5 people around MBA College to learn from

MBA new paradigms in careerMBA generally denotes the ending of a student’s formal education and thus in this time frame of 2 years a person must have the maximum willingness to learn and indulge in observed learning. Out of the conventional methods of learning, interviewing experts and making observations has been credited as a credible source to add to one’s knowledge.

Before I begin to highlight your learning, I would like to take you through a Product Development project which was assigned to our class by our professor to make us learn the 4 P’s of marketing, finance decisions as well as operational efficiency better. In groups of 6, we were to interview a vendor near our campus regarding their product, pricing, budgeting, promotion, placement, consumer behavior, functioning and other questions that would probe us if we were to start a similar business and present a report highlighting the learning. While the task seemed difficult and futile then; now the value of the project can be felt and needs to be shared to invoke learning.

The importance of these 5 people is that these people are already selling in a controlled market; can provide you with exposure to real time challenges at minimal learning costs and are mostly entrepreneurs who unconsciously manage the finance, marketing, operations and human resources for their little ventures. So let us now explore who these 5 different people around your campus are:

  1. Canteen Caterer:catering-canteen

The canteen caterer is an excellent person who can guide you over operations and product placement. Just catch and ask him, how he chooses one product over another; how does he judge whether his customer would like an otherwise highly sold product in other markets; how does he decide the variety of products he wants to keep in his store etc.

If he keeps bakery products, how does he find out which pastry would sell more and what price; how does he plan his offering; how does he charge for the ingredients; does he make the product there or somewhere else; if somewhere else, how does he charge for the transportation? How does he train, recruit and manage the staff? How does he manage the ambience and maintain it? What does it take to manage a team of low skilled, semi skilled and highly skilled people?

If he keeps branded products, ask him about the kind of margins the wholesaler provides for; how often does he reorder; how does he replace a non selling product with a new one which might not sell at all. Each and every question must be attached to a why because it this ‘why’ that will bring in your learning.

  1. Stationery shopkeeper:shopkeeper

One of the busiest shopkeepers in campus is a stationery shopkeeper. This person caters to a wide variety of clients on a day to day basis and runs a monopoly in the campus. Within a limited operational period, he not only sells, takes feedbacks, gets orders and different requirements, makes profits through margins as well as serves the need of the customer.

Ask him, how he markets i.e. displays all his products in a little shop that he runs; how he reacts to complains and feedbacks; how does he arrange for the different orders placed by the customers; how he estimates the offering he has to make; how he finances and plan to expand; how he plans his profits and does that make enough living? How does he obtain products from wholesalers and bargain for margins? Learn it to inculcate it before going to the market yourself!

  1. Nearby Chaat Wala:Chaat Wala

Most people love spicy snacks but has anyone ever wondered how does a seller price his products? Ask and understand how the seller charges you for ingredients from his complete pool of ingredients. Further, go in detail to the extent of how does he charge for the oil he uses for frying?

Think from a seller’s point of view and not a consumer’s point of view. Ask him how he maintains hygiene; cater to diverse needs of the customers; dispose of the garbage, estimate the requirements to begin operations as well as the source of his raw materials. These questions will bring to your notice how quality, price, hygiene, ingredients are played with to earn profits in a business with highly customized offering where each customer wants his own kind of a product.

  1. Dhaba Wala / Chai wala:chai wala

Outside the institutions, generally many tea sellers or Dhabas are found who compete for the attention of more and more customers every day. What needs to be learnt is the maintenance of quality, financing of preliminary expenditures, handing of operating as well as running costs, abiding with statutory compliances, dealing with various types of customers and legal agents.

It is good for you to understand how they plan their product, make changes in them and make the product run. It is crucial to understand that the recipe for a simple tea differs from one seller to another right from quantity to ingredients and this is what differentiates one seller from another.

Further one can learn how to source products; manage the profits; work with minimum basic inventory as well as budget for raw materials. These people are excellent forecasters of demand and compete with each other using techniques like differential pricing, quality, providing credit facility, promotion, discounts etc. Forecasting will help you learn operations better while marketing tools will make you understand how to bear and adjust the costs of marketing.

  1. The Photocopy Shopkeeper: photocopies

A photocopy shopkeeper deals with most of the students. As a result he enjoys a never ending demand for notes and printouts at his shop. Generally such people enjoy monopoly due to limited or few units in the campus or nearby campus. From such shopkeepers you can learn the art of inventory management just like from other shopkeepers. He can also tell you how to deal with immense demand when supply is limited. This person can guide you how to manage your time well and when is the right opportunity for you to take actions. This entrepreneur has a selected few goods and earns through them hence you can learn how to manage with high demand and the least product variety.

This exercise might sound futile and waste to some; but one must understand that to make chocolate, you need to first know the nature of the cocoa plant and grow it! With a hope that you would learn something from these micro-entrepreneurs I leave you the thought that ‘a person doesn’t need to be great if you have to learn from him; you can learn from a bird on a tree or a professor in the classroom; in fact anyone and your learning totally depends upon how much you are willing to learn, striving to learn and apply.’

Contributed by Chayan Jain (Class of 2011-2013, IBS HYDERABAD)

Art and Architecture of listening

An MBA ProgramHow many times people have lectured you on how well do you listen? Did you know the difference between hearing and listening? How many of us practice active listening? Have you ever imagine, a setup of a call center, they can’t not see the clients who call them, they had to rely on their listening skills to hear and understand what the caller wanted us to do for them. Sometimes due to network problem many of them are not able to understand us, but because of their active listening skill they help us around and crack revenue for the company.

All of us need to be good listeners and more importantly to be an active listener in all aspects of our lives; I believe MBA institute is the platform to imbibe this skill as people from diverse culture background, different intensity, and passion comes together to make it big. We often forget to learn from each other and when we grow older in life we don’t understand what others (spouse, kids, parents, friends, coworkers and leaders) are asking of us.

When we look at our professional lives and career paths, we seldom consider listening as part of the equation. Our performance reviews may touch on presentation skills, but rarely do our leaders rate listening effective-ness. These days business leaders carefully evaluate: What kind of ROI will this project deliver? What are the tradeoffs? But, I rarely hear decision-makers ask: How well are you listening, and to whom?

If we consider some basic facts around listening, the picture gets dimmer. To quote- Last year, a Wall Street Journal article reported that researchers suspect listening skills are in decline due to the multi-tasking distractions of our world. Amazingly, the article’s point of reference is a 1987 study that showed people could recall “only around 10% of what was said in a face-to-face conversation after a brief distraction.” This same article pointed to a more recent study from 2011 that found the “more powerful the listener, the more likely he is to judge or dismiss advice from others.”

From my perspective, these are risky findings. Listening is a critical business skill which from a very early stage of a professional life a MBA student should imbibe. Unfortunately, it’s often perceived as something passive or easily done. However, listening needs to be encouraged practiced and honed; it needs to be built into the architecture of our MBA program as well and I’m glad that professor at IBS works on it. Here are three reasons why everyone should emphasize on their listening skills:

  1. In today’s troublesome business environment, organization weights that we listen in order to understand its intricacies and energetic forces to succeed.

The pace of change is hurrying exponentially. New and emerging technologies are constantly revolutionizing the way we consume things from home energy to personal shopping; from healthcare to security; from savings to security, from privacy to socializing. It is critical for business leaders to understand the implications of our interconnected, digital society. What are our customers’ pain points of today and tomorrow? What is the next big thing? What are its associated benefits; and risks? These answers come from listening carefully across our entire organization and to external sources; which can help individual and organization to grow.

MBA Graduates

  1. Through effective listening we could connect the dots, spot the trends and understand the signals.

In today’s job setup managers continually seek ways to more efficiently and effectively listen to our surrounding landscape. To expand their operation, e-commerce companies meets daily with venture capitalists to share their ideas and understand the challenges they’re passionate about solving. They speak with customers and colleagues, with other companies, large and small, with investors, incubators and academics. By, engaging across a broad set of relevant audiences, focus group and market research, businesses gets empowered and make decision to notice patterns and understand tomorrow’s trends, potential challenges and new possibilities. This exercise isn’t easy; it re-quires rigor, openness to what you’re hearing and, most importantly, practicing good listening.

  1. Good listening opens organization to new potentials, and transfers them beyond traditional management restraints.

In traditional organizational structures, leaders seldom work across silos. Consequently it’s often the same people delivering updates and recommendations. Now days many companies are taking steps to move away from this approach to a structured pyramid approach. I advise young MBA graduates to join companies, by evaluating how information and in-sights; flows across the organization. Are there better ways you can be listening? Are there different teams you should be working with? Opening yourself up to new ideas can help you discover a new and valuable perspective for your future.

So often we want to feel like we have all the answers. As our world changes more and more dramatically, one reaction is to hold on tighter and tighter to our beliefs. However, if we find the courage to pause and listen, if we open ourselves up to understanding our landscape more deeply, we can make better decisions. Here are the “5 Traits of Good Listening” that I’m focused on cultivating:

  • Be Present – It’s impossible to be a good listener if you’re thinking about your “to do” list or your next meeting. Focus on hearing what the other person has shared. Try summarizing what you’ve heard to ensure you‘ve absorbed it.
  • Practice – Practice leaving your inclinations behind. Practice not immediately offering a solution or a suggestion to what you’ve heard. Practice listening, and be comfortable with silence if someone pauses give time. Good listening requires continual practice.
  • Ask Questions – Cultivate your inner curiosity-ty and seek to learn more. Ask questions – not in a way that shows off your knowledge – but more to really understand what someone is sharing and to demonstrate that you’re interested in what they’re sharing.
  • Be Open – Embrace a willingness to hear from different and unexpected sources; don’t ignore someone you aren’t familiar with. Determine if you’re discounting something that’s difficult to hear, or selectively editing details – we’re all guilty of this sometimes.
  • Pause – Take a moment and try listening to your intuition, to your gut. Is there some-thing you’ve picked up on, a signal that you need to pay more attention to, evaluate and understand? Is there something missing? Try listening for what hasn’t been said

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.

All the best

Contributed by Vaibhav Chandra (Class of 2009, IBS HYDERABAD)

The Most Common Managerial Problems And How To Solve Them

the art of managementYou might always have heard employees saying that if I become a manager then my life will become so easy and I have to sit and do nothing! But in real terms what they think is not the right scenario. Life of a manager is not as easy as the people perceive and you hardly ever hear from the mouth of the managers that management is an easy job. That is why Roger Needham says “Management is that for which there is no algorithm. Where there is algorithm, it is an administration”.

The path of becoming a successful manager is not so easy and there are a number of challenges on the way. A manager has to overcome a number of managerial problems coming time to time and has to find effective solutions to perform his role with effectiveness.  Here are some of the most common managerial problems and ways to solve them effectively.

How to hold the employees accountable when they do not deliver?

This is no doubt the biggest challenge every management faces and when the employees do not deliver sufficient output than it becomes a big question of holding them accountable for it. The main issue is that no one wants to be called a “bad guy” and it can be damaging to the career prospects of someone. Accountability leads to conflicts in many situations and the environment becomes unpleasant ultimately. The situation is undesirable and unavoidable and the managers have to find the solution for the problem “How does a manager avoid developing an accountability problem?”

Well, the solution is straightforward and starts with full awareness and acceptance that accountability is a core task of management and you have to accept it and is an integral part at this level of business. You may not always like it but have to do it. If you really feel uncomfortable holding the employees accountable for what they do not deliver and facing their discomforts on this, then it is better you select a different line of work than holding this kind of authority. You can really be aided by many things in this endeavor but the bottom line is that you have to maintain the accountability of the employees.

Establishing the clear and measurable employee objectives:

Setting optimum employee objectives which are clear and measurable is the second most common managerial problem faced by the managers. If the goals for employees are unclear, non- existent, obsolete and difficult to be measured then it will certainly create more managerial issues including accountability problems as the time goes on.

The solution to this problem is not as difficult as it seems and by setting clear objectives and goals known to everyone, it will be easy to hold someone accountable for that which he had not achieved. When the height of the bar is clear to everyone i.e. objectives are clear then accountability becomes less of an issue and discussions about the results are rational and based on facts. That is why managerial gurus always say that objectives which are well-conceived are the best friends of a rational manager.

the best managerial approach

Career development of the employees:

Another most common and serious issue faced by the management is the development of the employees. When the employee development needs are not fulfilled then it leads to the employee dissatisfaction and may lead to disengagement in most of the cases. When a manager takes interest in the employee’s career development and skills enhancement then it ultimately sends a very positive message to employee and brings retention and more engagement of the employee in the company’s activities.

The most common reason why the managers are not able to provide career development and support is the unavailability of time. They say that there is not enough time to handle such tasks. But employee career development should not be taken as a strenuous task and it should be taken as a soft activity and an important one. Employee training and career development activities are long term investment and they really require minimum efforts at less effective costs.

Employee development activities should be taken as a priority task along with other operational activities and the managers should really carve out the time with their employees to perform it. The positive effects will not appear soon but after some time they will start coming out and you will see the results in the form of more retention rate of employees and more engagement and productivity. Therefore spending more time with the employees in their career and growth activities is really important for the managers and they should really work hard to carve out some time for these activities.

Changing scope of a project:

Scope change is one of the most dangerous things that can happen to a project. If such projects are not handled properly then it can result in spending of extra cost and time and project may incur losses. Even a small modification like changing the color of logo or addition of a webpage can result in project delay and can be problematic.

The solution to this major managerial problem can be achieved by defining the scope from the outset and monitoring the project on a regular basis. The best thing is to track change requests separately from the original scope of the project and providing estimates clearly on how will it affect the project schedule. Getting an explicit customer or the stakeholder approval for each change is very important in this scenario.

Slow communication with the client:

Another big object in the inventory of big managerial problems is the slow communication with the client. People are really busy and they don’t have the time to communicate on a regular basis. Therefore it is tough for managers to move forward on a project if they do not get answers on specific project issues.

A good solution to this problem can be achieved by increasing the response rate by working ahead of time. The best thing is start working in the direction you think best and then ask verification from the client. This is really a good strategy and this will help you to save your time in waiting for the back and forth communication and you just need to get the “yes” or “no” from the client.

So in short, the approach for solving these most common managerial problems is simple and not much difficult. The only thing needed to handle these issues is to take the best managerial approach and this is what expected from the ideal managers who well know how to manage and excel the art of management!

Contributed by Ashish Singh Parihar ( Class of 2008, IBS PUNE )

Balance between Creative and Commercial- Management Professional.

Professional ManagementManagement- The word says it all. What I perceive beyond all the intricate definitions given by some management scientists is that Management in normal laymen language means to manage. Manage anything in a manner that there is no chaos and certain value in terms of satisfaction is generated. We all come across various instances in our daily lives. Weather its dealing with our parents, lying at the time of late night outs. Managing our super complex love life maybe by showing it up on facebook, going out on dates, pampering and can either be by giving the space to our partner. And imagine its you who is playing all these different roles taking different steps with different people just to make them happy and balance your life. That’s so creative. On the contrary, we see some of us who cannot convince our parents, break ups is a regular thing for them and not that socially sound in making friends even when they want to. It is nothing it’s our creativity quotient which is very individualistic and shows up in our regular life.

In the same manner, being a Management Professional is nothing its just an appropriate mixture of being creative and commercial sound. Every spender from various society strata has a budget to spend which is called his/her purchasing power. Even if you take up your own venture or join any company, your life will revolve around the client’s budget and spending pattern. It is very important for one to know about the clients spending pattern so as you can make your own strategies that when do you expect monies to flow in to your systems and from where. Till the time you do not have these things in place, the working strategies are chaotic. For an example, we know that a brand of beer would spend on advertising in summers. So a Tv channel would plan meetings with the clients, Media agencies of such beer brands in late winters and make sure they get some business. After the channel gets the surety that the beer brand is surely spending some monies with them, they will then project it in the projections for the summers. This is called commercial planning and being commercially sound. In case the channel gets to know at the end moment that the client is spending and starts running to meet the client at the end moment, that shows that the strategic planning has not been done and the client is not tapped by the concerned person,  that means that the planning is not commercially sound.

Management Skills

As we spoke before about the differing creativity quotient, today earning money has two main roots. As the spending pattern change every other day alike past, to have a great brand loyality one has to be creative. Creativity is an open term but in actual it is always bordered by ones budget. Right from a Brand Manager to sales Manager, HR, and all the possible profiles the world is all about being creative in what you do. Lets carry forward the last example we talked about, post when we know that the client has a budget to spend on the TV channel and ask the channel to provide him the best deal in an average amount say XXX and also adds that the client will only spend if he finds the deal better than the competing channel deal. Now it’s the sheer creativity which can get monies, the sales person needs to figure out how is the channel delivering in the clients target audience and which time bands and shows are doing well. The sales person also needs to check with the production team that if there are any restrictions on airing the alcohol brand. Beyond this the sales person needs to figure out the taste of the decision maker like if he is the consumer of the channel? What is his favorite show?  If he likes glamour, if we can send him at the shoot or any award function in case he takes the deal. Before being creative we need to have our strategic plans in place else it is like rolling behind the bush. Now when we make the deal for the client against the ratings in the clients Target audience we will see which show is the best as per the clients ratings and will give him the Fixed commercial time as per the client’s liking and the ratings. Beyond this, if in this budget we can offer him a sponsorship on certain show and decrease the Commercial time on the other shows. So it is all about once creativity in getting the monies. We see amazing tag lines and continuously changing visual merchandising at the clothing brands like Zara, Forever 21, M&S and lot more for the fact that brand managers are taking creative strategic call for increasing the footfalls and the revenues. We see the Human Resource Managers managing the employees so effectively and continuously moving the employees in various departments to make sure they retain the valuable sources is all creativity.

Every move that a brand takes that we find creative and extra ordinary amazing, right from the coca-cola’s India Pakistan campaign, Swedesh Cancer patient Campaign, OLX on-ground campaign, dabur vatika’s cancer Patient Campaign(don’t know them all? Youtube it or follow my facebook) has various levels of strategic positioning decisions and creative brain storming of the advertising agencies and the brand managers involved. I remember while my internship with Ogilvy and Mather, my Manager told me that first 20 ideas are always done before and non acceptable, dump them! And this is actually true the more we challenge our selves, the more we dump, the more we read, the more we read and find the more our brain works. So to be creative get your commercial strategic planning in place, read about what’s happening around about the industry you plan to get in to and have your personal view point on everything. Yes please disagree with lot of things because that we will evoke you to do something of your own. Be the one in making PPT’s while presentations , collect data. Change things, colors, fonts, hairstyle, clothes. Life is too short to live it boring, stay creative!

Contributed by Rahul Wadhwa, (Class of 2013, IBS GURGAON)

Startup!!! Is it a good place to start with?

MBA paradigms in careerEnd of final semester, within a short span of time you will be on verge of starting your career. You will be tensed and a bit nervous. Anxiety will make you more confused as, what to do? Where to go? How to go? Collage placements will be going on at a very high pace. It will be a tough choice for you, to sit in a company who has a good brand name or to sit in process of a start-up. All other students including your friends would have opted to sit in for a company with a good brand name. This will make you more confused.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

 It is very clear that you ask few questions to yourself, to be clear on how to go.

  • Are you looking for a long term career?
  • To get the basic knowledge of how industry works?
  • Looking to learn the most, in initial stage of your career?
  • Are you ready to take up challenging role?
  • Are you ready to give what is needed to get on the top?
  • Are you ready to work in an organization for long term?

If answer to the above questions is yes then probably don’t need to be confused as start-up will be the best place for you to work and start you career.


It is very essential to know what a start-up company is and to evaluate that it will have a better future or not?

Start-up Companies are the companies which are in its first stage of Operations. These companies are often initially bank rolled by their entrepreneurial founders as they attempt to capitalize on developing a product or services for which they believe there is demand.


  1. The Market – It is very important to know that which market the startup serves in. Who will be the consumer be and how big is the market opportunity.

Career prospect – If the market is big and competitive then it will be a good learning platform. It will provide opportunity to meet new people and work with them closely.

  1. The competition – What current or future solutions, technologies or companies may compete with yours in the market? How is yours differentiated; what is the unique value proposition relative to the competition; why will your solution win?

Career prospect  It the startup is in competitive market, it has competitive edge towards their peers then it will give you chance to learn the skill which may be very rare in others and you will also be equally competitive. Learning most in the startup will get you an opportunity to get hired by their competitors.

  1. The Team – Who is your management team, what is their background and why they are uniquely qualified to run this venture and deliver the solution to market? How do they plan to meet the goals of the organization?

Career prospect – If you are working with good team then you can learn various things from them. It will help you build your personality and sharpen your skills.

  1. The Business  What is the business plan of the startup? Plan of expansion and how good is the business model?

Career Prospect – If business plan of the startup is good then you will get a chance to learn. If it will be your field of interest then you will work well and grow fast.

MBA program

Benefits of working with a Startup:-

  1. Getting Recognition –No matter what slice the corporation cake, working for a larger company pretty much does not guarantee you recognition. On the other hand working for a startup means you will receive instant recognition because everybody, including company itself is in an entry level position.

“I want my contribution to matter. At most big places you are just another brick in the wall.”

  1. Having more responsibility– Responsibility is a good thing in the work place, as you are considered a valued employee with an important role to play in the company.
  2. Bonding with coworkers-Most startup start small, this leaves plenty of room for you to get to know your coworker on personal level. Considering most startups have a specific mission in mind, whether it’s to create a new product or build a niche industry, the company’s goal will give everyone involved something in common from day one.
  3. Learning from true innovators – Startups have innovation written all over them. If you choose to work for one, then you’ll immerse yourself in movers and shakers on a regular basis. If the startup is in the ground-up stages, chances are you’ll have the opportunity to work directly with the creators, founders and geniuses that are trying to change the business landscape.

“Desire! That’s the one secret of every man’s career. Not education. Not being born with hidden talents.”

  1. Embracing new opportunities– Depending on your prior experience and qualifications, working for a startup might involve taking a pay cut. But don’t let that deter you from taking a position at a newly-founded business, because the opportunities it provides will far outweigh the paycheck. From the people you meet and the innovators you work with to having your name attached to a company that’s growing, working for a startup means you’ll attain skills and have experiences that you would never find in a corporate job with a cushy paycheck.
  2. Working toward the money. A startup company comes with a startup budget, which means you’ll likely take a small pay cut. But like the professional opportunities mentioned above, working for a startup also means you may have future financial opportunities. Many startups offer a stake in the company’s stock and plenty of room to increase your salary. If you work hard and contribute your skills and knowledge to a startup, it’ll likely result in a larger salary down the line, which can be something that’s hard to come by in the corporate world.

“I want to look back on my career and be proud of the work, and be proud that I tried everything.”

Few successful startups which has given tremendous growth to employee-

  1. Alibaba- Jack Ma

Net worth – Undisclosed

  1. Xiaomi – Lei Jun

Net worth – 45 Billion $

  1. Facebook – Mark Zuckerberg

Net worth – 33.3 Billion $

  1. Uber – Travis Kalanick

Net worth – 18.2 Billion $

  1. LinkedIn – Jeff Weiner

Net worth – 7.5 Billion $

  1. Flipkart – Rajiv Bansal

Net worth – 1 Billion $

Although a career in the corporate world has plenty of benefits, working for an established company can sometimes result in a mundane 9 to 5 with little room for growth and a lot of bureaucratic red tape.

You need to give a thought to work in a startup. It can be a roller coaster of a ride, working on the ground floor of a new company can allow people to shine; “own” projects and possibly reap the benefits of the company’s success in the form of equity, while simultaneously learning a lot in a fast-paced environment.

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

Contributed by Kandarp Gandhi, (Class of 2014, IBS Mumbai)

Mistakes One Ought to Commit During MBA

management skills

Life involves learning at all stages and we should learn from everything, everyone we can. And mistakes are a very important part of learning. They’re the best teachers one can have. It would seem like a catch-22 situation to not want to make mistakes but also wanting to learn something valuable from mistakes.

 Yes, some would say that experience would prevent one from making mistakes but if one goes through just good experiences, they lose out on learning important lessons. He or she can be lucky enough not to make any mistakes but luck always runs out. What don’t run out are lessons you learn by making mistakes.

It’s really important to understand what qualifies as a ‘mistake’.  It can be defined as an unwanted event which occurs unexpectedly. But when it’s repeated time and again, it no longer remains a mistake but can be labelled as a habit. Forgetting to switch your cell phone to silent mode before a class is a mistake if it happens once. It becomes a habit if repeated and the professor isn’t going to be your biggest fan if it happens time and again. You trusting someone with a secret can be a mistake but if you do it just after he’s spilled out someone else’s secret to you cannot be considered as a mistake. So, you see it’s really important to understand what really a mistake is and when we do make one, we need to make sure that it’s not repeated.

During any process of learning, one is bound to make several mistakes and one should. If you’re scared of making one then you’re not going to learn what you’re supposed to. You need to shed away your fear of failure and do what you have to move forward in life. And one aspect of that committing a mistake. During your MBA, there are going to be several instances where you’ll be in a dilemma because you wouldn’t know the right way to handle a situation. But don’t be scared, do what you think is the right thing to do and if you’re not successful at first, learn from your mistakes and try again. Maybe you’ll fail the second time too but make sure that you’re not making the same mistake twice. Yeah, one should make new mistakes every time if one has to learn. So, here are a few mistakes one ought to make during MBA:

  1. Not going by the book: Every movie or television series you watch will have one thing in common. The protagonist never follows the rules. He/she goes out of the bookish rules and does what he/she feels is the right thing to do. And what happens in the end? Through a series of failures emerges a hero. Similarly, your books will tell you a thousand things but you need to understand that the situation that you’re going to be stuck in isn’t necessarily going to be one in your book. What your book tells you is something that has already been tried and tested. A problem that has already been dealt with. But MBA isn’t about dealing with problems with existing solutions, it’s about thinking outside the box to find solutions to problems that exist today without a solution. Or even there is one, it’s never too late to find a better one.Your professor may grade you a little lower but life will always give you an A. The likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg were never the toppers of their classes. But they’re highly successful in their respective fields today, and that’s what matters once you step out those classrooms. So, use your grey matter to become an effective manager. Having said that, you’ll need books to form a strong foundation for your thinking process. Nobody consciously bases their marketing strategy using the 4 Ps or doing a SWOT analysis but the core idea behind all strategies is what they learnt from the books.
  2. Being an over pampered spoilt brat: By the time you start your post graduation, you’re old enough to take care of your responsibilities but there always exists ‘’another you’ who was either pampered a lot in childhood or wants to be pampered. Honestly, it’s ok to be like that. Because the first time that you’ll cook will be for you and out of hunger. You’ll realise the importance of that job and you will value it for the rest of your life. Similarly, the first time you clean your room, wash your clothes, iron them will teach you that even though these chores seem mundane and were left to either to your mother or the house servant when you were back home, they are actually important if you want to live a healthy life. You don’t always get what you want and that fact is not going to be embedded in your mind unless you’re made to earn what you want. Being over pampered earlier will be a big blow to you when you have to become responsible. And one needs to take a few blows to toughen the skin.
  3. mba graduatesTrusting someone instantly: Trust is one thing that takes time to build up over the years but takes an instant to be shattered. As a teenager, you may have had loads of trustworthy friends but as you grow your priorities will change and the ‘secrets’ may be more crucial than those in the teenage world. You may tell yourself a thousand times that you’re not going to trust someone but you will do it eventually. But, back then it was about relationships that were made based on trivial reasons. But now that you’re all grown up and ready to become a manager, you need to understand what you have to keep to yourself and what to divulge. The world is not a fairy-tale and sadly no course in the world teaches you that. Everybody will say that you have to be competitive but you’re not going to be that unless you learn why. The population of the world is increasing at an alarming rate and with that the fight for resources is increasing too. Everybody wants to know what YOU are doing to sustain yourself so that they can use that information to cut you off from the resources or just mimic you. Either way, you lose. But you cannot understand how to defend yourself unless you learn how to manage the gossipers to your advantage. And the only way to learn that is to trust one.

So, these are just a few mistakes I committed during my MBA and thank God I did. There are a million more and I wish you make them but just once so that your management education can be really fruitful and help you become a better person rather than a manager.

After all, it would be better to make those mistakes within a college campus rather than a corporate office sitting in the manager’s chair!

Contributed by Sachin Jalan (Class of 2014, IBS HYDERABAD )

Management Lessons from the Wild

Management Lessons


If you keep your eyes open and are willing to learn, life offers you invaluable advice at every step of the way. Very recently I realized the huge role that the Wild, especially the Animal Kingdom, plays in teaching us important management and leadership skills.

At a team building event last week, we played a game called ‘Blind Sheep’ where team members/sheep were blind-folded and left to graze in an open field and a shepherd using nonverbal calls had to guide the entire team out of a marked exit. Being the shepherd in my team, I realized while playing, the importance of Strategy & Visualization, proper communication, role of a good communicator, and presence of mind and wondered how animals are good examples of leaders. For they lead their groups by influencing, showing examples, guiding and constantly communicating with their followers.

For example, animals that travel in groups, when making migratory or movement decisions, often depend on social interactions among their own group members. This is done by signalling one another or making noises which can only be understood by their own species. The leader leads by example, takes responsibility of the safety of its followers and in turn the followers are dependent on their leader. Apart from good leadership, there are many qualities that we can imbibe from the Wild.

  1. The Giraffe Kick – No matter how hard you fall, get back up on your feet right away and keep moving forward.

The Giraffe Conservation Foundation offers interesting insights into the Animal Kingdom world – “Giraffes give birth while standing up, requiring the newborn to fall just under 2 meters to the ground! Since its birth and entry to the world is designed in such an abrupt manner, a newborn calf can stand up and run within an hour of being born.” Thus in order to survive predators, the first lesson a giraffe must learn is to get to its feet quickly. Likewise, consider the business world as a special jungle and young entrepreneurs the baby giraffes. Learn to push forward even when you come across situations that put you at risk; know your enemies and be quick on your feet to manoeuvre in the corporate jungle.

  1. The Eagle Soar – You perish without any vision.

It is said that the eagle soars or flies high when it is hunting. They have strong vision and focus and no matter the obstacle, they go after their prey until they grab it. What they teach us inadvertently is the importance of having a vision and a constant need to focus for achieving success. A leader without any vision won’t be able to guide its team. If the team is unfocussed, they will fault at the given task and are bound to perish.

  1. The Eagle Renewal – Accept changes, learn and grow.

When eagles are 30 years old, they go through a process of renewal. Finding a hidden place high in the mountains, the old eagle begins to claw and tears out the old feathers that by now become less airborne. As a result, it bleeds badly. But this is vital for the eagle in order to renew its strength. It is thus vital for the eagle to undergo this change to gain its strength and builds its resilience. Likewise, every manager should be open to change and embrace new ideas and technologies to integrate, grow and transform its businesses.

  1. The Flying Geese –It is a fact that in the right formation, the lifting power of many wings can achieve twice the distance of any bird flying alone.

Geese are a perfect example of the importance of team work, empathy, understanding and encouragement. We have all seen gaggle of geese flying in a V formation. This helps in building resistance against the wind and fly with minimal effort. When a goose, tired of flying up front, drops back in the formation, another goose without being told takes the lead to maintain equilibrium. Young managers need to learn from this and have a sense of community, focus and trust to help achieve their goals. In teams, we should respect and acknowledge each other’s individual strengths and be willing to offer and accept help from team members for the overall growth of the team.

  1. The Adventurous Monkeys – Staying one, despite internal conflicts.management program

Monkeys are an intelligent lot. We have always known that. But that they can deceive the external world so well which can be realized only on keen observation. Monkeys are a noisy bunch and they fight and squabble within their group. But in hostile situations, they leave their differences aside and project themselves as ‘one’ to the outsider. They also have a special ‘call’ in place to forewarn each other when danger strikes. Once the call is made; everyone rushes to safety, without checking the authenticity of the call. Complete trust, working as a team despite internal conflicts is what every manager needs to learn from the monkeys. A common language that all team members understand and innate trust in each other’s decisions is what makes a good team.

  1. The Steady Tortoise – Patience and Perseverance, a path to success

The tortoise has a hard shell that protects its inner body. During any hostile environment, the tortoise strategically protects itself by ducking its head inside its shell and patiently awaits the next opportunity to venture out and explore the surroundings. Likewise, a leader should be steadfast and patient, weathering crises and/or looking out for the best-fit opportunities before moving forward.

  1. The Pack of Dogs – “A lone wild dog will not bring down a wild beast or a zebra, but a pack will take on the prey and vanquish it”

Have you ever seen a hunt by wild dogs? They stick together till the end, encircling and capturing their prey and sharing the prize together unlike Lions. Team members need to move away from passivity or an attitude of “every beast for himself” and rather encourage a full-blooded involvement. This helps the leaders resist any tendency to give up on their team and become “Lone Rangers”.

There are so many positive attributes within the animal kingdom from which budding managers and leaders can learn, grow and perform well together, thereby helping not just themselves but also the organization. The key success factors for good leadership lies in having a vision, being strong and resilient, expending guidance, practice flexibility and being compassionate and caring. They also need to lead change and admit when wrong. The management lessons from the Wild provide just the right lessons to survive and succeed in the corporate jungle.

Contributed by Aditi Kaushiva ( Class of 2007-2009IBS GURGAON )