From smack-bang in the middle of the bell curve

Of arrogance…

In ISB, life, opinion, work on June 11, 2006 at 7:00 pm

You guys are arrogant“; words from one of the Delivery Managers who was giving us this presentation on a certain business unit at my new job. The ten-strong batch of inductees (6 ISB, 3 IIMC, 1 IIML) into the Business Analyst track looked at each other, with some incredulity. He went on to add how management grads from the premier institutes tend to have little patience when working with people of ‘conventional’ and ‘ordinary’ caliber (both his words not mine!) The problem he said wasn’t limited to management grads and was present in engineering graduates from the illustrious IITs. Quoting himself as an example of the latter, he explained how ‘we’ (apparently we were the latest additions to the fraternity), join any organization with expectations of revolutionizing the way it conducts its business, making sweeping changes to its strategy working in teams with other like-minded individuals. The reality, however, hits when your job description is anything like the expectation and your responsibilities are almost identical to those being handled by that deadbeat who graduated from <gasp> a tier-II college! Indignation turns to disillusionment as your performance on the job seems to be no better than his and you reason that the mechanical nature of the job shackles you from unleashing your true potential (” even a monkey could do this job!“). The true challenge, he said, was to work with people, and get work done, not judging them by the names on their degree certificates (in our case diplomas).

Well-intentioned advice all of it, in fact would serve us well to keep in mind some of that. A year and a half ago, when my peer group was mainly engineering graduates from various colleges affiliated to Mumbai University (not too favorably compared to the Carnegie Mellons of the world), I would’ve been inclined to agree. Just look at those schmucks in suits with fancy titles who seem to do little else but attend meetings all day! The proverbial shoe’s on the other foot and I find myself protesting that very idea, so energetically propounded by the DM. I only speak for those of us who, after not insubstantial experience in various lines of work, set out to obtain that management degree. By no means is it a slur on fresh graduates, but I think as individuals, the former group puts more on the line. Putting careers on hold, be it to attain incremental growth or to switch tracks altogether, is dicey business. Its only during the course that does one realize that its much more than an additional qualification to add to your CV, its a completely different way of looking at the business of running a business. So, I think its completely fair that we then come out of B-school demanding more from our jobs, in some part in how big the figure on our paycheck is, but more importantly in the exact nature of work. Exposure to the different facets that go into running a successful business means that you have a much better idea of what you’d be good at doing and anything different is just a waste of everyone’s time. I think its this finickiness(sometimes confusion?) about what you want to do that comes off as arrogance.

So, no, we’re not arrogant, but we sure are proud of our alma mater and there’s nothing wrong with that…

  1. There is nothing wrong in being proud of where you come from.But that comment isn’t to be taken personally.Most people develop an air about themselves, because of certain parchment papers acquired.Surviving the real world isn’t learnt by reading books.It is your work that should speak for you and not your degree.Yes it gives you an advantage, may be you understand things better, but it doesn’t make you god.I think he is only trying to put up a defence just incase you have what others might interpret as arrogance.

  2. Total agree with the previouse comment by anonymous, only for the fact that the right school might give you a better perspective of how to get thing done in a smarter way……..good one for those who plan to switch their tracks.. smiles – Savy

  3. I think its this finickiness(sometimes confusion?) about what you want to do that comes off as arrogance.My question: Are you sure about whatever organization you joined, that’s what you wanted to do? 🙂

  4. anon 1: like michael says in the mario puzo classic, “if a bolt of lightning were to strike a friend, my father would take it personally with god…everything’s personal” (sorry cudnt resist ;)savvy: i agree…hence a difference between having harvard on ur resume versus that school in toledoanon 2: ok, you seem to have some inside information…whats the deal with that? 🙂

  5. To quote you…everything is personal. Especially dissing genius plans. There will be retribution.But i’ll keep my fingers crossed for you anyway.

  6. Ok let me rephrase the question.My question: Are all MBAs(take your school for that matter) sure about whatever organization they join, that’s what they want to do?

  7. not at all…many of us are essentially shooting in the dark as far as our first jobs go…but the idea is to gain clarity about what we want to do given some time

  8. You talked about some time to have clarity. To me that would have happened in MBA.I would put 20 – 80. 20 do what they want to do, however without showing any sign of finickiness. 80 do what they might not want to do, but with an aura of finickiness.

  9. Interesting comment.So is one always clear of what they want to do.I don’t think anyone is ever.Cmmon most people can’t decided between the white and blue shirt each morning.One has to try one thing after the other, experiment with life and oneself, and then may be settle down some where.Expecting some to be stark clear of what they want to do right after a year’s MBA programme, according to me is the worst time to decide about a future, as the possibilities are endless and potential magnanimous.I totally stand by don’thaveaclue.

  10. anon1: support appreciated but i should also point out that during the course of my year at ISB, i also met individuals who were completely clear on the what and the whereanon 80-20: if someone’s doing what they want to do…the question of being finicky doesnt arise. most roles however have a range of responsibilities, some that aren’t as attractive as the others…and thats when the reluctance comes in “i didn’t do an mba for this!”

  11. Let me speak in the context of the topic and not in the generic terms. Yes I do agree that there will be some responsibilities, which an MBA pro doesn’t want to do(or does no match his profile or less attractive). This is the test of an MBA pro to resolve the ambiguity without showing any finicky. Quality of Work should reflect the MBA tag and not the words. Team can appreciate the work, however problem starts when only words come out from the MBA candidate.

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