A WhatsApp forward years back made me laugh then but incidently enough it when I recently encountered it again as an MBA student, it made me think. It said – MBA in Gujrati is “Mane Badhu Aavde che” (translates to I know everything). As bizarre as it sounds, our curriculum is proof that those words have some truth to them. Investopedia in its definition of an MBA says “An MBA is designed to help graduates gain a better understanding of general business management functions.” Sure that sounds lucrative but are we doing justice to what we learn in this tenure? Or are we becoming the Jack of all trades and the master of none?
There exist forms of MBA like part-time, distant, executive. When have other professions done this? Have you ever seen a doctor or lawyer or teacher who has done part-time medicine and so on? Neither do we get a tag like ‘CA’, ‘Dr.’ ‘Doctorate’ or ‘LLB’ or ‘CA.’ even if we were to get, what would we call it?
SPJIMR has made our life a bit easier with the specialisation as a sort of identity for us. Sure, we learn about all the other domains, but a large part of our time is going to be invested in our area of expertise. When I think deeper, management in simple terms is just about ‘managing.’ Practically speaking, you cannot teach management in its entirety. One fine day, a professor cannot say, “Off you go my children, today you know everything about management!” It’s a life-long skill that we will keep learning even after we leave this institution.
However, there is a dash of contradiction to it. When I joined SPJIMR, I observed that people here were excellent in their respective fields. That made me wonder how does an MBA from SPJIMR differ in its attempt at making better managers? To illustrate with an example, lets take ketchup. Yes the one you eat with bread and if you’re crazy enough with EVERYTHING. Our undergraduate degrees taught us how to grow tomatoes. Some of us learnt about the seeds, some of us the tools required, a smaller chunk learnt about what weather suits them the best and a few others learnt how tomatoes can impact the economy and society. MBA is that skill that will teach us how to make ketchup out of them and sell them to run companies and earn profits. Bschool is also a place that facilitated us to meet fellow gardeners who might help us with these ketchup bottles when perhaps the lid is stuck.
Guess life is not as demarcated as our schooling has been. MBA is training us for the chaos that is waiting for us with open arms. The only way out is having the courage to face it with our whole heart. Because somewhere, deep down, MBA knows that these jacks of all trades will become masters one day.