Of Words And Numbers

It happened when the constant, unsubscribed to updates on growing MBA aspirants made me feel indifferent to the determined students aiming to make it big. My academically lifelong tradition of not falling prey to coaching classes was finally broken on my first entering one after a friend’s insistence.

Before I could even enter, I found myself succumbing to ads of various tutorial “brands” slapped on the walls at a short distance from the coaching class I was to visit. What a monotonous competition! I thought. One could tell from her vague looks that it took the receptionist a few seconds, on my entering, to realize I was a possible prospect.  Followed by an immediate smile, she directed me towards the counselor’s cabin. My aim in visiting this class or any for that matter, was to understand why the hype was all about; what the next 20 minutes had to offer addressed everything but a satisfactory answer to my question. Demand for MBA, number of courses offered, time taken to cover these, number of admissions every year, timings, challenging assignments and projects, previous year’s toppers, affiliations with some of country’s top B-Schools and all of this at a best price; a few thousands….only/- with attractive payment schemes. Looking at the students pass by to and from classrooms, library and computer lab, looking at the brochure full of toppers in various entrance exams, regularly published articles on the highest cut-offs and the intentional level of difficulty created to train students turned out to be pretty intimidating. To understand more about how big a deal this was, I visited a few more coaching classes. I was indeed intimidated.

Guidance, coaching, tutorials are synonyms for inspiration. The problem with these institutions, I learned, after almost falling for their investment schemes, is that they weren’t. They were all intimidating, not inspiring. They portrayed their credibility through statistical data for every word they spoke. And why not? It’s what huge markets and businesses do. But what saddens some of us is that many fall prey to the numbers without understanding that numbers know no bounds. They are infinite. So where do we draw the line? Or do we just wait for all of it to turn into monotony with hundreds of toppers every year until a new market is created by some of these very toppers yet again? Little do we realize that it’s not the demand that’s increasing any more than the supply which is being imposed on us students, insisting that we need to depend on a planned course, a coaching class with the best game plan and a number with the most certainty to enhance our skills, our thoughtfulness and our creativity to face an inverse world.

It seems that inflation is not just an economical term anymore. It goes way beyond the calculations of monetary value. Wide academic options have created scope for many individuals and employment sectors altogether. This, on one hand, is very good for it broadens one’s perspective. However, with every new option, whatever knowledge gained from the old institutions holds no significance, for one ends up realizing that its still not enough. And then, all that was once spent upon with the determination to gain value, no more holds value in itself after its passing. Competition is thereby increased and knowledge and education ends up being merely a matter of quantity and not quality.

Cost, since we spend in good and sincere spirit, can be afforded, it’s the promises they sell which are inexpensive. But to conclude on a lighter and merrier note, feels good when a tutorial seems to need you more than you need one, although its portrayed the other way around. A complicated love affair, no?

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