Why the MBAs can’t engineer a revolution here
A recent article in The Economic Times highlighted the trend of the hot new-age startups preferring B Tech graduates from IITs for non-technology roles over MBA graduates from IIMs and other B Schools. This reminded me of a discussion I had with an executive at a private equity firm, who is an IIT-IIM alumnus, about how IIT graduates no longer consider worth while investing two long years to earn a management degree. Instead, they feel that starting a career by working at an early-stage startup would give them a sound beginning.
Here are my observations — based on my experience working with dozens of colleagues who were from IITs and IIMs — about why engineers may be trumping MBAs.
Fresh Perspective: Throw a new problem on the floor, and you will see colleagues with engineering backgrounds bringing spanking new perspectives and original solutions.In fact, startups are all about trying new thoughts every day and this approach is more desirable than a pattern-based approach.
Less Analysis–Paralysis: I have seen more MBA graduates wedged with this syndrome than anyone else. If we are investing too much of time analyzing an idea, I am afraid it might never kick off; or even if it does, it might not see the light at the end of the tunnel. Any idea at an early startup stage is nothing but a mere idea and no one has clarity of all elements that need correlation. As one goes on executing initial ideas, newer dimensions of thoughts emerge and these end up cross-correcting and moving on. In startups, you challenge status quo every day. The last thing you want is your team to be tied up with an analysis-paralysis syndrome.
More Adventuresome: IITians are more daring when it comes to trying out new roles. On the contrary, a lot of management graduates pause a bit to understand which management function roles belong to. Is it a sales role, marketing role, operations role, or a strategy role? Startup environments are fluid and rapid where every team member need to come with an open mind and willingness to juggle multiple roles. Startups are still figuring out the best way of doing every role and that’s the fun!
Strategizing strategy: I am quite amazed to see the interest most MBA graduates have in doing “strategy” and find it difficult to understand how implementing strategies can be a full-time role. In the best case, I believe that only a board member is in the position to contribute by taking strategic bets.
Everybody else, including the CEO, has to be “execution” focused till the startup is stable enough or established with a strong base. On the contrary, a lot of IIT grads, specifically those who want to build their career in non-tech areas, take up any such good roles presented to them with much enthusiasm and achieve exceptional results as they learn and grow.
So, what’s in store for the future if this trend is set to continue? I think, premier management schools can add more value to the flourishing ecosystem by focusing on fundamental research instead of generic management lessons.
- Posted by admin
- On April 14, 2015
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