Skip to main content

The dangers of an MBA

Umm...more than a week of blog-less days. There goes yet another resolution.:)
As one of the reading for this class, I read this chapter (When Talk Substitutes For Action) from this book (The Knowing-Doing Gap).

BTW, isn't Google Print awesome!?

The take-away from the chapter: that business school can be dangerous in that it can leave MBAs believing that victory is merely successfully articulating a good idea. The case method and discussions help foster that view. I've definitely observed that in myself and many (if not most) of my peers. Success is seen in successfully arguing for one's own point of view and intelligence or cleverness is being able to cut down someone else's point.

The chapter also notes the tragedy that it is easier to appear smart by disagreeing with someone rather than agreeing with them. I've caught myself doing (and actually done) this literally hundreds of times. Some of this skepticism is necessary to test the idea on the table, but is some of it just food for the ego and trying to score points amongst peers? If still waters run deep, is the MBA pond being taught to be shallow?

This entire discussion process is necessary as part of the process to come up with the right strategy (which is a pre-requisite to getting stuff done.) The danger, according to the book, is that there is greater focus and energy spent on this process and achieving "victory" here rather than in the implementation that needs to follow. The authors believe (probably rightly) that academics and management consultants can be very guilty of this as well.

Anyway, the hope is I (and a few others I know) can shut up a little more and focus on getting stuff done both now and in the future.

BTW, did anyone else think that my "still waters" comment had a slight "Sex and the City" twinge to it (the monologue that Carrie always has)? No? OK. BTW, apparently since none of the cast has done anything interesting since the show ended the much-rumored movie will actually happen.


Josekin said…
I think you overstate the reasons to articulate a view point and understate the effects of that on the entire class (thereby making me a victim of the process, haha).

Even though some points are more acknowledged than others, I don't think everybody in class is in agreement with the points made or not made. I also think the class enjoys the debate and learns from more the debate rather than the "final point"...

Popular posts from this blog

Measure f-ing everything, and assume f-ing nothing!! - Or how mentoring ruined lives :-(

I've been really enjoying the Freakonomics podcast of late. This episode and the lesson we should take a away from it, was a stark reminder of one of the most important things we should be doing - but often don't - in building products or making any decisions: measuring the impact of absolutely everything we do, including the things that seem obviously good.

I recommend listening to the podcast if you have the time, but here's the summary. Stephen Dubner describes the Cambridge Sommerville Youth Study. The impact of social intervention programs in general is hard to measure and so they seldom are. This was the first attempt at measuring the impact over a long period of time.

It's a great story and there are a few good take-aways, but here's the main one: troubled or at-risk youth that received mentoring (good mentoring!) had worse life outcomes across every dimension than the kids that were left alone. Despite the recipients saying that the mentoring was incredibl…

Yup - humans still lack humanity

Every once in a while, I'm reminded that humans can be completely lacking in humanity.

My wife had the following experience yesterday on her ride back home. She got on the train and found a seat. The train was unusually crowded and it looked a lot of people had to stand for a long ride. An elderly Asian gentleman carrying a few things in both hands, was looking for spot, started to complain smilingly about the train being so full and stood in the aisle at the back of the carriage some seats away from her.

She expected someone closer to gentleman in the aisle (lots of younger people on the train) to give him their seat.

No one did.

The train started, and it was clear the man was having a lot of trouble standing up. Then at the next stop there was actually an announcement saying the train was full so please give up your seats to people who needed them.

Still nobody moved.

My wife got up walked to the end of the train and asked the gentleman to go over to her seat. She still couldn&#…

Whimsy when I changed my profile picture...

I changed by profile picture at work.

Later in the day, two people on my team had changed their profile pictures to these.. :-)

It made my day!

I changed my profile pic again today. Let's see how fast anyone catches on this time. :-)