Saturday, March 15, 2008

Snapshots from hell

Snapshots from hell was a book I immensely enjoyed when I had read it for the first time. I read it recently, a second time, and it was still enjoyable, brought back memories of the first time, which was when I was doing my MBA. Perhaps a similar book for the Indian context is in order (I guess someone has written one already), but heres how it went (not worth a book) when I did my MBA - not from any of the Ivy leagues in India, but from Mumbai universitys factory that churns out Engineers and MBAs with ease.

The first thing about the MBA in any of these schools (and I generalize here) is the uniformly young age - it is one of the things people seek to get a job. There were very few people with some years of experience. In retrospect, an MBA is more valuable if you have some experience, it helps you get a perspective - besides it helps you switch careers as it were.

The second thing, mostly derived from the first is that the rich experience you expect from getting a mix of smart people in a room is absent, traded for a mix of opinions, perceptions and what not. The class lacks a work ethic of any sort - the course ideally should be treated as work, but people treat it as college (or worse).

Most people treat it as some sort of an advanced B.Com course with a strict emphasis on exams and passing and getting some marks - many students enroll themselves in coaching classes for some subjects during the MBA. At either end of the spectrum, it is equally disastrous leading to nobody trying to gain value out of the degree.

There are a few, who plod through the course for what it is worth. Using the library, using the course to touch stuff you wouldn't have had exposure to (finance chap trying out operations during an internship or a special project), using the course to start and run a business (or an initiative) - this is the stuff that people who do an MBA should be doing.

At the end you have a few people who know a few jargons, but little else. I famously remember this question being asked at an interview (not to me), "Have you read Competitive Advantage" and the answer was a famous, "I havent heard of it." In retrospect that was a better answer than claiming to know the topic, but at the end, the MBA was seen as just another degree that will take you towards a job..."I have an MBA, therefore I want a job."

Today after quite a few years, I can see how, "I have an MBA" is a bad pitch for a job - almost as bad as "Promote me because I am x years experience". People hire you and promote you for what you can do or expect you to do. Use the MBA to get that value...

1 comment:

Manoj said...

MBA--- Master of BA (to do something after BA_