possible. Thomas Edison had numerous inventions which made modern society possible including the phonograph, motion pictures, and revolutionary strides in the light bulb and utility of electricity. If you really want to flex your mental muscles, go with Plato or Aristotle, who both had incredible influence over theories of government, politics, philosophy and ethics, as well as many areas of science including physics (and metaphysics), biology, and even medicine. If you want to get tricky, you can argue for Socrates for being their teacher (thus claiming he is the source of their influence).

If you really want to get a little more controversial, instead of saying Hitler make an argument for Jesus or Mohammad. Founders of religions which have literally guided billions and to which many of those individuals have dedicated their entire lives to following. Or you can argue for Genghis Khan, who not only managed to basically conquer Asia (including parts of Russia, which pretty much every modern leader has failed to do), but is supposedly the ancestor of roughly .5% of the world population.

Bottom line is there are far too many better choices than both MLK and Hitler to answer this question, and both of them are cop outs for if you can't think of anything else.
 
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DV-T

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First, I appreciate everyone's opinion.

Second, the question is open-ended. There are no correct answers and opinions will vary as evidenced by the myriad of responses generated thus far.

Third, I think the key to answering the question, like some posters have mentioned, is to define to the interviewer what "influential" means to the interviewee and then proceed to explain why X or Y was chosen.

Fourth, if this question came up in an actual interview, and I chose to go with MLK, Hitler or any other figure in history, I would try to personalize the choice (which I failed to do in my original post) letting the interviewer know, for example, the effects of MLK's bravery or Hitler's depravity have had on me, my family, friends, close associates, etc.

Lastly, I can imagine an interviewer losing interest after roughly 2 minutes of this answer or any answer that sounds like it belongs in a dissertation defense.
 

bioboy23

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I guess if you went the invention route, don't forget Nikola Tesla. Radio, A/C, remote control, X-rays, how to harness light (not fully Edison). He really laid the ground work for more things we use today than anyone.
 
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Fourth, if this question came up in an actual interview, and I chose to go with MLK, Hitler or any other figure in history, I would try to personalize the choice (which I failed to do in my original post) letting the interviewer know, for example, the effects of MLK's bravery or Hitler's depravity have had on me, my family, friends, close associates, etc.
An oddly self-centered approach.
 
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FantasticDoctorFox

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First, I appreciate everyone's opinion.

Second, the question is open-ended. There are no correct answers and opinions will vary as evidenced by the myriad of responses generated thus far.

Third, I think the key to answering the question, like some posters have mentioned, is to define to the interviewer what "influential" means to the interviewee and then proceed to explain why X or Y was chosen.

Fourth, if this question came up in an actual interview, and I chose to go with MLK, Hitler or any other figure in history, I would try to personalize the choice (which I failed to do in my original post) letting the interviewer know, for example, the effects of MLK's bravery or Hitler's depravity have had on me, my family, friends, close associates, etc.

Lastly, I can imagine an interviewer losing interest after roughly 2 minutes of this answer or any answer that sounds like it belongs in a dissertation defense.
Even if you thoroughly explained what definition of "influential" you were using to draw your conclusions, I still think Hitler is a horrible choice. Personally, I think choosing ANYONE who has been influential in a negative way is not a good choice. It comes off as either
A.) a desire to "be edgy", which is really not what adcoms are looking for
or
B.) a desire to prove how intellectual you are, which most people will find annoying no matter how eloquent your response is

I'm not saying this is what you are intending, but I think most people will come to one of these conclusions with a response like the one your are suggesting. I just don't see the risk:benefit on this being in your favor.
 

sbspftw

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Here are some other choices. Influential in history doesn't need to be like since 1000 BCE. It can be people who have had a great influence without needing to go back that long.
How about people who have exerted their influence through tech?

Robert Kahn, Vint Cerf: The founders of the internet
The Wright brothers for flight.
Watson and Crick or Rosalin Franklin for discovering DNA (which is literally responsible for how we view medicine today).
Nicéphore Niépce: The person who developed photography.
 
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