MBA grad dumbstruck when asked to explain things in simple terms



30, Jan 2016

The event seems to have taken place at a team meeting where the others couldn’t quite follow what he was getting at. “What do they mean simple terms? I was trying to think outside the box, bring a paradigm shift in thinking, and reinvent the wheel,” he mumbled as he slam the door shut. 


What did Ramesh learn during the first few days of his MBA?

Ramesh got into one of the prestigious institutes of the country. Here are some of the lessons he learnt in the first few days which he called the ‘B School 101’:
  • It’s ok to not know about the subject you are giving a presentation on.
  • Throw a lot of numbers even if they are out of context. The more you use numbers, the lesser are the chances of people refuting your argument.
  • Wearing a suit in a hot tropical country is not stupid. It makes you look professional. If you have any doubt, just look towards the West.
  • Feign interest in the domain and company, even if you are not remotely interested in them. The HR would hire you.
  • The only thing your neighbourhood aunty is interested in hearing about you is your CTC. Since Rs. 10 lakh does not sound attractive enough, you must say one million (don’t mention the currency).


Why was Ramesh upset?

  • Ramesh felt threatened because jargons formed the basis of his management education.
  • He was inspired by his previous manager, Lekha, who inspired him into learning them. He often recalled how, when it was her turn to contribute to any discussion, she would throw many jargons leaving the rest of her teammates flabbergasted.
  • While no one else understood what she was trying to convey, they nodded along in order to not be left out of it. At the end of the meeting, when someone summed up the meeting using the same jargons she had used, she would duly acknowledge them. This would in turn fetch them the much needed brownie points, and would later reflect in their rating. 
  • Ramesh aspired to become like Lekha when he enrolled in a Business School in 2013. He spent 20 months using complicated terms to describe what was otherwise simple and common sensical.


When did the team decide that they had had enough?

  • He kicked off the meeting by saying, “Thank you for joining in such short notice. I have come up with a plan for this all-hands meeting. Hope we can all buy-in.” The team members were confused because Ramesh was not the one to have called for the meeting.
  • “We have to leverage our core competency, and come up with deliverables that are actionable. We should empower our customers, touch base, and help them attain a paradigm shift in terms of how they look at our products,” he added. 
  • “If you have any suggestions regarding the ball-park figure, please feel free to reach out,” he concluded in a trademark fashion, but frowned the moment some hands went up.
  • Though he did not take any suggestion, he did ask again, “Are we on the same page?”


Where all does Ramesh use these jargons?

  • Everywhere except when he bargains with the roadside vegetable vendor. 
  • Ramesh uses jargons in business meetings where he doesn’t know the agenda of that day’s meet.
  • He uses them to answer questions about the organization he has no clue about.
  • He also uses them to intimidate an employee and make him feel he doesn’t belong at that level when he tries to contribute ideas. 
  • He uses them when someone asks about the nature of his work. He says, "Right now, I'm in between stuff. What I do involves a lot of moving parts. When the rubber meets the road, that's where I come in!" 
  • This started spilling over to his personal life as he started using jargons at home. His wife had been putting up with this over the last few months. The last time she told him that she cannot cook, he replied, "If you look under the bonnet you will understand that you are trying to boil the ocean. Try to leverage our robust modular kitchen facility, and reach out to me at EOD." His wife decided to make him starve for the next couple of days.


Who is Ramesh?

  • Ramesh is an Information Technology engineer from the batch of 2007-11. 
  • After graduating, he joined a popular IT company, but was benched for close to 6 months before he was chosen for a project.
  • When he finally got to work, he noticed that his manager garnered respect from the top management among his peers even though she didn’t get a lot of things done. 
  • He realized that this was mainly because of her ability to give the ‘MBA talk’ during team-meets without even knowing much about the subject.
  • Inspired by her life, Ramesh started researching her background. He realised that she had secured a post-graduation in management back in 2000.


How does Ramesh use jargons?

  • While it is important to name technological innovation, concepts with new terms, Ramesh uses jargons at the work place primarily used by people trying to fit in.
  • He uses them expecting that they will give him some credibility. He uses them to show others that he belongs. 
  • He also uses jargons to exclude outsiders who are not familiar with the jargons. This is sad given how most management principles are relevant for anyone in an organisation.

  How to Speak Like a B School Grad

  Most Annoying Business Jargons

  Business Jargons You Need to Stop Using


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Tags | B-SchoolJargons BusinessSchool CorporateTalks MBA