What to expect from an MBA and what not to? by amalcyriac


									MBA Education & C areers


       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.

            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

  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

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