"What to expect from an MBA and what not to?"
MBA Education & C areers I N F OCUS WHAT TO EXPECT FROM AN MBA – AND WHAT NOT TO! An MBA equips you with the necessary tools to handle various business functions. However, there still remains a lack of clarity on the value addition that is gained by the pursuit of an MBA. To clear the haze, Mr Manek Daruvala, PGDM (IIM-A), writes on this issue. M any myths abound about the utility of much as you can from all of them. Understand all an MBA. It is regarded by many as a points of view – even if you do not agree with veritable passport to a lucrative and them. successful career. This has led to a mad scramble for seats at premier management institutes and Since the peer group is such a vital facet of most young students would give virtually learning at any B-School, it also stands to reason anything to gain entry into the hallowed portals that a correspondence MBA can never match an of an IIM. on-campus programme in terms of learning value. The group learning element is largely missing in In the midst of all this, you would do well to a correspondence programme and this has a understand what exactly an MBA will mean for serious impact on the learning that occurs. your career. It is important to realise what is of value in the MBA that you so dearly desire – and what is not. This will help you enormously in The faculty and infrastructure: It goes without selecting the institutes you would apply to and saying that the faculty plays a very important also in what you would do once you get there. role in the development of your career at a management school. However, it is extremely The exposure and the peer group: This is unlikely that you will get uniformly good faculty probably the biggest benefit that you get from a members even in the very best of B-Schools. good B-School. The quality of students you will Most students feel a sense of dissatisfaction with interact with will be the biggest source of the quality of the faculty that they come across. self-improvement. This is actually the reason why This need not be a cause for too much concern. the best institutes, like the IIMs, give the best value addition to your career. The best students It is important to realise that, MBA education are found at the best institutes and your being largely experiential in nature, it is difficult interaction with them, more than the institute for even the best institutes to attract teachers itself, provides you with your best learning who have both the necessary academic opportunities. expertise and the required industry experience. You will have to make the most of what is on It is therefore necessary to interact regularly with offer. Please make sure that you get out of the as many of your fellow students on campus as bunking mindset of your under-graduate days. possible. All top-notch institutes try to ensure that they have a diverse group of students on The opportunity to attend classes of some star campus. By mixing with this multi-skilled group professors will never come again and missing from all over the country, you will be exposed to them would be outright folly. The inputs you various thought processes and ideas that you get from some of these classes would be may never have come across before. Absorb as invaluable at a later stage in your career. July 2006 32 MBA Education & C areers I N F OCUS Most management institutes these days have well sound difficult to fathom but you would do quality infrastructure in terms of library and well to mull over it carefully. computer facilities. The crucial thing is to make use of this infrastructure. You may not get access Later on in life: While MBA is undoubtedly a to such a vast repository of high quality data good door-opener, it is not an open-ended and journals easily in future. Even if you do not passport to success in your career. You will get go through too much of what is there, make sure a good job based on your academic credentials that you find out what sort of information is and the reputation of your B-School – you won’t available – and where. Later on in your career get your promotion because of it. In order to you are bound to need matter from the journals move on in your career you will have to prove you passed by during your institute days. You your capability to deliver results to your organisation – over and over again. Nobody must make a conscious effort to be totally will bother about what institute you passed out up-to-date with the latest technologies on offer. from – it is only the quality of the work you do After you leave the institute your knowledge will that will count. fast become obsolete in any case. You can’t afford to be outdated even before you leave! Your alma mater will help you in networking with the people who matter. The alumni associations Placements: The excellent jobs on offer to fresh of most management institutes are active only in MBAs is undoubtedly the primary reason for the fits and starts. Make sure that you put in a bit of popularity of MBA as a post-graduation option. extra effort to attend alumni meetings whenever Salaries on offer are truly mind-boggling. Without they happen. You will do your career no harm getting into the details of the exact salaries on whatsoever by meeting a group of well-connected offer, it is sufficient to say that the pay packages professionals on a regular basis. are indeed mouth-watering. Summing up: Admission to a good management However, there are few important things to take institute can be an excellent springboard for your care of while planning for your future career. career. However, to benefit optimally from the Remember that the placement that you get at the opportunity, you would need to put in a lot of management institute is only the first job of your effort both on campus and later on in your career. career. In the excited atmosphere on campus, it is An MBA will not reduce the need to work hard, it easy to make the mistake of planning for your will only make hard work more rewarding. placement rather than planning for your long-term career. Many students tend to target specific organisations / sectors and select optional courses based on what they feel will help them make it to those organisations. This is a very common blunder. It may help you win the battle of placements but it may well result in your losing the larger war of your career. It is necessary to plan for placement but it should not become your overriding concern on campus. Remember that you joined the B-School to learn and add value to yourself. Placement should be the end product of your learning, not the primary reason for being (The author is Founder - Director, at a B-School. At first glance, this advice may T.I.M.E. Pvt. Ltd.) July 2006 33