When I was a young Assistant Professor

CBSE Board Class 12 English Un-Solved Passages

Chapter – 1  Reading Comprehension (Factual Passages)

Read the following passage carefully:

1. Years ago, when I was a young Assistant Professor at the Harvard Business School, I thought the role of business schools was to develop future managers who knew all about the various functions of business, teach them how to define problems succinctly, analyze these problems and identify alternatives in a clear, logical fashion and finally, to teach them to make an intelligent decision.

2. My thinking-gradually became tempered by living and working outside the United States and by serving seven years as a college president. During my presidency of Babson College, I added several additional traits or skills that I felt a good manager must possess. 3. One must have the ability to express oneself in a clear articulate fashion. Good oral and written communication skills are absolutely essential, if one is to be an effective manager. One must possess that intangible set of qualities called leadership skills. To be a good leader, one must understand and be sensitive to people and be able to inspire them towards the achievement of common goal. Effective managers must be broad-minded human beings who not only understand the world of business but also have a sense of the cultural, social, political, historical and (particularly today) the international aspects of life and society. This suggests that exposure to the liberal arts and humanities should be part of every manager’s education.

4. A good manager in today’s world must have courage and a strong sense of integrity. He or she must know where to draw the line between the right and the wrong.

5. That can be agonizingly difficult. Drawing a line in a corporate setting sometimes involves having to make a choice between what appears to be conflicting ‘rights’. For example, if one is faced with a decision whether or not to close an ailing factory, whose interests should prevail? Those of stock holders? Of employees? Of customers? Or those of the community in which the factory is located? It is a tough choice. And the typical manager faces many others.

6. Sometimes these choices involve simple questions of honesty or truthfulness. More often they are more subtle and involve such issues as having to decide whether to ‘cut corners’ and economies to meet profit objectives that may be beneficial in the short run but that are not in the best long-term interests of the various groups being served by one’s company. Making the right choice in situations such as these clearly demands integrity and the courage to follow where one’s integrity leads.

7. But now I have left behind the cap and gown of a college president and put on the hat of Chief Executive Officer (CEO). As a result of my experience as a corporate CEO, my list of desirable managerial traits has become still longer.

8. It now seems to me that what matters most in the majority of organizations is to have reasonably intelligent, hard-working managers who have a sense of pride and loyalty towards their organization;

who can get to the root of a problem and are inclined towards action; who are decent human beings with a natural empathy and concern for people; who possess humor, humility and common-sense; and who are able to couple drive with resilience and patience in the accomplishment of a goal.

9. It is the ability to make positive things happen that most distinguishes the successful manager from the mediocre or unsuccessful one. It is far better to have dependable managers who can make the right things happen in a timely fashion than to have brilliant, sophisticated, highly educated executives who are excellent at planning and analyzing, but who are not so good at implementing. The most cherished manager is the one who says “I can do it and then does

10. Many business schools continue to focus almost exclusively on the development of analytical skills. As a result, these schools are continuing to graduate large numbers of MBAs and business majors who know a great deal about analyzing strategies, dissecting balance sheets and using computer-but who still don’t know how to manage.

11. As a practical matter, or course, schools can go only so far in teaching their students to manage. Only hard knocks and actual work experience will fully develop the kind of managerial traits, skills and virtues that I have discussed here.

12. Put another way: the best way to learn to manage is to manage companies such as mine that hire aspiring young managers, that can help the process along by providing good role models and mentors, by setting clear standards and high expectations that emphasize the kind of broad leadership traits. that are important to the organization and by rewarding the young managers accordingly.


A. On the basis of your understanding of the passage answer the questions given below by choosing one of the options that follow:

(i) The best way to learn to manage is:

(a) to set explicit goals

(b) to possess lofty aspirations

(c) to have high expectations

(d) All of these

(ii) Most of the business schools emphasize on:

(a) analytical skills

(b) creativity

(c) enthusiasm

(d) current issues

(iii) The author learnt the managerial skills at:

(a) The Harvard Business School

(b) Babson College.

(c) The United States

(d) home

(iv) A modern manager must have potentiality to see the difference between: 

(a) the right and the wrong.

(b) stock-holders

(c) conflicting rights

(d) None of these

(v) The most cherished manager is the one who says:

(a) “I can do it” and then does

(b) “I can’t do it” and quits

(c) “I can’t do it” and then does

(d) “I can do it” and then doesn’t

B. Answer the following questions briefly:

i) What did the author think about the business schools in the beginning?

(ii) What qualities should an efficient manager have?

(iii) What does the author say about business schools?

(iv) What was the author by profession?

(v) How can the companies help their managers to be effective?

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