Harvard Grads? World of Warcraft Players are Better

If you’re running a business of any kind, what sounds more appealing to you? Hiring a Harvard MBA grad or someone who’s a master at World of Warcraft? What some researchers say might surprise you.

Yes, playing a MMO might be equipping you with the right kind of tools to be successful at certain positions, more than getting a degree from one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Why?

According to John Seeley Brown, there are a number of things. The main reason would be how players work within guilds but without a bonus-based structure, and are incentivized to play purely out of a passion for the game, not by being offered bonuses for playing the game. Brown refers to this as the ideation structure and an idea refinement structure.

These guilds are truly meritocracy-based. So even if you were the leader of this particular high-end raid, at the end you do an after action review and the after action review each person is open to total criticism by everybody else.

Brown also descirbes the game as an amazing learning environment with powerful learning tools that I think we in the education world can learn a hell of a lot about and we in the management world can learn a lot about. But it gets back to this notion of passion, it gets back to this notion of curiosity and it gets back to this notion that this is an interest-driven phenomenon that unleashes exponential learning of a dimension that’s almost unimaginable any other way.

This isn’t the first time someone has referred to MMO gamers in relation to their ability to transfer their gaming abilities to other capacities. EA chief creative officer Bing Gordon compared running a company to managing a World of Warcraft guild during a SXSW Interactive panel last year.