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3 tips more important than MBA

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December 06, 2005 13:27 IST

I loved my MBA! It brought about a 180-degree shift in my business thinking. It gave me a strategic and leadership toolkit that has proved to be universally and globally applicable.

It inducted me into a potent network of influential and yet helpful alumni -- a list that literally starts to read like the Who's-Who of global business a couple of decades after graduation. And it made me think big.

Yet, as I have gone through post-MBA life, including bulge bracket investment banking and then the high-risk bet of an entrepreneurial venture in the form of Baazee, I have come to realise that there are certain lessons I have learnt through experience, which have come in more handy than the MBA courses.

I call it Life's Balanced Scorecard and would like to share some that have helped me particularly.

1. The realisation that leaders do the right things while managers do things right: The job of a leader is to set the vision, values and strategy; to identify and prioritise the main growth levers for the business; to put the right people in charge of those levers; and to set up systems and processes to measure, monitor and continuously improve against the goals.

A leader should not get too buried in day-to-day nitty-gritty and lose the forest for the trees. The ability to put the right team on the correctly prioritised goals and letting the team run with it distinguishes the more successful leaders.

2. One decision does not make or break your life, career or company: Most decisions are reversible with relatively low costs -- recognising this upfront can save agonising over every seemingly critical decisions at various junctures.

People are motivated far more by recognition, responsibility and a sense of belonging than by money. Even the most junior people can do wonders in the right environment, with the right encouragement and with some basic direction.

3. Staying hungry (metaphorically speaking) is key: It whets the appetite for doing big things in the future.

Taking the time to continue to learn about as many fields as possible, is the brain's fertiliser and helps it bloom with great new ideas and positive energy to guide a great future.

Avnish Bajaj is Chairman, eBay India. He graduated from Harvard Business School in 1998.

Avnish Bajaj