Sunday, December 19, 2010

Do we really need Ivy League champions to manage our businesses in Kuwait?

It amuses me when I read about how companies in Kuwait are looking specifically for certain type of candidates to fill certain positions. Candidates that have graduated out of prestigious Ivy league schools. Some of you might ask me why?

Simply because I don't see any improvements in the way business is done in Kuwait on the whole. There are no seemingly noticeable improvements in the way these businesses are run and more importantly, there is no improvement in service! Why then do these companies insist on hiring candidates that have graduated out the Harvards, Stanfords, Oxfords, Enseads and IIMs of the world? Do they really plan on utilizing the talents of these individuals or is it just a way for CEOs to brag...

"I've got 3 Harvard graduates in my BD team"

"That's nothing, I've got 2 guys from Stanford, a guy from Wharton and 4 from IIM."

Let's face it, Kuwait is a small country. As much as I don't like Dubai, if someone told me they were looking for these kind of people, I'd believe it. Simply because, financial/real estate crisis or not, you can see the big developments in the emirate. You can see that they have a penchant for hiring talented people and getting the best out of them. You see old and new companies taking risks, building brands and engaging customers. You see new projects on the horizon all the time; the world's tallest, fattest, shortest, widest, coolest....arrgh!! The point is, we see developments taking place every now and then. So the need for these people is almost autonomously justified.

This is more than I can say for their counterparts in Kuwait. Apart from a handful of companies here, I can't seem to fathom the idea that a fresh Kellogg or IIM grad can do a better job at managing a brand in Kuwait than a guy with hardcore experience. Business ideas lack creativity, overall treatment of employees is below par with the rest of the world and again, customer service in Kuwait is appalling. How then are these companies utilizing the talents of these people positively? Do we see any developments on the horizon?

Personally, I think instead of hiring these "Ivy league champions", companies would do better if they just spent their money on training their customer service staff on better (or should I daresay - basic) customer service ideologies; that would be money well spent! Which once again brings me to my question, why hire ONLY graduates from these colleges when you've got talented people waiting for opportunities?

Frankly, I think it's a scam to make their companies look good to the outside world. I know there will be a few naysayers that want to diss this blogpost thinking quality people equals quality output. I'd almost agree with that except for the fact that: it only takes a good mechanic to fix a car, not an automobile engineer!

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