The glossiness of the chandeliers to the glassiness of the interiors nothing could outshine the sparkle in the Aspirant’s eyes as he absorbed all the honour he was bestowed upon in the banquet hall of a premium (countless stars) hotel at prime time when rates would be supreme (For the record he couldn’t afford the small pegs at that place during happy hours). His hands shook as he accepted the cup of coffee, bakery biscuits too were complementary with it and with a keen gaze he stared at the podium in front of him with the banner ‘Why Not MBA.’
A suave well dressed man occupied the centre stage of the podium(albeit for the aspirant anyone wearing a shirt without sweat stains and not reeking of week old odor was suave well dressed so this was way over the top). Affluence dripped from his accent as he categorically explained the nuances of MBA degree and point by point shred apart any bit of confidence the aspirant had, he explained how the aspirant was just a rock in a puddle of no use to the world while a mortgage risk analyst was changing the world. The prophetic tone of his speech was mesmerizing, he stung at the raw nerves of the aspirant, his thankless job, his grumpy team lead, his stagnant career prospects (Less chances of bossing over others) , having to ask for leaves and then not getting them, working on national holidays and finally used the word that stung the most ‘Support Services.’
He went on to extol virtues of the MBA degree about how it was his ticket to travel the unexplored world, a name tag for an eternity of boastfulness, arrogance and being spiteful to lesser beings and a credit card to a lifetime of consumerist pleasures. Two hours later the propaganda machinery had him hooked. He started believing that the dormant industry was lacking the innovative business skills he was to learn as an MBA graduate, The fate of the derivatives market rested on the analytical skills he was to acquire as an MBA graduate and the lifeless economy needed a fillip from the vision and leadership skills he was to gain as an MBA graduate. Two days later he had doled out a substantial amount and had also shared some very personal information like his mediocre SSC/HSC percentage, his sex, his nonexistent extracurricular achievements, his caste and the work experience from a job he hated to officially become an MBA aspirant.
He didn’t stop there, his greed, sense of confusion and a feeling of insecurity only added to make him do the same thing again and again. He applied to a course on international business, the next day he had also made up his mind on another course called foreign trade, the day after it was Human resources and a few days later after another seminar he applied to a different college with the same courses for it promised better prospects with the far improved business skills which were going to help him bring sense to the global economy in doldrums. A month later he had attended fifteen seminars for which he had emptied his bank account and had nothing to show for it except a pile of prospectus on his study table.
The colleges were fine with this arrangement; they had earned huge sums only by the prospect of giving an MBA degree after clearing rounds of entrance and interviews. They even wondered whether they should even teach the course now for they might not even earn half the money they would just by conducting an entrance test. At the same time they were laughing at the ‘Know it All’ sales guru who preached about showing your actual product to the customer, making him feel it, only then he buys it. Here they had proved you could actually sell dreams.
Things went well for the aspirant, preparation books had now found a place on his study table. It wasn’t that difficult to find out the relationship Ramesh had with his mother’s grandfather’s second cousin nor was it difficult to find out the summation of an infinite harmonically progressing series if you knew the shortcut given by some self proclaimed genius on the internet. What he had forgotten was that he wasn’t the only one doing it, there were thousand others.
He finally came to terms with the reality on results day but was more shattered with the harsher reality that was to accompany the meager number of interview calls he had managed.
As the power changed hands, the jingoistic was suddenly replaced from ‘Why Not MBA’ to ‘Why MBA’. Everyone asked him this question. His attempt to sugarcoat his answers with gaining deeper insights into the workings of a business wee brushed away as over enthusiasm, hypocrisy, clinging to a status quo and not daring to be different.
His efforts to portray entrepreneurship as his true calling and wanting to learn the tenets of it were opposed saying ‘Dhirubhai Ambani never did an MBA’. He could have never imagined Dhirubhai Ambani not doing an MBA would be the biggest bane in his pursuit of an MBA.
As for another reason and a firm one as well that of the rosy average placements, he never found the courage the utter it. For it is noble to spend lakhs to learn how to make better power point presentations and enhance your communication skills but it is a sin to even think of recouping this investment with a well paying job.
A year later , his account emptied, all those dreams of buying a swanky tablet and a cool sports bike staying dreams he didn’t know what he had gained from all this except another shot at a slightly better routine job nor did he have the answer to ‘Why MBA’.