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Ask an MBA aspirant about the four Ps and you will be surprised by the response. In case you were expecting a typical straight-out-of the Kotler reply you will be astounded to hear words like Placements, Package, Profile and Prospects!
As news of summer internships comes in from top campuses and students heading to all corners of the globe, the aspirants can't be blamed.
This makes me ponder -- Is an MBA about just these four Ps?
With names like Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Macquarie, Merrill Lynch, McKinsey doing the rounds in portals of the top campuses, and the sweat and night outs for that day zero slot one cannot deny the all important 'P' factors.
Having said that, one cannot just 'quantify' the output of an MBA course by these factors. In two years of one's campus life, one has the choice of a number of 'take-aways' that are more durable than the first job!
Knowledge: First and foremost, the MBA adds an immense amount of knowledge. Subjects ranging from Quantitative Techniques to Transactional Analysis help widen the domain knowledge. This learning may not be in too much depth, but surely in terms of breath of knowledge you are a know-it-all.
Presentation skills: With myriad class presentations, one is bound to become an expert in not only making PowerPoint presentations but also presenting them in a crisp, confident and professional manner.
Analytic skills: With the help of computer application tools like Excel and SPSS and the knowledge of various statistical and quantitative methods one is surely in command of analysing and number crunching any problem and coming up with an instant solution.
Networking: You end up studying, living, eating with over 200 of your batchmates, each from an different background -- diverse geographies, religions, educational backgrounds, work experience. Thus, an MBA college becomes a melting pot of learning from one another. What is more important is we also leave the campus with so many friends who would be working in various corporates across the globe.
Perspective: This is what B-schools have been known for. By way of case studies and contests -- students develop their own way of thought on a particular situation at hand. This helps future managers to have their own take on various situations/ problems they face in life.
Confidence: Presentations, quizzes, exams, inter-school competitions, simulated games all make one a more confident individual. In today's highly competitive world -- where dog eat dog is the order -- confidence is the most sought after weapon in the corporate jungle.
Team spirit: Well, this is not something that should be brushed aside. Team working skills are essential for success in any endeavour. B-schools ensure this by giving a platform in terms of group assignments and tasks. While working on it one encounters problems like social loafers, managing conflict, ego issues, coming to an agreement etc. This practice thus helps one achieve mastery at managing people.
Self understanding: By far the most important take-away for anyone -- to understand thyself. To understand what your strengths and weaknesses are. And thus work on things that are more 'fitting' them. To understand what motivates, the long term goals and break them into short-term goals is what one can hope to gain.
Thus, a budding MBA aspirant should look forward to an all-round growth and create relationships to last a lifetime from an MBA course to make the time spent here valuable forever. What about placements? As they say, it's just a freebie thrown in at the fag end to have something to look forward to after an MBA!
The writer is an alumnus of Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai.
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