Friday, February 1, 2008

Best B-School in the World

The other day there was this article in FT Business Standard about the 100 best B-schools in the world. Only one school from India made it to the list and that was The Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad. To the great consternation of the IIMs A, B,C, L, K, and twenty one other alphabets, XLRI, FMS Delhi, SPJIMR and NSSFLMISMQG (Narendra Shenoy School For Losing Money in Stock Market Quickly and Gracefully - New school, but very good at what it specializes in).

Angry questions were asked about methodology, period of existence, how many of their graduates own Beemers, how many have shifted paradigms lately and so on. We thought we should shed some light on this fascinating and controversial topic, namely

What makes a B-school great?

To answer this question, we must ask another question. Why do people go to B-School? Any one? Yes you, who look like the before guy in a deo commercial, what do you think? To get a high paying job, did you say? Close, but no cigar, as Bill Clinton told the intern they had to hire after it was found that Lewinsky had stained her reputation. (Blot on her escutcheon, as one authority put it. But we digress.)

See people, the purpose behind going to a B-school is not to land a high paying job. It is to land a high paying job with no duties and responsibilities. Alas, there are not enough of these around, and the competition for them can be intense. One of the major factors that employers consider when making such preferments is which B-school you went to.

Now you might think that a job with no duties and no responsibilities would need no formal qualification but you would be making a mistake. Such a job carries the enormous challenge of having to look stressed out and busy while being blissfully unoccupied.

There are many techniques for doing this. One is meetings. A good B-school will teach you how to sleep without closing your eyes. Indeed, the best B-schools even teach their graduates how to sleep without pausing in speech.

All the while, you will be frowning intensely and saying things like "paradigm shift". Paradigms are things that are shifted when your company is going down the drain. No one knows how these things are shifted. Definitely not by hiring a moving firm. But you don't have to worry about these details. You just have to suggest that a few paradigms be shifted. Your Christmas Bonus is secured.

The other major criterion is how many of the B-school's alumni have landed such jobs. Cutting edge corporate theory is that a B-school alumnus will hire someone from his or her alma mater. No one knows why this is so. Speculation is that there is a deep-rooted primal fear in all MBAs that someday every one will know how ignorant they are. This is probably true. Though there are takers for the other theory namely that the average B-school grad does not have enough brain cells to remember TWO B-school names.

Anyway, the purpose behind this little lecture was just to orient your minds to this deep and fascinating field of research inasmuch as the relevant parameters of the global market economy and the sub-prime crisis do not impinge upon the five year moving average of the adjusted Dow Jones Index unless there are significant paradigm shifts in multilateral directions. Bullshit, did you say? We prefer to call it bovine digestive residue.


Maddy said...

let me ask u something - how is it in these B schools these days? do u hv classes 8 hrs a day? here in the US, i heard it is about 8-10 hrs sometimes max 14 per of the work is done in your time, wherever ..hwdya like that!!

Bhel Puri & Seekh Kabab said...

The last post was about how your MBA and assorted other (bad) qualities qualify you for a CNBC job. Now it's trashing the MBA degree.

Hmm, I see a trend. Wait, are two data points enough to make a trend? No, maybe it's a paradigm shift. :p

narendra shenoy said...

My B-school had this down to a fine art. They would take up projects, get paid for them, and have the work done by us. Now we were into a lot of things back then, but hard work was not one of them. Nor was careful thought. As a result, the reports put together used to be, to put it mildly, imperfect. We used to have 15 hours of lectures a week, with project work and presentations taking up 30 to 40 hours. Now when a bunch of MBAs, even prospective MBAs talk, the chief human reaction is to sleep. We realized this early on and made sure we used a thousand words where ten would suffice. Ergo our teachers and project guides were in no position to evaluate or add to our projects, owing to being comatose at the time.

But, and BPSK is right, I am trashing the MBA degree. Not because it has not served me. It has served me exceedingly well. It opens doors all over the place. You can get work done merely by the sweetness of your disposition and a couple of phone calls to the relevant old boys. I am trashing the MBA because deep down I'm an ingrate. And I genuinely find all that pomposity a little ridiculous. I mean, gimme a break. Best B-school, forsooth. Most of the greatest entrepreneurs were school drop-outs.

Anonymous said...

Excellent, but not quite in the class of Scott Adams;)


kallu said...

Without an MBA, a fresh grad works like a dog and gets paid 20,000. With it, you work like a dog and get paid 70,000.

Interviewers also tend to be from B-schools. So its about networking to get into a big-name firm too.

My daughter is in a B-school right now and tends to trash all these surveys too. I guess if your school is being mentioned as top 1-2-3, its fine -otherwise its humbug.

Maddy, they always seem to have classes after 6 p.m. and meetings are held regularly at 12 in the night. Her interviewers too woke them up at 4 a.m. for that final shot. I don't know what they do in the daytime or what all this is supposed to prove. Except that you are on the ball 24 hours?

I don't know what she has learnt actually except a lot of jargon. But as Mom, I know that before she used to call and say 'can I go?' now its like 'Im leaving for calcutta for the weekend.My train's in two hours'.That's the shift.

PS said...

Damn Joel Barker and his 'Paradigm Shifts'!

Kudos to one of the funniest and dare I say, enlightening blogs I've ever come across.

narendra shenoy said...

@Ok, you ol' fox! Thanks for comparing me to Scott Adams

@kallu - All the best to your daughter. Tell her to use the phrase "paradigm shift" in all her job interviews. Thats how Indra Nooyi made it to the top of the heap at Pepsi.

@PS - Thanks! I just read your blog and I think likewise about it. See you on your blog soon!

Drenched said...

Ah, all these awe-inspiring words make me want to listen to my dad and start preparing for CAT in a year's time. I'm still doubtful there anything that you learn besides the alphabet soup and shifts and moves?
And MBAs are, appreciated sometimes that your doubts are increased tenfold.

There's a Fedex ad which shows a fresh-out-of-B-school guy starting work. First task? Sending some unimportant packages using Fedex's online service.
Smartass: But you don't understand! I can't do this. I'm an MBA.
Colleague: Oh, you're an MBA! Well, in that case, I'll have to show you how to do it.

It makes me want to join something like a Tarla Dalal cookery class and get married at 21.

tandra said...

Excellent post! Being a B-school aspirant myself, I wouldn't totally agree on the apparent benefits of an MBA degree, but after slogging for 2 yrs in the IT industry, I'd like nothing more than the job that u describe ;-)