DTU Times interviewed Mr. Tarun Dokania, who scored a 99th percentile in GMAT and now as a part of Floating GMAT assists aspirants into reaching their top scores.
Since you studied at ESADE, what is the inherent difference between the way we conducted business here in India and there in Spain?
It’s a complicated question, it depends to a large extent on the countries you are dealing with. While abroad you find a lot of flexibility, most Indian universities lack this flexibility; only a few universities incorporate this, for example, the ISB’s business program is excellent. They have the right professors, the right case studies, which amounts to the whole package. Teachers in most IIM's comes with a set idea that he students to know this by the end of the lecture. They come in with a presentation and the answer is decided, which is good, and you get to learn a lot. But what happens in a good business schools is you go in and the teacher gives you the basis, 'here’s the question, tell me how you will solve it'. And now based on your perspective the teacher will change the answer so we don't have one set definition, we have 7 answers and they are coming from 7 people with different backgrounds. No one is completely correct, and they're all almost at the answer, but instead of it being told to them, they deduced it.
You’ve worked in Finance both in India and abroad. What’s the difference in how people in India invest, how they conduct business and how they do it abroad?
There’s an inherent insecurity involved in a first world country. That is balanced by the risk and the potential of growth. You can certainly make more returns here but there is a greater risk. If you talk about business as a whole, some companies fall into place where the approachability and flexibility versus the work done do not match.
There are countries with great flexibility but little work is done. And then there are companies where great work is done but there is little flexibility. The US is one of the countries that maintain a good balance of both. Spain lies on the former end of the spectrum, while India lies on the opposite end. If you look at Spain, there's a great deal of flexibility and you work only 5 hours a day, you have time for your siestas and everything. In India it is the polar opposite, you have to get your work done and you have to stay 9-5. The approachability of a manager in India is a lot less than what you’d find in say Spain or Japan. In the US there is a balance, you've got a lot of work that is done. But there is some flexibility. So Spain is one end of the spectrum, where so much flexibility has made them lethargic. India is in that part of the spectrum where rigidity has made them inefficient. Then you have countries like Germany where there is a balance.
You wrote a book about how your GMAT experience was and how you cracked it. What drove you to write a book?
It's certainly a lot easier than it was before. Right now you even have publishing houses that you can pay to get your book published. Self-publishing is also an option. But even then, these houses won't put their name on just any book, they have quality checks. So you have to have a good idea, something you want to share and people want to listen, like a business. One of the reasons I did this was the myth around the exam and business education that it's somehow incredibly difficult and needs too much work. We have an industry that is plagued, somewhere education and coaching lost track of education and went more towards profitability, that cannot work, right? Someone somewhere had to do something. You can't take people of the age group 22-25 and confuse them further. These coaching centres don't take the time to get to know you as a person and get to know your strengths and your weaknesses, for an exam like GMAT, without knowing which sector you're weak in or which part you need to work upon. That entire idea is what led me to open Floating GMAT and led me to write the book.
People in India often believe that a career in business is very exhausting and you have to put in a lot of hours leaving very little time for much else. Is it true?
Business is such a field wherein you have to work a lot, yes. Let me use an analogy here like my father used to say, "Success is like a bucket, but you can only fill it with sweat." You can fill it over 10 years, or you can fill it in 6 months. It's up to you. The thing is people at your level are willing to do that much work. And everyone above you already has put in those hours. Since to a large extent the results are directly proportional to the efforts you put in, if you have ambition and are willing to work towards it, you've gotta put in the hours.
There is a saying about MBA, to describe it in one line, 'you pay to learn common sense.' Anything you'd like to say to that?
It is true. Business is at its core common sense. You need to have a good product, and you just need to sell it for more than what it costs. That's common sense. That being said, can you run a successful business without an MBA? Yes. But does a degree make it easier? Certainly. However at the end of the day as long as you have a good product and know how to sell it, you'll do just fine. Later on, you can even hire the MBAs to do the managing part for you.
Many people believe personality is a big part of a career in business, something exams cant help one develop, what do you have to say about that?
Not really. Personality isn't something that's necessary. The crux of a successful business is having a good product and a good idea. You need to have something that people will be willing to spend their money on. A good personality sure helps, but it's not something that is absolutely important. You shouldn't go buy a suit just because you are entering business school. The most important aspect is getting a good idea and thinking about how you can sell it efficiently.
Most people pursuing an MBA opt for either finance or marketing, hence there is a large supply of people specialized in these fields. Are there other subjects also which are underrated but have a massive scope?
Absolutely, one such up and coming field is Data Science: Data Analysts are used in almost every big company. In the field of business, business psychology is also a course with a lot of potential. It might take about 5-10 years to establish in India, this degree is very valuable in countries like Europe. Although, nothing is going to beat finance or marketing, since they are the pillars of business and that is what business is all about.