MBA: Finishing School

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind.”
– William James
In today’s world the titles like CXO, leader, associate, VP, AVP, manager are so much diluted that the business cards and the designations typed on them often reflect little meaning. Rarely people who just met in a professional environment (like an internal business meeting) have time to do a detail assessment of the person’s credentials. With start-up CEO in their teens, how does a person communicate their importance in a subtle way which does not make you pretentious but is a true reflection of one’s importance?

Two common strategies applied by executives today are: First, exquisite dress & accessories. Your watch, designer suit, car, vacation home are indicators of one’s stature and wealth. Some companies even enforce (informally) these practices on its sales representatives. If the sales representatives have expensive tastes, then they are probably achieving their targets consistently, which means that the company they are representing is doing well. The second strategy is use of wingman, a tactic widely promoted in all negotiation classes. The 2 or more associates would collaborate to create the right aura and achieve desired results. Often in the first five minutes of ice-breaking you would hear a lot of buzz-words and references to brands and celebrities to make sure that one gets the proper respect.

However material assets are getting increasingly commoditized and difficult to flaunt over a teleconference or email. References to famous business associates or renowned projects/companies are often difficult to relate to when interacting with someone from a different part of the globe.

The first lesson of any finishing school is that you are as valuable as you think you are. The world is full of sheep who rarely will question a lion who believes he belongs there. With the right packaging and attitude, anybody can occupy any chair that they cherish. The two-year MBA program is just to make sure that this aura is not shattered when you open your mouth.

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