09 Dec 2020 18:59 IST

‘MBA teaches you to make fast, strategic decisions’

My B-school learnings taught me how to weather the Covid storm

Amit Menon, an MBA from TA Pai Management Institute (TAPMI) and engineering graduate, looks back on his journey so far.

How did you decide to pursue the management field after engineering ?

In my final year of engineering degree, I undertook a project that made me realise that I was faring much better in the non-technical aspects of work than the technical. After receiving affirmations from career counsellors, I took the plunge to enrol for a postgraduate degree in management.

Did you have work experience before you enrolled for an MBA?

No, I did not have formal work experience before joining the MBA.

How has the pandemic affected your nature of the job?

The aviation industry and the hospitality sector have been particularly hard-hit in the pandemic. The fear of Covid-19 and mandatory quarantine rules across the world has disrupted the traffic flow completely, and the tourism industry has plummeted to its worst performance levels.

Looking back at both your engineering degree and MBA, how would you say that it is helping you in your work life and career now, if at all?

In most of our daily tasks, two things stand out — analyse the past and assess the future. The key assessments and analysis studied at TAPMI involved looking through multiple data points and taking accurate decisions fast. In my B-school, most courses were taught through case-based techniques, where students are put in the spot of decision-makers, and the class discusses and debates the optimal consensus. The professors deftly moderate the discussion and drive the students to arrive at answers and learn themselves. This has helped me in a certain way to understand the dynamics of a stressed environment, where there are uncertain variables that foster numerous outputs.

However, the pedagogy was different in my engineering course. We were solving numerical questions and learning theories. In my engineering, the focus was more on arriving at the answer. While in my post graduation, it was about finding the root cause of a problem and taking fast and accurate decisions.

What are the B-school learnings that you are applying to in your work?

Through our marketing courses, one of the significant learnings were the 4Ps — product, price, place and promotion, and the relevant target audience. As an airline business analyst, analysing the 4Ps in our strategies is crucial to driving revenue in our markets.

Do you think there was something missing when you did your engineering and MBA that you feel should have been included/taught?

There are a lot of hard skills that are rapidly changing the working ecosystem across different sectors. This is something that was predicted a decade ago, yet many institutes chose to follow predefined pedagogy. This is what was missing during my under graduation. Luckily, my B-school curriculum was more linked to the tune of how the service industry works. I had the privilege of interacting with some guest speakers to better understand and prepare myself for the work I’m currently doing.

Having industry exposure through guest lectures or on-site visits gives you insights into in-demand skill sets.

What would you like to say to students looking to pursue an MBA?

MBA is about having a leadership attitude to make fast, precise, strategic decisions with the data in hand. As quoted by one of my professors, the art of leadership is in saying no, not in saying yes. It is easy to say yes.

But equally important in the MBA life as students is to build professional connections; one has to be on the front foot academically and build their own network simultaneously. My favourite adage is — if you are not networking, you are not working.