(For the thousands who didn't get the calls or the percentiles but still have the potential to change the world - Team InsideIIM)
This is for all of you who probably have a chance to do something brilliantly different with your life.
Resist: Please resist the temptation of settling for a business school which has no pedigree. You may be broken right now but if you want to build a career, do not try to ‘get done with your MBA’. Remember you have a choice. Let no one convince you that you don’t. I know extremely bright students who settled for very mediocre business schools and they are still regretting their choice. I am not saying you have to be in the top 10 institutions but do a thorough check of certain essential parameters before you zero in on one (we will post an article on this soon). There are coaching classes and websites who will promote institutions with no standing whatsoever because they get a cut out of every student they refer. Beware!
In the current economic scenario and given the PGP/PGDM/MBA fee structures, it may not be a wise decision to pursue a post graduate degree in management in India beyond a select list of 25 business schools for anyone. That should be further narrowed to Top 10 for the extremely bright who have missed out. A lot of you would be in a position to grow more in your current jobs rather than after finishing a degree from anywhere apart from the top 10-11 schools. A lot of fresh under graduates among you would do well to gain some valuable experience from the job you already have or are in a position to seek. For a very select group of people who are already earning over Rs. 1 Million per annum, it may not be very fruitful to look beyond IIM ABC and ISB Hyderabad in the current macro-economic environment.
The phenomenon of academic inflation in India means that hundreds of business schools have sprung up who dole out degrees with little or no value. A lot of them are in a process of shutting shop. Again, beware of such institutes. You don’t want to be unemployed 6 months after graduation. You also don’t want to be in position where you cannot grow beyond a certain level in the corporate world due to the lack of credibility on your resume. I know people who have been literally fleeced by third grade business schools.
Focus on building up your profile in this year. Consolidate on your strengths and try a few different things to make yourself stand out in the crowd. Exams like CFA may help a few people. If you’re interested in social work, NGO work may help. There are many options out there.
A lot of you may also realise that you need not even do an MBA in the first place. Excellence can be pursued in a lot of other fields too.
Entrepreneurship is always an option. There is no entrance exam for it. Your 10th and 12th marks don’t matter nor does your state board.
Fight: For all those who haven’t made the cut - Relax. You will feel disappointed and it is a natural feeling. Go through it for a while. No point trying to project a brave front. It will affect you further. Experience the disappointment and then move on. You should be up and running in a few days.
Now you would think, ‘easier to preach after having completed an IIM Indore diploma’. Well, all I can say is I have been there. CAT 2007 – Massive effort, Great expectations. But a 97%ile which was as good as a 55! Crushing. Back then we were still in the paper pencil mode. I realised I had screwed up immediately and knew my scores by evening. Hence, my ordeal lasted 2 whole months. It affected me deeply. More than anything else affected my ego. After all the effort and intent, still didn’t do well?
It started affecting my general state of well-being. It’s then that I realised that this is what happens when you start giving too much respect to an exam. It’s an exam and does not determine my future and has no right to affect my life. I stopped giving it respect and the next time round (CAT 2008) put in 50% of the effort and went in with arrogance. Took it as a game. Scored 99.7%ile with 95%+ in each section. In fact I scored 99.5+ in every entrance I took that season. (I have another tragic story after this but I shall keep that for some other time)
Life does not end with CAT. In the first place, it never deserved that kind of importance. There are over 120 Crore people in India who have not done their MBA and a lot of them are doing just fine. CAT is just like many of the other events in your life. Sometimes you succeed in an exam, sometimes you don’t. In the overall scheme of things in your life it is a tiny speck. Let it not make you do something stupid. You don’t need an MBA degree to conquer the world. The fight really is with your own mind.
My friend Susan once wrote about the ‘Moon Perspective’ in our college magazine. It was an interesting concept about career choices but I built a concept of my own on it. My own interpretation of it is –
Imagine you are far off on the moon watching all the chaos on this planet. Far away from this current state that you are in, you will see the many beautiful things this world has to offer. A world full of opportunities beckoning people like you to come and take charge. There is so much to do.
Like mastering a new language. Like learning a new dance form. Like inventing the next Facebook/Google/Apple. Like building a high-speed train network in India. Like directing a play. Like creating the biggest solar power unit that gives electricity to millions in our great country. Like travelling the world. Like educating 1 million children in remote parts of India. Like spending time with your loved ones. Like enjoying each and every moment including this one.
However, if you do have a call, allow us to help you!
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