Life ends the day you decide not to do an MBA. Or at least, life stagnates. Oh, didn’t you know? Without the esteemed MBA degree in your hand and half-a-dozen theories on ‘the marketplace’ in your pocket, there is no way you are ever going to go up the corporate ladder. You will be stuck in a rut, watching with teary eyes as comrades climb up to the roof and you stand below it. And eventually, the roof leaks.
“Your kid sure has grown tall!” said my Mom to someone at a society Diwali event. “Only in height. He is in bad company – with some photographers or the sort. Have been pushing him to do his MBA but the brat doesn’t listen.” We gave polite smiles and exited. I, you see, had a camera in my bag.
Whatever happened to the multitude of professions today’s multiple universities were supposed to create? Writers, painters, archaeologists. Actors, musicians, interior designers. I wonder, what the world will come to if everyone lands up at the gates of a B school and gets trained to “manage”. Who, if you please, will they manage? With due respect to the course – God knows I have err, close associations, with the same – I fail to understand why MBA is the new graduation in the minds of several – excuse my language – disillusioned people.
Anyhow, why do I talk about careers here in “Of Paneer, Pulao and Pune”? Well, Pune you see, is quite the education hub. It boasts of a number of management colleges which, invariably each year, have dreamy aspirants aiming for that corner cubicle in the thirty-seven storey office. A number of these souls are sufficiently, err, brain-washed to believe that consumerism is here to stay and apocalypse is never going to see daylight. They slave away to glory, living many wakeful nights writing assignments and dissertations, spending gloriously sunlit afternoons giving exams on brands and consumer behaviour. Even as the city lies in wait, pining for these youthful bunch of people so busily employed elsewhere, they emerge victorious at the convocation and have jobs that pay neat packets.
What, then, is my concern? I am scared. Immensely so. I have seen umpteen talented souls scrounge up hard cash for something they lack inclination or aptitude for. “Oh the loans will be repaid in the very first year of their job.” proclaim proud parents. And what about their gifts, their prowess, their talent that lay elsewhere? I guess, money manages to compensate for these losses as well. I am scared to imagine the vacuum that life will be years down the line, when they discover that money failed to buy the dream they had once carefully woven.
The reputed B schools of Pune will start admissions soon. Elsewhere, there are aspirants hard at work solving mock papers and rehearsing for GDs and interviews. In a parallel universe, there are universities – excellent in their realm – that offer a course on journalism, a degree in film making, creative writing, anthropology. The very courses some of these ‘aspirants’ always wanted to take and spent a good amount of time and effort preparing and longing for. All I ask of them is – please give things a second thought. Do not jump onto the bandwagon because everyone else is on it or the fragrance of cash draws you in like a magnet. While there’s no denying the value of money, especially in these inflationary times, an MBA is NOT a shortcut to moolah. There are people tailor made to be CXOs. There are some who can be trained for the same. And there are some whose calling lies elsewhere. You will burn out if trapped where neither your competency, nor passion lies.
Trust me, don’t pick a career because everyone tells you to. Or because they say it pays the best. You will only end up losing peace. And peace, is priceless.