What We Don’t Learn At A B-school

In our MBA programme, we have a process where-in seniors train the juniors for interview preparations and after sitting in two such processes where I was asking interview questions to juniors, one question always used to be “Why MBA” and the typical answer which I would receive and in fact which I myself would give was “learning”. Well to be fair, learning has always been one of the main reasons for pursuing MBA but most of us pursue this course to get better job opportunities which is justified given the fact how major companies hire “brand managers”, “sales managers” etc only through this route. However is learning the secret ingredient for bagging best placements?

There are numerous aspects which are not taught at a B-school, however the one thing which is predominant and life-changing is “how to manage people”. It’s an irony that an MBA is a Master of Business Administration but it has got little to do with this aspect.

I have always wondered why some of the brightest people in my batch and my senior batches have failed to perform during interviews and critical tasks and on the contrary, people with not such great knowledge, academia but amazing people skills make it to the big companies. Time and again, I have stressed this to myself, my friends and my juniors about the importance of overall maturity, diplomacy and people skills which companies look after. A decent academic career is only a display of the track record of the student but over and above that it’s mostly about how you respond during critical situations, gives you the edge. This becomes imperative, especially for the marketing students considering the fact that in future they would have to deal with a lot of people for direct business. We do a lot of case studies, competitions, council/club work, which all aids in becoming a master but we all know that most of the learning can be accomplished even without going through a B-school and just by pursuing courses online or through reading books or working in a start-up.

Again coming back to the point, can people learn “How to manage people”? ; Well, in my opinion managing people is an art and art can’t be taught but can only be inculcated through practice. If we see successful entrepreneurs who have no MBA degree, they all have mastered this art at some level or the other. After all what do we do with all this knowledge later? We implement so little of it, but we do have to manage so many people who in fact are elder to us and also more knowledgeable than us and that’s where key people skills, diplomacy etc kick-in.


So in essence should B-schools focus on creating a course centered around turning people into “real managers”?