Contributed By: Deepika Iyer
MBA, sure to say, is a unique and unusual experience for every person- we all have different takeaways from our respective MBA coursework, but yesterday I was laughing it off with my friends that someday when people ask me what my MBA specialization would be, I would proudly say it is the MBA of Unusual courses. This is because, apart from the general league of courses on Finance, Operations Management, Decision Sciences, Org. Behavior and Marketing, I have explored my MBA to include a host of very unusual courses.
For instance, last term, I had 3 unusual courses (by unusual here I mean courses one would not generally include in the league of management learning subjects)- I had a course on “Strategies For Doing Business In Risky Countries”- where we studied the pattern of expansion of major global companies across the world and tied it to the political, geographical, legal, technological and historical endowments accruing to that region.
I also had a course on “Management Paradigms in Bhagwad Gita” where we looked at key lessons from Lord Krishna’s teachings to Arjuna, and tied it back to ethical leadership, managing oneself at workplace and in life, spirituality in managing businesses and teams, and motivating oneself and one’s organisation towards a common goal.
Then there was “Global Commons Negotiations and Business Network Technologies” which talked about the idea of global commons- how as managers of the 21st century we need to have an idea of global challenges like sustainability and environment, global political climate, international organisations, international law on IPRs, and new business network technologies like blockchains and IoT that are reshaping the discussion on what forms part of business environment.
This term, I took up two more Unusual courses- the first one being “Leadership Presence Through Improv Theatre”- a course that gives us insights and reflections into leadership qualities inherent in us, and how these qualities could be channeled into creating leadership presence. The other course I have taken up is “Imagining Indian Society Through Indian Cinema”– which helps us look at various challenges plaguing Indian society through the lens of cinema – Bollywood and Regional, spanning generations. The sole motivation for taking us this course was cinema- the course text for this subject is movies- you guessed it right- we must watch 15+ movies as part of this course (yayy!) and the same shall be deconstructed in class discussions.
I strongly feel it is important to have a basket of different and unusual courses in one’s curriculum, for 2 major reasons:
1) We are generally tempted to take courses which make sense (that’s right, and business sense, to be more specific). However, life in general, often fails to make sense after a point of time- there is so much of ambiguity everywhere that one needs to have and be able to shape unique perspectives, and that comes through exposing yourself to content beyond the obvious (the obvious here signifying the general business courses one explores). This is not to say that one should do this at the cost of core courses, and in fact the way the 2-year PGP course is structured at most IIMs, that wouldn’t really happen.
2) Business today is impacted by anything and everything one can think of in the business environment, foraying far beyond the obvious strategic reasons that immediately come to one’s mind, and therefore it is crucial to be able to understand and answer, “what else”.
So, are you too up for creating your own MBA (Unusual)? Let me know your thoughts on the same.
Deepika is a student of PGP 2018-2020 batch of IIM Bangalore.