Posted by: A.R. Cherian | October 22, 2009

Critical Thinking


As human beings we have the capability to think rationally about our decisions and evaluate claims from others. It’s when we forego these capabilities that we encounter groupthink on the milder side of the scale and full-blown cults on the extreme side of the scale.

My past three posts got me thinking about how critical it is that we don’t accept claims from others without investigating them more fully to see if they are substantiated with evidence and/or logical reasoning. This is critical to do whether in a business context, school context, religious context, or any other critical area in our lives that have important consequences based on our decisions.

Critical thinking  is one of the main skills I hope to hone and develop while in graduate school. I consider it one of the top things that any MBA student should learn to do and have developed as a skill once they leave academia behind for the business world.

The world is full of snake-oil salesmen eager to peddle quick-fixes to your problems. This is especially true in business as seen from the plethora of management books and available “gurus.” Everything and everyone can be challenged and questioned. That is one of the blessings of living in America. There are proper ways to do it and sometimes it takes courage to do so. But for the sake of the consequences of important decisions, it must be done. Ideas have consequences.

While in graduate school, I am trying hard to develop critical thinking skills and say that I have learned to do so effectively once I finish my MSIS graduate program. I have learned how to search for and find peer-reviewed academic research studies that help substantiate my claims. Many times I find studies that disprove my claims (they have helped me just as well.) I have seen the benefits of finding such research and will endeavor to continue to do so in all aspects of my life in the future.

Developing critical thinking skills is one of the core values of obtaining an MBA or other masters degree. It does not come automatically with the degree, the student must make the concerted effort to develop it. And if they do, it will pay off dividends not just in their business, but in all aspects of their life.


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