Delay your MBA, for your own sake!
Delay your MBA, for your own sake!
So you are right now in your last year of Degree College and are putting in those crazy hours for your CAT. Or XAT, CMAT, NMAT or whatever it is that IIPM is accepting (money, most probably!) You are planning to get into the best B-Schools of the country right after college. Great! Can I give you some advice though? Do yourself a favour – postpone your MBA!
I know, I know, it just does not make sense. I already foresee your doubts and, more importantly, your parents grilling. Why postpone something that you are going to do a couple of years down the line anyway? What is the point of earning n when you can earn 10n? (Change that constant around depending on your base expectations and likelihood of scoring an investment banking gig.) Who will marry you when you are as old as 23? (That last sentence sounds better if you say it in Gujarati, apparently.)
Let me try and help you make some sense of my advice with some easy questions –
1) Do you know what you want to do in your life?
“Earn lots of money” is an obvious but, unfortunately, invalid answer. If you answered, “Be an MBA”, I suggest you re-read the question (and focus more on the Reading Comprehension section, as well, while you’re at it!) If you answered, “I want to be a CEO of a multi-million dollar MNC”, join a million other talented, qualified and experienced folks in queue (just like that IIM-A seat, only tougher!) I can go on, but I want you think a little (well, you’re not an MBA yet, so use your brains a little, eh?)
2) Have you worked in a professional environment with a diverse team before?
No, sitting in your college canteen with a bunch of Sindhis (or Gujaratis or Catholics) discussing how to organize a college event does not count. (Also, just in case you are a Catholic working in the canteen and not at a bar, I am SO proud of you!)
3) Do you know how to behave when your work is due in an hour, your boss is busting your balls about an irrelevant management report, and you have been in office for 14 hours already when all of this is happening?
As much as this sounds like a pre-exam situation, it is not. Nothing can prepare you for the jangling nerves when there is a mega-buck deal or your entire team’s year-long effort at stake. Also, in case you were wondering who the boss asking for the irrelevant management report is, think of your girlfriend who wants to know “Do you miss me or do you miss being with me?” at 3 AM, while you burn the midnight oil studying last-minute. (Apparently, “Aren’t they more or less the same thing?” is not the right answer.)
4) Have you ever failed?
Not failed an exam. Not failed your mother by forgetting to buy milk for the house because you spent your cash drinking beer with ‘bad company’. (Just me? Okay, apply a similar situation where you disappointed your folks for some reason.) Not failed yourself by not asking that cute girl out who you claimed was your girlfriend just because you liked her in FYJC. (Just me again? I really had some issues as a college kid, I guess!) I am talking of sucking at what you were paid a fat salary to do. I am talking of failing in the business where you put your entire life savings into. Yes, that kind of failure.
5) Have you seen the world?
This question has two interpretations. One is obvious, have you travelled the world and seen different people in different places? I will answer it for every single person in the world who loves to travel. You can never have travelled enough! The other interpretation would make a lot more sense if you translate it into Hindi and say it in your father’s voice, “Tune badi duniya dekhi hai?” You could translate every damning question asked by an experienced manager to a hotshot new MBA hire to roughly the same thing.
6) Do you know how irritating it is to work with a complete fresher?
Okay, so this was a rhetorical question and you don’t need to answer it. It is very (I really wanted to use an expletive here, but let’s stick with ‘very’ for now) irritating! Yes, it is just the same if you were to start working fresh out of college. But you will not be that guy WITH AN MBA who knows squat. You do not want your colleagues to snicker behind you back saying, “He does not even know how to talk in a team meeting. And he is an MBA from IIM-A!” Yes, this happens. Take it from a guy who had to explain financial statements to a CA plus MBA.
7) Do you really need an MBA?
This is, in so many ways, linked to the very first question. Your MBA is a pointless degree when you realize that you want to be a photographer a couple of years down the line. No one wants a photographer with an MBA. They just want a really good photographer. What if you figure out that you really enjoy fashion designing or writing or sports marketing a couple of years into your post-college life? Would not studying something that helps you develop your skills for that particular passion make much more sense? No matter how deep your family pockets may be, surely you would prefer to not spend on an expensive MBA and then on another specialized course. Do you want just the degree for future ‘career growth’? How about you wait a little and do an Executive MBA programme while not missing out on earning a salary for your family?
Well, I am not entirely sure if I have helped you out here. I did not write this to argue the case for ‘Work Ex > Zero Work Ex’. I was advising you – the human you, not the career you – to think long and hard before taking this route. It is very easy to get carried away when everyone around you is doing it. (I know a little bit about this phenomenon. I was in a college filled with wannabe CAs and MBAs.) Try and make your eventual business degree more of a meaningful experience than a stupid bullet point on your résumé!
Don’t be too bothered about having all the answers. There are a couple of questions above that I (at the age of 27) still don’t have an answer to. Like I still don’t know what I want to do in life. But, after working for seven years, I do know what I definitely do NOT want to do and, sometimes, that works just as well!
P.S. As a side note, I still do not know what the right answer to “Do you miss me or do you miss being with me?” is. But, hey, I have crossed out about seven incorrect replies and even realized the operator ‘or’ does not actually mean ‘or’. Like this last time, I was even told my answer was ‘cute’. I will get there someday (and then totally regret trying to get it right in the first place!)
– Dylan D’Costa
When he is not busy breaking his own bones or wasting all his money trying to be an alcohol connoisseur, Dylan daylights in a role at an impact investment firm. His previous gigs were in the two different universes of non-profit and investment banking. He is an alumnus of the geek-infested Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics and is hoping to travel the world starting next year, using an MBA as an excuse!
You may also be interested in :