Dedicated to Ershaa, without you, my two years of MBA would have been very, very boring.
Here I’m going to tell you about an incident, when I messed up my life beyond I could afford to mess, how it affected my very existence and how it changed my life for good. First of all, let me tell you what SWOT is. (Those who know what is SWOT; kindly bear with me and jump to next paragraph). SWOT analysis is a strategic planning method used to evaluate the strengths, weakness/limitations, opportunities, and threats involved in a project or in a business venture. It involves specifying the objective of the business venture or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favourable and unfavourable to achieve that objective. The technique is credited to Albert Humphrey, who led a convention at the Stanford University in the 1960s and 1970s using the data from fortune 500 companies. (Courtesy – Wikipedia)
I’m doing my MBA in a reputed college of Kerala and now I’m in my 3rd semester. First and second semesters passed as nightmares extended to day time. I’m neither a nerd nor a genius, but an average performer in academics. I’m a classic example of back bencher, with a family full of geeks. It’s hard to live a peaceful life, when you couldn’t prove to be your parents’ child. My parents are doctor and engineer, and they may be even rich; but I don’t have a fat bank balance. The reality is that my purse is empty for most of the time. I don’t have a credit card, and my debit card gets rejected all the time due to the zero balance. The only two things I have with me is my dare attitude, I believe I got nothing to lose; and my aloof, extrovert natured personality. Besides my most treasured personality and attitude; I’m bankrupt-er then Greece and Goldman Sachs.
It’s really hard and pathetic to live, pursue an MBA and then get a job, if one is an average performer with no family business, no connections with big shots, great academics to boast about, and that too in this back from recession phase. I was happy and content with my 58% marks. In fact my only dream is to get passed in exams. For me, aiming to score more than 60% in exams itself is a horrendous crime one could ever get into and it’s graded just below to Eve’s apple eating in my holy Bible. However the probability of getting a job with 585 marks is just next to nil. By the end of second semester exams and the beginning of third semester, I realized that I had gloriously managed to screw my life with poor performance in the first two semster exams. But realization was kind enough to pay me a second visit when I scored two D grades in the aptitude test and the theory test of my pre-placement exam. How I managed to score a D in aptitude test is not that a complex question. First of all I didn’t know that it was actually a serious test and to worsen the situation I slept off in the first half hour of the 2 hour long exam as I found myself damn sleepy after reading the boring question paper. And thus I got my first D. But for the theory exam I took great care and drank three double shot espressos before getting into the exam hall. In spite of my preparations, I found questions asking the definitions of SHRM, HPM, SHPM, CBHRM, CPM etc instead of what I studied – OB theories of Maslow, Wroom, Heizberg, Mintzberg, Levin and et al. This explains my second D. The credit for the B grade in the viva goes for my ear to ear close up smiles and verbal juggling.
Pre-placement grade list was published the next day after the viva and I was not surprised by my grades. That night the realization of how messed up my situation is, dawned up in my head. I acknowledged it with all due respect and shelved it, thinking that I would deal with it, hoping that Prakash Menon sir’s remedial class would resurrect me and my situation. But to my great dismay, my HR elective classes coincided with the remedial class timings and our college Principal ordered us to attend the theory classes instead of remedial class. You will be admiring my college’s scheduling system, like me and my fellow classmates, which had always surprised us with its contradicting scheduling skills. The greatest quality of my college is that, they always act first and then think. Thus I was forced to bunk 2 of the 3 remedial classes unwillingly and the third one willingly, which I had done to express my agitation against this stupid system.
It’s an art to screw up things which are already messed up and damned, thus escalating the situation to the state of beyond repair and hopeless. It’s an art and I understood that I’m mastering that art when the PGP chairman sent me a show cause notice, asking an explanation for my absense in all the three remedial class. Whatever may be the reason, whether it’s a clash between the class timings or communication gap or even if it’s God’s own mistake, the sole responsibility of the damn situation into which you got, rests with you and you alone. Thus I got dubbed as the culprit of bunking the remedial class (whether it’s voluntary or not, doesn’t matter much here). As the punishment, I got barred from applying and appearing for the campus placement interviews. This news has washed over me like the burst Mullaperiyar dam.
Everything around me, all the living and non living beings went on with their lives as if nothing big has happened. One week passed at the speed of a wink and I mourned and wept for my dead future. After imbibing and understanding the tagline of Fastrack in all dimensions, I decided to analyze the depth of the shit into which I had managed to get into. I called my best friend Ershaad for a meeting and planned to meet at the canopy facing the river, our usual hang out place. For half an hour we just threw stones into the water, without talk anything. After the warm up exercise a.k.a ice breaking session, we got into the business. There was no need to say about the complication of the situation, so we skipped the introductory speech and started off with the analysis. Ershaad presented his theory – post mortem of the situation won’t do any good and the necessity of a solution rather than the reasons. I found this idea wonderful and stupendous. After 2 hours of intense analysis and brainstorming, we found that the solution for my problem is to get a job anyhow. At this juncturebwe shifted our focus to our new problem – how to get a job. Then all of a sudden, my buddy made a historical statement which moved me to tears of happiness. He said that in order to solve the problem of how to find a job, I have to discover my chances of getting a job, by doing SWOT analysis.
Yeah, the SWOT analysis!!! Ershaad’s idea sounded brilliant. We do SWOT on companies, case analysis,products, brands, market research, then why not on me. And for the next one hour we were into rigorous analysis, exploring the known and unknown facets of mine, along with the mouth watering taste of various snacks I had brought with me. At the end of that one hour we, actually my buddy Ershaad came up with my SWOT. Please find it below with our comments in brackets.
- Daring attitude
- Ready to take risk
- Nothing to lose nature
- Go getter
- Hakuna matata as my motto
- Belongs to a family of geeks
- Successful parents
- Back bencher
- Low marks and poor performance in academics
- No accomplishments in sports, arts and extracurricular activities
- Accomplishments only in playing pranks on my fellow friends (Ershaad: And you almost got suspension from principal for that)
- Poor looks (Me: Does this matter? Ershaad: We have to look at all aspects)
- Tom boy
- Not at all girlie type even after being a girl
- Taking any argument to fight from the second sentence itself.
- Gives a damn to the world
- Aloof nature
- Does things only when I feel like doing it
- No big shots on my speed dial
- Poor networking
Opportunities – Nothing
- Everything under the sun excluding me
- Those who have 60% and more marks
Handing me the SWOT, Ershaad left me to myself and went to do something, which I couldn’t notice since I was so engrossed in reading my SWOT. How many times had I read it, I have no idea, but when I finished reading, I realized my chances of getting job to be none. I left the notebook there itself and went to the riverbank, where Ershaad was watching a fabulous scene of an eagle catching fish from the water surface. As I walked to his side, I had figured out the solution to my problem, ie my future and I declared it aloud to the world in a sound audible only to him. “Ershaa, I’m gonna do business after passing out” said I, flashing a wide grin to him. I felt my mind turning to a feather enjoying a joyful ride in light breeze and resumed my all time favourite past time – throwing stones to the water. My buddy beamed at me for few seconds and joined me in throwing stones, enjoying the beautiful sun set.
PS – This writeup is based on real incidents which happend during 2010-2012. Regarding whether I started my own business, well, I got campus placement and that too with Taj Hotels and Palaces.