Management Lessons for MBA Graduates from the Mahabharata

Management Lessons for MBA Graduates from the Mahabharata

The Mahabharata is one of the greatest epics known to mankind. Instead of considering the Mahabharata just as religious scripture, we can derive many lessons from it which has far-reaching implications for real life. The lessons are applicable for a leader or marketer or any other manager. In this article, we will talk about how those lessons are applicable for MBA graduates and aspirants.

Networking and Relationship Management

The Pandavas have set an amazing example of networking and relationship management. They were surpassed by the Kauravas in terms of manpower before the war. They enlarged their army steadily by networking and collaborating with like-minded rulers. They maintained relationships with their allies. Similarly in professional life, an MBA graduate or aspirant needs to keep on building new relationships by networking with the resourceful. You will be surprised to see many unexpected relations come in handy at a moment of need. You must never undermine the role played by your peers and alumni network. Reach out to as many people as you can in the workplace. In the domain of sales and marketing, a great network comes in very handy. Social media platforms like LinkedIn provides you with a large base to enhance your network. You must leverage that.

Nurture Leadership Skills in your Team

In the battle of Kurukshetra, Bhisma was the sole leader of the army of Kauravas. Contrary, the Pandavas were led by multiple leaders for multiple battalions of the army. This ‘Multi-Leader’ strategy proved more effective in winning the war. Similarly, for an organization, every function or department must develop a second line of leaders. This is called ‘Succession Planning’.
Either today or tomorrow, everyone will be entrusted with greater responsibilities in an organization. This means that as a good manager and leader, you must assume the role of a Mentor. It is always good to have people with leadership skills in a team who can take up diverse responsibilities when the time comes. A good leader or manager always enhances the aspirations of his/her team members and is a source of constant motivation. Hence, the team functions efficiently. Being a manager, you must build this culture in your team, irrespective of leading a smaller big team.

Team Player

An MBA graduate must leverage the synergistic ability of the team to achieve the goals. It is the team spirit that brings victory. The Kauravas lacked team spirit. Every important member of the Kauravas had his motive and aspiration. Apart from Duryodhana and a few selected, others were against the war. On the other hand, the Pandavas had one common goal of winning the war and earning back their kingdom rather than showcasing their abilities.

When a team is confronted with a bigger objective or target, everyone in the team must share the responsibility, and be accountable. Rather than having a centralized decision-making process, the manager must consult peers and other leaders in his team and allocate responsibilities to them. This allows others also to showcase their skills, which is good for the organization in the long-term. This leads to maximum contribution from every team member.

Passion is the best teacher

The story of the devotion of Eklavya to the royal Guru Dronacharya should be a benchmark for MBA aspirants. Eklavya was passionate about learning the art of archery, but Guru Dronacharya refused to teach him the skills. Eklavya did not give up and watched the Guru teach the art of archery to Pandavas and Kauravas. It was his passion that encouraged him to learn the skill of archery just by observing from far away without a teacher. Not just that, he becomes so good at it that Dronacharya felt he was better than Arjuna.

Hence, to excel in a career of your choice, put your 100 per cent efforts and ignore the impediments.

Seek Mentors in your Career

Even the best managers need mentors who can guide them in time of crisis. Why only crisis, these mentors from their own experience can provide words of wisdom to MBA grads while making everyday decisions in the workplace. An MBA grad must always look for a mentor in the workplace. It could be a senior manager from within the same organization or another organization. In a B-school, a professor or a senior can play this role.

In the great war of Mahabharata, even though Krishna never fought the war, he was the key strategist for the Pandavas, who guided them at each important step of the war. Similarly, in the workplace, the mentor shows the path. Having a good mentor is important to grow independent of how talented you are. Arjuna, one of the best warriors on the battlefield with all kinds of weaponry in his arsenal, also required a mentor in the form of Krishna.

Choose your Resources Wisely

This is especially true for HR managers who are responsible for recruiting managers in an organization. As a manager, irrespective of whether you are in the recruiting team, at some point in your work life, you will have the opportunity to recruit new team members. At the top level in an organization, board members choose CEOs and CXOs. One must plan properly for the kind of skilled workforce required in the organization. Then engage the right people at the right places. A good manager always has an eye for talent. It is up to the acumen of the manager to spot the hidden talent in his team members and provide them with opportunities to grow.

In Mahabharata, both Pandavas and Kauravas had the option to choose Krishna for their team. Still, by showing a complete lack of vision and acumen, Kauravas selected Krishna’s army instead of the almighty Krishna. Yudhishthira, on the other hand, made a wise decision of opting for Krishna, who ultimately brought the Pandavas to victory. Hence, a manager should be wise to choose his associates.

To conclude, there are many more lessons to be learned from the Mahabharata. Be observant, and try to implement the lessons that this epic provides us.

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