“Gyaan” Of The Ages – Passed On To The MBA Batch Of 2017-2019
Greetings to all the Students of the MBA class of 2017-2019
In a few months from now, many of you will be enrolled in various B-Schools across the country to pursue your dream – the MBA. It is a journey full of experiences and insights and we are sure that these 2 years spent in the premier B-schools of the Country will change your outlook on macro and micro events of actions of your life.
We endeavour to make this journey a memorable one for you. Hence, we pass on the “Gyaan” to you, which was passed on to us from our seniors, and the batches of seniors before them (along with amendments or additions of our own). Make sure you apply the “Gyaan” too in your daily life during MBA studies and beyond:
1. Time is Money, Honey: Wisdom of the ages. Valid even today. Your time management skills are going to be tested on a daily basis in a B-School, from Day 1 itself. No one will have the luxury of any “honeymoon period”. Here, it is about creating your priorities and allocating appropriate time slots to those priority tasks so as to excel in the task in hand, be time efficient as well as to maintain your health. Punctuality is strictly followed over here (so excuses like “5 minutes late submissions” will NEVER be tolerated). Managing time not only means setting your priorities straight, but also means respecting the time constraints of others, especially Professors or peers, who are as hard pressed for time as you. Hence, speaking of skills, there quite a few takeaways from time management, for instance, prioritising, brevity, clarity, articulation and precision. Those skills become all the more crucial when you step into the Corporate life post-MBA, so why not learn those skills now?
2. Myth of the Jargon Juggernaut: Many of you may think that MBA is all about “jargons”. While it is important to be well versed with the J-word, it is also equally important to note that mindless application of such j-words will make your speech or presentation “junk”. Avoid it. Learn the underlying concepts and context first, then find the applicability of those jargons. The takeaway – use jargons with sense, and not a junk or jargon juggernaut. (OK, now I am overusing the j-word, so let us move on).
3. All plan and no work makes anyone a dull student: Specifically applicable to people with prior work experience who may have been involved in only preparing plans for 3 quarters a year without much meaningful work. If any of you can relate to this, then it would be better to change habits soon. As mentioned under time management skills, efficient planning AND religious execution of such plans to the last detail will make a difference between excellence and mediocrity. We are sure that such a skill will be thoroughly ingrained in you once you graduate from your B-school, which will prove to be an asset to your prospective employer if followed without exception (We are sure of this fact due to the rigours of the course, which you will get acquainted soon in the near future)
4. Minimum expectation from you is 100% effort: Unwarranted relaxation or procrastination is a sin in a B-School. By 100% effort, we mean 100% effort in all walks of your life in a B-School, be it attending classes, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, clubs and committees works, projects, submissions and all related activities you undertake during the course of your study. And be informed that ALL, I repeat, ALL these activities are equally important. Bunking classes to complete other activities is really a bad idea, for the very fact that by doing so, you can easily miss out on the important lessons taught by the Professor, and more so, by your peers. Peer learning is an invaluable source of information and knowledge, best obtained through in class discussion. And to enjoy learning with peers in class, it is imperative that the pre-reads are studied thoroughly. Over time, you will realise that giving your 100% really pays off – trust me you will definitely feel enriched and more productive after such a class. Happy learning.
5. The World loves Originality, including us: Everyone among you will agree that you just cannot tolerate a fake or imitation product supplied to you, irrespective of the amount of money you shell out to buy it. Similarly, here at any B-School, or your Corporate life in future, everyone hates plagiarism. We need original ideas, which all of you are highly capable in delivering. Put on your thinking caps and let your logic and thoughts be free. Why restrict yourself to someone else’s thoughts or ideas? Who knows, yours may even be better. Plagiarism attracts heavy penalty especially in a B-school, which may include drop of grades or heavy deduction of marks, even disciplinary action. Inculcate the habit of giving due credit to the sources from where you get the information, cite the sources or authors. Let us learn to give the authors respect for their work by duly citing them. Consider this, even you might want to be cited for your ideas. To sum it up, plagiarism is both unethical and illegal. I would quote a saying by Lady Marguerite Blessington (famous Irish Novelist, Author of Conversations with Lord Byron – Source: Wikipedia), which goes like this “Borrowed thoughts, like borrowed money, only show the poverty of the borrower”. Quite a valid point made.
6. Work Hard, Party Harder, #Post …. the Hardest: Key “mantra” of a B-School. You need to take a break sometimes (not everyday) from the rigours of the course, projects, assignments, and so on. Indeed that requires hard work, and a harder party becomes necessary to recharge your batteries. Needless to say, it gives you an opportunity to socialise with your peers. Speaking of socialising, it is a good habit to post snippets of your knowledge or the related activities, on the social media. If judiciously used, social media provides a platform to exchange data and information, and interact with a larger audience to augment your own knowledge and build up your networks. Try following some industry stalwarts and achievers and get insights of their style of working. Analyze it yourself. Debate. Discuss with your peers. Strange it may seem, but quite many of such people, Companies or their recent actions will be taught in class to give you valuable insights or teach some concept. Why not grab them proactively?
7. Day 0 placements is not a measure of your competency or skills: As the statement suggests, don’t fret over day 0 placement. While you must (always) strive to excel and get placed on Day 0, but that does not mean that you will be considered incapable if you fail to do so. What matters is your effort and the lessons you learnt from your mistakes. That will help you go to the next interview in a better prepared manner. Within a few months of your admission to your B-School, you will have to undergo summer placement interviews. Summer placements provide you with an opportunity to learn about the way Companies work and apply the concepts which you learn as a part of your MBA course. A feeling of despair sometimes grips the candidates who do not fare well during Day 0 of the interviews, but that should not be the case. Easier said than done, but picking yourself up, learning from your mistakes and preparing better about the concepts are the keys to success. A steady mean positive attitude is good, too much variability is a matter of concern. (My bad, no more jargon)
8. MBA is a journey, so explore it to the fullest: You should NOT consider B-School as a placement exchange office. That destroys the spirit of learning or thinking and makes someone really lag behind in concepts or knowledge. MBA course is a fun filled learning journey where you are exposed to learning avenues or methods which you may never have imagined. So try grasp them whenever you get any such event. Try representing the Institute in Competitions, take up a few live projects to see how things work, attend the eminent guest lectures from the Industry sharing real world experiences, go for a study tour or exchange programme and interact with a cross-cultural student ecosystem. Explore the boundaries of learning and convert your journey from a mundane to a memorable one. Any by each such action diligently performed, your Institute and peers also gain – from the added knowledge you bring, from the increased interactions with more and more learned people. It is always good to do your bit so that the future batches of students benefit from your work, isn’t it?
9. Live by the ethics: In this competitive world, specially the one in a B-School, you may be tempted to give up on certain morals or ethics. That is a bad idea. Always go by the principles of ethical behaviour, even if that means some immediate loss on your part. Remember that ethical practices are valued more and rewarded always than an unethical one. Simply put, ethics saves you from the explanations you need to give and penalties you would need to pay in future for a single unethical action of yours. Such high standards of ethics are always expected of you in a B-School. Would you like to buy a product from a Company with dubious track record of workplace ethics?
We hope you would remember these “gyaan” as a sort of “instruction manual” before embarking on your journey called MBA.
We wish you all the Best for the fun-filled and enriching journey you are about to embark upon soon – called the MBA.
(PS: Sorry for any inadvertent jargons..!)
Abirbhav is curious about the details and the logic behind the things around him. He also loves travelling, photography and exploring the uncharted territories. Abirbhav is currently studying in the second year in IIM Trichy and is a member of the International Relations Committee of IIM Trichy. Passionate about the world of automobiles, Abirbhav has worked in various roles in Cummins, Keihin and Mitsubishi Electric prior to joining IIM Trichy. Abirbhav is also a member of the InsideIIM Student Team 3.0. He would love to hear from you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.