Inji and Fringy: Domin(engin)eering MBA [Part 2]

[This is Part 2; for the first part see]

It should be obvious to anybody that, on an average, engineers are more intelligent (IQ-wise) than Arts’ graduates. One reason being that the more gifted children are taught to aim at a “gud kaalej inji seet”, barring “madical” for the more adventurous — to even think of any other stream is an insult to his/her own intelligence, the pride of his/her family, the wisdom of his/her teachers, the faith of the friendly doodhwalla etc.

On the other hand, there are also accusations as to how engineers who pursue an MBA are draining engineering college resources when instead they should be getting their hands dirty with the engines (as their glorious epithet suggests). There is of course also jealousy: “tereko BE karke khoob paisaa milegahi saale lekin hamaaraa kyaa!” But I shall leave all such arguments for another day and spell out just one simple reason why engineers should be actively discouraged from pursuing management careers, in favour of candidates from other streams (chiefly B.A., B.B.A., B.Com. and regional variants):

Their training is redundant in the context of and often antithetical to management education.

I don’t care if their sole ambition in life is to build a multinational electronics chain. An ENTC degree tells us you were taught how to create the toys, not how to tempt people to buy them, let alone to understand whether people need them in the first place. It will not do to say that this is the job of the cultural historian or the academic critic, because they are denied any productive role in society other than to chat on (alternately feeling high on coffee and then low post-lunch) in sophisticated conferences and write 600-page tomes on postmodernist hermeneutics.

The aptitude of the best of engineers is in STEM, which as fields by themselves are rather incompatible in approach with the humanities. I cannot take anyone seriously who hasn’t ever read Virgil, Shakespeare, Vyasa, or Confucius but pretends to understand human nature and preaches on and on about analysing perceptions and training effectiveness. By the time they graduate, the brightest among them (e.g. IIT toppers, winners of Microsoft/Birla scholarships etc.) have read only Ayn Rand (and now Devdutt Pattnaik!) and have no idea as to what, for instance, even Maslow’s hierarchy is about. It is no excuse to say that the function of the management education itself is to impart this very knowledge — it is not and even in practice it (rightly) does not. It is called a Master’s in Business Administration for good reason and will not take you back even to Freud’s speculations, let alone the modern intellectual tradition that began five hundred years ago.

In the sheer name of relevance, then, let us bring in the fringy for a change as opposed to never-ending streams of the Inji.


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