The MBA Factory

“Be an original in a copycat world”, they say. But is this difference ever respected?  A recent graduate from a reputed business school, I am deeply irked by the means adopted by the so called college authorities to hoodwink the easily gullible and asinine recruiters.

Five rounds of mock interviews, soft skills training and resume writing sessions later, Kunal finally knew how to sit on a chair, how to smile, how to shake hands, how to unbutton his blazer as he sat down, sucking his pot-belly in while doing so, and how to rattle answers to questions he had memorized after repeatedly screwing up in all his mock interviews. They even had to schedule an extra session for him, so that he could become one among the identical products of his batch of sixty. So now, the class topper, the guy who barely managed to pass, the drunkard, and the pot-head, all looked identical. Mission accomplished!

It has always failed me as to how recruiters haven’t been able to see through this hogwash.  Do they not see it as a well-rehearsed theatrical stint where each actor dons his costume, plays his part, exits and continues to be the sloppy mess he always was?  The worst part of it all is, a lot of times, students who have their way with words, and spend hours before the mirror, making sure all the wrinkles from their skin and clothes are neatly ironed out, get away by putting on a glib show and sweeping the recruiter off his feet, giving him the notion that they can conquer the world if they have to; the truly deserving ones lose out because of a crease in their butt pocket or something.

Most people, who have gone through the process, are aware of the amount of time and effort that goes into soft skills training. By the time the mad drill is over, the poor guy, who is actually intelligent, but may not be the most eloquent or the best dressed, gets so nervous in front of the recruiter, missing a cue or trying his best to recollect the rehearsed script.

Why can’t schools, colleges and companies encourage us to wear what we want, write our resumes as we deem fit and allow us to be ourselves, our honest genuine selves in an interview. Why are there only a few accepted answers for an open ended question? Don’t they see they are supporting the very virtue we were taught against since we were kids? There is only one of ‘us’ in the world. Is pretending to be that ‘ideal interviewee’ and then trying to live up to that false identity really worth it? Imagine the satisfaction you get if you get a job offer by just being yourself in an interview. To be accepted for being YOU!

This is a plea, to colleges, companies and schools. While it is very important to appear presentable and communicate effectively, please don’t fail to see the true potential of an individual in the 15 minutes you decide to give him to make an impression, by focusing on futile things like clothes and well-rehearsed answers. Encourage him to be himself and you will hear more rewarding answers for “Tell me something about yourself”.

Remember, be ahead of the herd, or be unheard.

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