ONCE students get into a top B-School, after having cleared the highly competitive CAT examination, they tend to believe that they have arrived. Clearing CAT becomes an end in itself and successfully clearing this examination seems to dampen the fires of both ambition and learning.
There are scores of young graduates of top business schools with all the right credentials who ultimately amount to nothing much. They get a job in a top company, and feel that now they can relax. Five to seven years into their careers, they realise that they are out of the reckoning because they have not worked hard to prove themselves.
By the time they realise this, it is too late to cultivate new habits of listening, respecting, observing, learning and delivering. Students need to clearly re-examine the notion that being bright and from a top school, is enough to ensure success.
Think of the success stories of people from deprived backgrounds in small towns, with no networks to support them, yet end up making it really big. While they are no doubt intelligent, what fuels their rise and rise is the power of their drive, their resilience, ability to think on their feet, sharp observation and quick learning. Imagine if you were bereft of all the advantages your parents gave you, would you be able to even survive, leave alone succeed?
The world belongs to those who have the drive and the passion, not legacy and brand alone. It is therefore a good idea to use the B-School as the transformative crucible, where there is opportunity for rich and varied experiences. The classroom has its own contribution to make, but so do all the off classroom opportunities – clubs, competitions, the sheer fact of living on the same campus together, organising various events etc.
Students ought to take opportunities to interact with people in as many kinds of groups as possible so as to expand their understanding of both others and themselves, across various social and work situations. Enhanced self-understanding is one of the big takeaways which will be of great use to students since they can commence on their self development journey relatively early in life.
This also provides the chance to take initiative and work with people. In addition if there are exchange programmes on offer, do take the opportunity to travel abroad. In today’s globalising world, the more you know about different people and cultures through first-hand experience, the better one is equipped.
Secondly drop that chip of arrogance and cultivate an open and curious mind. Sharpen your sensitivity, learn to observe and understand people and situations around you. This is more easily said than done. In my experience, engineers typically come with the desire to operate in a perfect world where everything can be controlled and predicted.
In fact I have heard students actually say that the human factor brings in ‘bias’. It is important, though difficult for people with such mindsets, to cultivate the capability to understand not only numbers, but also people.
Above all bring clarity about what you want to achieve in your life. This will help focus your energies in the right direction and transform yourself, provided you have the drive to prove yourself, the curiosity to understand and the humility to learn.
Imagine if you were bereft of all the advantages your parents gave you, would you be able to even
survive, leave alone succeed? The world belongs to those who have the drive and the passion, not legacy and brand alone
Being bright is not good enough to ensure a successful career, imbibe values that foster a rich work culture.
Dr Asha Bhandarkar is Professor, HRD at MDI, Gurgaon.