This is a blog by the students at the S P Jain Center of Management, Dubai, Singapore. The site is designed to play a common ground for the students and alumni of SPJCM to blog about their lives at the campus, industry exposure, events, current happenings, and everything else. The views expressed are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the views of S P Jain Center of Management. For more information on S P Jain Center of Management and the courses offered, visit the official SPJCM website

A balancing act

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Its been nearly four months since our batch arrived in Singapore. Less than two months for this stint to get over and for us to head to Dubai. Time really does fly. These few months have been packed with activity- there are a lot of things one can choose to do apart from class work and making the right choices can be a balancing act.
An MBA experience has a lot to do with one's peers or batchmates. A great amount of learning comes from one's interaction with them. Our batch here is packed with enthusiasm and has spearheaded a number of new initiatives.
One of these is the 'Big Picture Series'. As part of this we meet once a week. A few persons volunteer to make a presentation on some subject or area of importance after which there is a dialogue between them and the audience and an exchange of ideas, opinions and different perspectives. The rationale behind this initiative is to think of the larger picture and to see things in perspective.
Another initiative is the establishment of a Toastmaster's Club within SPJCM. A sizeable number of students have enrolled for this to sharpen their public speaking skills and to get a forum for networking.
A fortnightly newsletter called 'Archaeopteryx- The Missing Link' covering finance, business and technology related articles has been rolled out. The team coordinating it sees it as a vehicle to bridge the gap between what is taught in class and what happens in the real world.
Our seniors left a couple of weeks back. They've been a friendly bunch and were ever willing to share their insights with us. The elections and interviews for the various committees we have in SPJCM were completed by them.
The Entrepreneurship and Networking Club has organized a few networking events already.
The importance of networking has been stated time and again by everyone who has been through the MBA experience.
Apart from the quizzes, classes, project and group work sessions everyday, there really is a lot one can do. It really depends on one's priorities and juggling between them to reach a balance.
Many of us are eagerly waiting to get over with this and begin earning and working again. But the best thing to do would be to savour each moment while we are here. I know our seniors are missing the time they spent here immensely. Nothing we've done in the past and nothing in the future can replicate this experience. So lets live it up!
-Chandrika Kanwar

Redefining Success of MBA

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Recently I finished my MBA. As I landed myself a job during the placement week at my college, I guess I didn’t do badly by the conventional Indian definition of success at B-Schools. But is getting the job at the end of the term the only criteria for success in MBA? My experience says that getting a job is just one of the important parameters, especially in the Indian context. But then, is there more to MBA than getting the job? Yes, there is. MBA as a course is an experience worth going through. A course that teaches you valua ble lessons in teamwork and interpersonal skills – something most of the courses cannot boast of. Having gone through this experience before the multitude of you aspirants of MBA, I technically become your senior. Seniors are like classics – the books that everyone appreciates but no one reads. We seniors are like those priests who preach what they themselves don’t practice. Let me share with you some such gyan atleast some of which I might not have successfully exercised but on the hindsight, I wish I had.

Soft skills courses are important - We need to change our smug ‘know-all’ attitude towards soft-skills courses and those that deal with Human Relations. The problem, according to me, is that we perceive them to be synonymous to Communication Skills. And isn’t our selection into one of the premiere B-Schools of India proof enough of our good communication skills? But it is this very haughty attitude which is our undoing, especially because communication skill is just a part of the whole and not the be-all and end-all of it.

Groups – There are two ways a group can be formed: either college decides your group or students decide their own groups. This second group is more coherent since people generally handpick the ‘apparently’ better students of the lot. But such a selection has two problems the first of which is a proverbial aphorism – “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” The second problem is that people tend to choose only those they are comfortable and friendly with. So, the friendly, humourous and fun-to-be-with people get picked up faster while those perceived as nagging, inquisitive or overly-studious recluses are left out. This precept sometimes falls flat on its face because of the second rule, “The most sincere and knowledgeable people are not often the best people to hangout with.” Students realize their fallacy when they find that people who are pompously fun-to-be-with are not the best assets in a team. Flamboyance, in most cases, ends up being antagonistic to sincerity since the people who actually work in a group are rarely high profile. It is here that the group formed from the “left-overs” who were partners more out of compulsion than choice do a better job by working silently and sincerely, as is their wont. You need truckloads of serendipity to end up with a good group where almost everyone contributes. However, it’s only human to have a black-sheep in a group of six. So think twice before forming the group. The reserved, boring, next door nerd, & not the Mr. Flamboyant, might just be the right guy who’ll save your project.

Love blooms – It is only natural that clouds part, flowers blossom, angels sing and bells ring when a guy meets a gal. Please apportion a buffer for such an eventuality. God save the groups whose members fall in love with one of the batch-mates. No amount of coaxing, rebuking or imploring can get them out of their self-imposed honeymoon for they prefer to stay in that self-denial state of romantic hangover. After some initial altercations, you’ll learn to ignore and not expect from them. The faster your accept and adapt to this change, the better for you.

I want to Top – Our Indian education system has so deeply entrenched in us the association of self-worth with the marks and ensuing recognition that we almost forget that MBA is a different ball game altogether. You’ll find people who’re crazy after marks and those who just don’t give a damn. I would say, it is dangerous to stay in either of the camp. Going too much after marks would force you to stop looking for what you like and what would you make a career from. Your view of success would simply be a short-sighted rank. We have in our batch some commendable people who’ve been toppers all through their lives. But they say, they’re here not for rank. They’re here to discover what they want out of MBA. That should be your aim. At the same time, it is dangerous to lurk at the bottom of the pyramid. You need to ensure that you don’t let your ‘lack of concern for marks’ trickle you down to the bottom. Only a fine line separates being not concerned and being careless. Make sure you don’t cross that line. Staying somewhere in the middle should keep you in good stead and help you focus on what you want to do.

Teamwork - The Indian schools and Undergraduate Institutions are partly to be blamed for laying no emphasis on teamwork. We need to inculcate the importance of teamwork in children at an impressionable age. In their quest for ‘individual’ marks and
grades, Indian students have forgotten to work for the holistic good. It is amazing what you can achieve if you don’t care who gets the credit. But in the corporate world, your progress depends on your visibility. So how effectively you balance the two contradictions will decide how far you go. We still need to ensure that we communicate to our teams that while claiming credit for something is welcome, plagiarism is not. Soft-skills, ironically, have a very important role to play here.

Presentations – No matter how tempting it is, don’t get into a quid pro quo arrangement with the class to avoid challenging questions post presentations. It is important to learn to answer critical queries without getting defensive. You should be able to achieve this easily if your focus shifts away from marks.

Zero in - Zero in on what you want to do post MBA. Every subject being taught here is a potential career for you. Find out which subject appeals to you most, irrespective of your specialization. Don’t worry if you don’t know what role to get into post mba. Most people don’t and you’ve a huge company here. But look at every subject with an eye for picking your career out of it. You may choose to focus more on the subject of your interest and delve deeper into it.

Competitions - Without fail, take part in the B-school competitions. They’re not just important for you as a person, student, businessman or a manager but also for your college. These competitions will improve the scope of your thought process if not anything else.

Hope all the future MBAs can learn from my experiences and mistakes. I note this down on this blog so the future batches of MBAs have a different set of mistakes to commit and learn from them rather than reinvent the wheel themselves.

With this article, I hand over the baton to my junior Chandrika Kanwar.

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