How's my Luck now?

Reflections, views and descriptions during my stay at IIM Lucknow from July 2004 to March 2006

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Location: India

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

What's in an MBA? - I

This is the last week of classes here, followed by three days of exams next week, then 3 more weeks before final placements and a further one week before the convocation. It's a good time to look back and see what one gained from the MBA programme, and also to consider the flip side,
what one liked least about it.

Some people claim that there is hardly anything to be gained from the course, and that there are so many shortcomings and problems - with the course, with the institute, with the people here - that they overshadow any positives completely. But I am not able to take such a cynical view. Firstly, I believe that what one considers as gain and what as loss is, by itself, a personal thing. Secondly, and more importantly, I firmly believe that what you get out of the course (and
indeed out of any endeavour) depends strongly on what you are willing to put in. If you have a positive attitude, try to do things that you think are good and of interest to you, there is a lot to be gained from the course.

With this background, I will start this short series of posts reflecting on my experiences in the past one and a half years. I hope to write another series taking a more humorous view of all that happens in a b-school.

First the positives, in no particular order.

Functional knowledge

I opted for elective subjects in Finance & Systems (where I have a major) and in Operations as well as Strategy. I must say that I have had an exhilarating experience studying these varied subjects, getting a conceptual as well as practical view on various aspects of business. I cannot speak for the areas to which I have had no special exposure here (namely, Marketing and HR), but in Finance, Operations and Strategy, learning has been an enriching experience. The faculty has not always been great, my own contribution to the study of each subject has not always been the best possible, yet there is a sense of satisfaction on having understood so much that was previously mysterious. Even greater is the happiness at having so many avenues for further exploration having been opened.

Now, interest is not the same as aptitude, and I must admit that although I have great interest in most of what I opted to study, my aptitude or expertise at much of this is of a rather mediocre level. In each of these areas, I know of several people in my batch who have excellent aptitude and knowledge. Many people who know me might think I am being deliberately self-deprecating, but I am stating this categorically, as a fact. I have always tried to compensate for lack of natural aptitude by having a keen sense of curiosity and putting in some effort, and I think that is why I feel whatever satisfaction I do.

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