How the MBA changed me : On conflict, communication, self-marketing (1)
On Task Conflict: Is Good — Leads to better Ideas
In MO101 I learned there are 2 types of conflict — a) people conflict PC (where animosity exists between individuals) and b) task conflict TC(tension between ideas). To be clear- PC is bad; TC not so much. As someone who likes harmony — welcoming task conflict and embracing it has been an amazing life-lesson. It leads to better ideas, more clear thinking, less group-think, and better results.
Caveat- Remove the Ego as much as possible; Focus on the end-goal; Focus on thoughts not people; And be respectful even in conflict always
On Persuasive Communication: Pivotal to behavioral change and hence business success
I’m beginning to see >20% of my time is spent on concisely, effectively influencing people. As a person who loves ideas and deep-thinking; to me time spent on any other area besides idea generation seemed a waste of time (prior to ze MBA). However — the realization soon struck that the goal of many organizations / business is behavioral change (unlike perhaps that of a behavioral physicist — sigh), which hinges on effective communication. Putting 2 and 2 together, I humbly acknowledge that atleast in the realm of organizational and social engineering — persuasive communication is a key variable in business success
Self-Marketing: Do yourself and others a favor and learn the science
The world is a social system which relies on give and take. One’s social worth is built around the perceptions of one’s words and actions. Prior to the MBA I extolled the virtue of humility and building a character based on actions rather than words — hence self-marketing was in many senses revolting. However after hours of networking, Odysseys, circles of death, interviews, coffee chats, happy hours, cocktails ..— I have begun to realize 2 things. Humility and especially self-depreciation beyond an extent is a form of pride. 2 — Self marketing is but effective persuasive communication of your personality, knowledge, skills, abilities and capabilities. It is not only necessary but an essential component of social interactions. To be respectful to yourself and others — you need to be able to communicate your background authentically and concisely. Wouldn’t you expect the same from others?
A short aside: Prior to the MBA — I would often highlight my negatives rather than positives; But a conversation with a good friend has changed my thinking- “You know tomato sellers — they put up all the good tomatoes at the top of the pile to effectively sell their product; you put up the bad tomatoes. That doesn’t make sense in anyway”. That’s made me atleast juggle my cart a bit.
And a quick introduction: I love exploring, creating new things, and solving hard problems. I’ve always been attracted to Maths and Coding — I often do a Udemy or Coursera on the same. I’m also learning to build a stronger social feature set through my MBA at the University of Michigan. I’ve honed my analytical abilities and quantitative skills over the years through my Mechanical Engineering undergrad at IIT-Bombay and as an Analytics guy at Travelocity. You can reach out to me through LinkedIn if you’d like to share ideas: