MBA and Job

“But I thought Pepsi was up there, right with HLL and P&G in FMCG!”
“No Sir, HLL and P&G are in slot 1; Pepsi is in slot 2.”
“Jaya, I really do not understand this. I have been the placement cordinator here and still I do not understand what my students look for and how they decide things.”

Let me not try to be verbatim anymore, but from the list in the previous post, you know whom it was with.

Then the discussion steered towards this focus on job and job only, not just amongst the students, but also amongst the faculty in Indian B-Schools. “We are becoming placement agencies!” is what he said. I asked if this is what MBA education was supposed to be and if situation abraod is similar. He said it is very different there. Faculty hardly know anything about jobs and placement. “And so they *teach*!”

Does it mean people there do not get jobs, do not make good careers. We know that will be an absurd conception. And yet, the sanctity of academic aspects is maintained, independent of jobs people get.

I know there are several factors at play here for the difference, but there is something to be aspired for surely!

11 thoughts on “MBA and Job

  1. Can’t help pop the question:

    Did you come here not knowing or did you come here and realise you did not know?

    and frankly,

    the picture isn’t so grim unless the student himself/herself is focussed only on placement or CG. And that choice, nobody but the student makes.

  2. > Did you come here not knowing or did you come here and realise you did not know?

    It is the later option. Call it my naivette, but since people put IITs and IIMs on the same plane, probably IIMs on a higher one, I hadn’t assumed it to be like this.

    > the picture isn’t so grim unless the student himself/herself is focussed only on placement or CG. And that choice, nobody but the student makes.

    There have been times when I have talked about the grimness of the situation for individuals, but here I was talking of the system as a whole. It has taken a shape, which had best been avoided.

    If it had something to do with the initial dialogue I mentioned, that was more to point out the ironies inherent in the whole process.

  3. First, IITs and IIMs (the PGP program) cannot be compared unless you’re comparing the mgmt schools in the IITs.

    Next,
    what should be the systemic mass output of an IIM in the overall scheme of things?
    It’s a street-smart intelligent person living in the real world who can get things done and knows what the problem is and who to contact to get it done and so on.
    For instance, someone out there who’s shouting out instructions and managing the p’ment procedure.

    And yet there is required a small group of people who will work as the brain; who’re going to question things, provide the idealistic framework, work on the new things etc. in these fields.

    The system cannot/would not want to mass produce this band, yet they are necessary. The system gives such individuals the freedom to explore provided they are OK with fair (instead of possibly best) rewards from it (since it is attuned to mass produce the category-1 type). Most members of this category are fine with this – of course they will point out the flaws even when they’re within this process, that can’t be helped – as they understand and are either self-driven or aren’t playing for/enthused by short term rewards (like P’ment or CG).

    The third category includes people in the intersection of category 1 and 2, they have a choice and will take a call.

    Finally the last category: members of category 1 who want to be in category 2 or vice-versa.

    These people will complain and cry till they recognize the anomaly.

    Say for eg. someone with a gem of a brain who can’t speak, yet is interested in a sales job which involves conversation day in and day out since that’s the most prestigious or high paying job. He has to either work on his communication skill which he will not citing his gray matter, or give up his aspiration. All that the job involves is coveying the boss’ instructions to the clients in posh hotels and so the recruiters are justified. Stand in the tent and you’ll hear half a dozen such stories.

    And the system has no shape other than as aggregate of its parts.

    There are certain niche schools abroad which specifically recruit for category-2 but most often it is at the PhD program stage that this filtering is done. It is incorrect to compare these with the IIMs.

    The ideal systemic output of the IITs or other good engg colleges is quite different.
    Many people here are still in their engg college framework and need to understand the new realities of the scheme they have themselves chosen to become a part of.

  4. …and thus each of these institutions whether the IITs or the IIMs, with all their flaws, are doing their best to fulfill their respective objectives……till somebody from category-2 comes forward to show a better path or objective altogether.

  5. Whatever be the desired output (I am not sure we are really clear on this) it does not justify the kind of obsession that is there with placements and which is very much a part of the environment. Street-smartness does not rule out long-term orientation. In fact it can not. When the people get focussed on “all that the *job* involves”, its a job they are talking about, not even a career. This is an excessively short-term orientation. Not to say it is not important to do well in a job, but all I am saying is that two years of eduation should not be focussed on just that. Else, its a waste of time – plain and simple. For “all that the job involves” one could have gone to a 6 months communication course somewhere then. Why two years at IIM?

    And what has been described here with respect to the situation abroad is for MBA programme only.

    See, I am not discussing individual expectations and/or frustrations here at all. I am not discussing pedagogy or the difference between academicians and business people either. It is an overall orientation of the system that I am talking.

  6. In fact about that job vs. career thing, let me add this. Its not just a short-term vs. long-term trade-off. It might be even a very-short term vs. short term trade-off. What gets you a job need not make you successful there too.

    To summarize my point is this obsession means nothing. That’s all.

  7. The obsession with placement cannot be justified – true, I would say, but debatable many others would contend.

    But one needs to be clear about the desired output, atleast the profiles of those who shall comprise the max area of the bell curve, the system is working for this desired majority. The categories I mentioned are the gist of my talk with the profs here in the first few weeks.

    Street smartness does not rule out long term orientation, it was never said it does, in fact it is probably a good guarantee for long term success.

    Whatever be the specifics of an example which was framed to highlight a point (and that also can be further argued), an MBA is a professional course designed for a particular type of career. Unlike many other courses the specifics of this career is almost completely defined by the market where the MBAs shall work; the easiest way to reflect the market in a course is by holding a constant mirror to the placement process. Another way is the case-based teaching. Another is RG and so on…. The purpose of all this is the same if you understand the point.

    If what has been described wrt the situation abroad is for MBA prog., then it needs to be verified. I’m speaking from the personal experience of friends and relatives (some of whom hold faculty positions) at Yale, Stanford and NWU-Kellogg.

    Guess I’ll rest my case here.

  8. Guys Guys,
    let the students decide what they want. If the majority want to focus on placements, Why do we feel their focus isnt correct ? Its their life after all, aint it? And I believe ( I may be wrong), you guys havent come here just for the learning without any desire for a ‘good’ job. Of course there are many who come here just for the learning or for a change, and thats what makes these IIMs unique in themselves. This blend ensures that learning happens in and out of the class…

  9. Aha! Not so easily “anonymous” (I would prefer if you gave your name) and not so simplistically either🙂

    But we have discussed it so many times here that I shall not get into that argument again. Some people challenge the basic notions which you are taking for granted while giving your conclusive remark.

  10. In my opinion, it is the placement and career planning where MBA institutes have an edge over other institutes. To be very frank, I never knew where I’d head after my UG even though the choice were limited.

    An MBA is supposed to work on the candidate to help him plan his future. I believe that if the students want to fetch a good job, for whatever reasons, let institutes help him in that. It’s the students who have to identify what they want out of an MBA. Yeah! they are paying for it!

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