A 6 Point Guide When Choosing Your B-School

On the onslaught let me tell you – It ain’t an easy decision. Whatever you choose, you will have your second thoughts. People around you will sway your opinion every second day and it will all become a muddle with no end in sight!

I was luckily put into the same situation that you are right now. Having converted all IIMs set up post the year 2000, I set about doing my research. But to my amazement, the deeper I dove into stuff like placement reports, online opinions, ranking documents etc. the more confused I became. Stemming from the above experience, I write this opinion piece which aims to confuse you further 😛

1. Understand your purpose of pursuing an MBA program. It all starts there. Every B-School is unique in its own way and has its strengths. Answering the question will help you narrow down your focus on select few schools.

2. Be objective. Although cracking CAT is in itself a certificate of objectivity, yet one tends to make this decision on impulse rather than objectivity. The B-School you choose is going to have an impact on not just the immediate placement post-college (It will become trivial once you get in) but also on your career 10 years down the lane. Hence considerations like “My friend’s brother’s girlfriend’s younger sister studies in this, so I should choose this” should be tread carefully. They tend to sway your decisions unconsciously.

3. Think long term. Having already touched upon this in the last point, I want to point out just one more thing – IIM A, B, C graduates did not have steady jobs even in the ’90s. But with the turn of the millennium, their reputation caught up with the who’s who of the corporate world and today their Alma matter’s name pushes them into the board rooms with ease. So choose wisely. If the college you go to has the potential to make it into the big leagues 10 years later, short term considerations can be forgone for them.

4. Academic Integrity. Most of you have gone through 4 years of engineering college and all the academic focus must feel like “Blah! At the end placement achi lagni chahiye, padhai karke kaun kuch ukhad liya!”. But this is not engineering college. The recruiter recruits you for very specialised roles. Sometimes the mere fact that a professor of very high stature has taught you becomes the factor that gets you placed for a certain role in an MNC. Also, the knowledge transfer is very high when the B-School has Academics as a priority over placements. After all it’s not a placement agency in which you are enrolling, or is it?

5. Campus life. Having told you to think long term a couple of times, this might sound like double talk, but you are going to spend two years of your life in the B-School you choose. The campus is going to stay etched in your memory for as long as you live and you will recount stories you make here to your grandchildren some say. Keep that in mind. This will have no impact on you career wise probably but emotionally this is the criteria I personally take into consideration while choosing where to set up long-term (longer than 3 months).

6. Placements strategy. Finally, we come to the one point on which you base all your decisions. “Placement report kaisa hai iss college ka? Average kya hai? median kya hai? Kitne din main place kiya sabko? summer internship ka average kya hai?” I think this line of though is a disaster in making. And because this is the most I  would elaborate a little more on it. First, you need to understand how placements happen in B-Schools. Every good B-School (All IIMs, XLRI etc) have certain A-list companies, certain B-list companies and certain C-list companies. Naturally, they are sorted as per the packages they give and sometimes the profiles they offer. Now mind this, no college in this country has only A-list companies. And when I say all, I include the best this country has namely A-B-C. Unofficial sources confirm that even they have placements going on till convocation at times. Now would you reject them if you get an offer? Do not judge a college by how it places all its students, judge it by how it would place YOU. You need to assess your profile because that is exactly what a company does when it comes for placements. If the key is to bag solid placements, you need to come across as a solid person! The top 25 quartile of all the b-schools that we are talking about have placements comparable to the three big ones. They strategy is to get them and come out a winner at the end of these two years. So stop looking at that median or average. If one student is placed at 2.5 lakh stipend and other 24 are placed at less than a lakh, you aren’t making an objective decision by looking at the average. What I think would be a better metric is to look at the profiles of student the college takes and making a call if you would stand out and become the choice from that campus for 20+ package companies.

All in all, I would like to end on the note that it all boils down to two things, think long term and be objective. I placed my bet on the above-mentioned points laid down before me by someone wise and I am happy I did. Make your call and I am sure you will end up in the right place 🙂

ANKUSH ARYA

A reader, globe-trotter and a food junkie!

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