Mahabharata Management….Students should be like Arjuna

“I know everything”, the three most frightening words you can ever hear in corridors of management colleges. In a fast changing dynamic world can we really say we know everything?

March 10, 2014 11:23 IST | India Infoline News Service
“I know everything”, the three most frightening words you can ever hear in corridors of
management colleges. In a fast changing dynamic world can we really say we know everything?
Can we really say we have reached a stage where there is no need for us to learn or unlearn? The
answer is an emphatic NO. Today organizations are looking for managers who have the capacity
to be learning managers, who have the capacity to learn from their surroundings and continuously
adapt themselves. Organizations are looking for students who are like Arjuna in the modern day corporate Mahabharata. Managers who possess key skills like initiative, active learning, focus and continuous learning.

Let me illustrate a story from Mahabharata which would provide an insight as to how “Continuous Learning” and “Active Learning” was highlighted even in some of our ancient texts. When Guru Dronacharya is appointed the Commander in Chief of the Kuru Army during Mahabharata he immediately announces the formation of “Chakravayu” While discussing the same with Duryodhana he asks that Arjun’s attention be diverted to another front so that he can capture Yudhistra bringing war to an end as Arjuna was the only person capable apart from Ashwathama to enter and exit the Chakravayu.
On hearing this Dushassan flew into a rage and accused Dronacharya of being partial and teaching Arjuna more than all other pupils. The answer Guru Dronacharya gives to Dusshasan is also my case for continued learning from managers and students alike. He tells Dushassan the reason why Arjuna is more capable than all the Pandavas and Kauravas alike is not because he taught him more but because he was an “Active Learner” and while everyone took his teaching as the end, Arjuna took his teaching as the beginning and continued his quest for learning and today is the only student of his who
can challenge him in the battlefield.

In order to be good managers one should be able to learn continuously otherwise one may face the prospect of stagnation, one would be like a ship that has come to the harbour and the only thing that can now happen is stagnation leading to decay. Continuous Learning allows one to be creative in problem solving while Active Learning, a keen desire to learn something new everyday will differentiate managers and students from others and one can do active and continuous learning if one takes the initiative and remain focused on goals like arjuna who was the only student who took the initiative of going to Drona and asking him to teach the skills required for entering and exiting the chakravayu and remained focused throughout on his objective of being the greatest archer in the world.

Increasingly students are being churned in MBA institutes without any upgradation of the skills they already possess, students need to do a skills audit to find out what skills they had while entering the course and what skills they possess at the time of exiting the course and when they enter the corporate arena make sure they continue their quest for learning and become Arjun who took Guru Dronacharya’s teachings as a beginning and not the end. Otherwise the chance of you being just a face in the crowd is very high. Remmember MBA is Masters in Business Administation not Mein Bhi Aaya…….Thus it is essential for students to choose only those management schools which focuses on inculcating the above mentioned skills in their students and preparing them for their role as corporate warriors.

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