Why Am I Doing An MBA?
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” ~ ARISTOTLE
It’s not for that lucrative job, no it’s not. Trust me on that…I had a job offer in hand and I decided to join IIM Lucknow anyway. I am an engineer, often I try not to find logic in my decisions because then they are very predictable. So I decided to go for that typical ROI calculation before coming here and the results suggested me to go for my job; financially I would’ve been better off on my job at least for the first 8 years. Do I regret my decision? Well, it’s too soon to answer that…
Then why did I come here? The five months (158 days) that I have spent here feel like ages. Not now, I have been feeling this way for a long time. I guess when you move at a high speed, time dilates; Special Theory of Relativity works! This high speed of life here is a result of our own creation, we want to make it this way.
The first few months you are working your ass off for the summer placements, from making that perfect CV to becoming the master of your subject; Not to mention the academic rigour going on, with 6-7 subjects to ‘pass’ in three months; you try to study and midway you had a realisation, “multivariate calculus was easier”! Now your priorities shift, you don’t aim for that gold medal anymore, you just want this to get over! While preparing for CAT, I contacted a few people studying at IIM A (Perks of living in Ahmedabad) and they suggested that I do three things. One, to be clear about my goals and priorities, and for that, you need to know yourself, you need to know who you are from inside. Introspection is the word. The other two tips were centred around the same thing. I tried…there is no fixed way to do this, so no way to check if you are doing it right, or if you have done it all together.
Two months into the system and I realised that they were right. You have so many things to do and to excel at but you need to be very clear with yourself to decide which one to do. Otherwise, you’ll end up wasting your time and you won’t be content with anything either! That is the worst part, wasting your time at a b-school. They are called ‘schools’ for a reason. Amongst all this, then there is a pressure from your conscious to ‘learn’, because one fine night you’ll realise that in this chaos of a place, you haven’t learned anything and 1/6th of your MBA is over and soon 1/3rd will be over and if you look back you don’t seem to feel that you have learned anything, the fear that your MBA will be over soon with no learning with you, starts haunting you. I felt the same way when the 1st semester of my engineering ended, and when somebody asks me what have you learned so far in engineering. I had many things to say, and my accomplishments to back them up. So, you conclude that learning is not material, you can always refer to the books and an exam result doesn’t decide your future, learning is an experience. After few years, you won’t be judged based on your marks but on the basis of what you take with you unless of course you are appearing for CAT and hoping to get into IIMs 😛
Strike one, you are learning, even though you aren’t. Remember you are not the first. Thousands of people have gone through the same process, and some of them didn’t even have a phone! Then again one fine night when you are trying to become Aristotle, you question yourself! Why am I doing an MBA! My life was going smooth, I isolated myself for 4 months from everyone preparing for CAT for this? Spent the next 4 months waiting anxiously for that one convert, for what? For being here! Trust me it’s not that bad as it seems, it is amazing!
You see, I have learned to outsmart myself, now I know, that I’m capable of doing anything; anything in the world provided I’m motivated enough! See, it’s simple; just find your motivation and start working. And that is all that matters. Suddenly everything becomes clear to you again; you have come here for chaos. Now that you have learned to surf the tides, the ocean doesn’t scare you anymore.
No matter how hard you try, you can’t answer this question without being philosophical, at least I can’t. For someone with three years of experience in equity research an MBA might be a tool to climb that corporate ladder, or for someone working in IT, MBA can be a change of career; or for the CA right there an MBA may be a __(seriously I have no idea what’s in it for a CA). But for me, it’s a pursuit, a pursuit to know myself better, a playground to test myself. It’s a boxing ring for me, but with no Apollo in it. It’s an expression for me, not just a fancy degree or a tag! or maybe I was too scared to go into corporate and it was just an escape from that. You never know. And no, I don’t regret my decision to do an MBA, I thank myself every day for taking this decision.