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How relevant is your B-school course?
Hema Hattangady |
July 12, 2005
Your perspective on what they don't teach you at B-schools really depends on how experienced you were when you began your management education.
B-schools are designed to give academic inputs -- even the case studies discussed (which are mainly from the US) have little relevance to the Indian business environment.
One reason for this, of course, is that most B-school professors are those who didn't succeed as entrepreneurs, didn't get the opportunity to set up a business or didn't climb the corporate ladder too swiftly. Consequently, there is little infusion of practical insight on the problems you face as an entrepreneur or manager.
What are the problems you are not equipped to handle? First, managing the transition of a family-owned and managed business to one managed by professional entrepreneurs and funded by venture capital.
Second, if you want to conduct business ethically, how do you handle the bribery and corruption that is endemic in our country? How do you coach and encourage those who work with you to stay on the straight and narrow path when the done thing is to be corrupt?
Our company had the opportunity to sell our products to the state-run electricity boards, and increase our size manifold. We chose to stay small, but clean. The challenge lay in choosing like-minded employees who could manage the rigours of doing business in India without resorting to bribery.
Third, how do you balance intuition and over-analysing facts when taking decisions? This comes only from experience. Which is why when an experienced manager goes to B-school, he is better able to quickly apply the decision-making theory to real problems. That also explains why many of the better B-schools prefer experienced candidates.Hema Hattangady is the managing director of Bangalore-based energy management firm Conzerv Systems. She graduated from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, in 1987