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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Why Does the World Hate MBAs?

I am one of the above breed, and I can see the hate/dislike/resentment in the industry and to a certain extent I would say it is warranted as well. (I am seeking refuge in a collective identity hoping that it washes away some of personal shortcomings, ding dong!)

What turns the dice against us?

I am trying to figure(this is some loud thinking here !!). Let me start with the process. Business educations is about finding value or as any Marwari/bania would put it, it is about, ”धंदे की बात करियो ....भायो”.

Value or its addition in any process/function is for an infinitesimally short period of time. For instance consider a TV soap opera; the entertainment value is only at the conclusion and the beginning of it. A daily one runs for barely 20(of the allotted 30), minutes and the starting and ending minutes are the ones which add value , or let’s say make you watch it again. The rest are just fillers. So the VAR is 2/30 = 6%.

Similar is the case in modern day business or organizational work. The real meaty work, which adds value, would typically have the same proportion.

So now what happens is most smart, and knowledge MBAs (pun intended!), believe in this philosophy. (can you blame them, they are doing justice to what has been taught)

They seek only to work during the value adding time, hoping that the other time washes away. Alas, it is not so, for there exists a weird causality and a strong one too and therein difference between a soap opera.

An advertisement in the middle of a soap opera it, will not change in any way the hero/heroine make out in the end. However the fillers in real world would determine the nature and longevity of the value added.

Hence the existence of resentment factor number one, the sentiment” that guy/girl will only talk during work, or when he needs something.”

I have no problems if someone comes to me and says they need my help, and the only reason they are talking now is because they need some work from me.However this reason should be clear, no dallying around of keeping in touch , blah blah....

But that is not the way the world seems to work.

Sirjee actually gave me a very nice example yesterday, he said, ”Hey you know G, at B-school he was always running here and there, seeking to be in the midst of everything, and now you don’t hear from him at all , in fact he did not even turn up for V wedding, in spite of being in the same place”

“Sirjee, that is a clay pot, out in the sun for long he cracks. At the risk of sounding boastful, I can say that he did not have any balls, and the influence part of it, was also limited. I know for sure, that if you or I raised a finger it was the end of it and even now we know for better what’s happening at any place”.

But we also have non-friends (I wouldn’t use enemies, for sirjee actually laughed it away) , said sirjee.

“What would you like sirjee?, everybody’s friend who actually has nobody, or somebody’s friend who has all those some “bodies”. , i shot out to him.

Hmm true , says Sirjee.

Secondly MBAs have a huge ego. Two years of education and they are out to defend the bastions of business established by gray haired veterans having a decade and a half worth of experience. This would not augur well with anyone. You cannot command work, or improvements, you would have to persuade them slowly and assiduously.

"What talk to him, he is barely a graduate?" , seems the sentiment.

Darn!! If you are so smart, why don't you use your knowledge derived from the degree rather than just the degree , to get some work done?

Bend, squeeze through and go to the next rung, or break in this rung itself, most choose the latter.

My business is to do with people.Meeting, talking, negotiating and fixing a deal, and in my business there are no fresh faced kids, only gray haired veterans. But the thing with those veterans is that they listen to logic, delivered with the correct amount of deference. Too much of deference and you are not taken seriously, too less you are on an ego trip, it has to be just right.(All right chadda saab I am a desi dalal a.k.a , dalakant !,and I am proud of it).

PS - Chadda and sirjee, my good friends experiences, in different powerhouses, prompted me to pen this down.