Time just flies… 3 months away from home and my 2.5 year old has undergone a breakthrough product innovation, from just talking he is now into full scale conversing. My town seemed all the same, but different, my wife is showing more affection and my ex-boss is getting interested in my career. Isn’t that a sea change??? And everyone I talked to kept reiterating that this one year at PGPX is going to transform me!!!!
To be fair, there is a definite change in me, in that I am writing this blog, first one in my life. After having gone through 50 odd cases, I nowadays imagine I am actually changing the fate of big-daddies of the world such as P&G, 3M or Philips. That is not some grandiose statement at all…. I am now able to confidently think of myself as a VP or an SVP without getting intimidated by the task or the responsibility.
I am really starting to believe in my decisions and feel I am able to make others believe in me as well. While some would suggest that all it implies is that one is able to “do a consultant” much better, I rather look at this phenomenon from the perspective of “believing in what is coming out of my mouth now”. And about how the others believe me, I don’t really think their’s is a “whatever” choice rather I believe it is a “seems better than what is coming out of my mouth” choice.
Let me illustrate what I meant through a typical, but vivid scene out of our daily life at IIMA. Prof. Sunil Sharma was conducting us through this deeply engaging exercise of role play as part of Strategic Management and the topic was competitive dynamics. The famous P&G Oral division (living this role were three of my batchmates) owning a “sparkling white in 30 mins” oral product had to act when Colgate Oral (four others living this role even more naturally) launched “just 3 mins” product. So P&G decided to launch a comparative disparaging advert where the office going protagonist would feel ridiculed about pretentious whiteness and get advice from a colleague to switch. The whole class was in splits when Colgate, which would not take it lying down, came out with a counter advert where a similar office going protagonist comes late to a meeting and is advised by the boss to switch back again.
I observed that while we voted in favor of Colgate in first session many switched over to P&G camp in the next session. And my eureka realization was that this shift was purely a consequence of rhetorical play, as case facts have not changed overnight!! If you don’t agree, then you believe that the sizeable number in batch of 90 of the best management professionals from India and abroad have started to believe that 7 of their batch mates truly represent their respective companies of role play!!
Jokes aside, I saw the import of rhetoric and clear thinking in its full glory. Never before in my life have I so strongly promised to myself about working on honing my behavioral instincts. And all this while, through the Syndicate assignments, the interactive case based classes, the court martialling Profs etc., IIMA has been at work doing exactly this for me. So my submission, to those of you considering immersing in or already immersed deeply in the PGPX experience, is to believe in the pedagogy and the rigor as this experience will make us believe in ourselves and help us learn how to make others believe in us as well.
– Kiran Medicherla
The author is currently pursuing PGPX 1 year full time residential MBA program at IIMA