The IESE MBA program picks the most competitive and fierce people from all over the world and puts them in a tiny campus for two years with the hope that we learn about building teams and we become great leaders. When you have the best from all over, how ferocious you are is very relative. Imagine a bunch of ferocious and hungry canines put into a cage for 2 years..They’re bound to bite each others’ head off at some point. So, sometimes, the meeker ones find themselves in a shell not wanting to come out. The environment is designed for extroverts. If you continue to remain in your shell, you will soon be out of the game. The game of “Survival of the fittest”.
You are expected to evolve around this design so you get the best out of the MBA program. I know some of us would like to argue that we would not like to succumb to the competition and that we will still make it, but that’s just a lie. It’s against the nature of the MBA. The evolution in itself is extremely hard since we lived half our lives thinking we’re the best (that’s the reason we’re here) and this thought is challenged every single day in every little aspect of the MBA – be it standing up against the Chinese in Roland Berger placements or the Brazilians in spanish classes.
However, some of us can adapt more easily than the rest for a number of reasons – you’re either from the region, you speak the language, you’re good at financial accounting or capital markets, you’re sponsored and are not suffering from the consulting fever, you’re too rich to be bothered to get any value out of the MBA, etc. These guys won’t come out to pull up guys who are struggling just because this is their chance to feel better about having survived. Earlier today, a friend who is an accountant mentioned that he was surprised that nobody asked his help with accounting expect me but he chose to ignore me. This is not because he didn’t want to help. It was his opportunity to feel a sense of entitlement for all the consulting rejects he received? I don’t know. But I know that the program so far has only fostered selfishness among all of us.
We had this case about an expedition to the Mt.Everest in Analysis of Business Problems class yesterday, where 5 people die because of lack of trust and communication among the various climbers up on the Everest. Someone in my class pointed out that lack of trust and communication is quite common among strangers and that too from different cultures/ countries. If this were true and we all already recognise this, what are we doing to change that? Are we just sitting around and waiting with the hope that in due course of time, we won’t be so much of strangers and that we will be less eager to bite each others’ head off? Maybe it will be too late by then.
I don’t intend to sound cynical. In fact, I think this experience is great in some ways as it successfully simulates the real world we’re all going to be thrown into after May 2016, but some other times, I wish we could fill our tiny lives with more unselfish pleasures..Sigh. Anyway, such are life. So, this is our practice pitch, this is our chance to put our evolution skills to test. If we don’t make it here, as Darwin would say it – we’re as good as the dinosaurs!