The Best of MBA Gyaan (Part 1)

MBA Gyaan

  1. The best learning happens when people smarter & better informed than yourself challenge and rip apart your presentations. The downside to this; even the idiots think they should chip in with their DCP-esque questions, leaving you mindfucked for the rest of the day. At least in marketing, most of your peers don’t have the intellectual capacity or understanding to challenge much of what you say. [Example: in an Advertising and Promotion Management (APM) class exercise, one bunch of idiots came up and loudly proclaimed that a Talwalker like gym opened in a posh area faces its primary competition from local Rs. 300-a-month gyms. After being shredded to pieces by all and sundry, they go on to question each and every other group’s ppt, asking all their questions on basic STP assumptions.]
  2. Then comes case-study competitions floated by different companies/colleges. Fruitful ones to go to are those which have good judges (the best are from the big brands or the consulting firms). Usually the case studies are problems currently being faced by a business unit of the company. The judges expect a solid, coherent & logical story that goes about answering the questions.
  3. Last comes classes. Most are stuff you could do in two days with the right powerpoint presentations, but once in a while you come across a professor who actually challenges you and forces you to think. Never miss this person’s class.

Why I don’t pay attention in Economics class

(If you’ve already read this, see “Part 2: How I answer my Economics paper”)

Here at IIFT, “Economics” appears in every trimester (in some form or the other), as part of our core course and I’m given to understand a similar situation exists in almost every B-school in India. Obviously, it is a very important subject, something that needs to be well understood by a candidate aspiring to become a Master of Business Administration.

Fair enough. I sat ramrod straight in the first few classes and burdened the professor with the full weight of my unwavering attention. When the assumptions were laid out, I started thinking: “OK, so how often do all those assumptions ever hold true, together at the same place at the same time?”

Then came the beautifully constructed mathematical derivations, followed by the graphs and their constituent lines and curves. Still, the question remained: “Fine, but when is this actually going to be useful in the real world?”

The classes went on, but somehow I never really understood how managers used more than the basics of economics to take decisions in their organisations. Most of the basics seem like simple horse sense to me anyway. So I did some research on the Internet and found out about the part that was simply never mentioned in class; most of the theories being taught had a large group of researchers/academicians/economists who supported it, and another group that looked at it in a completely different way. Soon enough, the only question left was “Why am I being taught this subject?”

That question has not gone till today. Unfortunately, I still see all our Economics classes as an absolute waste of time; time that could be spent doing something more useful. After the first trimester, I developed my own formula for the eco subjects, and I trot it out quite proudly here:

The interesting thing is, a few of my classmates quite vehemently defend economics and its place in our course curriculum. They argue that eco is the underlying basis for all business transactions and therefore quite rightly the king of all post-graduate business studies. I obviously don’t agree. In fact, I vehemently disagree.

I think consumer behaviour should be the king of post-graduate business studies. Understanding consumer behaviour to me is the ability to understand what the person in front wants. That’s it. I’m almost certain that this would apply in all kinds of industries, segments, markets, businesses, whatever.

Now, dear reader, kindly move on to the second post in this series: “Part 2: How I answer my Economics paper”. I promise it’ll be worth a few chuckles.

How I answer my Economics paper

If you haven’t read “Part 1: Why I don’t pay attention in Economics class” please do so. This post makes more sense after going through Part 1.

This is a question I got for a recent end-trimester Economics paper:

The expected answer to 2(a) should have contained some of the following:

Solow Growth Model

Solow Growth model

Solow Growth Model

and this

My answer to 2(a):

“Since the Solow Growth Model came about as a post hoc analysis of a developed country’s economy and history, it quite obviously pertains to the reality in developed countries, more specifically, the USA.”

Answer 2(b) was also expected to be filled with mathematical derivations and graphs. Me? Nopes, I just don’t roll that way. I write out a basic two sentence summation and the assumptions of the Harris Todaro Model and then add the following line:

“How often do the underlying assumptions of this model hold true at the same place at the same time is, well, an interesting question to be asked.”

Edit: Just couldn’t help but put in the following. Taken from

  • A physicist, a chemist and an economist are stranded on an island, with nothing to eat. A can of soup washes ashore. The physicist says, “Lets smash the can open with a rock.” The chemist says, “Let’s build a fire and heat the can first.” The economist says, “Lets assume that we have a can-opener…”
  • One night a policeman saw a macroeconomist looking for something buy a light pole. He asked him if had lost something there. The economist said, “I lost my keys over in the alley.” The policeman asked him why he was looking by the light pole. The economist responded, “it’s a lot easier to look over here.”
  • An economist is someone who doesn’t know what he’s talking about – but makes you feel it’s your fault.