As an engineering undergradu- ate, I always felt that there was missing knowledge for meintermsofhowbusinesses operated, or should operate.
This was my primary motivation to opt
for an MBA. Looking around my work-place in the construction management
industry, I knew things needed improvement and I had some thoughts on how to
solve them, but I was hungry for some
formal knowledge in this regard.
Although I had little practical or aca-
demic business knowledge, I was filled
with a deep desire to learn. I
I would argue that attending a top
business school gave me both. I expect
that in the future, if I choose to start a
company or acquire one, I will seek out
advice from my classmates, who are
now located in many parts of the
world and involved in every conceiv-
I believe any business school can
teach you finance, accounting, oper-
ations, etc. But at the Stanford
Graduate School of Business, we
learned from faculty that had taken
part in the dotcom boom, sat on the
boards of very successful companies,
and invested and led successful
companies of their own.
So, what did I learn at Stanford?
Stanford immersed me, obviously,
in the classroom learning environ-
ment but for someone with a non-
business background, being sur-
rounded by risk takers and entre-
preneurs — teachers and my class-
mates alike — was inspirational. In
the classroom we were taught how
to quantify the value of a company
but the Stanford MBA environment told
us that we could acquire one ourselves.
My past professional experiences had
taught me that leadership was autocrat-
ic. But at the business school, we were
taught the concept of shared leadership.
The idea that every member of a team
can feel like a leader and contributor was
AJIT MOHAN JAIN
a truly innovative concept for a person
who had worked in the construction
I learned that in order to achieve your
dreams you have to be audacious. On a
personal or financial level, the safe and
secure path, if there is one, is rarely the
HAD TAUGHT ME
WAS AUTOCRATIC. BUT
AT THE BUSINESS
SCHOOL, WE WERE
CONCEPT OF SHARED
most satisfying one.
Ajit Mohan Jain is developing a start-up
Internet service intended to streamline
college admissions for high school stu-
dents in the United States.