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An MBA Student should have the willingness to act on what they learn

An MBA Student should have the willingness to act on what they learn

According to Kevin Kelly 'Willingness to learn is important, but willingness to act on what you learn is critical’.

Kevin Kelly (born August 14, 1952) is the founding executive editor of Wired magazine, and a former editor/publisher of the Whole Earth Review. He has also been a writer, photographer, conservationist, and student of Asian and digital culture. (Source: Wikipedia)

We have always heard this thing that ‘learning is a continuous process’ right from school to college to our work place. I recently found myself thinking ‘of what use is the learning if there is no willingness to act on it’?

There is no doubt that students across the globe have access to a plethora of information these days and they are constantly on the path to updating their knowledge base with degress, diplomas, online courses etc. They understand that it is critical to learn however how many of them are putting their learning to use?

In this article we will cover how B-schools can play a significant role in moving students from the ‘WILLINGNESS TO LEARN’ stage to ‘WILLINGNESS TO ACT ON WHAT THEY LEARN’.

How does one know if a student in a class is keen or willing to learn? Well you will notice that the student is 

  1. Observant
  2. Inquisitive
  3. Done his homework before the class
  4. Interested in class proceedings and so on. 

The above mentioned traits are great but will these traits help the student in the corporate world? To answer that question, it is important to know what kind of employees the corporate world needs?

The corporate world needs now more than ever students who can have ‘presence of mind and the ability to apply their learnings in a real environment’. What makes one stand out better than the other is his/her ability to practically apply the learnings in any given situation. 

One of the Multinational Healthcare firms that I was associated with used to ensure that product training for the sales and marketing team used to happen every year, sometimes every six months. This particular division with which I was associated was manufacturing and selling sutures (Suture is a thread like material used to stitch our tissues and skin together). One of the important jobs for the marketers in the team was to go out to different parts of the country regularly and meet Doctors and Surgeons who use sutures. I used to think that the objective of these visits had to do with marketing and building relationship with doctors. Well that was an objective. However, one of my visits to an orthopedic surgeon broke that myth.

I was given the opportunity to join the surgeon in the operation theater for a knee replacement procedure and this particular procedure requires various kinds of sutures to close the skin around the knee area. Interestingly my colleague who was with me to assist me in marketing the product was asked by the doctor, which size suture and which needle should be used for which layer of the skin. Why should a doctor ask a medical representative which product to use? Not that the doctor does not know what to use. Doctors in my experience used to constantly check our knowledge of the product and ask us to assist them practically to gauge if we knew what we were selling and where it had to be used. 

There used to be some company employees who wanted to only market the product theoretically with all the product knowledge gained through the training programs. However, those employees couldn’t survive on the field. They had to have the ability to not just share information about the product but also act and hand out sutures at the operation table which would be appropriate for that particular procedure. Those were the ones that went on to sell a lot more sutures. B- Schools should prepare MBA students to ‘ACT ON WHAT THEY LEARN’.

The MCMBA programme at Regenesys not only teaches theoretical knowledge but also provides situations and projects that makes them understand the need for the willingness to act on what the have learnt. To know more about the programme you can write to me at sandyaj@regenesys.in (Prof. Sandya Jadhav, Senior Faculty, Regenesys Institute of Management)