Value Of A Degree HS & College.


Today’s topic for the LBC comes from a list of suggestions made by Shackman whose take on it promises to be very interesting, coming as it would from a self acknowledged jock.

Unlike many of my contemporaries, my late wife and I never pushed our son to acquiring a professional degree and simply accepted that his choice of a liberal arts higher education will be as good as one in a professional course.  He has grown into a fine young man with a sound career and is a role model for many.  In his circle of friends, I also see a number of dropouts who have done just as well and so to put a value on a degree perse is difficult.

In my own case, I have written earlier about it here and here.  Unfortunately the illustrations will not appear in the latter but the gist of the argument should still be obvious.   I have little to add except to offer some platitudes.

I have no doubt whatsoever in my mind that I was destined to get my degree in management and reach corporate heights.  I have always maintained and continue to do so that I had little to do with that as I am not ambitious at all but some force got me where I eventually got and have now become.

For every half a dozen success stories about MBAs reaching glorious heights, there are as many frauds cropping up and what is more important, dropouts seem to do well as entrepreneurs, inventors and game changers.  Except in the case of medicine, law and engineering, I wonder what real purpose a degree offers except of course a well rounded personality if one takes the humanities or the liberal arts route.

What however would appear to matter is a good High School education which gives the basic tools needed to survive successfully in a highly competitive world.  In my case, even that I could complete successfully only by failing to pass the examinations the first time around and reappearing for them after some tutorial help later.  But without that little qualification, what I achieved later would simply not have been possible.


New Rules.


The first thing that came to mind when I saw this topic was a terror called MDP. This was when I had joined a British company as a Management Trainee and my training started off with learning all about the office administration side of branch management. At each desk, I had to first read the MDP which expanded meant Manual of Depot Procedures, then observe what the clerk did. The next step was to work under his/her supervision, then work independently before rounding off with a report on what I had learnt.  I made the mistake of showing some enthusiasm being the very first MBA taken on as a Trainee by making some suggestions in my first three reports.  Much to my horror, after they were read by the Divisional Manager, I was asked to report to him. He formally complimented and congratulated me on my suggestions and gave me an additional responsibility of completely overhauling the MDP before I completed my training as he felt that it was badly in need of updating. Quite how I passed through that ordeal is a memory that came back and I would rather forget that. Simply stated, there was resistance to change and resentment from well entrenched bureaucracy which did everything possible to scuttle my study of procedures. I don’t know if such things happen now to fresh Management Trainees, but if they did, my heart goes out to them.

Coming to more recent times, the most frustrating new rules that I have experienced have all to do with change to traffic rules, primarily changing roads and lanes into one way to accommodate increased vehicle population and traffic. Closely related to and implemented with great vigor are the new No Parking rules.

In personal lives, new rules start to operate when someone elder either moves in and / or dies or a newcomer like a daughter in law or a pet arrives to complicate simple lives, as all such things happened in my life during the last few years.

On health matters, new rules on how to sit, walk, sleep etc are all advised when joints are replaced or revised like when it happened to my hips.

I have also experienced voluntarily accepting new rules of waking up time, eating time, sleeping time etc when I had gone on meditation retreats as well rules on diets and habits during the retreats.

Luckily, I have not had to accept constantly changing rules of conduct / behaviour etc in corporate environments for a long long time. I am told by young job hoppers that this is quite bothersome. And I can sympathise with them.

I don’t have this framed and hung on any wall in my home, but this about sums up the rules that I would like to see observed in my home. By and large they are.  Please click on the image to get a larger resolution.

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
― Pablo Picasso

This topic was suggested by Shackman, for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where currently nine of us write on the same topic every Friday.  I hope that you enjoyed my contribution to that effort.  The seven other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order,  AshokgaelikaaLin, Maxi, Padmum, Pravin,  Shackman and The Old Fossil. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, or not at all this week, do give some allowance for that too!

What is an MBA Worth?

What a topic to blog about! I am just being contrary and hope to get a lot of flak!

For sometime now, I have been pondering writing about the MBA degree and recently, I came across this interesting article in the New York Times. The article and the comments on it are very interesting in their range and depth of emotions that the topic has evoked.

After my post on “Ambition” was published, one of my non commenting, but emailing readers suggested that since I have strong views on the subject, I might like to post on this rather controversial subject.

A little background. I have been known to be a kind of a maverick in the field of management in India for openly advocating treating MBA qualification as just a filtering process. By this, what I mean is, that entrance examinations and hurdles to get into India’s premier and second rung schools of business management, filter out a great many aspirants. So, when someone goes to one of these schools for campus recruitment, what one really does is save a lot of time, cost and energy in weeding out useless applications for jobs.

The knowledge and skills learnt in these business schools, or online MBA programs, are of no real use in practical management which usually is industry or organization specific. What happens, after a graduate from one of these schools joins up, is that he learns how this particular organization runs, adapts, himself to it or not, and uses the limits which the organizational discipline and politics impose on him to succeed. I have seen that this is done quite successfully by non MBAs too, particularly, young hungry graduates from other disciplines and hands-on workers starting from the bottom of the pile. Where the MBA perhaps has an edge is in his written communication skills and this is not something that cannot be taught to the others.

For instance, someone can be taught to use the language used in the cartoon here, quite easily. Probability cartoon4809987.cms

Since this language, known universally as jargon, is so comic, there is usually antipathy between those that use it, read MBAs and those who use ordinary language to convey ideas.

So, my submission is that if an organization wants to pay a premium for an MBA, it must have people capable of understanding this language. Logically, it will be people with MBA degrees. So, what it really boils down to is that it is an old boy network that is in operation and not really any inherent advantage of a Master’s degree in Business Management.

This is the same network that is likely to come up with this as well. HR cartoon4796760.cms

Senior Managers and Proprietors of enterprises complain to me that the MBAs are the most complaining and the least loyal Why is it that this network is constantly whining?


A = Complains

B = Solves

C = Mutual Antipathy

D = ?

I have tried to depict the situation in a diagram as G L Hoffman so eloquently does in his blog ‘What Would Dad Say’. Being a first attempt, it is not as effective as GL’s is. I invite him to answer the Question Mark.

After this post went live, GL filled in the blank for D as being “What’s in it for me?”

A while later, Grannymar came up with a comment with this link:

What a blast! Please watch this. Grannymar, where do you come up with these priceless items of wisdom!?