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Saturday, Aug 17, 2019

Are B-schools telling you the truth when they say they ‘create’ leaders?

Business schools take ownership of transformation of students to leaders - but aren’t they taking in people who already exhibit leadership traints?

education Updated: Apr 29, 2017 19:41 IST
Jatin Bhandari
Jatin Bhandari
B-schools take in students after intense scrutiny of admission forms, interviews and other processes - those who have already displayed leadership qualities.
B-schools take in students after intense scrutiny of admission forms, interviews and other processes - those who have already displayed leadership qualities.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Are B-Schools really creating leaders? Or are they accepting students with inborn leadership traits, and taking ownership of the transformation?”

The idea of this write-up is not to demean the existence of MBA as a curriculum. In fact, I am an MBA myself. However, I wanted to question the wide scope of territory of human transformation that B-Schools claim to have an effect on - and one of those values is leadership. Writing on accomplishments, leadership, initiatives, and many more, I strongly believe that the barriers to entry that the top MBA programmes create for people across the globe definitely have a strong thread of leadership. If you do not have enough data or stories in your essays and your recommendations, it will be hard for you to cross the barriers, especially in the top school category.

That certainly proves that leadership has been a very important trait for gaining acceptance to these programmes. Well- if that is true- how can an institution take the responsibility of instilling leadership in the outgoing batches when one of the most important criterion in selection was the ingredient of leadership?

Let us illustrate this with an example: If I open an institution with the intention of teaching French, my claim will be – I will accept people who cannot speak French before the beginning of the programme, and when they walk out , they will have a predefined level of fluency in this language. However, if I start screening applicants and start testing the competency levels on the basis of their fluency in French before accepting their applications, I cannot logically take responsibility for their fluency in the language when they walk out. They were already capable. What was the purpose of my existence?

Working for 10 years with the student community in India and designing innovative products and services for them, and helping them create top admits, I realised that a lot of applicants have to pretend. They struggle with the basic definitions of these values without knowing that the sole purpose of the existence of the programmes is to create leadership in a raw applicant. I am not saying this - B-Schools claim to have this quality and they project it all over their webpages and marketing seminars, saying “We create leaders who graduate to make a global impact”. Well- I want to recreate this statement and say – “We have a very accurate process that enables us to selectively pick professionals who anyway were going to be strong leaders - and then we give them a functional understanding - and throw them back into the pool”.

If you can pick up a raw analyst, and make him powerful in this trait, I will agree that you are the source of leadership transformation.

The author is CEO and founder of PythaGURUS, an education consultancy. The views expressed by him are his own.

First Published: Apr 29, 2017 17:39 IST

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