Hearsay vs Experience: My MBA Journey So Far
When I started on my quest to obtain an MBA degree for myself, I spoke with a lot of alumni about what exactly an MBA exam entails, how much of work does one need to do in order to get through one of those ‘oh-so-good-to–be-true colleges’ and also, what is your takeaway from this course, i.e. what is this god-level stuff that the stern-looking profs teach in the under-furnished looking buildings that turns these somewhat above average students (and a few exceptionally bright students like me and you :p) into money churning machines.
The answers I got to the last question were the ones that sealed the deal of MBA for me. The answers can be summarized in the following bullet points:
– Disgusted ones:
“How to take out your mid-life crisis on students whose youth makes you jealous, by becoming a professor”
“How to recreate sarkari-ishtyle offices outside of the designated government offices” (read: your very own admin office)
– Learned ones:
“101 ways of whatsapp-ing in class while half the brain is sleeping and the other half is trying to find ways of pretending that you are paying attention in class”
“How to strategically run your fingers through your hair so that your out-of-the-bed look turns to studied-all-night look”
– Creative ones:
“How to write 10,000 words on a topic that you know nothing about”
“How to make a believable enough puppy face when asking a professor for a re-examination, the actual one of which you missed since you zonked off”
And so on…But now having completed half my MBA, I guess I am entitled to my 50 cents of wisdom regarding what an MBA teaches you. Rather, what has an MBA taught me? Let me put this in bullet points (this is one of my takeaways too :p)
– I learnt how to read people: Before coming to this college, I had been warned by the oh-so-concerned neighborhood aunty that a B-school is a dog-eat-dog world; it is impossible to find friends in there, etc., etc. Some part of it is true. There is a fair share of people who will do anything and everything to be on the top of their act. But what I have found is another fair share of people who are normal-not half-crazed-money-maniacs-waiting-to-betray-you-as-soon-as-you-turn, but just normal people. People who can make for good, concerned friends. But to find these people, you do need to meet a good number of people around with an open mind and make yourself a bit vulnerable. You may not find ‘the right kind of people’ at once but soon you will!
– I learnt time management: Now this might sound like bookish nonsense to you but trust me, it’s a BIG thing coming from my mouth (or rather being typed by my hands!). Ask my mother, who has made time tables for me all my life with the wish of the miracle that I will follow them, but I never did. Since one has just 24 hours in a day in which essential activities like toothbrush, shower and hanging out with friends have to be done along with a super-duper high amount of very-very difficult studies, one has to learn how to effectively manage one’s time. It sort of comes to you without much conscious effort in this line.
– Confidence: Well, this isn’t exactly something that one gets by taking a pill every day but at a business school where you are expected to give interviews for everything right from student committees to your Summer Placements to your Final Placements, you can’t help but gain that confidence that comes with having faced a situation many a time. This repeated process of interacting with various senior people and facing their questions, like you were born answering them, makes one better at controlled communication and also at figuring out how to say things appropriate for the intended audience.
Well, I have tried to summarize my experience in 3 points here. But I guess the experience of living a high-pressure life for a year’s duration isn’t something that anyone can summarize; one would have to be a part of it to realise the true meaning of the words that I am speaking. In conclusion, I can only say that this year turned out very different from what I thought it would be like. I may forget all the books that I read here but I will never forget all the intangibles that this first year has given. I will rest my case here, hoping that the next year teaches me just as much and I come out of it, capable of re-telling you my experiences all over again.
– The author is a student of one of India’s top ten B schools