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.

6 Responses to “Parkinson’s Law & Intellectual Curiosity”

  1. hi perpetual quest

    sure. keep doing the good work and work towards your goal.


  2. hi whoozeline

    intellectual curoisity has a problem which it brings with it. it takes up too much of time. people dont have it and it does not serve purpose many times. so why get curious about things, unless there is tangible benefit.

    Is pursuing doctoral degree because of curiosity or does it generate curiosity. u r a better person to comment


  3. hi amit

    true. the stretch which eco assignments have caused has resulted in some amount of dislike for the subject, which development is very unfortunate.


  4. Its actually my pleasure! Thanks a bunch for leaving a comment in my blog! Its like dream come true for me, to have a comment from some one like you, who have always been my inspiration.

    I will be very grateful to you if you can continue to comment in my blog when ever you find some time to kill ! 🙂


  5. Hi there
    Very interesting comment about ‘intelectual curiosity’. I think you are onto something here. Your comment made me realize that unlike other Graduate school subjects that require intense research oriented approaches… MBA’s are more prone to learning concepts, based on already known pre-existing facts rather than pursue an active research based approach to solving problems. May be inculcating a ‘Thesis type’ option that requires spending of some amount of ‘intelectual capital’ may not be a bad idea to inculcate ‘intelectual curiosity’. No wonder some MBA’s tend to do this by pursuing a PhD eventually.

    I know this is my own narrow view, may be you would care to add your opinion on solving this problem.


  6. Amit said

    Well, actually you are right.. had the deadlines been Friday morning or evening, not only would it have saved lots of time but also saved ppl like me from starting to dislike Eco now. Now, justa gotta get past the finals of Eco.

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