If you ever want to see several happy people in one place, visit any leading B-school campus just after the placement season is over. What a sybaritic feeling. A business school stamp behind your name and a dream job ahead of you. The B-school grad has learnt all that is there to learn. Could it get any better?
Going back to my own first day on campus, we were told by the legendary Father McGrath, “XLRI is not a place but an experience and an opportunity.” Now we had been through the experience and were on the threshold of seeking opportunities to apply all the teachings that a business degree offers.
As we waited with our packed bags in the foyer of the institute to say our last goodbyes, Father Maggie (as we referred to McGrath) in a soft tone said to me “Ronnie, I hope and pray that all of you get a very good first boss.” At that time one did not fully comprehend the meaning of that message.
Look back at your own experience over the years. Identify the number of times a young career was made or shattered by the early mentor(s) who had strong influence over a new arrival to the workforce.
Research and surveys have established that the single biggest reason for loss of talent is “the boss”: not the organisation, not the compensation nor any other seemingly obvious reason. Strangely, no course on campus teaches you this, nor did any course say that in time one would need to be the good first boss/mentor.
Having left campus and arriving into the corporate world, you quickly adapt to excelling within a structure in order to earn your rewards. Despite B-school teachings, “strategy” and “out-of-the-box thinking” take a backseat and the “activity trap” takes control of your life. After all, you have joined the rat race and you learn, like Pavlov’s dogs, that rewards follow a pattern. Suddenly, 15 or more years go by and there is a paradigm shift and no more patterns.
You are now assessed on your ability to deal with ambiguity. Your free and frank views — once appreciated as “fresh thinking” from a young B-school grad — are now marked down as “lack of political astuteness”. Could your B-school education have predicted this?...