Role of English in MBA

Journey of MBAApart from the latest technology that connects us to the rest of the world, the various combinations of the 26 alphabets also has a vital significance in forming the nexus with the rest of the world. These combinations of 26 alphabets has been bestowed with a single word called “ENGLISH”. Besides being a common language of the world it also has altogether different role to play in our context which is MBA. Let’s focus on English as a tool in the entire journey of MBA.

The first step in MBA is the clearance of the entrance level exams. Usually these exams are Group Discussion and Personal Interview. Both of these exams require you to hash out your views in front of another person and in both the exams the moderator or the interviewer try to uncover your comfortable level with English. In case you goof up here at the very first stage then there goes your chances of entering a B-School in dumps.

Since, majority of students apply for MBA directly after their graduation where not enough opportunities lies in communication part. Hence, a microscopic leniency is shown at this stage by the examiner when it comes to English due to the fact that MBA not only bombards you with the technical aspects of the corporate but also opens you up in front of other people.

Unlike majority of other courses where technicalities of the disciplines are given a top priority, MBA is one such academic course where no matter which stream you opt but communication always gets the apex priority. Seems like the only reason why in the first two semesters we are compelled to go through a brief of every stream and speak on every one of them in forms of various presentation.

IBS, specifically, has Personality Effectiveness Lab and Business Communication classes in first and second semester to eliminate the fear of speaking in front of audiences and also eradicate any problem one has in English.

Not only one has to be a master in verbal English but also one should be able to write and comprehend the written in English accurately. Once you are done with the presentation, you are entitled with a task of penning down your concepts learned in a semester on sheet of paper. If little do you know about the rules of writing in English you might end up with gibberish in your exam answer sheet. You were good at learning your concepts but when it came to express it on a paper you bungled everything. Hence the oral and written English are the two sides of the same coin.

Next comes in a life of a MBA student a red letter day. The placement day is on you, you are well versed with the ins and out of the company which is in your campus to recruit you. You sit in the interview but on the very first question of the interviewer you fumble and at that time this language becomes the only hurdle between you and your success.

MBA Graduation

Though there remains an informal culture in the organization which has come to pick you and everyone communicates in the language they are comfortable in but for the only reason that you lacked confidence in talking in English at the time of interview, someone else who was not even aware of the business model of the firm got a chance to be in the company only because he or she mixed the 26 alphabets rightly at the right time.

With the bits and bobs of the English language you are in a company now but you are unable to communicate with others in your team because either there is someone in your team from an alien country who does not speak your language or there are some in your team from those Indian states where English or the regional language is far more influential than the mother tongue. This deadlock between you and the other team members could steal some of the stars from the performance review sheet.

Okay! Once an internal employee can understand this entire turmoil of English language with you but then you surely cannot give an excuse of a language to the king of the market, The Customers. When they approach you with any query you just cannot excuse yourself from them because you are not that good in English. Once you could thank your stars because a customer turned out to be an Indian and with the passage of time and a long term relationship you get informal with the customers when it comes to the communication part but you will always be cursing your stars if that is a customer from a foreign land.

Also, It so happens that an organization sends their best employees on a foreign business trip to represent their company to the international client. There arises an opportunity like this in your organization and you lose it in two ways. Firstly, you never get a chance to go on a foreign trip because the only common thread you share with the client overseas is the English language and hence some else who performed less than you gets a chance to be on board with other just on the basis of his fluency  and he command on English language. Secondly, even if you get a chance based on your performance you ruin your impression and that of your firm too in front of the international client.

We can see that the English language plays the role of a backbone in MBA and there are only cons of not knowing English.  Everyone, opting for MBA, knows the 26 alphabets of English but combining them correctly creates the magic. One can get a hold of this language by continuous reading in the same language, if one cannot sit for long hours for reading then listening to English commentary of any sport is another way of getting familiar with it. What else could be an interesting way of learning this language then watching movies with their subtitles on? If nothing works then professional help is always there in forms of English classes and grammar books.

Just like the basic math i.e. plus, minus, division and multiplication never leaves our lives, similarly in today’s modern world English language never bid farewell from our lives. As Mr. Frank Smith, a contemporary psycholinguist, rightly said: “One Language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.”


Contributed by Hasan Ali Gumani (Class of 2014, IBS HYDERABAD)

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