What is an MBA? A route to a job? A brahminical discipline taught only to the most deserving? A license to be a cowboy in the corporate world? An entry ticket to the upper middle class life?

What if I tell you that an MBA is a shopping for words?

Yes, you heard that right. It is shopping for words – for a very specialized language that lets you communicate to your ilk. The ilk here being the management fraternity that runs most of corporate India (and the world) today.

The ‘core competency’ that you acquire is a ‘competitive advantage’ over other ‘market segments’ who don’t have the degree. The two years that an MBA program requires are to take in a normal person and send out a jargon spewing ‘executive’.

Your specialization then, is a choice of what words you shop more for. Being a specialist in a discipline means that you have more words (terms / language / distinctions) in that domain, and thus, this expanded vocabulary lets you do more.

Many such words connected together create a linguistic frame – a set of networked terms that alter the way you see the world altogether.

This is similar to a doctor, for example, who sees the same bleeding spot (or hears the same breathing) as you but sees it differently. She has more words to understand what is going on. And maybe more solutions?

So also, an MBA is all about acquiring a linguistic frame which lets you operate in the world differently.

You can now see the ‘economies of scale’ and ‘operational efficiencies’ of combining your monthly shopping. But you also see that holding so much ‘inventory’ may create a ‘cashflow crisis’.

You walk with your bundle of words to a gang that is already proficient at using these words (your employer) and plug in (almost) seamlessly.

Now you may ask, does a word shop need to be so expensive? Are there some words that are expressly left out (or creatively interpreted to justify something violent)? Can you see what lies behind these words?

Chew on these questions as a side dish as you go along.

Happy Word Shopping!

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Abhishek Thakore is a full-time lover of life. He is a published author, leadership educator and a movement builder. He is the founder of The Blue Ribbon Movement. He is also a Gold Medalist and an alumnus of IIM Bangalore – Class of 2005 and. He contributed one of InsideIIM’s first stories in 2011. You can read other stories by Abhishek here.

Abhishek Thakore

The writer is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore – Class of 2005 and Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics,Mumbai - Class of 2003. He is currently doing his PhD from IIT Bombay exploring the phenomenon of Work Engagement. He has worked with Deutsche Bank, Boston Consulting Group and Hay Consulting in the past. He is the founder and the chief mentor at the Blue Ribbon Movement

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