Food for Further Thoughts and Analysis


I have almost completely forgotten my Electronics & Communication Engineering.

I have forgotten all the equations that were necessary to understand how the theory of electro-magnetism works in practice, and how do electrons and neutrons struggle within an atom. Complex equations, stochastic processes, integration and differentiation, Fourier Transforms, linear differential equations, and what not?

I have not applied a single one of those equations in my engineering/business life, even in companies which depend on some of these theories to make and sell their stuff to customers. Of course, when you look at a boiler, a turbine, a rocket, a power generation plant, a refinery, or any other engineering driven plant or business, there is some recognition in my mind that I “used” to know something about all these at some earlier point in my life.

Did any of these matter to me in my life? The real answer is a clear NO.

Let me now come to my coveted MBA. I enjoyed working through my MBA Program, no doubt. I liked the intense discussions which went on in the class on various topics of importance to corporate life.

Did I enjoy my MBA? Ofcourse, it is a YES.

Did I get to use my MBA learning in my corporate life? Not really. May be a bit of Marketing, a bit of Finance, but I would say that I would have picked it up anyway during the course of my business life.

All these education focus, is it really necessary?

May not be required for the future of our children. Things are changing so rapidly as we navigate an already very complex life, and the skills that we learnt are no longer in use or needed in business life. Did we really keep up with what is transforming the world as at this moment? The answer is also a NO, as we have a wrong and incorrect belief system (in most of us) that persuades us all to take a rather casual approach to the emerging challenges, and that is rooted on our seniority and experiences over several decades.

We continue to operate on generalities and general knowledge which have seen us through till now in our lives.

But, these tools may not be adequate or even recognized by our employers any more.

Our education, experience, expertise, and insight may no longer be required in the new completely digital and Artificial Intelligence-driven life that is fast becoming a reality. Most of us can be replaced by machine learning and AI systems.

We are all lucky we got through most of our corporate lives unscathed (apart from the usual restructuring) till now.

Now, the challenge is not from within ourselves or our corporations. The challenge is from outside, and it may not even be related to your current business.

Think about it for a moment.

We are “used” cars. In a new world, we may easily be replaced by newer models, and faster cars. Our education is now totally irrelevant. I am no longer interacting with my elite MBA institution or its representatives in Singapore.

I am trying to meet folks with “new” and “radical” ideas to transform our business going forward. Most of the people we meet in our corporate life deserve no more than a “B” rating. Few people are a “B+”, and very few are a “A”.

As we course through our life, we see that the “B+” and “A” folks are much younger, sharper, incisive, intellectual, and operate entirely on data, not on qualitative stuff and not on perceptions. Relationships are no longer sacrosanct. The “B”s and “C”s are generally people whose profiles are similar to ours. Of course, there are exceptions.

So, in a nutshell, we need to mingle not just amongst ourselves or with our colleagues in our office or in other offices, but with young people who don’t give a damn about age, seniority, experience or old expertise. We need fresh thinking, and they will provide it all the time. Further, they will take risks which we cannot. So, they will go on to create new value, while we ruminate on “how great it was during our time”.

So, I took some actions –

  1. Subscribe to few digital courses at MIT Online Courses
  2. Visit Block 71 in Singapore and meet with young startup founders
  3. Invest in the stocks of few new companies that you believe in – can be in Technology, Bio-tech, or whatever you are interested in – the good outcome is you understand what is happening
  4. See CNBC every night – they talk about the markets and the new companies ringing the bell on listing
  5. Change your mind, your thinking, your interactions, your friends/acquaintances
  6. Do a business plan for a new company that you would like to start – I did this and it was not just informative, it was completely transformative. I even set up a website and validated the business plan
  7. List out options on what you would like to do after quitting your current corporate life – this will be tough if you are so used to the routine for a long time
  8. Offer your services as an unpaid mentor either to startup individuals or to startups themselves – they may or may not accept, but it is worth trying
  9. Read up on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, how these technologies which have been there for a long time have now taken on new avatars in combination with Big Data Analytics and Cloud technologies and platforms

I am dropping point #10, not all lists have to have ten points!

Don’t you think the above is interesting? May not work for everyone, or you might have your own approach depending on your area of specialization or the industry you are from.

I am already excited and feeling younger in mood, spirit and attitude. I am trying to drop all my old baggage that I have learnt or am carrying with me. It is time to completely “unlearn” everything we know.

The world is, and will, no longer be the same one that we had known all these years.

Time to learn new things and get going.

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan

22nd October 2017

Advertisements

Half-Baked MBA Schools


India is full of suspect business schools, which have sprouted like mushrooms all over the country.

I am not going to name any such school in this post, that is not the real point.

I will be careful in considering anyone coming from such schools with tall claims. I was shocked to read full-page advertisements and heavy television advertising promoting a business school, with an explicit claim that they are far better than the IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) ! I thought comparative advertising without proof and basis are subject to advertising regulations – is the concerned advertising body watching and taking action to safeguard advertising ethics ?

Notwithstanding any “tall” claims to the contrary, it is absolutely clear where management education stands in the country. I am not referring to “research” which has become a subject of contention between a government minister and the top engineering and management institutes. Yes, research in academic institutions of repute in India is far below global standards, and that is why none of the top schools are in the top 20 institutions, even in Asia Pacific region.

However, it is not appropriate to contest the quality of management education at the top schools in India. The top schools, of course, include only the IIMs, the XLRI, and a few other well-established, long standing schools of academic (and not advertising-driven) reputation. None of the hundreds of other schools qualify to be even in the top 100 management schools in the country. In fact, they bring down the quality of the education.

The bigger challenge is the acceptance of such schools by private corporates due to non-availability of management graduates from the top schools (who have all flown away with multiple offers). They have to be more careful in assessing the credibility of such schools and the quality of their education. It may be better to go with graduates with non-business degrees from reputed schools and train them on management in-house.

I saw notification issued by AICTE (All India Council of Technical Education) which regulates management education as well specifying the names of schools which are not accredited by them. After that notification, I have only seen the decibel of advertisements by second-tier and third-tier schools going up. It would be better for potential students to check out the credentials and the approvals of schools before investing their parents’ hard-earned money.

Fake and half-baked MBAs taught at such schools by professors with suspect and / or no academic credentials will do no good for their future.

Cheers

Vijay Srinivasan
16th July 2011
Mumbai

Management Potential Quiz


Courtesy : Srinivas, my IIM-B Classmate

The following short quiz consists of 4 questions and tells whether you are qualified to be a “manager.” The questions are not that difficult.

How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator?
The correct answer is: Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe and close the door.

    This question tests whether you tend to do simple things in an overly complicated way.

How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?
Wrong Answer : Open the refrigerator, put in the elephant and close the refrigerator.
Correct Answer : Open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe, put in the elephant and close the door.

    This tests your ability to think through the repercussions of your actions.

The Lion King is hosting an animal conference, all the animals attend except one. Which animal does not attend?
Correct Answer: The Elephant. The Elephant is in the refrigerator.

    This tests your memory.

OK, even if you did not answer the first three questions correctly, you still have one more chance to show your abilities.

There is a river you must cross. But it is inhabited by crocodiles. How do you manage it?
Correct Answer: You swim across. All the Crocodiles are attending the Animal Meeting!

    This tests whether you learn quickly from your mistakes.

According to Andersen Consulting World wide, around 90% of the professionals they tested got all questions wrong. But many pre-schoolers got several correct answers. Andersen Consulting says this conclusively disproves the theory that most management consultants have the brains of a four-year old.

Courtesy : Srinivas, my IIM-B Classmate

Cheers

Vijay Srinivasan
28th May 2011
Mumbai