1. It is Master of Balanced Administration:
It is about learning how to balance work-fun, theory-practical, duties- hobbies, man- machine, brain-emotions, following- leading, listening- speaking, obeying- challenging, classes- events, failure- success and most importantly outer you- inner you.
It’s not about This “Or” That. It’s about This “And” That.
Ex: IQ and EQ both are equally important. Followers are as important as leaders are.
2. It is studying subjects in the light of other subjects:
Most common mistake done by students who have an inclination towards a particular subject is: While studying their favourite subject they forget about the subjects that they do not like much.
Ex: While studying Marketing one must understand it within the light of Finance, HR, Operations, and Systems etc. Because, in market every marketing manager has to handle numbers, people, systems and distribution. A creative marketing manager who does not understand finance and systems will never be able to create and execute a profitable marketing plan.
One must understand that these subjects cannot be studied in isolation because each area is dependent on other areas. The student must ask for numeric solutions while studying marketing and human resource management cost of solution. And while studying systems management one must study it from an HRs eye too as it is people who would run the system.
3. It is being in the shoes of the head:
While studying management or solving a problem or a case study one must put himself into the shoes of the boss/ leader who is tackling the issue. Unless you consider the case being discussed as your own business problem/ opportunity you will never be able to get to the depth of the issue and the solution generally will be superficial.
To learn the most: One must analyze the problem/ case study from each stakeholder’s point of view. Because the solution provided by a typical Marketing Manager might not be feasible to the operations manager for technical reasons or the finance manager would not approve it because of it might not be financially feasible.
A good manager will not provide solution for his department by creating problems for another department.
Those who condemn theory/ theoretical knowledge must realize that an established theory is always based on inferences drawn from practice (or what is being practised). Theory is a reflection practice.
Ex: What came first: Marketing or Marketing Theory?
The problem lies in not using theory intelligently. Just because one is not intelligent enough to use theory does not suggest that Theoretical knowledge is useless.
Management theory is a not prescription it is just a description. Theory might not give you a solution; it can definitely help you to discover a way to approach the solution.
Any theory has some assumptions. One must study theory in the light of those assumptions. One must understand the constraints of a theory and the constraints of the actual problem at hand. Theory can definitely help a person to understand the problem and crystallize it to get a solution.
4. It is understanding theory practically:
The aim of MBA should not be to make you learn theories but to make you capable enough so that you can develop your own theories and solve problems in your own way. Experience helps you have your own ever evolving theories. An experienced person can run many simulations simultaneously and has a brain to consider multiple numbers of constraints and visualize the effect (based on his previous self discovered theories or as the world calls it as experience).
MBA case studies are meant to give the candidate a variety of experience but under a limited number of constraints and wide number of assumptions.
One can very well start from theories but one must not stop at them only.
5. Learn from everyone:
A good student can learn more from a bad teacher than a poor student from a skilled teacher.
A student should not solely depend upon the efforts of faculty for his learning. He must strive to get the best out of his teacher. Make the best out of the worst teacher. You will never be able to say “I had a bad teacher for this subject” as an excuse in the industry. By having the courage to take the responsibility of self development a student can make the most out of the situation. “Don’t sit on your ass and depend on others for your improvement.” You be the driver.
Question, ponder over examples, search for more analogies and demand for in-depth explanation, have an open mind and urge to learn. Learn from friends, library, non-teaching staff, the canteen manager, the hostel guard. Learn from anybody and everybody.
Even if you have not reached IIMs you must behave and develop habits that can make you at par with IIM students and thus prepare you to give a tough fight to the graduates from top notch B-school. The best students always keep searching for more avenues for learning. They believe that they are going to use the learning. Most importantly they actually use them!
6. Managing pressure and expectations
A typical B-school would have parties, cultural programmes, sports, exams, competitions and classes all at the same time. A candidate might want to excel in exams as well as cultural programmes. One must understand that there is opportunity cost associated with every action. One must figure out creative ways to manage the trade offs. One must stretch his capacity but without burning out.
Following crowd will at best make you a part of the crowd.
Multitasking might appear to be a smart way of handling things but one must not forget the power and the need of concentration. Concentration requires good mental and physical health, discipline with mind and work and organising things properly. If one reaches late in the class he is bound to take more time to get in sync with the class. If ones phone is vibrating in the bag he is bound to loose on the topic being discussed.
The basic thing that our school teachers always demanded from us: “Be there physically and mentally” remains important throughout the life.
Sleeping on time, doing some warm up exercise, and meditating a bit is the least you can do for making the most out of your young – productive days. Relaxing a bit during breaks and going into hibernation mode can help a lot.
One of the most common things the students do when under fire (assignments/ exams etc.) is to skip meal. Skip meal for what? For studying during exam days because you were lazy earlier? How can a person who cannot manage his meal, can think of managing a company?
7. Knowing oneself, being with oneself:
In life there is only one person who is going to be there with you always. And it is “You”.
Know thyself and the world will know you.
A manager who does not know about his business will never do justice with the business. A person who does not know himself cannot do justice with his potential.
Spend time with self to understand yourself. Ask yourself: how are you, what you like, what you don’t, what makes you happy, what kind of work would suit you, what kind of boss you want, what is the environment that you are seeking, are you improving every day, where have you reached so far, where do you stand, what do you intend to do, how do you intend to do it, where will this rush and hurry take you, are you a good human being, what is it you can do for others, do you really have good friends, have you ever helped someone inspite of being busy, are you becoming insensitive and calling it professionalism, do you still find a little quality time for your mother, have you looked at the moon and felt the peace as you used to, …there are enough questions that no one would ask you but the answers to them can make you closer to your true self, to be at peace with self and thus solve the riddles life would present you.
Spend quality time with yourself. Explore yourself. Work on yourself. Believe in yourself. Evolve yourself.
Written for Seventh Sense