Friday, December 30, 2011

#Expectations: WHAT should an MBA know? HOW MUCH should an MBA know? Coz its NOT possible to know EVERYTHING !!!

I have spent the last 2 weeks sitting for hours in front on my laptop, for at least 12 hours a day, trying to absorb topics off the internet related to Business Management. It has been a wonderful wonderful journey so far! I have had the most amazing time and am almost addicted to this knowledge high now :)

I did learn a LOT and I have tried to post relevant info on my blog. I have posted more than a dozen blogs a day on average, since the last 2 weeks! There is so much to learn out there. There is so much one can do with just a lap top and an internet connection, it is amazing!

What I realized from my self teaching / learning recently is this:
  • Not all Management topics are taught in Business School
  • There are too many new topics out there for the Business School to keep up to date about
  • Business Management is changing at a very rapid pace
  • More and more people are entering into this field and the pool of knowledge is increasing
  • While Gurus in the past were from North America, a lot of the new Gurus are coming from other parts of the world, as well - I just discovered Vineet Nayar - what an awesome chap!
  • Every MBA student should spend at least 30 mins to 60 minutes everyday learning something new - NOT from the text books, but from new sources like TED. BigThink, Harvard Business Review and so on.

While I was on this information gathering binge, I decided to step back for a moment (just now) and ask myself "What is expected of an MBA student?". What should an MBA know? How much should an MBA know? What defines a good MBA student?

I have tried speaking to a lot of people about this, but have not gotten a satisfactory reply yet. I have not yet met THAT person who can answer all my questions for me. Everybody is busy. It seems like life is a rat race and everybody is trying to get somewhere. 

When ever people talk of the MBA program, they use terms like "drinking from a fire hose" and "hitting the ground running". But then, it is not possible for all MBAs to know everything, innit? (However, it is true that the more you learn, the better you get at what you know).

Just as we talk of customization, not standardization, perhaps it is also true that not all the MBAs that graduate out of business schools should be alike. MBA students come from very diverse backgrounds - some are Engineers (actually, many :), some are arts students, some science students, some commerce students, some musicians and so on... Each has a different learning goal and each brings a different knowledge base, experience and expertise to the class.

So just where do you draw the line? When is it actually enough? When do you say - This is it!!! I have learnt everything that I need to learn? The answer is perhaps - YOU DO NOT! For 2 reasons:
  1. You can not know everything - even if you tried.
  2. You can never stop learning - so there is NO stopping. 

Perhaps it is OK to live with the feeling that life is NOT going to be perfect. Life shall NEVER be perfect. One should learn to enjoy the MBA ride, the MBA journey with a free spirit - take in what ever you can, do  your best and let go of the rest :) 

If you have been sincere and have made strong attempts to learn, that will show - in terms of grades, in terms of recognition from peers, from Professors and eventually, a good job offer, job and career. Somehow, someway, your hard work shall bear fruits!

For some, the journey shall be easy. For some others, it shall be a rough ride climbing up the learning curve. But eventually, we shall all complete the MBA program and get our certificates.  

- Gerry.