The MBA and the CEO

People fresh out of college, especially business school have so many expectations when joining a new organization. Organizations on the other hand have a different kind of expectation. This mismatch in expectations often creates strange situations for the B school grad when he begins his career at his new workplace. I have tried to create an imaginary conversation inspired by some real experiences to illustrate this kind of a situation.

New management trainee has just joined. Let us call him MT. the CEO is CEO.

CEO: Welcome to our company. We are happy to have young people like you joining our organization.

MT : Thank you, Sir
CEO: I hope you are very passionate about your role.

MT : Definitely, sir. I am very passionate about ensuring operational excellence through lean six sigma initiatives.

CEO : Very good. You may find this discouraging but I don't believe in operational excellence. I believe in human excellence. It is humans who run the operations. So instead of targeting operations, I target the humans who run the operations. You try to make the operations lean but before that the operators have to be lean. That is why I have introduced more salt in the canteen food. That way the operators eat less and remain lean. How eez it?

MT : Sooper, Sir.

CEO : Let me tell you an inspirational story. There was a factory like ours. There was a man who worked in the factory. He used to wear a red shirt everyday. He used to come in the morning, work for 12 hours and leave at the end of the day. Everyone used to call him 'The man with the red shirt'. Isn't that an amazing story? I hope you will take inspiration from the story and show it in your work.

MT (To himself) : What the heck! Am I supposed to wear a red shirt or work 12 hours a day? How the hell did I land up here?
MT (To CEO) : That was highly insightful, sir. Whenever I face a tough situation, I would take inspiration from the story. By the way, Sir, can you tell me more about my responsibilities?

CEO : Take it! The whole factory is yours! Go out there and do whatever you want. Take decisions, implement them and bring profits. You don't have to ask anybody's permission. Nor do you have to bother about anybody's criticism. First they will ignore you, then they will laugh at you and then they will resist you. But you don't bother. Keep doing your job.

MT : Sir, can I meet the team I will be working with?

CEO : What team? Panni than daa koottama varum; Singam single aa than varum (Only the swine comes in herds; The Lion will always come alone.) Get it? I want lions in the company, not swine who work in teams.

MT : One more thing, Sir. during the company presentation we were promised 10 Lakhs per annum but now my offer letter indicates only 8 Lakhs.

CEO : Adikamaa aasikkira aanum adhikamaa kopikkira ponnum vazhntha sarithirame kedaythth (The overtly ambitious man and the overtly angry woman have never succeeded on earth!!!) Be happy with what your getting. kaiyil konjam kaasu irudhaal needhaan adharku ejamaanan kazhuththu varaikkum kaasu irundhaal adhudhaan unakku ejamaanan.( If you have a little money in your hand, your its master. If your filled with money to your neck, it is your master. )

MT : Sir. But during campus interview, I was promised something altogether different.

CEO : Naan solrathaiyum seiven, sollathathiyum seiven. Ha ha ha ( I will do what I say, I will also do what I don’t say.)

MT : I have done my MBA from India's most well known institute. I demand better treatment.

CEO : You young boys think too much of yourselves. You can study and get any certificates. But you cannot get your death certificate. You can become an engineer if you study in engineering college. You cannot become a president if u study in Presidency College. A mechanical engineer can be come a mechanic but a software engineer cannot become a software. Same is the case with you. Go and do your job and bring profits for the company.

MT (resigning himself) : Ok, Sir. I will do as you say.

CEO : That is better. Forget all the Toyota Way, McKinsey Way, Dell Way and all other ways you learnt at B School and follow my way. En vazhi , thani vazhi. (My way is the original (a unique) way!)

MT (Getting ready to leave): Nice meeting you, Sir. When can I meet you next to review the progress of my work?

CEO : Naan eppa varuven, eppadi varuvennu yarukkum theriyadhu, aana varavendiya neratthil correct-aga varuven. (No one knows when I will come, or how I will, but when I come I will come in the right time.) Naan leytta vanthalum leyttestta than varuvaan…. (Even if I come late, I will be the latest one to come!). Go on.

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