Friday, July 27, 2012

What's in a classroom anyway?


One year of MBA is over and life starts to kick back again. Second year has started and when I look back at the year that has passed, I have learnt a lot of important lessons whilst developing some habits which are now an inherent part of the person that I am.

1. Read
Read as if it is the first book that you have ever touched. Read as if there is no end to it. Read the best of the books prescribed by the best people you have ever met in your life. Since, one can’t live everyone’s experiences, read it as they write and live the characters that they describe. Personally, I am far away from completing the BBC top 100 books list, but as an MBA I have an Excel sheet that maintains the progress.

2. Watch
Watch the best of the world’s movies and documentaries. Suggestions galore, we are in the upward slope of the information age. Anything and everything is captured. Skim the best and watch them. If you haven’t finished the IMDB top 250, it is high time you started working on it. Go to theatres, plays, stand-up comedy shows. Visualize art as there is no end to it.

3. Travel
Travel to places you have never been before. Make excuses and visit those places. Don’t worry about money because travelling teaches you how to travel far and deep, within yourself and out, while spending less. Explore the place that you are in, including the college library because you never know what will strike you and when.

4. Observe
One of my hobbies is to observe people. An important management lesson that I have learnt – Give people what they want and they will give you what you want. You can get what you want only when you give people what they want. You can give people what they want only when you know what they want. And you can know what they want only when you observe. No one is going to tell you explicitly. Observe and figure it out. By sheer observation, you will differentiate between people who inspire you, people who will kick beneath the belt, people who will even blow beneath the belt and people who will stand shoulder to shoulder and support you to the end.

5. You are not always right 
Another important lesson that I had learnt was that you are not always right. There are more people who are more right than you are. Accept their perspective as there are always three perspectives to anything – yours, mine and the ideal. Engineering teaches you how to be right and wrong; management will teach you how to be right and more right. Appreciate it.

6. Stand for what you believe in
Even if it supersedes the previous point, stand for what you believe in. Never be arrogant, but be polite and rational. Stand for what you believe in, even if you end up making enemies. If you are convinced, persuade and convince others. Persuasion is another important weapon in your arsenal to fight the irrationals.
  
7. Commit mistakes
Commit as many mistakes as possible and learn from it. Experiment and keep experimenting. It’s always better to go wrong as many times as possible with the prototypes rather than going wrong with the final product.

8. Deal with ambiguities
The world is filled with uncertain circumstances. Most of the times, you won’t get all the information to take a perfect decision because perfect decisions don’t exist. It is always a quality of retrospection. So, deal with ambiguities and take the best decision out of the alternatives that you have because life is a trade-off and one has to optimize it.

9. Criticism
I read somewhere that, a critic is a person who knows the way but doesn’t know how to drive a car. One profession that comes close to that description is a consultant. Mind you, in MBA every one is a consultant and everyone has opinions. Everyone has a right to their opinion and you have the right to accept or reject it. Dissect it and find the rationale in it. If you see some truth, gracefully accept it and credit that person. But the truth is that 99% of the criticisms that you would come across are made for the heck of it. Identify the best ones and then invest your time. Take criticisms to your head and praise to your heart and never the other way around.

10. Learn
Each of the aforementioned points will be worthless if you don’t learn anything. Keep learning. Envision, explore, experiment and experience. These four will keep you going as old habits die hard. It is applicable to good habits as well.


While I learnt most of them outside the classroom, the credits go to them who inspired me inside the classroom.
-
Tippu S.
Class of 2013
SJMSOM, IIT Bombay

7 comments:

  1. Loved d line abt criticism and praise:-)praise
    ..

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  2. "the truth is that 99% of the criticisms that you would come across are made for the heck of it. Take criticisms to your head and praise to your heart and never the other way around"
    Fantastic lines !!! Good one tippu !

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