Movies for MBA students

Movies for MBA students
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Highlights

The school is full of Spanish speaking students of Mexican origin from working-class families who are way below average level in terms of academic skills and also have a lot of social problems. Escalante seeks to change the school culture to help the students excel in academics. Escalante instructs his class under the philosophy of \"ganas\", roughly translating into \"desire\" or \"motivation\". 

1. Stand and deliver (1988):is afilm based on the true story of high school mathematics teacher Jaime Escalante. In 1982, Jaime Escalante became a Mathematics teacher at James A. Garfield High School in Eastern Los Angeles.

The school is full of Spanish speaking students of Mexican origin from working-class families who are way below average level in terms of academic skills and also have a lot of social problems. Escalante seeks to change the school culture to help the students excel in academics. Escalante instructs his class under the philosophy of "ganas", roughly translating into "desire" or "motivation".

The students begin taking summer classes in advanced mathematics and Escalante faces criticism andthe cynicism of the other faculty members who have given up on the students. As the students struggle with the lower expectations they face in society, Escalante helps them overcome this adversity and pass the Calculus exams.

To his utter dismay, the Educational Testing Service, USA questions the success of the students, insisting there is too much overlap in their errors and suggests the students had cheated. Escalante defends his students. He offers to have the students retake the test months later and the students all succeed in passing the test again, despite only having a day to prepare, dispelling all concerns of cheating.

Stand and deliver is a telling story of what a determined and dedicated teacher can do even with average students. What is needed is self-belief and belief in the students. Faith can move mountains and Stand and Deliver, delivers precisely and tellingly.

2. Cast Away (2000): survival drama film starring Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland. The film depicts a FedEx employee stranded on an uninhabited island after his plane crashes in the South Pacific and his attempts to survive on the island using the remains of his plane's cargo.

In the film, Wilson the volleyball serves as Chuck Noland's personified friend and only companion during the four years that Noland spends alone on the deserted island. Wilson the volleyball is a master stroke. From a viewer’spoint, Wilson serves the purpose of allowing dialoguebetween Chuck Noland and the fictional person as represented by Wilson.

In a stunning scene Chuck Noland breaks one of his rotting teeth with a stone. The pain,the anguish and the helplessness of Chuck Noland is embroiled in this one poignant scene. He needs to bear the unbearable pain or risk the loss of his entire set of teeth. He is left with no choice. The movie is a graphic portrayal of what is needed to survive the ultimate torture that a person can face – to live and suffer all alone either voluntarily orinvoluntarily.

3. Terminal (2006):stars Tom Hanks. Terminal is story about a man who becomes trapped in New York's John F. Kennedy Airport terminal when he is denied entry into the United States and at the same time cannot return to his native country due to a military coup.

The movie is a “what if it happens to me” genre. It provokes and makes us think. “What will happen to me if I were to lose everything including my identity and my nationality?” Lesser mortals would wallow in self-pity but not our hero, Viktor Navorski. He does not even know the English language perfectly but that does not stop his iron clad conviction and determination to survive.

The entire movie is a saga of how he survives in an airport. Initially everyone in the airport is skeptical but slowly starts seeing thing in a different perspective. Viktor Navorski starts to earn money in the airport – by collecting stray luggage trolleys and depositing them in the designated area and collecting 25 cents for each returned trolley.

It is a wonderful movie that shows us that in times of adversity we need to clutch at straws and learn to weave unbreakable ropes from the straws and use them to climb our way out of troubled time. The film is loosely inspired by the 18 year stay of Mehran Karimi Nasseri in Terminal 1 of Charles de Gaulle International Airport, Paris, France, from 1988 to 2006.

4. In Pursuit Of Happiness (2006): is biographical (bio pic) drama film based on entrepreneur Chris Gardner's struggle at being homeless. The film features Will Smith as Gardner, a homeless salesman. Smith's son Jaden Smith co-stars as Gardner’s son.

Salesman Chris Gardner puts all his life savings in procuring portable bone density scanners which are better than standard xray machines. But the sale of the machine is slow and his family suffers as it is difficult to make the ends meet. The financial instability tells and his relationship with his wife sours. Gardner wants to try hand at being a stockbroker.

But circumstances forces him into the local jail. But the never say die Gardner aces the interview the next day inspite of being dressed shabbily. He lands an unpaid internship job. He is amongst 20 interns competing for a paid position as a broker. But Gardner's troubles are far from over. His wife leaves him and his life reaches a personal low when he and his son are forced to spend a night in a restroom.

Many days he and his young son spend nights at a homeless shelter, or in a rest room, if he manages to have cash, at a hotel. And his hard work pays off and Gardner is the only person offered the job of the broker and his life takes a turn for the better. Whenever I see this film, I am greatly inspired. I compare Gardner with the shivering masses of Management students who don’t want a sales job.

They would prefer any job as long as it is not a sales job. They hate the beat and hate talking and convincing people. They don’t want to work hard and be patient. They can’t take no for an answer. They have no confidence in themselves. Peter Drucker had said “Business has only two functions - Marketing and Innovation.” All other functions are supports. Sales is a scared function as it is the only function that brings in money and all other functions are involved either in spending that money or supporting the marketing function.

5. The Exam (2009): is a British psychological thriller. It is an amazing movie with a great story line. Eight candidates dress for what appears to be an employment assessment examination. They enter a room and sit down at individual desks. Each desk contains an answer booklet with the word "candidate", followed by a number, from one to eight.

The Invigilator, a representative of the company explains that the exam is for 80 minutes and consists of only one question, but there are three rules: they must not talk to the Invigilator or the armed guards at the door, spoil their paper, or leave the room.

If they do, they will be disqualified. Most of us have become robotic. Our lives are so programmed that we have lost the ability to think and think innovatively. Exam the movie starts with the tenet “Thou shall not write on the paper”. If you can’t write on the answer sheet “what is the answer sheet for?”

Exam turns, twists and makes us gape at the innovativeness of the script. The script is the king and the director is the minister. All the others including the viewers are pawns who can be maneuvered and made to think and act the way that the script and the director wishes. Watch the movie to find out the surprise ending. I am sure the movie will make us ponder and we will try to attempt to think differently and divergently.

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