Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I recently read the report that a prominent b-school wants to groom students on playing golf, because that the easiest way to catch the boss' ears. Now that there is a pioneer, I suppose within a few years, golf would become a part of standard b-school curriculum.

My reaction is somewhat mixed: it is a combination of amusement, horror, and sickening disgust. Definitely not positive. I don't have anything against this particular institution, but I really do oppose this idea and whoever concocted this in the first place. When I worked as a software developer, the rules that I learnt were pretty straight-forward: be open and transparent; if I can't do something, admit it; being professional means, ensuring that the work gets done and being frank and objective about my abilities, and good communication solves half of the problems. If you are good, you get work suited to your skills, talent and experience. Life was very simple.

The people I used to be with, were somewhat derisive about "suits" and their system of ethics. The belief among us was that they'd do anything to get to the top. Euphemistically, it is called "networking" - we used to call it "a$$ kissing". The principle has become unfortunately institutionalized and nice slogans have been concocted to demonstrate its effectiveness - they say "it is not what you know, it is who you know" that matters. And converts think because it is such a cliche, it must be right. Yeah, right.

Golf is a game. I'd play a game because I enjoy it. But, playing it solely to garner favours is akin to pimping oneself. I know, that is a pretty strong statement. And yet, that is exactly how it sounds to me. I hope I'll never need to stoop to that level. If someone requires me to play golf with him/her just to catch their ear, well, such a person doesn't deserve to be my boss. I'd never respect such a person. I'd probably work _with_ such a person as far as professional obligations go, but beyond that I'd avoid him like plague.

I wonder how it ever passed the muster of the Senate or whoever approves such courses. How were they convinced ? Whatever were they thinking of ? At this rate, is it any wonder that in most of the companies, it is the middle management that is responsible for politics and bureaucracy ? What's next ? A 6-credit course on "right way to booze" ? After all, top business honchos prefer to strike a deal over a drink ...

I've said before that ethics can't be taught in b-school. This only strengthens that argument.

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