Sunday, January 15, 2012

What They Do not Teach You at IIM.

Let me confess I never wrote the CAT examination, consequently never attended any B school. I was fortunate to spend those two years on the shop floor of an Industry, instead of learning hundred different Jargons in a B school.
It may sound preposterous yet it is true that in India, it pays to be uneducated to be an Entrepreneur . A Diploma or a Degree from IIM would stand you good in getting a Fat Pay Cheque as your starting salary. It would be of little help for you to be a successful Entrepreneur. It may rather be a hurdle. I did a random check on the worlds Ten Richest people. The most common Academic Qualification was DROPOUT before Graduation amongst these successful Entrepreneurs.
The Header of the Blog has been lifted from a book written by Mark McCormack in 80’s.His book had an American background and the title was “What they don’t teach you at Harvard”. The Tag Line of Harvard Business School is Veritas or Truth. The tag line of any institute is expected to be an abbreviated form of the MISSION of said institute. This taglines is misleading. If all business is to be based on Truth, sadly all the advertisement agencies in the world would have to close shop pronto. In war they say TRUTH is the first casualty. In Business activity the chessmen are Street Smartness,Strategy, Courage, , Façade, Fraud, Deception etc. There is just no chessmen carrying the name of TRUTH in the game of Business. In India you show me One Successful Entrepreneur who swears having never paid any bribe and I would show you a LIAR. Unalloyed Gold can never be crafted into a jewel. It has to necessarily carry some impurity to be usefully crafted. A little bit of corruption is the soul of Business. Business would be dead without this soul. So the AXIOM taught in B schools that “Clean Business is Good Business” is only a euphemism and not a reality.
The Tag Line of IIM A is Vidya Viniyoga Vikasaha (progress through knowledge). All IIM or any other B School student are well aware of the IDIOM that “Knowledge is the currency of 21st Century.” Believe me it is a Tag Line to hustle their college seats and to finagle their own pay cheques PERIOD. Progress in India is through Networking and not through Knowledge. Whom you know is HUNDRED times more important that what you know. Borrowing from Bible (Matthews.19:24) "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle through contacts, than for a Super Genius Un Networked man to enter into the kingdom of God."Otherwise Mr Ratan Tata would have had no need of hiring Neera Raadia.
Drawing from my first hand experience, I was told once by a Senior Bureaucrat that in Odisha at least, to succeed as an Entrepreneur it was imperative that I had a Senior Politician or a Senior Bureaucrat as a GODFATHER. He was surprised as to how I was surviving ? Hence the Rule: To succeed one needs God Father / Net working aka Neera Raadia and her ilk.
Corporate Social Responsibility: All that talk about the Society being a stake holder is merely an IDOL to be placed with reverence on the Altar. Thirty-five years ago, Milton Friedman wrote a famous article for The New York Times Magazine whose title aptly summed up its main point: "The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits."Mostly under the guise of CSR the corporates pay ransom money to you know who, or to Curry Favor from senior Bureaucrats or to placate Politicians etc., Yes at times in the name of CSR activities some Image Building Exercises are undertaken too. In all cases either it is to directly increase profits or for Corporate image building.The entire façade of Corporate Social Responsibility is similar to the inane rhetoric mouthed by the beauty pageant participant. They swear by Mother Teressa and ape Rakhi Savant. Corporate Magnets parrots Bytes viz., “In a free enterprise, the community is not just another stakeholder in business, but is in fact, the very purpose of its existence”, in the press conference. Soon thereafter has a cocktail dinner and yields to the whims of Local Authorities or those of the Relevant Political Leaders in the name of CSR.
…… be continued in the next class.

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KrRahul said...

Very very powerful thoughts... Kudos to you. I read it fully and I can't disagree with you...

During our MBA, they introduced a paper of CSR, to address the same issue. They called NGOs wallas and social workers, even bureaucrats for seminars. But I believe by this age, people's character and ethical bonding have already been forged and we can't change much in a BSchool. True learning for such soft skills happen in the families...

kuldip said...

Rahul:I belong to both the corporate sector and the NGO sector.I have had several close encounters with the CEO's of Mega Corporate sector.All the talk about CSR activity is a FACADE.They have District Collector anD or Local MLA in their CSR committee and the funds are spent as desired by these people.I was speaking to a CEO of a MEGA Large Sector PSU.The had spent RS 150 crores in a decade on CSR activity,without a single The then Live Project.This is true for most of the Corpporate sector.

Rashmi Datt said...

Thought provoking article Kuldeep. Though I would like to add that 'networking' or 'presenting yourself smartly' is not a bad thing. As pointed out in the recent story in Business Today http://​​old-stories-to-help-improve-wor​k-habits/1/21327.html

To quote the Dalai Lama: 'It is important that when pursing our own self-interest we should be “wise selfish” and not “foolish selfish”. Being foolish selfish means pursuing our own interests in a narrow, shortsighted way. Being wise selfish means taking a broader view and recognizing that our own long-term individual interest lies in the welfare of everyone. Being wise selfish means being compassionate'.

kuldip said...

Rashmi:Today in the murky Business world Dalai Lama is as relevant as Gandhian Policies are in the Electoral Political Domain.The Networking is way beyond of "Talking Smartly".
What you or probably the PINK dailies talk about is quite similar to People in IIM teach.When Put in print, It is essential to be politically correct.In my lexicon Networking GURU would be NEERA RAADIA.Net working is about Cultivating Godfathers,Greasing Palms,the whole works.

Rajeev said...

All valid points Kullu. One may need to be street smart and may be even bribe occasionally; and Netwroking is important. While these qualities are be needed to get out of tricky corners, or make a small breakthrough, large businesses can not be built on them.

The essentials for a large successful business are technical competence, adding value to customer, innovation to keep ahead of competition.