Better be Confused

August 25, 2009

As always, part of my morning routine includes a quick glance through a set of web-sites I read on MBA and GMAT. One of them happens to be the HBS Admissions Director’s Blog ( — a fairly comprehensive detail of what is expected of applicants, and a few important guidelines or advices.

This morning I found an update on the site after a month and four days on recommenders, and a part of the blog caught my attention:

“… in these unusual times, please don’t jeopardize your employment in order to secure a recommendation from a current employer. While we might wish that all bosses were enthusiastic and encouraging about business school for their emerging leaders, this is not a universal sentiment.”

Here’s why I felt it touching.

I have always been called “confused” by a section of people due to way I move about in live. And yet, with every jump I have only arrived at a better location and much further than where I had been before I made the leap. It struck me as odd that someone with experience would feel I was “confused” when I could plainly see that I was on the right track.

And then the truth struck me: I couldn’t expect many people to rejoice at my success. A few months back, in an attempt to initiate the application phase, I put up a Linkedin profile, and was left pleasantly surprised to see just how far I’ve gone since I first made a move and someone called me “confused.”

Most people think linear. Their career graph is also linear. They can’t imagine anyone doing anything that isn’t governed by a linear thought process. Anyone who thinks and acts non-linear is considered “confused”.

And nobody, barring a few exceptions, wants their best people to leave for business school. Every one of such people lost means a substantial jolt to the superior’s career. They’ve lost an engine of their growth. The lack of enthusiasm and encouragement “about business school for their emerging leaders” is therefore pretty much standard in the work place.

So, it’s nice to see that HBS understands and accepts this phenomenon.