Why should one undergo structured management learning?

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Prof Brijesh Sharma

Life games are all about skill and never say die attitude.  There are two dimensions to skill. One is depth and another is width. Having depth is like being a specialist and the width makes one a generalist. The two extremes of the skill continuum are specialist and generalist. To manage a business one needs to have a fine balance of depth and width. In managing a business many a times one has to sacrifice depth for width. The width in you will manage the depth in others. The basic science commerce and engineering degree gives us a reasonable depth. This depth helps one to get an operational level job in the market. To rise up to senior level assignments one needs width. Width is given in B School.

Contrarians argue that there are examples galore that 50% of the C suite executives are not MBA. This is a truism, however a point worth considering is, while they may not have a formal degree but they have the skill. These Non MBA C suite occupants have learnt from the schools of hard knocks. The core is getting the deep skills. 

Learning by doing/failing is the best method of learning. The learning is internalized. Having said that, given the width of skills required for managing a business, this method of learning by doing/failing will theoretically take a lot of time and resource, perhaps a life time and also does not have the interoperability amongst various industry. As against this a simulated learning in a top grade B school will help in achieving 60% of the skill in 20% of time and will provide the migratory power to move from one industry to another. This time crunching and interoperability is the essence of a structured MBA program.


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