I am a Computer Engineering Graduate from a respectable institute in India. Like most engineering students, I was placed in an IT firm through the college placement process. On completing two good years with the company, I decided to switch my domain and pursue MBA. Surprised that almost all MBA colleges give extra credit to work experience, I was under the impression that work experience plays an important role in the MBA program. This trend is mostly because people feel that a prior industry exposure would act as a catalyst during the MBA course.
I cleared CAT and the subsequent rounds that followed after that and successfully converted the call from IIM Udaipur, an institute famous for its research-oriented curriculum. The funny thing is that my prior work experience played little to no role in helping me. As a working professional, one tends to lose touch with academics. Especially in my case, I had almost forgotten everything I had learned previously. Even though you brush upon several concepts during CAT preparation, the six months’ wait time invested in the selection process is enough to throw you off track. Such was my case. I had completely lost my course. The lectures were equally tedious since my peers gave answers at lightning speed while I tried to figure out how to shift the calculator from a natural view to a decimal view.
One also tends to get cautious after being exposed to a certain type of problems or issues. The IT company where I came from had a very demanding job profile. Every second day there was some or the other crucial change that needed to be pushed to the production environment. Also, not only did I work on Saturdays, but many times through the night too! This kind of exposure coloured my views towards starting a business venture or taking any bold decisions in that direction. This was solely because I had seen the worst side of entrepreneurship, and that made my mind biased towards my beliefs, and compelled me to drift away. On the other hand, my friends who were fresh graduates simply had no qualms about taking risks, be it with trying their hand at a start-up idea or running for the student body elections.
Better late than never, I realised that I was missing out on a lot more, not just academics or activities, but on life itself. Here at IIM Udaipur, help is provided to the ones who seek it. Thus, I approached my peers for help and took advantage of the diversity of the Institute. I took some extra efforts to cope with academics, and the ones who helped me were probably the best in their game. I started interacting more, and I suddenly realised that MBA is not about the curriculum, it is all about networking.
In most MBA colleges, an internship is made mandatory as part of the curriculum, so that all students are exposed to the industry trends and have a hands-on experience with the concepts studied during the course. In the MBA program, often, prior work experience remains nothing more than just a sentence on the resume; nothing else, as only a handful students, have course-related experience. A few institutes like IIM Udaipur also let students take up the SEP (Summer Entrepreneurship Program) to test the feasibility of their ideas. This program also provides a stipend to the students.
Thus, in my view, prior work experience is not an important part of an MBA Program. All you need is a diverse resource pool, good mentors and a bit of hard work to help Build U Together.