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Friday, March 18, 2011

How IIM-A teaches you to take risk

India's(and for that matter even the world's) top Bschools are perceived as producing managers not entrepreneurs. But whatever the reason, the curriculum is not at fault. Taking a calculated risk is the hallmark of an entrepreneur(as opposed to a wishful 'leap of faith') and this is rewarded in several forms as the examples below show
  1. In simulation games(Littlefield, Stratos etc), the actual demand exceeds the forecast by a not-significant amount thus rewarding those who think aggressively . 
  2. During Summer Placements, you are usually allowed to keep an offer 'on hold' and try to get another offer from the company at the top of your internal priority list. This strategy worked for most of my batchmates who could leverage their offer to get a 'better' one
  3. During bidding for electives(in this case for Term IV from Jun-11 to Aug-11), those who took the strategy of following their heart rather than fearing the uncertain, got the coveted Shodh Yatra course for a rock bottom number of credits. 
  4. Even during final placements, people can reject their summers PPO and try again. This also does work out for the most part since the very fact of summers PPO is a strong signaling effect. 
  5. During reformation of study groups, people can either form groups of 4 or have themselves allocated randomly through the general pool. Atleast in my section(Slot IV end), those who opted for random allocation got a better deal than they would otherwise have got. Of course, they ran the risk of unfavorable group dynamics too.  
  6. I've noticed that those who profess(and can argue) rather unconventional view points get better marks in CP(class participation) as well as assignments. After all, people do like fresh views at times. This risk here is the 'foot in mouth' syndrome if you cannot defend your view point.
  The jury is still out on whether this encourages the 'trading' mentality of always trying for something better. My view is that risk taking is good, specially if you have a net to back you up(net in this case is the IIM-A brand). 

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