MBA education in India – Black, White or Ambivalent Shades of Grey ?


As I near the end of my first year of MBA, and look back at the key learnings, I will try and take an objective view of management education in India based on my first year experiences and the practical implications of it.

Most of us familiar with the usual B school lingo, will frequently come across terms like ” gas” and ” globe”. I will try and decode them for the unenlightened. “Gas” is a term very dear to all IIM Kozhikode students. It can be seen as a one-stop solution to all problems ranging from lack of academic preparation, general lack of awareness about subjects taught in class or an effective method for some desperate class participation.

We have an eclectic mix of first year subjects that cover various ” states of matter”, from subjects like Financial Management( not at all easy for those uncomfortable with numbers) to Operations Management( a decent mix of theoretical concepts and numericals, manageable if a little bit of attention is given) to something like Strategic Management ( very much manageable, by thinking on one’s feet, with a generous dose of verbosity and derived from personal experiences).

The crux of the matter is that, to survive in an MBA course , we need a perfect blending of both worlds.  This brings me to the fundamental point of difference between, let’s say, an engineering course and a MBA course, as they are designed in this country. Engineering concepts can be classified into two broad categories-  either black or white, based on whatever past evidence we have. On the contrary, copious amounts of grey spectrum are found in all management concepts, blurring the gap between right and wrong. It’s all about perception, whether you see the ” glass as half full or half empty “-it’s just a more practical way to look at it. As one of our professor’s ‘ aptly points out, the best answer to any dilemma question in management is “It depends”.

The faster any student understands and ingrains this, the easier it will be for him/her to adjust to the sudden change in environment. This is not only important from the academic point of view but also from the placement point of view. When companies hire you for a lower-mid level management position, they expect you to have a more pragmatic approach for all practical dilemmas. Learning the art “gas”-ing your way out of situations by mixing theoretical concepts with some common sense is therefore one of my takeaways from my first year.



Anuraag Datta, a first year student of IIM Kozhikode and a marketing enthusiast ,is a part of the Merchandising and Designing Committee and loves adventure sports, trekking and theatre.