Monday, February 28, 2005

The travails of a poor ol' engineer

I’ve learned a simple but largely unspoken fact about a B-school. If you want to get an MBA, don’t be an engineer. If you unfortunately are already one, learn to live with a sympathetic look on yourself, and learn to pray God often. Being an atheist doesn’t help. You know, when you have nowhere to go, better be a religious person.

An initial bit of deviation from the topic: I remember the animation clip that I developed while in the final year of Engineering College which, after looping through several jazzy Matrix-inspired clips, displayed “Engineers make the world”. The fact that the clips were amateur is a different thing. But the message we tried to convey was that Engineers build and transform the world. I should’ve known that I was destined to make that job tough for engineers – by aspiring to become a manager. :)

Coming to the core issue, while Engineering *attempted* to teach us to hit the bulls eye in a half-shot, much of Management seems to be designed to beat around the bush. Some of the case studies glorify this phenomenon. Ofcourse, we do learn things (I’m not speaking for myself!), but one thing I barely understand is why the theme of the case that could concisely be conveyed in 5 pages is conveyed hazily through 20 to 30 odd pages. Maybe the length adds credibility to the material and makes it sellable across B-schools, but the length of some of the case studies and reading material bowls me twice over. I’ve seen myself spending hours and hours (if you could pardon my exaggeration!) over the cases and reading materials and later wondering what the author is exactly trying to convey. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t think I’m all that bad in comprehending English. :) This is tolerable to an extent because it is the case with anyone who takes up management education. When everyone suffers, and sinks with you, you probably don’t realize the pain as that of sinking alone! But for engineers, the travails don’t stop here.

We have courses from most fields – Finance, Marketing, IT, Strategy, Quantitative methods, Economics etc. Most of them are *supposed* to start from basics and hence people who did their under-graduation in the respective fields get benefited, provided they had studied well. For the most part, Strategy, Marketing and HR are new and hence are level playing fields. Quantitative Techniques, where Engineers are supposed to be strong, is a level playing field too for two reasons: First, most of the material is new, except may be for IITians and second, engineers like me didn’t really learn during Engineering. Mind you: flipping, mugging and reading are phenomenon associated with jumping the wall – clearing exams that is, and are not meant to be for overloading the brain – learning for lifetime. Information Technology courses, which are supposed to be a cakewalk for Engineers – atleast for the ones from IT or Electronics streams, are unfortunately extremely elementary. Add to that the chillness levels of the professors, IT subjects become the ‘chill’est possible ones. Imagine open book exams, direct questions from the PPTs, courtesy reading materials which are never quizzed on, most grades ranging from B- to B+ etc. There is fortunately some leverage for Economics grads in the economics courses. Most benefited are the ones from Commerce or Finance backgrounds.

The Accounts and Finance exams are like the mystique language spoken in West Spain/Portugal, the name of which came in The Hindu last month which I don’t recollect. For the record, it is supposed to be the toughest second language to learn since the pronunciation and some of the elements of the language are so complex that only people who grew up as a child in the same atmosphere can twist the tongue to create the unique sounds. That the previous lines are over-statements is implicit, but I guess I conveyed the point. Some engineers do make it big, but unfortunately - or fortunately - yours truly isn’t in that category. I might be fortunate here because I’m more interested in preserving my brain for future use. Ofcourse, I tried studying Finance-I with all possible might (again, pardon my exaggeration), refusing to believe that Finance and Accounts aren’t for me. But the results just didn’t add up. The Finance II mid term was as tough as it can get. I remember studying with a very decent concentration but I found myself in the exam hall thinking about Calvin with the mysterious multiplication problem before him. Calvin atleast enlisted the support of Suzie for solving problems, but for some vague reason I don’t enlist other Calvins or Suzies for help. End of the day, I’m facing the same wall that reads: Poor ol’ engineer, finance isn’t for you.

I still refuse, but I guess it’s not long before I’ll get the answer. I curse; I drudge on, hoping that salvation is somewhere...


At Tuesday, March 01, 2005 12:05:00 PM, Blogger Anand said...

It's not that tough , is it ??

Fight, fight !!

At Tuesday, March 01, 2005 5:16:00 PM, Blogger rohit kaul said...

well i personally blv that a person's future doesnt depend on wat he doesnt know but on wat he knows and understand man just hang on ...all engr's who metamorphosed into managers will b praying for ur success....

frm an engr(wannabe mba) to an ex engr and will be mba :-)


At Tuesday, March 01, 2005 7:07:00 PM, Blogger Govar said...

@Anand: Well, not as tough as I pointed out. Studying, understanding etc is easy. Even some questions in Exams are easy. It's only the marks that follow a pattern all the time...

@Rohit: LOL. Thanks man. :)

At Tuesday, March 01, 2005 10:36:00 PM, Blogger MoRoN said...

Engineers never look at books and never look at marks.
Wasnt it teh sme for max ppla back in those 4 golden years ;-)

Lie down and let it pass....
Remember..those who turn and run away..
Live to fight another day ;-)

Cheerios bro,
Take comfort from the fact that others are in deeper soup than u!

Catch ya.

At Tuesday, March 01, 2005 11:40:00 PM, Blogger Govar said...

Let it pass I can, but am kinda determined to give a fight. Absolutely no qualms abt marks though. :)

At Thursday, March 03, 2005 1:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At Thursday, March 03, 2005 1:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Govar,

There is another approach to this, Engineers learn a lot, so they get anything fast - they are very good in analytical ---- But being a B.Com i am very comfortable with Economics, Finance and Accounts, Bur MBA stuff is well advanced and all in Quants ----- So engineers learn everything fast and they are doing pretty well da.

It’s not important who starts well; Life is like a Marathon..... Who ends first is very important.

But is a very cool Post - Enjoy

----- Jeyavarthana Raj

At Thursday, March 03, 2005 3:53:00 PM, Blogger Rohit Jain said...

now thts scary... m myself an engineer... got few IIM calls this time.. is tuff.. isnt it.. first b a topper in class, then struggle to get into top engg skool, then ur @$$ bleeds while u try to pass sem xams, then u dream to b an mba and just manage to clear tuffest xam in the world-CAT , and then u r told ' beta, tune abhi dekha hi kyaa hai..'

neways.. v engineers know how to keep floating even under strong currents... hehe


At Thursday, March 03, 2005 5:07:00 PM, Blogger Govar said...

@Rohit: True to the hilt. Top all school exams, find a good engineering college, top there, find a good job and join a b-school only to negate whatever we did beffore. Kinda funny. And terrible!

At Thursday, March 03, 2005 6:41:00 PM, Blogger The Man Who Wasnt There said...

lol! that was a good one Govar! considering the way I am managing my finances right now...(invariably bankrupt by the 25th of every month)
I need to learn a thing or too abt the Finance! :D Seriously is it that unsurmountable? can't wait to taste the pudding myself....

At Thursday, March 03, 2005 7:21:00 PM, Blogger Govar said...

Hmm. Not to the extent I mentioned. But yes, to a good extent. :)

At Sunday, April 02, 2006 5:36:00 PM, Blogger Spindrift said...

Greetings, I was reading some blogs and came across your blog. I'm quite impressed , with how it has a good feel. This is one to watch.


Degree MSN online


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