Ramesh Venkateswaran, an adjunct faculty in Marketing at IIM Bangalore and IIM Udaipur, looks back on his MBA and recounts the takeaways from it.
Where did you get your basic degree, from where, when and MBA , from where and when?
I did my B.Tech (Hons) in IIT Bombay and graduated in 1973, after which I got my MBA degree from IIM Bangalore in 1980
How has your MBA helped you in your corporate life, if at all?
The MBA has given me the ability to look at situations from various perspectives. It has added to my knowledge in various disciplines of organisations and institutions, behaviour and relationships, and given me a better appreciation of holistic thinking and the interconnectedness of various aspects of life.
What have been the key learnings from your MBA for you?
Key takeaways have been the need for humility and acceptance of others’ viewpoints because there are no right or wrong ways to do things. There is no absolute. Everything is relative. It is easy to look back and analyse situations but real life does not afford us this luxury. What is important is not what to do and how but why!
If you had to re-visit your MBA what would you have liked to see as part of your course?
I would have liked a lot more of humanities, social sciences, exposure to the liberal arts and opportunities in these areas.
What have been the chief ingredients in your success, or road to the top?
Integrity and belief in doing the right thing and going by one’s conscience. Walking the talk; being open to learning from anyone all the time, the humility to understand that I am not perfect and will never know everything. Putting your heart into what you do — giving whatever you do your best. Honouring one’s commitments. Valuing relationships. Constantly asking myself ‘what value have I added to people around me?’.
What have been your best and worst moments?
Best moments: Teaching at the IIMs and regular interactions with students. Getting mail from them many years after my classes to say how they did something good in their work and could connect it with what we had discussed in class years earlier.
Worst, or actually not so good times: Disappointment with the trend of the corporate world being very short-sighted and self-centred. Personal agendas being given higher priority than organisational and team needs.
What would be your advice to young MBAs joining the corporate sector?
I would ask them to give a fair amount of thought to what they really want to do and what success means to them. This keeps changing over time, as we ourselves change as we grow older. Also set expectations realistically based on your competence , areas of interest and your personality.
Are you happy with the way the MBA is structured / taught today?
There is some scope for improvement. More social sciences, humanities subjects to be taught. More hands-on sessions rather than pure academic content.
What would you advise young MBAs to read?
Keep reading through your life, not just business press and work/ domain-related. Today, there are plenty of books on the lives of people — from both the corporate and non-corporate worlds. Read history.
To read more from the My MBA Lessons section, click here .