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Buckle up!!! These are the things you will learn in an MBA
There is a difference between doing an MBA or just another Masters, in MBA unlike most of the other degrees you end up implicitly learning a potpourri of things. These are neither a part of the curriculum nor are they taught in classes. If you are intelligent enough you will find that at the end of two years academics contributed to not even 50 percent of your learning in a B-School.
So if you are planning to do an MBA and want to learn real management then buckle up, coming up are the list of things that an MBA will definitely teach you.
You wouldn’t have a subject in MBA named ‘Doing Business’, what you will have in turn is a list of subjects that help you build up a base. Now whenever you want to start up a business, what are the basic things that you need? An innovative idea, managing funds to implement it, a buyer for the product, service or Idea and final selling. No book on this planet can teach you how to generate an idea in your mind, the rest of the things are accounting, marketing and selling respectively. There would be specific subjects to deal with these. As your organization grows complex you will have legal issues for patents in the initial stages and compliances in the latter stages. These things will be taken care of in Legal aspects of business. To top it all a good part of your time in MBA would be spent in solving case studies. These case studies put you in the shoes of a manager and allow you to think from his perspective after doing your research. Doing business is dealing with people. Trust me, to survive in an MBA you will have to take to it as a fish takes to water.
There are two parts of communication one is the theoretical aspect of it and another is the practical aspect. To be honest if you have a considerate teacher then you will sleep through the theory part. But it is the practical part that will excite you, if you already have good communication skill, but in case you don’t it will be a big learning curve. At first it may irritate you but, if you get constructive feedbacks, in no time you will get better at it. To top it off, every subject your curriculum will require you to make presentations, these will increase your communication skills many folds.
Moreover while doing an MBA nothing comes to you on a plate, in order to get things that you want, you need to ask for them. You may be shy initially, but eventually it will fade off and make you a better communicator.
Most of the premiere B-schools in the country have a compulsory residential program. The main reason for it is that students can interact amongst themselves 24X7 and have no choice but to form bonds. I have seen core introverts turn into extroverts in a matter of 2 months. How? Well with all the group activities, team building sessions, clubs, parties you have no choice but to sub-consciously start coming out of your shell and mix with people. This is how you start forming contacts and slowly the number of people you are acquainted with increase because your contacts multiply with each new person you know. This network grows out of college as well and continues throughout your professional life and beyond.
An MBA is all about selling yourself every day, every minute, every second (Pun intended). You need to sell yourself in class to get the class participation marks, you need to sell yourself to that girl and finally you need to sell yourself to the company to get your dream job. Landing a job in MBA is a simple battle amongst equals and that battle is ‘who sells himself better.’ Apart from that there would be various activities, games, competitions that would include you selling your idea or outright selling a product that actually exists to real people in a normal market. There are interesting games where students are given Rs 500 and they come up with innovative ways to convert that into Rs 10000 in a matter of few hours. When you learn how to sell a matchstick underwater, you don’t need to be taught how to sell a toothbrush separately.
If writing isn’t taught in B-schools what am I doing right now? There would be separate classes for writing in B-school but again if your teacher is considerate you will sleep through them too. The real writing happens in project reports, in open book examinations, when you know everyone has the same material and you need to come up with something different to land that extra grade. MBA also means a lot of reading, if you are a conscious reader you will in due course of time improve your writing. Also every batch contains few people with that bug of writing; when you go through their reports, blogs, status updates you understand what is lacking in your style of writing. Through a conscious effort you can easily get better at writing.
Imagine a hypothetical situation there are twelve members in a club out of them two are outstanding, the dozen guys have to choose a secretary amongst those two. Guess what skill separates them, it’s politics. When they have been in a club for 10 months, the dozen members know each other very well, so they have almost similar levels of networking, one who politicizes better is the one who wins.
Another illustration it’s your group project you see you are always given the less attractive part to present, what is it that you’re lacking that others have? It’s their political game play. Just the process of survival in a B-school will teach you politics and there is no shame in admitting you do need a bit if not a lot of it, to make strides in your career.
The case-studies that are floated in a B-school is generally conceptualized and prepared at Harvard Business School, when you solve those case studies you have to learn the dynamics of international business. Apart from that there are various subjects in the senior year that actually focus on international business. Many top B-schools have good international exchange programs that not only teach you business dynamics of other countries but also give you a cross-cultural learning experience. Many education loans finance this as well, so getting funds for an exchange trip is not a big issue.
To survive in a B-school and maintain your sanity, this will become one of your most treasured virtues. You may be putting in the most number of hours but the next door idiot may score more than you. You may have the best solution to a B-school competition but subjectivity in the process or overlooking of minute details may mean you are out of race. If you don’t have patience, you will freak out and eventually face a burn out. It’s very important to believe in the process and not be obsessed about the result. Most improbable of guys in your batch may land the best placements and vice versa. If you are not patient then these two years will hammer that virtue in you.
This article focuses on the fact that most of the learning in MBA is outside your classroom and from you peer group. The reason why MBA colleges go through a stringent admission process is, so that they find guys to fit into that mould. Those who depend on spoon feeding will not make much out of an MBA. Keep your mind open, focus on common sense, increase you national and global awareness, communicate, socialize, network and learn something from every passing moment. At the end of two years irrespective of the tangible salaries that you land, you will learn more than your money’s worth.