The consequences of being a no-one
This is a formal entry for the B-School debate
Name: Venkat Iyer
Team name: Lucy in the sky with powerpoints
Team mate’s name: Bhanu P
Article I am refuting: http://insideiim.com/from-a-some-one-to-a-no-oneat-imt-ghaziabad/
“Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so” – Bertrand Russell
A bandwagon effect is when the rate of individual adoption increases with respect to the proportion who have
already done so.
The author has his motives sincere enough, to talk against the bandwagon effect; the phenomenon where young B-school entrants flock to join clubs. But in his argument lies a serious flaw; he gains solace when someone else tells him how more than 300 odd individuals do not belong to any club. His point stems from the fact that clubs in B-schools are seen as elitist, as a select coterie of young individuals all ready to take on the world. Yes, this is definitely not a healthy phenomenon, but consoling oneself under the pretext of not being in any club is surely not the way to go. The author sure does acknowledge that clubs and committees aren’t pure evil and everyone surely needed that consolation, most definitely. How can one claim to ‘grow better’ without actually considering the other side of it? I would like to point out why it is necessary for these committees to exist and even as to why we should at least make an attempt to enter these clubs.
A fair sense of competition
Life ahead is definitely not a bed of roses and an MBA degree needs to prepare us for the same. If someone thought battling for promotion in a firm was futile, where would he go from there on? Yes, competition is fierce, but that doesn’t mean we give up that easy. We might fail to enter any of these clubs, but isn’t it better to try and fail than to never have tried at all? Aren’t we killing the basic survival instinct that individuals ought to possess in order to face the bigger battle that lies outside these four walls we are currently confined within? This motive is what I argue against, the want of a successful life without wanting to battle for it. We are in India where a million people represent just 0.1% of the population. Can we afford to lax when there are so many breathing down our neck, waiting to see us fail? When we have fought so hard to enter these schools, does it make sense to lose this fighting spirit now?
When people talk about networking in a B-school, it simply doesn’t work when you are a no-one. Of course, being in a club isn’t a necessary criteria for the same, but it surely does make the job much easier. Being in such positions keep you in constant touch with the industry, with peers from other B-schools and with a host of people who might prove to be useful in the future. Why should we deny anyone these opportunities? For even those who do not belong to these clubs, the events and sessions that these people arrange provide for opportunities where they can build their networks. Why do we have to be a no-one when there are a billion people around who want to connect with us?
To get the best talent on-board
A healthy competition brings out the best in us. If talented students deem it fit not to apply to these committees, who would be the ones taking charge of these important positions? These positions are necessary for the growth of those 300 odd people the author talks about. They bring guest lecturers, they arrange events and hold career-counselling sessions. Is it alright if we let a select few manage these very posts? It is for this precise reason that competition for these clubs should not be discouraged. Let everyone apply, let them get selected, but do not raise them on a pedestal or discard them to the fleas.
Throughout the article, the author is begging his readers to enjoy a life bereft of ambitions. In his words: ‘A life without deadlines, without stress, politics and tension’. In a world where the rat-race humiliates any weak individual without mercy, is it justified to build yourself as someone who enjoys a stress-free life? While I am not a proponent of unhealthy competition, I do believe though that building yourself for the tough challenges that lie ahead is a compulsion in the modern day world. So, what are the alternatives, one would ask, if you do not get into a club or a committee?
Instead of living a life without any tension or late night meetings, look at alternatives that would enable you to do so. Not getting selected in clubs is not the end of the world, but accepting that fate as destiny surely is. If I were asked to give a ball park estimate, I would count, on average, at least 50 competitions per month that get floated on multiple platforms. Mind you, I am being as conservative as accountant in this estimate here. Assuming that we participate in even 5 of these, it is enough to keep us occupied for every day of the week. There will be late night meetings among team members and there would be politics (Work allocation) and deadlines have to be adhered to, strictly. Well, the author sure talks about competitions, but just as an afterthought. Also, talking about a stress free life and winning competitions does not make sense when talked about in the same line. These very clubs that the author looks down on are the ones which help students in these very competitions. Conveniently discounting this very fact seems frivolous.
The academic requirements are huge, yes but we can always go that one step further and undertake projects with the faculty. This would not just deepen our expertise in the field but also prove to be an excellent resume point. A publication in a leading journal, attending research conclaves, all add up to building your personality. These works do not come without their share of late night hours, gallons of coffee and disagreements with peers. The point I am trying to make revolves around the fact that it is not the committee that we should denigrate, but the elitist nature of these clubs. We do not need to belittle or criticise these student run activities to make a point here.
We are creatures of the night. When the midnight bells ring far away into the darkness, our senses awaken. We meet up at tea spots, talk about movies, series and music. These are not futile conversations; they all have a point. Pick up an instrument or just enjoy music; either way there is a lot to gain. Take up a sport, work those hours trying to stay fit. But all these activities come with their share of stress too. Basically, if we strive to be the best in what we do, we cannot lead a stress-free, leisurely life. There would be days where we enjoy, where we sleep early and while away time. But we cannot expect an idyllic atmosphere with lazy hours and free popcorn each day, for man is built to toil and toil he must to survive.
The opportunities that a B-School provides us with is aplenty, and filled with surprises. Whilst it is not fair to hold clubs and committees on a pedestal and worship those who hold these positions, it is equally denigrating to belittle the importance of these pillars of our institutions. Let us encourage healthy competition amongst our peers, let us work with these clubs to ensure inclusive growth and most importantly, let us not create a chasm between students that belong on either side of this line.
“For there are chances galore and milestones to make, let’s not create a world that’s plastic in sight and outright fake”