Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Out of syllabus

One of the things no business school in the country teaches you is common sense and its application. If nothing less than a case study will convince you, here is one.

A well known consulting company wanted to hire a few Spaniards for a specific project that required a proficient knowledge in Spanish. I was asked to give them a poster. I wrote a poster in Spanish and mailed it to the beautiful lady from the Marketing Communications (a post graduate from a reputed business school) department who had handed me the job. The conversation that followed went something like what is given below.

Lady: “This is not happening.”

Me: “Why?”

Lady: “I did not understand this.”

Me: “Well, it’s in Spanish.”

Lady: “Yeah. I did not get it.”

Me: “Do you understand Spanish?”

Lady: “No.”

Me: “It is for Spaniards, isn’t it?”

Lady: “Yes.”

Me: “They understand Spanish, right?”

Lady: “Yes.”

Me: “They are the ones who are supposed to read this and respond, right?”

Lady: “Yes.”

Me: “So, it is fine, right?”

Lady: “No.”

Me: “Why?”

Lady: “See dude, it’s not just about me.”

Me (pinching myself): “Yes. I am listening.”

Lady: “Nobody in my team understood it.”

Me: “Do you have Spaniards in your team?”

Lady: “No.”

Me: “Do you have anyone who understands Spanish in your team?”

Lady: “No.”

Me: “That explains it, doesn’t it?”

Lady: “It doesn’t/ Look… We are a bunch of senior people here and the guys we are hiring are all junior level people. So if we don’t get it, how can you expect them to?”

I gave her a poster in English with a bullfighter on it. She bought it without as much as a hint of hesitation. Bravo!

Note: Spaniards and Spanish were used instead of ‘C Programmers’ and ‘C’ respectively for the benefit of the non-tech-savvy public. And I don’t speak Spanish.