Things you might learn in life but not because of your MBA

This post is formally an entry for the InsideIIM ‘Great Indian B-School debate’

Name: Ishan Arora

Institute: IIFT

Team Name: Radical Thinkers

Team Mate’s name: Anuj Agarwal

Articles I am refuting:


It was interesting to see so many people choosing my article to debate for this contest. Although these articles make a good read but the learnings that they point to need no admission to a b-school. The arguments made are pretty similar to the education in b-school that is age old, conventional and shying away from calling a spade a spade.

Doing Business: This is probably the thing you least need an MBA for. A few courses on finance, marketing and strategy will do you more harm than good. The straightjacketed approach of teaching is more suited to a job than entrepreneurship.

Communication: Although a requisite for entry and part of your everyday life, there is little that b-school will do to make you more efficient at this. It is assumed that everyone entering a b-school is proficient in communication but on entering you will see many lacking and failing to improve during the course.

Networking: It is still a more of an innate and behavioural thing. The classroom training atmosphere is simply incapable of imparting such softer skills.

Selling: Many claim that they sell themselves every day but this rhetorical statement would be true for any working or studying person in the world. The materialistic world needs you to sell yourself every day. The selling I refer to is the one where you have to persuade, make pitches and seal a deal with a client of the company. This is something you will learn more from Rocket Singh than your b-school.

Writing: When I say that b-schools don’t teach you writing, I do not mean that all of you are bad writers. But there is certainly no contribution of b-schools in this. MBA education will actually spoil your writing with jargons, ambiguity and plagiarism.

Politics: Again, I do not say that b-schools lack politics but you will not learn an effective way to handle it. This is all the more a reason to teach and learn politics at this stage. Students will then be able to manage it better while in college and then in their work place.

International business: Reading about cases and their implication is by no means a way to learn international business. If you fail to cover the legal and cultural aspects, there is little meaningful gains you can derive from such education.

Patience: “Patiently killing your sleep for two years” might just be a very bad way to learn and practice patience. And the fact that this is a virtue you need a lot in these two years is a point I surely agree with but this is also something you will fast loose in this fast paced life.

All the points of refutations that I received agreed that these are requisite skills but the learning they point to mostly is not what you learn from MBA but through life and experience generally. The contribution of MBA is hardly worth your tuition fees.

Ishan Arora is the original author of the article which has been at the centre of attack by a few during this debate.