Careers after an MBA: Passion or Package?
“I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places plains, and the crooked places will be made straight, and before the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”
50 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. gave this soul stirring speech that inspired millions, and brought a new hope in the minds of the Americans. Like everyone else, this speech never fails to inspire me. When I again heard this speech, a few days ago, I had nothing but nostalgia- of my days as the best orator in school, one of the best writers and of my dream to pursue a career in Journalism. But, only a few of us get the opportunity to realize our dreams. Most of us end up running the rat race. I was no different. A Topper in school, opted for Science in class XII, followed by Engineering and now an MBA. I crossed every milestone determined that I would stop running this race and follow my dreams. But lacked the courage every time and continued to run. So, does an MBA from IIM K mean the end of my dream to be a Journalist? Probably yes. But does it mean that I can’t pursue a career in writing? Definitely NO.
Why are people so eager, so determined to join a B-school? Is it for the pride associated with the IIM tag? Is it to learn something in a non-conventional way? Or is it just for a good placement? For most of us, it is, beyond any doubt, the latter. Dream careers after an MBA are either that of a Brand Manager in HUL, a Consultant in PwC or a high paying job at Deutsche Bank. But careers after an MBA from a top B-school are not limited to these. There is a plethora of opportunities available. We just need to grab the one that is meant for us.
A career after an MBA could be that as an Author. This career has begun to gain popularity in the past few years with IIM alumni like Rashmi Bansal, Amish Tripathi, Chetan Bhagat choosing to tread this path never travelled before. Cynics might wonder- what value addition would an MBA degree give an author? Taking the examples of these authors of Bestsellers’, an MBA degree gave Amish Tripathi the confidence to publish and sell his 1st book using Kotler’s guidelines when all the publication houses refused to publish his book. The exposure and rigorous training at IIM A gave Rashmi Bansal the required skill set for her publication. To put it in the B-school jargon, MBA teaches you the ‘business’ of writing. But, would becoming an author improve your career prospects? Shaishav Solanki, the 1st official author from IIM Indore, when asked- Will the book add to your placement chances or better job prospects? replied- ‘It doesnt matter; because that was not the reason why I wrote the book.’
A career after an MBA could even be that of an entrepreneur. Every year we come across news reports giving statistics of the number of students at IIMs who opted out of their Final Placement process to become entrepreneurs. Examples of successful entrepreneurs are unlimited. Deep Kalra, with $2 million from a venture capitalist, an investment of his life savings to buy back his own company in the dotcom boom went on to make India’s leading travel portal- makemytrip.com. Cyrus Driver quit his private equity job in Singapore to launch Calorie Care, India’s first professional, calorie-counted meal delivery service. How did an MBA help them? It gave them the much needed knowledge about identifying the customer requirements, understanding the present market conditions and setting up a company in which would give them the first mover advantage.
How about starting an NGO after an MBA? This concept will definitely raise eyebrows; not only those of the readers but also of the well wishers of the ones who braved all odds to do so. Vinayak Lohani, the Founder of Parivaar, an NGO working towards the overall development of children- orphans, girls highly vulnerable to exploitation, victimization, and trafficking, extremely impoverished children from tribal areas from several districts in West Bengal and Jharkhand is an IIM Calcutta alum. GiveIndia, conceived by Venkat Krishnan is an online platform that allows philanthropists to support a cause of their choice from about 200 NGOs that have been scrutinised for transparency & credibility. How did these social entrepreneurs avail of the benefit of an MBA degree? An MBA helped them to expand their NGO from a very grass root level to one of the largest institutions in their region. It helped them to gather financial resources and work force for their noble cause.
What these outliers have done proves that MBA is not just about Placements and Salaries. It is much above that. If we start counting the list of people who have chosen unconventional careers after an MBA, the list goes on and on- Harsha Bhogle, Siddharth Shah-Founder of Dialhealth, R Subramanian: Founder, Subhiksha and many more. MBA from an IIM is more about the passion, the experience, and the learning. What these MBAs have done proves that success is not about securing a high paying job after your Post Graduation. Success is about following your dreams, your passion and achieving it. All that we need to do is stop running the rat race, face the social barriers with courage and continue to move forward in our direction to achieve our goal. As said by Swami Vivekanand, ‘Arise, Awake and Wait not till your Goal is reached.’
– Kavita Yajnik
A consistent top performer in academics, Kavita was selected for the AICTE Scholarship. Always striving to make a difference to the society, she volunteered for ‘Teach-for-India’. A winner of various essay and elocution competitions at the Inter-School, Inter-College and National levels and a passionate writer, she was on her college’s Editorial Board. She is currently a first year student at IIM Kozhikode (Class of 2015).