Saturday, March 24, 2012

Where does Pappu disappear post MBA???

Pappu graduates from an MBA institute with the expectation that he will make far reaching changes at the proverbial “Bottom of the Pyramid”. Sadly, soon after joining a company he realizes that he himself is the “Bottom of the Pyramid....Anonymous

All of you must have read countless blogs, books, quotes about Pappu’s life at a Bschool. Numerous books with exactly the same content, have been written about life at IIM B, FMS, MDI and each one has sold like hot cakes. Anyone in the outside world would jump at the opportunity of getting rejected by 60 companies in one day and yet have the chance to sit for 60 more companies. Therefore even though presented in a flippant manner, these stories sell. Very rarely would you find a book or blog talking about Pappu’s life once he gets his dream job. Even though you are made to believe so, it's not a case of – “And they lived happily ever after”. It’s a life full of meetings, 12-14 hour work days, travels, sales targets etc. In short, it is too boring for the story to be of any interest to anyone. And thus no one writes about it.

One set of Pappu’s will soon graduate and enter this drab, boring world. Having now spent almost two years here, I thought I can give them some insights that can help them adapt –

Statutory Warning – Its not funny. I have personally fell victim to each of the following things

1. Meetings are not college lectures. Don’t sleep in them for a minute – I learnt it the hard way. One month into my role, my boss dragged me along to a meeting that had no relevance with my work. I treated the way Marketing students treat Finance lectures and went into my own dream land. After 1.5 hours of a 2 hour meeting, my boss told me – “I hope you are preparing all the notes. You have to share the meeting note with everyone”.
Damn, WTF!!! I looked around for the familiar cute, first bencher ghissu girl whose notes I always copied. Sadly, no one was around.

2. Having a sound vocab does not mean you have great communication skills – perfidious, perfunctory, percipience, peripatetic etc. Remember how hard it was to memorize this particular series of words. Congratulations, you will never have to use them again. Actually, using such words might put off your colleagues because it will be treated as condescending attitude which we MBA’s are anyways stereotyped for.
Sales guys will know that debating about FDI in retail among like minded people in a GD is one thing, explaining it to a small kirana shop owner in Ranchi in his own vernacular is a completely different kettle of fish. “Needs improvement in Communication Skills” will remain in the Key Development Area list forever. Don’t get upset by it.

3. No, girls will not fall for you because of your salary slip. Sadly, their parents will – You fell for it when they told you about it happening if you join IIT, then you thought it will happen at a top B school. If you fall for the myth the third time, I will have to call you a buffoon. No guys, it will NOT happen. Even if you try the audacious stunt where you email her your salary slip and apologize later saying it was meant for some HR of the same name. Unfortunately, their parents will fall for you. Get ready to endure compliments and adoring stares from all aunties the next time you go for a relative’s marriage.

4. You need to prepare well for presentations and even expected Q and A’s – Every MBA has a story to share about how he managed to give a presentation once where he saw the slides for the first time while presenting. MBA professor will be impressed by the figures in the presentation but not expect you to convert those promises into actions. Unfortunately, bosses are not that smart. All numbers you show and even the GAS you generate in your overzealous enthusiasm in the Q&A’s will be held against you in the next quarter review. So beware, before you make any promises.

5. You are not as valuable to the company as you think – Thanks to the presentations HR give, Pappu’s start to think that they are important and start disrespecting the organization criticizing the archaic systems and inefficient babus in place. The fact is that IIM’s, FMS, XLRI’s produce 1000 identical Pappu’s every year. A large proportion of them leave their first job in 2 years. That honest, loyal, hard working clerk who has been with the organization for 30 years is unique. Simple demand supply economics will tell you clearly the importance of each one of you. You indeed are the “Bottom of the Pyramid”. Respect those who are higher up in the food chain or you else you will be eaten alive.