So what do MBA students really do? What do they study and what makes them stand apart. Isn’t that a thought some of us have pondered about. I too had once and then I decided to enroll in one to find out.
I too had wondered what makes an Ivy leaguer or an IIM grad stand out. I didn’t have the privilege to attend an Ivy league college but joined the one year MBA programme of IIM Lucknow. One month down the line, at 3 in the night, I finally decided to pen it down.
a) Case Studies
Life can be broken down into little snippets, each of these will have a cause, a decision point, an action and a result. Well that’s the simplistic approach to causality and is how most will perceive it. Most of the MBA programs focus on teaching via the case study method. The scenarios aren’t rocket science or the solutions complicated nor is the idea to find the perfect solution. This is what an MBA vs Engineering teaches you, that there is no perfect solution. There can be one optimum solution, multiple implementable solutions and quite a few plausible ones. The goal isn’t to find the correct one but is to identify all the variables, gauge their relevance and impact potential and then take an informed substantiable decision. Whether be it a statistical scenario or a behavioural sciences scenario, optimal is the key. And in a bschool you will get a lot of these.
Ah! The assignments. Group or Individual and we get a lot of these. Consider these as homework. Oh wait no, these are more than just. What any book or person or situation will teach you is an idea, a concept, a theory. It is analogous to here is the chisel and there is the stone. What you decide next is what the assignments teach you. Everyone hates homework but everyone loves a free lunch. It’s not a free lunch sadly but doing these make you learn the recipe and the order to put in the ingredients. Learn to enjoy to cook and you will never go hungry.
The neverending tirade continues. In the last month, I have heard a lot of professors talk about feedback and control. The importance of measurement. It does sound so boring and borders on micromanagement. Is that good? They say failure is the stepping stone to success but how do you know you’ve failed? I beleive one should learn to fail. No it’s not as simple as just failing. It’s the ‘learn’ part that’s important. I can blindly hit my foot on a rock or I can learn to be a bit careful the next time, I can learn how to bandage, I can feel the pain and appreciate probably the most important organ that hold us straight: our legs. It’s the learning that we take away.
d) Guest Lectures
Every week we have the opportunity to hear from an eminent speaker. So far we have heard from a journalist, a social entrepreneur, a corporate HR and an elite academician. Everyone with something to share. The common theme among all was they didn’t talk about business but more about how one should first discover himself, what he or she stands for and what does one care about and then going on to do it. Hey life is uncertain but if you don’t go ahead and try how will you know. You don’t associate superhero cartoons with philosophy but perhaps the greatest truth was told in one of the episodes of Justice League Unlimited teleseries when the android asked Lex Luthor what drives him, what keeps him going. Lex calmly responded, I want to be there to see where it ends.
Lastly it’s not all acads that kept us engaged in the past month. Clubs, chapters, committes. Meeting people and knowing them closely, eating at the same table, going to and fro from the classes, the tea break discussion, the group studies makes you appreciate people. It makes you realise not just their but your own strengths and weaknesses. It makes you realise your value and potential. It makes you realise yourself and that’s how you realise, put in the effort and you improve. That’s how you redefine yourself and are known beyond the gates of the Alma mater. That’s what a bschool does: Makes you realise about you.