Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The MBA that creates corporate babus

Just as UPSC aspirants are protesting against the unfairness in the civil service exam, MBA aspirants should also protest against the similar unfairness in the CAT and other MBA entrance exams, which can be taken only in English. They should be available also in Indian languages. 

First, it is the issue of fairness. The difficulty level of the Verbal Ability section of MBA entrance exams like CAT is very high. Those who can crack such exams are mostly from convent schools and colleges, say, St Stephen’s College, where the English language is not only the medium of instruction but also a means of daily communication. They naturally get an advantage over others who are not privileged even to have a modest upbringing. The unprivileged MBA aspirants, therefore, either have to take coaching from private classes by paying exorbitant fees or have to give up on MBA altogether. 

It is generally argued that the companies that come for campus placements want candidates who are ‘highly’ proficient in the English language. It is sad but true that the language of the corporate India has become English. However, the level of the English language required to crack exams like CAT is far higher than the English that is actually used in the corporate world.  The corporate world’s lexicon hardly has words like ‘post-structural deconstructionism’ or ‘antediluvian’ or ‘aficionado’, which an MBA aspirant is supposed to know to crack the exams like CAT. To be able to survive or even to grow in the corporate world in general, one requires only the working knowledge of English, not the English which only English language nerds can understand. 

I don’t have any problem with the English language. I have a problem with the fake superiority status that has been given to it. Let English remain just as the commonly used language in the corporate world.  The working knowledge of the English language should be enough to be able to communicate in English. The focus of the corporate world should be on creativity and inventions.  And everyone should be given the freedom to create and invent in the language in which he or she feels at home. Truly radical inventions can be made only in the language one is born in. 

But sadly, the corporate world’s focus is hardly on inventions. The hyper-importance given to English itself ‘speaks’ volumes about the lack of focus on creativity. It indicates that the English language is used merely as a vehicle to acquire the inventions in management that take place outside India, especially in the US and Europe.  We are dependent on the Western world not only for getting business but also for knowledge.  We take pride in working for the MNCs, for which we emphasize the need to have a very good command over English.  In fact, we should take pride in making the MNCs work for us and know our languages.
Our elite B-schools are mere placement agencies. Knowledge creation is not their focus. Their focus is to create just corporate babus whom the multinational companies use only to get their less important work done.