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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Virtues of being a PGSEMer

What are the best lessons one can get from an MBA? I don't think they are the case discussions or financial modeling you do during your two years at B School. I am not contending that they are of no use. However I believe the real experience is the peer group, hostel life, making friends for life time, the friendly competitions and fights & ego clashes. 

Unfortunately a PGSEMer doesn't have the luxury to enjoy the hostel life. However in my opinion, the PGSEMer gets even more interesting experiences; real life examples - be it the professional success or improvement in the quality of life to professional tragedies and family issues. Fortunately I am one of the youngest in my batch. My project group members are at least 4 years senior to me, one even at the extreme - he started his career in the year I joined school! When I reflect back, many interesting experiences come to my mind.
The most recent being - I am writing this blog post while I am waiting for one of my project members to come back to complete an assignment due this week. He left in between our discussion to try to pacify his 3 months old son who was continuously crying! Can it reach another level??? 

During the past 1.5 years many in my batch got married, got the promotion in personal life, some became a house owner, some got even fired from their job and the experiences continues... These all make me virtuous enough to see what changes I can expect going forward in life :) (for example - a group member suddenly leaves our project discussion because his wife is impatient, another is going through some mental trauma because his father is in ICU, one is is cloud 9 because he became a Program Director, one bought a house in the hope that it will add value in his matrimonial resume :P and the list continues....)

Few of the other interesting experiences, I had in my past 1.5 years are  - the level of ego one can attain once you move up the ladder (see I am already an MBA w.r.to using jargon :P ), how typical managers behave and what their thought process is and so on... One thing I learnt is  - we have to salute the middle managers - they get f***ed up from upper management and his reportees have no respect irrespective of whatever he tries - poor chap! (I am not generalizing here; a common scenario though...). Its also an interesting learning on how to manage to get work done by people who are senior or much senior - a trait all leaders need to have!!. The of course the much cliched terms for learning from MBA - working in groups, thinking out side the box, thinking from broader context and so on...

Finally, the importance of talking in air ;), an art every MBA must learn. I have seen enough examples during the class discussions where a person who has read minimal material assigned, but grasped the crux and who has mastered this art shining over a person who had slogged hours in preparation; but cannot articulate well....This again is a real life experience and two years in B School gives enough opportunities to hone this skill - a must especially in the fields of Marketing, Sales and Consulting!!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Art of Decision Making

One thing, I have always struggled with is to take decisions - especially when it comes to two equally good/appropriate choices. So here I am in the elective course of Decision Making!! Before I joined, I dreamt that I can take any decisions without any struggle after studying this course. How naive I am still; even after going through an MBA program for 1.5 years.

That doesn't mean the course have no value add. In fact it is one of the good courses co-taught by one of the best professors in IIMB. The course goes in deep about how we think, what are our biases, the importance of intuition, gut feel and so on. It has its own coverage about mathematical notions of decision making using techniques like decision trees, monetary value calculations and applications of game theory.

The interesting thing about this course is that it is co-taught by colonel from Indian Air Force. And the cases are really special which includes, but not limited to Fire at Mann Gulch, Cuban Missile Crisis, Columbia's Final Mission (Multimedia Case), Kargil war, Strategic Innovation Simulation and so on. Overall enjoying the course so far... 

Few of the resources I came across regarding this subject are

A good website about intuition
Some interactive resources on cognitive psychology