|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
The BIG lesson that B-schools don't teach
Govindkrishna Seshan | January 04, 2006
Most B-schools equip you with logical skills and analytical techniques. They take you through step-by-step procedures of problem solving - identify the problem, probe its roots, then analyse solutions and so on.
In my 29 years of working, I have found that these methods work only in one half of the business. The other half is invisible and these methodologies simply don't work there.
This invisible half involves soft issues such as people-to-people relationships, motivation, risk-taking -- areas that involve little or no logic. This is an area that is less addressed in B-schools.
An ability to junk the step-by-step thinking process and thinking on your feet is vital. More often than not, in the real business world, even the best analysis and planning fails. For instance, in 2001 we made an acquisition in the US. We wanted our presence felt in the country, so we did a study and chose a company.
After doing everything by the book, we closed the deal on August 31 and remitted our payments on September 1. Ten days later, 9/11 happened. Everything changed. We had to get a working plan quickly: a systematic, step-by-step process would have never helped us cope with the problem. An incident like 9/11 may happen once in a century, but such problems arise often in business.
Which is why B-schools need to involve more entrepreneurs, especially to address the not-so-logical side of business. Entrepreneurs can address these issues better than academicians since they have practical insights and experience.
Also, most students are happy to just graduate and take up jobs in large organisations that guarantee fixed salaries. That is not enough. B-schools must necessarily promote a risk-taking approach to business, and must encourage students to take up entrepreneurial assignments.
Muralikrishna GK is co-founder and managing director, Helios and Matheson Information Technology. He graduated from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, in 1976.