Competition vs Survival

July 5, 2009 § Leave a comment

It is natural that competition and survival going hand in hand. The result of one serves as the stem of the other. From a player in a sport tournament fighting to emerge as the winner to a cosmetic product coming strong despite contest faced from similar other products, competition always acts as the stem for emergence of the survivor.

Joining IIM Indore after being selected from one of world’s most contested admission process, I was not surprised to find the similar scrap in the institute’s day-to-day life. In India, the admission system from higher secondary education onward is laced with competitive examination testing the candidate’s ability to endure strictest academic evaluation mechanisms. Common Admission Test (CAT) undisputedly lies at the pinnacle of such entrance examinations, not just in India, but world over. The more notable about the IIM admissions process is that CAT is just tip of the iceberg. Ask any aspirant who has “belled” the CAT to compare the Group Discussion-Personal Interview (GD-PI) process that follows before the final admission. The balance almost unanimously tilts towards GD-PI as the more demanding and closely fought phase of the admission.

That’s what makes it more surprising when the successful applicants expect an antithetical environment when they enter the famed IIMs. Majority of these applicants are engineers or from some other professional background with a significant number possessing some sort of work experience. Professionals of any kind are customary to competition in their work life, with the intensity of competition perhaps varying with the profession. Management professionals, with the demands of their job profiles, are most likely to face combating and perhaps hostile environment from the fellow professionals. That makes it extremely necessary for any recognized to management programme to consist of elements that teach participants to overcome any fierce competition and stay alive in the race.

With the real life situation favoring the fittest and nobody else, I think it is only appropriate that the management pedagogy incorporates this element and in the best way possible: to create actual competitions. After all, isn’t firsthand experience an important element of the becoming a manager? Bottom line, even if hard and toiling on the participant, the intense competition with cohorts serves as an ideal practice match, before they enter the arena.

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