MBA problems…

I have decided to change the date of this post whenever I update it, so that it comes to the top. However, for the information of the posterity, this post was first made on December 1, 2005 at 9.28 PM IST :-D. The additions are at the end of the list.

Probably all we do in an MBA programme is “learn” some jargons and tools (other than preparing CVs of course – the season starts tomorrow!)

But it”s astonishing to see how little people understand of even these jargons and tools at the end of the programme. That motivates this post. I am no Guru, and it is likely that if you persist deeper into these, you will stump me. But still I dare :-D. It”s unlikely that I will recall too many things at one go. So, we will see how to update it. And please do not feel offended if I mention things which seem too trivial to you. People actually mis-understand them!

  • Being a small player does not mean one is niche player. Niche is defind by very specific needs of a certain set of consumers, and not simply by the size. If the size of the segment is too big, more companies can cater to it; so it probably won”t be considered a niche. But a small customer base, by itself, is not a niche segment. Existence of a niche segment is driven by the market realities and not by how large (small) a customer base the company is serving.
  • Regression and Correlation do not prove causality! Simply no! They only say whether the variables are moving together or not; and not whether they are causing each other or not.
  • 30 is not a sample size for statistical significance (whatever that statement means). Only thing is certain statistical tests give reliable result only above a sample size of 30. It does not mean that if you have taken a sample size of 30, it is a *large* sample. Go large. Larger the sample, more realiable the results. Nothing stops you at 30…
  • Segments can not be assumed to exist just because there are two kinds of products in the market. Segments are defined by consumer characteristis and not company”s whim to introduce products.
  • Opportunity & Strengths in SWOT analysis are not the same. Nor are Weaknesses & Threats the same. Things can not be put arbitrarily in those heads. Opportunities and Threats are external to the firm, Strengths and Weaknesses are internal.
  • Significance tests are not carried out on census data. That”s simply meaningless. Significance test is meant for sample data. (Carrying out significance test on census data was a joke cracked during a guest lecture at which nobody in the class laughed! 😦 The speaker had to say “It”s a joke!!”)
  • You can not go on using the same questions for psychographics in all your surveys! I would not be surprised if the psychographic questions used in all the surveys today was designed some 5 years back for a completely different purpose. For each study you have to decide if psychographics are important at all and if so what psyhcographic variables should you measure. Then you could develop your own scale. There would be ways to validate it. But most likely you would use one of the scales already used and validated by someone else. For the information of IIML students, there is a book in the library called Marketing Scales (something like that), which gives an extensive list of scales that have been reported in various studies.

More later…

This entry was posted in Business & Entrepreneurship by Jaya. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jaya

Jaya Jha is an entrepreneur, a techie, a writer and a poet. She was born and brought up in various towns of Bihar and Jharkhand. A graduate of IIT Kanpur and IIM Lucknow, she realized early on that the corporate world was not her cup of tea. In 2008, she started, one of the first print-on-demand publishing platform in India. She currently lives in Bangalore and divides her time between writing and working on her company's latest product InstaScribe ( with a vision to make it the best e-book creation tool. Blog: Twitter: @jayajha Facebook:

7 thoughts on “MBA problems…

  1. Very pertinent post. You have touched on marketing and statistics-related aspects. I can vouch for the fact that things are similar in finance and (worst of all) in strategy. Certainly, I have been guilty of this myself in the past year. But the real problem occurs when we fail to realize that we are wrong, or worse, refuse to believe we are wrong.

    Basically, there is a need for being much more careful about building your foundation of concepts, and I do believe that when one does that, and puts in personal effort in understanding one’s interest areas, an MBA can actually be rewarding (rather than being just a collecton of tools). Insincerity is a big reason why projects and presentations seem so bad at times. The way we do things at the last minute here, and then spout out glib presentations (and then crib about the prof pointing out fundamental errors), the learning will obviously be minimal.

  2. Of course somebody will claim that management is all about common sense ultimately and probably won’t be wrong in saying so. But then common sense is so uncommon and isn’t that the reason why Business Schools are thriving? 😀

  3. I wish it were all about common sense. There would have been no need to do any research in management. The saying is as good as the assumption of a perfect market.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s