I am jubilant. I have stayed away from the newspaper for a week. The feeling of nausea due to overconsumption of information has finally ceased. I have even stayed away from the many news channels that crowd the first 50 channels of my television box. So what if the world is slipping deeper into recession and India is anticipating two events (IPL and the Elections) which will see expenditure of 0.6% of our GDP in just over a month? Not much can change within a week. At least nothing that has any influence on me.
Why the sudden aversion from current affairs one may ask. I was preparing for a b-school interview. The array of questions that they can ask you is insane. And as a result, even if you consider yourself to be generally well-read, you are never as ‘aware’ as your interviewers are of the world around you, at least you don’t interpret things they way they do. Hence to try to raise the bar, I was reading like never before, reading topics which I would conveniently skip otherwise, understanding terms in finance and economy like market capitalization, recession, depression, debt, credit, sub-prime and updating myself with all the happenings in the political and business world. Frankly, it did help during the interview too, to an extent.
I always wondered, why can’t you simply Google information when you need it? Why do you need to know? Of course you need to know, it’s important for a good manager to be aware. You can only Google if you know the keyword to search. But then how can they expect an aspiring manager to understand everything they way they do? If he already did, then why go to a business school in the first place? Quite honestly, they don’t. They just want to see if you can make sense of the information. The whole process is centered on just two factors – presence of mind and analytical reasoning.
But that’s just one part of it. There are things you are certainly expected to know and understand in all ways - objectives, strengths and weaknesses, your education and work, your core values, interests and most of all yourself. And this is the tricky part because we all thing we know and yet we are not fully convinced ourselves. We don’t counter questions ourselves. Why should they have any rights to break our little dreams? We don’t want reality checks so early in life.
With all this I am sounding as if I was tortured during my interview. On the contrary, I was not. It was like a discussion like the ones we have in office over the current ‘hot’ topics. Not one question about anything to do with me. I didn’t come out smiling but I was not shocked either. In fact most interviews did probe some or all of the above issues in a very subtle manner, leaving the interviewee with little or no idea of how they thought he/she fared in those 15 minutes. My case was no different.
At the end, regardless of whether I get through or not, all the introspection helped me understand myself like I never did before. I am a lot clearer about my goals and will go on to achieve them with or without an MBA, but an MBA will make it a lot easier. I dug deep and struck gold. And for now, I have enough on my plate to last the next few weeks, even months.
The conclusion is completely unrelated to the interview but in sync with my mood. I have managed to read Deception Point, a masala novel by Dan Brown and I just love the excess of wild creativity and the lack of thought-provoking ideas. I am drifting again.