I, The Absolute

Parkinson’s Law & Intellectual Curiosity

Posted by itheabsolute on May 30, 2005

• For the last four weeks, every Thursday our econ Prof. has been posting a take-home assignment at 5 pm. The deadline for submission is 8 am on Monday. I don’t hesitate to say that these assignments have been our worst nightmare during the ISB stay so far. Many of us venture to finish off the assignment on Thursday itself. We realize that the equations are not easily amenable. We keep struggling till Sunday. By Sunday night, as we approach the deadline, somehow, we all discover answers. A classic case of Parkinson’s Law – work expands with time available. If Friday was the deadline, I am sure, we would have submitted by Friday. In return, what we get to do is neglect other subjects.

• We have had a panel discussion on “Do b-schools add value”. The deans of the b-schools who were on the panel spoke in favor of it. A journalist and two others, the other panel members, who themselves were b-school alums, spoke about some deep and systemic issues plaguing b-school education.

As we all know, the first and foremost purpose why one wants to go to a b-school is to get a better job, have a better career. For a student, since the b-school itself exits because of this purpose, the entire b-school life is spent in preparing to this end. This is more than evidenced by the fact that post-placement, students chill out and hardly study. Once in the job, all work and study, if any, will be oriented towards the deliverables under KRA.

No doubt b-schools add certain tangible value. But there is something wrong with the system too. The journalist in the Panel, as he mentioned, had interviewed Jeff Immelt, the Chairman of GE, who had to say that the single most important quality he looks for in an aspiring Manager is the “intellectual curiosity”. Do b-schools teach this? Though my stint at b-school is quite short, I can say that b-schools do not teach this. It is an attribute which an individual has or does not have. Period.

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