Interview with Kunal Sharma

From your experience, how can MBA lessons be used to solve real-life problems?
MBA teaches you all about a business entity and how to take care of it. We create and run a business model, ensure a balanced approach to finances, and tweak the business strategy now and then. This knowledge cannot be applied directly to real-life problems. At INSEAD, we had a course on the highly interesting ‘Blue Ocean’ strategy, which essentially says that in order to succeed in the market, you need to accentuate your strengths, eliminate your weaknesses, and think innovatively to create a new market for your offerings. For example, Nintendo Wii was an outcome of applying the Blue Ocean template, and the company eventually created a product that could be used by all age groups, without a need to learn key combinations, undergo training, and use other features that gamers typically expect.

However, something as generic as the Blue Ocean strategy also has its limitations when applied to real life.

There is a very interesting account during my INSEAD when a student stood up in the auditorium where Prof. Kim was lecturing. He said “my girlfriend left me last week, can Blue Ocean help me get her back?” Even though Prof. Kim took the comment in a good-natured way, he knew that the answer was not simple. There was another course called Family Business. The main idea that the course propounded was that most problems in successful family run business was because of internal conflicts.

Lastly, as management consultants, we have a tendency to approach life situations as ‘business cases’ – we describe at length the circumstances enveloping a situation, and then try and devise hypotheses and solutions. In my opinion, this might be the only effective way (to a certain extent) to resolve problems. Other than that, open communication definitely helps.
What do you feel is wrong (or right) with the world today?
I think we’ve become too short-sighted in our goal-setting. It is a well-known fact that even companies can generate high short-term profits at the cost of their long-run wellness. Is this what we are doing with our lives as well? Every day, our senses are being subject to offers of instant gratification, and this has a negative bearing on our long-term decision-making.

Secondly, everything we do now is taking the form of ‘transactions’. For example, you work long hours, and hope this will generate a positive perception. We need to examine the value system that creates such transactions.

Lastly, I think that we are losing respect for one another. Think of the traffic noises, and the pushing and shoving in queues. Is everyone in a hurry to get somewhere?

Still, the world has proved itself resilient to the disruptive developments described above. Take a walk in the hills and you will see what I mean. Nature will replenish you with the ability to feel for the world again. In case you are too lazy to take a walk in the open air, buy my book and stay indoors for the same effect.
Published 2014-07-30.
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Books by This Author

MBA for the Mafia
Price: Free! Words: 41,770. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Business
Nakul, a newly minted MBA, takes on a life replete with wealth and glamour when he joins PanAsia, an investment bank. Along with a dream lifestyle in the swankiest of Mumbai backdrops, Nakul also inherits a life threatening situation resulting from a chance encounter with the Mafia. Nakul can fight this war only if he reflects on the very essence of life. Contact the author - -