Friday, May 09, 2008

What does MBA teach us?

Management or MBA to be specific has become a buzzword lately. With inflated salaries and a lot of hoopla (IIM’s placement getting to the front page), it often makes people wonder, what is that these guys learn that makes them get so much attention. Well, I haven’t seen what the scenario is in the hundreds and thousands of B schools around India, but can comment on the experience I had over the past 1 year. So here we go in no particular order.

Working under intense deadlines: Consider the scenario. - 2 days for trimester end exams to begin and people are running around from morning till evening. For what? To find one of the basic necessities of humans – the ‘Makaan’ of the famous trio of Roti, Kapda aur Makaan. The college doesn’t provide residential facilities as it trusts the managerial skills of its students who will find a home to live in – in one of the prime locations of Mumbai at affordable prices. Mind you there are plenty of other constraints put up by the ‘invisible hand’ of the market. Just a small example – the landlords of the area don’t really prefer students of some particular religion. Mind you, no deadline can get more realistic and pressurizing when you know that you don’t have a roof on your head after you get over with exams.

Improvement in Patience levels: people today are joining yoga classes; going to baba’s to learn to be patient. But learning to be patient comes as an integral part of the whole college experience for us. The teacher is the Internet speed. When it takes an eternity to open a google search page and you know you have to do it because of that project submission next day, it really improves your self control. Sometimes our young managers try a detour through the computer center where around 20 – 30 high class computers are kept for students to help transcend horizons. I once had a look at the super computer’s specs. The RAM was 128 MB – certainly beyond any logical horizons.

Boss is always right: A famous saying and a rule to follow if you want to grow in your job. However absurd the boss’ decision or reasoning is, you need to follow that – at times against all your natural logic. Well, our college obviously wants us to succeed. We are groomed to do this. Plenty of rules which many times go beyond your abilities of understanding. But still you have to follow them. Just a small example which many times you notice at the entrance itself – you are allowed to enter through 1 gate but are not allowed to exit through that – and mind you it’s not a small Jallianwala bagh kinda gate.

Dealing with Customers: ‘Customer is the king’ – goes a popular saying, especially in the marketing circle. It is fine to read it and appreciate it. But to understand it deeply, you need to practically feel it. Now how does the college help? By showing it to you, how the customer feels when he is NOT treated properly. Now, you may not be a customer literally but it is something similar when you go to a library. And there, quite often you feel what a customer can feel when someone loses customer focus in his activities.

Taking on Responsibilities: Another important aspect of a corporate life. You will be asked to lead teams, launch brands, handle mergers and acquisitions etc etc. So you need to be responsible enough. How is it achieved without students knowing that they are learning something? Again consider a situation. The internet in your hostel is not working (of course we students don’t know it’s part of a training module called “working in constraints”) and you go for the person concerned to get it rectified. Complaint noted but nothing is done. After 2 - 3 complaints too, nothing is done. Finally we are forced to take the responsibility and handle it ourselves. In fact many times we are asked to do it, forcing us to think if it was really our responsibility in the first place.

These are only a handful of learning which I could derive out of the first year experience. I guess there would be many more to come. My friends reading this are most invited to share their learning apart from the above


rOmpy said...

bhai MBA ek aur cheej bhi sikhata hai..u forgot to write...
"knowledge about types of pettycoat"

Shantanu Goel said...

hmmm, rompy ke comments ke baare mein thoda vistaar se bataya jaaye :)

SiD said...

@rompy: yaaashh baby...

@shantz: badi lambi kahani hai yaar.. :)

Mahadevan said...

well apart from working under deadlines, it also teaches us not working under deadlines and still getting good results,, consider Kuntluru s surprise tests for instance, none of us had any clue on any of the topics and were 0 in level of preps too, inspite of that we ll ended up with staggering scores,, :D

KT said...

hmm .. will someday write what does MBA teach others who are not doing MBA.

You know the outsider perspective. One thing is acute peer pressure. Bhaiye har kisi ko dekh kar lagta hai ... ki IIM-A bas 600 Km hi to door hia ... but infact kaafi door hai asal mein ... [:)]

SiD said...

@maddie: dude...dont lie ..u were fully prepared for the surprise tests..u knew all the answers during the break..after we had 'suffered'..

@KT: waiting for the blog!! vaise I think i can correlate with both outside and inside perspectives.. after i have spent more time outside trying to get inside than inside trying to get outside !!

Tarun said...

I agree with the part that I don't know what I am learning in B-School, but I am learning a lot :):)..

I think soft skills is one of the major things to learn in B-school. Also I am learnign how to express everything I do in terms of buzzwords like strategy, core competency etc

and yes.. u forgot the buzzword..Multitasking !!!