The Art Of War In A B-School

The MBA course passes way too quickly than you can imagine. This fast speed is due to the high intensity of the course as well as high rigour it demands. The value addition is bound to happen, just that the value addition is different in case of different people. The sheer diversity of batch teaches a person so many things about different domains. The mind is not restricted here and starts thinking about different perspectives. One thing that every b-school student can relate to is the high number of competitions that come their way.

Competitions range from b-school business case studies to corporate competitions offering you huge rewards, then there are live projects to keep you occupied after you are done studying your course. Many get excited seeing a competition being launched, some are indifferent to them, but one thing that these competitions manage to do is, they at least start getting featured in conversations. The Competition launch is the big bang of this universe. Strategies to ace it start being formulated. Teams with fancy names start registering for the competition and finally the work on the competition starts. People indifferent to it keep following their normal routine. The over-enthusiastic lot forgets that they have a course to study as well and the only thing in their universe for that time becomes the competition.

These Corporate Competitions certainly add a lot of value to people involved. The theories you somehow recollect from the class, the cause-effect relationships that you might have seen somewhere on the board of the class, they all start making sense now and one starts seeing their applications in the case studies. Many competitors start engaging in talks with the respective subject matter experts, it ranges from the professor to a batchmate with relevant work-ex (of course, only if he is not a warrior in that war). And this is where you start adding more value to yourself. People learn the most when they see concepts being applied somewhere in a real-life application, and here they learn something and try to implement it as well. After some digging in, one needs to know more about the industry and what better way to know more about it than talking to someone already working there. Another value addition point coming- people start talking to their seniors and alums to understand how things work and the intricacies of the industry. And here one starts getting insights about the industry as well. Then, comes the part where you actually bring the ideas to life, which translates to a presentation deck with a flow of your ideas and implementation strategies. A warrior then will not be late in realising, that research will always help explain the effects in a much better way, and a primary survey is required. Another value addition point there, where one designs a questionnaire, decides on a sample, and uses statistical methods to finally derive at the conclusion. And this mostly completes the submission (whatever format it has to be in). A warrior used to such wars will certainly review it a few times and check it for any errors before clicking on that submit button.

The task is done. The team is now free. A normal routine starts for everyone until a new war begins. A lot of value addition and learnings already from this war.

But, there is one biggest value-add and learning that is still present. The result is in itself the greatest value addition in many ways. A team remains optimistic about its chances, hoping they win the competition and their hard work will pay-off. But not every conquest can be conquered, the same way, there are only a few warriors who emerge victoriously. So what was in it for the other warriors, I would say, a lot.

There are some lessons that these wars teach us:

You cannot always win, but you can always improve.

More are the failures you face, the more experience you gain in life.

There are misfires in everybody’s life. Even after working hard, it may happen that you end up on the wrong side. It is not bad at all to be there, as even then you are better prepared for life and have added a lot of arsenal to your attack.

All these wars are for a purpose, which is to prepare you better for bigger wars when you finally enter the real arena. These experiences help you there.

And one thing which I am compelled to put forward, there will be some kind of challenges and difficulties everywhere, the only thing that will help you sail by easily will be your attitude. This is what I learnt here.

And this is what Krishna said in Mahabharat,

“You have the right to perform your actions, but you are not entitled to the fruits of the actions. Do not let the fruit be the purpose of your actions, and therefore you won’t be attached to not doing your duty”


Aayush Sinha

Aayush Sinha is currently in his final year of MBA in International Business at IIFT. He has a passion for teaching and mentoring and is a fitness freak as well.