July 21, 2006

Meaningless numbers

The first year verdict has been passed. I have secured a cumulative grade point average which classifies my performance as between 'fair' to 'good'. well it could have been between 'good' and 'very good' had the Operations Management (OM) faculty set his papers in a way befitting a management degree examination. Not that I'm cribbing about my grades. Agreed I didn't put in the effort that merited something better, but that was primarily because I had done the stuff before in engineering. Plus too much of math bugs me. All the questions in the OM paper were based on math. It might as well have been a paper on machine design. No decision taking. No practical application of concepts.

So I received a 'C-' in OM for my lack of interest and apathy towards the kind of learning. It's literally like rubbing salt in open wounds considering the fact that I'm a Mechanical engineer with a year of experience on the Siemens shop floor. Does it in any way undermine my capacities or skills as an Ops guy? I dont think so. Does it in any way say that the guy / gal at the top of the class in OM is a genius at Ops? Again I dont think so. If I present any of the top 10 rankers in OM with a shop floor problem, to be solved in a dusty environment at temperatures of 40+ degrees, with a union rep over his shoulder, workers at his heels and a boss on his head will he get an 'A+'? Having been there and done that, I may or may not get an A+ but will definitely not land at C-.

Grades like these are used to rank students. Many people actually use these numbers as a measure of ones worth. Though not explicitly stated, phrases in employment ads like 'exceptional academic record' make you believe otherwise. End result? You have to prove yourself more than what is required on the job, all because of some meaningless numbers. Crazy world this....

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