Saturday, April 25, 2009

The making of another brick in the wall

Now that my two year MBA journey is over, this is a good time to look back and do a post-mortem analysis of the entire experience. I have always been an easy-going person- never too competitive or ambitious or hard working, I have never applied myself whole heartedly to my career and every time I have performed below my expectations (which is on most occasions), I have always taken refuge in “better luck next time”. So my life has been kind of serendipity, not quite crafted by fierce ambitions, but rather a journey laced with confusions…

From harbouring dreams of being a detective to a globe trotter to the first woman cricket commentator on ESPN to just making a decent living as an average run-of-the-mill engineer with a sportsman husband (yeah high school fantasies), let’s just say, my life just happened when I busy making other plans! Obviously, 12th standard was kind of a reality check which took care of all such plans and I ended up in a new city with a new subject and yes, a brand new dream, and a very ambitious and expensive one at that: the MBA dream. But this time the difference was that I decided to do something about it, and for the first time I applied myself, and for the first time, one of my dreams actually came true: I made it to one of the top B schools in the country. Now at this point, as I write it, I can’t help that cynical smile on my face, but two years ago, it was like a blur…I had to pinch myself to actually believe that it was finally happening!

But now that I have been through this “rigorous learning experience”, I can’t help asking myself, “was it worth it?” and the answer to that it, “totally!” The thing is if you are really keen on knowledge and education, then a B school is probably not the right place for you. In spite of the 100 credits of academics, the “exposure” to some fifty different subjects in eight different disciplines (finance, marketing, HR, operations, IT, entrepreneurship, strategy, economics), it remains just that: an exposure without the in depth knowledge or expertise in any of them. Honestly speaking, I will have to admit that whatever I learnt in the past two years, could have been self taught (with a little help from dad) from the internet. But then again, a B school never sells knowledge (that’s upto you), what it sells is an “experience” and a “new lifestyle” and if you want to BUY a social status, a fast track career, a label, or even a highly sought after matrimonial profile in just two years, this is a perfect place to do that. I remember the reactions of the people when I joined work as a 21 year old graduate, when I told them I was “just an Eco grad” with no fancy MBA tag, how I had to wait for days before I was given ANY work (and I don’t mean MEANINGFUL work) and how difficult it was for my parents to introduce me in social gatherings. But now that I am on the other side of the fence, and yes, I have a fancy job in a fancy multinational to go with the fancy MBA tag, I still don’t understand why a company would pay me so much money for the kind of job which essentially can be done by anybody with decent amount of common sense. I could have done the same kind of work, two years ago, as a graduate for one third the money, but of course, at that time they wouldn’t have let me cross the threshold of the reception. So is B school education essentially a screening process which separates you from the rest and recruiting from one only saves a company from the time and cost of going through thousands of applications? Because the fact is that unlike any other professional degree (CA/CFA/ medicine/ law) very little of what you learn in a B school in terms of knowledge is actually applied on the job! Obviously if that’s the case, then can you save those few lakhs of rupees and the two years invested in your MBA by simply taking your entrance exam score to a company and getting yourself an interview because you are in the top 5 percentile of the most competitive exam in the world? And the answer to that is a definite NO!

Yes, SCMHRD didn’t bring out the best in me, yes I am somewhat disillusioned after two years, yes, I could’ve done better, yes, I take back some terrible experiences with the director, the admin, and the faculty and yes, I don’t feel the same attachment to this institute as I do for my school or my undergrad college (places I keep going back to even after so many years) but I am grateful to it for the opportunities it has presented, for the people I have met, for the relationships that I have forged and most of all, for a dream to live for! Thanks to it, now I have a “respectable” social standing (you may cringe your nose, but I know how important it is because I have been without one), I already have a short term career to make a decent living for myself for the time being, and also a long term career goal (and MBA has nothing to do with it)! So yes, I do appreciate these last two years, even if it is for the wrong reasons…

3 comments:

Viswa Sandeep S said...

it is clearly evident that u have nothing better to do at home. otherwise why on earth would you do a post-mortem analysis or a lookback at ur mba life repeatedly?? do u read ur own posts??

webstar said...

Congratulations!!Pleased to c that ur 'applying' wht we learnt in the past 2 yrs on ur blog (yikes!shudder..)
--touched upon an economics concept of human capital and MBA schooling issue..(remember labour eco classes)--
Similar to some of ur other posts...yet so different..!!
Definitely a thumbs up!!

Shimonti said...

@ sama
n its evident tht U also hv nothing better to do at home, than read my blog n critically evaluate it... n for ur info, i may hv a lot of MBA posts, but they are all written from different perspectives.... u need to hv vision to look at an issue from so many angles :)

@ webstar
trust u to spoil it by making a reference to some geeky academic concepts!! arggghhhhh....