BCG Matrix of Friendships during MBA.

222The BCG matrix named after the Boston Consulting Group, identifies 4 types of strategic business units for a company’s portfolio analysis so that companies can identify which of its products and services are performing well, growing, decaying, need investment or need to be done away with. Four years back, I made a blunder of classifying the clients (of the company I was doing my internship with) into BCG matrix (growth-share matrix) instead of classifying its services and products for portfolio analysis in my summer internship project report.

But I realized that though this approach may sound rude and inappropriate for business clients; it can be successfully implied in our lives to understand the kind of friends we make during our MBA days; keeping in mind that it is important for all of us to understand whose presence is good and benefiting for us while who is our grave digger.

011Friendship growth rate refers to the summation of various characteristics such as the age of friendship (whether new or old); the quality of company (enjoyable or irritating); the extent of matching interests (knowledge, recreation, thinking etc.) With these factors being common such as old friendship, good company that refreshes you and like thinking you are more likely to get together and form friends with a person. Such person may be contributing to your various interests such as academics, discussions, sports; recreation etc and these characteristics make him/her attractive.

Friendship’s share in life or say strength of friendship refers to the importance and value you assign to your friendship. Also, this refers to the strength of equation shared by you with a friend. It is important to know whether you assign value to a particular friend or not and if you do then how much. Those with high value should always be grown to be beneficial and those whom you value less should be taken care of because every friend has their own importance.

Remember it is easy for you to make your place as a friend in someone’s life when there is opportunity to grow friendship. Also, if you try to build all your friends at one time, you might end up being confused as to who is more important to you while, who is less important.

The Star Friends: A very few friends remain attractive and maintain the friendship for a long time due to various reasons. Although I believe only few of your friends qualify and maintain as star friends, such people are those with whom you invest most of your time, efforts and thus friendship grows rapidly. With time their growth may or may not slow down and they may shift to other areas due to excessive closeness.

Such friends are ideal and beneficial for everyone because from teaching to project work they stand by you and you reciprocate with ease. Everyone wants such loyal and dedicated friends who not only know your grades better than you but also your family and your mindset. Such friends are practically challenging to maintain because with time, things change yet some people successfully maintain the equation.

The Cash Cows: This classification of friends does not refer to your filthy rich friends but those who are with you for a long time; already know you and share a very strong bond with you. Such friendships do not demand extensive investment from your side in terms of excessive effort. Such friends reciprocate with good relations, support, understanding that are always a positive for you.

You neither need to go out of the way to help them out nor need to overdo anything because you already share a good rapport with them. You are aware of their extent and limitations of friendships and vice-versa. Such friends are a boon because you need to make no additional efforts and the relations are already good. You stand by them and they give an extra hand to you when you need help.

The Question Marks: Such friends devote lesser time and strength in the present but have a high growth rate or potential. What do you do with friends who give you less time but appear worthy of your companionship? You invest in them by giving them your attention, time, dedication as well as look ahead to spend time with them.

You have to be extremely careful as to which friends you should convert as star friends. There are chances that your efforts may succeed or fail, there’s complete uncertainty. The crux here is to identify here who is valuable and who is not. Once you know whom all to focus upon, you must make efforts.

Dogs: Ethically it is ridiculous to call or coin a friend as a dog. But, this combination is the least important looking at your interests, its attractiveness and the time and effort you would like to devote. They may be disloyal, prove to be a time and energy drain or use up a disproportionate amount of time and resources. Such friends might have been close friends with you in the past but you lost touch or closeness with them due to some form of lack in trust, misunderstanding or deceit. This category includes those friends who cannot keep your secrets and blow the trumpet in front of the world.

Remember that while some friends might need immediate deletion, there are some friends required to be maintained to avoid negative publicity; to complete the group where such a friend is liked by others; to receive regular updates or any other reason. Such friends may be capable of revitalization and must not be done away with completely. At least maintaining touch is important in this case.

You must remember that since question mark and star friends are crucial; they are extremely demanding and require consistent efforts to be maintained and nurtured. Further it is extremely crucial for you to understand whom are you investing your time on and what kind of return are you expecting? Again as the critics of the matrix say, this matrix doesn’t care about averages; uses absurd notations and headings, cannot be used freely and lacks pragmatic approach.

Contributed By : Chayan Jain (Class of 2011-2013, IBS Hyderabad).

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