B-School Selection – Rishta Pakka Samjhe?
Yes, my friends, it is that time of the year when the final converts of a B-school are being announced. All the butterflies in the stomach justify the efforts that you have put in during the last year.
Well but your research starts now, it is the decision-making time. It is probably more crucial than finding yourself a bridegroom/groom during an arranged marriage. Like the marriage, you just cannot afford to be wrong; all the stakes are contingent to this decision of yours. There must be some questions in your mind that are making your life difficult but believe me it is a good feeling to have. There were some questions in my mind when I was right in the shoes that you are in now, those were:
Q1. Should I go for another shot? (One last time maybe)
Q2. What rankings should I believe in? Also, what parameters should be considered?
Q3. Are the placement statistics believable? How can I validate?
Q4. Which Institute should I choose out of all my converts?
We will try an answer the questions one at a time while simultaneously evaluate the situation where you stand.
1. Kya Karein Kya Na Karein Yeh Kaisi Mushkil Hayye – Re-attempt?
Thankfully, B-school examinations do not put a bar in the number of times one can appear for them (unlike those during the undergrad times). After all, we marry once (like pursuing an MBA), so it better be with the best. There are various criteria which should help you decide whether you want to take another shot at it
You need to go back to the time when you decided in favour of pursuing a management grad course. Was this college in your consideration set back then? Is this what you have dreamt of? Are you in line with your aspirations? If the answer is ‘NO,’ then you do not have to settle for a compromise. Because your dream does not have a back-up (and remember it is never too late). Although, it gets tricky for a candidate with more than three years of experience in India, but remember the world of opportunities has just opened up to you. Don’t do an MBA just for the sake of it. Aspirants in such kind of situations don’t read further, go back, study harder, prepare harder and make sure your dream becomes a reality next time up.
However, if you have an admit from your consideration set, welcome my friend your race has just begun.
You Know You Could Have Done Better
Think you have missed out on your target percentile range just by a whisker? You think somehow you were not at your best on the D-Day? Think you used to perform better in mocks? Think you just messed up one section and you know that you can better it the next time? If the answer is ‘YES,’ it is the time to introspect your performance. Prepare a list of things that could have gone wrong and now decide for yourself if you have an opportunity to improve on them in the next one year. Also, what you need to consider is, if that percentile range will fetch you calls from the Institute for which you have been enduring. If the answer is ‘YES’ yet again, go for a re-attempt (Coz you deserve it! ).
Well, if you are the one who is not facing this dilemma, Congratulations! You are getting your MBA entry this year itself ( kyuki Rishta achhe ghar ka hai! ).
But, if you are still confused concerning the Institute that you should be zeroing upon, let’s see if I can help you decide it.
2. Hum Apni Taraf Se Tumhe Chahte Hai, Magar Aapka Koi Bharosa Nahi hai – Rankings?
Like matrimonial websites which display profiles of our potential life partner, there are websites which also rank the MBA Institutes to make your life easy (or rather tougher lol!). But, a detailed study will help you realize that somehow these rankings do not show the real picture.
It was surprising for me not to see IIMB and IIML feature in the ranking list of some top publishers of my time. We do love looking at rankings and comparing different Institutes, but we can’t believe in them already.
Hence, I prepared my own ranking lists which were based on placements (for obvious reasons) – but along with the remuneration, I also looked for the profiles offered, brand image, alumni network, return on investment and prospects for future growth. Other things can include location, batch strength, infrastructure, faculty, etc. but these things were of lesser importance to me.
More importantly, I tried to categorize them as per the domain of specialization.
3. Main Baarish Kardu Paise Ki Jo Tu Ho Jayye Meri – Placement Statistics !!!
Like during any matchmaking, the financial health of families is the primary consideration before further pursuing the relationship with them. Similarly, the Institute also tries to showcase their financial prowess in the form of the Placement Report (similar to your bride’s/bridegroom’s bank statement).
The numbers and figures quoted in this report project the financial security that you might achieve post two years. I cannot comment on the authenticity of these statistics (it depends on individuals & Institutes). However, you can still try and validate it by asking your friends and relatives for help, alike in an arranged marriage where they say ‘Ladka Achha Kamata hai .’
Talk to your friends or family those who have been a part of the Institute that you are planning on joining; they will help you with the real story. In case you don’t have any, look for alumni of your undergrad school who have graduated from your target Institute. These are the next best set of people who would not advise you otherwise. If still, you don’t find any connections, I would recommend that you connect with a few alumni and current students (through LinkedIn & Facebook) and use your judgment to determine the wisdom in their words.
4.Kisse Pyaar Karoon? – Which Institute?
It is as difficult as selecting your life partner in an arranged marriage situation (if not more). You need to figure out which bride/bridegroom should you be likely to fall in love with in the future.
Well now it is time for match-making (but the good part is, it is you who does it and not your relatives)
Share Common Interests
You would want to share common interests with your life partner. It will allow you to enjoy your after married life. Similarly, your life partner here (the Institute) should have one major thing in common with you for you to have an everlasting bond!
You need to identify which domain you are likely to pursue your specialization in (you have it somewhere at the back of your mind). The Institute should specialize in that domain too, for you to have the best of opportunities in your area of interest. E.g., Each one of the holy trinity has sent you the marriage proposal, but you should not choose A only because of the name & fame it draws. If you are interested in finance, C offers you the best opportunities in the country, or if you are interested in consulting, B is more likely to be your ideal partner. So, you need to choose wisely and decide which Institute provides you with the best opportunity.
Ladka, Karta Kya Hai?
Now since you have found your interests in common, you also need to know what does your potential bridegroom do for work. Meaning, what job profiles are offered at the Institute that you are considering to join. For example, if you aspire to be a Front-End Investment Banker, you will have to check whether recruiters at that Institute offer such roles or will you have to compromise on your dream role. If the Institute provides your choice of career or provides a platform for you to achieve it in later years, you know you have found your match but Panditji ka kya khayal hai?
Many of you might be surprised with the heading for this section, but like an arranged marriage, your kundali with the Institute should be a match otherwise there will be hiccups in the relationship. However, for this kundali matching, you don’t need to create the horoscope chart that requires your name, birth date & timings. So, what factors should you be looking at here?
Well, you will have to go back to the selection criteria of the Institute and decide what kind of pool of students the Institute attracts (remember, they are soon going to be your competition). If the Institute prefers students who have had a strong academic past (some Institute even give 75% weight to your X and XII scores), while you do not have a solid academic history but because your percentile was on the higher side you got through (assuming comparable GDPI performance). This Institute might not be the right fit for you (Remember, the recruiters look at your X, XII, and Graduation, and not your CAT/XAT percentile). You should instead choose an Institute where you have peers with the similar profile.
Even too much focus on diversity might not be good for you because if you are among the majority, the minority attracts the recruiters and if you are in the minority, your competition just increased.
However, if the stars have matched, toh Rishta Pakka, and it is now time to decide your honeymoon destination.
For obvious reasons, you do want your honeymoon destination to be remarkable especially when your honeymoon is going to be 20 months long.
However, this is a different kind of a honeymoon; you need to decide for yourself which is the location that suits you the best. Someone who wants more interaction with the corporates in the form of training, events, live projects, etc. should look for an Institute that has a metro location advantage. While someone who wants to add certifications like CFA & FRM or do some research along with MBA should choose a peaceful location like somewhere in the mountains (maybe!).
Wish you a very Happy Marriage with your MBA Institute.