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Why MBA?

Why MBA?

 

Most aspiring MBA candidates are bound to face this question during the crucial second round of battle before gaining access to those hallowed campuses – Yup! The dreaded Personal Interview. At the outset, let me clarify that this article is NOT going to help you crack this almost-certain question. Quite the contrary – in fact, you would do better by not using any of the following reasons or arguments. The only purpose of this piece is to scratch beneath the surface of the usual reasons aspirants put forth and disperse some of the glamour pre-attached to the course.

 

Pose the question off-hand to any aspirant well before the entrance tests (just to catch him/her off guard to get an honest answer!). Replies will usually follow these lines:

–  The matter-of-fact “higher remuneration or different/better job profile” (a.k.a “Placements… Period!”)

–  The well-rehearsed “skill development and knowledge accumulation to enhance my managerial abilities” (a.k.a “I assume they teach something brilliant/different at B-School which will transform me”)

–   The less frequent “developing/fine-tuning an entrepreneurial venture”

–   The rarely heard, completely brazen, but often true “I’m bored of my job; I just wanna go back to college life for a while!”

 

Starting with the most frequent of the above – but of course, the “Placements” reason, especially achieving a higher remuneration. Almost every MBA aspirant has dollar signs in his/her eyes, and not without reason. Considering the much-publicised placement reports of every top B-School, ambitious young people are naturally attracted to this two-year path to better numbers. The pitfall lies in how much you take these “numbers” for granted.

Consider this: Average salary figures published are almost always the CTC (cost-to-company) – hidden adjustments ensure that the final cash actually credited to your bank account is altogether different. More popular than the average salary, is the highest salary number – do remember that it is only a handful of people (sometimes fewer, or maybe just one person) who actually manage to bag such good offers; the majority will be at or lower than the average mark. And don’t forget, getting that salary figure also burnt a huge hole in your pocket over two years of MBA (some might even consider the opportunity cost of not earning during the period).

You can argue that it is one of these several thousand aspirants who eventually gets that big number – it is not an impossible feat. True, it is not impossible. However, be informed that the lucky guy/girl worked EXTREMELY hard in those two years to be able to shine through 250+ very bright individuals. The basic economic maxim remains true – There is No Free Lunch. If your true objective is to be catapulted into the higher orbit of corporate remuneration, merely getting into one of the top B-Schools of the country is not going to be enough. Better gear up and work hard to make a distinct mark in the midst of your competent peers.

A similar argument holds true for those wishing to switch their fields or getting a better job profile. An MBA is a great way to venture into a new field – it allows you time to familiarise yourself with various disciplines (popularly categorised into Marketing, Finance, Operations, Human Resources) and career opportunities will be made available at the end of two years. However, just like the big numbers, a dream job profile is not yours for the asking. If one would like to make a career in marketing at an FMCG, or pursue I-banking at a multinational, it is often necessary to do something that could count as a serious “expression of interest” in that particular field. While it is almost certain that engineers will not need to continue on shop-floors or work as programmers after getting an MBA, one would not like to leave one’s career path to fate. There are many instances of marketing aspirants ending up in commercial banking profiles – it is better to consciously work towards and prove one’s worth in a particular field.

Those who enter B-Schools expecting the classroom learning to completely change their understanding of business, or to master secrets of successful management, might be in for a disappointment. Classroom learning will definitely help in getting acquainted with the terminology of the corporate world, or getting familiarised with the latest jargons in various fields. For those who have not had an exposure to the commercial side of things at all, the classroom will certainly equip them with the basics necessary to survive. Case studies might tell you a few interesting stories. And hopefully one gets to interact with at least a few professors who will convince you of a new perspective.

But most of the “learning” in a B-School happens outside of a classroom, in completely non-obvious ways. The “skills” that are developed are not necessarily those that you thought of acquiring when you joined (although they might be the ones which can truly help you make your way in the “real” world). Juggling several activities (non-academic more than academic!) in a limited time, meeting tight deadlines while not succumbing to pressure, understanding what motivates others and successfully leading them, working in uncertainty/ambiguity are just some of the things one might get a taste of.

This insight might come handy for those who feel their MBA experience is not going the way they expected – you feel too sleepy in the classrooms, the assignments/projects are uninspiring to say the least, and you have absolutely no clue how you will contribute to the hapless organization that you will eventually join. Don’t expect a step-by-step exercise which will inevitably transform you – the learning and change is entirely in your own hands.

Entrepreneurship is a focus which very few of us seriously have when joining a B-School (In my age bracket, I know only three people who went into B-School with entrepreneurial ambitions and absolute NO thought/intention about placements – one of them was in a school which did not have the concept of placements at all, while another is now placed with a very large multinational bank!) But if one has a serious entrepreneurial streak, a B-School is fertile ground to develop and work on the idea. The biggest advantage is the abundance of intellectual minds where you can bounce off your ideas and get honest feedback (for free!). One could also get access to interested faculty members and hence a more experienced opinion. Networking with like minds and finding eager business partners is a benefit, as is having free time to work on the idea. The only caution here is that mere interest is not enough. The entrepreneurship cell of your college or professors’ contacts will be accessible only when you have at least a basic idea in place.

All those who are brazen enough to admit that they are bored of the corporate life, and only want a slice of college life again, or that “networking” is their main objective in doing an MBA, will find that they are not disappointed. In spite of the rigour and punishing schedules prevalent in the top Indian B-Schools, campus life definitely means fun, it’s a good place to “network” and further, perhaps make great friends for life.

Finally, there is no right or wrong reason to do an MBA. All of us get into it amidst a myriad of reasons – sometimes the objectives get accomplished; it is equally likely that the reasons change along the way or don’t matter at all at the end of the course. But it is best to be honest and clear at least in one’s own mind before submitting to the grind of cracking various entrance tests, interviews, etc. Because one day, if you are still awake at 5 a.m., after a particularly gruelling night-out, doing a completely pointless (and end-less!) assignment by your least favourite professor, you might be disillusioned enough to question yourself, “Why am I doing this stupid course?” At that point, you will hopefully have an answer to soothe yourself, and stay awake a few more hours!

– Miti Vaidya

The author is an alumnus of XLRI School of Business & Human Resources (Class of 2011). Currently working as a TAS Manager, she has worked with Goldman Sachs (Global Investment Research) in the past. A graduate from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce & Economics (Batch of 2007) She is also a Chartered Accountant.

Miti


Miti Vaidya

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5 “off-the-beaten-path” day-trips in Europe

If you are going to Europe on student exchange, chances are you will mostly focus on traveling! After the first few weeks you might want to tear yourself away from the tourist-y crowd and find one of the quiet European refuges to lose yourself in. Here’s a list of 5 less-frequented places that I visited/wanted to visit during my student exchange.

(To make the best of your 4 months, join the InsideIIM Student Exchange Facebook Group now!)

Appenzell, Switzerland

Switzerland is uniformly breathtakingly beautiful no matter where you are. But Appenzell has the added advantage of being largely undiscovered by tourists. There are several hiking trails, long and short, leading from Appenzell to other smaller towns/villages and these leisurely walks will lead you by gurgling streams or through lonely woods. Definitely recommended for a day trip. It takes about an hour from St. Gallen (near Zurich) by train.

Bruges, Belgium

Some may be familiar with the name because of the movie “In Bruges”! Bruges is also known as the Venice of the North and lives up to the name. It’s not very large so it’s fun to rent a cycle at the railway station to explore the entire place. Bruges has charming little streets and reminds you sometimes of days long gone. And there is the Belgian street fare of course – the famous Belgian waffles or Belgian frite/fries (do NOT call them French Fries when in Belgium, they are sensitive about that!).

Ouchy-Vevey-Montreaux, Switzerland (Car/Cycle Trip)

These are all places along the Lake Geneva and it is best to do this day-trip in a car or cycle. This way, you get to drive/ride right alongside the lake all through. Stop at random towns or villages along the way and experience Switzerland in its purest form, because there are few tourists on this route. I was lucky to do my road trip just at the beginning of the Christmas season – visiting the special Christmas markets with the first snowflakes of the season all around is an unforgettable experience!

Verona, Italy

Those who remember their Shakespeare will recognise this as the town of Romeo-Juliet. While there IS a Juliet house here, do be warned that it has been put up only in the 1960s! Verona is a quiet place which has some lovely outdoor cafes and restaurants, as also a high street with the best names in luxury to match any large city. Another advantage is that Verona is just two hours away from Venice by train; staying at Verona would save precious euros on accommodation. Verona as a stop-over before/after Venice is a great option.

Annecy ,France

Pictures will do all the talking for the Venice of France! The small winding lanes, the huge lake and the luxurious park at the waterfront all signal a lazy day in this small French town. Annecy also has a typical French sunday market with not just all varieties of vegetables, fruits and cheese but also clothes, shoes, and other accessories. A day will be very well-spent in Annecy if you are in the vicinity anyway.

Special Mention: Beaujolais, France

Disclaimer – I haven’t actually been here, but did some research on doing a road trip in this region. The Beaujolais region is home to a number of French vineyards and you can arrange to have a Wine Tour at some of the places. The tour typically includes a walk through the vineyards, perhaps the winemaking process and then finally a visit to the owner’s wine cellar for some tasting! Besides this attraction, the region also allows one a peek into the French countryside and life. Read up on the region online and you will realise that it is largely undiscovered and untouched.

 

Read everything about Student Exchange here

(To make the best of your 4 months, join the InsideIIM Student Exchange Facebook Group now!)

The author is an alumnus of XLRI School of Business & Human Resources (Batch of 2011). Currently working as a TAS Manager, she has worked with Goldman Sachs (Global Investment Research) in the past. A graduate from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce & Economics (Batch of 2007), Miti has also completed her C.A

 


Miti Vaidya

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That Time of the Year – For all the second-year B-Schoolers in India about to say goodbye

It’s that time of the year…

…When year-book testimonials are written. I suppose all engineers have experienced this phenomenon before. I didn’t have the concept of a yearbook at the college I graduated from, and the whole process was so much fun for me! Most girls, and guys too, pose a few times to get that awesome yearbook picture (but no matter how great you look in the picture, you will probably still laugh at it 10 years later because of the memories!)

…When you visit all the favourite eating places “one last time”, at treat after treat. And regional dinners are held (Ok, those are probably only at XLRI :P). I think my stomach will never completely recover from the gastronomic delights of those 2-3 weeks last year!

…When the last exam is written. And not a single soul cares about grades, for a change!

…When you interact with any of your favourite professors the last time, and thank them personally for a good learning experience.

…When you go for “the” B-School trip with your entire group. Almost all of XLRI can be found in north-east India or Bhutan. Maybe at other colleges, it would be Goa. Well actually, it doesn’t really matter where you go, the carefree feeling is all that matters.

…When you attend the last crazy party on campus and dance till dawn (among other things!)

…When you don that hat and gown, sit down altogether as a batch, and officially receive your “MBA”. Throwing the hats in the air – what a feeling!

…When you find yourself wishing “Just one more day/week/month here, please”. I found myself wishing it once. But then I realised that the additional day/week/month may not have all the unpredictable elements that B-School life did on a normal day, all those things that made me love it in the first place.

…When you feel that work will never be as much fun as the two years in college. That may be true. But when I returned home the last time from XLRI, a friend said something great – “I hope you find many more XLRIs for yourself wherever you go”. I haven’t yet found it, but am hopeful of the future!

 

The author is an alumnus of XLRI School of Business & Human Resources (Batch of 2011). Currently working as a TAS Manager, she has worked with Goldman Sachs (Global Investment Research) in the past. A graduate from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce & Economics (Batch of 2007), Miti has also completed her C.A.

 

Other articles by Miti Vaidya here

 

You may also like to read articles by other XLRI alumni:

Miti Vaidya : What makes XLRI Jamshedpur so special 

Meet Kachhy : The CFA conundrum

Sowmya Srinivasan : Summers Prep – Finance roles

 

Articles by current XLRI student Anusheel here : XLRI – The B-School with a Social Heart, Why the New Admissions Criteria of the IIMs makes sense

 

Our facebook page : InsideIIM

Follow us on twitter here : @InsideIIM


Miti Vaidya

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Summers Prep for Finance Roles

Here is an INDICATIVE list of what areas to look at while preparing for a finance role in your summer placements.

However, please note the following points first:

1) The topics below are relevant for those who have been introduced to finance properly only after starting their MBA.

2) For those with prior finance exposure or related background (Economics/Commerce degree, CFA, CA, etc.) it is necessary to be up-to-date with their own subject matter as well.

3) Questions that come up in an interview will usually require you to apply the concepts (often in relation to what’s happening in the economy) than merely explaining them. It is also possible that you face very few or no questions related to finance despite appearing for fin-focussed roles.

4) The areas below are part of “basic” finance/economics preparation. If appearing for a specialised role, you may choose to explore that particular area more. (You will soon get some guidance about how to tackle different clusters of companies as well – we are going into details step-by-step)

Finance Concepts

(based on what most campuses have covered within the first and second terms)

1) Financial Reporting – No need to delve deep into book-keeping/accounting part. But one must be comfortable with reading, understanding and basic analysis of three main financial statements – Balance Sheet, Profit & Loss Account, Cash Flow Statement. Be conversant with the terms/jargon used in these statements. Also focus on ratios/parameters used for analysis such as ROI, ROCE, Cash Conversion Cycle, Debt-Equity Ratio, Current Ratio, etc. (indicative list of terms). Needless to say it is not enough to merely know the formula – find out the when to use which parameters and what information do they convey once calculated.

2) Valuation-based – Some of the most commonly used concepts are Time Value of Money, Discounted Cash Flow and related tools like NPV or IRR. Going one step further, you can even look at Cost of Capital or WACC, Financial/Operating Leverage, Capital Structure or Capital Budgeting. Some campuses may have also touched upon economic value added, measuring risk, dividend policy etc. Try to prepare at least all those concepts which you have encountered in your courses so far.

3) Cost Accounting/ Cost Management – Concepts of fixed cost, variable cost, relevant cost, sunk cost, opportunity costs, marginal cost etc. One would come across these kinds of questions very rarely, but could be helpful if you are asked to do any problem-solving or get a case study in any of the group discussions.

4) Markets – None of the campuses would have had a course on specific elements of the financial markets yet, but it will be beneficial to know the common terms/jargon associated with them. Examples: indices, derivatives, forward contracts, futures, options, commodities, bonds, currencies. Basic understanding of the term in the context of financial market is sufficient.

Economics Concepts

1) Macroeconomic terms such as GDP, GNP, balance of payments, balance of trade, national debt, monetary policy, fiscal policy, etc.

2) Microeconomic concepts such as demand, supply, elasticity, types of competition, etc.

3) Impact of fluctuations in interest rates, inflation, exchange rates

Current Affairs

I prefer NOT to give a list of topics here, because that would be rather limiting. Instead, let me just give some general direction:

1) Think global economy. What is the current situation of major economies of the world and where are they headed? How is India placed in the whole picture? Try to look at both – real economy and financial markets.

2)It is likely that you may be asked to link theoretical concepts to what’s happening currently.

3) It will be very useful to prepare a sector of your choice so that you may direct the conversation during the interview (If you have some prior work-experience, it would make sense to pick that sector). One would not be expected to know details, but a broad overview such as sector players, industry dynamics, current status, future prospects, etc. You can also try linking concepts learned in class to that sector.

Brownie points if you have developed your own view on a particular issue or economy – based on sound facts and reasoning of course.

It always helps if you know recent developments in the companies that you appear for.

And one last piece of “gyaan” – There is no limit to how much you should prepare so do as per your own comfort level – constant comparing with others will do more harm than benefit beyond a certain point.

(Have InsideIIM.com’s News Burger of the Day to take care of the above points!)

– Miti Vaidya (with inputs from Sowmya Srinivasan and Meet Kachhy)

Follow the Guide here for more gyaan on Finance

Read Interview Experiences with Banking and Finance companies here

Miti Vaidya is a TAS Manager working with the Corporate Finance team of Tata Power. She is a CA and a MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur.


Miti Vaidya

Message Author

Message Author

Here is an INDICATIVE list of what areas to look at while preparing for a finance role in your summer placements.

However, please note the following points first:

1) The topics below are relevant for those who have been introduced to finance properly only after starting their MBA.

2) For those with prior finance exposure or related background (Economics/Commerce degree, CFA, CA, etc.) it is necessary to be up-to-date with their own subject matter as well.

3) Questions that come up in an interview will usually require you to apply the concepts (often in relation to what’s happening in the economy) than merely explaining them. It is also possible that you face very few or no questions related to finance despite appearing for fin-focussed roles.

4) The areas below are part of “basic” finance/economics preparation. If appearing for a specialised role, you may choose to explore that particular area more. (You will soon get some guidance about how to tackle different clusters of companies as well – we are going into details step-by-step)

Finance Concepts

(based on what most campuses have covered within the first and second terms)

1) Financial Reporting – No need to delve deep into book-keeping/accounting part. But one must be comfortable with reading, understanding and basic analysis of three main financial statements – Balance Sheet, Profit & Loss Account, Cash Flow Statement. Be conversant with the terms/jargon used in these statements. Also focus on ratios/parameters used for analysis such as ROI, ROCE, Cash Conversion Cycle, Debt-Equity Ratio, Current Ratio, etc. (indicative list of terms). Needless to say it is not enough to merely know the formula – find out the when to use which parameters and what information do they convey once calculated.

2) Valuation-based – Some of the most commonly used concepts are Time Value of Money, Discounted Cash Flow and related tools like NPV or IRR. Going one step further, you can even look at Cost of Capital or WACC, Financial/Operating Leverage, Capital Structure or Capital Budgeting. Some campuses may have also touched upon economic value added, measuring risk, dividend policy etc. Try to prepare at least all those concepts which you have encountered in your courses so far.

3) Cost Accounting/ Cost Management – Concepts of fixed cost, variable cost, relevant cost, sunk cost, opportunity costs, marginal cost etc. One would come across these kinds of questions very rarely, but could be helpful if you are asked to do any problem-solving or get a case study in any of the group discussions.

4) Markets – None of the campuses would have had a course on specific elements of the financial markets yet, but it will be beneficial to know the common terms/jargon associated with them. Examples: indices, derivatives, forward contracts, futures, options, commodities, bonds, currencies. Basic understanding of the term in the context of financial market is sufficient.

Economics Concepts

1) Macroeconomic terms such as GDP, GNP, balance of payments, balance of trade, national debt, monetary policy, fiscal policy, etc.

2) Microeconomic concepts such as demand, supply, elasticity, types of competition, etc.

3) Impact of fluctuations in interest rates, inflation, exchange rates

Current Affairs

I prefer NOT to give a list of topics here, because that would be rather limiting. Instead, let me just give some general direction:

1) Think global economy. What is the current situation of major economies of the world and where are they headed? How is India placed in the whole picture? Try to look at both – real economy and financial markets.

2)It is likely that you may be asked to link theoretical concepts to what’s happening currently.

3) It will be very useful to prepare a sector of your choice so that you may direct the conversation during the interview (If you have some prior work-experience, it would make sense to pick that sector). One would not be expected to know details, but a broad overview such as sector players, industry dynamics, current status, future prospects, etc. You can also try linking concepts learned in class to that sector.

Brownie points if you have developed your own view on a particular issue or economy – based on sound facts and reasoning of course.

It always helps if you know recent developments in the companies that you appear for.

And one last piece of “gyaan” – There is no limit to how much you should prepare so do as per your own comfort level – constant comparing with others will do more harm than benefit beyond a certain point.

(Have InsideIIM.com’s News Burger of the Day to take care of the above points!)

– Miti Vaidya (with inputs from Sowmya Srinivasan and Meet Kachhy)

Follow the Guide here for more gyaan on Finance

Read Interview Experiences with Banking and Finance companies here

Miti Vaidya is a TAS Manager working with the Corporate Finance team of Tata Power. She is a CA and a MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur.


Miti Vaidya

Message Author

Message Author

Here is an INDICATIVE list of what areas to look at while preparing for a finance role in your summer placements.

However, please note the following points first:

1) The topics below are relevant for those who have been introduced to finance properly only after starting their MBA.

2) For those with prior finance exposure or related background (Economics/Commerce degree, CFA, CA, etc.) it is necessary to be up-to-date with their own subject matter as well.

3) Questions that come up in an interview will usually require you to apply the concepts (often in relation to what’s happening in the economy) than merely explaining them. It is also possible that you face very few or no questions related to finance despite appearing for fin-focussed roles.

4) The areas below are part of “basic” finance/economics preparation. If appearing for a specialised role, you may choose to explore that particular area more. (You will soon get some guidance about how to tackle different clusters of companies as well – we are going into details step-by-step)

Finance Concepts

(based on what most campuses have covered within the first and second terms)

1) Financial Reporting – No need to delve deep into book-keeping/accounting part. But one must be comfortable with reading, understanding and basic analysis of three main financial statements – Balance Sheet, Profit & Loss Account, Cash Flow Statement. Be conversant with the terms/jargon used in these statements. Also focus on ratios/parameters used for analysis such as ROI, ROCE, Cash Conversion Cycle, Debt-Equity Ratio, Current Ratio, etc. (indicative list of terms). Needless to say it is not enough to merely know the formula – find out the when to use which parameters and what information do they convey once calculated.

2) Valuation-based – Some of the most commonly used concepts are Time Value of Money, Discounted Cash Flow and related tools like NPV or IRR. Going one step further, you can even look at Cost of Capital or WACC, Financial/Operating Leverage, Capital Structure or Capital Budgeting. Some campuses may have also touched upon economic value added, measuring risk, dividend policy etc. Try to prepare at least all those concepts which you have encountered in your courses so far.

3) Cost Accounting/ Cost Management – Concepts of fixed cost, variable cost, relevant cost, sunk cost, opportunity costs, marginal cost etc. One would come across these kinds of questions very rarely, but could be helpful if you are asked to do any problem-solving or get a case study in any of the group discussions.

4) Markets – None of the campuses would have had a course on specific elements of the financial markets yet, but it will be beneficial to know the common terms/jargon associated with them. Examples: indices, derivatives, forward contracts, futures, options, commodities, bonds, currencies. Basic understanding of the term in the context of financial market is sufficient.

Economics Concepts

1) Macroeconomic terms such as GDP, GNP, balance of payments, balance of trade, national debt, monetary policy, fiscal policy, etc.

2) Microeconomic concepts such as demand, supply, elasticity, types of competition, etc.

3) Impact of fluctuations in interest rates, inflation, exchange rates

Current Affairs

I prefer NOT to give a list of topics here, because that would be rather limiting. Instead, let me just give some general direction:

1) Think global economy. What is the current situation of major economies of the world and where are they headed? How is India placed in the whole picture? Try to look at both – real economy and financial markets.

2)It is likely that you may be asked to link theoretical concepts to what’s happening currently.

3) It will be very useful to prepare a sector of your choice so that you may direct the conversation during the interview (If you have some prior work-experience, it would make sense to pick that sector). One would not be expected to know details, but a broad overview such as sector players, industry dynamics, current status, future prospects, etc. You can also try linking concepts learned in class to that sector.

Brownie points if you have developed your own view on a particular issue or economy – based on sound facts and reasoning of course.

It always helps if you know recent developments in the companies that you appear for.

And one last piece of “gyaan” – There is no limit to how much you should prepare so do as per your own comfort level – constant comparing with others will do more harm than benefit beyond a certain point.

(Have InsideIIM.com’s News Burger of the Day to take care of the above points!)

– Miti Vaidya (with inputs from Sowmya Srinivasan and Meet Kachhy)

Follow the Guide here for more gyaan on Finance

Read Interview Experiences with Banking and Finance companies here

Miti Vaidya is a TAS Manager working with the Corporate Finance team of Tata Power. She is a CA and a MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur.


Miti Vaidya

Message Author

Message Author

Here is an INDICATIVE list of what areas to look at while preparing for a finance role in your summer placements.

However, please note the following points first:

1) The topics below are relevant for those who have been introduced to finance properly only after starting their MBA.

2) For those with prior finance exposure or related background (Economics/Commerce degree, CFA, CA, etc.) it is necessary to be up-to-date with their own subject matter as well.

3) Questions that come up in an interview will usually require you to apply the concepts (often in relation to what’s happening in the economy) than merely explaining them. It is also possible that you face very few or no questions related to finance despite appearing for fin-focussed roles.

4) The areas below are part of “basic” finance/economics preparation. If appearing for a specialised role, you may choose to explore that particular area more. (You will soon get some guidance about how to tackle different clusters of companies as well – we are going into details step-by-step)

Finance Concepts

(based on what most campuses have covered within the first and second terms)

1) Financial Reporting – No need to delve deep into book-keeping/accounting part. But one must be comfortable with reading, understanding and basic analysis of three main financial statements – Balance Sheet, Profit & Loss Account, Cash Flow Statement. Be conversant with the terms/jargon used in these statements. Also focus on ratios/parameters used for analysis such as ROI, ROCE, Cash Conversion Cycle, Debt-Equity Ratio, Current Ratio, etc. (indicative list of terms). Needless to say it is not enough to merely know the formula – find out the when to use which parameters and what information do they convey once calculated.

2) Valuation-based – Some of the most commonly used concepts are Time Value of Money, Discounted Cash Flow and related tools like NPV or IRR. Going one step further, you can even look at Cost of Capital or WACC, Financial/Operating Leverage, Capital Structure or Capital Budgeting. Some campuses may have also touched upon economic value added, measuring risk, dividend policy etc. Try to prepare at least all those concepts which you have encountered in your courses so far.

3) Cost Accounting/ Cost Management – Concepts of fixed cost, variable cost, relevant cost, sunk cost, opportunity costs, marginal cost etc. One would come across these kinds of questions very rarely, but could be helpful if you are asked to do any problem-solving or get a case study in any of the group discussions.

4) Markets – None of the campuses would have had a course on specific elements of the financial markets yet, but it will be beneficial to know the common terms/jargon associated with them. Examples: indices, derivatives, forward contracts, futures, options, commodities, bonds, currencies. Basic understanding of the term in the context of financial market is sufficient.

Economics Concepts

1) Macroeconomic terms such as GDP, GNP, balance of payments, balance of trade, national debt, monetary policy, fiscal policy, etc.

2) Microeconomic concepts such as demand, supply, elasticity, types of competition, etc.

3) Impact of fluctuations in interest rates, inflation, exchange rates

Current Affairs

I prefer NOT to give a list of topics here, because that would be rather limiting. Instead, let me just give some general direction:

1) Think global economy. What is the current situation of major economies of the world and where are they headed? How is India placed in the whole picture? Try to look at both – real economy and financial markets.

2)It is likely that you may be asked to link theoretical concepts to what’s happening currently.

3) It will be very useful to prepare a sector of your choice so that you may direct the conversation during the interview (If you have some prior work-experience, it would make sense to pick that sector). One would not be expected to know details, but a broad overview such as sector players, industry dynamics, current status, future prospects, etc. You can also try linking concepts learned in class to that sector.

Brownie points if you have developed your own view on a particular issue or economy – based on sound facts and reasoning of course.

It always helps if you know recent developments in the companies that you appear for.

And one last piece of “gyaan” – There is no limit to how much you should prepare so do as per your own comfort level – constant comparing with others will do more harm than benefit beyond a certain point.

(Have InsideIIM.com’s News Burger of the Day to take care of the above points!)

– Miti Vaidya (with inputs from Sowmya Srinivasan and Meet Kachhy)

Follow the Guide here for more gyaan on Finance

Read Interview Experiences with Banking and Finance companies here

Miti Vaidya is a TAS Manager working with the Corporate Finance team of Tata Power. She is a CA and a MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur.


Miti Vaidya

Message Author