I have lost count of the number of MBA factories churning out substandard products.
Poor career counseling forces young people to follow the nearest herd. Lemmings and sheep follow similar patterns of behaviour and they really cannot be blamed. Someone somewhere seems to know best and it’s better to follow his lead and leave the rest to destiny.
We can debate about this matter for a long time. But what I really want to talk about is the fact that the average “MBA” simply cannot write.
He may be literate, true. He may have analytical power and even personality, but no one really has taught him to write well. This skill has been glossed over in the formative stages of education and cannot be fixed easily except through personal grim determination and great reading habits. But that’s rare. As poor writing is not punished along the way, most of those entering the portals of a ‘management institute’ are ill-equipped to express their thoughts in writing. What can they say about strategy? About marketing and branding? About organizational behaviour? A lot perhaps, but not too well. That’s simply because the principles of grammar the ability to make powerful original points, a firm grasp on the value of engaging the reader using persuasive arguments – all this has been lost.
And there’s the internet, a free market for buying and selling opinions, papers, instant expertise. Assignments are handled by taking material from the internet with or without attribution (generally). Why bother writing (or typing) when you can get everything or most things through secondary “research”? The faculty is largely unmotivated and may themselves have no strong views on the importance of classy writing. So why would they take the trouble to go beyond some awkward expression of a management concept and inquire about the lack of compelling expression?
Result – people enter the workplace with extremely poor writing skills. What happens? Poor email, strange status reports, laboured proposals in antiquated language full of contradictions and generally speaking a willingness to be less than perfect. As long as the point gets across, does it matter?
It certainly does, but few acknowledge it or even know it. Excellent writing is noticed right away. Words and arguments are savoured. The language is admired and the point noted. The person is remembered.
And that is what happens as one rises. You leave your mark behind in official correspondence of many kinds. Those who write well and take the time to re-word or edit or rephrase will get noticed and will get ahead.
And that’s irrespective of whether you have an MBA or not.