Learning to be an Effective, Efficient and Good human being during MBA study

Business Approach

When you join an MBA programme at a good institution, you spend plenty of money and substantial prime time of your professional life. Obviously, you do this with some expectation of better life ahead. So, let’s look at what are your take-away from the MBA programme. These are mainly the following;

  1. A degree certificate confirming your having attended and successfully completed the program. It may also indicate division/distinction achieved.
  2. A marks list indicating the list of subjects studied by you during the two year period of MBA course and the percentage marks or grade achieved in each.
  3. Good knowledge on various subjects of the curriculum with more detailed understanding and knowledge of the specializations chosen by you, like ‘finance’, ‘marketing’, ‘human resource’, etc.
  4. A group of friends and contacts on whom you may rely in times of need.

That’s about all. However, all these are not enough for you to achieve fabulous career in a professionally managed firm with ultra-high salary package that you might have dreamt. You also expected the job to be highly satisfying, providing tremendous opportunities for learning and growth. All these and much more are possible only, repeat only, if you acquire one more take-away, as follows;

  1. To be a good person, i.e., totally different person when you come out of MBA programme compared to the person who joined the MBA course.

This 5th point, unfortunately, is not a part of the curriculum and it is generally not taught. It requires self-initiative and considerable effort. Some people call it ‘personality development’ but it is far more than that.

It involves complete overhaul of your innermost beliefs, instincts, emotions, attitudes, habits, behaviour and thought patterns. These aspects are extremely difficult to modify, as these are deep rooted in a person’s psyche and have been acquired over many years of living. It requires a deep urge to explore this area and introduce changes with considerable effort. The good news is that it is possible to bring about positive changes, albeit with keen insight, initiative, determination and perseverance of high order.

For a person to perform the assigned job with high sense of responsibility, one must possess good efficiency and high order of effectiveness. In addition one must be a good person at the core of his being. We shall now examine each of these aspects in more detail.

Many people confused between the words ‘efficiency’ and ‘effectiveness’. Broadly speaking, efficiency means doing things right whereas effectiveness means doing the right things. Effective signifies ‘what’ and efficiency signifies ‘how well’. One must achieve effectiveness and efficiency both, but effectiveness always comes first. For example, if you want to proceed in your personal journey of growth, effectiveness would imply your destination, direction and right path to reach the destination. Efficiency, on the other hand would imply using the available resources in an optimum way to complete the journey in the shortest possible time.


Efficiency is mostly a technical term signifying level of output from a given amount of input. In simple terms output divided by input is defined as efficiency. In management context it implies getting substantial work output from limited resources, especially using the limited time which is available.

Simplest form of efficiency improvement boils down to time management. Many people have examined the issue of time management and come out with large number of ideas and suggestions. Some of these are explained below.

  1. Plan your work. Make things-to-do lists everyday and prioritize the same.
  2. Increase your energy level by nutritious food, proper exercise, and adequate sound sleep etc.
  3. Delegate mundane work to levels where it belongs.
  4. Meditate everyday to develop inner calmness and highly focussed mind.
  5. Introduce lean thinking and 5-S in your work environment.
  6. Use technological gadgets and tools like Scraps, MakeMe, PayAnywhere, Producteev, Wunderlist, GoToMyPC, Google Docs, Dropbox, Roboform, Evernote, Google Drive, Dragon Mobile Assistant etc.
  7. Standardise the processes and document the same for future reference.
  8. Get accreditation of ISO 9001 (Quality) and ISO 14001 (Environment) so that production processes, systems and practices become formalized and get audited periodically.

Effectiveness on the other hand is a much wider term. It signifies that one must align all his actions and efficiencies towards the broader organizational objective. Issue of effectiveness in organizations has also been much deliberated. Some ideas for improving effectiveness are given below;

  1. Keep the focus on your contribution. Blaming the circumstances or other people never pays.
  2. Learn to be a team player. Even a genius cannot achieve good results by working alone.
  3. Learn to take responsibility. Simply doing what is asked does not take you to great heights.
  4. Always use innovation, creativity and better ways of doing work.
  5. Read repeatedly and assimilate the book ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen Covey.

The most important and highly complex issue pertains to performing well under various types of favourable and most adverse situations. It requires bringing about innermost changes in the way a person perceives, feels, thinks and behaves. The issue of morals, ethics, values and deep rooted instincts occupies very high significance in this context. Consider the recent industrial frauds like Enron, Satyam etc. In all these cases the persons at the helm of affairs were highly efficient and effective. However, in all cases they had perversions, deep roots of greed, criminality, falsehood and other associated characteristics. A few steps those may be helpful to begin your journey in the right direction are given below;

  1. Highly useful qualities like enthusiasm, optimism, hope, compassion, synergy etc cannot be taught. These concepts can be explained by a teacher along with use of some examples. However, these need to be ingrained into your persona and that requires considerable will power, patience and perseverance.
  2. Observe other high achieving persons, read their biographies and cull out ideas and concepts you can use for your own development and growth. For example, Benjamin Franklin had very early in life laid down thirteen values to guide him in his living. Later in his life he was involved in framing the constitution of USA and rose to the position of President of USA. The list of thirteen values with brief description of each is readily available on internet and anyone can use these for personal transformation and growth.
  3. Charge your subconscious regularly with the thoughts you want to cultivate. This is also called self-hypnotism. If you tell something specific to your brain periodically with regularity, the inner brain called your subconscious mind absorbs such thoughts and it modifies your thoughts and behaviour patterns.

Once this aspect of MBA degree is understood right at the beginning of the course, students must embark upon a personal journey of their own in order to graduate out from the institution as a totally transformed person compared to one who got in. Then, and only then, sky is the limit for you and you can soar to great heights and fulfil your aspirations and ambitions with considerable finesse and ease.

Contributed by Sumit Gulati (Class of 2009, IBS HYDERABAD)

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