IE Business School Online Masters
Ram Parasuraman
March 17, 2010

The human species is supposed to have 5 senses and a sixth one. But let us not go that far, 5 is plenty to put to test in an MBA. The Global MBA requires you to tweak your natural senses a bit to get your point across to your peers.

Whereas in person, you might have used your charm or visual cues to impress upon your classmates and your professor, doing so over the wire requires you to hone a different skill, that of writing and sometimes speaking over the camera than in person. So, as we go through these courses at bullet train speeds, we recognize more and more that we need to be effective writers. Written communication is a must have for any MBA, more so for a Global MBA. It is not an alien skill. After all, we write more than we speak these days, whether at work or in the social scene. It is simply easier to write an email than to pick up the phone and talk. Social Networking has increased the amount of written content on the web more than anything else. News updates come to us in the form of RSS feeds. Latest breaking news is obtained over Twitter and breaking news or scoops are served fresh over Facebook. Customer service for banks, insurance and other services have moved online, so we either type a mail or chat with a rep. (We are by the way, weighing in on queue models for how a Call center would differ between one that handles just calls and another that does calls, chats and emails.)

The Global MBA format gives adequate rest to your ears since most of the time, you will be reading the professor and your classmates. So, even as you talk about being an active listener, you do become an active reader. Non-real time communication means, you not only listen by active reading, but also thoroughly analyze responses, several hours after it has been uttered.. err.. typed in. But, with written communication come some challenges too. I In spoken communication, you sometimes charge that a person goes selectively deaf to what you say.. in written communication, we are seeing that as selective blindness instead, at times. So, hands have replaced the vocal cord, eyes have replaced the ear. Of course wires have replaced hands and legs that you would normally use to get to class.

What else is in store? Watch this space!


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