Be Prepared For The MBA Monster

MBA is perhaps one of the most wanted (read: overrated) degrees in India. Lakhs of students appear for dozens of exams and are then selected in hundreds of colleges. This process is a well-oiled machine which has been creating, nurturing and churning out corporate honchos who will conquer the business world. Bold newspaper headlines about placement scenarios, fat paychecks and that distant Sharma ji’s son who became an Investment banker, all of these factors are functional in making an aspirant believe in the potency of an MBA.

But an MBA in itself cannot make the person capable. Just getting a degree, even from a reputed top tier b-school, may not do wonders for your career unless you are willing to put in the effort. It would help if it is done the right way at the right time. This is where this article comes in handy.

Following are three key factors which should be looked at before joining a b-school:

Find your reason to do an MBA: MBA is a costly degree and it also takes two precious years to be completed. All aspirants should have a goal in sight before moving for an MBA. Once inside an IIM, the race is between elites and good performance only occurs if long strides are made towards the right goals. We should not use a sword where a needle may work out fine.

Are you ready to learn and deliver: Interacting with 900 students in a year can be quite an experience. Competition is immense and you get a sense of graduating from the rat race to a more mature rat race (yeah, the anti-climax!). In fact, IIM graduates have this special power of partying their hearts out during the night while they are being beaten like a pinata during the days from classes, quizzes and placement prep. Do you see yourself thriving in this environment? Can you add value to yourself (through studies, competitions, committees, networking and what not) without feeling a sense of entitlement because of your background?

Is this the right time for an MBA: There is a right time for everything. Most of the classroom learning can be much more impacting if a student has relevant work experience. Also, there is a bridge between the entrance exams and what is taught in the classrooms. Having seen 99.9+ percentiles struggle while 95 percentilers succeed with ease, I can testify to this fact. Therefore, it makes sense to gather resources and find out whether the learning can be maximised by building some experience before joining the college. This should also be looked at in terms of the placement opportunity which you might have after coming in. More than the required amount of experience may also prove to be an issue.

These are three factors which should be considered before joining or attempting to join a b-school. The whole process of getting selected is an arduous one, it takes a lot of effort, time and money to get a seat in the coveted b-schools. An informed choice can only help the aspirant get maximum value in the right direction.